Well, I’m a day early. Tomorrow (Sunday) marks 9 months since I lost the physical presence of Annette in my life. It is still completely surreal, it still hurts, it’s still an adjustment, it is still real. I continue to acknowledge that I don’t like God’s plan from my close-up, short distance vision. BUT, I continue to hold tighter than ever to the faith that His Heavenly plan is so perfect, so much better than I will ever be able to understand until I’m with Him and it all makes such complete sense.
There are still many firsts to come, and I’m just walking through each one. There are waves that hit at times when I least expect them, like while I was grocery shopping last evening. Such a silly thing, but we had lots of fun doing that together. I’d continue to try to add things to our cart, she would make sure we had the things we needed, we’d sing along to the classic songs playing, last night it was “Escape (the Pina Colada Song)!” I was fine as I walked up and down the aisles, then, somewhere around the dairy section, it just hit me. It was like we were there shopping together, and I just smiled and remembered so many more of the things I loved about nights like last night. Probably didn’t help the recovery any while Brian and I sat and watched “Must Love Dogs” together. It was a tough night, but a really good night.
Brian has settled right into 11th grade, and his teachers are all familiar to him and with him. I met them at “Meet the Teacher Night,” which was another tough “first,” but ended up being another good night. Michael is making some really good progress at the Ranch. Brian and I will go see him at the end of this month, and then he will come home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas…hopefully for good soon after the New Year!
I am doing really well overall. I continue to walk through each day, to rely on the Lord like never before. A good friend encouraged me long ago in this process to “lean into it,” which is what I try to do most days. I am finally to a point of feeling more and more like myself, even though it is a different “me” than I’ve ever known, and ever thought I’d know. I’m able to make some plans a little further out than a few days, which was very hard to do for much of the first six months. I’m excited about the chance to go to India with Gospel for Asia in February, and we will be taking our Senior High Youth to Jamaica next June (NOT at a Resort area!). God continues to show me small snippets of His plan at a time, which He knows is all I can really process at this time. Patience is NOT a strong point of mine, but wow, has He shown me the necessity of it over the past nine months!!
I would ask that you continue to lift the up the boys and myself in prayer. I pray often to be the Godly man, dad and pastor that He has called me to be. He reminds me constantly that His mercies are new every morning, and that He has a plan for me that He is slowly unfolding. Right now, His plan is for me to grow in Him, to be the dad that I need to be to my boys, and to just rest in Him, walk with Him, lean into my situation in Him, and let Him control my today and my future. I do it ok some days…some days I fall flat on my face…some days I lose focus of the fact that He is leading. I know that whatever is in my future, it is good, right and part of His perfect plan. I have some strong, Godly people in my life who help hold me spiritually accountable in the decisions I make and in how I’m walking in general. I so appreciate the friends who have been walking this walk beside me, sometimes pulling me along, sometimes knocking me in the head, sometimes just crying with me. You know who you are, whether you live five miles away or somewhere far away, just know that your notes, cards, texts, emails and most definitely your prayers are appreciated more than I could ever adequately express. I know it’s hard, awkward, and even uncomfortable at times to walk this walk, but again, thank you for being willing to walk it with my family. I have learned how times like can really bring out true friendship and love for others in some people, many who I never expected!
Until the next update,