Hello! I’m writing to you from my home away from home, Cuero, TX. I’m really looking forward to speaking in Victoria, TX on Wednesday. For now, though, I’m sitting in my late husband, Andrew’s, favorite recliner with his Texas Tech blanket draped across my legs in the home he grew up in, and in the very room where we said our final goodbyes. It’s always emotional for me to come back to this place. I have some sad memories here, but I also have many priceless memories of our final months together as a family. There’s something about this special place that brings peace to my heart, grounds me, makes time stop, allows me to breathe, and reminds me everything will be OK.
My creative mind soaks up the silence and my imagination runs free. It’s my favorite place to write. After all, this is where I birthed the idea of sharing my life’s journey with you four years ago in the form of my blog. Not knowing my life was about to be turned upside down. This week was a reminder of how much my life has changed.
Monday, I drove to speak to a MOPS group at Park Cities Baptist Church in Highland Park, Texas. Andrew was the student minister at this church for several years. This time in our life held some of my final memories of Andrew being healthy. I knew it would be emotional to go back to this place, but I was not at all prepared for the intensity. When I pulled into the parking garage, a wave of sadness poured over me as the memories of what my life used to be like as a pastor’s wife came flooding in. Before I could even put the car in park, the tears began streaming down my face. My prayer: “Lord, please give me strength to get through this today.”
As I got out of the car and started loading up my pink dolly with Andrew’s books, I reviewed the directions I had been sent for which room I’d be speaking in. I realized it was a room on the third floor. I thought, No, it can’t be. This is a large church, so there were many options when it came to rooms I could possibly be speaking in. I rode the elevator up three stories, and as the doors opened, my heart dropped. Yes, it was confirmed. I would be speaking in the Student Ministry room on the same stage where I watched Andrew preach weekly. Like a movie reel, my mind projected images of Andrew preaching a sermon. My prayer, “Lord, please help me hold it together long enough to give this message.”
I started setting up the table with the books when a familiar face started walking up to me. She was the mother of two students who were in the youth group during Andrew’s ministry. She began sharing with me the impact Andrew’s life and faith had on her son and daughter. She expressed eternal gratitude for Andrew’s influence, love, and encouragement in their lives. I remember when both of her kids came to visit Andrew in Cuero during the final months of his life. I let her know how much their visit meant to both Andrew and me. I told her how I didn’t know I would be speaking in this room, and the combination of that reality and the kind words she had just spoken about my husband overwhelmed my heart with emotion. She hugged me tightly as my eyes filled with tears.
Then, one of my Baylor college roommates walked through the door and immediately my heart was calmed by her presence. There were many Baylor Bears in the room that day, which made me feel right at home. By God’s grace, I got through my speech without losing it completely. Once I finished I told the group how important this moment was for me because my life had come full circle. Here I was, standing in the very place my husband stood five years ago, and now I was the one speaking on his behalf, carrying on his legacy of love. I said, “I hope he is proud.” The loving responses from the women filled my heart, and reminded me why I continually share our story and the powerful message I’ve been given to inspire hope, faith, and courage in the lives of others. Truly appreciate and value the time you’ve spent with me today. Beyond grateful for YOU! Blessings.
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