In today’s episode, special guest Sterling Myers, a mama to a precious girl in heaven, joins me to talk about choosing joy, looking for gratitude and finding hope after the death of her daughter. Listen in as Sterling shares her story as well as honest and candid wisdom about walking through loss, helpful for any mother who has experienced the loss of a baby. No matter where you are on your grief journey, I am sure this episode will bless you.
MEET STERLING MYERS
I am a pastor’s wife and mother to a 1 year old baby girl who left us too soon. God has been so gracious and merciful to my husband and I, even in our darkest days. Learning to navigate life after June’s passing has been challenging. When she died, every area of my life was touched by my grief. I am learning how to keep going, one day at a time.
You can find Sterling over on her Instagram account @sterlingdawn.
Ashlee: 00:00 You are listening to the joyful morning podcast, episode number 13. Today’s special guest is sterling Myers, a mama to a precious girl in heaven. Listen in as sterling shares her story of finding joy amidst the morning as she tells us about her daughter June for life or death, and what it means to find joy after such loss, sterling provides honest and candid wisdom in this episode, helpful for any mother who is walking through the loss of a baby, no matter where you are on your grief journey. I am sure this episode will bless you. You’re listening to the joyful morning podcast, a podcast about finding joy and healing amidst pregnancy or infant loss. I’m your host, Ashley. Profit. In my goal is to remind you you are not alone in your grief and that there is joy to be had even amidst morning. I’m so grateful you’re here. I friends and welcome to this week’s episode on the joyful morning podcast. Today I’m talking with Sterling Myers, a woman who has walked through a meant suffering and yet is full of much hope and much joy. I’m so grateful she is here to share her story with us today. Hi Sterling.
Sterling: 01:20 Hi Ashley.
Ashlee: 01:21 Welcome to the joyful morning podcast and thanks so much for joining me here today and for being willing to just share your story with us. Of course. Thank you for having me. Yeah, I’m really excited just to hear from you and I know that lots of women will be encouraged by what you have to say today. So before we get started, will you just tell us a little bit about who you are, what do you spend your days doing?
Sterling: 01:47 Oh, sure. Um, I am a woman who wears many hats. I’m married to my husband, cow and we’ve been together for 10 and a half years, married nine and a half years and we have two cats. We live in Virginia. We both had many different jobs that we do. Um, and he’s a pastor and then we also, um, work together for a local restaurant group and the Hampton roads area. Um, I’ve been planning weddings for several years and um, we just have, we have a lot on our plates, but we kind of enjoy like the variety that comes with the are many roles. Um, and then lastly, we are parents too. I’m a little girl named June who passed away last August
Ashlee: 02:41 and that’s why we’re here to talk about June and just your story of navigating grief and, um, will you share with us June and your story of loss and, um, anything that you want to share with us today about
Sterling: 03:00 her and your story? Sure. Um, we have, I, you know, I mean, I know I’ve encountered many moms who during their pregnancy were given bad news, you know, during their anatomy ultrasound and that’s when ours came up. And um, it was followed by, um, we had an amniocentesis and we did other genetic testing and um, found out that our daughter, um, had a genetic anomaly and that’s doesn’t have like a name or a syndrome associated with it. So, um, you know, it’s very uncommon for this particular, um, chromosomal deletion I guess, but, you know, we read about other children who had a similar diagnosis and so we thought, okay, our daughter will be a little bit different and we will love her and care for her. And um, during another ultrasound a little bit further along in my pregnancy, we were given like more, um, I guess more severe news that, you know, she, it didn’t look like she would be compatible with living outside of the womb.
Sterling: 04:15 And so that was at 32 weeks and so we lived for the next eight weeks expecting to have to give birth to a stillborn child or for her to not last very long after delivery. And, um, so those were very challenging weeks and I would say it’s probably like the darkest in my life. And, um, anyway, much to our surprise, um, when she was born, she did very well for um, you know, the diagnosis she was given and we were able to take her home and she was breathing and eating and she was smiling and growing. And um, we were very surprised and everyday was a wonderful gift that we just did not expect to have. Um, and eight, about five or six months, months end, she started having some health complications. She was put on several medications. I’m just to control some of her, um, neurological problems.
