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sharing my story {with you}

I have been very hesitant to post this.
In fact, I had decided that I would NOT share this on my blog.
Not because I don’t like you all…I do.
But because I was scared.
Scared that you would think I have this grieving thing all figured out.
I don’t.
Scared that you would think I am promoting myself–like I know everything.
I don’t.
And scared that maybe someone would ask me to speak again.
I won’t.
Just kidding…I might think about it. :o)

But as I shared this audio file with some dear friends and family,
men and women who I respect and have been so faithful to pray for me,
they all kept encouraging me to share it with you.
Because one of my readers might need to hear the truths
that God has been teaching me on this journey through sorrow.
And because it is an opportunity to share the love of God with SO many.
It would be crazy not to do that, right?

So, I have really felt prompted to share my story with you.
You all are such an encouragement to me everyday.
I love that.
I pray that the Lord would use my words to encourage you today too.
Because God’s truth is relevant…
for ALL of us…
no matter what you might be facing today.

This is the audio file recorded when I spoke
to a women’s group two weeks ago.
You can listen here.

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  • Kristi - Thank you for sharing your story, Jess. I cannot imagine how difficult this journey has been for you. Your strength continues to amaze and inspire me. You and your family are always in my prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Kalyn - You should not hide your way with words. What you said was breathtaking.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - That was beautiful, Jess. Just as Christ was obedient in what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8-9), so you and Joel are as well. I pray that He will continue to turn your ashes into beauty and your despair into a garment of praise. I can relate when you talked about Levi growing up without his sister. My oldest son is growing up without his brother, and it’s hard, and a reminder everyday. Yet, we continue to trust God and know that He is working out all things to advance His Kingdom. Thank you for sharing God’s work in your life.ReplyCancel

  • Beki - TheRustedChain - You are amazing.

    God is using you, Jess.

    To whom much is given, much is required.ReplyCancel

  • Townsend Crew - It’s so great to hear your voice. What a blessing to have you sit on God’s lap and share your beautiful story. Your words are so powerful – spoken or written – powerful!ReplyCancel

  • monkeetrouble7 - Powerful message. Thank you for sharing your story. I have passed your message on to a friend that has been through a similar struggle. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - That was amazing, beautiful, and so full of truth. I don’t know you, but I am so proud of you for overcoming so many fears in order to share your story. Have faith in how much you helped other people with your words. You may not like to speak publicly, but you did a very impressive job. I know that Cora is so proud of her Mommy!ReplyCancel

  • Marie - Beautiful Story and a great witness for Jesus…I love that you said that our circumstances don’t define us, Christ does and should. Thanks for sharing…

    Blessings~ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Jess – you really did do an amazing job… and I don’t mean just the speaking part. You communicated honestly and clearly about how God is working in your life through your journey. I know my heart was challenged, and I’m sure there were so many others there that were challenged, too. Thanks for being willing to post it here – I know God will continue to use your story and reach others through you.ReplyCancel

  • MICHELE - Thank you for sharing your story with us. I think you did an amazing job speaking the word and truths. I agree with Ginger I too walked away challenged.
    I think and pray for your family often. I wanted to reach through the computer screen and give a huge hug!ReplyCancel

  • A - I am in tears. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I am at a point where I have to trust God when my heart is aching from infertility. (And I cannot even say how thankful and amazed you mentioned it in your talk!!) It is definitely not easy. Thank you again for posting this. I still pray for you as you continue to trust God to redeem the loss of Cora 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - You are amazing..more than amazing. You have changed my life and my beliefs more than I could ever imagine. I am by nature a fearful person and quite honestly very fearful of death. Your experience has helped me start to get through that fear and realize that God is good and will help me through anything that comes my way. It has reminded me of Hope. The Hope that I needed to help calm my fears…I just didn’t think to look for it. Thank you. I hate that you are going through this to make lives better for others, but you are doing just that. I always believed in the Lord, but never really understood it all or took the time to. You have helped me WANT to. Again, thank you. I continue to pray for you, Joel, Sweet Cora, and Little Levi…I hope that with each passing day you find more ways to find strength in the Lord.

