Dear Head -Over- Heels, 18 Year Old Me…



letter correction

Dear head over heals 18 year old me,

Your world is anything but normal right now. Being homeschooled for 12 years and now in college with people to talk to every day! This is a whole new adventure for you. You’ve made friends, you are singing in the praise team, you’re making great grades…except in Greek, but that’s ok, you’ll see that the internet will help with that late!  For probably the first time ever, boys are noticing you. Yes, this is Bible College and you can sing and play the piano, so they probably just see you as a good fit for their church pianist, but it is still flattering, right? Listen to your heart though. You know who you want to spend the rest of your life with.  He is the one with the laugh that makes you smile every time you hear it and it rings in your mind when you are not near him. You do all you can to sit by him in chapel and then stare at his hands hoping that one day they will reach and grab yours.

Remember that time you took that 1 day missions trip to a near by town and he talked to you the whole way? You talked about his favorite movies (which included Ever After and you were so impressed) and he made you feel like he was having the best time with you? One of the first times you got to really talk with him, he told you about how he moved his senior year and how he got to this college but you felt pain for him because in his eyes he let you see a little of his heart. You were right, he is hurting. Give him some time. He will tell you about it.

Derrick in college

As you sat outside today on the metal chairs with the noises of the Downtown Dallas traffic, you opened your heart and poured it out before God. You wrote to Him, asking for His guidance in these new adventures in life. You asked for patience with the desires that were forming in your heart and that is where Derrick’s name first appeared. You told God about him and about how if it be His will, he was the man you wanted to spend your life with. I can hear your passion and yet see your anxiousness. You barely know him right now and yet you struggle to get your mind off of him.  Can I just give you a little glimpse into the next 13 years and what God has in store for you and this boy?

A little over a year from now you will finally be an official couple. You make some turns, look into dating a few other guys but Derrick remains your best friend through it all and best of all, he fights to make you his. Letter’s, flowers, candy, double dates and late night phone calls…all this he does to try to spend every minute he can buy, with you. Your heart lies in his hands through it all but it is not until July of 2002 that you choose the path that at the time broke the heart of one but in the end, brought you into the arms of your soon to be husband and Father of your babies.

Almost a year and a half of dating passes. You are completely taken by every inch of this boy; His eyes, his smile, the spontaneous fun he brings. When he talks you soak up every breath and when you he holds you, you thank God for giving you this gift. You now live over an hour away from each other but that doesn’t stop him or you from making the trips work. It is not always easy and sometimes you know your parents aren’t thrilled but you spend every chance you get together. You’ve finally had your first kiss, Your first “I love yous” and now you are talking about what a wedding will look like.


December 5th, 2003….That is the day he asks you to marry him. He is going to ask you on a date. He will take you to Papasitos and you will think it odd that you are sitting so close to the front.  It seems to be the worst seat in the restaurant. He orders an appetizer, walks to the back for what seems like longer than needed and returns nervous. He is nervous because he just gave the letter to the waiter that will ask the biggest question of his life. The waiter will come to the table with a platter, lift the silver dome and there will be your ring with the most important letter you will ever receive.  Of course, you say yes!!


June 26, 2004…no time to waste, this is your wedding day! Every detail was perfect! Breathtaking Hydrangea, illuminating candles, wedding party dressed in lavender and sage, bows on every pew and a unity candle that wouldn’t light for anything! Music is playing, some of your most loved vocalist are singing, hand in hand his father gives blessings to your life. The unity candle fiasco is resolved now. He grabs a microphone and your hand. The music flows out of his mouth and tears fill your eyes. “Tomorrow morning if you wake up and the sun does not appear, I will be here” No moment could compare to this between the two of you as you stare into the eyes of the man that will guide you through the rest of your life.

2004-06-26 Cassandra & Derrick 1652004-06-26 Cassandra & Derrick 211 2004-06-26 Cassandra & Derrick 232

Onto the honeymoon! You have no idea where you are going. It is all part of his plan and surprise and this is exactly one reason why you chose this guy to spend your life with. He makes each new turn fun and exciting!  Board the plan, miss your connecting flight, land in Cali, sleep on the Queen Mary. The next morning you get on the jet boat and you’re on Catalina Island! This truly will be a moment in life you will always dream of and long to return to.  Take in every second. Don’t waste a minute…Oh! and that silly argument you’ll have the morning before you leave…just shut your mouth, he is trying to surprise you again!


