Pictured from Left to Right: Sarah Alley, MSN, WHNP-BC; Cassie; Dennis R. Scribner, MD
Although Cassie had told me that her favorite scripture verse was Jeremiah 29:11 (which is listed on her memorial website) Cassie also had another one that a friend, Shary Gribbin, had mentioned to me. That verse is Philippians 4:13:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
In the months leading up to her anniversary of passing from this life to her heavenly homecoming, I began reflecting on how I could honor her in some small way. I started thinking about how I saw Philippians 4:13 play out in her life, especially the last year.
- I saw how Cassie relied on Jesus for strength in her cancer diagnosis. I don’t know if she could fully grasp her diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer and how it would affect the rest of her life. I do know that I saw Jesus in her as she handled her surgery and treatment options with grace.
- I saw Cassie’s faith through this storm. As she lay in her hospital bed after surgery I saw her lift her hands in praise as she listened to the song “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns. She did not muster up the strength on her own to raise her arms but Jesus gave her that strength.
- I saw Cassie minister to others who needed some extra strength for what they were going through. I witnessed this in various times and ways. There was the day we were at her oncologist’s office in the waiting room. Although Cassie was in great pain she got up from her chair in the waiting room with her walker and approached a woman on the other side of the waiting room. I saw Cassie interact with this woman. When she came back to her seat I asked her about it. She said the lady looked all alone and that she felt sad about that. The lady only spoke Spanish so Cassie conversed with her with the small amount she knew that she picked up through the years. Another time Dr. Scribner (her oncologist) had some very difficult news to give Cassie. He sat on the exam table with her and as he spoke, Cassie lovingly and compassionately placed her hand on his arm. Tim remembers her saying something like “it will be okay“. These things are hard to write and my eyes fill up with tears but they are important to share because Cassie was strengthened by the Lord for the work that He had given her to do.
- I saw Cassie put others first at church as well. She didn’t complain about her illness nor moan and groan about the daily pain she experienced and the fact she was at the end of her life. No, she lifted people up and encouraged them. She was an inspiration to many. Sometime after Cassie’s passing we went and visited Michael Mullen in the hospital. Michael was one of the Elders at our church. He was not well at all and he spoke to us of how Cassie had been an example to him of suffering well for the Lord. Cassie couldn’t have done that without the Lord’s strength.
- A week or so before Cassie’s passing she gave Tim and me a note and one written to her sister Cari and her brother Dan that we were to give them. The notes all said the same thing and were addressed differently. In our note, she wrote:
“Dear Mom, Dad. Please don’t give up. I love you very much. Love, Cassie“.
Tim & I keep this note in a very secure place – in our home safe, in our hearts and our thoughts. She continued to care for us and her strength from the Lord became ours as well.
I believe that God’s words in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” and Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” go hand in hand for all of us who believe but especially for Cassie going through her final year on this earth. She had the hope of Jeremiah 29:11 in her heart and because of that her spirit knew that she could be content and strong enough to go through the circumstances of her cancer.
God painted a beautiful portrait of His glory in Cassie’s life. May her faith in the Lord be an example to us all.