As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have a vested interest in research that sheds light on our emotions. One recent article spotlighted the feeling of ‘awe’. It is the least understood and most difficult to study of our feelings. ‘Awe’ happens when you know you have been in the Presence of something bigger than you. It floods us with oxytocin, which is the bonding hormone signaling us to move closer to others, to draw in to community.
Immediately, my mind shifts to August 3, 1978, when after 14 hours of labor, I was wheeled into an operating room for a C-section. Within minutes there was a robust cry and then our pediatrician brought a blonde beauty into my view. I was strapped down so he gently placed one of those tiny feet into my palm. That was it! That heel had been pressing into my ribs for weeks. Oh how I loved those beautiful feet! A moment of total awe!
Jennifer Laine Ross immediately was dubbed Daddy’s Princess and Mommy’s shadow. We were extremely young parents—both of us were 21. We grew up right beside her, learning how to love and how to fully embrace life as a family. With the addition of each of her brothers (Josh and Jonathan), Jenny was delighted to play baby-sitter and teacher. Nurturing was her gift!
From her youngest days, Jenny could sing like an absolute angel. The car was our favorite ‘studio’. If I close my eyes tightly, I can still hear her, at three-years-old, singing “Jesus is able to do anything. He’ll make you happy. He’ll make you sing.” Jenny’s gift intensified through the years. It was a rich source for her confidence. She used music to still her soul. Her choir teacher called it was perfect pitch; we called it sweet blessing. She absolutely radiated with music!
Soon after our 3 children grew into active teens, I vividly remember the day I found the perfect verse for this stage of life: Galatians 4:19 —
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains
of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…
Shortly after Jenny left for ACU, she called for advice—I had a strange stirring within in me. I begged God for wisdom and discernment as she was unfolding her story. I knew the time had come – the time to release my firstborn into His faithful arms. “Jenny, the Lord is going to guide you, not me, in the way you are to handle this moment. You delight your sweet self in Him and He will give you the desires of you heart—His Presence.” A few weeks later, I offered unsolicited advice to which my firstborn replied, “Mom, I am birthed.” Yes, Lord, thank You!
In July, 1998, David Shawn Bizaillion became part of our family! So precious to watch Jenny love on her man! Two years later, they were blessed with Malaya Laine, the absolute perfect gift for Jenny’s nurturing heart! My heart was captured by watching my daughter parent so beautifully. Malaya shares her mom’s gift of singing and her strong heart for the Lord Jesus. Because of her delight in Malaya, Jenny could not wait to grow her family! She and David wanted to fill a house with the pitter-patter of little feet.
We began to sense the struggle—secondary infertility. Jenny tried everything—pills which brought on raging hormones, surgeries, diets, shots, etc, – all covered with intense, desperate cries to the Lord. Our family joined her in the prayer and fasting. One Thanksgiving eve, Jenny called a family meeting. She loved to entertain in her sweet home but this night, she had more planned than a great meal. Jenny opened her Bible and read verses to us about finding her peace in the Lord. Then she said the most profound, life-changing, prophetic statement: “Mom, it’s like you taught us.” (I know it is weird but I taught my children to plan their own funeral—to choose their legacy—and with determined effort, live it out.) “When people walk by my casket, I do not want them to mutter – ‘there is that poor, infertile woman.’ I want people to pass by and say, ‘There is a woman who continued to praise the Lord even when she didn’t get her own way.'”
Oh how my eyes sting with tears recalling that scene! I do not believe that we serve a God who is the Author of infertility, sickness, or death. I do believe we serve a God who covers us thickly with His presence through the valley of the shadow of death. He sees what the evil one is throwing at us and, better the most loving of earthly fathers, He gently and boldly prepares us for the moment/season of darkness.
On Monday, February 1, 2010, Jenny was diagnosed with the flu and sent home with Tami-Flu. She did not get better. By Thursday, February 4, she was sick enough for David to take her to Baylor-Grapevine where she was placed in ICU immediately. Within 24 hours, we knew that she did not have the flu, but rather it was Group A Strep attacking her strong body and creating havoc. She was in Septic Shock and the medical staff began to speak in percentages of life and death. People, hundreds, gathered at the hospital to lock arms with us in begging God to breathe life into Jenny’s broken body.
Stacey and Paige Pearson, dear friends to David and Jenny, were some of those who stood strong beside us. The Gregg Pearson Foundation ministered to us in absolutely unspeakable ways, allowing us to fully focus on Jenny’s needs (again, part of God’s preparation for this battle).
We were forced to say good-bye to Jenny on February 22, 2010. Just as her birth was filled with awe, so was her death. (Wow! That pierces my soul to write!) The Presence of the Lord was thick. Through Jenny’s struggle with infertility, she frequently felt her life was void of purpose. I am trusting that she now can see the richness of her life—the way people have been and are being drawn into the Lord’s embrace because Jenny Ross Bizaillion lived a life sold-out to the King of all kings. Her testimony breathes life into hurting hearts. Her daughter’s faith, the depth of her desire for the Lord, is a product of a Mama who modeled it so well.
For her 31st birthday, her last birthday on earth, Jenny invited her closest family and friends to a ‘blessing’ party. She read a beautiful prayer over us and gave each person present individual words of blessing. She ended it like this:
I praise you God that you have blessed me with this specific cloud of witnesses!! I am so favored by you for giving me them! It makes me want to fall back into your arms and take this huge sigh to know when I die it is many of these girls that will greet me and be the forefront to your glory in Heaven and that maybe they will even be the ones to vocalize to me and step aside to reveal my Savior!! As they beautifully and angelically say, “Jenny, this is Jesus!” And for those that pass after me, it will be such great days in heaven to welcome them in and to give them some of their first heavenly hugs and kisses!
God, You are good. You are perfect. You are truth! You are the One we all claim to live and breathe for. Thank you for celebration!
I love you, Jesus!
Jenny’s life verse, the one we chose on her monument, is Romans 15:13.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, Lord, I am a woman who did not get my way, but I have chosen to follow my daughter’s footsteps—serving You and praising You no matter what.