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It's so hard to believe it's been 8 months since Matt went to be with Jesus. Some days it feels like 8 days, and some days it feels like 8 months. To be honest, 8 months ago everything in me detested standing at a place where I had to look at another path I didn't choose.

The fact that none of us gets to choose how much life we get here is hard to face, right? I spent a lot of time asking God "why" questions. I was grasping for the control back. If I could get the answer to the "why" then I would be able to critique if it was a good or bad reason.

Why did my sweet and loving husband have to be one to get an aggressive cancer and die? Why Matt and not Sara?

Why did I choose him? Why did he choose me? Why did I get married?

Why did we have 8 kids and now they don't get their father here?

Why do I have to take my wedding ring off?

Why do I have to teach my kids how to grieve?

Why do I get to have discussions with my kids about who will do the things their dad did at the holidays?

Why do people not talk to me now that Matt isn't here?

Why do I have to face big life decisions on my own now?

Why can't life go like we plan for it to go?

NO amount of grasping will help me gain control back. I soon realized that I will not get the answers to my "why" questions. Most of us never do. But if we can stop and ask "what" when we need answers. Often we get answers to the what question! I began to get answers.

What have I learned from Matt getting cancer? What do people who deal with cancer in their lives learn because they faced it with Christ?

What was my marriage accomplishing? What will that marriage still accomplish?

What does God want my kids and I to learn and grow forward in in this season?

What does grieving look like? What is important to let happen during grieving?

What can sorrow/pain and joy happening at the same time accomplish?

What can I help others see in the lives of hurting people?

What can I teach my kids about how to love one another where they are and others?

What can I help them remember about Matt?

What does God want my future life to look like? What does God still want to accomplish in my heart while I am still alive?

What is His ultimate purpose for me being alive and breathing at this moment?

Psalm 73:25-26 have been part of the answer God has given me. "Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Proverbs 16:9 has been a hard verse for me to swallow in this last year. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

I have been reminded that in all of my questioning. He is the answer. He is ALL I have. He is all I should desire. My flesh and my heart fail each moment--especially in the pain and sorrow but even in joy. Who do I desire? God brought me to a place in my life before I met Matt that taught me that He is my ALL, He is all I need, and He is my strength and portion forever. He has been faithful to continue to teach me that while Matt and I were married and He is giving me the refresher course I needed this past 8 months without Matt here. Don't we all need a refresher course on remembering He is our ALL? So especially during this holiday season, as I plan a course to get us through it, I can trust that the LORD determines our steps. He knows! He sees! He is good! He cares!

We made it through our first Thanksgiving without Matt here. We enjoyed a meal together. Two brave daughters took on the task of carving the turkey in memory of their daddy. We also wrote on paper lanterns and released them into a beautiful night sky in honor of Matt.

We are headed to our first Christmas without him too. It would be Matt's 45th bday. It will also be my 44th bday. Yes, we shared a birthday. We got our Christmas tree and God assured me of His care and presence on that tough day too. The tree lot we visited was just down the street from our neighborhood and my van was in the shop getting repairs but we WERE going to get a tree! The man saw I had a two Honda Fits with me and he decided he would offer to deliver the tree to our house instead of strapping it to the car for me. God is with us!

I'll be honest, buying gifts this year is very difficult for me. Every penny I spend is difficult (another area God is teaching me to trust Him with) for me to spend. Matt always did such an amazing job scoping out the deals on gifts and had most of our shopping done by Black Friday. Black Friday came and went. I didn't and couldn't open my computer to plan that all. It will get done. He will provide and will give me that strength needed to make Christmas memorable with my children. There is much to celebrate! Jesus, and Matt will be honored; although to be honest...Matt would only want Jesus to be honored.

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