Pressing On

On the evening of Father’s Day I was at dinner with a friend who was in town for a couple of days. As we were finishing dinner I spotted a precious sight, my friend and his daughter, Wes and Heather Terry, having a daddy/daughter date. It was extra special because just weeks ago he lost his wife Cindy, Heather Terry’s mom, to cancer.

Cindy was one of the most precious souls God has ever blessed me to know. Her contagious smile would light up a room, not to mention her kind and genuine spirit! She had a beautiful gift of song. Her voice, when raised in praise, could make the hairs on anyone’s arms stand up. For years, as I attended worship and especially Christmas services, Cindy blessed many hearts, and always mine, as she used her God-given talent to glorify our Savior!

But Sunday night, as I watched their dinner date from a distance, my heart was heavy but light at the same time while observing the absolute “sweetness” of their time. They were obviously enjoying themselves. It spoke volumes to me of their STRONG AND UNWAVERING FAITH. I know that I know they miss Cindy. A real and painful void for them. But the peacefulness they exuded spoke loudly to me of their contentment and even JOY of knowing where Cindy was…home…in heaven…with her Creator, her Father…the one whom she had praised for years through her voice and music.

As Wes came back from the restroom, I decided to get up and say hello. I had been wrestling with whether or not to impose on their time but I did and I am so thankful that I did. You see, Heather Terry grew up with our son Thomas. They were in church together, preschool together and much of school together…put in the same class for many years. I haven’t spoken with Heather Terry in years but kept up with her through her mom. Cindy and I just had a real bond through our kids who spent so many years growing up together.

I was so encouraged by speaking with Wes and Heather Terry. I just have to share to encourage you. In their grief they surely encouraged me to persevere….to “fight the good fight”…to finish the race!

Heather Terry was back from New York. She had moved home and was able to spend the last two years with her mom in her losing battle with cancer. She now teaches dance at USC and Wes is busy with work as an architect. We talked about how we had been trying to get together for over a year because I have wanted to write about Cindy. She taught me so much as she lived her faith “out loud” in the midst of a terrible storm.

But her illness never gave us a good day to get together. Wes even spoke about seeing it in Cindy’s Daytimer. My name was there and he kept moving it forward as we tried but failed to find time. Heather Terry and I talked about a time to get together to talk about her mom. They offered to share details of her life so that I could write about it. What Heather Terry said next spoke volumes to me.

It will be at least August before we can get together. The reason? Heather Terry is boarding a plane to go to Israel with a dear friend, Mimi, to teach Bible school and dance for a month. I thought, ”Wow!” Having just been to Israel myself, I felt such a deeper connection to her. This will be her third trip to teach Bible and dance to kids in Israel and she loves it. It is definitely a passion of hers.

All I could think of at that point was Cindy’s legacy….her daughter. Just weeks after losing her mom she was leaving her dad and going to do God’s work. To reach out to teach children about Jesus and using her talents and gifts. Her dad, Wes, was not holding on in grief….but proudly/humbly smiling over his daughter’s decision to go.

As we hugged and I walked away, my heart was a “hot mess” in a good way. The same way Cindy’s voice has made the “hair on my arms stand on end” for years….it was now her daughter who had just done the same thing. It makes me think of I Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Heather Terry is following her mother’s example as her mother followed the example Christ set before us.

God moment for sure–me just returning from Israel; meeting with Mimi before I left and learning about her work in Israel with children…and now hearing that Heather Terry was one of the ones going…and had been going….amazing!

Be encouraged by Wes and Heather Terry’s strong witness…perseverance. If you have lost a loved one, carry on their legacy of faith in your heavenly Father.

“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” ~ Billy Graham

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