Story of Missing College Student Hits Close to Home

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In two weeks, I will be driving one of my precious daughters to a state that is approximately four hours away from our home to help her move into a dormitory to begin her freshman year of college. It would be a grave understatement to say that the last 18 years of her life have flown for it seems like only yesterday that I snuggled her freshly bathed, blanket-wrapped newborn body in my arms as I quietly sang a lullaby I had composed, just for her.

That special, sacred time that belonged to the two us as we spent our first night together in the hospital where she had entered the world and my arms a few hours earlier, is deeply etched in my mind forever and has become one of many cherished memories I hold dearly in my heart.

That precious infant is now a beautiful young woman of God who has dreams and goals and plans for her future. It has been a privilege, honor and pure joy to help her grow and to share in these special final days at home as we help her pack and get ready to take her first steps into the newest and unfamiliar phase of her life journey.

Recent headline news sent my heart reeling and troubled my mind in a way that feels tragic, sorrowful and worrisome to me but that, I am certain, doesn’t even come close to comparing to the pain and heartache of the mother and family of the young woman the story involves. She, like my beloved daughter, is a college student. Her best friend describes her as someone everyone who knows her strives to emulate. She, like my daughter, is a kind, loving, hard-working, responsible, lovely young lady who is a joy to her family, friends and community.

That beautiful girl, Mollie Tibbetts, has been missing for two weeks. She was last seen doing what she often does — something my own daughter (who is an athlete) does daily – going for a run. She had been dropped off by her brother, at her boyfriend’s house in Iowa (where she attends university) to dog sit for him. That seemingly innocent, usual, apparently benign event has turned into a family’s and community’s nightmare.

Investigators are now working around the clock, using advanced technology to their advantage, to try to find the University of Iowa student whose friends say would never simply wander off without letting those who care about her know where she is. She always wore a Fitbit bracelet. That, along with social network sites and additional electronic data, are hopefully keys that will lead authorities to Mollie’s current location. In the meantime, her family, friends and people like me who are following her story, are waiting and hoping and praying she is found safe.

In a couple of weeks, my child will be living far away from home for the first time in her life. Mollie Tibbetts mother and loved ones will be on my mind (although I sincerely hope that by that time, she will be safe at home again).

One of the hardest parts of parenting is letting go. I am struggling to have confidence that I have raised my daughter (as the four siblings who have grown and left home to live on their own before her) to know, love and serve God and to know that I am always here to encourage and support her.

I can’t imagine the horror of receiving a phone call to inform me that my daughter is missing. I pray that the Tibbett family can somehow feel comforted as they wait for answers and hope for the best.


Writer Bio: Judy Dudich

Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.

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