10 years

Dear Wren and Lydia,

Tomorrow marks 10 years since your dad left this world. I can’t believe it’s been that long already. So many changes…so many different people have come into our lives, we’ve traveled, moved, added family, lost a few close friends and family, you’ve graduated, lived in a foreign country…just so many changes.

Life is strange the way time seems to stand still when it’s at its hardest points and then amazingly enough keeps moving forward regardless. Nothing stays the same.

There have been too many changes for me to list really.

This is good…for the most part, it means we’ve kept living fully alive. We haven’t pulled the shades and packed it in. We’ve made the choices along the way to keep living and moving forward. (Maybe an occasional pause to regather…but always upward and onward.)

But it does mean, the distance between your dad and you feels greater with each passing year. I feel it too.

I can tell you this…at the age you two are now, 18 and 20, these are years and memories that I have forever etched in my memory of your dad and I. And even though you haven’t been around him in 10 years…it’s amazing to me how much of him you carry within you. Just pure dna I guess.

Wren the way you’ve started running sound at our church and playing on the worship team, the way you’ve gotten into your new millennial group and are volunteering to serve regularly, these things are all reminders to me of who your dad was.

Lydia the way you’ve embraced Ecuador, serving, a different culture, independence, and opened your heart down there the past 3 months makes me think of your dad and his missions trip to Nicaragua. He absolutely loved that trip. And I know he would’ve done more if he had more time to do so. He would be so proud of the experience you’ve just had.

Ironically enough…you are coming home on the 10th anniversary of his death. So many emotions for you this week Lydia. I think you might just need to sleep all weekend at home just to recover!

Wren today you got a tattoo on the back of you neck that is beautiful. Simply “I love you Lauren, Dad”, in his writing. It seems so good for me to read those words on your neck and see your dad’s handwriting. Love it.

This life is not what I planned. It’s not what your dad planned. But…it’s life. And this life is still profoundly beautiful and sacred, probably even more so because we’ve all experienced loss.

Nothing is meant to be taken for granted. Not a single day.

For today and always I want you to know that although I’m always moving forward, changing and growing, living fully alive…I will never forget your dad and how much I love him.

Some day he and I are going to have a whole lot to catch up on.

In the meantime God is my Redeemer. Here and now.

When your dad died I had the verse “I will never leave you or forsake you” etched in my heart and mind. It got me through, just that promise of God’s presence in my life. He has been and will always be enough.

But let me tell you…the fact that He has brought Dane to our family, to be a dad to you two and a husband to me is nothing less than miraculous. I will always be grateful for the way God has taken broken dreams and created beauty regardless. This is something that only God can do. He is my Healer. Yours too.

I’ve watched you two adjust the past 3 years to having Dane in our lives. The first year was really tough. We can all admit it. It was just hard. The second year a little bit better. The third year has been a breath of fresh air. Mainly because you’ve let go and fallen into the love that is there waiting for you. We’ve become a family. These things take time.

You lost a huge part of your hearts and lives on May 5, 2007. Your dad didn’t choose it, didn’t want it that way, but that’s how it went down.

Today…I mainly just want you to know that I haven’t forgotten. I never will. Your loss is different from mine. I had my dad until just this past year. I guess I just want to encourage you to live each day fully present and aware. I want to help you relax and trust that God has good plans for you, plans you can’t even imagine right now. And I want you to know that God is actively redeeming everything, here and now and/or in heaven. Either way….He cares, you matter to Him and honestly girls…your dad’s love for you is big enough that no matter where he is I know he’s pulling for you.

Can you even imagine how much he can pray to Jesus directly face to face on your behalf? How cool is that? Who knows how aware of your life he is…maybe God gives him a glimpse. We don’t know. I just know the kind of love your dad has for you is not bound by this earth and it’s limitations. I think we just have to trust that someday it will be clear and redeemed.

In the mean time…I am so grateful for you two. You are my daughters but you are also my best friends. And I am so grateful for the family we’ve created in our old home here in Alton the four of us…learning how to love one another well.

I love you girls. All is at rest. All is well. We can trust God…always.

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Girls and Mark at camp

Love your momma who wishes you didn’t have to have this kind of loss so young…but knows that it’s helped to shape you into the remarkable young women you are. For that I’m grateful and I know your dad would be so proud of you two. (I’m just gonna say…he is…present tense 🙂

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