I am in such awe of God and His faithfulness and His plan for our lives tonight.
I have struggled to be able to put into words what I am feeling and experiencing now. What started with our marriage became so much more. I am filled with such awe and gratitude for so much. My emotions have been a mixture of feelings this week. I feel our loss of Will being physically with us so much this week. But at the same time I am filled with wonder and awe at the amazing gifts, growth, healing and ministry God has brought about through the years we had together as a family with Will here leading us and all the amazing gifts and renewed purpose He is working in me right now…not just for our family but to reach so many with His message of Grace and faithfulness for His glory! There is just so, so much that I am thankful for.
I was chatting with Gina Marie about my struggle to put it all into words in one article tonight. And she suggested that I put it into a series. Her suggestion is a confirmation of what I was feeling led to do and so that is what I will do.
This week is a week has traditionally been a week of celebrating for our family. April 10 is my wedding anniversary with Will and the anniversary of the day we, Will, me, Annelyse, Josh, and Michael, became a family. This week is our third anniversary.
As I prepared for this week to come, I spent a lot of time talking with God about how to celebrate it. For the past two years we have taken a special spring break during this week so that we could have fun together celebrating this special anniversary in our lives so I decided to continue that tradition. Usually Will and I have planned our week together, so it was a bittersweet experience planning it without him here. I am so glad that God cares about every detail of our lives and He was with me as I figured out each day.
This week began with a beautiful opportunity to share my testimony of God’s faithfulness through the accident and be able to share some of the ways God prepared Will and me for this time of change and loss and use it for His Glory. I was able to honor Will in a very special way during my talk last Sunday morning at our church. And our church even had a special fried chicken carry in lunch to celebrate with us!
It was during Sunday that God began to help me to see that He has a new purpose for my life. I am in awe at what He is doing! And as the week progressed He opened my eyes to it even more!
On Monday, I made sure to take our traditional trip to our favorite area park.
I put lunch together in a special vintage, picnic basket that Will and I found at a flea market together last summer and we spent a few hours enjoying the gorgeous weather, each other and our favorite park! While we were there and the boys were playing, I had the beautiful blessing of talking with my mom on the phone for about an hour. We can share and connect on a deeper level together as we shared our amazement at God’s faithfulness and work in our lives through my marriage with Will and then everything we have been through this past nine months and in my mom’s life as well. It was a priceless time talking and sharing together and giving thanks to God for His amazing provision and care. And what a comfort and a joy to be able to talk with her, uninterrupted during this special week.
Later that day, Josh and Michael decided to give me a special gift. Josh found an onion that was sprouting in our pantry and decided to plant it so that they could start a garden for me. I was so touched and blessed by their team work and thoughtfulness in this beautiful gift.
I am so thankful that Will helped me to stop and remember not to take myself too seriously. He was always so great at making all of us laugh with his antics in front of a camera.
On Tuesday we had a board game marathon at home that continued into Wednesday and we toasted Daddy with his favorite cookies, fudge peanut butter no bake cookies. I picked this cookie because it was his favorite cookie that he could no longer eat because of his battle with diabetes…but he can now enjoy in heaven because he has a new body with no more illness or battles with disease. Josh, Michael and I talked about our memories of playing board games with daddy, fight daddy for the mixing bowl after making oatmeal cookies, how Daddy always beat us in Scrabble, how he was teaching Josh to improve his chess game, and so many more.
Then the special memory came up of Uno and how four years ago, Will suggested that Josh, he and Annie play Uno together on Facebook while on the phone together to get to know each other and so Josh could get comfortable with him and connect with him when we weren’t able to be together. (He courted me long distance. We lived about 5 hours apart during the time he courted me.) So we ended the our anniversary day with a few rounds of Uno in Daddy’s honor. It was then that the tears began to come to my eyes. And my boys wrapped their arms around me in comfort.
I had special time with Anneylse this week too. She is so good at making sure she pops up on my Facebook screen to have a private chat. Her schedule has been so crazy over the past several weeks that we had struggled to meet more than once a week, but this week, she carved out time to chat with me several times. She is such a beautiful young woman and I am so, so blessed to have her as my daughter. We were able to remember together but to also talk about her dreams and plans for the future as she prepares to graduate from high school in a month. Priceless time just sharing our hearts together. And she wanted me to know how much she loves us and is with us in spirit this week during our family anniversary week, even though she lives almost two hours from us. What a beautiful gift from a beautiful daughter.
My dad called on Wednesday night to talk with me and encourage me and let me know that they were thinking about me and our kids. Another gift that I treasure.
And then we had a wonderful celebration here on Unwrapping His Grace and we were able to giveaway some wonderful prizes during our Celebration of Marriage Week. Choosing to celebrate our anniversary in this way was a tribute to Will’s special way of doing that same thing for my birthday each year on the blog while he was alive. So you have no idea how much it meant when Josh and I counted up all the entries and there were more than 100 total across all three giveaways! I count each entry as a special gift…just one year ago we could only get three or four for a giveaway. And now you have blessed me more than you know!
My dear friend, Gina Marie, humbled and blessed my heart so much this week with her tribute to my marriage with Will and the ministry God is doing through me here at Unwrapping His Grace. The special gift she led all of you in giving me with so many beautiful, priceless notes of encouragement, love and prayer support filled me with love and awe on Wednesday night when emotions were beginning to overcome me…instead I was overcome with your love and support! God is so faithful!
This afternoon a special gift arrived at my door. A gift from a new friend I met here on Unwrapping His Grace.
They were delivered with a beautiful note letting me know that I am in her prayers and thoughts this week and she wanted to take a moment to encourage me and celebrate this time with me and to let me know that we are in her prayers. (tears) Wow.
God has brought so many amazing women into my life over the time I have been blogging. And blogging was something I knew nothing about four years ago. Will introduced me to his blog and asked me to guest post on it occasionally. That grew to a regular place writing with him. And then, right before we got married…as a wedding gift…he gave me my start on my own blog. He introduced me to a whole new world of ministry and believed in my writing and what God wanted to do through my story before I did. I will always be so thankful to him for that. A gift that brings so much to my life today after he has gone ahead of me to heaven.
Tonight I was humbled and in awe at what I see God doing through this website and Facebook Ministry. In the last 24 hours, we have been blessed to reach people in more than 25 countries! And then I looked at the stats on our Unwrapping His Grace Facebook page and the tears flowed down my cheeks. In the past week, we have reached more than 10,000 people with posts on our page…and in one week have gained about 100 new “likes” on the page, increasing our following to over 1300 “likes” now. (Last summer we had almost 250 “likes” before the accident– God is growing us in so many ways!) This is a gift, a miracle from God. Usually we reach a little over 2,000 people a week on the Facebook page. I am so grateful to what God is doing there and to all the bloggers and other women who shared our Facebook page with so many of their readers and friends this past week as a gift to me for our anniversary. My heart is overcome with joy and gratitude.
After seeing those stats I decided to look at the countries we reach there and was once again in awe of what God is doing through simple posts on Facebook…we are reaching so many countries there as well with the good news of God’s love, grace and faithfulness!!!
All of this is an answered prayer for me. A special gift. A renewed purpose that I will share more with you in another article.
Tomorrow we will end our family celebration with a trip to play mini golf. A friend had some tickets and asked me if the boys would enjoy going. I said yes! They build their own mini golf course in our yard all the time! Yes, I will take pictures! LOL
So a week that could have been one of much sadness turned into an experience of overwhelming love! Love with my family. Love from friends near and far. Love from our blogging community. And total and heart filling love from our God!!
I thank you for being a part of this special celebration.
You are LOVED!
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In awe of His faithfulness,