By: Cassie Jessee
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness,” James 1:2-3.
This verse was the one that came to us over and over throughout my pregnancy, NICU journey, and through the grief of infant loss. After discovering our daughter had a life-limiting diagnosis, we knew we had to surrender her back over to the One that blessed us with her. Although we would give anything to have her back in our arms, we know she is perfectly healed and joyful in heaven in the loving arms of the Father.
Joy and Grief Coexist
Our grief will be with us for the rest of our lives because it is not something that can ever be erased, but we have also found that the Lord allows joy and grief to coexist. He does so in ways such as breathtaking sunsets, words of promise, in our hope for tomorrow, and the day that we will all be reunited with the ones we loved and lost. We have never longed more for eternity than we do now. We know that on that day, we will experience a joy that our minds cannot even comprehend on this earth.
Together, we decided that throughout this process, we would choose joy– joy in our daughter’s life, joy in the hope of the Lord’s plans for our lives, and ultimately, joy in the Lord. James reminds us to choose joy, no matter the circumstance. Joy is not a feeling of happiness or a sense of security in materialistic things. True joy comes from the Lord, and I have learned that it can only come from Him, especially in times of deep sorrow and desperation.
Joy Has Become the Attitude
After losing our daughter, choosing joy has become the attitude that we must consider no matter what troubles come into our lives. Although losing a child is never a joyful scenario, remembering and honoring her life brings us joy. Sharing the hope we have in Christ brings us joy. Realizing that our days are numbered, but knowing and trusting that God has a perfect plan for each day brings us joy. We will continue to choose joy in our lives every day, no matter the trials that come. Our faith has been made new through the joy that we have chosen and will continue to choose.
Cassie Jessee is the mama to Moxie Joy and an infant loss parent. She is doing her best to honor and remember her girl every day by choosing joy.