Trust-Jess McClenahan {infant loss/miscarriage}

{This post was previously published here at Life.Rearranged in May of 2010.  Reading it again is no less powerful.  I am left speechless once again.}

My brain struggles to find words to introduce Jess McClenahan.

Mainly because, honestly, the words she submitted for her guest post are so poignant and beautiful, that I don’t want to mar them in any way.

So, I’m going to make this intro short and let Jess speak for herself.

* * * *

I don’t know about you, but there was a time when I thought I had this trusting God thing all figured out.

I trusted God with my marriage and I thought it was going pretty well. I married my high school sweetheart, Joel, who is an amazing husband and man of God. We are far from perfect, but we really were trying to honor God with our marriage.

Joel and I had trusted God as we made the decision to move back to the country and take over a farm. That was a BIG one for me. You see, I am a city girl. I love the city, I love having neighbors, I love eating out, and I love shopping. I told everyone I knew that I would NEVER marry a farmer. And here I was…soon to be a farmer’s wife. I thought God was really funny, sticking me out in the middle of what felt like no-where on a farm. I thought I was taking a big leap of faith by trusting God with that one.

When we moved back, I trusted God to provide me with a teaching job. And he did. I taught kindergarten for four years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  And then our first daughter was born. We dedicated her to the Lord, trusting God to give us wisdom as we raised her.

Maybe you are beginning to see the pattern up to this point in my life…

Trusting God was fairly easy.

Trusting God was comfortable.

Our daughter Cora was born in March of 2008. We were instantly in love with our baby girl. We loved being a new little family and having this sweet girl to share our lives with. Cora meant the world to us. Life was good.

That winter Cora started having multiple ear infections along with a respiratory infection. We were visiting the pediatrician quite frequently and she seemed to keep getting sick. We were headed to the pediatrician for what we thought would be a follow up appointment for her recurring ear infections. But this particular day the pediatrician gave us the news that would forever change our lives. Cora’s liver was very enlarged and he was concerned that it could possibly be the result of some kind of cancer.

He sent us straight to the hospital where we would spend the next 17 days. We felt like we were living out a horrible nightmare. The next morning we were waiting to hand our precious little girl off for surgery to remove a tumor, most likely the result of cancer. We never dreamed that those moments before her surgery would  be the last time we would get to laugh and play with our little girl here on earth.

Cora was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma–a form of childhood cancer. She had four surgeries and completed the first round of chemotherapy while we were in the hospital. While she wasn’t progressively getting better, we held on to the hopeful words of her doctors. We were shocked that awful Sunday morning when the doctor told us that Cora’s little lungs were failing and there just wasn’t anything else they could do. We watched in shock as our little girl slipped away.

Cora went to be with Jesus on February 8, 2009. She was 11 months old.

All of a sudden my world was turned upside down. My life was totally rearranged. My little girl was gone.

And at that point I was forced to decide if I really believed what I always said I believe.

You see, I had come to grips with the fact that I could trust God through Cora’s cancer.

The chemotherapy and watching my little girl struggle with her life was awful, but if Cora could make it through it was going to be okay. But trusting God with Cora’s death was a whole different story.

How could I trust God with the death of my child?

Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in
the driver’s seat–I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me
and I’ll show you how.

-Luke 9:23-24


{For more on Cora’s story, click HERE.}


* * * *

This post is a part of an on-going series being hosted here at Life.Rearranged on infant loss/miscarriage.

Bloggers from all walks of life share their story in the hopes of encouraging others in their own journey and glorifying God through the pain.

In conjunction with this series, we are fundraising for the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation.

NILMDTS provides free professional photography to families in the hospital with littles that will not be going home with their mamas and daddys after all.

Please consider giving $1 to this amazing organization.

Encourage and support the women who poured their hearts out so selflessly for this series in a tangible way.

It’ll only take a minute to do something good today.  Your portion matters.  Promise.


{if you’d like to stay current on the upcoming guest posts, you can do that by subscribing here.}


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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    Beautifully written – as always! I have been reading Jess’ blog for a while now and her strength and courage is inspiring. I am over three years out from losing our firstborn after his premature birth and I find that reading about other’s experiences continues to give me the strength I need.

  2. 3

    jess is such an amazing writer! i love the way she shares her story and God’s grace. xoxo jess!! our kiddos are definitely playing together in Jesus’ backyard. :)
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  3. 4

    Thanks for sharing these stories. It’s so hard to read each time, but worth it. My neice (4 yrs old) has been fighting neuroblastoma for three years. I’ll pray for your Cara as I pray for a cure!
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