When God Speaks: Olive’s Story

It’s the most vile of circumstances, to bury your baby. Yet there are so many parents who walk that road. So many.

Since losing Harlynn, I’ve met and befriended several fellow bereaved parents. There’s a solidarity among bereaved parents. An unspoken bond that separates us from the rest of the world, and joins us together in a new one.

Nate and Lindsay are two of our dearest friends. We wouldn’t have crossed paths were it not for our similar situations. We both lost our daughters.

At Lindsay’s 20 week ultrasound, it was discovered their baby girl, Dayton Elizabeth, was “incompatible with life”. Dayton had Limb Body Wall Complex (LBWC). After Dayton’s diagnosis, Lindsay and I began communicating. November 14, 2013, she was born, living only briefly before passing to heaven. It wasn’t until Dayton’s funeral Lindsay and I met in person.

Since then, their family has become an invaluable part of ours. Their son, Noah, is a few months younger than Little Miss. Their difference in age is no obstacle in their friendship, however. Those two are ridiculously excited to spend time with one another, and it’s adorable and precious watching them play. They both have a younger sister in heaven. And now, they both have a younger sibling who’s here – healthy and alive. They, too, have an unspeakable bond.

Olive

Baby Olive is Noah’s little sister who was born just this February. When I got the message baby Olive had been named, I was just drifting off to snooze. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the name Olive, but I wasn’t going to spend time figuring it out, because I was tired and wanted to fall asleep. I wasn’t supposed to nap just then, however.

As I closed my eyes and tried to get comfortable, I felt like God was sitting down in front of my face, asking me not to go to sleep yet. He had something to tell me, and I needed to hear it. He gave me a stirring in my heart, and I was very much awake. Through communicating in a way only God can, He impressed the importance of this baby’s name upon me. I was stunned. I had to tell Nate and Lindsay. I had to tell them what God had revealed to me about their baby girl’s name.

Val & Baby Olive, and Lindsay & Little Man.
Val & Baby Olive, and Lindsay & Little Man.

Their son, Noah, has a significant name. Noah was one of God’s favored, and God had big plans for him. He built an ark and saved creation for heaven’s sake. He’s kind of a big deal in the old testament. He was obedient to God, following His will, and a man after the very heart of serving his Lord. God saved him from the savagest of storms. He still had to endure the storm – absolutely – but he lived through it.

When the ark finally settled and the rain had stopped, Noah sent a dove out of the ark. It came back empty-beaked. The next time Noah sent the dove, it brought back an olive branch. The third time, the dove found a place to nest and didn’t return.

An olive branch. Brought by a dove. Do you see the significance here? A dove – the universal sign of peace. An olive branch. A sign of hope. New life. Promise. That branch was the significant beginning of a new season of the Lord’s promise of renewal and restoration of life. Baby Olive is that branch extended to the hearts of Nate, Lindsay, and Noah.

10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. (Genesis 8)

Noah is an incredible kid, and I know he will grow up very attuned to the voice of God. I know he has big shoes to fill. And Olive – she is a beautiful baby who brings beautiful promise to her family.

When I told Nate and Lindsay what God had laid on my heart, they couldn’t believe it. They had agonized over what to name her, and the story of Noah and the ark never crossed their mind. It’s more than just a story, though. It’s a fulfilled purpose. There is no accident in the names of their children. God knew. He knew Olive’s name before her parents did. He knew Dayton’s name. He knew Noah’s.

I hate how I know Nate and Lindsay. I hate the reason they were brought into our lives. I hate we share that thread. But I love them dearly, as my own brother and sister, and I can’t imagine my life without them. The fact that God would speak so prophetically through me – as I was about to take a Sunday snooze – blows me away. But the fact that the message was for and because of a family so very dear to me, makes it all the more special.

There is no detail that does not pass through His hands first. He is the God of miracles. He is the God of life. Even when death leaves us with its intense sting, God is still the God of life.

I, for one, am thrilled to be able to watch the lives of Noah and Olive unfold. Their story is just beginning. I can tell it’s going to be a good one.