“In Chinese families, the desire to have a son is very strong…to pass on the family name,” began Glenn Yu. He and his wife, Jackie, already had two daughters. After five years without any further pregnancies, they were motivated to have another child and prayed for a baby boy; however, Jackie developed endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). The couple shared their faith story with Butterflyinthespring…
Jackie Ching Yu (JCY): During that time, you can say that we went ahead of God with fertility pills. So we got pregnant; we were excited. Because we wanted a boy, we were already thinking of a name for a boy but we couldn’t come up with any. On Valentine’s Day 2009, we learned she was a girl. We had a name right away. I wanted “Faith.”
Glenn L. Yu (GLY): I wanted the name Valerie. The root word is “valor” or strong. We put the two names together: Valerie Faith. We made a video for her. I told her “We want you to grow up recognizing that you are a gift from The Lord to us. We want you to have strong faith.”
JCY: Everything went well. But on the twenty-second week, I did not feel any movement. I went to the hospital. The ultrasound doctor told me to see my obstetrician right away. She said the baby had ascites, (fluid in the abdomen). I went to see my doctor. The baby had a heartbeat but was not moving. She could not explain. She suggested I go to Singapore for a second opinion. In Singapore, I was told that there was damage to her brain and if she makes it to full term, she will be severely disabled. I was told, ‘You have a choice to terminate the pregnancy or go home and wait until full term.’
GLY: We had waited so long for this baby and now we were told about the option to terminate. Nanlambot ako (I weakened at the knees). It was devastating… For the first twenty-weeks she was fine. We didn’t understand why that happened. We decided to wait. It started to sink in that maybe it was the Lord who placed in our hearts to name her Strong Faith not for her but for us to have strong faith.
JCY: : I was thinking about the kind of life she would have if she survived this. I was also concerned about my older children who will share the burden of taking care of their severely disabled sister for the rest of their lives. But we decided if this is what God is giving us, we will take care of her. At twenty-four weeks (six months), my water broke. She survived for 52 minutes and then she died.
GLY: The song we listened to a lot then was Be Still (For the Presence of the Lord). We kept reading
Psalm 139. 13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
JCY: Those verses made us realize it was not an accident that she was born that way or that her life was short.
GLY: She already lived according to God’s purpose because she taught us to have not just faith in the Lord but strong faith in the Lord. During that time, I could not imagine how we could have gone through it without strong faith holding on to the promises of God.
JCY: She lived up to her name. We had a memorial for her. We were able to share with the people who were there her life and our hope in God.
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): I was there…
GLY: Yes… At that time, we had no way of knowing if we would have any more children but we were at peace. If Valerie were to be our last child, we were already fine with that. The Lord blessed us with three kids and one went ahead. Praise God for that. What one would normally think as a grieving traumatic experience, despite us losing a child, became a blessing for us. Now, we wouldn’t exchange that for anything. That’s our story of faith.
BITS: You expressed the strong desire in a Chinese family to have a boy. How did your heart change?
GLY: We surrendered to the Lord. To have a son to pass on the family name was one of the things I did not surrender to the Lord. I felt the Lord rebuke me that I was being presumptuous not wanting His will but my own personal desire. I was reminded of His word, “I am The Lord, your God… Be still and know that I am God.”
JCY: I felt we were not faithful enough to wait for Him. Maybe my body was not ready for a pregnancy. I felt what happened was a consequence of not waiting for Him.
GLY: We were overworked, tired with a difficult situation in the office, so much stress but we did not wait on God.
BITS: The grieving process, can you tell me about that?
JCY: It was hard… it seemed only for a moment. After that, we accepted. We had peace. The Lord gave us her name. The Lord gave that message to us, “Have faith in Me, not just faith but strong faith in Me.” We let it be. At the memorial we had for her, it was an opportunity for us to celebrate her life.
GLY: Yes, during that time, I remember distinctly saying that we don’t grieve over her passing but we celebrate the fifty-two minutes of her life. After that, life went on. Six months later, we found out that Jackie was pregnant. When we had prayed for a boy after our second child and I found out we were going to have a girl, I told God, “You have a sense of humor.” as though I was mocking or not trusting His will. This time I said, “Lord, boy or girl, it’s up to You.”
When Jacob was born. I said, “Lord, You are really amazing. You taught us to surrender our desire. You have given us a son. Our faith continues to be strong. Two years after, David was born. I said, “Lord, You have not only given me a son, now I have two sons. After another two years, Bea was born. I said, “Lord, You have not only given me two sons. You have given me another daughter as well.”
BITS: Wow, God paid you double for your trouble. No. More than double…Your faith was different after this happened?
GLY: Yes. We have to have faith in Christ. Like Mary and Martha, they had faith in His ability to heal but they did not have faith in His ability to raise people from the dead. In our case, we have faith in His ability to bring us closer to Him, to save us but not in His ability to bless us. So we pray, “Lord, increase our faith in Your ability to do the unimaginable.”
