my world as I knew it shattered.
my heart broke.

but little by little God restored it all.

I learned to live a new life.
A stronger life.

I let Him heal my broken heart.
He made it bigger.

He used my pain.
He used my story.
To encourage and comfort others.

Redeemed the suffering.

Made me into a better mother.
A better wife.
A better friend.

He taught me about heaven.
About grace.
About strength.

I am immensely thankful for Joy's life.
My own life would not be the same without her.

Happy birthday to my beautiful Joy Emma.
I miss you every day.
I miss you in every way.

I can't wait until I can hold you again.


  1. Thinking of you guys and praying a thankful prayer--for how much you’ve grown.

    I will always celebrate the birth (both onto Earth and into Heaven too) of my nephew. I will always miss him though, but I have the peace of knowing he is in an awesome place just like your Joy. :)

  2. Happy birthday Joy! You are missed dearly

  3. Happy happy birthday Joy! And happy (mom) birthday to you too. Your Joy series is still one of my very favorites ever. And I adore the pics that DrewB did of all of you last year. Thinking of you today.

  4. Happy Birthday sweet girl. Mama, you are a living testament to God's grace and love! I have enjoyed your blog so much. The photos, the feeling of peace and renewal that I get from reading your words.
    We don't understand why God allows things to happen to us- we may never. And just because we love Him does'nt mean our hearts don't break and ache. I became a widow with a baby girl at a young age- 29- but I have found that I have also grown as a woman, a believer, and a Mother. God bless you for all you do and the people you touch- you have truly touched my heart today! Blessings =)

  5. Happy Birthday sweet baby Joy. I have no doubt you will see her again one day. I just cannot fathom what you went thru. Thank you for sharing your story.


  6. Happy Birthday precious Joy...

    I will be thinking about and praying for you and your family, as I can only imagine that her birthday must be a difficult day to make it through.

  7. Have thought of you all several different times yesterday. Chatted on and on about you all last night at Book CLub telling my friends about you and the girls and Joy. I know yesterday was a blitter sweet day, but I hope that you found comfort in being with the girls and celebrating Joy.

    Thank you also for continuing to share Joy's story.

  8. What a way to use a little precious life to lead others and testify to God's grace and love. Your sharing this journey has affected people like you wouldn't believe...God's way! Thinking of you...

  9. Happy Birthday Joy!! And hugs to you all!

  10. Have a very happy day, Julie. I big puffy heart you and your wonderful spirit!

  11. Happy Birthday precious baby Joy! God bless you Julie!

  12. *hugs* to you today sweet friend...and Happy Birthday to precious Joy!
    Many Blessings! (and extra prayers!)

  13. I don't even know you and I cried as I read your sweet and amazing words! Thank you for your example and your strength! May your life (and your dear family) receive miracles and blessings from God each day!

  14. Happy Birthday sweet girl. And hugs to you mama. You enocourage so many....and while that is likely not consolation know that it is good just the same.

  15. (oops I didn't mean to hit publish)

    Thank you for sharing your story! I know it has been a comfort and encouragement to so many!

  16. Happy birthday Joy, and to your anniversary of becoming a mother. Thank you for sharing your story. There is so much of God's beauty, even in the pain.

  17. Happy Birthday Joy.
    God HAS used your story in big ways. Your caring heart is such a testimony of this.
    God bless, and many prayers for continued healing.

  18. Love and prayers to you and your family. And happy birthday, dear sweet Joy!

  19. Your heart is so beautiful.
    Happy Birthday to your sweet Joy.

  20. Special prays for you today. God bless all of you.

  21. Happy birthday to your sweet Joy. I think she has helped a lot of us to change and be better people. Your example in my life . . . you have no idea. Thank you for sharing your story and your life and your example with all of us who don't even personally know you. I hope you are able to have a wonderful birthay for her. She shares it with my little boy. So I will think of her as I celebrate Chase turning 1 today.

  22. Happy birthday Joy! Your mama is one amazing chick!

  23. I also have a baby in heaven, a little boy, maybe he and Joy hang out together and talk about how they take care of their families on earth.

    *Happy Birthday Joy*

  24. happy birthday joy :)
    balloons, cupcakes & 3 little sisters... perfect.

  25. My heart and my prayers are with you today. You inspired me at a time I need it so desperately and your Joy inspires me still. My birthday wish for Joy is blessing to you and all of your family today and every day!

  26. Happy Birthday Joy! God has used your story in BIG, BIG ways!
    Thank you for sharing Joy's life & story with us.
    I was praying/thinking of you guys yesterday. May God continue to heal you & refine you through this journey we call life....

  27. Happy Birthday to your little angel!

  28. I had never read your writings about your sweet Joy until today. Bless you on her birthday!

  29. Happy Birthday Sweet Joy!

    Thank you for using her precious life to love on and reach others. You are so encouraging and inspiring.

