I’m chewing on a new word for 2012. I suppose you could call it a New Year’s resolution of sorts. For the past 3 years, I’ve been finding a word to focus on each year…2010, in retrospect, was HOPE, for that’s what the Lord gave me to keep me going that unbearable year. 2011 was RESTORE as I trusted the Lord to begin to gently restore my life and my heart.

And 2012…this year’s word is RELEASE.

Release…to let go. One definition in Webster says it means to “give up in favor of another.”

And one of my verses to go along with this word is Phil. 3:13b-14:
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

In the first verse above, Paul includes the word forgetting. In doing some study, I learned that in this context, he did not intend for that word to mean that we are to have no recollection of something in our past. Instead, he was encouraging that we leave what is in the past behind us…to keep things in perspective as far as what must be left behind for the benefit of moving ahead in the journey toward heaven.

Leave what is behind.

For me that means, that though I will always carry Tony in my heart, that his life and his love for me has made an eternal impact on my life, my husband in the physical sense is in the past. He must be left there; at some point, in some way, I must let him go.


It’s hard. It’s so very hard. From the moment I said “yes” to Tony’s marriage proposal, and even more so, from the moment I said “I do,” I couldn’t help but feel a sense that my spouse would always be a part of my future. Always. Sure, every married couple says that part in the vows about “until death do us part,” but I would imagine the majority of us envision ourselves as very old before that ever happens, while in our hearts, hoping the good Lord takes us both at the same time.

I mean, that’s what happened in “The Notebook.” Am I right? 

Today marks just 3 days short of it being 23 months since Tony departed this earth. 

3 days short of 23 months.

That’s the exact amount of time we were married.

Yep, that’s it. That’s all we were given. That was our allotment of days. Of course, we never knew it; we didn’t see our marriage ending. I dreamed of growing old with Tony… old, and still as stuck on each other as we were those first few months we dated. We were inseparable.


Yet, God, in His infinite wisdom, was not surprised when our time came to a close, when the final hour darkened on our beautiful love story.

I often reflect on my entire life, all 3 decades of it, and wonder how God felt as He watched it unfold until now, as He knew the road carved out for me, uniquely just for me. He has seen my triumphs, my success, my joy; he has seen my missteps, my trials, my sin, my pain. He has orchestrated moments that impact my faith, my relationship with Him for eternity…moments of pure bliss, moments of utter desperation.

Yet, all those moments join to create a breathe-taking painting, a one-of-a-kind story, the story of Melissa Gardner, now Edge. He sees the scenes, the chapters yet to be lived. He sees what’s ahead.

And because I am His, He knows that in the end lies my Ultimate Prize—my Jesus.

So, He calls me to press on … to let go … to release

… that which must remain in my past so that I can strain with all that is in me toward my future, whatever my future may hold.

I’m slowly, ever so slowly, in the process of letting go of my sweet husband. Letting go, always remembering. And I know that Tony loved me so very much, he would not want me to hold on for too long.

Dearly loved, 

One thought on “Release…

  1. Melissa, I am a friend of your sister-in-law, Kim. We’ve met a few times…I just want to commend you on how eliquently you express yourself. I relate a lot to your posts, having lost my husband suddenly and unexpectedly. It will be 15 years this May since he is gone (we were only married 3 years and 5 months.) I remember going to a “New Beginnings” weekend for widows and widowers (I was the youngest one there). They said something similar to what you have written: you close the door to that chapter of your life, but you don’t lock it, it is part of who you are, but you move forward. After all this time, I still carry a piece of Morgan in my heart. I always will. I know Tony will always live in yours, and he would be so proud of how you have grown and continue to live! God bless, Laura

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