Friday, April 30, 2010


I was driving down I-85 this morning listening to Nicole Nordeman's song "Brave" on my way to meet a good friend and mentor, Mark, so that we could visit Tony's EMBA class at Emory for lunch. Since the funeral, I really haven't been around anyone but close friends and family, so I was a bit anxious about my visit. Yet, I had an overwhelming peace that God would be with me as I listened to the words of this song, and I asked that God would make me brave today. Brave, yes, brave.

We arrived to meet the EMBA program director, Steve, and several of his colleagues. He presented me with the sweetest cards and contribution from Tony's classmates, and a very kind gesture from the, all I can say is wow. Thank you. I am so very grateful to be a part of this community that Tony poured his heart into for 3 months and look forward to continuing to track with his classmates as they labor and toil over what I pray becomes a major catalyst for the rest of their lives. Stay the course, my friends, stay the course.

We arrived at lunch and Steve pointed out the podium that they had set up in case I wanted to say a few words. "Say a few words" was not even on my radar this morning when I prayed to be brave. I tried to pass it off on Mark, but with no success, I figured that I had nothing to loose if I broke down - surely they would understand. I told Mark that I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say but walked to the podium anyway.

I wish I could tell you what came out of my mouth, but I don't even remember. I do recall looking out at these tired, weary faces - the faces of future CEO's, future world-changers, future dream chasers - with tears in their eyes. It was God reminding me that Tony, in his short time with them, had touched their lives. Tony's number one goal in acheiving his MBA was to build relationships. He had always felt called to minister to top executives, they were his mission field. His Emory classmates either are those top executives already or are on the track to becoming those executives one day. Goal and mission accomplished, my love.

WEMBA Class of 2011, I pray you continue to be brave. Watching Tony struggle and work his tail off for three months in this rigorous program, I know it takes a very brave soul to continue and finish strong. I'm cheering for you, and so is Tony. We greatly anticipate May 9, 2011, your launching point to go further and farther than you ever dreamed possible.

With a grateful heart for Emory and dearly loved,


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A daily choice

Getting up each morning is probably one of the hardest things I do each day. I covet the nights I am able to sleep, but waking each morning reminds me of the reality of my loss. More than anything in our marriage, I loved opening my eyes daily to see Tony and his amazing blue eyes.

I was facing a long and tough day ahead of me a few nights ago. I told God that if He gave me the grace to rise out of bed that day, then all I was going to do was to walk through the day and trust Him to handle the rest. Walk, just walk. I made it through that day. It is now my approach to every day. That is really all I can do right now. It is my daily choice.

I put one foot in front of the other and take life one step at a time. Some days I walk light-heartedly with my head held high and a song in my spirit. I thank God for those good days. Other days, I drag my feet, barely making any steps at all. I thank God for those days too, even more grateful to make it through another day. It is a slow process for a long, tear-stained road ahead.

I don't look at this time as walking "through" my sorrow - as to someday overcome it or get over it. I see this journey as being transformed by my sorrow. My prayer is that this dark cloud of grief that surrounds me slowly becomes a part of my soul - but not to make my soul a dark place or a hardened place. Instead, I want my sorrow to expand my heart so that it has more capacity to love God, love others, and to carry Tony with me forever. I trust that One step at a time, my heart grows.

I know one day that I will pick up the pace. Though my sorrow will always be a part of me, I do anticipate the day where my heartache and pain subside a bit. For when that happens, I'll have the capacity to maybe do some speed-walking, a light jog, then a run, and finally a sprint.

And where am I running? A better question would be who? None other that the only One who is worth the journey, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You see, I started on this journey when I began my relationship with Him at 15. I had picked up a pretty good pace, when suddenly I looked over and saw Tony running alongside me. He was the best running partner I could have ever asked for. When the Lord called Him home, it was like I was hit by a freight train, stopped right in my tracks. With the help of my family and close friends, the Lord picked me up so that I could stay the course. No matter how long it takes, I want to run again.

