Friday September 13th marked the 4 year anniversary of Wells Branch Community Church. For those of you to new to my blog or story. Wells Branch Community Church is the church that my husband Todd and I along with 28 other charter members began on September 13, 2009 in the North Austin suburb of Wells Branch. It was many years in the making and was a dream come true for Todd and myself. It was our greatest privilege to get to live life with our friends and neighbors in Wells Branch. God truly was changing our community as we shared the life changing reality of Jesus by loving and serving our community.
SO when God called Todd home on August 13, 2011 just one month short of the churches two-year anniversary the church and so many were left wondering what would happen to this young church?? How would it survive? Well God had a great plan for WBCC and loved and cared for those people so well especially right after Todd's passing. Our two elders stepped in and took charge along with the church that directly planted us. Then as God planned, the church hired a dynamic leader, Chris Plekenpol to take over as lead pastor. It had been 6 months since Todd's passing. Chris had his work cut out for him. Not only had he not pastored a church before but he was a newly wed. I believed he was the man for the job but I knew God was going to have to do some pretty BIG things to make this work! I always believed in Gods plans and provision but I also had to grieve the death of Todd and I's dream to see this church grow to fruition a pastor and his wife. God kept me at the church for a year after Todd passed then I felt it was time to see what else might be out there for me. What did God have in store for the single Cassi who was no longer as pastors wife? I gracefully bowed out of all church responsibilities and just sat under good teaching for almost a year at another church. Then by Gods gently leading and lots of prayers and even some resistance by me I felt prompted to return to Wells Branch Community Church. I wasn't sure how my heart would handle being back but I trusted that if God wanted me back He would work through my discomfort and reservations AND oh boy did He ever!! I have been back for several Sundays now and all the things that made my heart sad or uneasy have completely left! I feel so at home and was received with very loving and open arms!!
Oh and the church is doing AWESOME and has grown to almost 300 people, with two services... which is incredible! GO God and a BIG THANK YOU to all those who serve and are giving their lives to something so much bigger than themselves!! To GOD be the GLORY!!!
So as I sit here 2 years and a month after Todd's passing I can tell you that even though my heart bears the scars of being ripped to shreds by grief and pain over losing Todd. I have turned a corner and feel a new sense of peace, hope and there is a new song of JOY in my heart! When I read Psalm 126:5, "Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy!" I can for the first time say that I have felt like all the tears that poured out over my grief and pain, the ones I thought may never stop have now turned to songs of joy! My heart will always love and miss Todd and never forget the incredible life we lived BUT I can finally say, It is well with my soul!
There is a famous hymn titled, "It is well with my soul" that I have always loved and then when I heard the story of the man who wrote I loved it even more. Horatio G. Spafford wrote this famous hymn in 1873 after losing his four children in a ship accident, but that was only a piece of his story. You can google and read about all the pain and tragedy God allowed him to walk through yet He still trusted and found JOY even is a life marked with much pain and suffering! This is a good read especially if you find yourself feeling sorry for yourself, I have those days.
I had been unable to sing this song fully since Todd's passing even though it is one of my favorite hymns. Not that I did not trust Gods hand in allowing Todd's death, I truly believe it was part of his plan , that He is sovereign in my life and that there is purpose in it but it was just hard nonetheless to sing those words, mainly the refrain or in todays language the chorus. =) Then a week ago I was speaking at retreat and the worship team played it AND for the first time since Todd's passing I felt a connection between my heart and mind and I could sing with feeling and meaning, "Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul."
Thank you Father for being patient with me and for being so faithful. Also for allowing me to come back home to the church we started 4 years ago! May I continue to be one that no matter what my life circumstances say, "It is well with my soul!"
I pray whatever your life circumstances has you walking through. You too can say, "It is well with my soul."
Living For More,
It is well with my soul...
1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Refrain: It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul. 2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed his own blood for my soul. (Refrain) 3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (Refrain) 4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul. (Refrain)