Journal entry 060712: Julia Grace

I’ve lived a fortunate life. On several occasions, I’ve seen the human face of God’s grace in unmistakable ways, and it catches my breath every time. The deepest examples of grace always seem to show up in the most private and quiet ways never seeking attention or notice. Here is the story of my most recent encounter.

A few months ago some of our great friends received hard news about her pregnancy. The baby she was carrying had Patau Syndrome, also known as trisomy 13, a condition in which a baby has an additional chromosome 13. The extra chromosome disrupts the normal course of development, and the outlook for such babies is bleak. The survivability rate is near zero.

If there was any good news from this, it was that the Patau Syndrome was not inherited, but occurred as a random event. I shouldn’t happen a second time. Still, even random bad news is hard to accept.

The Bible says in Genesis that humans were created in the image of God, and says in Ecclesiastes that we have eternity in our hearts. Infinity in our hearts. I believe that means humans were created to live in a reality bigger than ourselves, in stories bigger than our own. That capacity is one of the things that make us human, and when we engage the bigger world, the transcendent, we become more fully alive.

I also believe that, as humans, we are obligated to leave our fingerprints on everything and everyone within our reach. It is our duty to leave our mark on as much of the world around us as we can. Not only that, as believers, we have an additional obligation, to leave fingerprints that look more and more like Jesus.

So, when our friends received the bad news about their baby, named Julia Grace, they were given several options for going forward, including terminating the pregnancy. However, they were determined to love Julia for as long as possible, for as much as possible. They would pray for a miracle healing, and in the meantime, leave their mark on her unborn heart and soul.

I couldn’t help but think about this story last Sunday morning, three days before Julia Grace was born. The choir in our church sang a song titled, “He Knows My Name.”

     I have a Maker

     He formed my heart

     Before even time began

     My life was in his hands

     He knows my name

     He knows my every thought

     He sees each tear that falls

     And he hears me when I call

     (“He Knows My Name,” by Tommy Walker)

As I sat in the church orchestra playing my part, I thought of Julia Grace and her mom and dad. Julia Grace is no stranger to God. He knows her name.

So Julia Grace was born Wednesday afternoon, and she was held and loved for twenty minutes. Then she Julia Grace was gone.

Who knows if babies in the womb have any awareness of their situation. Actually, I hope not, since they are in such a boring environment. However, if they are aware of anything at all, Julia must know she was loved and valued her entire life. That’s not a small thing.

The story of Julia Grace and her mom and dad is what grace looks like, and I am honored to have been close enough to see it.




“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32 

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