Lord, I hold to the Hope that as you give me the endurance, I will run further and faster and harder for your Fame and your Glory than ever before. May the verses of Isaiah 61: 1-3 be my life's mission:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garmet of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."

Dearly loved, and dreaming of becoming an oak tree, one step at a time,


Girlfriends and best friends...

Let me introduce you to an amazing friend in my life, Casey. She was fondly called CaseyMac in college due to her last name starting with "Mc." I shortened her name to "Mac" so I may refer to her as both. You might want to remember that if you are keeping up with my blog, for I think she'll be mentioned over and over again.

Last night I saw this facebook re-post and sent it to her because it describes her so well:
'If you have a Bestfriend that will do everything for you, be there for you through thick n thin, love you unconditionally, even w/ all your faults, and be the first one there to pick you up when you fall; and give you a much needed kick in the ... when necessary, then post this to your status. She will know who she is!! ♥'"

Our friendship began in second grade, evolving from see-saw partners on the playground, to ballet buddies at dance, to college roommates for 3 years, to the matron of honor at my wedding, to my "voice of reason" as I sort through these days since Tony left this earth. She has two adorable little people who I love so much - Chloe Melissa, my middle namesake, and Claire, and baby Kilgore on the way. Her husband is a mighty man of God, Kevin.

Mac was right beside me on my wedding day and right beside me on my 2 year anniversary too - not physically, but only a phone call away. She was the one I called in tears that morning and throughout that hard day.

I am so blessed to have such dear women as Casey and others (you know who you are) to speak Truth to me, love me as I am, and add such value to my life. Three of these women, Amanda, Karen, and Holly, served alongside me on my anniversary at City of Refuge. Amanda struck up a conversation with a lady sitting alone. I came over a few minutes later, then Holly and Karen. After telling us about her hard times that led to homelessness, she asked why we were there serving. I told her about Tony and our story and how my friends came to support me. She looked at my girlfriends and said to them, "wow, these are good friends. " She went on to say, "I don't have any friends. I've been stabbed in the back too many times and have decided that God is my only friend."

In that moment, God reminded me of a night right before I left for college in 1998. I was crying out to God, scared to death of leaving my family to venture into life on my own for the first time. I begged Him to bring me friends, Godly friends, to come alongside me to be my family away from home. Boy, has He delivered over the last 12 years.

I told this lady at City of Refuge that I had prayed for these ladies long ago and that God answered my prayer. Tears began to stream down her face as she asked, "You can really ask God for friends?" Yes, dear sister, yes.

God gave Tony amazing friends too. Guess you really can't refer to them as "boyfriends," maybe "guyfriends." So whatever you mighty men of valor are, you meant the world to Tony and mean the world to me.
One such man is Tony's best friend, John. The first time I saw John after Tony's death, the only words I could get out through my tears were "thank you for leading Tony to the Lord." John did the greatest thing any friend could do, and I am forever grateful. I could write a book on John and Tony's adventures...more on John, his beautiful wife and daughter, another day.
Dearly loved,

Hand Holdin'

Today, I had the precious honor of having a front row seat to one of the highlights of my last 6 weeks - my adorable 5-year-old neice, Haley, starring in her school musical, Stone Soup. My 3-year-old nephew Caden was part of it too, but he stood in the very back with his hands over his face most of the time - he was so embarassed but had the cutest "grumpy" face. I could hear Uncle Tony snickering from heaven over Caden, and as Haley told her mom, he was "hootin'" and "hollerin'" for her. He had the best seat in the house, for sure.

I love these 2 little people so much. One of my favorite things they do is grab my hand to hold it - always when we are walking near cars, but sometimes at the most unexpected times, like today at Haley's celebration lunch. To me, it's their silent way of saying they love me and trust me to help protect them.

It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah 41:13:
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."

