Deceased – December 14, 2007, Friday (cause unknown)
Born -- December 15, 2007, Saturday, 8:18 a.m.
Cold statistics…mere numbers , which do not reflect the anguish of heart and mind, the physical pain of childbirth, the rush of joy and sorrow.
As i drove my daughter to Labor and Delivery at the UCSD Medical Center that Friday afternoon, i felt this sudden arrow of pain in my heart – it was real, it was physical. Baby Jazmyn had not moved all day. My daughter was outwardly calm but wracked with misgivings – her mind already jumping to the “what ifs.” All i could say was, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” All i could do was remind her of the many blessings GOD has already wrought in her life through Jazmyn. All i could do was pray, thank GOD and trust in Him whatever happens next. But again, I felt that stab of pain in my heart.
In the delivery room, that dreaded bridge came about too soon. As the doctor searched for a heartbeat, the now familiar heart thumps were nowhere to be heard. i thought, "Why doesn’t he turn up the volume? Is the machine broken?"
After sweeping the monitor over my daughter's stomach a few more times, with no discernible heart beat, the doctor confirmed our fears: expired, demised . . . such cold words. Unbelieving, my daughter asked, "What do you mean?" Jazmyn has passed away. Gone. The word "dead" was not uttered. That word was too final, too harsh for the heart to bear. My daughter went into robot mode of expressionless self-control. My own face grimaced in pain as tears fell unchecked.
We were then given a private room, left alone to absorb the shock, to allow the not-yet-bearable news to sink in and to let the pain within its outward expression, away from the scrutiny of strangers. How could i give comfort to my own baby, my daughter? How could i help ease her wrenching pain? How could i help soften this devastating blow?
i asked my daughter to pray with me. i can't remember now my exact words. But as i thanked GOD for the gift of baby Jazmyn, as i thanked Him for allowing Jazmyn's presence to bring about the wonderful inner and outer changes in my daughter's life that i and many others have so longed and prayed for, as i praised Him for His wisdom in orchestrating such good from our bad beginnings -- then my daughter finally allowed her pain to burst through the fragile shell of control with which she had wrapped herself. Her grief vocalized, tore at my own heart -- and i prayed with all my might that Jesus be with us that very moment, right there and then. How i pleaded with Him to be with my daughter, repeatedly asking for His comforting presence.
GOD answered our prayers. Through the sleepless night, waiting for Saturday's dawning, He quieted our hearts, He stilled our minds, He gentled our souls. No raging bitterness, no "why me" of self-pity, no raised fist at GOD -- only resolute readiness in anticipation of Jazmyn's birth. Even with our ready acceptance of this painful reality, GOD’s loving mercy tempered our heartache with this feeling of glad expectancy that at last we will see Jazmyn face to face.
i saw my daughter physically strengthened by SPIRIT as she received the epidural, as she bore down repeatedly, as she pushed to the last of her strength to deliver baby Jazmyn. i witnessed the love that GOD has poured into my daughter's heart as she tenderly held a bundled Jazmyn in her arms. How joyfully my daughter examined her perfect feet, her "big" hands, her beautiful face. How she lavished Jazmyn with that love!
There was no bitterness in the tears that flowed from us both -- no angry wails of pain as we gazed at Jazmyn's still face. Rather we felt a flood of joy -- the sweetness of GOD's loving presence as the three of us were somehow soulfully intertwined. Our cup truly runneth over -- sweet joy and quiet sorrow; physical exhaustion and emotional release; gratefulness for GOD's gift of Jazmyn and recognition of GOD's awesome sovereign power over life and death.
JOB 1:21 -- "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
GOD, our loving Father, gifted us with Jazmyn's very brief existence here on earth. GOD, the same loving Father, for His own perfect purpose, took her away to be with Him in His heavenly presence. We cannot ever fully understand His ways, nor can we ever fathom His infinite wisdom in allowing Jazmyn's death -- but my daughter and i do trust in His good purpose; we thank Him for the numerous blessings He has brought through Jazmyn; we praise Him for causing things to work for good to those who love and revere Him.
GOD answered my own prayers and of those who also cared for my daughter -- marvelously, in a way i had never even imagined. In His loving providence, He gave the means to turn around my daughter's roller coaster life -- a life of destructive, aimless and surely fatal (physical and spiritual) wandering from GOD. Though my daughter had accepted Jesus as her Savior, she did not walk with CHRIST.
But GOD, in His abundant mercy, used Jazmyn to work good in my daughter's life. The baby's unborn presence was the critical spark, which ignited Maia's heart to open up to receiving GOD's healing love and cleansing light. At last, my daughter, as she poured out the love that GOD has poured in towards her growing baby, she began to practice true love -- the act of giving of oneself with no thought of recompense. She finally learned the meaning of true love -- the kind CHRIST Jesus exemplified: self-sacrificial love.
