Our daughter Lydia passed away…and God is still good

by Katie Winne

Do you believe God is writing a good story for your life even if the plot is currently at a standstill or a low point?  In the midst of suffering or God’s seeming silence this is a hard truth to cling to. What truth you ask? The ultimate truth that God is good, no matter what.

The summer of 2009 was a hard year for my husband and me. We were both let go from our non-profit jobs due to major budget cuts in a very hard economy.  We had a child on the way, and wondered what God was up to. The winter of 2009 was unimaginably harder. We gave birth to our first child on the 23rd of December, and found seconds after birth something was wrong. 

After multitudes of tests we discovered that her brain had not developed past 28-30 weeks. The cause is still not 100 percent clear. She was unable to breathe or eat on her own. Decisions were made to put her on a ventilator and give her a feeding tube.

Our trust in the Lord was at its peak. We knew in our hearts that He WOULD heal her from this, and more than that, He COULD heal her from this. What a testimony this would be to the doctors and everyone who heard her story.  After a very long, two-year journey, of medical ups and downs, home health care, waiting, trusting, hoping, and praying, Lydia passed away in our arms as we sang Jesus Loves Me to her.

Did He answer our prayers? Yes. Did He answer them in the way we wanted? Not completely. She was healed, just not here on earth. Was it for our good, and the good of His people? Yes. You see, Lydia’s life was not in vain. He used her to heal us and draw us closer to Himself. It tells us in Isaiah that we are not out of his reach, but in fact being held in his hand.

 “‘You are my servant I have chosen you and have not rejected you.10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9b-10)

 He also used her life and death to refine, restore, and redeem us.  On the surface, it looked cruel- How could our story play out this way? How could a good God allow this? But at the deepest level of trust, this is what was best for us. It was in no way easy, and we’d have loved to have had our baby girl whole and healthy, but His ways are perfect. And though he didn’t promise an easy life, He did say that He would walk with us.

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

We struggle through grief and pain to press toward joy and hope. Our hope is in Jesus, and the knowledge that He will make all things new. He will redeem the broken. He does this by drawing us closer to Himself, to make us more like Him.  Refining is necessary to allow us to be more like Him. Take heart, do not run from Him. The decision to press in to Him or to run is very real during times of pain and hardship. He WILL hold you, He WILL make all things new. So believe that your story, even messy at times, the one that He is writing, is good because He is good.

 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up...Oh, that we might know the LORD!  Let us press on to know Him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” (Hosea 6: 1, 3)

Katie Winne is a Jesus follower, stay at home mom, and online instructor for San Diego Christian College. She and her husband, Jeff have 4 kids- Lydia (with Jesus), Annabelle (5 years), Peyton (3 years), and Emaline (1 year). They have been attending Westside church since 2011.