Last year we enjoyed the sand and gorgeous beaches of the Dominican Republic with good friends. The year before, a family trip to Puerto Aventuras, Mexico and swimming with the dolphins. Other celebrations included a Jets game and dinner, a day at the spa, a weekend away, and of course many parties with friends and family. I have included some pictures of these memories.
This year however, March 23rd isn’t the same. It’s not the day of celebration that I would have hoped for. Despite the sadness that today brings it is still a special day. Today is the day that my dear wife Mel would have turned 40! Oh how I had hoped to be able to plan the biggest and best 40th birthday party ever for her. Of course Mel would have never wanted a big party. She loved planning parties for others but feared the potential surprise that her milestone birthdays could bring. I know her heavenly celebration happens daily, and that gives me a sense of peace but there is still a huge part of me wishing I could celebrate here on earth with her today.
Mel, today on what would have been your 40th birthday, I celebrate the 39 plus years you invested in others. I celebrate the impact you had on so many – the many students you taught and changed forever, the colleagues you encouraged and supported, the friends you genuinely cared for and loved, our family for whom you were the glue. Also the many people who you didn’t really know, the people who got to know you through your professional and personal reputation, your speaking engagements and your blog. Through the Lord's prompting, your desire to share your faith and your story will continue to impact others more than we might ever know.
I celebrate the unconditional love you showed me and the girls. You always gave of yourself unselfishly. You have instilled such a precious gift in Kira and Teagan that they don’t even fully appreciate yet. You showed them how to live for Him. You taught them about priorities and what’s really important. You taught them how to treat others. You taught them to use the gifts they’ve been blessed with everyday. You taught them to invest in others over themselves. You taught them how to love and be loved. You taught them what a healthy marriage looks like. You taught them to rely on Him no matter what life’s circumstances bring upon them. You even taught them how to die well. These are all things that were also very evident to me and that I learned from you. We will never forget them and certainly never forget you.
Today we celebrate that you made this world a better place because of your complete reliance on Him and your desire to put God first in absolutely every part of your life.
Love you so much and miss you tremendously Mel!
Today I would also like to share some exciting news with you. Over the last months I have felt the Lord nudging me out of my comfort zone, urging me to bring one of Mel’s dreams to completion. As many of you are aware she detailed her cancer journey through this blog. She had a deep desire to publish this in book form but wasn’t given the time or energy to complete her dream. With the help of many people this dream is coming closer to being a reality. We are well on our way to having this book available. I trust that this book will help, teach, encourage and challenge others in their faith and also be a guide to those who may encounter a similar life situation.