The morning after Danielle “left” to be with Jesus a group of family and friends huddled in the Gould family home to pray and to worship, to cry and to mourn as we looked for answers to questions that most likely would not be answered this side of heaven. The steps from “why me?”, “why her?” to “why not me?”, and “why not her?” are hard to bear at times and the road so steep, the only way to ascend the mountain of pain is to behold the beauty of the One who has shown Himself faithful and strong in the midst of our storm.
The bible promises to them that love God that a day is coming when the Lord will as Revelation 21:3-5 declares, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” It’s the hope of heaven that keeps us moving forward and the knowledge that Danielle’s life, though only seventeen when she died, was far from being in vain.
Some might wonder what difference can a teenager make in the world? The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Danielle was such an example and thanks to her aunt and uncle, Dick and Wanda Sears, the “Tribute Book” was collected and written by some of Danielle’s family, friends, teachers and classmates for us so that we could be reminded of her impact in their lives and what they will always remember about her.
We have enjoyed Danielle’s Tribute Book so much we wanted to find a way to share it with you so that you too could read for your self the difference one life can make. At first we were reluctant to publish the book out of fear of what others might say or think but it was pointed out to us the words once again of the apostle Paul who captured what are hearts felt when he penned the words in 2 Corinthians 3:1-3, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” Danielle is safe in the hearts of all who knew her and yet this Tribute book is a way for you to learn about her life too. It is with that hope in mind that we have published Danielle’s Tribute Book here for you. We hope it encourages and inspires all who read to want to live a life for the Lord that brings glory to Him and reflects His life and His love towards others.
If you would like to share with us how Danielle impacted your life and have it included here on our Tribute page we would love to hear from you. You can write me at Sherrill@ccbakersfield.com and please include your full name as well as your e-mail address when you write.