This year at Orange 11, we were all challenged to Make a Move.  As I sat and listened to the speakers and attended breakout sessions, the message of taking some sort of step was repeated over and over. As church leaders, social advocates, and champions for families we were encouraged and challenged to make a difference in our circles of influence.  I listened with a different perspective this year-I am mom of a teenager, a preteen, and an elementary kiddo. Weighing heavily on my heart was the reality of how quickly time is flying by and what influences am I strategically placing in their paths-in the paths of their friends, in my path….

And my thoughts returned frequently  to a hospital room back in Texas.  In that room, my friend, a mentor to me, rested and reflected.

You would be a better person for knowing him.
You would be honored to have him call you friend.
You would want to have lived a life like his.

He is a gentle giant-with a quiet spirit-an easy temperament, a grateful soul, relentlessly pursuing the Christ he loves.  For years he has served in all kinds of capacities-his country at war, his family at home, his community through his neighborhood grocery store, his church, from kids ministry to family ministry organizations-if something needed to be done, he willing stepped up and always made a move.

I love Mr. Tom.  I love that my husband and my kids love Mr. Tom.  I love the witness he has been to us.  I love that he is someone we pray for at night.  I love retelling his stories as much as hearing him tell his stories.  I love how he has loved others and has put others first time and time again.

Part of the following poem was read at the conference.  Mr. Tom’s life is a testimony of service.  I am thankful that he stood near enough to hear God but not too far away to help a world find what he had found.

Thank you Mr. Tom, thank you for standing by the door.

from….I Stand at the Door by Sam Shoemaker

I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world –
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door –
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But – more important for me –
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

I had rather be a door-keeper
So I stand by the door.



  • Andi Hawkins

    “honored for him to call me friend.” Exactly.

    Love this Jennifer J. Day.

  • Raine Kenney

    Oh Jenn… you express your love over and over so beautifully! And you were such a special part of his life.
    I LOVE your tribute… thank you thank you so very much.
    We are glad you are in our family!! WE LOVE YOU GREATLY!! Raine…

    • Jenn

      I love you too Raine…..always here for you

  • Jamie Hackney

    What a tribute to a life well lived- and written even while he was still here. What a sweet thing for you to be tuned in that close to the heartbeat of heaven to know to write this before. What a precious gift of time you’ve been given to sit alongside, rub the nub of, and capture every priceless drop of story and love from this great man. He loved you Jenn Day and I do too.

  • Michele Cole

    I have to get in on all this love….I love all of you and am so happy we have each other to walk through times like this together!

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