Now for your lives together. Here is where the real fun begins. Your first year is full of so much love, romance and sweet memories. You live in the cutest little apartment and together you are enjoying ministry and all that comes with it. Do not take these days of joy for granted because some big waves are headed your way.

The next few years are pretty rocky ahead. Honestly, if I told you the details, you’d probably get right up from that metal chair in the middle of college and look a different direction. Truth is, you’d be making a big mistake. The rocky path ahead is going to bring you to a place in your marriage that you would not come to on your own. God wants to use what is about to happen to you for His good and perfect will.

I will tell you this, your heart is going to break. It will break in ways you never thought possible. You will have pain you never want to feel again and there will be times you will question what you did to deserve this. I urge you, stay strong. Stand beside this man you love so dearly. He will not look, talk or act the same. He will not be your security or even the one you can run to for a little while BUT do not give up on him. He is hurting. He has let the lies of the devil overcome his life and this is not about you. Pray for him, encourage him…do not enable him!  LOVE HIM.  People you care about very deeply will give you faulty advice. God has not revealed to them the plan he has for Derrick and your marriage. Thank them but stand firm in what God has revealed to you. I promise, you will see the man you love come out in him again. It will just be a few years.

Until then, your baby girl is on the way! It is April 2009 and she will be here any day!! Your heart is heavy but you have never felt more excited!  With Mackezie Grae God will bring hope. Through her you will find the strength to continue what seems impossible in your marriage. What you don’t know is that this year, God will begin to get the victory in your husband’s life. This year is the beginning of the husband and Father God has called him to be. You will begin to feel more angry as he grows spiritually. You won’t understand it. You will see a counselor together and some of the biggest arguments you have ever had will start.  You will hate who you are becoming and you will not understand your aggression. Again, continue on. Work through it. Trust God. Never stop praying! You’ve been married 5 years now! I promise, the next 5 years will be better!


2011 brings the most beautiful blue eyed firecracker you’ve ever seen. Ember Noel is born and your marriage is even brighter at this point. You are working through conflict differently. Derrick is taking many steps to overcome his obstacles. You are beginning to trust again and by the time your sweet son, Sawyer James appears in 2013 you will honestly be able to say that you love him more than you did the day you married him.

That brings us to today, June 26th, 2014. Happy 10 year anniversary! I don’t really think many people thought you would see this day. God did though. He knew His plan and He kept His promise. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. The best news is, He is not done. It isn’t over yet! There are still many good days and yet still some sad days ahead but each one carries a promise. All things work together for good to them that love God and to those that are called according to His purpose. That is just it, there is a purpose for you and Derrick as one. You are not perfect, He is not perfect but together, you are perfect for each other. In each trial, God will give you what you need to make it through and to encourage one another to the next step.

laughing together

If you would have listened to the advice of others or would have chosen to step away from the marriage when your love needed you the most, look what you would have missed! There would be no Ember, no Sawyer, no nights where you laugh for hours and hours. You wouldn’t be able to look into his eyes and see deeper than you did that first day your eyes met his. His laugh would not continue to bring joy and you would miss out on the complete overflowing love you feel when you watch your children play with their daddy. You would miss the late night discussion of your hearts where you pour out your dreams and hopes to one another. You would miss watching him take ownership of a very high position professionally or take huge steps toward that dream he wants to see come to life.

Thank God EVERY DAY! Praise Him for His faithfulness. You have been given a love that is not perfect, that is messy but is covered in God’s fingerprints. His hands have held you all the way. Today, celebrate this love. Celebrate his hand in yours. Celebrate each kiss, each laugh, each tear. Celebrate this beautiful life you live. Sweet 18 year old girl who is head-over -heels for the blue eyed, brown haired preacher boy….get ready, your in for a beautiful life ahead. Hold tight to his hand and enjoy the ride.

my favorite picture





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