Special 10th Anniversary Edition




  by Beth Nimmo, Mother of Rachel Scott

Who was I before April 20, 1999?

Those memories are stuffed away somewhere in the back of my mind. In one fatal moment, my whole life takes on a new, strange and difficult twist. Days become nights and nights just get longer. The pain I feel is too great and so my mind turns off and I start going through the motions of survival. I am unable to deal with the facts—that Rachel is dead and Craig is lost in a sea of torment with the memories of what he witnessed. Wouldn't it just be better if I could curl up, go to sleep and never wake up? Will there ever be a time that I don't cry all day long? Will sleep ever be peaceful again? It doesn't seem like it. NO—this is something I am going to have to live with.

The phone is ringing, the doorbell doesn't stop. People are everywhere and they expect me to have answers. There are NO ANSWERS—only
questions. As my mind sorts through the whirlwind to find one solid foothold to stabilize the constant turmoil, it becomes apparent that fate has taken life into a world of "COLUMBINE." Forever I would now be identified as a member of a Columbine family. Twelve other families will share this identity. Certain personal identifiers will no longer exist. Everything will be summed up in the label, "the mother of Columbine victim, Rachel Scott". This is who I have been for the last 10 years.

Please know and understand that I am honored, thrilled and mostly humbled to have had Rachel as my daughter. Even in my greatest dreams of motherhood, I never imagined my children as world changers. Rachel was the middle of five children. Many times the middle child gets lost as the older or younger children take center stage. That was never the case with Rachel. She established her own platform early in life. There was always something special about her that stood out. She did not get to be the baby of the family very long. Before she was three years old, she had two baby brothers. My life centered on being a homemaker. Even though at that time Rachel's father was a pastor and I was active in all of the church affairs, the children were my main focus.

...I am not going to hide the light that God has put into me.
If I have
to sacrifice everything...I will. I will take it.
If my friends have to become my enemies for me to be with my best friend Jesus, then that's fine with me.

April 20, 1998

When Rachel was almost seven years old, her father and I went our separate ways. For almost 7 years I was a single mother with all five children. This change forced me out of the home and into the work place. It was not where I wanted to be and the impact would be felt greatly by the children. We restructured our family. New rules, new habits, new lifestyle. The kids adapted the best they knew how and over a period of time a new normal was beginning to form and take place. After many odd jobs, I finally had a permanent occupation. A regular income helped to settle things and patterns of daily living began to take shape.

Three years before the Columbine shooting, I remarried. Once again the family was in transition. The change was hard for everyone. A new father figure with a family of five kids was not going to be easy. The next three years had many ups and downs. It looked like I had sabotaged the new stepfather. Basically, walking into a household with that many members was like walking into a lion's den. Then Columbine hit! It seemed everything that we had worked towards was crumbling faster than we could imagine. The pressure to maintain a marriage, nurture the kids, and deal with my own emotions left me feeling lost and alone. It was overwhelming and the path was one I had not traveled before.

A few days after the shootings, we discovered Rachel's writings. They were scattered all around her room. Little notes, diaries, notebooks and on school assignments. Immediately the sense of destiny took form. The writings left a clear and undeniable purpose. Now all we had to do was to assemble all of her thoughts and come to the God-given purpose that Rachel's life and death was not coincidence. On a quick side note, I want you to understand that Columbine was not God's will. It is just that as an "all knowing God", He knew this would happen and He put His stamp on it by preparing a witness for good to come from this horrible event. God allowed Rachel to be in that mix of turning evil to good. I believe it was God's hand that allowed Rachel to write such prophetic feeling and thoughts. To be very clear however, from a mother's point of view, the sense of loss is not diminished.

Rachel's writings then became the center for speaking engagements, interviews and most conversation. It blew me away to see how God had orchestrated her writings to have a clear message. When I first started seeing what I referred to as "dark writings", I was hurt and bewildered. Rachel had not been suicidal, depressed or down in the dumps. Her personality had been upbeat and happy, so to find writings that talked about death and painful feelings left me in a state of confusion. I started praying that the Lord would show me what was going on. In one of her writings
she said, "this will be my last year." And in other writings she talked about drowning and homicide. This was not the
  Rachel that I knew. I felt that the Lord gave me a word of
comfort by saying "Rachel was writing and praying in proxy for her generation because she saw and felt so much despair for her generation." You see, everyday at school Rachel witnessed the hopelessness that surrounded her peers. So many teenagers had no sense of purpose, destiny or even what life was all about. Numerous students were going through the motions of school not knowing where their life was headed. I don't believe that Rachel knew the details of her life and death, but I do believe she felt she had purpose and a promise of destiny.

