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Monday, February 11, 2008

I Only Ask That You Trust Me

If you have not read the updated version of "About Me" at the top of the blog you may want to do that before you read this entry. It explains the changes in my blog and relates to what I have written today. Every blog I have written and every experience I had with Andrea as I dealt with the drawn out process of losing her and every experience Ginger had as she dealt with the sudden loss of Troy as made us the person we need for each other. Unfortunately we have the complete grief story, one sudden, one drawn out, one with small children, and one with older kids. This unique story is for a reason. Today I begin to share where I feel God is leading me. To seek the reason for the pain we endured. To honor Andrea and Troy for the life they lived, a life submitted to God, even though He asked them to lay their life down. Ours is a story of service to God, of thankfulness for His provision and the outpouring of blessings in our life.

This is the first blog about Ginger's and my relationship. Many of you know God brought Ginger into Andrea's and my life in Jan 2006 via emails we exchanged. Since Jan of this year we have found our common experience of losing a spouse has formed a much deeper relationship. Our plan is to be married on Jul 5th 2008. We ask for your prayers as we enter this relationship, especially for our children. We feel God has brought us together to share our unique story in hopes that it helps others who may have lost a spouse or face any difficulty that seems overwhelming. Life can be hard, and losing Troy and Andrea was as hard as it gets, yet God did not end the story there, and this is the first in the account of our continued journey to healing.

This is a letter wrote to some friends about Ginger. I had not intended to post this on the blog as it is personal but what of my blog is not personal? So I'm going to do what I have always done and that is be honest with my life and who I am. I hope it helps you understand me and my relationship with Ginger. I have talked to my boys and I will not comment on their feelings as those are theirs and it is not my place to speak for them. As a parent I do understand the pain this causes them. I understand the issues in bringing two families together. And I understand the risk I take. My prayer is they will be able to understand and accept what Ginger and I feel is God's leading in our life. But I feel God not only has plans to bless us but also the children. We are all included in this joining of two families. I want you to know I understand that is all happening fast, and I understand your concern for me and my kids. I do not enter this relationship without considering the children, in fact both Ginger and I enter this as much for the kids as for ourselves.

It is an amazing story that we hope to share with you through this blog.

I love you all. This is a hard subject to talk about via electronically. I know there are far too many chances of being misunderstood and becoming upset. So I ask that we filter what we read through two through these two thoughts. First, that we love each other as brother and sister in Christ. Second that we know each other, our character and our beliefs. I ask that you trust me knowing who I am and what I believe.

I understand your feelings, I too am grieving about losing Andrea and having my life move on. And not just in the sense of Ginger, I mean having my life move on in the smallest of terms. Going to a movie, laughing at a TV show, talking to Nic about his future, taking Anthony to have a tux fit for a formal event he will attend, seeing our friends, going to church, cooking a meal, or just going grocery shopping. Everything I have done since Dec 17 has been a memory all my own, no longer shared with Andrea. I have struggled with each and every moment of my life and I have learned to deal with each of these events as well as countless others. With each day these events become easier, as I do them alone and I become just Jim. I still feel a little uncomfortable feeling this, because I feel I'm doing this against Andrea. Maybe you feel the same feeling about Ginger and me. But I realize I'm not doing this against Andrea for Andrea is no longer here. I do not say that to sound cruel or insensitive to a woman I loved so deeply as if I want to run from her memory. I say it because it is the truth. Yes you see me as Jim and Andrea; everyone does, for that was my identity. Did I want this? No. Did I ask for this? No. Did God ask me to do this? Yes. When He asked Andrea to lay down her life, by default He asked me to do this. It is not what I wanted it is what I have. I sit on the plane returning from her memorial in North Carolina and I look out the window thinking in some silly way I'm just a little closer to Andrea. I want to hear her, I want to see her but I cannot, for she is gone. Again I'm reminded of who I now am. Jim with a memory of a once great marriage to a once perfect woman. But God still expects me to serve Him and love Him. He still has a plan for me and my future. If God was done with me he would have taken me with Andrea. Yet I remain, sometimes it feels cruelly to live on. But not when I think that God loves me and I Him, I still desire to serve Him, to take the life I had with Andrea, the suffering we endured and use it for His glory. This is still my passion. And if God's will is for Ginger and I to combine our pain and suffering then our story will be that much more powerful. There in lies the struggle for me and for you. It is this time when her memory is close and we long to be with her, yet we know she is gone and we must live on. God did not guide my life and now suddenly leave me alone. One day about a year ago, I pulled into our driveway after Andrea's chemo. I stopped the car and the Lord was talking to me. I looked at Andrea and I said, "Andrea God is telling me to let you go." I was unsure of what this meant and I told Andrea this. At the time I felt it was speaking to me about my dependence on her faith in my life, that I needed God to be the focus of my life, my number one love. I took that as a correction in my walk with the Lord. But now I think it was more then just that, it was also about preparing me for this time of my life. And Andrea's last words to me, "Jim you need to be strong now" were a continuation of this thought. Let her go and be strong. I believe this was God calling me to my own life of faith; it was the parallel work in my life as He was working in Andrea's life. For her to die for me to go on a serve. Why I do not know, but could His plan for Andrea be so right and mine be so wrong? Should I accept by faith the suffering of Andrea and the trial we endured as I watched the love of my life die and now refuse His blessing? I know you want me to be happy, I appreciate that, I really do. I know it is only out of love that you want me to be careful. I appreciate that as well. I did not tell you enough to let you respond in any other way. I understand that. Let me explain my feelings towards Ginger. First, I want you to know I understand that me in another relationship is difficult for others to see, especially my boys. And they are my number one concern. I pray daily for wisdom for me and for their hearts to accept my new life. I do not believe God would put Ginger and I together without including in that plan the children. He does not bless us and curse us at the same time. So as I know it will be difficult for my boys no matter when it happens I also know God has a time that is best for it to happen. But I know it is God's plan.