Sterling: 05:21 Um, and then she end up getting a feeding tube, which that day it seemed like the biggest deal in the world to me. But looking back like the feeding tube, like we rocked that thing. It was pretty easy to manage and, and we were quick learners. And so, um, I just look at it as part of taking care of her and it’s not a big deal now. But, um, at the time it was like monumental. I could not believe that we would have to learn all of that equipment and measuring and scheduling and everything. But, um, she had her first birthday and went in the next day for a, um, for a g tube surgery, which is where they put the feeding tube directly into her stomach. And she, she had a little button on the outside of her belly. It was really cute. Um, and then that went well.
Sterling: 06:13 Recovery was going well and that following weekend, um, she ended up having just related to her, her genetic conditions, some health problems that ultimately took her from us. Um, so it was a very, like whirlwind week we started with her birthday party and I’m going to the zoo and her surgery that went well and then we ended up back at the hospital and, and we came home without her. And so, um, we are approaching that one year mark, um, next month. And so I’m kind of bracing for impact, you know, not really sure how it’s going to go for us, but I’m, the Lord has been so loving and is really taking care of us with the people we have in our lives that um, I’m not too worried about it. I’m just a little apprehensive I guess.
Ashlee: 07:08 Yeah, yeah, for sure. Um, I think there’s so many things that I can identify with. My story is very different from yours, but I think the, especially around her birthday and then you, you described it as it was just a whirlwind of a week, like you experienced so many different emotions in circumstances or. Yes. Um, and I think for me in our story, losing Aaden the day before he died was one of the sweetest, most fun family days we’d ever had. I was a young mom and um, I couldn’t anticipate there was no anticipating what the next day was going to hold. And so it was just this strange dichotomy of just so much joy and excitement and fun the day before. Right. And, and the very next day they would just be death and sorrow and sadness and it, it’s just a very interesting. I can identify with just a tiny piece of your story in that and how odd it is to look back and see the scope of just emotion and life that could be lived and just a matter of days. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah.
Sterling: 08:33 Well, yeah. One of the best mornings, like I would say, of her life was the morning that we ended up taking her to the emergency room and like, my dad came over and we had pancakes and she didn’t have pancakes because she didn’t eat food, but, um, you know, we, it was just a really, like, fun morning and I was like, she was so happy and I, I really look at that as a blessing of a lot. Like the, our last Hurrah with her was so wonderful. Um, and it just ended up completely the day and they’d completely differently than I could ever have ever imagined. But, um, yeah, the, the coaster is just unreal.
Ashlee: 09:18 Yeah. It’s so crazy. And yeah, there’s, there’s, yeah, it is, it’s just a rollercoaster. I think there’s no other way to describe that. I do think it, it is very kind of God given us, um, both those moments before, because he didn’t have to and yet he did. And um, I, I look at, for me it was November 14th, the day before he died. It’s just like the sweetest gift and similarly family came over that night. And the night before, and we were just eating and playing and it just was a really sweet, unexpected night and day, the whole day had been. And so I just, I look at that as just God was just really kind and gracious in gifting, both of us, um, with memories that were really sweet. Um, so if there’s a woman listening who has received, a really hard diagnosis that either that anatomy exam or later even, which I can’t imagine, I can only imagine how difficult that was for you at 32 weeks to receive no worse news. Um, do you have any advice or words of wisdom for a mom who might be listening who has received a hard, harder, even terminal diagnosis? So that’s the right language.
Sterling: 10:50 Yeah. Yeah. No, I think that, that, I think that is fair language. Um, you know, we, and the doctor who told us that, you know, we shouldn’t expect her to live. Like he, he basically said you just need to go home and hug each other and cry and work on your marriage. And um, I just remember leaving that appointment feeling so defeated and like we weren’t given any hope at all, like, no, no, like, you know, well, it could work out in this, this is one option. We weren’t given that and um, I was robbed of a lot of joy in my pregnancy, um, because of the circumstances. And I’m looking back at it like I wish I loved being pregnant. I thought it was. I mean, I have, I have friends who have been sick as dogs during their pregnancy and, you know, they, they’re like, why do you like this so much?
