how are you doing?

It's the most common question I and my family have been asked lately. We are grateful for the many, many people who care for us so deeply and truly want to know how we are. Even so, the question can become overwhelming and exhausting, not because we don't want to share, but because we don't know the answer. There is too much happening in our hearts, minds, and lives to try to get it into any brief answer. And even with the abundance of emotions, there just aren't words or clarity enough to figure it out. But for those of you who have been praying for us and who dearly want to know how we're doing, I'm going to try to update a bit.

We're in shock. Or at least we must still be. Even as we have made long-term decisions, had financial conversations, performed a memorial service, and walked past the empty space in the garage, it still seems like this is just a very long drill. It's like Dad is frozen in time at work, on a trip or something. I think most of us have hypothesized in our minds what life would be like if we were to lose a family member; it feels like this is just a very extensive playing out of that hypothetical situation. Because this doesn't happen to a family like ours, does it? This is someone else's John Bennett everyone is talking about, not ours, right?

We're dazed. One moment we'll be totally normal, just washing dishes or something, and the next moment we realize we've been standing staring at nothing for who knows how long. I forgot how to use the microwave, just stood there looking at the buttons without any thoughts actually going through my head. I used to think people made meals for grieving families because it was just nice, but I realize now that the idea of planning and executing a meal was too much. But the daze, the shock, the fog is a good place to be in that it numbs the pain, the reality that we feel edging closer. Sometimes that numbness isn't just emotional, but even physical too. But usually being numb is more desired than feeling the pain. Being numb is the only thing that enables me to write this kind of a blog post.

We're supported. I can't say enough how grateful we are for the unbelievable support we have been shown. We've been given so many beautiful meals. We've had teams of men come to mow our fields, haul in firewood, fix our lawn mower, and so many other tasks. People have promised to be in this for the long haul, and it will be a long haul. Over one hundred people raised over $12,000 for us, most of whom are anonymous and all of whom went above and beyond; our church has supported us financially as well. We are overwhelmed by this monetary support that will help us so much in the future; I don't have the words to say thank you. And we know we are being prayed over constantly; we know because we can feel it.

We're hopeful. We have so many reasons for hope. The circumstances of the accident show that even in the moments of tragedy, God was already taking evil and turning it into something beautiful. But more than anything, we are firmly rooted on the foundation of Jesus. His salvation means that Dad is in Heaven now, we will see him again, and we will all be resurrected like Jesus on the future, perfect, New Heaven and New Earth. These are words and beliefs we have known for years upon years, but we really do believe them. We really do believe that Heaven is real, and Dad is there. It still tears us apart to not be with him now, to not have those moments with him that we had planned on and dreamed of, but Jesus gives us the ability to breathe. Jesus gives us the ability to actually say "It's going to be okay," even though we know that "okay" won't come in this life. I'm sure that it is the prayers of hundreds of dear friends that have laid these truths so prominently upon our hearts. We don't know what the next few days, weeks, months, and years will look like. We don't know if the biggest waves of grief are about to hit or are still far off. But in the waves and the storm that we know will come, we have this hope as an anchor for our souls.

Please continue to pray for us. Write our names on a bathroom mirror or put a post-it note in your car or set an alarm once a week on your phone - we boldly ask for your prayers because we know God will use them, and we can't do this on our own. Please pray for:
- Peace and confidence in the love of God
- Wisdom for decisions to be made
- Help in maintaining our home and property
- Safety and health for our family
And perhaps most of all:
- For Jesus to break into our hearts so that he can fill us in the ways we are empty, fill us with the love of a father or a husband, in the way no one else will ever be able to do.

Thank you all. We love you.


  1. Prayers being sent continually from Nigeria <3
    Thank you for writing this, for being vulnerable, and for allowing yourself space to grieve. Love you big!

  2. Sweet Shelby, your words allow us to feel greater as hundreds continue to hold you all before the cross. Please hold your momma for me today. ❣️Tina


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