Right before we lost Sarah Jane, God kept saying to me, “I make all things new.” So I started to garden and plant beautiful flowers.
One day, I was reading the blog of a family friend, Deby Dearman, who had turned to painting when she lost her ability to sing. Deby had started a new painting series and was blogging about it. When I read, ‘Beautiful gifts can only blossom in the darkness . . . thus this collection of moonflowers,’ I started crying. Just the week before, a friend had brought me moonflowers to plant with the same message.
I contacted Deby to see if she would like to sell some of her paintings in our store in Chicago and use the profits from the sales to purchase artwork for people who have suffered a loss in their life. Deby loved the idea.
The next day, wanting to show my husband some of Deby’s work, I went to her website. Prior to this, I had only looked at a few of her paintings. I scrolled to see the rest of them and was immediately brought to tears by a painting titled “The Path of Innocence.”
My uncontrollable sobbing caused my husband to immediately jump up and come over to see what was causing such a reaction. I said, “It’s Sarah Jane! It’s our daughter!” The connection was instant.
You see, you have to know some back-story to understand how significant the story of this painting is to us. When Sarah Jane died, the doctors called the time of death after 35 minutes of trying to resuscitate her.
I had turned to my husband and said, “I just know that my grandmother was the first person to scoop her up when she got there.” I had such certainty and peace about that. Seconds later, her heart started back on its own, and we celebrated, thinking we had her back.
Life Flight was called to take her by helicopter to a children’s hospital in downtown Chicago. While waiting for the helicopter, I was on my knees praying, and I asked God to please show me that she was going to be okay. About one minute into that prayer, God gave me a vision of her. She was wearing a white sleeveless dress, had her head tilted back laughing and was spinning in this beautiful field.
I thought He was showing Sarah Jane to me in the future and that she was going to be fine. When they went to stabilize her to move her to the helicopter, we lost her all over again.
I was so angry with God and questioned Him as to why He had let her heart start again, and why did He give me that vision of her. What did it mean?
When I saw Deby’s painting, I knew why He had let her come back. Had that not happened, I would have never prayed that prayer and never had that vision. I finally understood that the vision hadn’t been Sarah Jane in the future but of her in Heaven.
The little girl in the painting is in the same white sleeveless dress that my Sarah Jane was wearing in the vision. The woman in the painting is wearing a blue dress and my grandmother only wore blue. They are holding hands. God had given me a picture of what had taken place.
In my head I knew that my daughter was safe in Heaven, but in my mother’s heart I had still been struggling with her being away from me. As foolish as it sounds, knowing how wonderful Heaven is, I had repeatedly asked God to let me know that Sarah Jane was happy and safe. God answered me in a way that only He could.
About a week later, I came home to a box on my porch. When I opened the box, there sat the very painting. I burst into tears and called my husband, assuming he had bought the painting. He hadn’t. After a few minutes, I pulled myself together and found a card in the box from Deby. I had never said a word to Deby or to anyone, except for my husband, about this painting.
Deby sent it as a gift from herself. But I know it was a gift from God.