    TaraReplyCancel

  • LL - Thank you for opening up the word of God to those of us who’ve lost the way or have never known His faithfulness.ReplyCancel

  • Maria - I am so sorry that you are on this journey. But I am so grateful and in awe of your tenacity and faithfulness. Your words were empowering and challenging. Thank you. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Oh my gosh Jess – you did an AMAZING job. So well said. You couldn’t have done a more perfect job.

    And God continues to work…I know someone who just lost their daughter 8 days ago. Your words will be such a comfort to her. I have already directed her to your blog, but how perfect that your speech was posted today? God gives us what we need. That is for sure.

    Thank you so much again for sharing your story on here. You do make a difference in many lives.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy Lord - You did an amazaing job. I was so impressed that you were able to maintain your composure as I was not while listening to your words. Though you never ever wished or wanted this to be a part of who you are, your story is spreading hope and joy to so many. I have followed your blog since I first heard of Cora’s illness from a friend of your family. I have prayed for you, grieved with you, and rejoiced with you. Though we are complete strangers, I hope that you can feel all the support and love that is sent your way. I hope that you continue to share your journey, and feel comfort that there are people out there, praying for you and for those in need. Really, we are all in need. God Bless you Jess, Joel, sweet baby Levi, and your angel, Cora. Our friends just had a baby girl and named her Cora Pearl. I think of you everytime I hear her sweet name.
    Hugs to you all,
    Stacy Lord
    Mommy to Nicholas (4) and Nora Jo (6 mo.)ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Thank you for sharing your story!ReplyCancel

  • Micah - This was incredible, Jess. Thank you for sharing such wisdom. I am glorifying God for the truth that you shared. May God bless you and make His face to shine on you. Much love and many prayersReplyCancel

  • Melissa - The Luke 9:23 passage really spoke to my heart and all of your words, written so eloquently, really spoke to my heart at a time that I really needed to hear them. Thank you and I pray for your peace as you continue to walk the road of grief and as you continue your journey of clinging to His Truth!ReplyCancel

  • Ryan and Jessica - Jess – The holy spirit led you. You are a blessing to all whom you share your story with. You are a living witness of Christ overflowing with hope.
    May God bless you and wrap His arms tightly around you and your family. Thank you for saying YES to God and sharing your life journey. It is so very powerful.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - thank youReplyCancel

  • jessica - Thank you for sharing that with us. It touched me so deeply this morning and I needed to hear everything you said!ReplyCancel

  • meg duerksen - YAY!!!! YOU DID IT!!!
    good job jess.
    it’s beautiful. it’s real. it’s the Truth.
    you are amazing…the work God is doing in you in amazing….you are such a blessing to me.

    i am so happy you shared it.
    someone is going to hear and it will click.

    and….all your thousands of readers get to hear you voice! that is cool too.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Wow.

    That is all.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - Thank you for sharing your story with us! You are an amazing woman!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Jessica–I’ve been cleaning my house, listening to your message, and bawling my eyes out! What a great message for all of us to hear. The Lord spoke so clearly through you–I’m guessing you might have more of this public speaking in your future! Love you dearly and am so proud of you! GailReplyCancel

  • Jordan - Thanks, Jess, for sharing your story. I actually put a link to it on my blog for my very few followers, since I found it so encouraging (hope that’s alright). What you went through (and are still going through) is so inspiring. I found your blog by chance, but have found such a renewed push to rely on God through it all.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Jess,
    Thank you so much for pouring out your heart and your faith. I’m speechless with your strength and courage and pray that I can choose to follow God even in the worst of times.