My daughter, for Jazmyn's sake, gave up destructive habits and patterns, put away her old lifestyle of living for herself only, and actively seeked an environment which contributed to Jazmyn's well being: a healthy body for Jazmyn to grow in, a sound mind to promote a right attitude, an open heart to receive GOD's Word.
True to GOD's gracious nature, once my daughter committed to living a righteous life for Jazmyn's sake (and hers), GOD simultaneously allowed the orchestration of all the blessed benefits my daughter received throughout her pregnancy: a healthier lifestyle, expert and caring doctors and nurses, adequate material and financial help...best of all, GOD led my daughter to a real relationship with CHRIST. Through GOD's gift of Jazmyn, my daughter walks with CHRIST today.
Our most generous and loving Father GOD supplied so abundantly the people that my daughter needed to help strengthen her CHRISTian walk. Through her every challenge, whether physical, emotional or mental -- GOD provided my daughter, in every instance, someone to help her weather it through.
GOD indeed answers prayers! GOD has answered mine, time and time again. His countless blessings include the gift of seeing firsthand my daughter's transformation from a tortured soul to a joyful mother to be. He allowed me to experience the miracle of birth -- to see an eight-pound, one ounce, 19 1/2-inch baby come out of my own daughter's womb – it was an unforgettable moment. Though i grieved silently as my heart seemed to break at the sight of a lifeless Jazmyn being born, i was also overwhelmed with awe by GOD's supreme creative intelligence.
Not only has GOD, the Good Shepherd that He is, led back to His fold this daughter of mine who had strayed into dangerous grounds for so many years, but our Almighty Father took pity on me as well. He saw my own brokenheartedness and He filled me with His SPIRIT so that i was strengthened for my daughter’s sake. He enabled me to ride this rogue wave. He anchored us upon the Rock so that my daughter and i were not swept away in darkness and despair. Throughout this travail of our own Valley of the Shadow of Death, JESUS was our constant Companion, our trusted Friend, our almighty Deliverer. He was the loving embrace that sheltered us from the avalanche of grief. Without Him, my daughter and i would have fallen in a black abyss of anger, bitterness and self-pity. Thanks to GOD’s abundant mercy and grace, infinite compassion and love towards His children, my daughter and i weathered the ordeal – not unscathed, not without scars, but stronger in our faith in CHRIST as our Savior. We are securely established in the joy of our eternal hope in GOD, with all our loved ones who are in CHRIST, especially our Jazmyn.
Through this heavy trial, GOD solidified and broadened the path i walk with CHRIST, resulting in complete trust in all His plans for me, in more capacity to give and receive His love, in more reverential fear of His omniscient sovereign power, in an inexpressible joy and peace from the certainty that all is well because GOD is in control of all His creation.
Today i trust implicitly in GOD's perfect will and grand design for me and my loved ones. i surrender fully my all to His righteous and loving plan. How can i not? i am but dust that GOD has given breath. GOD, in CHRIST JESUS, is the Source of my be-ing, the Source of all that i am, all that i have. i am all His, and yet it is also a wonderful mystery to me: He, the indescribable Creator of all things seen and unseen; He, who effortlessly upholds the countless gazillions of galaxies; He, who needs no one and no thing -- He is mine to call Father, Friend . . . Savior.
Bless the LORD, the Lord of our lives –
For the gift of Jazmyn, our bundle of joy.
From GOD’s lovingkindness and tender mercies, she came
Bringing abundance: blessings of love, healing and eternal hope.
Bless the LORD, the Lord of our souls –
For the miracle of Jazmyn, our shooting star from above,
Whose brief appearance touched our hearts,
Whose very presence healed her own mother’s wounds.
Bless the LORD, the Lord of all creation –
For our blessed Jazmyn, the spark that lit up our days,
The bloom that scented our moments,
The unforgettable melody that we’ll sing ‘til day’s end.
Bless the LORD!
TODAY – May 25, 2009 – Memorial Day, i remember my first and only grandchild with an aching sweetness. And i still thank GOD today for His gift of Jazmyn. In GOD’s infinite wisdom and mercy, He did not allow my daughter to play at being god. He called Jazmyn to heaven at His own pleasure. He did not allow my daughter the painful burden and unfathomable guilt of taking a life.
Mother’s Day passed with less pain, though not without tears. And i am deeply grateful to GOD’s mercy towards my daughter. In Romans 8:28, it is written: GOD causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. Indeed, He walked with us through the subsequent valleys that followed after this “Grand Canyon,” and i trust that He will continue to do so.