Seventeen years has passed since losing my daughter Rachel Joy Scott in the Columbine High School shooting of April 20, 1999 where 13 precious people lost their lives. There has not been one day we have not felt her loss and missed her voice.
Rachel left us a precious gift that was discovered after her death in her journals and writings. It was a journey of a Christian teen that loved the Lord but struggled every day to live out her faith among her peers. She wrote in brutal honesty about her failures, misgivings and insecurities of living in a world that mocked faith. The isolation of thinking that she was alone in her pursuit to be a light in a dark world and changing the world to one of starting a chain reaction of love and compassion.
Her writings were very prophetic to the point of leaving a drawing from that very morning of depicting 13 tears of one teacher and 12 students being killed on that fateful day. One day prior to the exact date of April 20th, in 1998 she wrote: “If I have to sacrifice everything to be with my best friend Jesus, I will -- I will take it.” One year later she kept that vow as she was mocked and challenged for her faith facing her shooters with a gun to her head.
Multiple times Rachel wrote of an early death. It was as if the Lord was preparing her. On May 2nd of 1998 she wrote, “This will be my last year Lord, I have gotten what I can.” In the Fall of the school years of 98-99 one of her writings included the words of “halls of a tragedy” as she described what she felt at Columbine High School. Two weeks before her death once again she mentions death, saying, “It isn’t suicide, I consider it homicide. The world you have created has led to my death.”
Sharing Rachel’s life and death has impacted millions of lives. Teens that felt hopeless, discouraged and even contemplated suicide have been given new hope and purpose to live life unashamed of their convictions, dreams and goals.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, it left a huge platform for us to walk out on. We felt that we had been passed a torch that needed to be picked up and carried. Rachel’s family has been very proactive in school programs, church presentations and community events.
Sharing Rachel’s life and death has impacted millions of lives. Teens that felt hopeless, discouraged and even contemplated suicide have been given new hope and purpose to live life unashamed of their convictions, dreams and goals. Her story has resulted in several books and now a movie called “I’m Not Ashamed.”
On September 28th, I’ll be commemorating Rachel’s beautiful life by joining students at her alma mater, Columbine High School for an event called See You At The Pole which is simultaneously held across the country in thousands of high schools where students will gather together at 7:00am local time around their flagpoles to pray for their schools, their peers, and our nation.
This is the kind of thing that Rachel would have been excited to participate in as if reflects the values and love that she shared for so many. I hope you’ll join me at your local high school and in the weeks ahead as we celebrate the life and legacy of my beautiful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott and her life well lived.