Well, this week marked the one year anniversary of Chad going Home to be with our Lord. It was a difficult week, but was drenched in the peace and power of our sweet Abba. I have been praying for quite some time now how we should mark such a difficult day. It is not so much about what I would like, but rather, what will mean the most to my sweet children. He was their daddy. They are so young. How do you honor such tragedy . . . yet display to them the hope that we have through Christ?
My prayers were answered, as God so clearly showed me exactly how to spend October 7th. In retrospect, I am very thankful that our day had structure from beginning to end. It really helped. We had lunch in our home for our closest family and friends (about 30) at 11:30. Just before lunch we each wrote Chad notes and attached them to balloons. Following lunch we had a time of dessert and our head pastor, Joel Stocker, and his wife, Donna, joined us for a time of ministry from the word. Pastor Joel is an amazing communicator, but more than that, he is a pray-er! He prayed about what he should share with our family, and it was just perfect.
He shared with us out of the Word that Chad’s passing was a result of a ‘finite body’s failure.’ We have grappled all year with the question, “who do you blame this on?” Did the enemy win? Did God ‘take him’ home? Somewhere in all of this IS God’s plan, but Chad died because his earthly body gave out on him. Period. Joel also shared with my children that in Hebrews 12 it tells us that we have a ‘great cloud of witnesses,’ and that their daddy is alive in Heaven and is part of that ‘great cloud.’ He told them that their daddy is the biggest cheerleader they could ever have, and to always ask the question, “what would my daddy be cheering me on to be and do?”
After the time of ministry, Pastor Joel and Donna left to be a part of the most exciting part of the day… we’ll get to that. The rest of us took the balloons and went to the cemetery. We had been informed by the police department that the headstone had been put in place on Monday . . . it was so exciting to finally see Chad honored in this beautiful piece of art. What a treat that it was there for our graveside celebration.
As a side note . . . I had not known what to expect from the police department. You know, Chad wasn’t their beloved . . . their husband or father. So, I didn’t know if they would remember. But, they did! And very beautifully! The night shift placed flowers on his grave at 1:11 a.m (that’s how they knew the stone had been delivered,) and at 1:11 in the afternoon they had a minute of silence over their radios. Chad’s badge # was 111. What a beautiful way to honor him. Thank you, Midland Police Department! Thank you! You touched us all. Thank you for remembering us! Thank you for the flowers, driving by his grave all day, and for honoring him! You are appreciated.
Well, back to the cemetery. . . it was a warm, sunny day. We took pictures at his grave, and took all the balloons out into the open space nearby to release them into the big, blue sky. One of the balloons got lost . . . how appropriate. . .as Chad got lost everywhere he went J!
Once back home, I gathered everyone in the living room and told the children that last year Pastor Joel brought them some very bad news (he was the one who told the kids that Chad had passed away,) and that this year I had asked Pastor Joel and Miss Donna to bring them some very good news! I told the kids that in Jeremiah 29:11 God promises us that He has good plans for us . . . plans to give us hope, and a future, and that this good news is a part of our hope and our future. Right then Joel and Donna came in with our new puppy cradled in their arms! My kids were absolutely speechless. Abbi’s eyes filled with tears and she said, “Mama, is this really for us . . . to keep?” Chad and I had always told them NO dogs! They are too much work! Well, as I prayed about October 7th, I just knew that this was what was supposed to happen. My new friend, Marni, helped me with the search to find our sweet little girl, Miah, for JereMIAH 29:11. She is a chocolate brown Standard Poodle. She is very mild mannered and calm. She hasn’t mastered the art of “potty outside,” but is only 11 weeks old and I’ve been told they don’t figure the pottying out until around 16 weeks. Yikes . . That’s five more weeks of constant vigilance! Oh well, it is worth it to see the joy on my children’s faces! Little Miah was the perfect ending to the day! Thank you, Jesus, for your continued guidance as we walk out this life we have been given.