    Bless you and your family!ReplyCancel

  • Cristin - Thank you for sharing! An amazing testimony of God’s love!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing. It was beautiful and you did a wonderful job. You are an inspiration and are touching so many lives through your openness and honesty. Even today, God is using Cora in a mighty way-I am convinced that people all over the world are coming to know him through her story and yours. May God continue to bring you peace, joy and healing.
    LeahReplyCancel

  • mel1708 - Jess-Thanks for sharing your story. I have been following your blog since right after you lost Cora. I have you blog and your little family. You are truly an inspiration. Thanks again for sharing everything. It’s always exciting to see you have a new post. I just love you little family.

    MelissaReplyCancel

  • Candice - Wow Jess, that was beautiful. What an amazing writer and speaker you are. You are very brave and inspiring. Thinking of you, Joel, Levi, and Cora.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing this. I lost my little boy on April 1st and your words have brought me some comfort today. Meg was right…someone would listen to this and it would ‘click.’. Today that someone is me.ReplyCancel

  • Max, April and Graham - and so Jess…I have followed your blog since we found out about Cora. when I saw you and Joel at the Berean banquet my heart didn’t know exactly what to do. I felt as though I knew everything about your heart (well what you choose to share on here) and had no idea what to say. I have cried with you, been encouraged by you and continue to be amazed at the strength God has given you.

    I just wanted to come around that table and give you a big hug.

    I was scared as I tend to be especially in situations when I really do not know the people I am surrounded by.

    anyways. I listened to your words today. they are beautiful and so honest and filled with truth. thank you for choosing to trust God and for challenging me on a regular basis.

    I am excited to “watch” our BIG boys grow together.ReplyCancel

  • Walquist - jess, I’m just overcome with joy in how God has worked through your life to share such an amazing story. thanks so much for sharing. i’m amazed, inspired, and in awe of how God is good. thanks for sharing about his grace, faithfulness, and love. we’re so proud of you jess! Hope to see you soon!ReplyCancel

  • Melinda - Thank you for sharing this with us, you did an amazing job. Your speech was absolutely beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Janet - Thank you for choosing to love and trust God.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Oh my heavens!! I don’t know what else to say. I just listened to your story but will listen again with pen and paper in hand. My world, too, was rocked several years ago. I have not “recovered” – haven’t moved past hurts when friends and family did not believe there was a true problem with my son’s health, haven’t been able to get a job, haven’t moved forward with plans for a new home, etc. AND here’s the kicker – my son SURVIVED and is finishing Kindergarten! I, too, believe that I trust God but I sure don’t think it is as deep as it needs to be. Thank you, thank you – my day is looking brighter and I can’t wait to study. You, through God, are powerful and mighty.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing with us. Meg said it perfectly…..it was BEAUTIFUL, it’s REAL and TRUTHFUL!

    KimReplyCancel

  • The Mershawn's - Such a painful, sweet, amazing story. I’m still so sorry that you or anyone has to walk such a terribly lonely road, but what God is doing in you & I’m sure in Joel, is indescribable. For such a hard story, it was like a breath of fresh air. You did so good. God is using Cora in so many ways…

    Praying for you.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I have followed your blog for awhile, but never commented (not sure what exactly to say)…

    Thank you for sharing those amazing words and your story. The things you said about faith and trust in Christ are applicable on so many levels and are exactly what I needed to be reminded of today as I struggle through my own trials.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa P - Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I needed to hear those words of encouragement, specifically today. Well Done!ReplyCancel

  • Erica - Thank you Jess. I do believe Father is using your story to bring others closer to himself. Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. Oh how I wish I could translate your message and share it with a dear friend here who lost their first baby only a few days after birth. We will continue to lift your family upReplyCancel

  • Megs - Oh my goodness Jess, THANK YOU for having the courage to share your words and your Journey. The part about how we can trust the Lord with our salvation but not with finances, relationships, etc…WOW! I can’t tell you how timely that message is for me. Thank you again.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for having the courage to share this! It is beautiful, insightful, and I know will have an impact on advancing His Kingdom. I truly admire your strength in Him.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - Thank you for sharing your story. You are a great speaker and you’re story was very inspirational.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - Thank you for sharing; you were amazing!ReplyCancel

