I’ve written a few times about the tragic loss of my and my wife Laura’s granddaughter, Rosalee Mae, on July 13, 2021. Regarding this painful subject, our daughter Jessica wrote a piece over the weekend which brought tears of sadness and joy to our family, especially Rosalee’s parents, our son Trey and daughter-in-law Maria. I’ve been thinking about the whole “beauty for ashes” thing (Isaiah 61:3), and how God is healing our joy with not only the birth of Rosalee’s little brother, Davey, but about how Jess is also pregnant. Ironic, mind-blowing, amazing and on and on the descriptors go. I was eventually going to put this “cyclical tragedy and joy” in a blog, but Jess wrote it up so beautifully, I wanted to share it.
So, take it away, Jess…
“I remember when we lost Rosalee (my beautiful niece who was born sleeping July 13th of 2021) and how heartbreaking that was. We knew my brother and sister-in-law were wanting to try again for a baby, and we waited with bated breath for the announcement that they were expecting again.
“That announcement came in November of 2021, directly after what would have been Rosalee’s original due date. It was like God closed one circle before opening another one. My husband Josh and I had been talking about having another baby, and I asked Maria then if she would mind being pregnant at the same time. She was excited for that possibility. I had told Josh I didn’t want to try again until after Maria got pregnant, so her announcement felt like God blessing us to start trying again.
“It took longer than we anticipated however (to the point where, honestly, we had almost given up), and little Davey was born exactly one day before Josh and I found out we were expecting again. Again, God closed one circle before opening another.
“Finally, Rosalee’s birthday (or her “going-home day,” as we call it) was the same exact day little Davey got to come home from the hospital. Another circle closed and one opened.
“God has ordained every step of this journey for our families. Every tragic and joyful moment was choreographed by Him.
“It’s blown all of our minds how perfectly symmetrical this odyssey has been: tragedy bound in joy, inexplicably connected, and impossible to have the beauty without the ashes. Because that’s the sort of God He is.
“He doesn’t promise us a life free of tragedy, but He does promise us peace and comfort in the midst of it. God will return to you what was taken, He will provide for you in both mourning and rejoicing, in darkness and in light. He is where the joy is.”
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
Cover art: Crying Eyes is a painting by Ellie Green, uploaded to https://fineartamerica.com/ on March 27th, 2012.