This is How God Works…

This post is a “three-parter”.  The journey my daughter Cassidy has had with her swimming is as long as it is beautiful.  Stay with me, and see how God worked in her life.

Cassidy has suffered some terrible medical issues and illnesses in her short life.  After countless diagnoses, procedures, medications and surgeries, I am thrilled to share that my girl is finally HEALTHY.  I celebrate this blessing from the deepest parts of my heart every stinkin’ day…

This past summer, she wanted to try swim team at our local pool.  She was terribly nervous because she wasn’t a good swimmer, but after seeing the Olympics two summers ago, she envisioned a dream in her sweet little head…

She was going to be a swimmer. 

She practiced hard.  She would try to swim laps as I taught her the strokes.  She was relentless in her efforts. It was quite a summer of watching her try with all her might to go for her goal.  Every day she would swim lap after lap and she was so proud of the swimmer she had slowly become!  I was proud too.

After a long winter into spring of no swimming whatsoever, the swim season had begun and she was terrified, but really wanted to tryout for the swim team at our local pool.  She faced her fears and tried her best with nerves full of adrenalin… and I am SURE it was a “God thing” when she made the team!!  (Other swimmers that swam JUST like her did not.)

Thank you God.

It was a rough start.  She coughed and choked and barely made it through her first few weeks of practice.  She cried a lot in despair and defeat, because she wasn’t ready to have that kind of endurance.  (Her asthma was getting the best of her.)

But she refused to give up.

She was up coughing many nights and struggled with choking and needing air through the practices, and yet she managed to keep the desire to continue.  After one night coughing literally ALL night, I resolved to pull her from it all.  I couldn’t bare it anymore.  I was going to let her sleep in and tell her in the morning that we should raise the white flag and I would praise her efforts, but tell her we will try again next year when she is even stronger.

Cassidy woke ME up early that morning, wearing her swimsuit ready to go!  I told her she shouldn’t swim after the night she had, but she relented and refused to give up.  She insisted she go.

I was both impressed but also so worried that she couldn’t handle being at practice with her lungs clearly not in good condition.  I informed the coach about her asthma and her relentless push to be there, and the coach immediately took her case to heart and told me that she too, suffered medical issues and would watch after her.

Thank you God.

From that day on, Cassidy never stopped…never gave up…kept swimming and didn’t miss a practice.  She had a mighty intention within herself to be the best she could be.  My ten-year old was growing and changing right before my eyes, into this determined human being with a passion and a mission.

We went to every meet and she swam her hardest and tried with every fiber of her being to do her very best.  She rarely placed higher than fifth/sixth/seventh/eighth… but it surely wasn’t about that.  My girl had drive, and initiative that bubbled up from her spirit and she was part of a team where she felt she ‘belonged’.  She was vibrant and happy despite her struggle, and the coaches praised her efforts along the way.

This, my friends, was her summer to shine.

Thank you God.

There were moments of disappointment and humility for her as well.  Often she would be the last swimmer in the race…pulling up the final lap alone.  Her best friend on the team was an incredible athlete and won every race, but always waited for her to finish with open arms.  (Precious)  It was difficult for Cass to accept that she wasn’t a “winner”- ever.  But that didn’t stop her from trying, and embracing this newfound world.   This was all hers.  For the first time in her life, she had this place she could call her own- and I stood on the side lines  watching her soar.

Thank you God.

When the final awards ceremony and banquet was scheduled, we had a frank conversation about her receiving any awards.  I knew she certainly didn’t make any record times or would be chosen as the MVP.  She understood and we agreed she would love to cheer on her friends and praise their accomplishments.  She was able to see the reality in this, and able to embrace it, as hard as it was for her to do so.

Thank you God.

I took Cade to Jiu Jitsu while Derek took Cass to the awards ceremony. When I returned home, Derek called me and said he thinks I need to be there, because the coach was looking for me.  The coach then called me and asked me a few questions about Cassidy’s health etc, which I found perplexing.  Perhaps she WAS going to get an award?  But what?  Most improved swimmer?  She did improve her times tremendously….

When I got to the pool, all the swimmers were sitting on the bleachers, parents everywhere and the ceremony was taking place with a table full of trophies and awards and all the coaches lined up in the front.  I snuck in and pushed my way to the front and anxiously waited to see what on earth was going to happen!

