Well, I have managed to go a really long time since my last post again. I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this day - the day when two years ago, Kelsey stepped out of this earthly life and into her eternal one. As Alexa and I ate a double-doozie in honor of Kelsey this evening and I shared stories of her life with Alexa, I was reminded of the blessing it was to know her and get to share a few years of life with her as her husband!
Looking back on the past year, I again see how faithful God has been to Alexa and me. He provided a wonderful gal as a nanny who has loved Alexa so well and been willing to walk with her through the season of adjustment to new routine. He brought us to our new neighborhood and new home. He has continued to bless me through my work (great bosses and coworkers), and I am really at a place now where I am more mentally present and really able to enjoy what I am doing. I have seen God working in Alexa, softening her heart toward Him, softening some of her reactions toward others, and smoothing out some of the still rough edges of her very strong personality. I have seen consistent spiritual growth in my life - getting back to having consistent time in the Word and in prayer. There is really an incredible team of people who help out with Alexa. I have even been able to get out and exercise some, which has been incredible.
As I think through all of these things, there seems to be a common theme - hope! When I woke up on the morning of July 6th, 2014, in some ways I felt hopeless. Oh sure, mentally I still acknowledged the ultimate hope that one day God would make all things new, but life seemed pretty hopelessly broken as I surveyed what felt like ruins around me. In the midst of the seeming chaos, God didn’t leave. He was right there with me - working in my life, ministering to me through others, and continuing to call me to Himself. And now, I have hope. As I wake up on July 6, 2016 and on each subsequent day that God may give me, I have hope that even in the midst of whatever storm life may bring, God really is my refuge and strength. A friend texted me a passage I had recently read in my quiet time, and it seems so appropriate in light of the idea of hope:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” - Psalms 46:1-5
Very quickly, a synopsis of this past year. Alexa did very well in school. She navigated the waters of dealing with other people - either you are flexible in your demands (think wanting to play one type of game on the playground while others want to do something else), or you may end up playing by yourself. She enjoyed being involved in music school (singing is something she really enjoys) and got to sing a lot of songs. We managed to get moved in to a new place and are getting settled there. We have had some opportunity to travel - getting to go to California to see my family out there, getting to spend some time with my sister and her family in Maryland, and spending some time with friends in Saint Louis. I dated a great gal for several months before realizing continuing on was not what God had for us. That was a learning and growing time for me - helped me to deal with some aspects of grieving I might not have dealt with until much later otherwise. Alexa has tried a few new foods (still nothing super-adventurous, but her eating habits are improving). She has also become comfortable with going underwater (that was something which was a big fear for some time) and is loving getting to go to the pool this summer. She continues to be far better at drawing than I am (although being better than me is not necessarily a hug accomplishment) and is particularly fond of her “smelly markers” (scented markers). God has been gracious to bring another very special young lady into my life - and has helped us (for the past week and a half) to navigate through the waters of a long-distance relationship. I am sure there are other things I am forgetting - this is why not posting very often comes back to bite me!
I so appreciate those of you who still faithfully pray for Alexa and me. This side of heaven, I doubt I will even know how much your prayers have sustained and comforted me. Here are a few requests to lift up as you think of us:
-- Pray for Alexa to choose to follow Christ. She is hearing the truth in many ways, but has not yet made that decision. Pray I can point her toward Him and continue to shepherd her heart well.
-- Pray for guidance and direction in finding someone to help with Alexa after school each day (have been blessed by godly nannies who care deeply for Alexa thus far).
-- Pray for my long-distance relationship. Pray God would be honored and that He would continue to give both of us wisdom and direction.
-- Pray I can find a way to get consistent exercise. That has been healthy for me (in more than the purely physical sense).
-- Pray I would continue to be sensitive to be able to reach out to those who are dealing with heartache and loss.
Thank you again for praying!