The second night after Tony's accident, I awoke around 1 a.m. to my right hand clinched into a fist so tightly that it physically hurt. I was very confused and thought that I was just having a strange dream. I awoke again to painful sobbing at 6 a.m. and grabbed my phone. I saw that a good friend, James, had emailed me that very verse above at 12:56 a.m. My crying subsided as I realized that it was God holding my right hand in my sleep to reassure me that He is with me, He is capturing my every tear. He knows my pain. He will never leave me or forsake me. I have felt such a peace about this Truth ever since that night. Thank you, James, for your obedience to the Holy Spirit in sending that email to me.

Okay, okay, I am hearing from lots of you that I am leaving you in tears each time you read my blog, so here is my attempt to make you laugh or at least smile. I came across Tony's journal from when we first started dating in the fall of 2006. Speaking of hand-holding, he had written in his journal about the first time he held my hand. I always appreciated how reserved he was in jumping into any physical affection in our relationship until he felt the timing was right. As I recall, we were thumb wrestling at our friend Jeremy's house, and Mr. Smooth Tony somehow managed to wrangle my hand into his. Oh, sweet memories. I told him countless times that I hoped we would still be so in love and holding hands when we were both old and gray, just like my Pop and Grandma did even after 48 years of marriage.

How I long to hold Tony's hand again, but I know having the God of the Universe hold my hand is even sweeter. Hold my hand tightly, Lord, and don't ever let go.

Dearly loved,

Monday, April 26, 2010

A year of love in a marble...

April 26, 2008, was by far one of the most beautiful and happiest days of my life. I recall waking up with butterflies in my stomach, in great anticipation for the day I would give my heart to Antony Strader Edge, "until Christ calls me home to be with Him," as we said in our wedding vows.

April 26, 2010, was a harsh reality to awaken to, with a deep ache in my heart and gnawing pit in my stomach, yet it too was filled with beauty, a few moments of laughter, and bittersweet memories. I longed for heaven today because more than anything I wanted to spend the day with my husband.

Instead, I spent the day "Tony-style" and could not have asked for it to be more perfect. Yes, it began with many tears. Honestly, I could not bear to get out of bed...that was until from the other side of the house, I hear a faint "hello...hello." Turns out I was the only one at home to care for my father who is pretty much bed-ridden with a severly broken foot. Up I arose to care for him, and I was so very grateful to be needed. I've felt lost these days without Tony, for I had grown quite fond of caring for my husband. I almost broke down in the grocery store the other day recalling those countless weekly trips to make sure I had just the right ingredients to fix the healthiest meals only he would eat. Yes, I say again, meals ONLY he would eat!

From there, I spent some time in the Word - Exodus again today and the 10 Commandments. I found it pretty cool that Moses met with God in a dark cloud. It gives me comfort to know that God will continue to meet me in my dark, sorrowful cloud too. I looked through our wedding album and dug through my "Tony" box of keepsakes to find the letters he had written me leading up to our wedding day and a letter from our 1st anniversary. Gosh, could my Tony write love notes to melt my heart. More on that another day...

God did say hello to me in many ways today, just as I had asked Him to do. The first came in a beautiful flower arrangement from my dear "Frantz-ies" as Tony always called them - Kim, Rob, Haley and Caden - you made me smile today. The next was a big shout of hello. My mom, brother and I went down to my Atlanta home to see the damage of a 100ft. oak tree that fell in our yard and our neighbor's. This happened a couple of nights ago, snapping a power pole in half, leaving most of the neighborhood in the dark for hours, but my hello came as I realized that other than a few trees, no damage was done to my house or my neighbors, or to my car parked just up the driveway from the tree. The tree had no substantial roots to keep it in the ground. It made me grateful for my "roots" of faith planted long ago and watered over time by family and friends God put in my life to lead me closer to the Lord. Without them, I would surely be like that tree right now, a horribly wrecked mess with nothing to keep me standing in the aftermath of Tony's death.