  • The Buchanan Family - Thanks for sharing your story. your way more stronger than I could ever imagine.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank-you for sharing your story. Today I struggle not to have my struggles with infertility to not define who I am and let God bring we through my sorrow. He hasn’t failed me yet, but it is a daily struggle.ReplyCancel

  • Georgie - Jess, I just wanted to say that though you do not know me but I feel like I know you and you have been such a blessing to me. I have learned so much from you and I desire to trust God and have the kind of faith and trust that you have. I have such a long way to go but you make it seem possible!! Thanks for sharing your incredible story and I can only hope that I have the courage to trust and know Him in the way that you so clearly portray. Thank you so much for sharing and may God continue to bless your sweet family.ReplyCancel

  • macalla - Thank you so much for sharing your story. What a testimony of your faithfulness and strength. And it was something I needed to hear. You are such a blessing and encouragement to me.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - Thank you! Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • Loraine - thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffanie - Thanks for sharing! I needed to hear these words tonight. I admire your diligence in the Lord.ReplyCancel

  • Mrs. MK - I have been a reader (and pray-er) since before Cora died.

    I am recently grieving (again!!) and will listen to your talk soon….I’m sure God will encourage me through you. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - I know how hard this must have been for you, Jess. A room full of 5 and 6 year olds is much more in your comfort zone. 🙂 You did an amazing job. So glad you said yes.ReplyCancel

  • the artist's daughter - I thank you for helping me to have more faith and hope in my own life’s trials. You truly inspire me to be better than I am. I am deeply sorry for your loss, and am ever grateful that you did not shrink, but that you rose, and continue to bring others up with you. What a beautiful daughter of God you are. Thank you for sharing your undying faith, and your sweet story. Bless you.ReplyCancel

  • Stef - loved this. thank you for sharing your heart with us. God bless you…ReplyCancel

  • Deborah - Thank you Jess. You are part of my everyday.
    DeborahReplyCancel

  • Natalie Powers - Wonderful. I loved what you said about us “thinking God can handle our eternal destiny, but when it comes to relationships or finances we think it would be better if God would let us handle it ourselves.” convicting….

    Praying that THIS VERY THING would be another step into your healing process.ReplyCancel

  • Natalie Powers - Wonderful. I loved what you said about us “thinking God can handle our eternal destiny, but when it comes to relationships or finances we think it would be better if God would let us handle it ourselves.” convicting….

    Praying that THIS VERY THING would be another step into your healing process.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a true inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • JM - Thank you for sharing. Your faith is truly inspiring. I’m still not sure how that kind of faith is possible, but I won’t question that. I am just glad it is possible, and that it exists within you to help you through this tough time. Your words were beautiful, and by sharing them know that you are not alone.ReplyCancel

  • Cassie - Thank you so much, Jess. I don’t know you in person, but after following your blog for nearly 2 years, I feel as though I do. You are such an incredible example to me of love and faith. I am not a public speaker either, but I believe that you were meant to share that testimony with others. thank you for having the courage to do so, even though it was so scary for you. You are such a wonderful example!ReplyCancel

  • Glass City Mum - Thank you for sharing your story! I passed on your story to a good friend of mine who had a still born baby this last year. Your story gives hope and tells the truth of who God is. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • waiting - Your presentation of your story was beautiful. My husband lost two first cousins in a horrific traffic accident 1 1/2 weeks ago. Both were 38 years old and leave behind wives and young children. One of the wives is expecting. I wrote down Nancy Guthrie’s name as I was listening to your sweet message. Which book do you think would be most helpful to them? I think you referred to the devotional one. Please let me know if you have a chance. I want to send something to them. What time frame do you think would be appropriate to mail it to them? I don’t want to step on toes, but I want to be helpful. Thanks again for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

