As a short, buck-toothed, freckled-faced little elementary schooler,
I stood at a church league softball ‘tryout’ beside a blue eyed, blonde haired girl who would
eventually become my worst enemy…
and then my best friend.
It’s funny how the Lord redeems the ‘irredeemable’ in my life over and over again.
In a little less than 10 months, I will stand beside that blue eyed, blonde haired girl as
she makes a covenant before the Lord with the man she has given her heart to.
Obviously, this is a big milestone, and it has caused me to reflect a lot on the bond the Lord has created between Kayla Hampton and I.
The Hampton family – including Shannon, Joan, Ashlee, Kayla, and Brett – moved to Charlotte, NC
when Kayla and I were in 4th grade.
Little did I know what I large impact this family would make on my life.
The Hampton’s served as missionaries in the Dominican Republic and Argentina
until their son, Brett, was diagnosed with Autism.
They then moved back to the States to make sure he had more than adequate care,
and they now serve the Spanish community in Concord and plant churches there.
I watched as this family found unspeakable and inexplicable joy in serving one another.
Taking care of Brett was and isn’t easy, but never once have I heard any of them complain.
In fact, I would say that their family is closer than any other that I have spent time around as a result of all that they have endured together.
They see Brett as their angel,
and I see all of them as mine.
Every time I went to the Hampton’s house,
I quietly sat and observed how the interacted,
how they loved, served, and grew with one another.
Little did any of us know how much that bond would be needed.
The summer of 2011, Mrs. Hampton had a severe stroke in her home while going to check on Brett.
I remember the phone call from Kayla, I was sitting in my bedroom floor,
and I just listened to her sob on the other end of the phone.
All I could think was, “Why them, Lord, why?”
In the coming days and months,
I believe I had this question answered.
Though they had no idea if Mrs. Hampton would recover from this stroke and if so what her life would look like afterwards, but the Hampton’s had a firm foundation to stand on and their faith did not waver.
I remember taking food to their house the day after Mrs. Hampton had the stroke and the girls were getting in the Word, proclaiming the promises of God, and believing in His goodness.
I just sat there, overwhelmed by the faith of a family who has been tested in more ways than I can count.
They have walked through the fire together and have stood firmly together.
Their response to everything they have ever been through has brought so much Glory to the Lord.
I can think of countless stories of lives being changed as a result of His work in the Hamptons’ midst.
He gets the Glory.
Over a year after Mrs. Hampton’s stroke and a miraculous recovery,
I asked Kayla how they made it through everything.
She said, “What my dad always says…the joy of the Lord is our strength…that’s how.”
This may seem like a simple explanation, but it is the root of everything.
The root of their resilience, gusto, peace, patience, humility…everything.
Jesus is their life.
The Hampton family has taught me that if my life is rooted in the joy of Jesus Christ,
I can weather any storm, endure any trial, and face anything that comes.
I know that Kayla and Bryan are promising that kind of love to
one another as they stand at the alter on August 3rd.
Glory to Him!
“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”