I love palm trees—they are my favorite. I find them incredibly beautiful, and I have always loved watching them as they sway back and forth in the ocean breeze. Lately; however, I have developed another reason they reign as my favorite among all of the trees—the fact that they are constantly battered by storms and yet stand so strong without losing their power, beauty, and majestic qualities. They are indestructible.
I want to be a palm tree.
Little did I know about the storm that was coming this week. On Sunday morning the weather was perfect! The kids and I were going to play outside all day; and daddy was going to knock out some yard work around the house—a perfect ending to a great weekend we had already had. My husband and I spent the early part of the morning on our porch drinking coffee and enjoying the peace and quiet of our backyard oasis. When we went inside to check on the kids and get breakfast going, everything started to fall apart—the storm hit—and my water broke. It might not have been a physical storm, but it was so much worse—I knew exactly what it meant—we would shortly be sending our daughter to Heaven.
I made it to the emergency room in time, and we delivered our beautiful daughter, Bailey Jayne Johnson, straight into the arms of Jesus.
The first time we walked this road, I understood that sometimes loss just happens; we lost our son, Lincoln, in November, and it was tragic, but I believed there was a plan in everything. His loss fueled me to find a way to bring hope to the world of loss. We founded Lincoln’s Hope, our ministry which continues to focus on blessing families who are experiencing loss; our desire is to help bring encouragement, hope, and peace back into their lives, at a time when everything feels stripped from them. Over the past six months I have confirmed that which my heart knew at the very beginning—his life had a purpose. But why Bailey? She was my rainbow. She was my gift. What did I do to deserve this again?
This time, my spirit is even more crushed, and honestly I’m just hurt.
So here I am, empty-handed—again—grieving the loss of my baby, navigating my kids through this a second time, and hanging onto a promise that there is a purpose and plan for all of this pain. I believe it, I do. I speak it over myself when the bitterness and anger stirs in my heart and mind. I am allowing myself to ask the “why” questions that I feel, but I don’t plan to harbor here for long; I don’t want to become bitter and angry, I want to forgive. My loss doesn’t have to change my character; it can grow me, but it doesn’t have to destroy me.
Oh, how I want to be a palm tree!
I want to look back at myself after these storms have passed and see that I am still standing strong. These storms may have blown me and pushed me to my breaking point, but they won’t steal my strength and power. I won’t allow them to knock me down and rob me of my joy. They won’t win. Above all, when the storm clears and the sun begins to shine again, I want to look back and see that Bailey’s life also had meaning—she wasn’t a loss—but she was indeed a gift to the world. I may not carry her in my arms, but I will carry whatever her calling is in my heart, and I will run with her purpose, with all my strength, until I meet her again.