Romans 8:28 says, And we know that in all things God Works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." I am sure many of you reading this have heard this before but was does it really mean? How can I relate it to my life, my struggle my loss? I learned along time ago that the meaning of good here is not the way I think of "good" It is not always, joy, or happy times. It is good that often times conforms me and makes me more like Jesus. So I ask myself, "How can Todd's death be for my good"? Or the for the "good" of so many that loved him and for those he gave his life to encourage and teach? I certainly have not received all the answers and purposes but feel like now is a good time to share some of the good things I have seen, heard or experienced as a result of my most recent tragic and sudden loss.
I have heard from hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people by card, email, text, Facebook, my blog and most importantly I know that many, many people are praying for me and my kiddos. I have received so much love and "good" things in the form of hugs, gifts, acts of service, financial gifts, delicious meals, great visits and wonderful conversations. I have seen our church step and truly embody the "Live for More" lifestyle! Not to mention many friends, family, friends of friends and complete strangers have taken on this motto for their life as well. Incredible!! I recently received the following email from my blog:
Dear Cassi, \"Live for more\' -- my new motto in life -- in the way of Jesus God Bless you Cassi and your dear beautiful children. How lucky are to have had Todd in your life. I live in Toronto, Canada and just by a chance glance at a Math text web site - Southwestern, came across your story..., how cool is that??
I recently was able to share what having a relationship with Jesus can bring with a friend who because of Todd's death contacted me after we had lost touch for the past 8 years. After a 3 hour conversation on the phone she surrendered her heart and life to Jesus at 47 years old, that is AWESOME!!
My kids continue to bring me a great source of goodness and JOY. Recently Jackson was getting ready to leave for school and ran up to his room to grab his Bible. I said, "Oh your going to take your Bible to school"? He said, "yes I started a Bible Club at school", I said, "Oh a Bible Club"?, he said, "yes, there are 14 kids in it" I said, "What's a Bible Club"? He said, "We play Bible games, tell Bible stories at recess". " Wow"! I said. He said, "Daddy would be happy because he was always telling me I needed to tell people about Jesus" "Oh yes", I said, "Daddy would have been so proud"! So I celebrate the heart of my 8 year old who has the boldness to take his Bible to public school unashamedly and tell his friends about Jesus!!
Oh and sweet Bethany, who I did not think was paying any attention to the praise music I would blare from the car CD player until, I recently put in a CD we had not listened to in awhile and in the sweetest most pure voice you have ever heard she was singing and praising God, there is nothing like hearing your four year old sing out, "For you my God are greater still"!!! Not to mention the random things she says which make me laugh on a continual basis. Todd's humor is living on in my precious girl.
Bible Study Fellowship has been a BIG part of my life since 1997 and is one of the reasons I have been able to study and know God's word in such a deep and rich way. I praise God for not only His word which has been made more real to me through the study and principles of BSF but also the leadership and the friendships I have developed through BSF which have become some of my most treasured and dearest of friends. I thank God for the good that has come out of my time in BSF and for the great encouragement is has been especially the past 7 months!
Oh and have I mentioned, ZUMBA??!! God gave me Zumba about 3 years ago as a way to do two things I LOVE: exercise and dance!! Zumba is Latin based aerobic dance and I have had the privilege to be an instructor for about 18 months. What I realized shortly after Todd passed away is that I needed to get back to Zumba. For one, Zumba was one of the only things I had in my life that did not involve Todd and secondly, when I teach I spend an hour enjoying the music and energy from my class and then manage to forget about the rest of the world for awhile. It is a great mood regulator and definitely has been a BIG part of my grief therapy! Not to mention the women in my classes have reached out and showered me with love, and support and have become another extension of my family! ZUMBA is definitely a very good thing in my life!!
God has also allowed me to rekindle old friendships and establish many new ones. I have always valued time with my girlfriends but when you are married and have children and also a church family that requires time and attention often times the girlfriends are last on the list. So another thing I am celebrating is all my dear girl friends who have reached out by phone, Facebook, letters, lunches, dinners, visits etc... I am so blessed to have so many wonderful, supportive and encouraging friends and because of them I have been able to keep going on days when I was not sure I could! SO I can definitely count my girlfriends as something very good in my life!
I really could go on and on and need to mention my family that has stepped in to take my kids for an over night or two and also to my sweet sister in law who cares for my kids several times a week so I can get some things done, not to mention my friends and neighbors who help drive my kids to school, practice and games. I would not be making it right now if it was not for all the help I have received. I am beyond grateful to all who have stepped up to help!!
As I think about what I have personally lost I can't help but think of others who are struggling also. I am daily reminded of those fighting for their life with cancer and other illness, my heart is heavy for so many I know. I realize my pain and loss is great but their are many who are fighting a different personal battle and I am not the only person who has ever lost the love of her life. So once again I shift back to the blessings... I am blessed to live in a country with religious freedom and so many opportunities. I never want for food or shelter. I have abundance materially, spiritually, physically and on and on. So if you are like me and are facing a rough road and at times think you may collapse under the load and want to give up. First stop and pray, ask God to help you carry your heavy load, then let Him! Also try making a list of all the "good" things or blessings in your life. You may just be surprised at the amount of things there are to celebrate.
Because of Him, I can celebrate the good and Live For More!!