Debbie McDaniel Christian Blog and Commentary

In Honor of Kayla Mueller

  • Debbie McDaniel

    Debbie's HeadshotDebbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free…

  • 2015 Feb 12

"I find God in the eyes of the suffering reflected in mine.  If this is how you reveal yourself to me this is how I will forever seek you."  

These are the words of a very brave young woman, whose story and plight have seized the hearts of millions from around the world.  Kayla Mueller, 26 years young, was a courageous, compassionate soul who gave her life to loving and helping others.  Propelled to go to Syria back in 2012, after learning of such great suffering among Syrian refugees, this young girl believed that life was better lived while serving others and doing what you know you're called to do.  She lived boldly, fully embracing every day she'd been given, still unaware of what stood ahead in the journey.

Kayla was sadly captured by ISIS rebels on August 4, 2013, in Aleppo, Syria, just 10 days before her 25th birthday.

And though we cannot begin to imagine the deep emotional pain her parents have suffered, nor the walk of suffering this dear girl was made to endure, together we now grieve her death, and the incredible loss her loved ones must face.

She penned a letter to her family in November 2014, such touching, amazing, heart-felt words, that tell just how beautiful a person she was, even while imprisoned, thinking more about her family's suffering than even her own. She says this,

"... I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else ... + by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I  have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. I pray each day that if nothing else, you have felt a certain closeness + surrender to God as well + have formed a bond of love + support amongst one another ... "

She goes on to talk about her hopes for being reunited soon, and ends her letter with these words, 

" I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes. I wrote a song some months ago that says, 'The part of me that pains the most also gets me out of bed, w/out your hope there would be nothing left ...' aka- The thought of your pain is the source of my own, simultaneously the hope of our reunion is the source of my strength. Please be patient, give your pain to God. I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing. Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I + by God's will we will be together soon.

All my everything,

Kayla "

As Christians we can have hope, because we know that she still lives, freed now from the suffering and anguish once faced.  For evil can kill the body but it can never touch the soul.  Evil has no hold on eternity, it is powerless in the face of the Almighty God. 

As Americans, we can choose to believe that her tragic death is not in vain.  Together we can pray:

- That it would evoke a response, a change, that insists we stand strong and stop these vicious acts of ISIS.

- That many would be forever touched by the stories of service, love, and compassion from Kayla's life.

- That others would be courageous to answer God's call on their lives and be willing to reach out to those who suffer.

- That her captors would be propelled to know what it was that set her apart. That the light which filled her life would dispel their darkness, even now, though she is gone from this world.  For He is here.  Still.  And nothing can limit His do great things.

- That those still held in harm's way, would find protection and refuge in the Name of our Lord.

Wrote the following words after learning of Kayla's death, from the heart of a mom, as I thought of her courage, this deeply rich soul who found God in the eyes of suffering.  She knew what it was to touch the hurting.  She stared evil in the face.  Yet she wasn't afraid to embrace the darkness. For she understood that there was still light.  She chose to say yes to the call of God on her life.  She cared enough to choose a path that would not be easy.  She cared enough to make a difference in the heartache of much pain that pressed close all around her. She cared enough to go.

Precious one who now runs free in heavenly spaces, thank you for leaving your beautiful imprint on this world.


She looked into the eyes of suffering.  She looked into the eyes of pain.  She looked into the eyes of the hungry.  She looked into the eyes of dark rain.

She touched the hand that had suffered.  She touched the hand that felt pain.  She touched the hand that was hungry.  She touched the hand of dark rain.

She reached for the soul who was suffering.  She reached for the soul still in pain.  She reached for the soul who was hungry.  She reached for the soul of dark rain.

Yet no matter how dark,

how deep,

how steep -

no matter how lost,

nor how great the defeat...

The hands that held her had to let go.

Released their embrace, for this we all know,

They held no power over her deepest soul.

Precious...beautiful...amazing soul.

Life taken much too early, great song of broken chords,

Yet absent from the body meant immediately with our Lord.

Breaths of new life...for what was weary and worn.

Breaths of new life...for what was ragged and torn.

Precious...beautiful...amazing Savior.

Who sets us free from sin and death.

Who knows our days and gives us rest.

Who waits for us with beckoned breath,

"Dear child, come, you are loved and blessed."

She touched the face of heaven.  She knows no suffering or pain.  She now runs free.  At peace, complete, set free from the grasp of dark rain.

Praying for the loved ones of Kayla Mueller...may God be their comfort and cover their days with His grace and healing.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Ps. 34:18

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”  Is. 42:6-7

(image courtesy of the Mueller family)