Have you ever unexpectedly come across a story that fiercely grips you heart?
Six months ago I sat in a Target parking lot mindlessly perusing Instagram
when I happened upon one of those fiercely gripping accounts,
which rendered me in tears in that Target parking lot within a matter of minutes.

The most endearing couple, Billy Jack & Sara, had just delivered their little baby girl.
But Willa Rose’s heart was not beating.
This was the second baby these two sweet souls had to say goodbye to in less than two years.
In the midst of pain I cannot even begin to fathom,
these were some of the words BJ spoke at his daughter’s funeral:

“In my weakness, I began to question all of this. I didn’t get it. It felt cruel, and I was mad. Then I was reminded that if my life seems unfair, I must remember that Jesus’ life was anything but fair. And in the middle of it not seeming so, and our world falling apart, and the chaos and the brokenness and the death and the mourning, SK and I know that God is good and He is kind, and He loves us and He is for us, and that He gives and He takes away, and we are called to bless His name…We mourn for ourselves. But sweet girl, we rejoice for you. We rejoice in the fact that you know Jesus in a way that we cannot even begin to imagine.” 

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I hurt for this couple in a deep way.
And though we are strangers, we have a shared understanding of what it means to cling to hope in the face of deepest darkness and despair.
Needless to say, I was overjoyed to read recently that SK is pregnant again.

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But then just a few days later, there was this…

“We went to the doctor yesterday and saw that Baby Brawner isn’t growing. We’re heartbroken, confused, mad, tired. We hate death. And we hate that our babies know death. We don’t know (and doctors don’t know) why God has given us three babies and then taken each of them away. And at first glance we are utterly shocked at that. We even said things like surely this won’t happen a third time, at least not to us. But when we really look around we can’t be too surprised, because this is the the world in which we live. We live in constant Advent, in waiting, in anticipation, in not yet. Every fiber of this earth knows something of death, and it groans. And we groan with it. And we wait with it for the second Christmas, when creation is restored and all things are made right. 
Sara and I are tempted to feel stupid for getting our hopes up, for letting ourselves get so excited. But then we step back and remind ourselves that we want to be the sorta folks who get their hopes up. We want to feel the weight of this world in its entirety, in its beauty as well as its brokenness. We want to laugh from our bellies and weep from our souls. And we can do that because our hope and our peace and our happiness is not here—not in our babies (nor in each other, nor in our house, nor in good food, nor in travel, etc). These are all good things that, although marred with brokenness and death, serve as signposts that point us back to the King and his Kingdom. We live in Advent for all that its worth, waiting for the Christmas feast when all will be made right. // Also, Sara is incredible. She is so tender and she is so strong. She trusts God like none other. She is peaceful. Her broken heart is full. I am in awe of her. Best mom on the planet.”

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In so many ways I spend my life waiting, for answers, a job, for this trip, marriage, for children, & achieved goals. Yet, what a beautiful reminder that my waiting is truly for something so much deeper, so much more satisfying. We are perpetually and expectantly awaiting in hope the return of Jesus in glory. One day this constant Advent will end in all being made right. Though I grieve for the pain this interim holds, such as it has for SK and BJ, I rest in the promise that our Emmanuel shall surely come.

And in this, I suppose, also lies the mystery and marvel of modern technology.
Two people who I have never known and probably will never know have impacted my life deeply, and reminded me that, in Jesus, there is hope amidst our waiting.