It just doesn't seem possible that it's been ten months since my life was altered for as long as I will live on this side of heaven, but it has been ten months. Ten months since I held her hand, heard her say she loved me, made dinner together with her, talked about our dreams, worshiped by her side, prayed with her, and the list seems endless. It is a terrible pain to miss the person I have been closest to and loved more than any other for so long and so deeply. But, I wouldn't change a single thing about our love for each other that causes it to hurt so badly now. I pray that everyone would have a love in their lives that, were they to be parted by death, would leave such pain as I am feeling. The hard times are a little more spread out now, but they are deeper when they hit, and I continue to just walk through them and grow.
Someone asked me recently what I attributed our great relationship to, and it was an easy answer for me. Our friendship (we just plain liked each other), our ability to let stuff go, our affection for one another, our desire to always try to please the other (we knew each other's "love language"), and above all else, these were ALL rooted deeply in our love for the Lord.
I feel that through this past month, I've gained more clarity in my life than I've had since last December. I finally have been able to plan more than a few days or weeks out. I'm able to read more than just a sentence or two and actually comprehend without several re-reads! God has taught me so much about myself over the past ten months...some things that I don't like and am working through, and some things that I never thought I would be able to do, He's shown me that I can. I am learning a lot about my boys, and praise God that they are both growing and maturing in Him and in life. Brian and I are actually headed out to see Michael earlier this week, and he is doing great at the Ranch. He should graduate his program in late January or at least by mid-February. Brian is having a great junior year so far, and I can't say enough positives about the teachers and staff at Dallastown High!! I have postponed my trip to India with Gospel for Asia since Michael will be coming home around the time I would've been going, and we will need to all three be together when he comes home.
My church, Mason Dixon Baptist, has been nothing short of phenomenal as we are all walking this journey together. Annette is missed by so many more people than just me and my family. Even though I know this, I realize that I don't always acknowledge it the best. I've read that this happens with the grief process, and adding the fact that I'm just a slow man to the equation explains it even more. Thank you for the continuous notes, texts, calls and cards...it seems like every one comes right when I need them!
I'll close this ten month update with this thought. When God called Annette home last December, my girl was ready and left nothing in her life undone. Yes, there was some laundry and silly things waiting for me to finish, but as far as living her life and loving those around her and being a true reflection of Christ...it was all done and done WELL!! This has been part of my prayer life for the past few weeks, to make sure I'm living in a way that gets the most out of life on this side of heaven so that I'm ready when it's my time to go where Annette is already.
I am looking forward to getting through this first year and especially through Christmas. Last year was pretty much a blur as Annette's awesome dad, Linden, went to be with the Lord just days before Christmas. I'm not ashamed to admit that I had my first listen of the season of Michael Buble's Christmas album yesterday and today...I can hear Annette sighing now as she was playfully annoyed with me last October when I started listening to it!
I do so appreciate the prayers and thoughts for me and the boys. I'm striving to be the Godly man, dad and pastor that I'm called to be, and I will take all the prayers I can get!! I've been reminded by some good friends that God has given me a special ministry that I never planned on or wanted, but He continues to bring others in my path who are walking this same, hard journey. I have said that I don't want to walk through this just to walk through it, I want God to use it for His Kingdom and His glory.
Until next month's journey update,