Share Your Story Saturday {Julie’s Story}

In the Stillness

There’s a worship song that I use to sing quite often back in my high school youth group days. You might be familiar with it. The opening lyrics say,

“In the secret, in the quiet place

In the stillness You are there.

In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait,

Only for You, ‘cause I want to know you more…”

I had always thought of those lyrics as a portrait of the author rising early in the morning before the hustle and bustle of the day, cracking open her bible and waiting for the Lord to blow down fresh fire with His word. The Lord, God of all heaven and all earth, intimately making Himself present and known to one, a mere human who simply waits with the desire to know Him.  It really is beautiful. But as I sang that song this past Sunday for the first time in probably 10 years, impressed upon my heart was a very specific, very different portrait, and yet those words somehow still applied. The portrait was of a photograph, taken on April 12, 2014, showing me holding my newly birthed daughter with IV still in hand and her perfectly dark, curly hair still wet with amniotic fluid. Instead of a typical post-birth image—full of hope, joy and brimming with life—the sadness and confusion is palpable.

In August of 2013, my husband, Andy, and I found out much to our surprise that Lehman baby #4 was on the way. With three children already, 2 of whom we homeschooled, and a house that had been on the market for several months, a new baby was not something we had planned, but instantly we loved our child and began dreaming about our future as a family of six. By the end of January, we had sold our home, bought an old farmhouse, moved into my parents’ basement, began renovating our farmhouse, and discovered that our precious surprise was our second daughter—Macyn Jolene. It was a season of praying, planning, and watching all of the details of our next chapter fall into place. It was a stressful time of stretching but so many good memories were made. Looking back, it’s easy to see this as a time in which God was literally moving and shaping our family.

We were anticipating our little Macy Jo to make her arrival mid-April and true to our nature, we drug our home renovation project right up to the last minute and moved in on April 5. It was no surprise to me when I noticed Macy’s movements slow later that week. She’s just preparing for labor and delivery, I assured myself. That Friday afternoon, however, my instincts started telling me that I needed to pay more attention to my unusually inactive little girl. Four hours and only three movements later, my midwife asked me to head toward the hospital for a non-stress test but assured us this was just a precaution and would put everyone’s mind at ease over the weekend until my next scheduled visit the following Monday.

Once we arrived at the hospital a nurse hooked me up to the Doppler but seemed to be having difficulty using it. I sat there politely, with a big smile on my face but on the inside thinking, “Poor nurse. She must be new.” After several attempts, she blamed the difficulty on faulty equipment and went to look for a better machine. In the meantime, she flagged down a doctor who came in to perform a quick ultrasound. Almost three years later and I can still hear his voice, “You aren’t going to like what I have to tell you. I can’t find a heartbeat. I’m so sorry.”

In that moment, my world shattered into a thousand miniscule pieces. All of the plans our family had been making were obliterated. I was in the most literal sense, frozen. I couldn’t move. It was an intentional effort to move my hand to my mouth. All I could do was think, “I don’t want to keep living without my child. I’m not screaming. Shouldn’t I at least be crying? I feel like an elephant just sat on my chest. I’m not sure I can take one more breath.”

Hebrew 11:1 says, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” If I ever needed proof of what was unseen, it was now. I prayed, “Lord, if You are who You say You are, and who I have professed you to be, I need You to prove it now. This is too much for me.” Just as quickly as despair and desperation arrived, so did the Lord. His presence was thick and tangible. He began making Himself known. In friends who dropped everything to be with us, in a midwife who loved Jesus and prayed with us, in an induction that went smoothly, and in the beauty of a precious baby with the most adorable cheeks and button nose, He was there in every detail.

The picture that popped into my mind’s eye this past week is a tough one for me to look at for too long. It’s not just the obvious, gut-wrenching sadness—I also see a version of myself that is completely unaware of how bleak the days to come would be. It was easy to see God’s fingerprints within the veil of shock, but once that veil was lifted and my daughter’s body buried in the cold dirt, my vision was blurred.

The thing about faith is that it isn’t just some magical force that floats in and makes itself a home. Faith takes some action, some effort. I had to be intentional with my thoughts—challenging each one, bringing them under a biblical microscope. I began writing down every doubt and every question I had and then searching my Bible for an answer. There were many times that I thought, “I’m not sure You have an answer for this one, God,” and just as many times that He proved me wrong. The deeper I dug into His Word and the the more I sought Him, the more I realized that I didn’t have to understand His plan for Macy’s life in order to trust it. I could fully rest in the assurance that despite my present misery, He was working all things, big and small, for my good and ultimately, His glory. In trusting, I was free to feel the deep emotions of my pain and know that He wasn’t wasting a single tear I cried. I was moved from a place of knowing the facts of God, to a place of knowing the heart of God. In the most wretched of stillnesses, I realized how desperate I was to know Him more.

And so I allowed myself to weep in worship last Sunday for how He has faithfully met me in my mourning and for how desperately I continue to wait on Him and to know Him more. My heart will never be fully mended while in this life but as Psalm 119:50 says, “My comfort in suffering is this, Your promise preserves my life,” He is renewing me each day through His tender mercies, and that is worth more than anything this life has to offer.

– Julie

Hope Mom to Macy

My name is Julie. I have been married to my husband Andy for 13 years. We have 2 boys and 3 girls- Micah (11), Eli (9), Raegan (6), Hadie (1) and our sweet Hope Baby, Macy who has been in glory for almost 3 years. I have the amazing privilege of being able to stay home with our kiddos and we are on a great adventure known as homeschooling. In my spare time I love to read, write, sing, walk barefoot in my garden, watch college football, and drink coffee. I have been involved in Hope Mommies since the 2015 retreat and this past year was given the honor of being the Northern Indiana chapter president. It is my utmost desire to serve and encourage women by coming alongside them wherever they are in their grief & spiritual journey. Mostly, I love Jesus and I pray that my life is a fragrant offering to Him.

We would be honored to share your story as a Hope Mom on our blog! Every Saturday we feature a Hope Mom’s story in order to showcase God’s faithfulness even in the midst of such deep sorrow. If you would like to have your story shared on our blog for this purpose, learn more and submit here:

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1 Reply to "Share Your Story Saturday {Julie's Story}"

  • Linda Kennedy
    March 13, 2017 (12:00 pm)
    Reply

    Beautiful, Julie – brought back a lot of memories of our premature babies years ago. May God richly bless you.


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