As the coaches shared different awards, I kept starting my video camera wondering, “Is this the one she will get?”  And each time, I stopped recording, as her name was never mentioned.  The ceremony was nearing the end, and I came to the conclusion that I was mistaken.

As the ceremony was ending, the head coach shared the final award saying it is the highest honor and most valuable award of them all.  I started packing up my camera, then I paused and tuned in to hear her words, as I thought to myself “Surely, this isn’t going to be Cass?”  A surge of energy zapped my heart and I rushed to get the camera back out…

I decided to start filming a few minutes into it, as I began feeling this overwhelming joy start to grow within me… and the most powerful pride I could ever feel for my daughter.  Take a look at what happened.  (Oh how I wish I filmed the beginning!  I had NO IDEA this would be given to HER!!)


I believe it was the greatest moment of my daughter’s life… and mine too.  With all she had been through in her ten years, this was the moment of true triumph.

And with that, comes the greatest lesson in life…

Although skills and smarts and talents reap great success, the most valuable asset one can hold is the heart. 

*Character will always win.*


Thank you God.

This is How God Works




Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. says

    That was the most amazing video! Clearly she is her mother’s daughter! I had tears in my eyes listening to her coaches. Cassidy is truly an inspiration! You must be so proud!!

    • says

      Oh you are SO SWEET Michelle!! I cried again, watching it… it was truly the greatest moment EVER!!!! I just couldn’t be more proud…

      If she had record times…MVP award… nah.

      I’ll take THIS ONE!!!

  2. says

    Oh the tears!!!!!! What a blessing this is. I was so proud for her and haven’t even met her. I can only imagine your emotion while filming this. What great plans God has in store for her life. So beautiful!!! *reaching for Kleenex*

    • says

      Oh Susannah, she is such a miracle!! God has designed this girl for mighty things, this I know!!! Her life has been so hard- until last year, and I believe God has placed a light within her that will glow through the years and reach many for Him. I am SO blessed!!

    • says

      She’s pretty amazing Hillary… truly! I have so many stories about her light and how God shines through her and around her all the time. We are so blessed!!

    • says

      Oh Carol! You don’t know how precious your comment is to me… thank you from the bottom of my heart for your encouragement! I am so very grateful. 🙂

  3. says

    I am smiling *SO SO SO HARD* for Cass, for you, for this.

    It’s BREATHTAKING. Just look how much the LOVE HER!

    Just…wow! Wow! Wow!


    I am going out today with a song in my heart from reading this.

    There are not enough superlatives IN THE WORLD 😀

    This is HUGE.

    Still grinning. Like a loon. And just…wow 😀

    • says

      Oh how I love love love YOU!!!! Thank you SO much for all ALL your superlatives!!! And your love and excitement and sharing in the amazing moment of Cassidy’s light that shines so bright…

      God is SOOOO GOOD!!!


      • says

        Just even coming back to this post makes me smile again. LOVE IT.

        Also not enough capital letters in the world, but you know that – you use them all, often enough 😀

        You rock so much for having a kid like this, and for sharing this, and for supporting her into making it happen.

    • says

      AMEN to THAT Seana!!!! She is an incredible witness to so many!! God’s light shines deep and bright within her, and I am SO grateful for that!! I pray she continues to let it grow… 🙂

  4. says

    Love that girl! Thank you for sharing that video (and that girl) with us! She is a beautiful reflection of Christ’s love here on earth! The apple doesn’t fall far …..

  5. says

    Seriously, Chris this put me in such a great mood this morning. And I have to agree with so many others here that Cassidy is so her mother’s daughter. What a huge inspiration to all of us and you have every reason to be so very proud of her!! 🙂

  6. says

    I was already shedding tears of happiness and joy reading this post. But then I got to the video and I was just sobbing. Oh, Chris. I am so proud of your wonderful girl. She is on her way in life. *character will always win* Yes, always.
    This was just the most beautiful and inspiring way to start the weekend. XOXOXOXO –Lisa

    • says

      Oh Lisa!!! You are such a LOVE!!! I just am SO grateful she got her hard earned reward for being such a beautiful soul and shining her light on others!!! It was a moment we will never forget- and I pray it not only reinforces her self worth, but encourages her to continue shining that light through those hard teenage years ahead…

      Oh, how I pray!!

