(I wrote this on Dec. 11, even though I am publishing it on the 12th.)
It is very hard to believe that an entire year has passed since Julia went to be with Jesus, that two years have passed since I learned I was pregnant with her.
We of course have been thinking about this day for months, and now it is here. I find that yesterday, the 10th, was actually harder than today. Yesterday involved reliving the surgery and her death, which, even though it technically happened on the 11th, was at 1 or 2am, so it felt very much like the 10th was the day that she died.
I had prayed often that today would be a sunny day. We have had a lot of short, extremely gray days, with very little sunshine. This has so closely mirrored my mood, and I begged the Lord for a beautiful day today, to remind us that Julia is fully satisfied in heaven, and to help with our own sadness. I must admit I was surprised when the Lord answered that request with a cloudless blue sky this morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord.
We had a providentially scheduled counseling session today, which has been so beneficial for us as we have worked through all of the difficulties associated with losing a child. Our counselor cried with us, sad that we lost Julia, but joyful that through the trials, Taylor and I did not lose each other: we have grown closer together, even through periods of weighty relational and situational stress.
Through October and most of November, my overwhelming emotion about Julia was thankfulness for her life. I am just so grateful and in awe of how much she taught us about Jesus and faith. We have grown deeper and become more compassionate people because of her. Her life and death in the Christmas season reminds me of another Baby who came to the world to save us and teach us to do the will of God.
You see, many people in our lives have made comparisons between our story and the Christmas story. For instance, I laughingly referred to Julia’s conception as the “immaculate conception," for various reasons that don’t need to be shared here! :) We, like Mary and Joseph, were in desperate circumstances when Julia was conceived, and we, like that couple, traveled to Ohio – my home “town”/state – in order for Julia to be born.
Today, it occurred to me how like Joseph Taylor probably is. Matthew 1:19 (ESV) says, “Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” That is, until an angel appeared to him in a dream telling him not to do so. I imagine Joseph quietly taking care of things and possibly hiding the reason for the divorce from family and friends. He was a good man who wanted to take of Mary. That temperament reminds me of Taylor.
Joseph trusted the angel in his dream, though, and married Mary. He probably gave up a lot – his reputation, his cultural status, and probably endured a lot of mocking about his pregnant fiancé. Maybe he was even ostracized in his synagogue. He likely gave up so much more than we even know about in order to obey God and take care of his pregnant wife-to-be.
Taylor has done that this year, and last year. He has given up so much professionally and personally in order to best serve his wife and child. He has done so humbly and, in some cases, without a lot of explanation. But, as I told our counselor today, in so doing, he saved my life. He rescued me from a deep pit of despair and showed me deeply and clearly what the sacrificial love of Christ truly means.
I am blessed not only to have had Julia, but to have Natalie, our spunky toddler, baby boy on the way, and Taylor, my beloved husband.