A SarahJoy update is far overdue. However, life has sent tidal waves my way and all efforts have gone towards staying alive. The oceans of grief and sadness have been sweeping over me as the past few weeks have held tragedy that I have always feared but never encountered so closely.

October 8th marked the final day of Makiah King’s life. She was the daughter of my precious cousin Rachel and her husband Cameron. At 4 years old, she was a light for Jesus beyond her years - she radiated joy and love, her untimely death continuing to shake me to my core. The family was driving home from a week’s vacation when a teenage driver smoking marijuana hit them broadside and instantly killed Makiah. One minute Makiah was chattering about rainbow toenails, the next minute Rachel and Cameron were burying those precious little feet.

As I have cried and grieved the death of Makiah and the horror of what Rachel and Cameron must now face, I have found myself holding SarahJoy at arms length. I am unable to rejoice when someone I love so dearly is in the throws of endless grief. How can I celebrate or look forward to anything in the midst of such hurting? How can I think about bringing a fifth child home when someone so dear to me has lost their only child? I am almost panicked with the need to cherish my children; the thought of adding yet another child that demands my attention is frightening to me. Overwhelming. And my heart is so sad. So, so sad. For now, the excitement of SarahJoy has been put on hold.

To honor Makiah, we will name our new daughter SarahJoy Makiah Sanzone (her Chinese name will be in there somewhere also.) We are praying that she would exude Makiah’s love for Jesus, her passion for life, and her playful, giving heart. Makiah means, “Who is like Yahweh?” and we hope and pray that SarahJoy will grow to be, as Makiah was, a powerful witness to that question.

In the midst of tragedy, God continues to bless us. Why we are sitting on top of a mountain witnessing God’s goodness and precious Rachel and Cameron are weeping in the valley of the shadow of death, I cannot understand. There is a part of me that just can’t bear to celebrate His provision. But…I think I need to. If for no other reason than many of you have had a part in it and I need to honor that. Our adoption expenses sit at about $32,000 (they have increased a bit now that we are getting closer) and yet we have less than $1000 to raise. What an incredible testimony to God’s ability to do the miraculous.

We are scheduled to depart Norfolk on January 6th. I am so thankful that God knew better than me and did not allow us to travel in December. The thought of packing up and getting ready to welcome another child is too much for me right now. I need some more time. December will also include a long weekend with my cousin Rachel. So, so thankful for God’s big picture and his perfect timing. And even as I say that my body tenses and my stomach churns and I think about Makiah – God’s bigger picture and His perfect timing???? I can’t reconcile it and it tears at me. How can God take away a precious little life and at the same time bring hope to another? I wrestle, and I have found no answers, no peace. Just sadness and heartache.

So we march on. SarahJoy will be here soon. In the meantime, please pray for her little body and heart - that she would be healthy and loved. And more than anything please pray for Rachel and Cameron that they would somehow feel God holding them in their emptiness.

Go here to read more about sweet Makiah.


Kristie said...
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Kristie said...

Ashleigh, we are so sorry for your loss. We can not imagine the grief and pain your family is going through. We are praying for everyone. It's hard for each of us to understand God's plan and it seems so unfair. We are thinking of you all.

JulieM said...

I have no idea how I came across your blog but 1st of all your family is darling. Second, I cried as I read your entry. I am so so sorry for you loss. We too are very close to bringing our son home from China and 8 months ago today my best friend was killed tragically in a car accident leaving behind 3 precious little ones. There is something so hard about walking through grief and yet wanting to find joy in what God has for you. It is such a weird twist of emotions that want to fight each other and yet they are part of our lives daily. Praying that you can grieve your loss and still find joy in your journey. As hard as it is we know the Lord gives and he takes away even though we don't understand it all.

Kimberly said...

Ashleigh, No words are adequate to express my sorrow as I read of your loss. Praying for you.