Lindsay C. Cutshall
[09/09/81 - 08/15/04]

Lindsay & Jason
Jason S. Allen
[05/16/78 - 08/15/04]

♥ "The sun is going down on the horizon, and all I see is the beams shining on the cliff face, and I know that God is awesome. I look around and see His Creation all around me." --Lindsay ♥                                                                                 ♥ "As I stir this Mac & Cheese, I think to myself, what a wonderful life. I've just spent two awesome days with my fiance, Lindsay. Can life ever be so perfect? Only with a person who is so great. God gives me this privilege in life and He has given me a wonderful woman to enjoy it with." --Jason ♥                                                                                 ♥ "Live for things in heaven, not on earth." --Lindsay ♥                                                                                 ♥ "Heaven will be a wonderful place of no suffering, hurt, loneliness; it's a great thing to look forward to." --Lindsay ♥

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial day...

Today is Memorial Day, typically a day reserved to remember our fallen soldiers. Countless men and women have laid their lives down for our country... I am glad that we have an official day that is set aside to remember them. This day is also a day that many use to remember loved ones that are no longer with us. In honor of Memorial Day, I would like to write something for Jason and Lindsay.

No other event in my life has had as powerful an effect on me as the deaths of Jason and Lindsay has. I never, in a million years, would have guessed that something like this would happen to anyone I know... much less a friend and his soon-to-be wife. I am not the same person I was a year ago. I am not an angry person... but a changed person. Jason and Lindsay lived their lives the right way... they lived for Christ and they worked for Christ! Their hearts were centered around Jesus... and the lives that they lived have challenged me to be a better person. My perspective on life has changed dramatically. I fully understand the fragility of life and that each day is a precious gift. Sometimes I need to be reminded of this again every once in a while... but I will NEVER forget the examples that Jason and Lindsay have been for me and the rest of the world. Today, I honor Jason and Lindsay for the work that they did for Christ while they were here... and I honor them for challenging the rest of us to do the same.

Jason and Lindsay ice skating in Michigan.

There are some channels on our television that only play music. I was listening to the Christian music channel the other day while doing some work around the house, and I heard a song that stopped me in my tracks. The lyrics to this song shook me to the core and I just fell apart. Some days I hear something or read something and it reminds me again of how desperate and helpless I felt the moment I found out that Jason and Lindsay had been murdered. There are so many things behind the emotions that pour out of me. The best word to describe it is bittersweet, because I think all at once of the tragedy itself, the incredible sorrow I feel for the families, the loss of these two remarkable people, but also how wonderful God has been throughout all of this. He has completely blown me away... He has used this to teach me more than I could have ever learned through any other circumstance. I guess sometimes it takes a tragedy to open our eyes. It takes something huge to make us realize that life is short and that each day is a gift. We need to take advantage of the time we have here in our earthly lives to make each day count. Sometimes I need to be reminded of this still... and when God does this through songs like this one, it brings me to my knees:

Mark Schultz -- He Will Carry Me

I call, You hear me
I’ve lost it all
And it’s more than I can bear
I feel so empty

You’re strong
I’m weary
I’m holdin’ on
But I feel like givin’ in
But still You’re with me

And even though I’m walkin’ through
The valley of the shadow
I will hold tight to the hand of Him
Whose love will comfort me
And when all hope is gone
And I’ve been wounded in the battle
He is all the strength that I will ever need
He will carry me

I know I’m broken
But You alone
Can mend this heart of mine
You’re always with me


And even though I feel so lonely
Like I’ve never been before
You never said it would be easy
But You said you’d see me through the storm


Those are the perfect words for what has happened in the wake of this loss. God has carried us through. I see it especially in Jason's family... every time I see them and talk with them... I am so awestruck at how God has completely enveloped them and is carrying them through. God is their strength. God is my strength. Even in the seemingly simple things in life... God is our strength. We would not exist if it weren't for Him... and we would not have hope if we didn't have Him.

I saw a bumper sticker once that really rang true in my heart. It said, "No God, no peace. Know God, know peace!" So true... so true.

I did some research on the song above written by Mark Schultz. I was hoping to find information on why he wrote the song... what event or events that perhaps inspired him to write it. In the liner notes of the CD, Mark writes, "This song was not originally going to be on this record. It was meant for another project but I never forgot about it because I listened to it one night about a year ago over and over and over again when I had been so discouraged. I was holding on to it like a life raft in a storm in the middle of the ocean. This song is a clear picture of what God will do if you call out to Him."