  7. says

    Oh my Gosh. Chris – I am in tears. Speechless. I can’t imagine what it was like for you as a mother to hear these coaches say these amazing words. I have never met Cass but I can picture her enthusiasm and her desire to learn and grow and improve after hearing the coaches talk. I love your daughter and have so much to LEARN from her. We all have so much to learn from her. Touched to my heart my friend. Touched deeply.

    • says

      It was pretty freaking incredible, Ilene!!!! When Cass was two and really really sick, we were driving her to the hospital and I was on the phone with my sister crying. Cade was just weeks old and Cass was panting desperately for air with 105.9 temp. I was terrified!! And from the back seat she whispered with all her breath she had, “It’s okay mommy.”

      Oh my heart.

  8. Tammy says

    Ok, so, I am totally crying off yesterday’s left over mascara! I just LOVE that! And it is so very true about Cassidy. I’ve even watched her being scolded by her mama and have that little ” I’m-so-sorry-but-I’m-still-smiling” smile on her face. I can’t express my gratitude to God for having chosen such friends for Sophie and me as He has in you and Cass. She’s so much like you Chris – SO much! The precious qualities you appreciate in her are the very ones so many of us appreciate in you my friend. Just love that video!

    • says

      Now I AM BAWLING off yesterday’s mascara!!! LOLOLOLOL!!! (You know it’s true!!)

      Oh Tammy- your words- your encouragement… oh how much it means to me. I am SO BLESSED BY YOU!!!!!

      Us. I love us. The moms and the girls alike. It doesn’t get much better than this.

      • Tammy says

        Me too girl-I love US! My heart is so full as I think of how God had this precious gift just waiting to give me until the ordained time…YOU! You are the friend I’ve often prayed for and Cass is that same friend to Soph.

  9. says

    As a former swimmer and proud mama, this speaks to me in so many ways. LOVE this! And congrats to your amazing daughter for giving it her all throughout the season. She deserves every honor and praise, and so do you!! Children learn from their parents’ examples, and you are setting a fabulous example for your girl!

  10. Jennifer Newton says

    I am so happy she had found her gift!! What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing this God story surrounded by perseverance, determination and joy. Love you both!!!

    • says

      AW!!!! You are SO SWEET to come by and share in this precious moment with me Jen!!! It was amazing… I was and am so proud of her shining His light on others!! What on earth could be better? 🙂 (MISS YOU!!!)

    • says

      I know I KNOW!!! Amazing really, isn’t it? I am SOOOO glad you shared this moment with me!! I just love seeing your beautiful face and words on my blog again, dear friend!! 🙂

    • says

      It was by far her greatest moment- and therefore MINE!!! Oh, to see how God works through us- and around us and in us… there is nothing more beautiful here on earth!!!

      I am so glad you came by to celebrate this moment with me!!! 🙂

  11. says

    How did you hold the camera so steady?? I’d be SOBBING! Heck, I nearly am. As soon as that instructor started losing it, so did I.
    A testament to you and to God’s work.
    Well done, really.

    • says

      You can’t hear me sniffling and holding back from sobbing and falling to the ground on my knees crying out to God in PRAISE for my baby finally earning her reward for such a hard earned life- her light exudes all around, and she finally was recognized for it! Oh my mother’s heart!!! 🙂

    • says

      She is amazing… I remember when we were driving her to the hospital when she was two TWO and I was crying in despair and fear as she was panting desperate for air and a fever of 105.9. She whispered from the back car seat “It’s okay mommy.” Oh my heart. The spirit she has always had- it must come from GOD. 🙂

  12. says

    Crying!! This is so beautiful! Its no surprise that your daughter has this kind of character! Look at how much she blessed all those around her. She’s shining her light so bright!

  13. says

    Where is that darned kleenex when you need it? What an incredible story of perseverance and passion. Cassidy spreads her joy to other people and inspires them. You have an amazing daughter. I can’t wait to hear more about her journey and I’m so glad you were able to be at such a special celebration. I will eagerly be awaiting the next part of the series.

    • says

      Oh Jennifer, thank you SOOO much for celebrating this moment with me and Cass!!!! I absolutely am so grateful you came by and touched that you will follow the story next Friday!!!! YAY!! Just wait- there’s more… 😉

  14. says

    WOW!!! I had to go get a kleenex before I could see enough to type this!! Cassidy sounds like an incredible young lady!! You should be so very proud!!
    I’m sorry that she (and you) have been through so much – I hope that it is all behind y’all now!!

