Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Evelyn Ruth

Today is the day we would have finally met our beloved Evelyn Ruth. I literally cannot even say her name today without weeping. I’ll warn you now that this post is messy and all over the place- but that is just where I am today as I process another wave of grief.  My heart is breaking all over again for the loss of time I would have had with Evelyn and what should have been. My mom should be here, watching Elle and Johnny and getting ready to bring them to the hospital to meet their little sister. I should be recovering, Brett should be crying, holding her and blessing her. Our little princess is supposed to be in our arms but instead she was stolen too early. I am hurting knowing I don’t get to meet her today, but am also thankful to know that is not the end of the story.

I’m not one to give focus to the demonic, but please do not be mistaken. There is a very real enemy of our souls. Last year, he came to steal our joy, kill our children, and destroy our faith. But he will not prevail. Our children’s hearts may have stopped beating but their spirits live on. They are ALIVE and we will get to meet them some day. Jesus is so smart. He promises us in the Bible that there may be weeping in the night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalms 30.5) Sometimes I wonder if it’s a play on words: joy comes in the mourning. The more I allow myself the mourn the deaths of our children, the more He shows me the joy He has for me, the joy they are experiencing, and the joy I will get to experience with them, some day. My joy has been trampled on, but not stolen because it is rooted in Jesus, not my circumstances. My faith has been stretched, but in my weakness, He has shown Himself strong and His grace has been sufficient. (2 Cor 12.9) In fact, God has given us dreams, prophetic words, and blessed us immensely in getting to know Evelyn and grieving her early goodbye.

Most people don’t know that Evelyn was a name Brett and I fell in love with in 2009. We always knew we’d use that name if we had another daughter. It was a dream tucked in our hearts for six years. It means “life” and after losing Timothy, it was even the more fitting. The day we found out we were pregnant, a family member from across the country called and said God had spoken to her while running and she was wondering if we were expecting. When I shockingly confirmed, she said the Lord wanted me to know it was a girl. Brett and I already knew this in our hearts but were delighted to have Jesus confirm it. As the pregnancy progressed, I had dreams were I saw her as a little baby. In my dreams I got to hold her, nurse her, sing to her and delight in her. Losing Timothy was shocking and painful, but learning we had lost Evelyn hit a whole new level of deep pain. It felt like the death of a dream we’d held onto secretly for years and already experienced tangibly in our dreams.

I don’t have an explanation for why all this happened. What I do know is that the enemy is not getting the final say. In January 2015, I asked the Lord for goals for the year and He asked me to start writing again. I had NO idea He would also ask me to post my journal entries and share our painful journey of miscarrying twice. But as I posted, I began to see almost immediate fruit. Women started reaching out privately to tell me they had experienced miscarriages and my words helped them to process, or grieve, or even have courage to say the name they had chosen for their unborn child. In January of this year, as I asked the Lord for new goals, He sweetly asked me to take my writing to a new level. I knew this meant putting it all together for an actual blog (and maybe someday a book) so it would be more accessible. However, I have been so sick with my current pregnancy that I hadn’t gotten to it. The past week, I have known Evelyn’s day was coming, and I wanted to do something to recognize it. As I prayed and meditated on my words from the Lord, I knew it was time to finally start that blog and do it in honor of my daughter’s life.

You see, the enemy wants to wound us so badly that we give up. He wants to knock us to our butts so hard that we don’t have the courage to get back up. But here I am. I am dusting myself off- tears, scrapes, and all- and pressing forward with Jesus going before me and also being my rear guard. (Isaiah 52.12)  I will not quit. I will not be shut up. I will not give up. I will pursue every promise God has for me. If my words can help even one other parent who has lost a child, then I cannot see this as all in vain. Jesus is that good. He can take ANYTHING and work it for good- even the premature death of my child. (Romans 8.28)

I am not a finished work. God knows I am still a passionate, emotional, hot mess. But I am His. He has grace for me for today and He can handle all my emotions. He is the Great Comforter and as my heart is aching He is holding me tightly. He promises He is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalms 34.18)  If you are a parent who knows this pain, I am so sorry for your loss. If you have never experienced such heartache, I pray you never do. But we are not meant to do any of this alone. Reach out and tell someone what you are going through or show love and compassion for someone who has gone through a loss. Share your heartache with someone safe. Email me if you must. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, the love of Jesus does. In memory of my sweet Evelyn, I no longer want to see parents “go it alone” as they mourn their babies. So please reach out, I would love to pray for you and speak truth over you as so many have done for me.

Blessings, Shailey