Ellie and I went to church last night. There was this moment in the service when I was holding her, our faces pressed together, side by side, and we each had a hand raised to the sky as we worshiped God while belting out the words to the song, “You Are the Light.” In that moment, this wave of pure joy flooded my heart. As the feeling passed through me, I was left with a deep sense of peace and gratitude that, due to God’s infinite love and grace, Ellie and I were still praising Him despite losing the most important man in both of our lives. I felt that’s what Andrew would have wanted for his girls.
When we got home from church, Ellie sat glowing as she looked at the Christmas tree we put together earlier that very morning. It was filled with Andrew’s childhood ornaments his mom had given to us after he passed away and some sentimental ornaments from our first year of marriage. She smiled at the tree and then looked at me with so much excitement and laughter in her voice, saying, “Mom, it feels like daddy is here with us!” I felt it, too.
Today, Ellie and I are celebrating the life of my husband and Ellie’s dad, Andrew Bryant Heard! He would have turned 33 today. Instead of being sad his life was cut short, I celebrate the time and the memories we were given with him. In his 30 years on Earth, he made a large impact through his speaking, writing, and relationships. He touched many lives and continues to do so to this day.
I still spend Thanksgiving day with Andrew’s family. I love them all so much. It’s a hard holiday because I can see the sadness and pain when I look into the eyes of Andrew’s family. There is such a void on Thanksgiving with Andrew being gone. The day after Thanksgiving Andrew’s dad said to me, “I think Andrew would be proud of how we’ve stayed together as a family.” I was thinking, I’m really proud of that, too, because I know that’s what Andrew really wanted.
In honor of Andrew’s life, I want to do a special birthday sale on his books, The Ellie Project and A Gray Faith. For today only the books will be 50% off at www.ellieproject.com using the discount code: Andrew at checkout. I want as many people as possible to experience Andrew’s important messages he left for us to encourage, challenge, inspire, and wake us all up to making sure we are living a life of meaning and purpose.
These books are truly gifts, as I watched him use every ounce of energy he had left to write them. Seeing him live out his final days with such purpose and faith has changed my life and woken me up to the urgency to live a life that makes a positive difference in the world. I hope you will read his books, and then share them with the ones you love. Thank you for celebrating Andrew with me today! Blessings.