Friday, December 08, 2006


It's that time of week, once again, to toss some gasoline onto someone deserving of applause. We take this day to shower some with gasoline that their productive world go up in flames....flames of success....rather than having cold water tossed resulting in quenched ambition.

Today I applaud my daughter, Wendy Michelle Rush Chapel. Fifteen years ago last night her fairly steady world began to completely unravel. Her fiance, as well as his brother, were victims of gruesome murders. The days, weeks, and months ahead were blinding as cavernous darkness.

An immediate battle with Epstein-Barr soon took over. Continuing college was not feasible. We brought her home. Wendy's life was now reduced to long hours confined to her bedroom; her best friend absent in finality and her pursuit of education derailed. But she didn't pout; she didn't quit. She moved to Dallas to start over. The day she pulled out of the driveway en route to Dallas, I waved a tearful farewell and then promptly checked her room to see if she had forgotten anything. I opened the closet door and their encountered everything completely removed....except one wedding dress hanging alone off in one corner.

In Dallas she met on of the greatest men on earth, Chris Chapel. He reversed her life. Our family adores Chris.

A year and a half ago Wendy gave birth to premature twins. Ana Rush Chapel died after a few days. She was indentical to her baby sister and looked like a store-bought babydoll. We stood at the grave with Chris and Wendy and said farewell to one we briefly met.

Wendy has not wasted tragedy. She has insisted it be productive. Her stability runs optimistically deep. While she and Chris reside happily in Atlanta, Wendy has encountered a young deaf woman grieving over the loss of her husband eight months ago. The young woman is fearfully lost. Wendy knows all the feelings; she knows how to face this tough-stuff head on and win. Simultaneously, she is helping a close friend bear up under the fears of her child born prematurely and weighing in at two pounds.

Wendy is one of my heroes. The neat thing about her is she's normal. One would give her a break if she wanted to have moments of "poor me", but she has never spent one such moment. Her life praises God. look like you know the Living God! I love you today!


Dusty said...

Wow, well said. I don't think I've known a stronger faith than what I see in Chris and Wendy.

Anonymous said...

I remember the 1st time I heard you tell Wendy's story at the workshop. I have never met her, but my heart broke for her and for you as we watched your pain so obviously still very fresh. I cannot imagine enduring that type of tragedy. What a great testimony to a loving, compassionate and powerful God her life has turned out to be.

Wendy, your life has endured more at such an early age than anyone should have to bear. I applaud you for your steadfast faith, love and trust in Jesus. What a blessing you are to those you come in contact with. May God continue to bless your life as you bless those around you and as you show His Love to others in such a powerful way.

tim rush said...

Well, this wasn't what I expected to read this morning. I fought back the tears and and had to walk away from the computer for awhile.

I'm with Dusty. I just kept thinking about how I know no one, except maybe mom, with the strength Wendy has.

Anonymous said...

Folks like Wendy show us what radical trust is all about. Thanks for sharing Wendy's story. Much encouragement here.

David U said...

Terry, I am a better person after having read about Wendy this morning. Thanks for washing our feet with the telling of her life.


Shawn said...

Unbelievable! I love hearing Wendy and Chris legacy stories. I have had the joy of getting to spend a little time with Chris and Wendy and I am amazed every time at their visible, palpable joy. They are evidence of the ability of God to adequately handle His role as the great healer. Wendy, thanks for all that you are and for the way that you have inspired me in my faith walk. I hope that you have a stupendous firey friday.


Heather said...

I can only imagine the heavenly roar of amens that follow thoughts of Wendy's impact on this world. I have only known some of it through the retelling of stories, but it still carries profound impact. And the simplicity and normalcy of her faith is what makes it amazing... in a Mary sense... a humble servant, responding in faith at every turn. Wendy.. you've impacted me from before I even knew you, and it's only grown from there. Your sensitivity, wisdom, faith, and even your sense of humor leave me deeply grateful to our God... for your life and for the praise it keeps bringing to our God.

Danna said...

I've long admired Wendy, much longer than I've known her. She is amazing. And now I get to know her, which is quite the blessing for me! :o) Thank you for sharing this. Wendy, thanks for letting God do amazing things in and through you and letting us share in it and learn from you. Love you!

Anonymous said...

I just got my laptop back tonight. I'm overwhelmed. And crying a little bit too. Thank you for the kind words for Chris and for me and for all of the kind comments. And I love you very, very much.

I was actually saving a comment for Fiery Friday. Hopefully, Linda Magnusson is reading. I was actually wanting to thank her for being my boss when I wasn't able to be much of an employee. She was sooooo patient with me when Bobby died and then again when I was sick. I know why God put us together then and I'm so glad He did. I learned a lot about her servant heart and I count her and Ron as dear friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Linda!
P.S. Chris is everything you said, but you forgot to mention that he's SUCH a hottie.

Anonymous said...

Precious Wendy, it was I who was so blessed to have you in my life. You demonstrated to our entire office God living in you as you walked through those dark times. You have taught me so much about faith in the midst of trial. Thank for being a role model for Krista as we walked through her bout with Epstein Barr. You gave us hope, and still do to this day! You and Chris are a true inspiration and you will always be a very special part of my family's life. Our relationship was no accident and I am a better person because I got to spend that time with you! Can't wait to see you all!

Stoogelover said...

I remember when you shared Wendy's story with us at Long Beach. You reduced us all to tears that day. Now, many years later, there are no tears, but I'm having a very difficult time swallowing right now. For some reason I have a huge lump in my throat! What an encouraging testimony.

Anonymous said...

You all have no idea how much I miss Memorial. All the crying times and happy times.

Anonymous said...

We were able to hear some messages recently from Kent Smith at a missionary retreat and his introduction to the weekend was a question from the Lord of the Rings, "I wonder what sort of tale we have fallen into?" And then he shared how God created people in a state of the delight and how we know that the end of the story is deeper delight, and our lives are the journey between the two. It seems like Wendy and Chris live in a neat amazing state with God where they know that the real story they are living in, the whole story is not a tragedy. This was a sad post to read because it hurt them so much and it made me cry, but I am really glad to get to learn from them about how big God is and how great our story is with Him. Thanks.

DJT said...

Danna was telling me about this post and had to stop because she was starting to cry. Of course, it made me start to cry!

Wendy, I was just getting to know you when I was invited to go to Memorial one morning to pray for you and the Philips family.

I said yes because I thought it would be inappropriate to say no to prayer. I was mad at myself for saying yes because I didn't know how to pray! I participated and didn't know what to say.

I was blessed for years with weekly morning prayer time, great friendships, getting to know you and your family better and, best of all, a relationship with God!!!

God was preparing me for my own journey through the minefield of life! Thank you so much for the way you have encouraged me and taught me how to love!!

You are precious. Your Mom, Tim, Dusty and your Dad are special too!

Anonymous said...

o.k., so you led me to your website but failed to prepare me for its messages.....i'm crying.....but i still love you today just like i loved you yesterday....dani fromm....memphis!

Anonymous said...

Dear Terri:
Can it be that 15 years have gone since that terrible day. I watched your family endure this tragedy and I prayed for your family constantly. I have always admired Wendy for keeping her faith and her sweetness through it all. God used this tragedy in many ways to bless others and we can know in our own lives he will use whatever we bring to him for his purpose. You are a "light" unto the world! Lynn