  • autumn23 - Wow, what a beautiful message that was. You are such an inspiration to me. You lost the most precious thing in your life but you still have faith and believe. God is definitely speaking through you. Thank you for sharing your story! God Bless you!ReplyCancel

  • Wired Whimsy - Jess, I haven’t commented in a while, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing this with us. Your story truly has given you an abundance of hope and wisdom to offer others, and I thank you for allowing the Lord to use you through your sorrow. I needed to hear every word of this today, as I seem to be flailing about in my life right now. It’s time to dig back into The Word and become grounded in my faith once more.ReplyCancel

  • Ronda - Jess-
    We live but a few miles from you and I have followed your blog from the beginning. I work at Wesley in Postpartum and was working the night sweet Cora went to be with Jesus. Doug and Paula Unruh first got us praying. I am so impressed by your desire to serve the Lord. I cannot imagine what you are enduring but may you be blessed for your obedience to God in sharing your pain and your story.
    Ronda BeougherReplyCancel

  • in a world surrounded by men - I just finished listening to it and just want to tell you what a blessing it was to me.

    I forwarded it on to other women that I know would appreciate it as well.

    Thank you for being REAL and telling us the truth of your experience and emotions.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea - hi, i just found your blog. your babies are beautiful. my mom works with a woman whose son has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. they are doing a lot to spread awareness. i thought you might be interested. here’s a link to the facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Cook-Wed-Like-To-Introduce-You-To-5-Year-Old-Braden-Hofen/335287822513?ref=nf#!/pages/David-Cook-Wed-Like-To-Introduce-You-To-5-Year-Old-Braden-Hofen/335287822513?v=info&ref=nf

    if that doesn’t work, here’s a different site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/bradenhReplyCancel

  • teampischke - I never comment.. BUT you shared you heart and I wanted to say Thank YOU. In your grief you are listening to how the Lord is leading. Through your tears you desire to LOVE & OBEY GOD! You are an encouragement to me. I bet Levi will know much about Cora.. she IS making a HUGE impact on this world.
    blessing to you.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - Wow…just wow. Thank-you for being bold enough to share! Like so many are saying…God is using you in so many lives, including mine.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Wow! That is all I can say is WOW! What a testimony of just what God is doing in your life. Levi is so blessed to have such Godly parents.ReplyCancel

  • seaschell - I cannot even imagine how hard it must have been to get up in front of a huge group of people to share your private, personal thoughts and feelings that result from this journey. Thank you for being brave enough.ReplyCancel

  • Tasha Roe - you did an amazing job!
    i have tears streaming down my cheeks listening to your journey. isn’t God good?!! The Lord IS faithful.
    thank you so much!
    you and your family will continue to be in our prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Laressa - Jess,
    Thank you for sharing. It was a blessing for me to hear you speak tonight as the grief of losing a little one during pregnancy just two months ago continues to touch me. I’ve prayed tonight that God will continue to bind you and Joel together through your journey and that His love will overflow through you to Levi as well. Thank you for opening up to others so much of your walk.ReplyCancel

  • andymarnie - Thank you for sharing this amazing and truly inspirational address.

    Your family is in my prayers tonight.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Coish - Jess, your story brought me to tears last evening….and again this morning when I listened to it the second time! You are a real testimony as to God’s amazing strength and love! You did an amazing job with sharing your story, and I believe that this story will go on to encourage many many others along your way. I lost my dad in a sudden car accident over 11 years ago, and I found out at that time that God’s grace was sufficient. I could definately feel the Holy Sprit as you were talking and I have no doubt that He is leading you through this. Thank-you for listening to God’s call on your life, even though it’s not as you would have planned it. Because of your obedience, many many others will be touched and will come to know Christ. I pray that God will continue to give you and Joel the peace, and strength to keep going on. I pray for little Levi too, as he grows up, that he will sense God’s pressence in his life every step of the way! God bless!!ReplyCancel

  • Townsend Crew - I felt so inspired by your words and reflections on what you’ve learned and how you were able to push away fear and heartbreak and trust the Lord. I received a call from my church asking if I’d offer a reflection on Motherhood for Mother’s day Mass (I’m Catholic). Prior to hearing your courageous offering, I probably would have said, “No thanks, not for me.” But, knowing how much you have touched my life with your words, I accepted the invitation to speak. Here is another way Cora’s life continues to reach out to others – and tell what God will show you, when you TRUST in the Lord.ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Thanks for sharing your story. I “hear” the Lord’s presence in your life and see Him in you. I definitely did some inward reflecting on how I trust God. I know your wound is so deep but praise God, you look to Him to carry you, give you strength,and define you.It shows that He does! In the midst of your sorrows and joy please know many prayers are offered up on your families behalf.ReplyCancel

  • Michele - Thank you for sharing. Your message showed me there is hope, reconfirmed some of my own thoughts and brought encouragement as I deal with the loss of our precious Hezekiah.
    THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

  • Emily Newsom - Thank you for sharing your story. Our daughter died almost nine years ago and our story is changing. I thought it would always be the same, but the Lord is blessing us and changing us in ways we never knew would could happen! We just shared our story on national and local news – we walk for the March of Dimes every year in Sarah’s memory…This year my BIL sponsored a walk in Iraq on his Army base! We are so excited and blessed to have our story changing. Some good with the bad. I pray that you have more good than bad in the coming days.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing your story. I agree with some of the other comments about feeling a challenge to trust God in my life today. You did an amazing job of honoring Cora. You are doing some amazing mission work!!ReplyCancel

  • The Schilling's from Cimarron - Jess,
    We missed you so much at Easter this year and thought of you and your family! You are amazing and we are soooo blessed to have you in our lives! You are such an inspiration for us and for others….. You did an amazing job talking and sharing your feelings and story…… your strength and spirit are so contagious! THANK YOU for being YOU!

    Love and miss you lots
    AmieReplyCancel

  • The Roth's - It’s Stefanie—Amanda’s sister-in-law!! YOU HAVE to talk at my MOPS group this next year. PLEASE!!!! I know it was hard for you, but you are amazing. Surely my connection with Amanda can earn me points or get me to the top of the list!! lol!!

    Thanks for sharing your story. Amazing….ReplyCancel

  • J. Henry - I’ve been keeping up with your family through your blog since precious Cora got sick. I have cried along with you many times. Actually hearing you tell your story has touched me in an awesome way. Thank you for your faithfulness and willingness to share how God has worked in your life. You are continuing to make a difference… you make me want to know Him better!ReplyCancel

  • Taking Heart - Words cannot express what a blessing your words to me… how evident God’s perfect timing is… because I needed those words from Him… and I am so glad you followed that nudging to speak them on His behalf.

    My heart is also broken… and I do cling to my salvation… because that is easy. I do not, however, easily trust God with everything else in between. And, I have been a Christian for many years… and have never, ever… heard it told to me so eloquently, boldly… and lovingly.

    I am so sorry that sorrow is your story. And, you are right… we will never understand those very broken times in our lives… but we can CHOOSE hope. We can CHOOSE to have joy amidst our pain. It is just really hard sometimes. So hard.

    But today… I CHOOSE hope, too.

    God bless you and your family… and I pray you never ever allow yourself to believe for one second that her life had no purpose. She fullfills that purpose every day… for you… for me… all because of Him.ReplyCancel

  • Dana - Hi Jess, I listened to you share your testimony via the link you posted on this blog post a few years back. I just searched through your archives to find it again and was so sad to see the link no longer works. My Dad just passed away suddenly and my family is heart broken and devastated..I wanted to have my mom listen to your testimony.. Is there another place I can find the audio of you speaking? Thank you so much and want you to know how much reading your blog blesses me!ReplyCancel