Tough Love Saved Cassie

How the Bernalls helped Cassie break with old friends and build a new life.

In her book She Said Yes (Plough), Misty Bernall calls her slain daughter, Cassie, an "unlikely martyr." That is because to her and her husband, Brad, Cassie was first and foremost a teen. Like most blossoming adolescents, Cassie struggled with heady issues of faith and witness while wishing she could shed a few pounds and that the boys in her youth group would notice her. Her silken blond hair turned heads, while her wardrobe preferences included oversized jeans, a camouflage tank top, and "her beloved black velvet Doc Martens, which she wore rain or shine, even with dresses," notes her mother in the book.

Cassie's earlier detour to the dark side is well documented. For a brief but excruciating season of rebellion, according to a friend cited in Misty's book, " 'She told me that she had like given her soul to Satan. … She said, "There's no way I can love God." ' " What is less known, however, are the struggles Cassie encountered after she had been delivered from these dark forces and walked in new life in Christ.

Brad Bernall is employed at Lockheed Martin, and Misty is on leave from Lock heed Martin's Titan finance group. On April 20, 1999, they and their son, Chris, 15, woke up to a normal world; by lunchtime, their world had shattered. There were moments they wondered what would have happened if Cassie had said no when her killers asked, "Do you believe in God?" But with the muzzle of a gun pressed against her head, Cassie paused, then answered with a decisive yes. According to her mom, Cassie said yes to God every postconversion day of her short life.

When did you learn that Cassie's killer asked her if she believed in God before he shot ...

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