I’ve always considered myself to be a faithful person. I believe in God, and I have always tried to live a godly life.
And then my daughter died unexpectedly.
Emma Kelli (2013), was a beautiful, independent, sometimes stubborn 16-month-old blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl. She was my only child. The child that I wholeheartedly prayed for. She was my world.
On January 29, 2015, I was called from my classroom to go to the office and wait. A request that seemed unusual, but nonetheless, I waited. To be honest, I would have rather my worst fears, in that moment, come true. I had no idea what was to come.
I was taken by my principal, who appeared to be in a tizzy. She told me we were going to the hospital. I wasn’t given many details other than that Emma had been taken to the hospital and I needed to get there quickly. Quickly. That’s never a good thing. Most everything from there is a blur. I went into a room filled with white coats and scrubs. Although people were working tirelessly, they weren’t saying much. I knew. The silence was evidence enough. Emma didn’t survive the accident that occurred while she was with her babysitter.
When I hit my knees on that cold, nasty, hospital floor I asked God WHY? I begged Him to bring her back. He didn’t. I pleaded with Him to spare her life. He didn’t. I tried to convince him to let me take her place. I’m still breathing.
Just like that, everything that I thought and believed about my faith suddenly seemed contorted. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mad when my prayers weren’t answered. I was angry, sad, confused, and grief-stricken. I was quick to see what wasn’t going well in my life and slow to see the good, despite the circumstances.
At the time, I didn’t realize that my faith was presenting itself in the form of others.
Faith was there when a young, brown-haired nurse met me on a cold, trash-littered hospital floor and asked to pray over me. He sat with us from the early morning sunrise to well-past dark, sharing tears, silence, and the occasional laugh. God dropped gifts at our door, rang the bell, and then left.
When my daughter stopped breathing I thought He stopped working. But God sends people into our lives to do His good deeds. While in my selfishness I thought God didn’t hear me, or dare I say, care about me, I was wrong.
Through my journey, I’ve learned so much about myself, faith, and eternity. Each day, I give thanks for the blessings in my life, not just when I need help.
I see the world a bit differently, as I’ve learned first-hand that life is precious. I’ve grown stronger in my faith and sought out scripture to help me to better understand, and to cope with the loss. I believe that happiness is a choice. Having a relationship with God makes that choice easy for me. Eternity is a place I long to be. My daughter lives there, and I’m certain she is reaping all the benefits heaven has to offer. She is there among her family and in the presence of God. I know that one day we will meet again, and I long for that day to hold and kiss my baby again.
Scripture says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” I’m comforted. I’m content.
A year and a half after losing my daughter, I gave birth to twin boys, Jake and Luke. One who looks just like his big sister, the other who acts just like her. Then, surprisingly, two years later I welcomed another little girl. I was provided for. The desires of my heart were granted. My children are my hope for the future. When I look at them I’m reminded that even after the worst of storms, beauty can appear.
Having faith doesn’t mean that I don’t still wonder or worry. I do those things often. What it does mean is that I can rest assured knowing that He is in control. Having faith is a choice that brings me a sense of contentment, which certainly beats the alternative. The best part of my faith is absolutely knowing that my daughter, Emma Kelli, is in heaven and each day here on earth is one day closer to her.