It has been an incredibly hard week. 4 days ago, Elizabeth Joy, daughter of some dear friends of ours here at Covenant went to be with the Lord. I am heartbroken for Nate and Leigh Ann. My arms ache for her arms that long to have her baby back in them. Yesterday, they had a funeral service in the chapel on campus, and today they will take sweet Ella and bury her body. Death is wrong. We aren't supposed to have to deal with this kind of grief. We weren't created for this. And while it feels unbearable at times, what an incredible hope we do have that Jesus has rescued us from the ultimate death. We know that one day on Christ's return, we will see sweet Ella again and we will all be together praising our Savior and singing and dancing. What an incredible day that will be. At the service yesterday, I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions. To see Leigh Ann and Nate raising their hands to Heaven praising their Savior was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. To see how they are clinging to the cross and to the promises of the gospel was breathtaking. To hear Nate and Leigh Ann proclaim Christ in such a horrific time was beautiful. Would I be able to do that? There was much sobbing, but not sobbing without hope. I could see how Christ was so present with them and so real to them. When Leigh Ann spoke, I could see such rawness of how her heart longs for her daughter, but also how her heart longs for her daughter's life to have a kingdom impact. Her life was not wasted and will not be forgotten. I pray with them that the Lord will use this for his Kingdom purposes.
To see Nate carry the casket with his baby girl inside was gut wrenching. What a testimony to the Lord though that he was first of all able to do that. The Lord is definitely holding them during this time.
I haven't grieved like this in a very long time. I am feeling myself brought back to the pain of loosing our baby in miscarriage. I am not trying to say I even understand the pain they are facing right now, but I do know the pain of loosing a baby. It is a different situation and I couldn't really imagine fully, but my stomach gets the pain in it that I remember from when we had our miscarriage. It hurts down in my chest. I ache for them.
I do pray in excitement though of how the Lord will use this little girl in their ministry as they face the coming days and years. Their story won't be what they thought it would be or would have wanted it to be, but the Lord is writing it and it is going to be beautiful, and already is. Even looking at their faces and hearing them share yesterday, he is their Savior and they are clinging to him.
Continue to pray for this family. Today is not going to be easy. I couldn't imagine what they are really feeling. Pray that the Lord will use this for his glory. And as Nate said yesterday, Death is not the last word over Ella. We serve the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, He's the God of the living, not the dead.