And that is part of the story I did not share with you. I tell you this not to cause you any pain or disrespect for Andrea. But I felt and still do feel the same connection with Ginger as I did with Andrea. I just know it is right. Yes I know you worry about me and my ability to think clearly right now. All I can tell you is I'm thinking as clearly as I know how. I feel this not in my heart or with my eyes but I feel this with my soul, deep within me, deeper then the surface of my emotions. I would not do this if that was not the case. I would not do this if it was not after a time of prayer, I would not do this just to be with someone. I did not love Andrea that way and I do not intend to love Ginger that way. I offer you only this. Know who I am. I guess I'm asking you to trust me. I did not seek this relationship, but I accept it. I thank God for blessing me with Ginger. I in no way leave behind my love for Andrea. Nor does Ginger leave behind her love for Troy. Both Andrea and Troy made us who we are; they will always be a part of us. It is like a good friend told me, "Jim you are single now, that is who you are. You did not break your vow with Andrea; God did when He called her home." That is what I'm adjusting to as I live now. I am Jim not Jim and Andrea. It is as hard for me as it is for you, if not more for she was who I was not who I saw I was. I loved Andrea as much as I knew how to love and I will love Ginger the same way. I don't write that to belittle my love for Andrea but try to express the depth of my love for Ginger in a way you can relate to. And I thank God and accept from Him the gift of a Godly woman who loves me. I want you to think about Ginger and I. Is this really a physically relationship, me running far to fast to a woman? Would Ginger run to a USAF pilot, a man who will most likely be sent to Iraq in the near future, a man still grieving over losing his wife, who reminds her of the pit of despair she just left? Do I sound like someone she would seek? Think about the fear she feels knowing I may go to Iraq. Would she seek that? Think that she is committing to a man who may deploy and leave her not only alone but now alone with a 15 yr old son away from her home town and all her support. Does this sound like we are running off like two teenage kids thinking only that we are in love? We deal with all these realities and they are not easy and we are not ignorant to them. Would I as a 46 yr old man seek a woman with 5 kids. I have 2 yrs until I was done with kids, a retired Colonel able to do anything I wanted to do in life. Is she the woman I would pick if it was just up to me? Neither of us are what we would seek, but we are exactly what we need. God is asking Ginger and I to take on these roles, as difficult as this may be if it is God's will then it is right. God will equip us with everything we need. I believe that with all my heart. I want you to know Ginger loves me unconditionally. This is not easy for her. She is still dealing with her loss in some ways. She is opening herself to possibly of suffering the same pain by falling in love knowing she could lose me. I know that may seem strange to think about but after you lose a spouse life certainties are suddenly uncertain. And we both deal with that as we fall in love. Yes it feels good to be in love and have someone but it comes with the reality that one of us will face this pain again. I'm trying to say is that we do not enter this relationship lightly or with our heads in the clouds. We are both to near the pain and loss to be so naïve.

We know the risks of the kids coming together so soon. We pray and seek God's will and wisdom each and every day, knowing He will provide. God did not bring us together and forget the children. We are all part of this plan. Not that we think it will be easy or perfect, but it will be right. It is the best for all of us, difficulty and all. I understand you asking if she really is the "one." How could I know so soon? I only tell you I do. I know to the world it is crazy to "know" already. Was it crazy when I asked Andrea, the first girl I dated, to marry me two months after I met her? Absolutely, to everyone else, but not to us. To us it was the sanest decision we ever made. I feel the same about Ginger. I know it seems crazy to the outside, and trust me I'm not out to do something crazy. I'm not scared to live alone or afraid to wait to be married. But when we have prayed and when we both feel God is leading us together, when we feel so comfortable together, when we talk and feel a closeness that exceeds the time we have know each other, when I hear in her words of love for me that humbles me, when I hear her voice and all seems right in the world, when I feel joy in my heart, when I hear her pray for me and with me and I feel God with us, it is then I know she is the "one." But most of all when I feel God confirming our relationship how could I run from that?

Does God need additional time to answer a prayer? Am I afraid to accept this as His will because it involves happiness and I somehow am not allowed to feel this now? Can God's will not be for me to be happy right now? Was over four years of suffering not enough? Do I owe more time in this prison named grief? I know I'm asking you to move on sooner then you are ready. I don't want you to skip any part of your grief nor do I want to skip any part of mine. It is necessary. I need to enter my relationship with Ginger complete with my dealing with losing Andrea. And I understand that I'm further along in my feelings for Ginger then anyone else.

I just want you to know I love her as I loved Andrea, no less, and prayerfully I hope even more. I loved Andrea more every day and I expect I will have the same experience with Ginger. I pray I would never be at the pinnacle of my love when we met only to decline throughout our life together hoping not to run out of love somewhere along the way. These are my feelings; this is where I am in my life. This is my future and I embrace it. Yes I know I have more grief to deal with and I embrace that as well. But I do it knowing where my future lies. That is a great gift from God. I hope you understand my feelings for Ginger and I have given you a sense of why I feel this way. I hope it helps you know I'm not running into this without thought and more importantly without seeking God's will for the children, Ginger and me. I ask you to pray for us, for this relationship and for the children. My desire is to serve God in my life. I feel this is where He is leading me so I follow. I know nothing else to do, no other way to live, I know no better way to honor Andrea.

In Christ,

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is that you helped us all to understand the kind of love you and Andrea had for each other. Andrea's love for you was the kind of love that would absolutely fully rejoice in your happiness and understand totally how it is possible for you to love Ginger as fully as you loved her. I am rejoicing with you all in this surprising gift. Much love, Wendy