January 4 – Everyday Gospel – Jamie Lynn

I wrote yesterday about a good friend who had passed, today it comes even closer to home. On this day in 1996 our second daughter, Jamie Lynn, was born.

Many of you may not recognize her name, and that’s because Jamie was stillborn. That was 20 years ago today, but I can remember it all too clearly.

While I could write for days about that experience and the numerous experiences since then that have been influenced by that day, I just want to focus on one life-transforming experience I had the day after.

After a long, sleepless, tear-filled night, I had just showered and was preparing to go to meet my dad to visit the funeral home and plan my daughter’s memorial and burial (no father, or grandfather, should ever have to do this, but many do).

As I stood looking into the bathroom mirror I had a thought I’d never had before – maybe NOT living today would be better than attempting to live today. I wondered if diving out the second floor bathroom window would be a far enough fall to relieve this pain.

I’d never had a sucidal thought in my life and yet there it was and it was real.

In that moment I experienced something else – the only way I know how to describe it is I felt a warmth overcome my entire body and an embrace. It was as if Jesus wrapped His arms around me and said, “I love you and I’ve got you.”

What came next was a sense of peace that I struggle to even describe. It was peace at my soul-level. It saturated every part of me.

Did it remove the feeling like I had been hit in the gut with a baseball bat? No. The pain of losing our daughter was and still is very real. But it got me through that day and every day since – 20 years worth of days.

One more thing you should know. I was NOT close to God at the time. Although I was raised in a great Christian home, I had walked away from most of it over 10 years earlier when I was in high school.

This encounter with Jesus certainly wasn’t based on me being a “good Christian” – I wasn’t (even if there were such a thing). It was based purely on God’s desire to love me – just as I was, right where I was.

So, here’s today’s Good News – God feels the exact same way about YOU! I don’t know the details of your life, but I can tell you this, it doesn’t matter. The truth is God knows you better than you know yourself and He loves you. He desires to wrap His arms around you and fill you with a peace that reaches and fills every part of you – body, soul, and spirit.

I wasn’t even looking for God that morning and He rescued me. He’ll do the same for you, and that’s really Good News!

Happy Birthday, Jamie!




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