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From outward appearances, it would seem that New Sister [whom we are working hard to bring home from China] is our third daughter. But she’s not… she’s actually our fourth.

Our third daughter is already in Heaven.

Alexa Rose was born still, on this day in 2008, after a routine obstetrics visit and ultrasound determined that she had passed away, unexpectedly, in utero. On the evening of June 2nd I was induced into labor and in the early morning hours of June 3rd she was birthed, though her soul was already in the arms of our Lord.

While certainly one of the most heart-wrenching trials of our lives, we were able to recognize God’s unmistakable hand of provision and grace in the midst of immense suffering.

Here are just a few of the ways we witnessed God going before us:

1) Husband just happened to be present for this obstetrics visit. [At least for us…] By your third child, you don’t always press for Hubs to join you for every weigh-in, urinalysis and heart rate check, but instead highlight the more “exciting” doctor visits. This day, however, I was unable to find help with our other daughters, then 1 and 3 years old, and had them in tow. Husband, of course, skipped lunch and joined us to lend a hand. Looking back, I can’t imagine not having him by my side nor telling him the grim news we would learn over the phone.

2) Though it wasn’t anywhere near their nap-time, and mere moments prior they had been chattering along giddily in the double stroller, as we rounded the corner and crossed the threshold of the door into the private room where we would soon learn the prognosis of our unborn baby, it was as if God Himself touched our girls- they were both immediately and soundly asleep there in the stroller. By His grace, they escaped the guttural wails that involuntarily poured from the raw wounds of my breaking heart.

3) We discovered that since Alexa had quietly passed into eternity without notice some time before we learned of it, at any time prior my body could have gone into labor. Medical professionals informed us that, for whatever reason, this often happens in the shower. During that season of life, I routinely bathed with both of my girls in the over-sized tub of our master bedroom- for the sake of convenience. Had I gone into labor unexpectedly I would have been under the assumption that my unborn child was still alive and in dire danger, too young in gestation (20 weeks) to survive life outside the womb. I envision panic, traumatized kiddos, an ambulance trip, scrambling for adequate childcare and fear for the life of our baby. Again I recognize that, by God’s grace, when I went in to labor we were fully aware that she was no longer with us and her sweet, tiny body that I delivered was merely a shell of the person that God created.

There were additional miraculous ways that God protected and comforted us, some even too sacred to share.

In the ongoing wake of our loss, we honor the life that God created and her perfection in His presence in Heaven. We have dedicated a verse of scripture to each of our children, and this is Alexa’s: “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and praise. For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelations 4:11) What this means to me is that even though we would have chosen differently, we still praise our Lord and thank Him for His creation and gift that was is Alexa Rose.

Alexa remains a part of our family, and each year on her birthday we honor her with intention and glory to God.

IMG_7511One of the ongoing ways in which we honor her is sponsorship of vulnerable children. Did you know that with Compassion International you can select a child sponsor by birth-date? Both of our sponsors share Alexa’s birthday, one even from the exact year. Meet Esther from Kenya, and Salini from India.

We incorporate child sponsorship into the teaching of our children at home. Our girls have an international worldview that is aided by their correspondence with Esther & Salini. These “pen pals” will surely flesh out our fast approaching home-school curriculum, both in geography and writing/grammar. In our partnership with Compassion, we are tangibly instructing them on how to live out their faith, because- let’s face it- I don’t think Jesus was being facetious when He said “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” (Isaiah 1:17)

Do you have someone especial in your life that you could honor by sponsoring a vulnerable child who shares their birthdate?

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