This weekend I was able to mark something off my bucket list: Go to a car dealership and buy a new car with cash. When I wrote that on my list I was thinking I would accomplish it by saving for a long time. I never would have imagined the circumstances that would lead to my needing a new car or my sudden ability to buy one in cash.

When I discovered that I was pregnant less than a week after losing Jon I was overwhelmed by many things but one of the more immediate stressors was financial, specifically with my vehicles. We had two cars that we were still making payments on and neither of them would have been suitable for a single mom of two. One was old and unreliable and the other wouldn’t have fit two car seats.  I didn’t know what I was going to do.

I knew there was a website raising money for me. At best, I hoped there would be enough raised to cover the couple thousand I still owed on my cars. As the days passed the number on the website continued to climb, much higher than I would have thought. At the same time, cards came flooding in the mail, many containing checks and cash and they continued to come for weeks after the website closed. (I still have two or three in my purse that I keep forgetting to deposit.) When it was all said and done the total amount was more than enough to cover my debt and would have set me up to live off of for at least the duration of my pregnancy. Then I received the amazing news that Jon’s social security would provide me with an income each month that would be more than enough to cover my needs. That meant the money I had budgeted to live off of could go towards a car and not just another used car with questionable reliability. I was able to go out a buy a 2016 Kia Soul (technically “used” with 1800 miles on it) that comes with a lifetime warranty on the engine. I absolutely love my new car. Not just for the fact that it is new, but because I don’t have to worry about it breaking down and leaving me and my babies stranded. It makes me feel some security in a season of my life where so many things feel unbalanced.

I want to say thank you to everyone who donated or sent money. It wasn’t just the money you gave. You gave me security, freedom, and peace of mind. That first month was a complete blur. I was still in shock as the reality of my situation slowly sank in. So, as much as I wish I could, I honestly don’t remember everyone who supported me either financially or with encouraging notes. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less appreciative. I am so thankful that I have been surrounded by more people who care about me than I can keep track of.

While I couldn’t possibly try to list all of the individuals, I would like to specifically thank a couple of groups that have supported me in this season.

I really appreciate the leadership at Costa D’Esta for not only contributing to the website fundraiser but also for allowing so many of your employees to attend Jon’s funeral. And to the employees of Costa, you all have been amazing and so kind to me. I understand why Jon really loved working with you all.

Thank you to the people at Ormond Beach First Christian Church for taking up a collection for me and also for the many cards and notes that came from your congregation. You all are a special group of people. I know at some point I will see you all and express my gratitude in person.

Thank you to the people of Coastal Community Church in Sebastian for taking up collections for me even though Jon and I had only just started visiting your church. During the few weeks we attended we were able to see your amazingly generous heart, I would never have guessed how soon I would be on the receiving end of your generosity.

Lakeside Fellowship, thank you for your support and for helping put on Jon’s funeral. I think it was exactly how he would have wanted it.

Thank you to those at Grace Center who have reached out and supported me. I miss you all and can’t wait to see you next month.

To my friends, you know who you are, thank you for being a support to me in so many different ways. Our conversations and hangouts have kept me sane and given me a small slice of normal.

There really is no way I can adequately express my gratitude to you all. I’ve been wanting to write something like this for a while but I never seemed to be able to find the right words. In fact, what I have written here still does not feel enough.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Thank you all for being a comfort to me each in your own way.