Penny’s First Words

My darling daughter,

It is March 19th, 2021, and there is a narrow window for me to write these words. The first wave of grief has receded and there is a calm before the tide brings in fresh sorrow. Deep within this raging storm of pain there is assurance, and hope, and even joy. The knowledge that you are now in the presence of our heavenly Father ballasts my soul and the storm cannot tear me loose from that anchor.

Most of us must pass through this veil of sorrow before we see the sights you now see. For most of us, eternity is a place where tears are wiped and wounds are healed. But for you, it is fresh joy. There are no wounds to heal; there are no tears to wipe. You have entered into that glorious place knowing nothing but the safety of the womb. The only pain in this is our pain, and as a father I will gladly bear that knowing you did not have to experience a life of hospitals and tubes and the clinical texture of cold steel. We handed you back to our Heavenly Father wrapped in the warmth of our love and safety.

Nevertheless, there are things that you will miss out on that I wish you could have known. I wish you could have known what kind of a woman your mother is. You would have seen strength and grace and faith in God. I wish you could have met your siblings, with whom you would have fought like all siblings do. Lily was so excited to have a baby in the house! Joshua has the most tender heart and would have fawned over you. And Luella, your oldest sister, would have been a second mother to you whether you wanted one or not. Beyond that there are a host of delightful, frustrating, loving, and quirky relatives and friends who would enrich your life.

We fought for you, my daughter. We fought in prayer and faith. We fought alongside a thousand saints who came to our aid. We fought with you, who beat the odds and surprised the experts until you had them believing!

But here we are: planning a funeral instead of a nursery. It would all be too much if I did not know that God had already saved your life long before I met you. How many times in the last twelve weeks have I asked God to save your life, and how many times did He whisper back: I already have!

When I was a boy I wondered what heaven was like and to be honest, it didn’t sound like the kind of place I wanted to be. It sounded boring. All those disembodied spirits flitting around aimlessly for eternity sounded more like a punishment than a reward. But now I know better. I know that all the best things of this life are just the seed and heaven is the harvest. I know that we are not trading what is real and firm for something that is ephemeral and faded. Where you are is dense with life compared to the mists below.

But another thing that bothered me as a boy was the children. When children die, do they go to heaven as children? The thought of a heaven where babies were stuck as babies and kids were stuck as kids made me sad for them. Could they not grow up? But I had it backwards: in heaven, we are all God’s children. In heaven I will be purged of my cynicism and my sin so that I can enjoy God in childlike joy along side of you.

I don’t know how all this works. I don’t who welcomed you or what your first words were. I assume that in the presence of the Word Incarnate all speak in the language of Eden or perhaps something even greater. I only know that in this backwards process of death and life, it is not me who will be whispering “Welcome home, Penny” but it will be you saying to me, “Welcome home, daddy.”

2 thoughts on “Penny’s First Words

  1. Words Escape me, this blog made me cry, may God be with you all, I am sooooo sorry,Penny is in the arms of God, Prayers going up,🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻😥


  2. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May you continue to experience the Peace that passes all understanding. As we get older, it seems that Heaven gets sweeter. We can take comfort in the fact that “weeping endures for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Even so, Come Lord Jesus” is our prayer – especially in these times, It sure is good to be saved and know that our sins are forgiven and that we “sorrow not as those who have no hope.” Godspeed my friend.


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