Sterling: 11:48 And I’m like, I, everything was wonderful for me of the, like I didn’t have sickness, I wasn’t overly tired. It was, it was a very pleasant experience for me. And I really think that looking back at it that that was a gift from God. I really see my pregnancy as like the, because it was such a positive experience for me physically that was a gift. Um, I, I would tell someone who’s given maybe bad news like we were and I didn’t, I, I, I kind of thought this at the time, like I need to just enjoy every day I have with her. But looking back, I wish that I would’ve taken that more seriously because I could’ve asked her before birth or during birth or shortly after, and that would have been the only time I had with her. And instead of focusing so much on the sorrow, I’m celebrating the, um, the, the, the, the kicks and the, you know, all of the little things that happened to your body when you’re pregnant.
Sterling: 13:00 That was happening with her. That was an experience that we shared together. And, um, because of our, my husband and my unique genetic makeup that could go on for a whole other hour long podcast, um, we have decided not to have anymore children of our own, um, because this could happen again. And so knowing that, that, you know, more than likely was going to be my, my pregnancy, my, my Shebang, my, my one chance. Like I wish I would have soaked it up more. Um, because I may never get to experience that again, but I remember telling her when I was pregnant, this is, this is what you and I have together and if I don’t get to do this again, at least I get to do it with you and I’m
Sterling: 13:55 that I tried to hold onto that. It is really difficult when people are giving you baby gifts and they’re so excited and we didn’t share a lot of what was going on. People knew that there were problems, but they didn’t know that we had been given a more terminal diagnosis. Then we had um, so people were still celebrating us up until the end and it was really hard to get gifts and I’m open presence in front of people and um, that was very challenging. So I, I don’t know, it’s so hard because when you’re in that kind of dark place, I guess pray and be thankful for what you have. Even though that sounds so cliche and you know, I don’t know. Be Thankful that you have the opportunity for, for the days or the weeks that you’re allowed with that child.
Ashlee: 14:58 Yeah, I can, I can understand that again, because my story is different, I can understand it and just in a different way. It’s applied differently for me and for me it would be the infant newborn season of life, right. Um, it was, it was nearly impossible for me to find joy in because I was so afraid that I would lose my subsequent children and so b, and even my part of my story is just that my, my oldest son was um, s or almost 17 months old when his baby brother died. And so, it also pushed me away from him in that I was just, I was afraid that he was going to die. And so I just was like, I can’t parent him either. And so it, it’s so interesting that grief can and in pending or something that we don’t even know for sure will happen. Now many women who will listen to this, like they’re, you know, the prognosis is not good. I understand that for sure. But what you’re saying is to find, find the thing to be grateful for today. And I really suck.
Sterling: 16:12 Did that.
Ashlee: 16:15 It was just, it was so hard, and I do, I, I think that, probably the infant that first year of life for my, for my son Asher, and then for my daughter Addie, we’re kind of, I feel like robbed for me by myself. You know, nobody, nobody else did it to me. It was just, I let, I let fear of what could happen, you know, blind me to the joy that was right in front of me. Right? Like you’re saying, I just didn’t. It was just, it’s just so hard. But I think what you said, just ask God for the, um, for the grace in the eyes to see what’s right in front of you and to have joy in that. I love what you said. You said, if I don’t get to do this again, at least I get to do this with you. Um, that is the sweetest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard and I, I wish I’d had that perspective. You know, like, you know what, I might not get tomorrow with you, but I’ve got today and I’ve got right now. And so let me soak up these moments and whatever that might look like,
Sterling: 17:23 Graham, it’s definitely easier said than done. So I know like, you know, if, if, if a woman is listening to the and she’s like, you just, you don’t know what the doctor told me and I don’t. And it’s, it is, it is really easy for me to, in hindsight looking back and saying what I should have, I should wished I would have done, but when you’re in the moment, it is so hard to hear these things and actually apply them. It was so difficult because it’s, it’s, I believe that losing a child is one of the hardest things that a person can ever go through. And, and we’ve done that and were, we’ve survived and
Speaker 3: 18:08 um,
Sterling: 18:10 and I came through on the other side and I can’t believe that I survived it, but I did. And um, I don’t, it is, it is much easier to, to give the advice now then for sterling, you know, two years ago to hear it clearly and take it.
