Her rough demeanor belied the goodness and warmth that her close friends and family knew so well. No stranger to hard work, she took side jobs cleaning houses and offices to supplement the family income. On weekends, she often cooked fry bread with her family and invited her friends to enjoy hot fry bread via Facebook. Her father’s fry bread stand was a crowd favorite during the annual Easter pageant at the Mesa Arizona Temple.
She often put the needs of her family and friends ahead of her own, going without so others would not; freely giving of herself. Tragically, she gave her life defending her family from an armed intruder.
Denna Strebe was 42-years young when her life was taken from her.
The news reports speak of a troubled youth who arrived with plans to kill Strebe’s 18-year old daughter…and then perhaps to take his own life. This alleged-gunman’s plans were foiled by a mother who stood in his way, and by her 21-year old son who did not think twice about wrestling the gun-wielding assailant to the floor, and taking the gun from him.
As I struggle to make sense of this horrific incident, I think of the words in John 15:13-
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
The admonition and sacred duty given to those who would be called Saints in Mosiah 18:9 also fills my thoughts and my heart-
“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—”
As I mourn with my best friend and his family, I think I am beginning to understand what it means to mourn with those who mourn. My heart breaks when I think of this senseless tragedy and the impact to my friend and his wife’s family. I pray often for my friend and his family.
I rely on a hope and faith that speaks of comfort, and a peace that surpasses all understanding. My faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice gives me hope of the joyous reunion my friend will one day have with his sweetheart because they were sealed in the House of the Lord for time and for all eternity.
I am grateful for the comforting words shared by Elder Richard G. Scott in the General Conference of April, 2010:
Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior, our Redeemer. He is a glorious, resurrected being. He has the capacity to communicate love that is so powerful, so overwhelming as to surpass the capacity of the human tongue to express adequately. He gave His life to break the bonds of death. His Atonement made fully active the plan of happiness of His Father in Heaven.
I believe that these things are true, and that gives me hope.