And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God is Him.
1 John 4:16
In His essential nature and in all His actions, God is loving.
Today is Cora’s heaven anniversary. Four years ago we said goodbye to our sweet daughter. This day brings back so many emotions and hard memories. I remember so vividly having to agree that we had held Cora long enough (as if that was even possible), handing her over to the nurse and walking down the long hospital hallway to go home without my girl in my arms. I was in such a state of shock and the only thing I can remember is thinking…what do I do now? While sometimes I need to walk through those moments again and allow Jesus to meet me in my sorrow, I have to be careful not to stay there.
Even four years later, I have felt attacked by doubts as this anniversary approached. Some deep things but also silly things like why I didn’t wear a dress to my daughter’s funeral have plagued my mind. I told Joel that I had something really dumb that had been bothering me. I explained about the whole dress thing. How I had worn pants that day and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t worn a dress to my own daughter’s funeral. And then I burst into tears. He hugged me and let me cry for awhile like he always does. Then he looked at me with a sweet smile and said, “You wore really nice pants, didn’t you?” He was trying to comfort me but it just made me laugh. Somehow it brought things quickly back into perspective. I can always count on Joel to make me laugh even when I am sad. And he was right, they were really nice pants.
But along with the attacks I have felt God’s love in so many tangible ways. When I was helping in the kids program at BSF the teacher was teaching the babies that God sees us, God hears us, and God helps us. Those words keep coming to mind as I’ve walked through these hospital days again. It has been like God saying…Jess, I see you sitting in your kitchen crying because tomorrow is a really hard day. I hear you telling Joel about the pants and know that deep down you just miss your daughter like crazy. I have helped you each step of the way as you have navigated through grief the past four years and I will never leave your side as you keep moving forward. I will help you, day by day and step by step. I love you more than you will ever know and even losing Cora is part of my loving plan for your life. Someday, when you are in My presence, on that glorious day of rejoicing, you will understand.
I must have needed a few more reminders this week, because reminders of His love for me is just what I got. A blog reader came up and introduced herself to me while I was out for lunch earlier this week. She had her newborn twins with her and told me that she had named her little girl Cora, because of my Cora. I got to meet her sweet daughter and was reminded that even four years later, Cora’s story continues to touch people in ways that I could never imagine.
Today I sent in a bio for another opportunity I have been given to share my story. It still baffles me that I could even be considered a speaker. But it was another reminder, that fell at just the right time. A reminder that when I am faithful to share what He is doing in my life He will continue to use my heartache for His glory. I am so thankful that He continues to allow me to encourage others by sharing His faithfulness to me. What a gift.
After I had a good cry over the whole crazy pants thing, I was picking up my house before going to bed and this song came on:
I will bring praise I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice I will declare
God is my victory and He is here
* * *
All of my life in every season You are still God
I have a reason to sing I have a reason to worship
In every season of my life, He is God. He is who He says He is. He loves me and is loving in all He does. That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard. That doesn’t mean that I will always understand. But God is my victory. I can stand firm on who He is and the promises He has given us.
And that gives me a reason to sing.
Today was hard, but good. I’ll tell you more about it in a few days. Thanks so much for praying for us. I am still amazed that so many remember my Cora’s heaven anniversary and lift us up in prayer. We are forever grateful.