Ashlee: 18:31 Yeah. Do you think that there’s anything, any tangible. I’m like practical things that you would tell a mom either who’s received a diagnosis, you know, similar to you or even in the days following loss too. I was trying to think about that in my own to help six our eyes on the things that are the gifts that are right in front of us or the, you know, to daily find the thing to be grateful for. Um, the only thing that I could think of in my own life was journaling helped. Journaling helped me to just, even if I just didn’t have the thought or brain space to write out beautiful, eloquent things, but to literally bullet point like here, okay God, I can see you working in these ways or I’m grateful for these things.
Sterling: 19:24 Yeah. I, I did not do any journaling actually. I, and I’ve kind of been really bad about, you know, documenting any of my feelings. Like, you know, I had written some things on my blog, but um, I think that for me the biggest thing was letting others blessed me and, and not feeling weird about it. Like if, you know, my sister in law and my mom went through June’s nursery, like when we came home from the hospital, they, like, they took all of our baby stuff and they put it in her room so I wouldn’t have to walk around the house looking at all this baby stuff and like, they, they did that and I think that was one of the best things for me. Not to like hide her memory away, but just so I wasn’t running into the swing and, and finding little her little, you know, toys everywhere.
Sterling: 20:24 And um, that was something that was huge for me. Um, and you know, at when someone passes away, people want to bring you food. We didn’t really was just the two of us. We didn’t really need a lot of that, but um, people sent us things and blessed us and just letting them do that. I mean, having people do for me was um, instrumental in me like getting through those initial first weeks. Um, so I would say don’t turn away anyone who’s trying to sincerely help and just make things easier on you. Do your laundry, mow your grass, that kind of thing.
Ashlee: 21:07 Yeah, I think that’s great. That’s great wisdom there. Because we do. I think one thing about grief is that there’s a desire to be the person you were before the tragedy happened. And so for some personalities, I think I struggle with this. I so badly didn’t want to be this new person right now that you won’t ever have similar be similar to that old person. Right? But for a while you’re figuring out this new, this new normal. And I didn’t want the help because I, it was, it was like a acknowledgement at that point that I wasn’t, that I hadn’t had experienced the loss that my son was gone and that I needed help. And so I fought against that a little bit. But in hindsight that, that is, um, really valuable wisdom to let people help for sure and to bless you in the way, in the ways that they see needs and can meet needs. What is, um, what is something that has surprised you about grief or even you can answer this question, might be more helpful, but what is something that you’re learning now about grief? You know, almost a year later, um, I am still
Sterling: 22:28 prized everyday. How losing her has affected me like everyday is, is different. And I, I, some days I’m surprised how easy they are. Others I’m surprised how hard they are. I think like I did a lot of grieving before she was born and I did grieving. I aggrieved her everyday she was here because I, I woke up every single day thinking she could die today. And um,
Sterling: 23:01 when she did pass I felt this release and it was the weirdest thing. It was instantaneous that I felt this pressure come off of me that I didn’t have to worry about that anymore. And then learning how to handle the grief was another kind of pressure. Um, it honestly is not been as weighty as when she was alive because I was so terrified that like what was going to take her, what would it look like? How would it feel like, you know, would she suffered that kind of thing? Like that’s what I was doing. I was so concerned for her that now I’m in my grief, I’m not having to worry about her. So to me it’s not as taxing, if that makes sense. Interesting. Yeah. But I, yeah, I’ve learned that like grief is always going to be there, but it’s going to change. And um, you know, you expect, they tell you they’re all stages, they expect you, they tell you you’re going to go through this and then this phase and then this space and it, I, I kind of threw all that out the window because it happens every day is different and I can’t, like I just, it’s unexpected like every, every day. And I think that that has been my biggest surprise is that I, I don’t really know how I’m going to feel each day when I wake up.
