He must increase,
but I must decrease
- John 3:30

Melody's Story

Melody's Grave

Sometimes things don’t go the way we plan; it’s then that we have to trust that God is in control.

Melody came back from a three-week missionary trip to Africa with 7000 pictures, lots of memories, and a renewed commitment to go wherever God wanted her to go.

The next week was filled with preparations for her new picture-taking venture: A photo booth at a music festival she had chosen. While we were there, she got sick. Her dad offered to take her to a doctor, but she insisted that all she needed was a little food, some water, rest,and to go to the “Travel the Road” Missionary Seminars. So with her patient guidance, we manned the booth for her.

When she got worse, we packed up everything and went home. Upon arriving, she told us how her headache was gone. And on Monday, it was a blessing to see her get up, take a shower, eat, and do some of her usual work at the computer. On Tuesday, everyone slept late, resting from our full weekend. I checked on Melody. She assured me that she was fine, but asked for a bottle of water.

Later that day, we saw that she wasn’t fine. So we prayed, and we took her to the hospital. They tested and began treating her for malaria. We were informed of the seriousness of this disease, but the doctors gave an optimistic prognosis.


I went home to get Melody’s glasses and her new music that had arrived in the mail just the day before. Then somehow I knew that things might not be “OK”. They might not go the way I wanted them to go. I had given my precious daughter to God as a baby, knowing that she belonged to Him, and I would raise her the best I could, but her life was in His hands. She had matured so beautifully, and I had grown more and more attached to her. She had become one of my greatest allies, a fellow servant, unique confidant, and true friend.

The thought of losing her tore my heart. So I got in the car, rolled the windows up tight, put in her new CD, and drove a couple miles to the river, shouting at the top of my lungs. There were no words, just deep pain welling up and overflowing. I cried and screamed.

When song 2 came on, I listened, because although it was the first time I had ever heard it, I knew it was for me. It remained a bright sunshiny day, but huge drops fell on my windshield. And then it began to pour down rain, and Jesus cried with me and held me -until His peace flowed like the river.

“Praise you in this Storm” by Casting Crowns

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”,
and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I'm with you”
And as You mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I'm with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

The Following are excerpts taken from Melody’s Mom’s letters to her as Melody was growing:

October 12,1985

Dear Melody, “You were born today”

May 30, 1988 (age 2 1/2)

“The other day I was frustrated. You are still not potty-trained, and you pooped your pants for the second time that day. ‘Oh, Melody, what am I going to do? You keep pooping your pants, and Daniel won’t get weaned. All he does is cry for Mommy, Mommy. What am I going to do?’ I just sat down and cried. You looked at me as I said, ‘I just don’t know what to do.’ Then you knelt down beside a suitcase, put your head on it, folded your hands, closed your eyes, and prayed, ‘God, help me not to poop my pants, and make Danny be good, and help me not to poop my pants no more.’ Oh, the faith of a child!”

November 24, 1989 (age 4)

“I said, ‘Melody, where is your home?’ You answered, ‘I live in Washington.’ ‘No, Melody, where is your real home?’ Daddy hoped you’d answer, Dubuque, but you said, ‘Oh, you mean my really, really, real home- that’s in heaven!’ What a cutie. I caught you smiling the other day as you thought to yourself. ‘What are you thinking about?’ I questioned. ‘I’m thinking about Jesus,’ was your simple answer, and I knew it was true.”

November 10, 1990 (age 5)

“Who am I? to get to be your Mom! Tonight I read the story of Solomon to you. It said ‘When David died, God talked to Solomon one day. “What would you like to have?” God asked him.’ I then stopped the story and asked you what you would answer if God asked you that. After a little thinking, you answered, ‘to be with Him.’ ”

And that wasn’t only the passing faith of a small child, but the ever-growing faith of a 19-year-old who lived her life to share the good news of Jesus Christ. She died from Malaria after a missionary trip to Africa. When we found her journals, one was full of poems and/or songs. The last one in the unfinished notebook was:

“I am feeling a little sad today
I just reread one of your letters
And now I am a bit homesick
How I long to be with you
All the places I may roam
Can never be my home
I have been saved by your grace
And I can always talk to you
But I still want to see your face
And the place you have for me
I'm just a little homesick

And Melody is home. We miss her very much but we have a wealth of journals that she left behind. She lived and breathed God’s word and applied it to her life. We see her challenges and right response to them. She was a girl that constantly quoted, “How pure is too pure?” And she had resolved that when the Pastor said, “You may now kiss the bride,” she would kiss her husband for the very first time. Instead, she gave her very first kiss to Jesus. What a precious gift!

The ripples from Melody’s life and her passing into eternity go on and on. If you’d like to hear some, read Daniel’s Story. Or if you’d like to hear a humble confession from me, her mom, check out Now I know. Or if your life has been touched by hers, contact us. We’d like to hear.