Andrea tried to concentrate. Now, what was it Cassie told me again? she thought to herself as she stared at the recipe book trying to decipher the cooking terms – knowing they were in English, but thinking it was all Greek to her. “‘Wait until there are bubbles in the yeast mixture before adding the oil,’ that was it!” Andrea declared triumphantly to her empty kitchen as she attempted to replicate the homemade pizza dough Cassie had showed her how to make the week before.
I wish I had learned how to cook a long time ago, Andrea thought to herself. ‘But you’re never too old to learn something new,’ Cassie had told her. ‘And besides, you’re not old, Andrea,’ Cassie had said. ‘You’re younger than I am!’ Andrea knew it was true. Still, she didn’t think it made the challenge of learning how to cook any easier. With Cassie as her friend teaching her, however, she was trying to believe she could master the art.
Cassie has been so nice to me ever since I arrived in town last year, Andrea remembered. Even when we first met at the Women’s Bible Study, she was quick to introduce herself and help me to feel like I belonged, she thought to herself. I was new to town and didn’t know anybody. I had explored different religions and different churches, and I was checking out one of many.
Once Cassie let me know that it was okay to be myself and not have to know it all from the very beginning, I was able to loosen up and listen to what the leader was saying that day rather than focusing on what the other women in the room might be thinking about me.
I was able to hear the truth that I needed salvation. I was able to hear that it really only mattered if God loved me. If God approved of me. If God accepted me. Not people. Only God’s opinion of me was what really mattered in the end.
I was able to hear the truth that, when I believed in Jesus and entered into a relationship with Him, God would see me as righteous. I learned that all those things – love, approval, and acceptance – that I’d looked for through people could only fully be met by God alone. “And after that day of hearing the truth, Lord,” Andrea now prayed, “I came to receive Your gift of salvation, and my life has been changed for the better. And it all started by Cassie showing Your grace to me. Thank You, Lord, for Cassie.”
Leaving the vegetable garden, Trevor and Cassie passed by a garden shed before heading down the slight slope of lawn that led to a stunning gazebo. It was open on every side, with benches all around to sit and enjoy the view from every angle. There were black-eyed susans and queen anne’s lace growing around the perimeter, and, as the duo walked up its wide steps, Cassie asked Trevor what his favorite kind of flower was.
“Actually,” Trevor admitted, “black-eyed susans are my favorite.” “Oh, so this must be your favorite spot. You can sit out here and enjoy them,” Cassie said, even as she and Trevor took seats facing one another.
“Not exactly,” Trevor said. “I don’t come out here much,” he admitted. “This spot belonged more to my wife and daughter. They came out here a lot just to talk with one another. They were really close,” Trevor went on. “Oh,” Cassie said, showing her confusion, to which Trevor replied, “I suppose you’re curious now, so I might as well tell you the story.” “If you don’t mind,” Cassie gently said, “that would be nice.”
“When Amanda was pregnant, we picked out two girls names – Rose and Susan. As you might imagine, roses were my wife’s favorite flower, and, as I just told you, black-eyed susans are mine – hence the names.
“Amanda and I had made a deal. If we had a girl who had blue eyes, we would name her Rose – after Amanda’s favorite flower – since Amanda had blue eyes. If she had brown eyes like mine, we would name her Susan – after my favorite flower. As you may have guessed, our daughter had brown eyes, so I won the deal.
“Afterwards, I planted these black-eyed susans in honor of her – so every time she played out here she would see that her Daddy had thought of her. We had some happy times out here together as a family when she was really young.
“However, when she was only four, everything changed. Things happened with my business and I had to turn my attention to those matters instead. Nothing was the same after that,” Trevor said with regret, unwilling to elaborate further. “I’m so very sorry,” Cassie quietly said with compassion.
“Well,” Trevor said abruptly, not wanting to talk about it anymore, “didn’t you tell me on the phone that your daughter was going to graduate high school this month? How did that go?” Aware that Trevor needed to be rescued from his painful memories, Cassie allowed the change in subject, and didn’t press Trevor for more information about his family.
“Yes,” Cassie answered Trevor, “Violet graduated high school just a couple weeks ago. Jack and I didn’t know if she’d ever reach that milestone in her life because of her health condition, but she proved all the doctor’s wrong. In fact, she graduated with honors, and has been accepted into the college of her choice with plans to attend in the fall. She’s so excited to be able to pursue her dream of becoming a graphic designer.
“We’re thankful God has seen fit to grant her more time than we thought possible to make an impact on the world around her. We still aren’t promised she’ll live a normal lifespan, but we’re trusting God knows exactly how much time she needs to do whatever He puts in her heart to do to glorify Him,” Cassie said with conviction.
There it is again, Trevor thought to himself. Cassie’s trust in God. How does she do it? How can she trust in Someone she can’t see? I couldn’t even trust the people I could see when I had my business. She looks so confident in her trust though – there’s no denying that. So there’s no way I could question her about it. It would probably insult her. I better just keep quiet and not say anything, Trevor concluded, deciding to change the subject once again and move on with the grand tour.
(end of chapter 4)
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