What a strange stage of life’s journey we are walking. It seems as if every day is a series of dichotomies…great visits with my family, which bring with them waves of sorrow. I love sitting and sharing stories about Annette, and yet it’s still so hard. I love being with Betty (Annette’s awesome mom) and talking about Annette and Linden, but again, there is still such great sorrow as we miss those two incredible people who were so influential to our lives. I miss Annette every single day, in everything I see and do, and yet I am praying for God’s timing to bring the right person into my life who will accept me, the boys, the ministry, and just the general craziness of our lives. Like I said…dichotomies!
Tomorrow we are heading to the annual ceremony for the Gift of Life Organ Donation organization. There will be families represented of those who have given and received organ donations within the past year. There is a special part of the ceremony in which we will pin a quilting square onto a large quilt that the organization will use in different ways. We were allowed to design and create Annette’s square, and I am thrilled with how ours turned out as a special lady in our church was able to embroider the square. The design is a picture that Annette loved, and actually wanted to have tattooed on her wrist for our 20th anniversary this year (I know, you may gasp at that…she wanted us both to get tattoos!!). I added part of Matthew 25:20, which is a phrase that I know my sweet girl heard the Lord say as she entered into His Kingdom.
Brian and I will leave right from the ceremony in Harrisburg and head toward Illinois where we will spend the week with Michael in Chicago. We’re going to see the Lighting of the Tree, go to the Ringling Brother’s Circus, and just enjoy our time together. We are all three super excited about the week, and even though I’ll miss being with the whole family, I’m glad it will be completely different than any other year for our first one without Annette and Linden.
I so appreciate the prayers of our friends, family, and those who have just heard our story and followed it for the past 11-1/2 months. Over the past few weeks, I have felt a ramping up of emotions as we approach the first Thanksgiving without, and the one year mark for both Annette, then Linden going to be with the Lord. But through all the waves, God is continually faithful and carries me when I can’t move forward on my own. I love listening to Christmas music and reminiscing about the MANY sing-a-longs Annette and I shared over our 20 years together, and I can’t wait to make cookies and decorate the house when we get home next week. I have pretty much been a Hallmark Channel addict for the past few weeks…DON’T JUDGE ME!! I love the cheesiness, the romance (I never realized how many of these movies have Widows/Widowers!!), and I only miss snuggling up by my girl to watch them together. I will still watch “White Christmas” someday very soon, I’ll still watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I’ll still watch the Michael Buble Christmas Special, and I’ll still miss Annette terribly through every one of these awesome things. But, God is healing, He is filling, He is leading, and that’s all I need…I’m trusting His plan. It’s not going to be an easy holiday season, but I pray we will keep Him as the focus above and through our hurt for those who aren’t with us.
And I just want to say one more thing…if you are married, please take time to work on your marriage. If you don’t think you need to work on it, you’re already in trouble. Tell your spouse how much you love them…remember the things that made you fall in love with them, and focus on those things. And, most importantly, put Christ at the center of your marriage. I would give anything to spend another day with Annette as my wife. I know that it’s very easy to take your marriage for granted, but please, right now, work on it. None of us are promised our next breath, and I was so blessed to share in each of Annette’s breaths, right up to her last one. I pray that you can all make your marriages special, and that you will put the work into your marriage that it takes to make it strong. I would not change one thing about what made our marriage and our life together so good, while making the hurt so deep and hard without her!! The pain I feel without Annette is because of the incredible bond we shared together, rooted in Christ, lived out together, and I wouldn’t change it. I can’t do anything more, but if you are reading this and are married, please…well, I already said it above.
Until my next rambling….