Thursday, January 30, 2014

52 Days ago...

It’s now been 52 days since my sweet Annette went to be with Jesus. In some respects, it seems like it was yesterday when we said “I love you” to one another, for one last time, in the Youth Room at MDBC while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. In other ways, it seems like it has been years since I was able to put my arms around Annette; to take our regular Friday date day and talk about life over lunch at Chipotle; to lay in bed at night and just laugh about something ridiculous one of the boys said or did; to worship and serve our Lord together…I’m sure you get the point.

I cannot express in words (or effectively in any other manner) my thanks for the MANY meals, gift cards for meals out, hugs, texts, emails, Facebook messages, and most importantly, prayers on behalf of me and the boys. We are all three doing well overall, and there have been some truly touching and sincere conversations between the three of us. This, in and of itself, is quite an accomplishment for those of you who know my boys, and it’s a real blessing from the Lord to be able to share His Word and to just remember the MANY memories we have of Annette.

I have been doing well as I continue to adjust to life as I now know it. Most days, the memories that flash through my mind of my sweet little lady are ones that bring a smile to my face, like an 80’s power ballad on the radio that we would belt out together. Today, however, was one of those days that tested me. I was working on completing reimbursements that had been piling up since early December in my office, and as I turned a page, there was the sign-up sheet for our Youth Christmas Outing, which took place on Saturday, December 7, the night before Annette's aneurysm. Annette’s name was second under mine at the top of the list where we typically signed. I sat there for a good three minutes and just stared at her name. I sat there and remembered the awesome time we had with 40 of our best friends/youth from MDBC as we went to Ryan’s Buffet (or “the Trough,” as Annette called it!) and caroling to many of our widows/shut-ins from MDBC. Annette was driving one of the vans, and as we left the last house, we drove around a roundabout. The normal once around wasn’t enough for her, and two times were not enough...Annette proceeded around for a third time, and I could see her laughing like crazy from my van. What an awesome thing she spent her last night on this earth doing…fellowship with great friends, worshiping God by singing songs about Him to those who have lost those closest to them, and just finding fun in the simple-ness of life! It was just like Annette to be concerned about others, to want to spend time with those she was closest to in His name, and to have some spontaneous fun driving around a roundabout like she was dipping into turn four at Bristol Motor Speedway!!! After I had a nice, long cry, I prayed and once again thanked God for the time that He allowed me to have with this incredible lady. I miss her like crazy, but God is bringing glimpses of joy back into my life, and I know that He will continue until my full joy is restored!

Finally, I want to make sure folks have the correct information about the most recent venture for me and the boys. Last Saturday, we went and checked out a foreclosed house in a nearby development (Logan’s Reserve, for our local friends). The boys loved it (as did I), and I decided to put in an offer, which, to my surprise, was accepted!! The home is less than 8 years old, and just needs paint and some flooring replaced. The boys are busy telling EVERYONE that we’re moving, usually leaving off the part about “just to another house in the area.” Sorry if they got anyone riled up! God is so good, and He continues to offer grace sufficient for each day. I have been evaluating a LOT recently about what He has done in my life for the first 43 years, and I am truly excited about what He has in store for the next phase of life. I purpose to live my life for Him whatever the journey, to enjoy every day, and to do all I can so that one day I will hear, as my sweet Annette and her incredible dad, Linden, have already heard, “well done, good and faithful servant!”

Thanks again for all you are doing for us! MDBC, thanks for being the church that you are called to be, and for providing enough food to feed a third world country! Pastor Terry Felton, my Senior Pastor (ten years my junior!), and one of my best friends is leading MDBC exceptionally well through this season. I received a special surprise from our good friends at Stewartstown Baptist today, as they delivered a container full of packages of candy bars, some fresh baked cookies, and a BUNCH of cards from their members. The coolest thing was the huge stack of homemade cards that their Awana Clubbers wrote and colored for us…some of it was not necessarily the stuff of theological textbooks, but what a great feeling it was to read the prayers of these precious children on behalf of me and the boys…good job Pastor Lee Peoples!!

Until our next update…