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Always with the Lord: 3 years

People always say that time heals. Time doesn't heal but God heals over time. Today marked the 3rd anniversary of Matt's leaving this earth. It's very hard to put into words all that we've worked on, cried over, talked over, questioned and just left in the hands of God. When the life you planned for and hoped for ends there just aren't the right words to describe it.

My heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness today as I looked at the pictures of my kids on the hallway wall. These pictures were taken as our last family photo when Matt was still with us. So I had the kids take down their individual photos today. We talked about how different they looked. We discussed how much things have changed. We talked about how growth has come into their lives physically, mentally and spiritually. We talked about how changes can be big or small but that they all matter. I am very proud of each of my children for the ways they have worked through their grief, how they have loved me and continue to as I adjust, and for how they still love one another.

I often imagine what Matt would say to the kids about the changes in their lives. "Mira, you are an excellent driver and you looked beautiful for prom", "Leah, you serve your family so well, and I am proud that you are studying to be in a profession to care for people-Oh, and you have a sparkle in your eyes---the same one I had---I hope it's Jesus", "Joshua, your spirit of adventure and the way you feel emotions deeply reminds me of me...above all else, guard you heart." , "Christianna, wish I could be there to help you plug in that new refrigerator in the house you bought for yourself and I would love to be able to sit in for a class you are teaching--you know I'd be crying." "Ellie, my Ellie-Jellie, you look cute in your braces, don't talk to boys and I miss our bible time talks." "Daniel, my strong boy, I could never do that many pull-ups, keep running like a Spartan (thanks Dave), and keep loving your mom." "Lanie Loo, I miss you and wish I could hold you when you are angry and just need your daddy to calm you and maybe give Rosie a hold since she makes you so happy." "Abbaby, I can hardly believe you are 6 years old, I wish I could sit with you and have you read me a book."

Today, I've also wondered, who will remember today was the day we lost this wonderful man? Only a handful besides us have said anything to me today about him. I found myself staring out the window early this morning wanting to hug my kids and just sit in silence. I wanted to rearrange my room because I remember this morning three years ago and where I woke up and the pain of this place. I still don't have any answers as to the "why" when I ask the Lord. That is hard but okay because I trust Him and His hand on our lives. It's so hard as the only parent of these precious kids to take in all the change: my change, their change and then process it into something productive. It's hard to watch the changes and not get caught up in the wishing Matt were here with us, wishing he were here for them. He's missing so much of our kids' lives. They are missing him there. Birthdays without Daddy, adventures in building things, holidays, new hobbies, new friends, new grades in school, vacations, presents, and so much more without Daddy here. I never was more aware of how much happens in time until Matt was going and then gone.

Life isn't the same without you, my dear Matthew, for any of us. The grief is more familiar after three years but it is still painful and not a day goes by that we don't think about you. But I rejoice in this: "3 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."

Be encouraged, friends. On the other side of pain and grief....of the disappointments of this world......we will see Jesus and we will one day always be with the Lord. Matt, in his true competitive form, beat us there. :)

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