By: Vanessa Wishom
The World Stopped
On December 15th, 2010 my family's world stopped. I had just arrived in Houston, Texas for a work trip, happy to miss out on the ice storm which was currently on its way to Atlanta, when my phone rang. My little sister was calling. Expecting her to tell me some small bit about her day, I answered it only to hear her choking sobs as she told me that my 11-month-old niece had stopped breathing. There will never be words to describe that pain. Immediately the world I knew ceased. Every story of a child dying is tragic. However, when the tragic story is your own, your heart seizes. Lilly is gone, and it feels like God is gone too.
God Reached In
When I arrived home, I found my family using every ounce of strength they have to lift one another up. People reached out to help financially, emotionally, and in other unimaginable ways. This is how God reached in. He reminded us that He isn’t absent from this world, but that He is with us in it. For the first time in 15 years, I listened when He called my name. He was with me and loved me exactly as I was. God’s people did the same. Just when I thought that I couldn’t make it another step, a stranger, friend, or coworker extended kindness in some small way. Through these, the Lord showed me kindness, even in this Lilly-less world.
A Promised Presence
I prayed for God to show me what life would look like if I lived like He were with me. He answered my prayer. Sitting in that parking lot in Houston, I was broken and hurt. Saving the sordid details, my story shows that God makes beauty from ashes. While I am a work in progress, He is with me the whole way. In moments that I am reminded I cannot do life alone, I remember that He is with me and, by His grace, He has kept me.
Reflecting on that night and my life since, Genesis 28:15 eases my broken heart. It reads, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
God is good.
He has made a promise.
He is with you.
He will not leave you.
Vanessa lives in GA where she and her husband, Rodney, have the joy of raising their two biological children who were preemies and one bonus child, while missing their daughter who lives in heaven. Vanessa lives an ordinary life while serving an extraordinary God.