Jennifer Shelby Benzel

Who are you?

You are beautiful. You are loved. You are secured. You are found. You are redeemed. You are worthy. You are wanted. You are held. You are surrounded. You are remembered. You are embraced. You are a daughter of the King. You are created.
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From Zoe

Hey shelby girl,

I hope you’re having a great summer so far and I know that these next few weeks, months, maybe even years will be extremely tough on you, which is why I wanted to write you this letter to let you know that our community group girls and I are always by your side, praying for you, and will be here to help you through every and any obstacle or situation which God places on your path throughout your lifetime. Jesus is always there for you, 24/7, no matter what. Although losing your grandmother is possibly one of the hardest times you will go through, it’s a part of God’s master plan, and Him and Jesus will guide you through this time, every step of the way. Unfortunately I’ve never met your grandmother, but judging by your immense kindness, exciting personality, and a great sense of humor, I’m more than sure that she shared those qualities with you, and she was more than an amazing person.

I lost my grandfather (on my mom’s side) when I was 6, which was really hard for me, but difficult for me to grasp as well since I was so young. I then lost my grandmother, on my mom’s side as well, when I was 13. It was a totally and completely different experience, and to this very day I remember how hard it was through that difficult time. But Jesus helped surround me with love, and things and people which gave me faith. I knew that both of my grandparents were with Him, safe and in the best and most beautiful place they would ever be in, with the Father, Himself. I promise you that your grandmother will be with you in spirit, throughout every accomplishment, bump in the road, and every experience. She is without a doubt with the Heavenly Father as well.

I love you, so much. I miss you, so much. I wish I could physically be there with you right now to help you through this pain, but you know I’m only a text or a call away, no matter what time of the day it is. I will be here for you, through anything, including the rest of the girls! Even if you just need to vent about your day, I don’t mind listening. Never forget how much you are loved, and continue to spread the love you always give out to others. Praying for you Shelbs <3

From Chels

I just want you to know how deep my heart feels for you and your family right now. I know that nobody could really understand how you feel. I lost my granddaddy this year and it really opened my eyes to how differently people suffer with pain. Every relationship we have with the people in our lives is so extremely unique. It’s hard for anyone to really KNOW just how deeply we feel for the people we love. Therefore, it is even harder for anyone to know how we feel when we lose them. Writing this makes me want to cry because I know that you are hurting and I hate that. I just want you to know how much I care for you and your heart. I don’t want you to go through this without seeing God’s light and His love. Anytime you feel broken or sad in anyway I pray that you look to The Lord and let him use this brokenness to strengthen your heart for Him. One verse that I’ve always loved and found so much hope in is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

It says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I love this verse because it humbles me in realizing just how big our God is and how big His plans are for each and everyone one of us. Basically: any type of trouble, hurt or problem that we are struggling with here on earth….. is so miniscule in the grand scheme of things. What is so awesome is that through these times of pain and suffering, we have an awesome God by our side to comfort and support us even though he has already taken care of it all. NOT JUST THAT: But talk about being intentional. I honestly believe that we are all given our specific relationships, our specific trials and even our specific pains because God IS using them in preparing us to do His will. He preparing us to reach certain people on earth, but ultimately He’s preparing us to join Him in heaven. It is so difficult to look at something like a death of a loved one lightly. However, I feel as if that’s exactly what’s being said in this verse. Your grandmother is PROBABLY having a party with Jesus right now J. She is dancing on streets of GOLD! This is a light and momentary trouble for you but in all honesty, her death is not something that should bring you pain. You should rejoice that she has gone to be with her father! She finally gets to be with her creator to achieve her eternal glory! How awesome really? I am thinking about you constantly and I will continue to pray for you & your family. Please call me if you need anything or just want to talk. I love you very much Shelby Benzel & if you haven’t heard from me already, you will be hearing from me very soon.

In Him,

Chels <3

From Taylor


First off.. I love you and miss you INSANELY and cannot wait to be reunited! Also, I'm so proud of all that you've done this summer, how much you've grown, and your obedience to what God has called you to. Seeing how you're taking initiative inspires me to be a good influence on my feiends and to challenge them in their faith. I know you're going through so much hurt with your grandma right now and there's not much I can say that will comfort you but it is a time you are allowed to be sad and just cry. Whatever you're feeling whether fear, weakness, or sadness is okay because there's no easy way to deal with them except being honest about your emotions. I hope this helps at least a little because you've been there for me during everything and I just want to be the same support you've been to me this past year! I love you and you are beautiful and so special. You deserve to feel all the love in the world! Miss you so much and this pain will not last forever.