Speaker 3: 24:32 Um,
Sterling: 24:34 now I choose to try to look at things in a positive light. I actively do that because I do not want my life to be one filled with sorrow that is not, that is not what the Lord has promised us. So, um, I try to focus on joy and good things and I’m the Lord’s gift to me that was my daughter and um, yeah, so that’s how I’m handling the grief.
Ashlee: 25:07 I think I’m just mentioning to somebody who might be new in the grief journey that this is really fresh for them. Just taking the, um, in my mind taking the burden off that brief comes in stages or phases in almost as if it’s like you complete one and you move on to the next and that just isn’t a reality, right? So if we go into grief anticipating it working that way we’ll be, we’ll be disappointed and probably more than disappointed will be really confused, which will just add to the angst of what’s already happening in our hearts will think there’s something wrong with us. Or um, there’ll be like probably elements of shame or guilt or, you know, I’m not even grieving, right. Those sorts of things. And so I would just want to take that pressure off, like you said, I just kind of threw that out because you move in and out of grief and those different, um, characteristics or
Speaker 3: 26:14 um,
Ashlee: 26:16 byproducts of grief, I think they, they can happen simultaneously or you know, from one moment to the next you can be full of joy and then all of a sudden you’re just raging with anger and you don’t really know why. And, and you know what that is okay. In those, especially in those early fresh days of grief. And so I’m, I’m glad that you said that, that that’s helpful to you mentioned, um, you mentioned that you had friends and family and a few of the ways that they, um, they helped you, you know, in tangible ways after June passed. Um, what are, what, is there anything that you wish that people would have said? Like what’s one thing you wish people would ask
Sterling: 27:08 or do you wish that people would just be quiet? Well, if everly, it really depends, you know, I have, um, oh man, we have people who are and I’ve been pretty vocal in my own life and I’m about wanting people to ask me about her so people do. Um, and I, I do feel this level of discomfort when I bring her up to people that maybe I don’t know well or that didn’t know her and it’s kind of like they don’t really know how to respond. And so they just don’t say anything and I completely understand that. Um, had some friends over, um, a while back and, you know, I’m looking at her pictures and I’m showing her this picture in that picture and I could tell they were just so, like stunned. They didn’t know what to say and so they just didn’t say anything.
Sterling: 28:04 And so it was like, I’m thinking like, you know, like, this is my kid. I’m still proud of her. And um, I, you know, I love when people do text me or ask me in person, like, just tell me something fun about June something. What did she like? And, um, people will say, I would love to see a picture of her, what, what is one you haven’t shared online? Um, and I love that because, you know, there’s, you know, maybe they don’t sit and dwell on it for a long time, but they’re taking time out of their day to say, I was thinking about you and I remember your daughter and that really, that means a lot when people do that for me. Yeah. Yeah,
Ashlee: 28:51 I think that, that’s amazing. I remember when we moved, so we moved pretty soon after eight and died and we moved to start a church and so we moved from Virginia. We left all of our support over our church family or trends. We would, in hindsight not counsel anyone to do what we did, right. It was not probably a lot of wisdom in that. But, um, we moved to Florida and I remember, you know, putting pictures of him in our house. And so obviously there’s people coming into my home who never met him in it. It would be confusing to them when they would see pictures of my oldest son and then pictures of this other baby and they’re like, who’s this guy? Right. And I, I had to get over that, like initial awkward. I can, I can literally remember standing in the hallway where I had rows of pictures.
Ashlee: 29:49 They were like milestone type pictures of Andrew. And then I had just two milestone pictures of Aidan because he, he died so young. And so, um, I remember seeing there with a girl who was new to our church and she’d come over for a small group and she, she’s looking at the wall very, very confused. And as I explained to her, she does it. She just didn’t know what to say or you know, and, and I think for, for those grieving just know it’s hard for that person to, you know, and sometimes we can become, we can be hurt by the lack of words or people’s choice of words and just know that they don’t know what to say either. Absolutely. Um, sometimes we just need to have grace with people who don’t know. In those moments. I’ve had to, oh, sorry, go ahead.
