Rachel was the first victim of the Columbine High School shooting in April 1999. In the wake of the tragedy, when the horrific story dominated news cycles across the country, Rachel’s story stood out. She was remembered by fellow students and her profound impact unfolded. But her story was not over, it was just beginning. As Rachel’s mother, Beth Nimmo, uncovered her daughter’s profound writings, people began to realize just how special Rachel’s story was.
When Rachel was a child, she traced her palms and wrote inside them, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.” It was only years later that her mother would recognize how prophetic that statement was. As a teenager, Rachel kept a detailed journal of her struggles and her faith, a rare discipline for a modern teenager.
She often wrote directly to God, like in this entry, dated April 15, 1998:
I promise that I will not drink this Friday when I go out with Stefanie. This is so tempting. I want to go so bad. Well, I thought about it (as you know) and I thought that since you would forgive me anyways I may as well do it. Then I realized that you will always, always forgive, but you may not let it go unpunished. Then I decided not to do it strictly out of fear. Then I thought about it more, and thought that if I did it out of fear it would not be done because I loved you, I obeyed you, and I followed you. That is my reason for not going now and I know that I will always be faced with temptation, but because I love you, I obey you, and I follow you, I will not fall into the core of it. Thank You, Father. Your child, Rachel
This profound look at Rachel’s heart and the reality of her walk with God is just the tip of the iceberg. The morning of April 20, 1999, the tragic day that would take Rachel’s life and the lives of 12 others, she drew the following in her diary:
Among the most fascinating parts of Scott’s real-life story were the prophetic elements her family discovered in her journals — pictures and comments that seem to show Scott had a feeling or premonition that her life would soon end.
Take, for instance, a picture she drew featuring two eyes crying 13 tears onto a flower; the tears appeared to turn to droplets of blood once they came close to the flower. Scott reportedly drew the picture just before her death.
But that’s not all. Scott also wrote about her feelings that her life would soon come to an end, with her mother finding one particular journal entry from May 3, 1998, the most shocking — an entry written less than one year before her death.
“(On) May 2, 1998, (she) said, ‘This will be my last year Lord. I’ve gotten what I can. Thank you,'” Nimmo [Rachel’s mother] recalled.
Rachel’s journals impacted her entire community in Littleton, Colorado, but her impact didn’t stop there. Her life’s story inspired “Rachel’s Challenge,” a popular anti-bullying school program, and the movie “I’m Not Ashamed.”
Rachel was right. She did touch millions of hearts.
Her mother told the “Church Boys” Podcast, “Rachel found something worth living for and something worth dying for. It was her faith, and she based all of her writings and her ethics … on her love and trust in the Lord.”
If you’ve ever been inspired by a true story, you probably have a journal to thank. Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Anne Frank, and countless other stories that have inspired us all are only available because we have access to journals and diaries that tell their stories, in their own words. If you’ve been inspired by someone’s journal, maybe you should consider keeping your own. You never know the hearts you could touch.