This was originally posted someplace else, but has been updated.

I meet her when she was 14, and she was already a remarkable young woman. Her mother was in prison, and her dad was a drunk, which left her to raise her then two-year-old sister. At the age of 15 she decided they had to move away from their dad, to protect her sister. They stayed where they could, for as long as they could, while she managed to work and stay in school.

She was in my Sunday school class, and though several people in our church looked down on her for the way she had to live, (She had to lie about her age and drive without a license, in order to work.) she was always the one who asked the best questions and seemed to actually listen to the lessons.

She got married at 17 to a young man, who was 16. I went to the wedding, smiled, and hugged her, and told her how happy I was for her. Then went home and cried, for what I thought was a waste of her future. I was wrong.

Together they were more remarkable than either had been alone. She home-schooled herself and her husband, and they both graduated. They continued to raise her sister, and took in one of her cousins, as well as having two children of their own. He managed to get a good job, so that she was able to stay home with the children. They were active in church, and all was right with their world.

A few months ago, shortly before his twentieth birthday, he lost control of his car, in the rain, and spun out in front of a tanker. He was killed instantly.

There were at least 500 people at his funeral, and though she looked pale and tired, it seemed she hugged and offered a word of encouragement to each one.

I saw her this past weekend, with all four kids in tow. The little ones look great, and she looks tired but at peace. She talks about him and how much they miss him, but she also talks about what the future holds for them.

If she is representative of the next generation’s strength, courage, and faith the world is going to be in good hands.

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