Sterling: 30:45 Oh, I wasn’t saying I scared to people in the past month who I had not seen in since I was pregnant. How’s your daughter? And I, I was out in public and both of them I just kind of said, oh, she passed away. Like you didn’t know that I wasn’t. I thought it was really nice about it and they all met. Both of them almost fell over out of shock. And I was like, I need to be better about not ambushing people because they don’t know what to say. Yeah. And it, it is so shocking when someone tells you something like that. Um,
Ashlee: 31:23 right. So shocking. Yes. And that’s our reality that we live with every day. Um, and that reality gets easier to communicate through the years. You know, the, the more times I’ve said those things, it just comes out a little easier. I’m not all the time. Like there’s so moments where I get the knot in my throat, you know, 10 years later still. But it gets, it’s my reality that I understand or that I know and that I’ve communicated so many times and so, but it’s the first time that person may have heard this. And so, yeah, that’s, that is, uh, uh, you know, just a funny thing about this. Um, but yeah, I love that you, that you have people in your life who have said, tell me about her or show me a picture that I haven’t seen before. That’s really, really precious. I was thinking, um, do you mind sharing or do you, you may not have plans or anything like that yet, but you say you’re coming up on her birthday. Um, do you have plans to celebrate that day or are you, how are you anticipating that day going? Have you thought about that before? Right now? I’m sorry to put you on the spot. No, it’s okay. Yeah, we had thought about.
Sterling: 32:41 We have thought about this. I’m pretty much after she passed, it was we saw on her birthday we took her to the zoo and both of our moms came with us. Um, it was, it just happened to be free senior citizen day and our moms will, will kill me for saying that they fall into that category, but, and we had free two free tickets, so we went to the zoo. It didn’t cost us anything, but we, after she passed we said, you know, we want to go to the zoo every year on her birthday because that’s, you know, that’s what we did with her and she had such a great time and she slept through most of it of course, but, you know, as she was so happy and she got, she loved being outside. So we, we thought about that. I’m doing that and we’re going to have birthday cake and um, we kind of don’t have any specific plans yet other than going to the zoo. I’m, but I’m sure our families will, um, will help us figure out something to do. I’m okay.
Ashlee: 33:49 It’s precious of that. I know that for me, when I came up on my son’s first birthday, we hadn’t celebrated his first birthday yet. So there wasn’t, there was no memories per se, you know, and I just remember feeling really awkward and uncomfortable about planning something in celebrating a life when he wasn’t here. And I just, um, for me that’s one of those regrets. Like I let fear of what other people thought of me. Like that girl is so weird, you know, I’m steal the joy of, of that in subsequent birthdays we’ve, we’ve gotten better at and now it’s just part of our family rhythm. My kids know that we celebrate Aden’s birthday and this is how we do it. And I’m so, I love that you’re going to celebrate her birthday in whatever way it looks like. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but I think that that’s really special. Um, I had, I had a question, you know, you’re a pastor’s wife and um, I, I’m curious what your, what your relationship with, with God looked like in the days following even your diagnosis and then the days after she was born or I’m in the days after she died. What, what kind of, what did your relationship with God look like in those days? And months following,
Sterling: 35:18 right. Um, so when I, I’m, I’m saying on our praise team at Church and um, I remember the Sunday after our 32 week ultrasound, I had this big number. I was with the choir and I don’t remember what it was specifically about, but it had something to do with like blessings I think. And I had just been given this like crazy terrible news and um, I laugh now because it just, I don’t know how, I don’t know how I did it. And I went out and my mother in law before we went out there, she said, are you going to be okay seeing this song? And I said, I don’t need you to ask me about this, can you just give me like 10 minutes so I can get through it? And she’s like, yeah, yeah, of course. Um, so I, I went out there, I sing the song, I, it, it was an out of body experience because I, I, it was, I don’t know how I did it.