The interest of the public concerning Rachel's writings took on a life of their own. Everyone wanted to know more, read more; see with their own eyes what she wrote and drew. The family was now involved in sharing Rachel's life and death in a non-stopping way. Speaking engagements, missions, and youth events started consuming more and more of our time. After a struggle to return to work, I finally made the decision to work from home. My children needed me and Craig was having a difficult time with his own experience. He had been between two students who were killed right beside him, only to find out his sister was also killed that day. As everyone wanted copies of Rachel's work, it became apparent that a book was the best way to share what the Lord had been doing in her short life.

I have traveled overseas, all over the USA and Canada sharing Rachel with the world. I have spent countless days on the road, speaking in churches, seminars, and most especially in schools. Our message has been that ONE life could make a difference and that every life is important. There are NO unimportant people and even with different places in life, we all have the same needs. Everyone deserves to be loved, respected and have friends. The most important friend is having a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

"This will be my last year Lord.

I have gotten what I can.

Thank you."

May 2, 1998
  The biggest aspect of Rachel's life was her relationship with Jesus. She called Him her "best friend." Her writings clearly showed that He was the one that she took all of her troubles to, poured out her heart to, and trusted that HE had all the answers to life's problems. Our family does have hope because of Rachel's decision to fully give herself to the Lord. Her story has had a WORLD-CHANGING IMPACT and continues to grow. Books have been written by many whose lives have been affected by Rachel. Scripts have been written that display her life and passion for Christ. News articles have surfaced around the world declaring the simple faith and trust of a young girl. Many have compared her writings to that of a modern Ann Frank.

Our war is a cultural war. Our world is changing so fast that it is hard to have absolutes in our society. The truth is that those absolutes are rooted and grounded in the Word of God, which never changes and is as relative today as it was 2000 years ago. Rachel at the tender age of 12 had asked the Lord to become the center of her life as her Savior. She lived her life through Him and for Him. It was the Spirit of God that formed who Rachel was and that same spirit empowered her to be the world changer. Only through eternal eyes will she ever know how powerful her life and death became.

After ten years, I don't cry all day long. I can sleep through a night. I can work at an office without an emotional breakdown. I know how to laugh again. I can talk about Rachel without a flood of tearful responses. The Lord has healed our family in so many ways. Where there had been death, we now have life. I have 3 beautiful grandchildren, wonderful children and a husband who has never left my side. God has allowed Rachel's story to grow and grow. More and more people are inspired with what they hear and learn. Many young people have life changing experiences and decisions after seeing a program about her. Ten years ago I would not have been able to see light at the end of the tunnel, but now, there is no tunnel—ONLY LIFE.

Everyone has a story; has been through tough, hard times. I encourage you not to give up because the Lord is with you and will see you through everything. That sounds so cliché, but regardless it is the fundamental truth of my story. God has never failed me.

The last truth I want to say about Rachel is this: I LIVED WITH GREATNESS AND NEVER KNEW IT!

I believe there is an aspect of greatness in everyone who breathes the breath of life. Pursue your dreams, live life fully—sometimes it is so short. I wish I had known then about the great gift of life that Rachel was and how much the Lord entrusted into my care. Parents, your children are
the greatest gift outside of salvation. Please don't waste it. The "would've, the should've, and the could haves", of life
can bury you with regret when life is taken away. I have

learned much in these past 10 years—I will do better with the next ten.

Photograph of
Beth Nimmo by
Michael Tamburello

Beth Nimmo is the mother of Rachel Joy Scott who was murdered in the Columbine High School shootings. Beth describes her family as "average" until April 20th, 1999, when every aspect of their lives changed.

In spite of the pain of loosing Rachel, Beth wants to serve as Rachel's voice to lift up a standard for other youth and families to follow.

Beth is aware that only through the grace of God, can she share the testimony of her daughter Rachel and have a word of encouragement for families amid such pain and sorrow.

Beth is the author of two books"Rachel's Tears" and "The Journals of Rachel Scott". She has traveled worldwide speaking and been featured on numerous interviews such as "Oprah", "The Larry King Show", "Dateline", "Dr. Phil" and so many others. Her message has been consistent, sharing her story of "Tragedy to Triumph".

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