Do you have a “Hettie Lue Brooks” to hug and to hug you?

Several weeks ago we drove to Hot Springs, Arkansas for a funeral and celebration service for Don Brooks, “Pop,” Hettie Lue’s husband of 60 plus years who went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, June 4th. It was a day of tears, remembrances, reflections, reconnecting with many old friends, laughter, and above all–praise and worship of our God whose redemption allowed a man to leave such a huge legacy for the Kingdom.

Don & Hettie Lue Brooks built Brookhill Ranch, founded Brookhill Ranch Summer Camp, Christian Ministries Church, and Christian Ministries Academy, beginning over 50 years ago. Roger & I and our family have been huge recipients of the treasured deposits released through this ministry. For a twenty-year period I only missed one of Hettie Lue’s Women’s Seminars that she holds each spring and fall at Brookhill Ranch. I told her at the funeral that had it not been for her being a spiritual mom to me and making rich deposits into my life over the years, Roger & I would likely not have a marriage or a ministry! I believe the relationship the Lord gave us with this family helped to set the course for our lives and for the ministry He’s given us to steward. What if we had refused to align with God’s provision? It’s a daunting possibility to consider!

It was a four and a half hour drive for us both ways, but as Hettie Lue said to us after the service, “I can’t believe you drove all that way. But this isn’t about driving all that distance for an hour and a half service, is it? It’s about something much bigger.” I believe the “much bigger” she was referring to has to do with the relationships God has built. Those relationships transcend time and effort. They go beyond seeming inconvenience or discomfort. They call upon us to give, and give, and give some more even when it’s not conducive to pleasure or ease. Everyone needs those kinds of relationships, lifetime relationships that stand the test of time, the test of life’s battles, and more than likely offenses and disappointments as well. Those relationships are not ostentatious or pretentious–they are real, and they last for eternity! They are one of the primary things God uses to guide us into our destiny!

Even if your life is spinning out of control and the future is uncertain, when you get a “Hettie Hug,” somehow you know in your heart that all is OK. You know because you’ve watched God build and bring forth fruit from 30 years of relationship. You know that a God Who honors relationships and builds upon them in this manner will never disappoint you. You can trust Him no matter what!

So maybe you don’t have 30 years of relationship with a “Hettie Lue,” but you start with that someone, that wise mentor that God brings across your path. You become accountable; you listen to counsel; you honor them; you embrace the wisdom, truth, and yes, even correction that they release into your life. Then when you have that interchange–those hugs you receive from your “Hettie” or your “Don,” and the hugs you give them, there will be a knowing in your heart that your Father has orchestrated and built something that’s beyond mere human friendship. It’s eternal, and it’s meant to equip you for the next stage of fulfilling your destiny and bringing glory and honor to Jesus!

Maybe the Lord is asking you to be a “Hettie” for someone! Of course it will be costly. To father and mother untold numbers over the years has cost Don and Hettie Lue Brooks everything! But when we sat in the service and heard the stories of redemption and victory, we were reminded again that this is God’s economy. This is His plan for multiplication–laying your life down and investing in one life at a time–hugging one person at a time!

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13




  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! Didn’t have Hettie Lou, but I benefited because I’ve had you as my friend, mentor and ‘hugger.’ This is a wonderful tribute to these amazing people, and also to you my friend. Excellent! touched my heart.

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