Sterling: 36:19 Um, I got off stage and I went back into my father in law’s office and I just broke down. It was, it was a mess. Um, but during my pregnancy I realize these, these verses we’ve been reading and the songs we’ve been singing, my whole Christian life, they actually mean something. They’re actually like they’re real and God was so near to me during my pregnancy and during June’s life and I never once felt abandoned and never once felt like I was doing it on my own or I was some sort of puppet or experiment. I never felt like that. And I, I, God gave us strength and he has blessed our marriage and he has really provided all of the grace one would ever need in this kind of situation. I’m just the way we interact together, um, and then just individually in our daily lives.
Sterling: 37:33 So, um, I feel closer to the Lord and I, I know I have friends who have walked through similar situations and that was not their experience experience. Um, and I would just encourage fellow believers who go through something like this too. You have to like be intentional and you have to press into the Lord in times like this because I don’t know how nonbelievers do it and I, I really, I don’t know if I would still be here if it wasn’t for God and his strength and mercy, um, because it was so difficult the days leading up to her birth. So, um, that has helped me as a believer this whole journey and I’m now when I know sing songs or when I read scripture, I feel like the words have, they are actually true and Jesus did come to save us and my daughter is in heaven with him and that is so encouraging to me because I will see her again.
Ashlee: 38:59 A friend of ours who is not a believer does not believe in Jesus. I’m skeptical at this point that God exists in general. So, um, he was having a conversation with my husband the other day and he said, how could you still believe after your son died? And, um, it’s a good question for someone who’s on the outside looking in, right? Um, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but we know that because we believe there’s so much hope, hope in an eternity, you know, hope in restoration hoping, in a, in a future complete joy, you know, tell me as we were kind of wrapping up, what’s one one way God has used the life of your daughter to impact the way you see the world?
Sterling: 39:51 Oh, just one, huh? I have really, um, I felt conviction about, um, maybe judging other people’s situation and not knowing fully what’s going on. Um, you know, are we, we share general things about our daughter’s condition, but we weren’t very specific so people don’t really understand and don’t really know what the day to day was like. And I’m, I’m fine with that. I don’t need everyone to know, but I don’t know what everyone’s day to day is like the same time and for, I used to not really understand why, why people had to either call out of work so much or couldn’t make it to church on time or they needed this kind of help with that kind of help. And I really have been, um, my viewpoint has been transformed with people have really hard things going on in their lives and it may look completely different from mine, but I don’t know what they have to deal with everyday. I don’t fully understand. And I would, um, I wish I could go back and tell myself that 10 for 10 years ago that you have to be gentle with people and you have to be more, um, understanding of their situation even if you don’t know what is really going on.
Ashlee: 41:29 Yeah, that’s it. It’s a, it’s interesting because as I’ve done, you know, multiple of these podcasts, interviews, that’s a common thread and I think walking through any kind of suffering just opened your eyes to see that there’s so much that we just don’t quite know until you walk through something like that. Right. You know, and it just, I think one of the really sweet benefits or the fruit of suffering can be that our hearts are more empathetic or compassionate. More understanding for sure. Absolutely. Okay. The last, my last question is, um, if you could just say one thing to another mom who’s grieving today, um, what would it be
Sterling: 42:20 to surround yourself with people who you love and trust and don’t shut them out. Don’t isolate yourself because you need their support and there will be a day when you’re able to get out of bed and you’re able to maybe try something new or take the next adventure in your life and those people will be there with you. but just don’t shut them out until you don’t. If you’re not ready for that, still, you need them around you. You need support. And so don’t do not isolate yourself.
Ashlee: 43:06 Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.
Ashlee: 43:09 Thank you so much for joining us today. I’m so grateful and, I know that the, those who will listen to this will be tremendously blessed by you. So thanks so much and to those listening know that you are loved and that you are not alone. Thank you for listening to the joyful morning podcast. If you loved this episode, let us know in the reviews and share it with a friend for show notes. Head over to the joyful morning.com.
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