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Challenge: WHO Are You?

God-loving, children-teaching, wine-drinking mother of a newborn & an angel

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My name is Emily. I am a God-loving, children-teaching, wine-drinking 25 year old wife & mother of 2; one earthly child, Kipton, and one redeemed child of God in heaven, Kinsley.

Kinsley is our firstborn. We had her a little over a year after we were married (November 2016). We prayed so hard for God to give us a baby, and he did... and we loved her so. She had some health difficulties from the get-go. She was born “sunny side up” which resulted in a 3 1/2 hour active labor situation, then she was flown to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh when she was 11 hours old for a possible neck fracture (but she was fine, PTL). When she was just 8 months old, she developed a head tilt & lost movement in her left side - which was because of an 8/9cm tumor in her brain. She had emergency surgery and they were able to remove 98% of it. After this, she had many MRI’s and follow-up appointments. In January, we received great news that her tumor had stopped growing! But just a week later, she came down with a fever. We took her to Q-Care and came home with empty hands and even emptier hearts... our sweet Kinsley had passed away from some kind of possibly unrelated infection at just 14 months old. She passed away on the same day she was baptized a year prior, and just two days after her baby brother, Kipton, was born.

This great loss alongside great gain just happened in January 2018. Kipton was born on the 13th and Kinsley went to meet the Lord on the 15th. This situation has opened my eyes to the miracle of life, parenthood, and Jesus Christ.

Life is so incredibly short and such an immense blessing. Each moment that you’ve had with your loved one before they passed is something to cherish. Some days the memories will make you laugh and other days those same memories will result in complete mental breakdowns. And that’s okay. As painful as it is, I’ve been trying to continue to enjoy my life and make more memories with the family that I have around... because that’s what my scrunched-nose smiley girl would want me to do. It’s a regular battle though, that we will overcome in time... with God’s help. We can’t do this alone, but He promises in Psalm 30 that there will be joy in the morning. With that promise, and the knowledge that I have of KK being in Heaven, I find immense comfort & faith in God’s plan. Even though His plan is way different from how I wanted MY plan to be, His purpose is much greater for our lives.

The little angel that I lost made me a mommy... just like the person you lost may have made you a mom, a husband/wife, a daughter/son, grandchild, etc. She taught and continues to teach me about life. She was the definition of a fighter - in the sense that she smiled through all of the pain she endured during her short life. I strive to be like her through this battle. She continued to dance & overcome, even though the odds weren’t necessarily in her favor. Are the odds in your favor? Chances are, if you’re reading this, then you probably feel like they aren’t. However, the pain you are feeling right now, at this given moment, does not compare to the joy that’s coming (Romans 8:18). That joy will come as we jump into the arms of our Lord and our loved ones on the day that our life TRULY begins, in Heaven.

When Billy Graham died, a quote he said really resonated with me. He said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” Our loved ones may have lost their physical bodies, just as we have lost the ability to reach out & touch them, but they are living their happiest lives in a place of no suffering and no pain. To get to this point of some peaceful moments during this absolute nightmare has been similar to someone like me training for a mile-long run (yep, I would have to train for such a thing because I’m super out of shape) — it’s continuing to be a painful, emotional, tiring journey full of prayer. I haven’t always had a strong faith, and some moments throughout my day I may only have mustard-seed faith, but He says that’s all it takes.

Even if you have limited faith, you have to believe that there is more to this world than what you can see with your eyes. Try to push through the smog to see the rainbow. Maybe the rainbow comes when you look at your children, when you look to Heaven, when your spouse walks through the door at the end of a rough day, when you hug a stranger, I don’t know what that rainbow is for you. I do know that my rainbow is laying in my lap staring up at me. He needs me to power through this, just as people in your life need you. Scream, cry, get angry... and then take a deep breath, change your scenery, and pray. God’s got this. He’s got me. He’s got you... He’s got our family members in Heaven - and they want us to be happy.

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