This year marks the 20th year Heidi M. Allen disappeared while working alone at D&W Convenience Store in New Haven NY. Her last transaction before the kidnapping was at 7:42 a.m. She was 18, set to graduate from high school with honors in May 1994 and had job interviews all lined up.
Heidi has not been found. Where is Heidi? That’s the question that tormented Lisa Buske for years until she found ways to live by Faith and rely on the One True God who loves and gives hope.
How does one cope with a missing family member – losing a sister, child, spouse, mom, dad or best friend? Does one embrace a life of fear, hate, blame or faith, love and hope while coping with the unanswered question?
When Heidi was kidnapped on April 3, 1994, Lisa turned her back on God completely with no plans to trust God again. She started blaming and went on to believe in psychics and the lies of the enemy. She buried her feelings so deep that it began to show up in many areas of her life.
She was wallowing in the dark relying on no one for 10 years until one day a student said, “Mrs. Buske, you need Jesus. Will you come to church on Sunday?”
Lisa told me, “I needed to hear with such compassion and boldness…the healing began. God started to tear down the barrier preventing anyone (especially God) in. Since realizing God didn’t take my sister and the number of ways He worked to help the investigation in those first few moments, my trust, hope and faith have increased.”
Lisa is a woman, mom and wife of faith. She chooses to run to God when the going gets tough. Instead of seeing the negative and evil she lets God work through her to make a difference in the life of others and to share positive, beautiful and encouraging random acts of kindness to those who are in need.
I asked Lisa how does a faith filled life look like and this is what she said:
A faith-filled life is one that reflects the higher power a person believes in. I personally believe in God as the One, True God, so to live a faith-filled life, I must think, speak, write, and live a life God will find pleasing.
A favorite verse that illustrates this is from 1 Corinthians: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. Love will never end…So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13
After all, a faith filled life is one full of love for God, others and finally yourself. Depending on your gifts, how this is expressed will vary. I tend to share my faith a lot through the written word: personal notes, cards, messages, and even a text to let someone know I’m thinking of them or share a Bible verse God placed on my heart for them. A faith-filled life doesn’t hide one’s faith but incorporates it into all aspects on our day.
Lisa still misses her sister every day and prays this is the day she is found. Instead of running to darkness, she opens the blinds and her Bible each day and seeks The Light and Son.
Living a life of faith doesn’t mean fear does not exist. Fear and negative voices are always ready to derail us and send us back to “fear-full world.” No matter what situation we are in, fear is always present. Fear robs clarity and focus. Fear will slow us down and worst yet- stops us from doing what we are called to do.
To Lisa, fear is usually disguised as doubt or contemplation when faced with decisions and or situations that require 100% full trust in God. Fear is not of God, it is an attack by the enemy and we waste time focused on the fear itself instead of the One with the power to free us from its snare.
Her greatest fear pertains to her daughter. Since her only sister was kidnapped at the age of 18 and remains missing today- this traffic loss affects and intensifies the fear of letting her daughter grow up.
An example given by Lisa:
Our daughter went to her first amusement park in seventh grade. Rather than facing my fear, I always had an excuse of why we couldn’t go or why she couldn’t go with a friend’s family. Finally, with us as chaperones, she went to SeaBreeze with the band and chorus.
I spent two weeks sick to my stomach because of what might happen to her while at the park. Each time the fear attacked, I went to my Bible and found a new verse to counter. I wrote each one down on an index card and bound them together for the trip.
While at the park, I paced and walked the park to check on the students we were chaperoning but specifically making sure our daughter was with her group.
It came time for lunch and her group returned without her.
I asked, “Where’s Mary?” None of them knew, they went on a ride she didn’t want to so she waited at the end of the line but wasn’t there when they got off. They didn’t look for her, apologize for breaking their group up, or appear nervous.
I sprinted from the picnic area to search the park while swallowing vomit the entire time.
The Scripture verses I had written for two weeks came flooding into my head as I prayed “Lord keep her safe” and then a verse until… I saw her. I ran up to her, hugged her, and asked if she was okay.
She looked at me like I had three heads with a, “I don’t know where my group went. They were on that ride. While I waited I went on that ride (pointed across the walkway) but when I got off they didn’t wait. Whoever got off first was supposed to wait for the other. I didn’t come back by myself because you would flip out.”