    • says

      It has been a very long exhausting road that has led us here…. and I still can’t believe we are HERE. Healthy. Happy. And so richly blessed!!!

    • says

      It was a moment where God rewarded my daughter with His Love and Light for a hard earned life and her sharing and showing His Reflection in her words and actions and heart…

      What on earth could possibly be better than that? Mmm… just amazing.

      Thank you SO much for coming by and celebrating this moment with us, Ferly!!!

    • says

      I really couldn’t be more proud of her- at that moment, it was like her entire life came full circle and she FINALLY got her reward for such hardships… it was surreal. I am still amazed and so deeply blessed by it all!!

  15. says

    I haven’t cried this much since they forgot the cheese on my Whopper at Burger King.

    Chris, Cass is the kid we all want on our team. She is the kid we remember years later, when we lose a tournament or have parental discord or find frustration in a kid with talent and little drive.

    She’s the one I’ll draft every time.

    She’ll inspire other players/swimmers with her heart and enthusiasm. She reminds us why we do this. Why we play, why we coach. I can see that she is a reminder to her teammates of why they are there.

    And truly, she’s your legacy, Chris. I’m so proud of her.

  16. says

    Where do I begin?

    My heart is bursting.

    My tears are flowing.

    I am inspired and encouraged and moved beyond words.

    Your daughter is an inspiration, beautiful, amazing, enduring, & a wonderful role model.

    but then again, so are you. So are you.

    When I see observe something like this, it makes me look at GOD and say “You Are Alive. You Keep Your Promises.”

    O’, I shall think of this all day long.


    • says

      I believe I have read your comment 427 times now- and cry every single time. Your words are so powerful and the deep passion and love and gratitude that comes from you is unmistakeably a gift.

      Thank you for pouring your gift on me and my precious daughter. I am so BLESSED, knowing you- and I am thanking God for our new-found friendship!! XOXO

  17. says

    What a great video! You have an amazing daughter which I suspect, has something to do with her amazing mom. How touching it is when our kids become our heroes. Thank you for sharing.

    • says

      Oh thanks SO much Laurie!!! You know what makes me the proudest is that she really did this all by herself- she has officially been launched out into the world and so far, I am AMAZED at the light she shines. I thank God for it every day. 🙂

  18. says

    I had a feeling this was going to be good. I just didn’t know how good. Here I sit, smiling ear to ear, tears in my eyes and joy in my heart. Nothing makes me happier than stories like this. This is simply the best! You give Cassidy a great big hug and a way to go from me!

  19. says

    It has been a really long time since a blog post has made me cry. Reading your post was getting to me, but watching those coaches talk about her put me over the edge. Clearly your daughter is a special girl, inspiring so many people at such a young age.
    You are right. Character always wins.
    Thank you, thank you for linking this up with us.

    • says

      I told Lizzi I was going to try to stick 10 “Thank you God”s in there to make it fit just right!!!! I decided that the story itself was worth ten! I checked with the boss and she approved it! 😉

      I just love that through this link up, we are becoming fast friends Christine! (I mean, really- with our same names and all…) 😉

  20. says

    Chris, how gorgeous. And I know that Cassidy gets her strength and determination from her mom–a WONDERFUL example of a godly woman. Go Cassidy, and keep doing what you’re doing, Chris 🙂

  21. says

    You. Made. Me. CRY!!

    I NEVER cry.

    What an incredible story. As a person with a chronic illness and a daughter with asthma who swims to control it, I feel your pride. We watched Esther Williams in Million Dollar Mermaid this weekend (it’s an old movie) about Annette Kellerman. You would both love it.

    My heart brims with gratitude for you both. God is good ALL the time.

    • says

      I am going to get that movie at the library TODAY!!! I am SO glad you told me about it! Cass and I will love it, I’m sure!! XO

      And- well, I’m kinda well, very, well TOTALLY EXCITED this story pushed some rusty buttons for ya! Let it all out, girl!