Now, onto that marble, the subject of today's blog. Tony loved Piedmont Park more than any other place in Atlanta, and since we shared many fun moments there, I chose its lake to throw our marble there to mark our second year. With tears streaming down my face, I held that marble in my hand and thanked the Lord for giving me this year, a year marked with so many good things - amazing trips, strengthened relationships, and new beginnings in our lives with our new home and Tony's MBA program at Emory. It is also a year marked with tragedy...tragedy that is transforming my life, tragedy that has caused me to fall in love with God like never before, tragedy that confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is my Everything.

Shortly after I threw the marble in, God's third hello came swimming by - none other than a quacking duck! Yes, I'm sure the duck thought I was throwing out food - it even followed us all the way up the shore. Yet, I laughed as I thought to myself, God would even use a silly duck to tell me He loves me. From there, we met my girlfriends, Karen, Amanda, and Holly, at a place near and dear to Tony's heart and my heart, City of Refuge. We helped to serve dinner to over a hundred women and children who are transitioning out of homelessness. It was a night filled with funny moments with some adorable kids and humbling moments of God allowing us to provide just a little Hope, even as small as a smile, to women facing what seems as impossible circumstances. I can truly say that serving others does take away the sting of your own pain, even just for a little while. Thank you Lord for allowing me to stand and serve for Your Glory today.

I came home to listen to the song, "You're Everything." And so I leave it here for you to worship with me. I raise my hands in praise to Jesus, the Lover of my Soul, in great celebration for my days with Tony...

Dearly Loved,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

God saying "hi"

Day 2 and I'm blogging again...

Just wanted to talk about one of my all-time favorite things to pray over people - that God would tell them "hi." Yep, sounds a bit elementary, and to some, a bit small-sized for such a gi-normous God of the Universe. I believe that our God Most High can use any and every way He so chooses to tell us that He loves us. And, for me, it often comes in the most intimate, and sometimes downright, random ways, that He tells me hello.

I must give props to my good friend, Steph, who first introduced me to that phrase when we lived in South Florida. We had just met, but had formed such a cool friendship from the very beginning. We were chatting about life and God one day on the beach, and we looked out to see a couple of dolphins swim by in the ocean. She said, "oh, that's God saying hi." And, I've been looking for ways He tells me "hi" ever since. I pray the same for you.

In the days following Tony's death, the small "hi's" have been there, but more often they have been shouts of "hello." Daily, I receive a call, a story, a message on Facebook from folks, sometimes strangers, who tell me how much Tony's death and my response to it has affected their lives. I am grateful for these reminders from God that he's got this 30-year-old widow in His hands. It is completely Him who is working in my life, for I often don't even remember what I say or speak. I have a whole new understanding of walking by faith and not by sight. I recall telling God in the first days after this tragedy that if He did not continue to use me and work through my life to bring others to Himself, that surely I would just curl up and die. Yes, that's a harsh thing to tell God, but I meant every word.

Silly me, to think that God would not use my loss for His glory. I don't even know the lives that have been touched or the lives that are yet to be touched. Let me again say, this is NOTHING OF ME but only God who works in and through me, because He loves me so much to not let me just endure this pain and not be transformed by it. Of course, I would trade all this in to get my husband back on this earth, but since that is not possible, I must choose God's Glory on this earth until it is my time to join Tony in heaven.

One of the coolest ways of God saying "hi" is through the reading and studying of His Word. He spoke to me in many ways today, but by far the coolest was when I was reading in Exodus (yes, that is correct, Exodus, it is actually quite a facinating read!). In chapters 4 through 12, it talks about how God even used Pharaoh to bring Glory to Himself. It was when Moses was asking Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt and God kept bringing plagues on Egypt due to Pharaoh's continued refusal to let them go. In some of the plagues, the Bible says that Pharaoh chose to harden his heart and in other plagues, it says that God hardened his heart. It goes on to explain that this happened so that God could use these miraculous events to bring Glory to Himself. Now, if God chose to use Pharaoh, who was adamently opposed to God, to bring Him Glory, how much more will God use us, who are for God, for His Glory?