From Aubrey

Hello Lovely Shelby!

First, I miss you very much! Your smiling face always brightens mine and everyone arounds day! You always have something funny to share or words of encouragement and it is so evident that your heart is genuine and kind!

I know that this is a hard time for you and your family and I pray that you will feel God's presence and peace all around you. I pray that you would hold fast to the promises God has for you and your grandfather. This has been one of the most life giving verses for me this year:

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. Hebrews 6: 19-20

I hope that this verse reaffirms the knowledge you already have in your mind and heart that God has us. He is firm and secure and we can rest knowing that his plan for each of us is so good. This I hope gives you peace in knowing you don't need to worry or do anything but instead trust that He has anchored us to Him and all will be well. I know sometimes when we are going to a difficult time it's hard to accept these promises as true, but you can proclaim them still and one day you will see exactly how they were fulfilled in God's perfect way and timing.

If you ever need someone to talk to about anything you can call me up, or come to Charleston and stay with me! I would love to hear about the great man that I'm sure your grandfather is! Please just know that you are in no way alone or are lacking in support from your friends during this time! We love you so very much and will do anything you need to love you better and comfort you! Love you SOO much and am praying for your grandfather, you, and your whole family!

From Ashley


My thoughts and prayers go out to you in this time. Losing a grandparent is one of the hardest things to go through. I pray that you lean on God during this time for strength and guidance and that peace and comfort will be brought to you and your family. You are so strong and can get through anything with the help of The Lord, your family, and friends. So if you need anything or just someone to talk to don't hesitate to ask.

Love and miss you!

From Mallory

Shelby, I am so sorry for your loss. Just know that no matter what, I am here for you and if you ever need to talk or vent to someone I am only a phone call away. You are an amazing girl and I love seeing how the Lord is working in your life. Even through your sad days he is still with you no matter what and you can always lean on him for support. If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask! I miss you and I love you sweet girl! Love Mallory Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

From Katherine:


I love you so much and I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I pray that you find strength and peace in the arms of Christ. While I know in these times, it is so difficult to understand and comprehend, but may you find peace that she is in the arms of the Father! I am so so sorry and I am praying for you each and every day. We love you so much and we are all here for you.. even from Africa! I love you!

From Meagan


I know that what youre going through is extremely hard but know that you have us and God to turn to. You are strong and I know that you can and will handle this with strength and grace. If you ever need anything please dont hesitate to let us know! We love you so so much!

From Brittany

Hey girl! I know you're going through a lot right now and I just wanted to say that we're all here for you in whatever way you need.

I know a time of loss like this is hard but please take comfort in knowing that as a child of God that your grandmother is going home to be with her Father and has incomprehensibly amazing things waiting for her!
John 11:25
"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die"

Please don't feel alone in this time because not only do you have all of us girls by your side but Jesus is with you and can give you strength and peace to overcome all things.
Exodus 33:14
"My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest"

The Lord brings us through many trials and we will face things that we can not bear but in Him we can overcome all. Run to God during this time!
Trust psalm 143:8
"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, to you I entrust my life"

Maintain faith during this time that God loves us and wants the best for each and every one of us. We may not understand His timing or His plan but we can rest in the knowledge that so long as we are in Him, He will bring good in the end.
Psalm 94:18
"When I said, 'My foot is slipping.' Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy."

Love you girl! I'm praying for you!

From Emily


I know it's hard right now and I know by the time you get this, the funeral will be over but that doesnt mean the pain is over or gone. I wish I could fly up there and be with you for the funeral and please know that if i would, I could. There is never really much to say during these times except to find strength in the Lord. I know you aren't an emotional person but be sure that you are finding a way to cope and deal with your feelings. Even if you think that you might not have any right now, you do and you need to process them! Write it out, talk it out, draw it out, i dont know what you have to do--but do it! The Lord wants you to process it! Its okay to cry and be weak. ITS OKAY! Because in those moments, thats when we see the Lord!

Shelby I am so proud of you and how far youve come and grown in just a year and I can not wait to continue doing life together for the rest of our lives! You are so beautiful and you make my heart SO happy. I am SO lucky to have you as a best friend. I have been looking my whole life for a best friend like you!

Your grandmother is going to be looking down on you smiling non stop. I know she is so proud of you and that she is bragging about you up there and she is just telling the Lord ALL about you and the work you are doing for HIM and He is just smiling and saying "I know, Im watching her"! The Lord is WITH her! HOW LUCKY IS SHE!!!

Find comfort in that and find your strength no where else but in him!


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