It is with great anticipation and excitement that we are adding a worship concert to our 4th Annual Women’s Conference! We love to worship the Lord and we love to do it with the girls!

This year’s concert will be a memorial concert in memory of Leslie Fishel.

We could express the many ways we have seen God opening doors for this but today what we would really like to share is the heart of Leslie’s sister, Amber Sanderford.

When I was first told about the praise and worship hour that will kick off our women’s conference, I was super excited. I love music and it has always been a part of my life. I often can look back at life moments and recall a song and/or genre of music that portray that memory.

Then, one moment in my life made this hour so so much more important and exciting to me.

On December 20th, 2014 my sweet sister, Leslie Alexandra, was taken away. A car hit her and ejected her from her vehicle. That day I had been baking Christmas goodies with my three children and two nieces, the in-laws were coming for homemade chili and cornbread for dinner. My sister had sent a text around 1:30pm to tell me we need to do pictures the next day. The colors black and white. I knew she was at our step-dad’s family Christmas gathering a few blocks away from my house. It was one of those “happy heart” days!

christmas cookies

(“Makes my heart smile! Christmas baking!”.. I posted this on Instagram less than an hour before the call…)

My phone rang and “momma” flashed across the screen. I declined it as I had a mess on our kitchen table, chili needing to be stirred, and cornbread going in the oven. I decided to call her back later. Then, she called right back. I hollered for Justin, my husband, to answer since I was busy. He puts it on speaker and I hear her breathing and she says, “Amber, I need you.. Your sister…” Panic is all I hear! I grab my keys and phone and head out the door without any explanation. I drive to mom who is at an intersection right down the road from my house. I see lots of lights and her running towards my car as an officer nodded my way. She jumps in. “It’s pretty bad honey.. what are we going to do..”. I pull up to the ER.

Rushing in we are told to wait. A nurse comes out, Kim is her name, a familiar face to us, she says “I think it is Leslie, but I haven’t seen her in a long time.. she has lots of tattoos..” Yes, yes, it’s her we confirm. “Well, they are intubating her right now… She was agonal when EMS got to her.. Come wait in this room”. We were led to a triage room where phone calls were made and we could only wait. Just next door they were working on my sister. I knew what the nurse in me heard, but the sister in me couldn’t process. Mom kept getting me to explain what they were telling us. How can I say what I didn’t want to hear?

I can’t describe all that happened next. There are pieces I cannot remember. I will forever remember being in Trauma 1 room rubbing her shoulder and telling her I love her over and over as tears fell. I can remember the faces looking at us and reading them so clearly. How many times have I been in their position as a nurse?

The next few hours were a blur. As we drove to Vidant (the hospital my sister was airlifted to), I just stared out the window praying as my phone rang and binged with calls and messages of people stating prayers and thoughts were with us. How can this be happening Lord? Not tonight Lord… When my step dad’s name came across the screen, I handed the phone to my husband who said “yes sir, be right there” and in that instant I knew. I just cried.

The next forever memorable image I have is rubbing my sisters hand in a sterile room as we said goodbye to someone who was already gone. I couldn’t stand to leave my sweet girl there that night.

The days after that night were the hardest days I’ve ever faced. No affliction compares to that in my lifetime.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 has since become one of my many “go-to” verses. It tells us not to lose heart for this affliction is momentary.. to look to what is unseen, not seen, for what is unseen is eternal.

leslie 2

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18

December 20th my sister got the best present ever- LIFE with Christ.

So when asked by Jodie, if we would be okay with the concert being in memory of my sis, it became so much more than an exciting hour of worship.

It became a message.

Praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ is so much more than a song. It is our life here on earth. Daily we are given new mercy, blessings are in each and every day, His hand is guiding every moment and it is all for the good of those who love Him.

Please watch:

Tragedy will happen. Cling to His promises!

Praise Him!

Worship Him!

It’s more than a song… It’s our life song!

Please make plans now to attend both days of this conference. The songs being sung and artists singing them are not important, but the chance to experience an hour of worshiping Jesus with hundreds of other women will be unforgettable! My prayer is that you want more of Jesus at the end of it all. That you will not become defeated by the affliction, but praise Him for being a good, good father and loving us in the midst of it all.

Amber

For more details about the event click to

http://faithfully-following.com/this-ones-for-the-girls/