I cannot fathom the ways He intends to use me, for now I am just taking my journey one day at a time, sometimes, one moment at a time. And tomorrow is a big day, our 2 year wedding anniversary. Though I never imagined this day without Tony by my side, I will celebrate and remember the amazing earthy love we share. I will look for ways for God to tell me "hi" and continue to ask Him to use me, even in the smallest of ways, for His Glory.

Dearly loved,


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Verses to inspire this blog...

Welcome to who knows what will come of this blog. I always thought I'd start blogging when my husband and I had a family of our own to blog about. But, that was my dream, and I am now living God's dream, though His dream looks like a blank canvas to me now. I just came from a Beth Moore conference today, where I felt the prompting of the Lord to begin a blog and for it's central theme to be about choosing to live a life of love.

Not sure if this name "Loving on the Edge" will stick. Actually, I was quite set on "Choose Love" or "Choosing Love" but it turns out when I googled both, it led to some not so appealing song lyrics. So for now, I choose this somewhat cliche title.

Onto my inspiration...Eph. 5: 1-2:
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

These verses confirmed a theme rolling around in my aching heart over the past month. Though I walk through such sorrow and grief, I will choose love. I will choose to live a life of love. My choice is not my own, it is a God-sized mission from the Lord.

Who knows where my choice will lead. For now, it leads me down a road of much heartache and pain as I mourn the loss of the earthly love of my life. My hope and prayer is that my heart grows bigger through this time so that it has more capacity to love than ever before.

Time will certainly tell...

Monday, April 12, 2010

75 Marbles...My Letter at Tony's Memorial

75 marbles…

When I first laid eyes on Tony at a singles gathering at North Point, I was immediately drawn to him. Little did I know at the time that not only would he become the love of my life, but a teacher of the most important life lessons I could learn.

When we were engaged, Tony gave me this jar of marbles. There were 77 inside. He was 33 years old at the time and told me that the Bible said we would live to be 110. We were to throw one marble away on each anniversary to signify that a year together was gone. That year and that marble could not be brought back, so we were to make the most of every moment.

There are 75 marbles left in this jar. The two marbles that are gone represent two of the most amazing years of my life. I could go on for pages about the great adventure of life and love Tony took me on, but I will simply say that I learned more about God’s unconditional love for us through the way Tony loved and cared for me than I had in my previous 14 years as a Christian. He was a tangible expression of God’s love daily, moment by moment, kind word by kind word. He treated me like a priceless treasure, just as God does for each of us.

So, what about the 75 left? I find comfort in these verses:

Isaiah 55:8-9:
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

Ps. 139:16:
“…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

God’s perfect plan included Tony going home to heaven much sooner than either of us expected. Though we have all experienced such a tragic loss, I am fully confident that God’s plans for Tony are good and from above. A good friend of Tony’s from Seattle emailed yesterday that it was as if Tony knew all along that he would never live to be 80 or 90, so he intentionally chose to live each day to the fullest. My heart’s desire is to now make the most of the marbles that are left to honor God and honor Tony.

I invite you all on that journey with me. Tony was known for how intentionally he spent his time with his family, his friends, and his colleagues. More than anything on this earth, Tony desired that each person he encountered to know his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Throughout our marriage, we constantly talked about the people in our lives that we wanted to be intentional about spending time with in order to share with them the love of Christ. This included many family members, friends, colleagues, and most recently his Emory classmates. He also made a point to stop and help perfect strangers, whatever their need. This is Tony’s legacy that will shine and last forever.

I can’t even wrap my head around the outpouring of support from those I know and even more I don’t know. I covet your prayers, but please know that I’m going to be okay. The road ahead will be full of much heartache and pain, but because of my faith in Jesus, I have a peace that passes understanding that I will stay the course and allow God to use my loss for His glory.

With a heart full of love for Tony, our family, and for God above,