PAIL Feature Friday: Story of Phebe
How do you say goodbye when you’ve never even said hello?
She has my husband’s eyes and lips, my nose and chin with a head full of beautiful black hair. At 34 weeks she was already 18 inches long and was beginning to put on weight in preparation for her estimated arrival in 6 weeks. But the evening of June 16th brought forth a revelation my heart was unprepared to hear: “your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.”
An ultrasound confirmed that her spirit had departed her body and uncontrollable sobs began to echo within the hospital room. The next day, my baby would be born dead.
In faith, I prayed for a miracle, but as I read Romans 8:17 in the middle of the night, I knew God’s will was already in motion. We would share in His sufferings in order to delight in His future glory. As Christians, we are forewarned to count the cost of walking with Jesus because we will face difficulties, tragedies and setbacks. But Jesus encourages us to “take heart” because He has overcome the world.
One of my favorite scriptures is Revelation 12:11 NKJV,
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Jesus’ blood and our testimonies enable us to overcome the accuser. The part that stops me in my tracks is the fact that our testimony – our story of Christ’s power and deliverance in our lives – also plays a part in overcoming difficult circumstances and attacks from the enemy. Satan wants us to keep our mouths shut so we will not proclaim the goodness of God even in tragedy. He wants to steal our joy, kill our future, and destroy our hope, but Jesus has come to give us life more abundantly!
My heart aches when I think about holding the lifeless body of my daughter in my arms. Her life was stolen before she took her first breath, but she is in eternity with the Father never having to experience the evils of a fallen world. One day I’ll hold her in my arms in heaven, but until then, I have to press on and continue the work God has called me to do while I still have breath in my body. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 reminds us that the Comforter will see us through our tribulation so we may see others through their trials. It’s another reminder that our testimonies are powerful in both comforting others and helping them overcome similar setbacks in their own lives. Our walks are never singular paths, but are meant to be journeys within communities full of fellowship, partnership, and encouragement.
Phebe Nicole Dorsey’s 8 ½ months developing in my womb were not in vain. We named her after the Phebe mentioned in Romans 16, and commended her directly to the arms of Christ. Knowing that her time in my womb significantly aided her father and I in one of the most difficult years of our lives shows us that she had a purpose. She gave us hope and continues to do so even in death.
Though we hurt greatly now, we are experiencing the Holy Spirit as our comforter, healer and lover of our souls. In order to share in Christ’s future glory, we must share in His sufferings. Knowing that God will never leave us nor forsake us helps us to endure and trust Him through the pain. How can your faith increase unless it’s been tested in the furnace of affliction?