Our daughter Evelyn Joy was born in 2015. She was beautiful, sweet and so very brave.
Twenty days after her birth, she died in our arms. We were unaware that she had suffered severe brain damage during my pregnancy, so when she was born, she had no ability to swallow, gag, cough or breathe well on her own. She was dependent on machines to keep her alive and her prognosis was bleak. We constantly wondered, how could a baby this beautiful on the outside be so sick on the inside?
During her short life, we were laden with agony as we considered the possibilities for her future. We pleaded with God to heal her because we know that nothing is impossible for him. But sometimes God’s plans involve healing in heaven and not on earth.
As her condition slowly declined, we made the decision to remove her from the machines. The next 12 hours were the best and worst of my life.
We prayed with her, sang to her, snuggled and kissed and hugged her, and talked about what heaven would be like, and reassured her that one day we’d all be together again. It was the most sacred and heart-wrenching surrender I have ever experienced. We know she is now fully healed and that Jesus is perfectly caring for her. We long for the day to worship together in his presence for all of eternity.
Our grief is real and deep, but God continues to bind up our hurting hearts with his amazing grace. Losing a child is even worse than I could have imagined. But in the pit of grief, I’ve realized that God’s grace reaches into the abyss. He alone can give the courage, joy and hope that I need to keep living fully until he calls me home too.
Unfortunately, our story is not uncommon. So many families have endured the death of a child. My prayer is that God can use our stories to bring comfort and strength to one another as we trust in Jesus and learn to live in the wake of such great loss.
God is a compassionate father who does not waste our pain, and he understands what it means to suffer, for Jesus Himself died on the cross for our sins, but he rose again victorious to declare victory over death, sin and the grave. Because of his perfect life, death and resurrection, we can be filled with strength for the present and hope for the future.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.