Families of faith...
I know I have said this before, but I am in awe of the Allens and the Cutshalls. I have never seen anyone respond to an enormous personal tragedy with so much grace, faith, and God-given strength.
Here is another article that was featured in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper earlier this week.
Faith Helps Families Cope With Loss...
Sunday, August 14, 2005
BY: Derek J. Moore | The Press Democrat
When he stands before his congregation this morning, on the anniversary of his daughter's death, the Rev. Chris Cutshall will talk about contentment.
He will open his Bible to Philippians 4:10-13, which in part says, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."
The sermon's theme may not be the obvious choice for someone who has suffered such hurt. But Cutshall said he and his wife, Kathy, who live in Fresno, Ohio, have found some peace despite their daughter's violent death and the knowledge that her killer is still free.
"Even in the midst of that pain and loss we've felt a contentment and satisfaction in God and his grace, and know that He is using this supreme evil for extreme good," Cutshall said by phone last week.
Still, there are moments when that faith is tested.
That's perhaps never more true than when the couple steps inside Lindsay's room, which has remained virtually as it was when she left the small Ohio town last summer for California.
"When I need a good cry, I go hang out in her room," said Cutshall, who is pastor of the 160-member Fresno Bible Church. "It serves a function."
Faith is equally important to Bob and Dolores Allen, who will attend church in Zeeland, Mich., this morning on the anniversary of their son's death.
Jason Allen dreamed of working as a counselor at a camp for Christian kids, a dream that was cut short when he and Lindsay Cutshall, his fiancee, were shot to death on a beach north of Jenner.
"Some days are real hard," Dolores Allen said. "All in all, I think we're doing quite well. We rely on our faith and trust in the Lord. His grace has been sufficient for us."
Following the church services, the Cutshalls will meet the Allens at a cabin on Lake Michigan, where they plan to spend the next couple days relaxing and reminiscing.
The families last saw one another over Father's Day for a memorial service at the white-water rafting camp in Coloma where their kids worked as counselors. Afterward, they drove to Sonoma County to meet with sheriff's detectives.
That's as close as they got to the beach where their children were slain.
"I don't think I could have handled that," Dolores Allen said.
Both families receive regular updates from detectives. But they say they aren't overly anxious that the case has yet to be solved.
"We're not on edge," Chris Cutshall said. "If they don't ever solve it, we know God, in the end, will bring justice to the situation. We're confident about that."
By the way, today is my birthday. One year ago today, I found out that Jason and Lindsay had been found and that they had been murdered. Believe me, that is a day I will NEVER forget. Needless to say, it was not a day of celebration. :( I am thankful, however, that this past year has been a year of much personal growth in my faith because of this tragedy. God has really been working on me! And I know I'm not the only one. Knowing that God can use circumstances like these to bring forth ultimate good and glory to His Holy Name is so awesome... I never would have guessed that so much good could come from so much heartbreak. ♥