Judson's Legacy



Sometimes, with certain experiences in life it is a gift to not fully know what you are getting into until you’re actually in it.  Otherwise, you might run the other direction.

I had the opportunity to volunteer on Saturday to help with a charity event that provides clothes for impoverished children in honor of a little girl named Brittany who lost her life in 2002.  When I discovered the inspiration for the event, I didn’t hesitate to take part; I relished the opportunity to honor the memory of a young girl by assisting another little girl, afflicted by poverty, on a shopping spree throughout Walmart to purchase much-need clothes and shoes.

I joined my friends Sarah and Carla on this adventure …but I was not prepared for what followed.

Imagine my surprise when the bus load of children arrived and it was full of girls and boys (up to age 12).  Then when they called Sarah’s name to meet the child assigned to us, she came strolling back with her hand leading a young boy named David.  And, in fact, David was 4 years old, the same age Jud would be were he alive.

I paused and took a deep sigh while my mind scrambled to figure out how to engage the circumstance while a whole host of emotions had just erupted in my soul.  Lean into it, I thought to myself.

So I walked over to David, placed my hand on the small of his back, bent down and asked, “Do you like Lightning McQueen?”

“No!” he curtly replied.

His harsh reply disarmed me, and strangely felt like a knife to my heart.   “Oh!?  What do you like?”

David was quiet.  And I became quiet too.

As we proceeded to traverse the aisles of the boys section in the store, holding up various clothing items to inquire as to whether or not he was interested, it quickly became apparent that David had numerous needs that far outweighed his external need for clothing.  Things he said and did were clearly indicative of internal disturbance. 

I felt powerless and broken as I watched him do and say some very disconcerting things, while my feelings were also all tangled up with thoughts of Jud.  My mind was racing.

Meanwhile, Sarah asked David to take off his sweatshirt so he could try on a long-sleeve knit to determine his size.  As he raised his arms, lifting his camouflage fleece, I dropped my head in disbelief.  David was wearing one of Judson’s shirts – a shirt that had been prominent in Jud’s wardrobe.


What are you doing, God?  I asked myself, ready to crumble to the floor in tears.

Lean in. I heard again.

 I can’t.  I thought to myself as everything in me wanted to high-tail it out of there.

Love him.  Try to love him the way you love Jud.

I can’t.

But I tried.  I walked over to David as he was kicking and hitting some men that were trying to help him and attempted to offer some guidance.  Then I took him over to the shoe section and helped him select a new pair of sneakers.  But all the while I was struggling.  I was finding it difficult to love David.

After saying goodbye to the little guy, we were informed that his dad just died two weeks ago.  My heart sank. 

David has since been perpetually on my mind and I keep asking, What were you doing, God?

I think I hear my Heavenly Father saying…

I have as much compassion for David and other deeply broken and hard-to-love people as I do Judson, and I need you to be my hands and feet.

Oh God, please grow your compassion in me.

7 Responses to "Compassion"

  1. Wow, loved this entry Christina. I find (personally) that the only way to make it through is to remind myself that everyone has a story and their own brand of pain. It’s like other people’s crazy takes you out of your own and you suddenly don’t feel as lonely. That poor boy: it sounds like he needs the compassion of a lot more people like you.
    Life is mysterious and to those of us who now have our eyes wide open, it is full of valuable lessons.

    Lots of love to you!
    xo C

  2. Jamie says:

    Christina, I am amazed by your ability to lean in to something that would be hard for someone who had never suffered pain at all–yet you, who have suffered so much, were able to allow the love of Christ to flow through you. AMAZING. Your perspective and faithfulness are truly God’s gift.

  3. Christina,
    I never cease to be amazed at how you tune your heart to God’s leading in times where your emotions are so raw. I will pray for David and his family during this painful time. And as always, you and your family will be in my prayers as well.


  4. Robyn Morton says:

    Christina, I think that all too often, if we knew what lay ahead of us, we would turn away and miss an opportunity to experience the fullness of God’s love. I am sure God sent this little boy to you knowing that your faith in Him would allow you to move past your own fears and heartache and quietly witness and reach out to him. My heart aches for you and David but I know God was present in you. I wonder how often God might look at us and find us difficult and unlovable if He were not all-powerful and all-knowing. Whether you feel worthy or strong enough, you are one of God’s angels, one of God’s messengers and He has chosen wisely. Blessings.

  5. Lidy says:


    What an awesome experience. Isn’t that just like our God, to match up the two of you, one little one, who has just lost his papa, and one bigger one, you, who is missing your own little boy. God is so good, He knows now you will have this little boy in your heart, unloveable as he was, and will be praying for him. God bless you sweetie, and your family.
    xoxox Lidy

  6. Betsy Parker says:

    Hello Christina,

    I was so moved by your account of shopping with David. God does move in mysterious ways (I always attribute that to the nuns of my youth).

    Good job leaning in! Your journey touches so many. God is using you for his good.

    I am not sure if a personal note is appropriate, but as I read your blog, I thought of how Jud’s birth cancelled Lori’s longtime Christmas eve celebration, a thing which became more important to me, as I lost my core family. She and I go back a long time – Drake was only months old when we first met. Do not forget that Jud’s loss was a loss for many who loved him. Wishing you peace and happiness in this Christmas season.

  7. Tammy Wilson says:

    My fiancé received the book last week…I picked it up two days ago…but was so overcome with grief….yours…my own for Jaden, I put the book down. Yesterday, I read this blog. Again heart wrenching sobs. I just tried to read again….I couldn’t believe it…The page that I had stopped on was the EXACT pic of Jud with Mickey Mouse on pg 118. I sit here shaking my head. Tears flowing. How our father reaches to us. Thank you for continuing to share. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    (Jadens Great Aunt)

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