July and August have gone by incredibly fast. As we wrote in our last post about our sweet baby girl, the past few months have been spent sharing and processing this news. We have received so many words of encouragement from those in our lives. We are incredibly humbled and grateful for our tribe of people here, near, and far that have rallied around us through prayer, cards, flowers, monetary gifts, and even books we have received. In the midst of it all, if we haven’t said thank you this is me (Brooke) saying thank you now! This is no doubt the most challenging trial our family has gone through and yet, the Lord has been so faithful.
I have told people I haven’t been fervently praying for healing and even struggled with guilt for not wanting to. But then a dear friend who has gone through the loss of a child gave me a book called “Holding onto Hope” by Nancy Guthrie and her words brought life to my feelings:
With great boldness and passion and persistence, we cry out to God begging for physical healing. And in these prayers there’s often a tiny P.S. at the end where we say ‘if it be your will.’ Shouldn’t we switch that around? Shouldn’t we cry out with boldness and persistence that says, ‘God would you please accomplish your will? Would you give me a willing heart to accomplish your plan and your purpose? Would you mold me into a vessel that you can use to accomplish what you have in mind? And then perhaps add a tiny P.S. that says, ‘if that includes healing we will be grateful.’ Isn’t real faith revealed more through pursuing God and what he wants than pursuing what we want?
I am learning what it means to submit my plans to Jesus, who I believe works all things together for His glory and my good. I have learned to pray differently. And while I desperately wish that didn’t mean I had to lose a daughter, I believe his purposes are for my ultimate good. A few weeks ago, Jay and I began planning Eliza’s funeral (most likely, it’ll be October 20). Deciding what type of gravestone you want for your child is incredibly painful, especially as I walked through the cemetery with a pregnant belly. And yet I know He is still good, even when we feel like we are in the shadow of death.
I know many of you have prayed for Jay’s stepmom, Brenda, for years as she’s been fighting colon cancer. In July, she was placed in hospice and given about two months. Jay’s sister is getting married in a couple weeks and we would covet your prayers that she will be able to be there to watch her daughter walk down the aisle.
While we are in an incredibly hard season, we still have some fun things going on. Henry started Pre-K this past month and although he can get super tired and cranky toward the evening hours, he is such a little extrovert and school is like a big party for him everyday. I’m still working part-time, so Eden and I have a few days together each week. If you’ve been faithful blog readers, you may remember my pregnancy with her. It didn’t happen in my time, but I know even more now that God gave her to me just when I needed her. She is 18 months old now and at the most fun age. She’s incredibly sweet, learning to talk, and loves to cuddle and give hugs. In these hard days, she is such a little sunshine.
This past weekend we attended a wedding of friends of ours that Jay officiated, and we have two more weddings in the next four weeks. They will be fun distractions for us. Then I will be having a C-section, probably the second week in October. Please continue to pray as we approach the day we have to say goodbye to Eliza Joy and I will no longer feel her little kicks and get to hold her. Pray for Jay and I, that we process this well and continue to trust God, even when it gets harder. We have explained to Henry what’s going on and yet, we have no idea how he is going to handle it once she’s born. Pray for his little heart, as this will probably be one of his first memories. Thanks for sticking with us this far. I have no idea how people can go through things like this alone, so we thank y’all so much for all of your love and support.