Death changes you. It’s just a fact.
Two years ago, my sweet friend went home to Heaven. She left behind a legacy of compassion, kindness, and love – a legacy that is living on through her testament, her children, her husband, and her family. From her death, the Lord has moved mountains and so many people have come to know Him because of her story.
A few Sundays back, we had a discussion on prayer – specifically Mark 10. During the discussion, my mind raced with memories of Lyndsie’s healing and several other prayers that seemed “unanswered.” But afterward, my heart felt restored – because of His promise of hope and restoration, and a friend’s encouragement. I was reminded, once again, that just because my requests seem “unanswered” at the time, doesn’t mean they are unanswered at all.
On August 28, 2015, Lyndsie was healed and made whole, as she entered the pearly gates to walk with Jesus. Since that day, countless lives have been saved through her death and how her family has used it for His glory.
No, the Lord didn’t answer my prayers to heal Lyndsie here on earth. But His plan was bigger and far greater than I could have imagined or hoped.
In 2012, while Mallory was pregnant, I prayed numerous times for James to be healed of a heart condition that could take his life. He was born on December 4, 2012, with hypo-plastic left-heart syndrome. I remember crying prayers of, “Why?” as I sat beside and watched his tiny body endure multiple surgeries. So many people prayed for his healing. Why didn’t God heal him?
On May 19, 2013, that little boy received a heart transplant. Today, he’s the roughest, toughest little boy I know. And because of that “unanswered” prayer, God has used his testament for His glory. Every single day, I’m thankful for James’ life, the lives won for Christ, and the many lessons He taught me through His healing. God’s story was bigger and greater. If James had been healed in utero, would we still be singing His praises today?
In February of 2014, I first learned of Joy Belle’s clubfeet diagnosis. I was terrified and scared for our future, specifically my girl’s. Countless prayers were said for her healing in utero. I just knew He could and would heal her before she was born. I prayed for a miracle. Yet, on June 23, 2014, our girl was born with the most crooked little feet I’ve ever seen. I remember laying on the bed crying; Justin torn between consoling me and being with our fresh born baby. I remember thinking, “God, I begged You. You knew my heart. You promised healing.” I felt angry in that moment that He not only chose not to heal her before birth, but that her feet were worse than I had imagined.
On October 13, 2014, Joy Belle had a surgery to lengthen her Achilles’ tendon. It wasn’t really the “fix” we’d hoped or prayed for – but it was another step towards healing. She had a follow-up procedure on October 27th and she’s been on a road to healing and improvement ever since.
Fastforward 3 years, and Joy Belle jumps, runs, kicks, dances, twirls, and walks on balance beams like it’s her job. She’s a normal, active 3 year old. Yes, she still wears braces at night – but He’s using her little, straight feet for His glory and to write her story.
A good friend (that knows from experience!) once told me, “One day, you’ll thank God for her crooked feet and the journey He sent you on. Maybe not today, but one day. He chose you to be her mama – not anyone else. He’s got big things planned for you – and her.” And she was right.
As a parent, I would give anything to take away pain and suffering from one of my children. But the magnitude of faith, peace, and restoration I’ve endured or witnessed… irreplaceable. His plan has been far greater than I could have hoped for on June 23, 2014. He has used me, Joy Belle, Mallory, James, Lyndsie’s family, in an imaginable way that only He could have orchestrated. In a way that only He can receive glory.
So many dates, so many “unanswered” prayers – all used for a bigger purpose and His story. If God had answered any of those prayers the way I’d hoped, would He have received the most glory? I truly believe not.
How many of you are struggling with an “unanswered” prayer? I hope that after reading this post, you feel encouraged and hopeful for God’s purpose and plan. As you go through this season, remember that God chose you – for this day, this purpose, this moment. He’s got a plan bigger than you can imagine – for you.
Want to follow these stories?
For Lyndsie’s legacy, you can follow #lynsieslegacy on Instagram or read her widow’s blog here. For James’ testament, follow #jgmiv on Instagram. And for Joy Belle’s journey, follow #aHeapeofjoy or read her clubfoot journey here.