It was a Monday morning.  I hate Mondays.

The call came in at 6:30 a.m.  He wasn’t breathing and we didn’t know why.  I jumped out of bed, ran to my car and drove to my sister’s house. She had pulled in right before me, tears running down her face.  We ran in the house, and there he was in the middle of the floor.


My nephew.  3 ½ months old.

The next minutes seemed like a blur.  I went into survival mode.  He needed CPR.  I knew CPR.  How did that go again?  I never thought I’d ever have to use it.

Breathe.  Chest compressions.  Breathe.  Chest compressions.  And on and on it went.

It seemed that it took the ambulance 30 minutes to get there.  I really don’t know because I was kneeling over the lifeless body of my nephew.

I was praying.

I was praying that God would take my life and give it to Dylan.  I’d lived a good 21 years.  I was happy and had been successful at just about everything I’d tried.  My sister needed her little boy.  I was ready to go.

What I wasn’t ready for was the years of heartache that followed.  For a long time I blamed myself.  I blamed God.

I offered up my life for his willingly, just like You did, Lord, and You didn’t take it.  If You would have just done what I asked, my sister wouldn’t have had to feel this way.

I wouldn’t have to deal with this pain.

Maybe there was something more I could have done.  What if I did the CPR wrong?

What if I was the reason for the heartache?

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the unexpected, sudden death of a child under age 1 in which an autopsy does not show an explainable cause of death.

Unexplainable death.  You might as well have shoved a dagger through my heart, Lord.  I’m never going to recover from this one.  All this…not knowing.

I haven’t recovered yet.  I carry scars from that day that still hurt.  Sometimes they sneak up on me. I hear the sound of an ambulance and I’m right back there on that cold November morning.

It’s taken me years to get here, but I do have good days more than bad now.  On a good day, those scars are a constant reminder of what God is bringing up in me.  Almost ten years later and I think I am beginning to see why God allows the scars to still hurt. They are there to remind me of my foundation in Him.  They are they to remind me of the depths He’s brought me from.   He is my past, my present, and my future.

As the days and years go on, I can talk about Dylan.  I can speak peace into lives affected by loss and tragedy.  I can love on people, and I can finally write about my experiences in the years after.

Redemption is a process.  The scars that no one sees are God’s reminders of His redemption in me.

His death impacts my life with daily grace and love. Every day, little by little, those regrets, the bitterness, the scars, in the words of Sara Groves, are becoming “less like scars and more like character.”

What are ways that God is redeeming you?

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  • Michelle Woodman

    I’m so sorry to read of the loss of your nephew. Thank you for being so brave to share your scars.

    Oh, I wish I could pinpoint right now the ways in which God is redeeming me, but right now suffice it to say He’s helping me, clenched finger by clenched finger, to let go of the regrets of my past. To be free of the “I should have been _____ by now” and replacing it with “I can go _____ from here.”

    • Thank you, Michelle.

      The thing about redemption, I think, is that it’s always there and that God is always doing a work in us whether we’re currently on the right path or not. He never lets us go. I’m so thankful for that.

      By the way, you can go anywhere from here 🙂

  • I’m so proud of you, Julie.

  • I had no idea! I’m so sorry. As I read your post, I’m thinking, where was I? Why didn’t I know? But, I realize that I’m just getting to know you. Thank you for opening up.

    I can’t really think of ways or places that God is redeeming me. I do know the He is wanting me to wake up, to stay awake to what is happening around me, and to do something about it. But, then there are simply days where I feel kind of lost because there is so much that I want to do but time has been compacted in a way I’ve never felt. I’m learning a new balance and I can’t say that it’s fun, but I’m hoping to get better in this new phase.

    Blessings on you friend. I will be thinking about you, today.

    • Thanks, Judy. It will be 10 years this November. Kind of crazy to think, huh? I think if God’s working in us, we’re always getting better. :0)

  • Amy Book

    Your story is powerful. Your redemption is beautiful. I’m convinced that Jesus is well pleased when he looks at you. Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself.
    Love you!

    • Thank you, friend, for always speaking encouragement to me. Love you, too!

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  • Stephanie

    Hi Julie,

    Lots of tears as I read your post. I experienced something similar with a nephew who died when he was 6 months old. Thank you for sharing.

    I work with Joy at Love and Respect NOW and saw that you’re going to be at Catalyst next week. I hope we get to connect with you there!

    • Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing! I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that you know it’s a pain that never really goes away. I will be praying for you.

      I can’t wait for Catalyst! I saw your and Joy’s name on the Blogger Meetup list and got even more excited than I already was! I will be there, so maybe we’ll meet there. If not, I hope sometime during the conference, too!!

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