April 25, 2018

Proverbs 3:5, Galatians 6:2

Jeff and Karen Black

We always wanted to be parents, and after years of infertility, we were thrilled to welcome a baby girl into our lives. We named her Emily Kate and loved her beyond words. We gazed into her beautiful blue eyes and dreamed of her future—seeing her walk and talk, attend school, grow and change, and get married and make us grandparents. But we didn’t get to experience those milestones with her. Emily began having eating and breathing problems at the age of 3 months and was hospitalized and labeled “failure to thrive from unknown causes.” We spent every possible moment for the next several months by her side, praying for healing. We trusted God, felt His presence, and hoped for a miracle. Friends, family, and complete strangers were lifting up our little family.

Emily went to Heaven at the age of 5½ months. As we kissed her one last time, we knew we were saying “goodbye” to her earthly flesh, but “see you soon” to her spirit. Then darkness truly set in. We received a call with one more test result. The doctors realized Emily died of an extremely rare type of genetic neuromuscular disorder and that we are both recessive carriers. The statistical odds of this happening were astounding. We received counsel that it was okay to be mad at God. And we were. Even when we couldn’t find the words to pray, our loved ones were praying us through the sadness and bearing our burdens. We slowly began to feel happiness again. Nine years later, we have a new perspective and have hopefully gained wisdom. God was holding us up through this trial, as He always has. We are reminded of the poem Footprints in the Sand, which ends with:

"My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

We have since adopted 2 amazing boys that keep us busy and smiling. We are honored to tell them about their big sister and how we will see her in Heaven again one day because of God’s big love for us, shown through mercy and forgiveness in His Son—a love that holds steadfast through all the peaks and valleys of life.