Do you have a loved one whom you know is in heaven? I have a few. But the one I long to meet the most is Joy – my daughter. On November 29 of 2008, I found out I was pregnant. It was unexpected and we were ecstatic. We claimed C.S. Lewis’ statement, “Surprised by Joy!”
But five days later, we began a miscarriage. Again, taking from C.S. Lewis, we were “stunned by grief.” At future times, I will chronicle some of the grief associated with miscarriage to hopefully serve the vast numbers of moms and dads experiencing them, but for now, I want to share about an important day in our family’s life.
Since that dreadful December 4 of losing a child, we have sought to “redeem” that day. In our family, we call it, “Joy Sees Jesus!” day! On this day, we reflect on what it must be like to see Jesus like Joy does, and we find ways to serve and help others in her honor.
On December 4 of this year, each sister or brother of Joy chose a warm blanket to give a newborn and a mom who chose life in Joy’s honor. We chose three blankets – one for Joeli, one for Eden and one for Joy’s new sister who still lives in China!
We made our way to Choices – a group in Chattanooga that seeks to serve women who are making choices about their unborn babies. At the back of their building, they have a Remembrance Garden to honor miscarried children. We have a brick with Joy’s name on it in the Garden.
After dropping the blankets and notes to the moms who would receive them, J said, “Can we please go see Joy’s place?” I immediately knew what she meant. Eden began to jump up and down with pure delight. Yes, please, please, please!” I looked at him and said, “Are you excited to go back there?”
He said, “Oh yes! I am SOOOOO excited to see Joy right now in Heaven! We get to go to heaven!” He rubbed his hands together, looking ready to burst due to his internal emotion and passion and “realization” that I was taking them on a quick trip to heaven!
J’s question, “Can we go see Joy’s place?” immediately took him to the delight and pleasure of visiting her where she is (heaven) and if we visited her place, surely we would see her!
E was beside himself with excitement. I hated to burst his bubble, I helped Eden understand we would simply see Joy’s brick. Looking quite disappointed, he followed us to the Remembrance Garden. I felt a bit let down too. Heaven and Joy sounded way more amazing than a brick to simply remember her in a garden with leaves all over the ground.
But his excitement got me to thinking, “I wonder if I will look that way when I know heaven is close? Will there be a child-like trust and expectant joy and wonder on my face, just as it is on my son’s?”
Then J said, “Mommy, I wish we had Joy with us. I want to play with her.” She found her brick and said, “Mommy, I miss her so much. Is it okay if I kiss her brick?” She bent down, placed her face near the ground, and kissed the brick. She stood and asked, “Can Joy see us from heaven?”
I am not too certain of the answer to that question, but I DO know that Jesus saw. We asked Jesus to send Joy a message for us. I believe it was delivered, because I have a deep conviction that Jesus is good and walks through our human brokenness with intimacy.
Joy is a huge part of our lives. Not in a way like my other children, but actually in a deep place of trust and reflection. My child HAS SEEN Jesus! My daughter hears the sounds and sees the colors of heaven. I have a feeling when my end comes near, I will have that expectant look on my face knowing I am about to hold my Joy for the first time.
And for that I can celebrate “Joy Sees Jesus” day every December 4 with a heart that deeply misses, but with a hope that fully expects and believes in Jesus who said, “I am the resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:26). Jesus is that good.
You may have experienced the loss of someone too. I know that the journey through grief is huge and is at times so raw that it burns. At Christmas, sometimes that grief seems unbearable. Know that today I have prayed for you –that in the midst of your intense and deep longing, you will also experience indescribable hope and joy.
Who are you excited to see in Heaven someday? Have you ever celebrated their “She/he sees Jesus!” day?