It’s been quite a year.
We miss her everyday.
We still cry everyday.
But this year also holds a testimony. A testimony of strange joy. Joy that won’t be outdone by this world’s greatest pain. A testimony of comfort. Comfort from the One who knows what its like to watch a child die. A testimony of faithfulness. Faithfulness that holds us even when we feel like we can’t hold on. A testimony of hope. Hope with scarred hands who holds out a future with no tears or sorrow, a future shared with our daughter.
Last year on September 28th, God gave us living words in Psalm 27:6. “And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.” So fitting this verse because it even contains our daughter’s name: Aria Joy – “melody of joy”. We knew this would be the only way to make it… to continue in song. We knew this would be one of the best ways to honor our daughter… to leave a legacy of song in the earth. We knew this would hold our victory… Boy, does the Enemy hate it when you sing through your sorrow.
So today we are sharing the first song we wrote after Aria’s homegoing: Hold Me Still. This song reiterates the fact that Jesus is the Lord over all things, both sorrow and joy. In Him all things find purpose and are made beautiful. It declares His faithfulness. He does not sleep or slumber. He sees all and is with us in all things, our Emmanuel. Though our hearts and flesh may fail, God is the strength of our lives. It is a great thing to hold fast to God. It is a greater thing still to be held by a God who never lets go. He has held us and He holds us still.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank YOU for holding us as well. This year we have witnessed the amazing power of the Body of Christ like never before. You have held us right alongside our Heavenly Father. Every gift, every meal, every kindness, every remembrance, every card, every text, every call, every tear, every prayer has not gone unnoticed. THANK YOU so much for walking this journey with us, for loving us, for lifting us up.
So while we miss our Aria Joy terribly, we have much for which to be thankful: family and friends who have been a constant source of support, love, encouragement and help; a new baby boy who is helping our family to “advance in praise;”* three boys who bring so much life and joy and fun; a best friend (and spouse) to walk through life’s ups and downs with; and a God who has never left us or forsaken us, who is true to His word, who has conquered Death and the Grave and allowed us the privilege of sharing eternity with our daughter, who Holds Us Still.
Jon and Kelley
*Judah Wade means “advancing in praise”