Updated: Jun 4, 2019
Since my daughter's passing in 2011, life has changed in many ways. We've since had two beautiful rainbow babies and God, in His mercy, has allowed us to share Ellanie's story with a grieving hope, through outlets I never imagined possible. Special dates always trigger the sting of her missing presence from our family. In light of Infant Loss Awareness month, I've seen many social media posts and articles floating around about all of things infant loss inflicts on a family (namely the mother), but especially sorrow and sadness over what they feel their baby is missing out on here on earth.
The Lord has been reminding me of 1 Thessalonians 4:13, "We do not want you to be uninformed brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope." I cannot imagine grieving without the hope that Christ gives... the hope of forever.
Its completely human for longings to be magnified in the face of what might have been. But, as I learn to lean into my friend Jesus and to trust His perfect ways my perspective shifts from "I wish I could have..." to "praise God she's..." and there's a million wonderful ways you can fill in that blank! For example, "praise God she's only going to know the best of earth and all of it's joys." "Praise God she'll never get her heart broken by a stupid boy or be made to feel less-than." I could go on for days...
If anything, especially now as my living children grow, I grieve for them moreso. They will experience so much heartache, fear, struggle, and strife here on this broken earth. I watch daily the battle against sin waging in their little hearts as I walk alongside helping teach, guide, and lead them toward what is lovely, true, and pure. It is exhausting and hard. And still, I know the hardest roads have yet to be traveled.
But my Ellanie... for her I rejoice.
She skipped this broken and cursed earth and entered straight into perfection. Without any sorrow, she lives whole and free and knows nothing less.
Does it still hurt? Everyday.
The countless might have been's still flow through my mind and they still feel like swift blows to my chest. But immediately following is an even more overwhelming feeling... hope.
Grief with hope is what tells the tender mother, "Breathe through this. You will see him/her again."
Grief with hope tells the sister or brother that was left behind, "God is always good... never forget that."
Grief with hope turns to the good Father and says, "thank you for holding my baby and for holding me." (Psalm 63:7-8)
I've included an excerpt from my book, in hopes that it lifts someone out of despair today and into a sweet place of peace with Jesus. "When the perfect comes, the partial will pass away." 1 Corinthians 13:10
After Ellanie was gone and the grieving process started to occur, the Lord showed me He is still perfect. For me to long for Ellanie to be here, experiencing life with us, is a normal human reaction, but it is not godly. Because what happened, in the way it happened, is our Father's perfect plan. Everything He does is perfection because He is perfection. The perfection I am anxious to see in heaven one day is my daughter's reality now. It is all she will ever know, the reality she lives - whole and complete - forever.
Proverbs 16:9 reminds me that while in my heart I may plan my course, the Lord determines my steps. Life may not go as we had planned, but even still I am grateful that He is never caught off guard. He knows everything that will befall us.
Sometimes the only answer is that He is sovereign. One day when we are joined with Him in the new Heaven and the new earth, we will have all of the answers and we will know perfection. Until then, trust that He has power and dominion over all things and that His perfect plan is best. Even when you don't feel it, His Spirit is helping you to believe it. (30 Days of Hope for Restoration in Infant Loss, pages 44-45)