  22. says

    Oh wow, I have tears in my eyes. I was just complaining earlier about the cold and having to go to work and all that crap then I saw this and it was like a slap in the face. Clearly, I needed to see this video. Thank you. The coaches did great and I am pretty sure your little girl was very happy about the award.

  23. says

    Thank you for sharing that with us, Chris -amazing. Cassidy is certainly her mother’s daughter, full of light and positive energy. What an awesome way on start my Monday!

  24. Rosslyn says

    I cried and cried listening to these comments her coaches made! From the moment we met her when she and Brooke were only a few months old, she was such a special girl to us. Even when she was 2 and 3, I always knew–this girl will never be mean to anyone. She is sweet and kind to the core. God has given her a special blessing in her nature. Thank you for nurturing her and helping her keep that warm and loving heart.

    • says

      I just walked in the door from taking Cass to swimming- saw this and read it to her!

      Your words are so kind, Rosslyn. Thank you so much dear friend! I wish you could have been my neighbor through the really hard years… her medical issues got much worse. (Way too much to share here) BUT she is miraculously WELL now, in every way possible!!!

      I am so glad you can see her shine through this story. I love how you love her heart. XO

  25. says

    I’m so glad you got the head’s up to be there (without them giving anything away) and didn’t miss such an amazing tribute to your daughter! Congratulations to all of you.
    (Is it bad that a little bit of me was hoping someone would fall in the pool at the end of the video?)

  26. Candice says





    • says

      I thought of you when I put this together!! I remember by the washing machine you watching it… It was definitely a defining moment. I am so glad I wrote about it- to preserve it. 🙂

      I will show her your comment tomorrow!! She will love it- but funny, she is embarrassed about this post and seems to cringe at all the attention. Bless her heart.

  27. says

    How special and precious. What a proud mama moment! That reminds me of my time at summer camp. I was a terrible athlete but having loving, encouraging councilors, much like your coaches, made all the difference.

    • says

      It was such a God thing to have a coach that understood what it was like to have medical issues and AND she was a CHRISTIAN to BOOT!!! We bonded so much oer the summer and are still in touch. She is a precious soul, and I know God’s Hand was all over it!

  28. says

    I read your post earlier, but didn’t get a chance to comment. So you know I’ve been chomping at the bit to get over here! Oh Chris!! This post had me crying!! Our babies are so precious to us! When they go through, we go through! BUT oh when they flourish in what God has purposed for them…that is our greatest JOY! What a blessing for your sweet Cassidy! I swear that girl is just like her momma…always giving and looking out for others! You and your husband did it right Chris…do know that God is smiling! 🙂 Love you to pieces girl!! xoxoxo

  29. says

    WOW Cassidy!!!!! Of course Cassidy is the recipient of this award. . .her Mommy obviously taught her well and that anything is possible with God leading the way.
    I am sooo proud of my granddaughter! Am I surprised? No, but I am so proud of her!! I look forward to getting to know Cassidy as she grows.
    What a great thing to have on tape, Chrissy. So glad you were there! I love you, Cassidy; GO CASSIDY!

  30. says

    Awe, I love it.

    I wish there were more videos of kids/young people like this out there because most of them are really good kids like these, but we’re always being exposed to the ones who are getting into trouble. My daughter is 10, so I especially loved this.

    My own 4 year old is sort of sickly, but not sick with anything major. I’m hoping he grows out of it though and shines in some endeavor like your girl has! Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      There are a ton of good kids out there, I’m with you on that! I bet your daughter and my daughter would get along just fine! Heck, we could all hang and have a great time! (Bring Bacardi, not Bud Light please!)

      I hope your son grows out of whatever his ailments are- my son struggled with asthma as well- and he is TOTALLY healthy now. I imagine with a dad like his, he will shine. XO

    • says

      I really believe that was God’s gift packaged perfectly in her. The light in all of this, shines through. Always has, no matter how sick she was. The girl has always rebounded, beamed, and grabbed at life with a smile.

  31. says

    Awww! Such a touching story. Our children can inspire us in so many ways. Congrats to both you and Cassidy! Your story touched my heart so much that I decided to share it in my weekly “This Should Go Viral” series on my blog. Great going mom!

    • says

      Keesha! What a wonderful surprise to see such a beautiful comment on this story! Thank you so very much for reading it and appreciating it as much as I do. 🙂 I’m so grateful you shared it in your weekly series. I’ll have to go check it out!

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