Happy Birthday My Love! The kids and I were on Mustang Island with Mom, Paul and the cousins on your special day and had a great time, although not sure if you would have made it as all 8 of us stayed in the pop up camper, can you say family bonding, ha!
You would have been 43 this birthday and as I sat on the beach which was one of your favorite places I couldn't help but miss you wishing that you were sitting there beside me soaking in Gods beauty. Then I was reminded you are not a casual observer of Gods beauty but an active participant in His presence, WOW!! Now that is an awesome thought! So how could I ever want to take you away from that?
With that being said I wanted to take this birthday to tell you THANK YOU...
- For being an amazing, loving, engaging, relational man! I realize even more now that you are gone the reason you touched so many lives is because you had a way of making everybody you came in contact with feel that you genuinely loved and cared about them and their life. Not only did you love, adore and care about me and our children but you cared deeply for everyone like JESUS did!!
- For all the times you encouraged me to be more! The way you challenged me to share my faith even when I was nervous, afraid or scared or felt like I may be rejected. It was your example and encouragement that gave me the courage to share the gospel with many I know I would not have done so if you had not prayed for me and gently challenged me to share fearlessly and with boldness! I know that I would not have traveled to places like Venezuela, Peru, Haiti and Mexico to share with the people there if it wasn't for your leadership and encouragement!
- For believing me as a women, wife and mother. I always knew you were destined for greatness as your larger than life, charismatic personality shined even in the darkness BUT I was unsure of my calling yet you made me believe in my God given abilities and lovingly pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and helped me be a better women, wife and Mom.
- For the way you always treated me with respect and for the way you loved, valued and adored me. You were my protector and would have died for me had you been asked to which seems like a crazy thought but that is how I felt. You were my prince!
- For the way you loved our children. Oh I cannot tell you the incredible mark you have left in their hearts and lives. The way you spent time with them! I am so grateful for the incredible memories they will have to cherish forever! Many kids with Dads still alive cannot say that.
- For loving and serving Jesus fearlessly and boldly! Even on your last day, you were SHARING JESUS and being His hands and feet to the people of Joplin, you not only talked the talk but you walked the walk. Oh how proud I was to be your wife!
I think back to past birthdays and am grateful that I had the privilege of sharing the past 24 birthdays with you, what incredible memories I have of celebrating life to the fullest. Some of favorites include being on mission trips and having the sweet friends in Peru, Haiti and Mexico sing you, "Happy Birthday" to you and on a few occasions they even made you a special cake. Do you remember your 30th? I threw a Disco 70's party at the Hangar and everyone went to Rose Costume, rented authentic 70's attire and came in the craziest and most groovy 70's outfits, I seem to remember lots of zip up boots and Afros. We were Sony and Cher and even sang "I Got You Babe", I need to dig out those pictures, some great memories!!
Well Babe, I guess you got your ultimate birthday wish and I know you are having one HUGE party up there. I know it is not time to join you yet although I can honestly say I do sometimes wish it was. Know that the kids and I are doing better and better. Not as good as we were before you died but better than we were and I know that you want us to live, love and Live For More! I am trying and I continually ask God, "What next?" I know part of my pain is being turned in passion to share our story and help others who are hurting realize that even though life can throw you a curve ball or should I say a life changing injury, the game is not over! I realize that your voice and message still needs to be told. I admired your passion and zeal for Jesus, others and life and I know I am not you but I want to be more like you in that way! I am praying and seeking God daily to show me in spite of my broken heart and grief how I can be used. I want to continue to be a part of His plan. To be an active part. I feel like this may have sidelined me for a time but I am ready to get back in the game. I am praying, seeking and moment by moment trusting God for next steps.
Oh how I think of you almost most of my days yet I don't cry as often so either my tear ducts are finally running dry, lol =) or I am actually healing more and more. I celebrated the 4th of July today for the first time in 25 years without you. You LOVED the 4th and were truly one of the most patriotic men I ever knew. Another reason I loved and admired you so! You never missed an opportunity to say, "thank you" to a man or women in uniform. Just thinking about your love of God and country makes me smile still. Also, lastly I am still learning from you! Today I heard a message you taught last July on Freedom. You said, "Pain helps tune our hearts and ears toward God!" I am asking God to help me be tuned into the correct frequency!!
Good bye for now... until we meet again in Heaven I will Live For More!!
Your birthday in Haiti, 2010