Lacey Parker’s E-team

by Andy Wood on October 17, 2009

in Esteem, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, LV Stories, Principle of Increase, Protecting Your Investment

Photo ablum 2“Hi-ya Ang.”

 I hate it when people call me that.  Feels like Mayberry somehow, and only two people have ever gotten away with it.  Lacey Parker was one of ‘em.

Lacey was a nut job at times.  The whole (short) time I knew her, it was obvious she saw through a different set of lenses.  Or maybe lived on a completely different planet. 

Lacey had friends – lots of them – but had no group of friends.  She seemed to take ‘em all one at a time.  She was anything but a slave to fashion, but you got the idea after watching for a while that if she set her mind to it, she could rule the fashion world (or any world for that matter).  She was a delightful combination of bright, quirky, hilariously funny, and – truth be told – downright beautiful (though she kept that artfully hidden most of the time).

The difference in Lacey, though, was that she was an intentional nut job – all packaged in the body of a 14-year-old.  In fact, she was possibly the most intentional person I’ve ever met.

Before there was ever a Little Miss Matched, Lacey decided there was more to life than matching socks.  Long before True Love Waits, Lacey, with little fanfare, bought her own ring that symbolized a promise she made the Lord and her future husband to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.  And anytime somebody called her out, she could provide a near-brilliant reason why she did what she did.  Lacey had a gifted version of wisdom – an on-the-fly kind of thing that wasn’t based on sage reflections of life experience, but on God-flashed insight that far exceeded her years.

What I’m trying to say, without numbing you with the details, is that life around Lacey Parker was a lot of things – but boring was never one of ‘em.  And I held my breath anytime she was about to speak.

So on this late-afternoon-Wednesday, when LP (my nickname for her… if you remember the days of vinyl records, you’ll catch the double meaning) breezed into my office with her customary grating greeting, I could tell she was on a mission.

“I got something I want to show you,” she said, ignoring the fact I might actually have been doing something.

“Okay.  Whatcha got there?”

“Well, I heard what you said a couple of weeks ago about building an encouragement file, and decided to take you up on it.”

“Cool!” I said, as Lacey handed over an odd-sized shoe box.  I lifted the lid, and inside found a random assortment of cards, letters, pictures, and other small items that I’m sure served as symbols of people or times that were encouraging to her.  And there was one other thing.

“What’s this?” I asked, as I pulled out a small-sized photo album.  On the cover, a piece of masking tape covered the generic “My Photos” logo.  And on the tape were written the words, “My E-team.”

“That’s my E-team,” Lacey said matter-of-factly, as if I was supposed to know what that meant.

“Um, at the risk of sounding dumb, what’s an E-team?” I asked, as I flipped through five pictures – mine being the last one.

“My encouragement team,” Lacey said.

“Yay!  I’m on your team!” I said, half-kidding and half-serious.  “Did I miss the meeting or something?”

“No, it’s not THAT kinda team,” the teenager laughed.  “It’s just some people I keep in mind to make sure I don’t, you know, go all stupid or something.”

(Pause here to insert… Few people knew that behind the energy, the laughter, and the outrageousness that was Lacey, there lurked the heart of a girl who carried more than her share of wounds.  I happened to be one of the few who knew, though we hardly ever discussed it.)

“This is interesting,” I said – actually impressed.  “Where’d you come up with this idea?”

“I dunno,” she shrugged.  “Just figured I needed four different kinds of people at different times, and this is my reminder of who to call, when.”

“Four different kinds?”


“Yessir.  Like Bryson (college student, youth volunteer at the church)?  He’s there to remind me of who I am and where I’m headed.  He’s always saying stuff like, ‘Eyes on the prize!’ or ‘Remember who you are.’  He always says it like the guy on The Lion King

“Yeah, we need people like that,” I added.  “I’m glad he’s there for you.”

“If he wasn’t,” said Miss Intentional, “somebody else would be.  It’s too easy for me to forget sometimes.”


“Okay, so is that what Amber does, too?” 

“Nooooo,” Lacey replied as I gazed at picture number 2.  “Amber’s the toughest girl I know.  She’s smart and aware.”

“Aware of what?” I asked, wondering to myself if I’d ever heard a 14-year-old use the word “aware.”

“Distractions.  Dangers.  Temptations.  Attacks.  Stuff like that.  She’s all the time reminding me of what the devil wants to do to mess me up.”

“And that’s an encouragement?”

“Sure.  Amber’s the one who reminds me not to quit when I feel like it.”

“Cool.”  My wheels were turning now.


“So what does Monica do?” I asked.  Monica was a senior at Lacey’s high school.  Not a regular attender at our church, but I knew who she was.  Heck, everybody around there knew who Monica was.

“She challenges me,” Lacey said, eyes sparkling.

“I didn’t know y’all were that close.”

“We aren’t, really.  But I see how she lives, and what an example she is.  She’s always pushing herself to do better and challenging others to do the same.”

“Okay, buy why is she on your team if you don’t talk that much?”

“Because,” LP said, eyes still sparkling, “she inspires me, even without talking to me.”


Then there was a picture of Allie.  I knew that Lacey had known her since birth.  Allie had evolved in LP’s life from babysitter to children’s volunteer to mentor.  And now in her role as volunteer Nursery Coordinator, Allie would often call on Lacey to help her out.  While they both loved babies and toddlers, they also loved the time they spent together. 

“Okay,” I said, “no surprise Allie’s in here.  Does she have a role on the team, or is she the coach or something?”

“She’s the one who reminds me to expect or believe the best,” Lacey said. 

“Well, she’s probably your biggest fan,” I said, trying to sound insightful.

“Maybe.  But what’s so cool about Allie is that she has such great faith in God.  And she won’t let me get away with being doubtful.  She teases me, preaches to me, cheers for me… whatever I need to ‘expect the finest,’ as she always says,” said Lacey, adding in a mimicking voice, “and Jesus is THE finest.”

The Roster

“Okay so…” I thought out loud… 

“Bryson… eyes on the prize.  Amber… hang in there.  Monica…  raise the bar.  Allie… expect the finest?”

“That’s it,” Lacey said, looking thrilled.

“So Bryson keeps you steadfast.  Amber helps you be immovable.  Monica challenges you to be always excelling or abounding.  Allie reminds you that what you do isn’t in vain.”

Lacey lit up.  “Ooh, ooh!  Isn’t there a verse in the Bible like that?”

“Uh huh,” I deadpanned with a smirk.  “There is.”

“So you mind me asking,” I began as I returned the shoe box to her, “What’s my picture doing in there?”

“You’re the backup, Ang,” LP said cheerily.

“The backup?”

“Yeah.  You can do them all when I need you to.”

“Well, I’m honored to be on your team,” I said smiling, trying to ignore the lump in my throat.

“Gotta go.  Allie needs some help in the nursery.  Later!” Lacey said airily as she breezed out as fast as she breezed in.

But a still, small Voice hung in the air after LP disappeared.

“Who’s on your team?” He asked.

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