She was right. We talked on our way back to the pavilion. Long story short, she wasn’t nervous at all, just hurt and annoyed her friends didn’t care enough to look for her. No one in our group knew where she was BUT God did and He surrounded her with His angels and calmness.
Hundreds of teens walk the amusement parks daily without adult supervision and return home safely, yet the fear connected to my life’s tragedy prevents my daughter from this luxury. We’ve been to a few amusement parks and even traveled out of state on field trips since then and each one gets a little easier to endure. I still spend time reading my Bible, writing verses that touch my heart, and in prayer before we travel but the peace that passes understanding is always evident.
Now one of Lisa Buske’s values in life is, “Not to take a day for granted!”
When asked if she is worried about her daughter’s future, she shared the following:
● I pray for the young man God has for her husband to be a God-fearing, loving, respectful, hardworking, and caring man and father to their children.
● As the preparations for college start, I pray she isn’t struggling with student loan debt like I am today so I try to share mistakes I made to prevent her from financial struggles later in life.
● I pray she chooses the profession God has called her to and that she will enjoy it so it’s not work.
I don’t worry about her future but I do pray for it daily. If I focus on her leaving too much, anxiety creeps in and I find myself searching for a verse to remind that God is Omnipresent and will be with her wherever she goes. I must trust and rest in this truth. With God in her life and heart, combined with the parenting she’s received, the foundation for success is in place.
Another of Lisa’s values is “I try to take each day as it comes because tomorrow has enough worry of its own, the Bible reminds of this a few times. “
These days Lisa is a busy paraprofessional at her local school district where she encourages, inspires and educates kiddos during their foundational years. While offering academic support, she prays for opportunities to share Jesus with them through her actions and words.
She is an author and has written several books, namely Where’s Heidi? One Sister’s Journey, When the Waves Subside: There is Hope, Encourage Others: One Day at a Time and her newest release No More Pain: I Can Fly. Her books are inspirational, encouraging and empowering and offer the message of hope, love and faith. She also blogs regularly at http://www.lisambuske.com/ so others will hopefully see it’s possible to survive, thrive, and be alive after tragedy.
I asked Lisa for suggestions and advice for women who are struggling with fear and lack of faith. Here are Lisa Buske’s eight steps to fight fear:
One: First and foremost, you need to admit you have fear. When we ignore or attempt to hide our fears, this is when the devil gains a foothold into our heart. The only way to eliminate his control over your life is to admit and face your fear.
As you face your fear, remember you aren’t alone nor were you designed to live life in this way. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
Two: My advice to help you flip the focus on your faith instead of your fears is to write a list of your fears. Start at the top of a clean piece of paper, listing each fear on its own line, leaving three to four lines before listing the next.
Three: Once your list is complete, grab your Bible, and open to the concordance or dictionary. Look up the words you’ve written down. On the lines you’ve left empty, write down the verses that relate to the fear you’ve listed. Don’t look up the verses yet, right now you are only compiling a list of verses that might relate and help you keep your eyes focused on God and not the issue.
Four: The next step is to count how many different verses that can possibly help you face and overcome your fears.
Five: This will empower you, because God provides far more solutions than you can list problems.
Six: Now the fun begins. Once a day, pick no more than three fears and start looking up verses about each.
Seven: In a one subject notebook, hand write (no typing) the Bible verse and its location. If you want to step it up a little, develop a paraphrase for this same verse and hear how God speaks to you when it’s His Word spoken in your voice.
Eight: During this process, your fears are replaced with Truth, Hope, Power, and Love as your faith is strengthened, renewed, and enhanced. Don’t give up, the old is gone and the new is here! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Her book, When the Waves Subside: There is Hope was written to illustrate the strength and beauty she saw in her parents after suffering their greatest loss, the abduction and presumed death of their youngest daughter. Lisa had heard from parents who’ve lost a child to disease, suicide and accidents that this book brought healing and encouragement.
No More Pain: I Can Fly is also written to encourage the grieving parent or friend after the loss of a loved one before it was their time, usually the young.
Lisa wrote on her website, though she may not have her sister in her life, she has a loving and faithful God who strengthens and helps her through each day with joy and hope. Please visit her website at www.lisambuske.com.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. It’s strictly for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes ONLY. The products I talk about are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. Any information I give you about them is for informational or entertainment purposes only. They have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please seek the qualified health professional of your choice when making health decisions for yourself, your family and your pets.