I also found a short article online written by a woman who refers to this song. What she says really struck me too. This song is so powerful...

Have you walked through the valley of the shadow of death? David wrote about this place, and for many years I thought it was a place where a person faced his own death. But I think now that we all walk through the valley of the shadow of death when someone we love dies. We walk in the shadow of death. And in that shadow is where sorrow lives.

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:1-4 NASB).

When my father was dying, it was a long illness; with my mother it was a sudden unexpected heart attack. For my friend, a tragic house fire, and another, a plane that blazed through a glass tower. Regardless of the circumstances, the walk through the valley of the shadow of death was a difficult one, but one I did not have to make alone.

As I traversed those steps through that valley, I know that Jesus has made that trek before. And that He will walk it with me every time, even when it is my last walk.

If you are facing that walk today, or if you are in the midst of it, draw comfort from the God of all comfort. Know that He understands. He has walked that road with so many. He will not leave you there alone, and He will take you through it.

In the song "He Will Carry Me," Mark Schultz sings about the God who carried him. That same Savior will carry you. I remember those long, dark, tear-filled nights when it seemed there was no comfort for the loss I felt. But I was wrong.

There is comfort in the arms of our loving Jesus. Do what I have learned to do in that valley, open the Bible. Read, read the Psalms, read the Gospels, read until the words of the Lord infuse you with hope and strength and, yes, comfort. That is how He embraces you, with His Word. Open His Book in those dark hours, and let Him carry you.

-Suzy C.

Amen to that.

Remember your loved ones this day and always. Let God comfort you in your time of need. Let God strengthen you each and every day.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God."
[Psalm 40: 1-3a]

Monday, May 16, 2005

Happy Birthday Jason...

Today is Jason's birthday. He would have been 27. This is his first birthday since he passed away. Please keep his dear family and loved ones in your prayers.

I am looking right now at a framed poster on my wall that I got from Jason's mom and dad. The counselors that worked with Jason and Lindsay last summer created a beautiful collage of pictures of them and presented them to Jason's and Lindsay's parents. They each were signed by all of the counselors. What a thoughtful and touching gift! They gave them extra unsigned copies as well. I feel extremely blessed to have been given one of them. I look at it every day and think about the lives that Jason and Lindsay lived. I am challanged to live a better life because of the way they lived and I am grateful for that. The poster has a verse on it that I would like to share. It is the theme that Jason and Lindsay lived by... and continue to live by today in God's heavenly presence:

"So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." [2 Corinthians 5:9]

That should be our ultimate goal! Not to live to please ourselves or to please other people... but to please our one true God! There is no greater purpose on earth. Jason and Lindsay knew this and lived it. I am honored to have known Jason when I was growing up and to continue to know his family. They are great people! God has taken this tragedy and has used it for undeniable GOOD. Just recently, in one of my Bible studies, we were talking about why God allows suffering. Sometimes we don't know... but what we DO know is that God allows things to happen to work for good in the hearts of His people. We are allowed to suffer because it strengthens us and it keeps us humble and reliant upon God. If our lives were always perfect and easy... we would have no need to rely on Him... but we go through challenging things because God uses them to shape us into who He wants us to be! God also brings people into His Kingdom through such tragedies and the untimely deaths of Jason and Lindsay are no exception. Many people have come to know Christ through this tragedy because they were deeply touched by the lives that Jason and Lindsay lived! They did not die in vain. God is using this to do great work... and I am confident that there is much He is doing and has yet to do that we don't even know about. That's what I love about God... He is so incredibly faithful. We don't deserve Him but He loves us so much that He pours out his love and mercy upon us, as we are His children. What an awesome God we serve! Nature reflects His glory... and Jason and Lindsay loved God's nature and the outdoors with a passion! They lived to experience God's glory up close and personal. And now they are experiencing God's glory in heaven... a place so perfectly glorious that our minds cannot even begin to comprehend it! We will someday join them there... and I, for one, cannot wait! What an eternity we have to look forward to.

Related passages:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us. [Romans 5:3-5]
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith —- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. [1 Peter 1:6-8]
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. [Genesis 50:20]


Janna and Jason :)
Me and Jason at ages 2 1/2 and 2, respectively. This is one of my favorite pictures.
[Click on photo for larger view!]

Happy birthday Jason!
God bless you... we'll see you someday soon!

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