Monday, October 26, 2009


Johanna's funeral is later this afternoon. At the moment, I have a million emotions all fighting their way to get free.  I have no idea what to expect the day to bring.  I am positive there will be sadness and heartbreak, but I'm hoping there will be joy, praise, and maybe even a little humor thrown in somewhere.

I have been to hundreds(and I'm probably not stretching that number) of funerals in my lifetime.  It's part and partial to being the pastor's daughter and then the pastor's wife.  However, I never been to a funeral where my place is to sit "under the tent".  I've never been listed as a survivor in an obituary. I've never been one of the ones that everybody will speak to after the service is over.  I've never been the one to decide who will do what during the service, and in what order they are to do their thing.  Today is truly a first.

There are parts of today that I obviously dread.  Even though Jo has been gone from this world for almost 72 hours, there is a finality of sorts that comes along with today's festivities. Because Chad and I have known for months that this day would be coming, we were able to prepare ahead of time(I've had her funeral more or less planned since August).  That has made the past few days much more relaxing. 

We have a short grave side service planned to celebrate Jo's 63 precious minutes, and to honor our Lord.  My father will have the first part of the service.  I selfishly asked him to speak on Jo's verse, Psalm 139:14.  A few weeks back he brought the Sunday pm service from this text.  It was a powerful message about God's presence, power, and knowledge.  I felt that it was so fitting for today. After Dad is finished, then Chad's father will say a prayer.  I'm sure it will be a prayer of love, thanksgiving, grace, mercy, and peace.  Pawpaw has the most tender heart, and he always has a smile.  Thinking about him now, makes me smile. After Pawpaw is finished, then our(Chad and me) first real adult pastor(that's a long story that I don't feel like telling) Scott Moneyham will finish out the service.  Bro. Scott is a fantastic and powerful preacher.  He may or may not be one of my all time favorites.  I think we have a good line-up.  After a lot of prayer, this is how Chad and I wanted to commemorate the passing of our daughter.

I have no delusions that today will not be a sad and mournful day.  However, I want today to be joyful.  Johanna's life was a miracle(as is every life) that our family was blessed to be a part of.  We are forever changed because of her 63 minutes, and all the months leading up to those precious moments.  I miss my daughter more than I have the words to express at this point.  But, I would not dare bring her back from where she is.  She has been rejoicing and praising her Lord since Friday morning.  That thought makes me jealous of her.

I know this has been jumbled, but my thoughts are jumbled.  It's a mixture of emotions, hormones, and pharmaceuticals. I can't seem to remember anything at all. Please pray for our family today.  Our prayer is that God be glorified in all of today's proceedings. We His name to be up lifted and praised.  There will be a lot of tears, but that's OK.  God understands our tears.

Maybe tomorrow I will share Jo's birth/life story.  It's truly amazing.  I want to be very specific about all the prayers that God answered for us. You'll truly be amazed.


Meredith said...

Sending my thoughts and prayers to you.

Myra said...

Praying that God will surround you with his amazing love, care and comfort.

If I lived closer, I would be there.


Donna said...

Wonderfully amazing that you can celebrate Jo's life and be so candidly upbeat about her short, precious life! That is a gift to all those around you and a great example. I think God allows difficult trials for some special people to be examples for the rest of us on how to live life. Praying for you and your family...

Adrienne said...

Many prayers for you and your family today and in the days to come Nikki.

Jamie Lynn said...

I love Pawpaw too and you described him perfectly. I'm sure he will somehow humor you today. I know I'ma try:) Cause that's what Aunt James does.

I know you are her mom and all but just to let you know, you aren't alone. It's a first for me too.

Love ya.

Lucy and Ethel said...

You are as well-prepared as anyone could be for this, and that is good.

You also KNOW that Johanna is in the perfect place, and that is even better.


I will always be thankful for the few months we had with Jeffrey and for the 2 months of our oblivion before the diagnosis.

I figured the service would be THE worst but that we'd have to hit bottom in order to start the healing process. I was right; the service was excruciating (we didn't have your wonderful connections, though!), but things eased up almost immediately once it ended. Even the very brief service at Jeffrey's site (on our little mountain top) was easier, as we were blessed with a beautiful sunset, and we were home. And Jeffrey was safe, free, and happy... in the perfect place.

Many hugs and prayers for you and your family for today, tomorrow, and the upcoming months.


Pam said...

Praying for you today. I know it will be a whole lot of emotions. Just know many prayers are being said on your behalf today!!!!!

Kelly said...

Praying for you so much today. May you know God's love and comfort today and His strong arms holding you.
Like Myra said, if we lived closer, we would be there.

Love & hugs!

Julie said...

Sounds like you have a tremendous amount of love, support and prayers hugging you and your family during this difficult time. I pray for you today and for the road ahead of you. God Bless you and your family.

Johanna's pictures are amazing - beautiful little girl!!


Jennifer said...

I just wanted to let you know that everyone @ Medical Heights is praying for you and your family. You guys are amazing people!!! I am so sorry for your loss but I am glad you are able to celebrate her life like you have!

Johanna looks like a perfect angel in her pictures.

~Jennifer (and the staff of Medical Heights)

Rebecca said...

Praying for you & your loved ones today.

{{hugs}} across the miles, from one t18 Momma to another.

April said...

One of the things that you will carry forever, is knowing that Johanna truly did feel the love of a mother's touch before passing on.

If you are not familar with Kelly, I would encourage you to visit her blog. She has dedicated her time and efforts to supporting grieving parents, has many resources that may be helpful to you and your family, including the "Dreams Of You".

Kelly's blog

Dreams of You memory book

You will be in my prayers

Alexis said...

I am praying for your family today. May the Comforter be near to you.

With His love and mine,

Stephanie said...

I love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Girl, I have said prayers today for your family....Love the great spirit you have in your heart....hope you go thru all te emotions and end the day with a thought of her in the Lords arms...children are a wonderful blessing no matter how we have them, what they are born with and how long we get to keep them..
..Love in Christ
Donna..Johnson City TN

SayRah said...

Prayers and thoughts with you! I pray that you get through this difficult time knowing that the Lord does have a plan, and a special room in heaven for your little one.
((hugs & blessings))

Simply Donna...... said...

It was a beautiful service in honor of Johanna. My heart is heavy, my tears are many, but I rejoice in the Lord for he knows all and has taken Johanna home where she is well and awaits the day her family will join her.

Praying God will give you comfort through this difficult time.

Much love to you and your wonderful family.

Emma and Company said...

Praying and thinking of you today! Just know that!

Kari @ p.s. said...

I have stopped by from Kelly at Joyful Adorations. I am sad as I read through your blogs over the past few days and wish there was something that could be said that could help ease any pain. Not sure there is. Please know that there are many people, many strangers out there who are praying for you and your family at this time. Your daughter is beautiful and the photos you shared were wonderful.
I plan to follow so I can learn more about your life. Thank you for sharing it. Thank you for allowing us a peek into the wonderful 63 minutes you had with your precious Johanna.

Allison said...

Thinking of you today, Nikki. Wish I could be there to hug you in person

Kathleen said...

Praying for you and your family!