Did you know that today is 111 day? It is January 11th. I know – it means nothing to most of you – but to us, it is a special day. You see, Chad’s badge number was 111, and after he died it was our ‘sign.’ We saw 111’s everywhere and it always felt like Chad was just giving us a squeeze or saying ‘hi.’ I will never forget the Sunday after Chad died. Our pastor asked me to have my CD available to purchase after the two Sunday services at our church. (At that time I only had my first solo album Gratitude recorded.) Between the two services we sold 111 CD’s. Coincidence? I think NOT! It just felt like Chad was saying, “Babe, I’m still taking care of you . . . don’t worry.” You may think that is ridiculous – I probably would have BEFORE I lost the (first) love of my life. But now? Now I believe. Hebrews 12:1 tells us that there is a ‘great cloud of witnesses that has gone on before to cheer us on.’ I believe that Chad is more a part of our lives now than when he was on Earth. He is cheering us on AND . . . has a direct link to God. Hmmmmm . . . . something to think about.
Tomorrow . . . is my baby girl’s birthday. Abbi will be 14! Wow! Tonight we are having a birthday dinner with all six kid’s and my new in-laws (who are WONDERFUL grandparents to my kids.) I have to tell you that as I was getting dinner ready and thinking about wrapping her presents . . . I was just overcome with grief. Ug! I want to ask ‘will this ever end?’ But, I know the answer to that question is ‘no.’ The grief will never end. Practice held me and let me cry. It doesn’t seem to be bothering Abbi – but it just doesn’t seem fair to my mama’s heart that she has to celebrate her birthday without her daddy here! So, I mourn once again for my child . . . and some days . . . Chad’s death still pierces me . . . and all days . . . it just doesn’t make sense.
That being said, I have some exciting news. If you have followed my blog for long, you may remember that I have felt the stirring to write a book. I had hoped to have it written and released by now, but on the heels of writing and recording an album that was VERY emotional . . . I just needed a break. Not to mention the fact that I got married and moved! So, I have been feeling the pressure to get back to writing – but not feeling the ‘stirring’ AT ALL! Friends – I don’t know if you have noticed, but I am not a ‘daily’ blogger . . . or even a ‘weekly’ blogger. I just can’t see the sense in writing if there is nothing ‘stirring.’ I figure if YOU are going to take your precious time to read what little ol’ me has to say, then it better be something profound or moving. So, I wait for that ‘stirring’ to hit.
I have just been waiting to feel that ‘stirring’ to begin writing the book again. Beginning to worry . . . and praying it would come. Well friends – last week it hit and I am so excited to take the process back up and write the book. Know what? I am also very excited that I took the time off that I did . . . because I sense God taking this book in an awesome direction that I think will have a profound impact on many people. Originally, the book was going to be about a man. It was going to tell the story of Chad, and I, our life together and all that God did for us after his death. Today though, I really feel that the primary focus (while still telling our story) will be on ALL that God took me through after Chad died and God’s amazing faithfulness. It WILL be the journey of my grief . . . told in and through my journals from the year following his passing. As I read my journals now . . . they are profound. They are like modern-day Psalms and as I share them in concert or through counseling others who are experiencing grief – they really seem to touch lives. So . . . the process is taking off. I am so thankful for the ‘stirring’ and so truly desperate for God to speak through me. I don’t want anyone to see me . . . I want God to be exalted and glorified! So as I leave you on this 111 day . . . I think I will leave you with a short entry from two years ago today . . . . This one really isn’t that profound . . . but it IS a window into where I was at three months into my journey.
January 11th, 2008
Today is 111 day. Chad Michael – I miss you so much! We just had spiritual emphasis at church – you would be so excited! I just can’t believe how much I miss you. My heart and spirit are pierced with grief. The kids got new furniture today – you would love it! My dearest love . . . I can’t breathe without you! I miss you!