BITS TO JCY: Was the grieving different for you, being the mother?
JCY: Yes and no. Every time we visit her tomb, I still cry and have thoughts of how old she would be by this time. There’s a mom in school who was pregnant at the same time and whenever I see her daughter, I remember. She hadn’t been with us to build memories with us, it’s a different kind of grief. I think of the loss of what-could-have-been, being able to raise her like I have a chance to raise her siblings. For my boys, I tell them they have a sister. For them, it’s a vague idea. My eldest daughter said, “I’m sad because I did not get to meet her.” At the same time, God has displayed His power and His generosity and kindness in the succeeding pregnancies.
GLY: When I held her in my arms… and realize now that after fifty-two minutes she would go………… it’s so hard… to see your child die in your arms.
BITS: What helped your acceptance to come?
JCY: Surrender to His will. If that’s what God wants, we will accept. “If You would give us another baby, we thank You. If You will not, we thank You.”
BITS: What factors helped you come to that acceptance?
JCY: His Word
BITS: Was there a specific word that spoke to you?
JCY: Psalm 139… If that was God’s will for her life, if the purpose of her life on earth is done in the fifty-two minutes that she was here, we accept that. The Lord knows her. The Lord has ordained the length of her life before she was born. She is special in God’s eyes. She’s not different from any of my children.
GLY: I wanted to read about what the Bible’s assurances are for children and the assurance that she is now in heaven.
BITS: Where is that found?
GLY: When David and Bathsheba’s child died, 1 Samuel 12:23 that David will go to his child who died, it comforted us… 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
[After this chat, BITS found some verses on little children:
Deuteronomy 1:39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it.
Matthew 18:2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.]
BITS: The word of God was the most important… was there anything else that helped you through your trial?
JCY: We comforted each other. No blaming.
BITS: You were united…
GLY: Yes and Romans 8:28 that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him. We claim that promise in her death. When I looked at that verse, that was an assurance. Now, we see that the three additional kids, despite my wife’s medical condition, are a testimony that the Lord is true to His word.
JCY: Our spiritual family was also a great source of comfort, encouragement, wisdom through our trial and joy when we got pregnant again. Their prayers helped us get through. And we know it’s not pakitang-tao (a show to people) but heartfelt. You have the affinity because you are sisters and brothers in Christ.
BITS: Do you have a praise verse?
GLY: We have a praise song, Be still (For the Presence of The Lord).
BITS: Do you have a word of encouragement for someone who has lost their child?
JCY: Romans 8:28 In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him. It may seem like a tragedy at that point in time but God will slowly reveal His purposes and plans in His perfect time and it will be for good.
BITS: Maybe not always looking good, but working for good, no?… Your story underscores the goodness of God. In your case, God repaid you not once but thrice. For a mother who is beyond childbearing years or doesn’t get more children, I wonder how she may be comforted?
GLY: At the end of the day, we have to trust in the Lord’s purpose in our lives and that each of us is unique. Our kids are a testimony but for people who don’t have more kids, I’m sure they will see that those experiences shape who they are now and those experiences help them be drawn to Christ and help others be drawn to Christ. I think that’s part of our purpose in our lives. Either case, praise The Lord, blessed be the name of the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. We may not understand. In His time, He may reveal the purpose.
BITS: What if He doesn’t?
JCY: If He doesn’t, blessed be the name of the Lord. When I hear of people who are going through the same thing, my ears are immediately alert. I feel compassion for them. I know what they are going through and I want to reach out to comfort them with the same comfort God gave me, just like 2Corinthians 1:3. God uses us to help others. [2Cor 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in [a]any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.]
GLY[pulling out and reading from his journal]:
I know in my heart that Valerie returned to the Lord having accomplished what He desired. He made me realize that more than the pursuit of answers, more than solutions, He wants my faith in Him. Because of this, I know that she did not return to the Lord in vain. She went back to the Lord having accomplished what God planned for her life.
When she died, our doctor said, “You are the first patients I’ve met in these circumstances who are so calm. I can’t understand your countenance”. We had peace.
BITS: What you were manifesting was not the natural? Because of God who is supernatural?
GLYand JCY smile.
GLY: Yes. God’s peace is not the absence of trial but the presence of God. Hindi ko alam sino’ng nagsabi nyan pero hindi original sa amin yon. (I don’t know who said that but that’s not an original quote from us.)
That peace which transcends all understanding, the kind that comes not from the world but from God, came with Glenn and Jackie’s surrender of their desires to yield to His perfect will. In the loss of their long-awaited child, they gained their long-ordained faith. Plus God’s recompense and grace to give them not only one but two sons to carry the family name. Dayenu (That would have been enough)! Yet the Lord went on to give them one more daughter. That after they had set their mind that whatever He would give, take away, or allow, Blessed be the name of The LORD.