22 08 2013

Picture 317
While it was a true blessing to have been given a son we named Rudy some 17 months earlier in August of 1986, there is no bond like the one between daddies and their little girls. Leah was all eyes when she burst upon the scene on that winter’s afternoon in Dayton, Ohio. I never saw bigger brown eyes on anybody up until then and I grew up with a crush on Natalie Wood.

But staring in those amazing eyes, I saw an angel sent from heaven that needed to be cherished and cared for and loved in a way that would allow her to realize all the dreams that God had ever designed with her in mind. An independent spirit from the beginning, Leah would need a love that would give her an undeniable affirmation and assurance that she was loved beyond words. But Terri and I learned early in the game that we would also need to care enough about her to provide her the necessary space that she would need to know that we would believe in her clear ability to soar upon her own,

Leah has always declared some defined goals along her journey. We knew she wanted to be a teacher of primary-aged students. And we discovered that she had a distinct calling to take her lessons overseas to a land where God could use her mightily. These past 10 years, Leah developed a strong bond with the people of the Dominican Republic.

The Lighthouse Church has been ministering there from our church’s very start. As a matter of fact, I will be heading to San Marcos with 19 young people and adults from our congregation to spend our annual week there in Puerto Plata from Aug. 2 – 9. But Leah has gone to live there. Leah has gone to be in Santiago and build into the young people and adults there for at least the next two years.

Leah is amazing with kids. She is a first-rate coach and has loved on the teams that she has passionately led here in Dennis Township since she graduated from Toccoa Falls University in Georgia two years ago. Leah was hoping to get a full time teaching job right out of college but many know all too well that there are simply not enough openings to go around. So Leah has been a daily substitute these last few years treating every class assigned to her with the tender loving care as if it was her own.

She excelled but she was frustrated because she longed for a class that she could nurture and truly invest her being into. Doors closed as fast as they might have opened and I could see in Leah’s brown eyes the yearning and a longing that while I recognized it; I could not fix what only a position could fill.

But just when she thought that another year was about to just come and go, only six weeks ago everything changed. Out of the clear blue sky, the Lord gave her an opportunity that no doubt He had put her name upon. She was offered the chance to teach first grade at Santiago Christian School, an English-speaking private school located in the very place that she already had such a burden for. When all seemed silent, God exclaimed out the name of Leah from the heavens and literally dropped down upon her the desires of her heart. And what she thought was going to be another typical summer serving faithfully at the famous Green Cuisine Restaurant in Stone Harbor suddenly turned into her packing up her bags and shoving off to a new adventure by July 26.

Leah looked at my wife and I with those familiar brown eyes and we knew that she would desire our blessing to move forward. How could we say, “No?” To attempt to hold her back would be a grave sin on our part that would only feign a veil of parental protection. We knew that she would only be safe in the arms of her Lord, doing what she was born to do where she was energized to do it. Sure it would mean allowing another of our high flying birds the freedom to bolt the coop from what would be beyond a simple hour’s drive to touch base- but letting go is just another way to say how much we love her so.

So in the wee small hours of this morning we said, “See you later Brown Eyes!” Leah was off upon her vision to live God’s will for her life. There will be a huge hole in the house here on Route 83, but we know that training up a child in the way they should go is not about blocking the doors that God clearly opens. So off she goes into the wild blue yonder. But Leah’s brown eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus and she knows that His hands are even better than her Daddy’s because they are the ones that matter most.

I am already looking forward to Christmas time and have secured Leah and my tickets for our annual date to The Nutcracker in Philadelphia for the day after she gets here. Until then, I pray for my sweet daughter to shine and show them Jesus and make an amazing difference with the precious assignment that she has been given. She has her space to showcase God’s grace working through her and it is going to be amazing. We love you Leah Noel Sheptock and can’t wait to hear the good news of what God is going to do in you and through you! Stay tuned.

Let Pastor Rudy know what you think by emailing him pastorrudytlc@comcast



One response

23 08 2013
Kim Becker

We’re so happy for Leah and excited to see how God will use her!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: