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he never lets go

Wow!!!!! Thank you SO much for your help with The Joyful Life Library project. I really don’t even know how to express my gratitude…so I won’t even try right now. I will write an update in the next few days as well as announce the giveaway winners! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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I think Cora’s birthday is a day when the pain of missing her becomes most intense. I miss her everyday, of course, but as each birthday passes I long to know her at the age we would be celebrating on that day. Cora as a five year old…I can hardly even imagine. I wonder what girly colors and things would be filling our house amidst the tractors and legos. I wonder what girly birthday outfit we would have picked out and what it would be like to fix her hair. I wonder what decorations we would be hanging up for her party and what friends she would be inviting over. I wonder if she would have been excited or cautious as she reached this five year old milestone with kindergarten around the corner. Most of all I just long to know her and hold her and have her here for her birthday celebration. Don’t get me wrong, we celebrate over and over and over again that Cora is in heaven and one day we will have the joy of being there with her too. But selfishly, it just hurts to celebrate her birthday without her.

This year while we were celebrating big with The Joyful Life Library project, we celebrated pretty simply here at home. Donuts and releasing balloons at the cemetary is sometimes about all our heavy hearts can handle on Cora’s birthday. It is such an intense mixture of joy and sorrow as we remember that incredible day that changed our lives, the day Cora was born, and yet are reminded of the hole she has left behind as we celebrate without her. I suppose that is why the day seems so hard. It makes us long for the day when we all get to heaven…what a day of rejoicing that will be.

The boys are always excited to send balloons to their sissy on her birthday. Levi told me that since we couldn’t get to heaven in an airplane, we would just have to go to Cora’s stone to send her the birthday balloons.

And that is what we did.

We all got out of the car and tied the balloons on Levi’s wrist so we could get a few pictures before releasing them. And after taking a few steps, just like that, the balloons were gone before I was ready. It wasn’t a big deal. I just didn’t have time to take a few more pictures to remember the day. But the tears came anyway. I couldn’t help but watch those balloons drift out of sight and be reminded of letting go of our Cora in a similar way…much before I was ready.

And yet as Levi let go of the balloons, and as we let go of Cora four years ago, I am so thankful that I can stand secure in the truth that He never lets go.

Last week Levi sang these words over and over:

Oh no, you never let go

Through the calm, through the storms

I haven’t ever heard him sing this song before but Joel and I were both struck by how those were the words we needed to stand firm on last week. And just in case we needed the reminder again and again (which we so often do, right?), he kept singing that song throughout the rest of the week. Over and over I would hear those words as he played or as we rode in the car. So crazy.

The Lord never lets go of us. He never let go through the initial days of raw grief and He still hasn’t let go of us today. I need Him holding me today just as much as I did back then. His hold doesn’t depend on us or our circumstances (thank goodness!). His faithful hold rests in the consistency of who He is.

He never lets go.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19

  • Sarah@ This Farm Family's Life - Oh Jess!!! I always love reading your blog posts! Though you may not always feel it, you are an inspiration to so many. God bless you, Joel and those sweet little boys. I bet Cora had the best birthday celebration in heaven!!!!ReplyCancel

  • creole wisdom - Sending you lots and lots of love. I just can’t imagine. Your posts about Cora are always tender and beautifully faith-filled.ReplyCancel

  • Debby Graber - Now I will have that song in my head the rest of the day! And a great song it is!!! We all miss Cora too. Infact, just a couple of weeks ago, as I thought of that time, my head got heavy for you and I began to cry. We have to remind ourselves that this life really is short in comparison to all of eternity. “Hope”, right? Will be sharing the devotional you gave me as an example at M2M. Blessings to your family.ReplyCancel

  • Micah - You are so wise, Jess, and I’m always so touched by your words. I’m so thankful for your love and trust in The Lord Almighty. May He hold you close in the palm of His hand through all these difficult days. I keep you in my prayers often <3ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - wow! Just read about your baby Cora. My husband and I also had a baby that went to Heaven on a Feb. 8th, many many years ago. She was born with a heart defect that didn’t show up until an autopsy. I’m so thankful to read that you are trusting the Lord. Knowing where our sweet baby is, and that we will see her again, is what kept us going. I would never wish that experience on anyone, yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything, either. I am a different person because of it. Life does go on, but still, 27 years later, our Katie comes to mind nearly every day. It just gets less painful with time. We have 5 other children, and 8 grandchildren, including a “Katie”. Alot to be thankful for. Keep trusting the Lord! Lots of love, LisaReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - I love your blog. This post brought tears to my eyes. Sweet Cora. Thank you for sharing this sweet moment with us.ReplyCancel