Almost 17 months. Just over 73 weeks. 512 days. 12,288 hours. This is how long it has been since I last saw my daughter alive. And she was only barely alive. Machines breathed for her. She never woke up for one last hug. The last kiss was known only to those of us in the room. The final embrace was as her body gasped for air. I would have traded places with her in those seconds but that was not meant to be. This amazing, vibrant, full of life, 10-year-old girl was suddenly just snatched from my arms with no warning and no time for preparation. My immediate response was one of deep agony entrenched in faith. God was with me and I blessed His Name. I remember telling some friends who were staying in touch with me over those 28.5 hours, “My baby went to Heaven to be with Jesus” as I cried and smiled. Oh, in that moment of death you are witnessing something so incredible that you cannot help but mingle tears of agony and joy. To stand on the very edge of earth and Heaven is an experience unlike any other. God did not wipe away my tears in those moments. God has not wiped away my tears since those moments. And I am ok with that. Tears mean that I love my daughter. As my husband said to me recently, “We love her through death.” Death has not conquered us. Death has not had the victory over us. Though we have been utterly devastated we are not defeated.
What suffering are you experiencing right now? Does it seem that God does not care? Do you feel like maybe He just isn’t there? I am standing in the desert. The hot winds beat against my face. The blazing sun exhausts me. My throat is parched with the agony of grief. And yet here I stand to tell you that there is hope. There is always hope. Water will come. Resources will be made available. You will get through this desert and you will come out victorious. This will not be an easy journey for you. The desert was not easy for Jesus to conquer so neither will it be easy for us to conquer. But we can do this. We can and will conquer the desert. Hold strong. Life will spring up from what seems to be a barren and dry ground. I stand with you.
Always Hope.Jenifer Ramirez