Last Thursday (March 27th) marked one year since our world was shaken to the core. One year since we began a journey that has forever changed our lives. A journey where unimaginable sorrow is turned to unexplainable joy, where our own broken pieces fed more than we could dream. A journey where Jesus and life and eternity became more real than ever before. A journey where death came knocking, seeking to destroy but LIFE… LIFE that can only be found in Jesus… WON.
We sat in eager anticipation to see our first child on the big, ultra techie ultrasound screen, only to be told that they couldn’t find a skull, it wasn’t good and we’re sending you to a high-risk doctor immediately. We held each other, we cried, we prayed and then we drove the longest 30 minute drive of our lives to find out what was going on with our firstborn.
“Oh Lord, what are you going to ask us to walk through?” drew tears and fear as we drove on the highway that day.
And it was worse, so much worse than we could’ve imagined. “Your daughter has a rare, incurable condition that will not allow her to live once born.” Tears and sorrow and then an overwhelming and unexpected sense of God’s peace and presence in that moment flooded our souls. Death was creeping in in a way we had never experienced, and yet LIFE was peeking it’s head and then flooding it’s presence in the most unexpected of places. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 And Jesus was bringing LIFE into that room shrouded with the sorrow of impending death.
He brought LIFE when we chose to carry our daughter to term and allow God to be the one who decided how long her life would be.
LIFE when our closest friends, Julie & DK enveloped us with love and tears and prayers as we quickly headed to their home afterwards, knowing we desperately needed people in that moment.
LIFE when family and friends heard the news and began to surround us with prayers, scripture and support.
LIFE when we began to celebrate Sophie’s life and LIFE when hundreds of others began to surround us and help us (no… force us) to make the time to celebrate her life in even more LIFE -giving ways
LIFE when we watched our story and Sophie’s life bring LIFE and hope to hundreds… and then thousands… and then hundreds of thousands of people (wow. just. wow)
LIFE when our family experienced sweet community here in Orlando in the midst of the waiting… and waiting… and waiting for Sophie to arrive (2 weeks and 2 days late!)
LIFE when Sophie was born FULL OF LIFE and the majority of our family was there to meet her and hold her… ALIVE
LIFE when there was utter peace in our hearts as we gave Sophie to Jesus and watched her take her last breath and knew she had just entered LIFE with Jesus
LIFE as our family surrounded Sophie’s little body and sang (really, just listed to the music because we were all crying) “How Great is our God”, picturing the wonders of what our daughter was experiencing with Jesus in the midst of our own sadness.
LIFE when that day, that day I dreaded from the moment we found out death was in our future and we would bury our daughter, came crashing in on the day of actually buried her. The day no parent is ever EVER prepared or ready for was a day that began feeling so lifeless, yet was infused with hope and LIFE. Hope that grew as our little service went on and our Pastor led us to Jesus and eternity and the hope of heaven that couldn’t help but make us think of the wonders of LIFE that Sophie was experiencing now and we would one day get to experience with her. Oh there was so much sadness that day, but also so much LIFE
LIFE as we covered her not so attractive little casket (I’m so sorry Sophie, I’m sure you’re laughing about this now but it looked so much prettier in the pictures) with our handprints and butterfly stickers filled with little notes of love from family and friends. And we even found ourselves laughing in the midst of our tears that day.
LIFE as we released balloons in honor of Sophie, and in our hearts released her to Jesus just a little more.
LIFE as God continues to infuse His LIFE into our hearts as we journey through the grieving
and LIFE last Thursday as we visited Sophie’s gravesite and reflected on all the wonders God has done in this past year.
Yes, the sorrow has been deep, the grief so heavy at times it feels like death really is destroying, but there has been an ABUNDANCE of LIFE that has erupted where death sought to destroy.
Sophie’s life has been about LIFE and though death has been the cloud above us, LIFE has been the rain that has washed over us over and over and over again. God has used the cloud of death to bring us a sweeter joy in LIFE.
So this past week, in the midst of the heaviness, I just keep thinking how one year ago death came knocking on our doorstep and threatened to destroy us… but LIFE won and just keeps defeating death.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE.”- John 14:6
He has been our LIFE and has brought and continues to bring LIFE into the dark places in our life.
Death did not win. Death will not win. And one day “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26
I’ll say amen to that!