  30. thanks for sharing your losses, your strengths and your JoYS. happy birthday Joy.

  31. You know just how thankful I am for Joy...for your words...for your shared hope that helps so many. I hope you read what I posted to you on the 23rd. (((JULIE))) I love the balloons. LOVE them.

  32. Happy Birthday to Joy and hugs to mama as well.

    It's been over ten years since we lost our 4 month old Aidan. I love being his mommy too.

    it's amazing that we can be whole again after such a loss...but that's the Redeeming God we have.

    Joy knows Him well.

  33. tears for you julie.

    i love your balloons.

    what a precious sweet birthday celebration.

  34. I will pray for your sorrow and rejoice in the joy that comes from knowing, for sure, that you will see Joy again! Thanks for sharing. What a testimony of grace!

  35. Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Joy!!

    (( Hugs )) to you all.....thank you for sharing your journey

  36. happy birthday sweet joy. you have no idea how many lives your mama has touched. she is amazing.

  37. thankful for the one who's holding your sweet Joy until her mama can, so thankful that there IS a place that you WILL get to hold her again, so thankful that I will get to be in that place too.

  38. Happy birthday, sweet Joy!

    Biggest hugs, my friend!!

  39. First, off my heart spoke to me and wanted me to write a comment to you.
    I know I'm late and Joy's Birthday was on Sunday-(also the day my daughter turned 21 months) Happy Birthday Joy! I cried when I read your post just now and read your story about Joy. You deff give me hope, strength,inspiration, etc with crafting and surviving through a loss.
    I myself had a miscarriage, but I couldn't imagine giving birth to your first daughter and saying goodbye at the same breaks my heart. I wasn't that far along in my pregnancy when I lost our Angel Baby and looking back I never thought when getting married and having babies that there is a dark side to it. But it's there and very real to me now. Plus, it never crossed my mind that I would lose a child. But I did, and I dunno if I really fully got to grieve my lost because we got pregnant right away and now have a healthy 3 month old daughter. But I do think about our angel baby often, but I know that I wouldn't have my daughter now and our angel baby is with Jesus and there with my nephew and other loved ones. My SIL lost her baby after 20 weeks of carrying him, he had a heart problem and my other SIL had a miscarriage too. Infant and pregnancy loss has affected my family a lot in the past years and I am deeply touched but others similar stories of the hope and love and strength they have. I'm trying to believe in Jesus, I had a hard and long road in my life, so trust is a big factor but I'm trying. Thank you for being you, flaws and all, and an awesome role model for me. I appreciate it, & your blog got me into sewing for my girls.
    Blessings, :) Karin Marie <333

  40. I've just read all your posts about your beautiful Joy. You have the biggest heart and write/share the most heartfelt words.

    Wishing you Peace & Comfort as you celebrate your daughters birthday.


  41. What a joy Joy has brought her own special way. I admire the strength you show to continue each day with courage!

  42. I was just thinking about my little 8 year old angel.

    So beautifully written. Beauty from ashes, but there are still the ashes.

    Love you, Julie.

  43. My sister lost a son at 38 weeks. Your stories are similar. It was such a painful time for our family. Thank you for sharing your story. I got to hold Christopher and I'm so glad I did. His birthday is coming up in March. He would've been 3.

  44. Happy Birthday Joy! You seem to live 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. I hope to live it myself one day!

  45. Thank you so much for sharing this blog. I discovered this via a like from the Craft website.

    It is very encouraging to find other believers who share in their struggles and their joys.

    God bless you and your family!

  46. What a beautiful story, beautiful life and how lucky your children are to have such a beautiful mother. Joy's life birthed only goodness. God Bless and Happy Birthday Joy!

  47. i came upon your blog via a link for your tutorial on ribbon, crinkly toy and read further. this was a most touching piece. i wish you peace and love for sweet joy.

  48. Oh, tears...I have been a reader of your blog for a while...flitting here and there to see your creations...

    Today I stopped and saw this post and went back to read your story...I never similiar to mine...tears again...

    Thank you for have given me much hope...


  49. Happy (belated) birthday joy!!

    Julie you such a strong woman! Im glad that God helped you heal and that you were made stronger. HUGS to you and your family!

  50. I just discovered your blog today (as linked from the Raising American Girls blog, by the way) and I have sat here and shared your tears, offered prayers of continued healing, and praised the Lord with you for the hope you share.

    My heart aches for you in Joy's death, along with your other two precious children awaiting you in Heaven. What beautiful living miracles God has blessed you with here on earth. Thank you for sharing your story and for this beautiful blog. I look forward to exploring your products as well.

    If you would ever like to share more of your testimony with my readers, I would love to let you tell about Joy at

    jenni saake
    Mommy to 3 on earth and 3 in Heaven
    author, Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss (NavPress, 2005)

  51. God bless you, and thank you for sharing your heart with us.