Molly is 10 Today: She Changed Our Lives Forever

On that bright day in June, my sweet Rebecca said over and over, “I just can’t believe this is happening.” Rebecca’s childhood nickname was Joy for her contagious laugh, and on June 13, 2008, Rebecca and Jake experienced much joy bringing their firstborn into the world.

But those great expectations, high hopes and happiness at the moment of her birth turned quickly to pain, grief, and disbelief.

Molly entered our world as a full-term, perfectly-formed, 7-pound baby. But within minutes in Rebecca’s arms, she showed signs of heart failure. Hours later, she was air lifted to Denver Children’s Hospital, leaving behind her exhausted, heart broken mom and dad who had been awake all night laboring to bring her into the world. Shocked and bewildered aren’t strong enough words to describe the blur of emotions they felt.

At 10 p.m. Dennis and I arrived to find Rebecca trying to pump: her breasts aching for her babe, her eyes red from crying most of the day, her heart broken with the steady stream of confusing bad news delivered in doctor-speak.

My heart longed to scoop up my baby girl in my arms, grab her blankie, and literally fly away with her from this black hole of despair and pain. I could hardly bear to watch her suffer. David wrote these words for me, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6).


But my desire to rescue my Rebecca girl from this valley of the shadow of death, and the desperate prayers of thousands of friends around the world, could not change the truth that Molly was unable to live on her own. Together these two young parents made the most difficult decision possible, not to fight to extend her life but to let God take her Home.

Molly lived for seven days and what a treasure that week was for her parents, both sets of grandparents, and siblings who all flew in from around the country to meet Molly. We celebrated her first bath, put bows in her hair amidst the wires, got hand and foot prints inked on papers and on pages in our Bibles, and took hundreds and hundreds of photos. We all experienced the nearness of our God in an almost tangible way as never before.

One of our most cherished moments was on her last day of life, the day Rebecca and Jake had decided to take her off life support. They chose to let all four of us grandparents have a few minutes to hold Molly for our first and last time. Just typing these words takes me back to that moment and tears are filling my eyes.

I was first, followed by Jake’s parents Pam and then Bill. Dennis was last. As he cradled Molly gently in his arms Jake said, “Tell her a Speck story, Papa.” He had heard about these infamous stories from Rebecca. For all our kids growing up years, Dennis told them Speck stories, made-up adventures of tiny almost microscopic people. The story always ended with, “And you’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to hear the rest of the story.”

Dennis began his story for Molly.

“Once there was a Speck Papa and a Speck Granddaughter who went fishing one day together. They caught their tiny Speck fish and were going to eat their fish when they encountered something you will never believe … and you’ll have to wait … (he was crying and could hardly talk) until I join you… in Heaven … (everyone was sobbing now) to hear the rest of the story.”

Even the nurses cried through the short story, but one person didn’t. Rebecca was beaming with joy that her daddy was telling her baby girl a Speck story. Then she and Jake started laughing at the way Dennis blubbered the last line of the story and soon everyone was laughing uncontrollably together.

Suddenly Dennis looked up at Molly’s monitors, afraid his shaking with laughter was possibly stressing her system. Instead she was responding. Her oxygen rate, which hadn’t been above 80 all day, was now at 90! Still giggling the six of us turned our eyes to the monitor and watched the numbers climb to 92, then 93, 94, 95, then she it 98, 99 and for a brief second 100! We all cheered and clapped at the victory! The nurse said she’d never seen anything like it.

As Molly’s numbers started to fall and our laughter subsided, Rebecca said, “I think God was showing us He could heal her if He wanted to. But it was not His purpose for her or for us.”

Today is Molly’s 10th birthday. It’s hard to believe. Sometimes it even seems this week never happened. But it did and our lives continue to be forever changed by little Miss Molly Ann. Rebecca wrote a lot in her journal in those days after Molly went Home and I did too. Together she and I wrote a book about Molly’s story called A Symphony in the Dark, which was published on her first birthday.

Because this is a milestone birthday we are going to have a big party for her on Saturday to remember her life and all the wonders God did that week. We have much to celebrate because God is always good. And in His great kindness he has given Rebecca and Jake five more living children; twins Piper and Lily who are eight, Rainey who is five, Zeke who is four, and baby Annie who is 18 months.

Next week we will share a post with more about Molly’s homegoing on Tuesday June 19  and the joys that await all of us one day in Heaven. More photos of that day, quotes from Rebecca’s journal and mine, the truth that sustained us all, plus an amazing story of a little girl who knows what happens when babies and children die. You won’t want to miss it.


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21 thoughts on “Molly is 10 Today: She Changed Our Lives Forever”

  1. Barbara,
    Thank you for writing this story of heartache, God’ sovereignty, His provision in the midst of this tragedy, loss, and journey of grief. My husband and I lost a sweet baby girl 5 years ago on 6/18/13. She was such a gift from God and brought more lessons in life and love than I ever imagined. Cora Faith was an amazing gift and I look forward to meeting her in heaven. She helped me to see what an incredible gift each child is. I am so thankful for this lesson before we brought home Charlotte and Piper. I also learned total reliance on God before starting the long journey of parenthood. Your wisdom and grace through Family Life Today and this Blog have filled my heart and I am so thankful for you and your husband’s obedience to God’s calling.
    Thank you,
    Becky Gray

  2. this was a sad but beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. I also lost my son, Leo just recently. I delivered him still birth at 35 weeks. We knew at 19 weeks that he had a severe heart defect and were given the option to end the pregnancy. With God’s guidance, we decided to continue because it was his life to chose not ours. It is always inspirrational and helps heal to heal others stories and know that you are not alone. I look forard to reading your book and send along my love

  3. Tears all over again. Thank you for ever being brave, confident, faith-filled … and transparent. Time goes by and it gets easier to say “Take me to where the people I love live now”–Heaven’s population increases and anticipation of it for us who remain grows so intense. Much love to you all who cheer us to look upward.

  4. Hi Barbara! Thank you so much for sharing about Molly. As you have mentioned having a grandchild that passed away – I have wondered what happened. This July will be 14 years since my precious little Heidi went home to be with Jesus. She too had a rare heart defect. She had open heart surgery at two months old, but only lived for two weeks afterward. I have never questioned my faith more than in the days following her death. However, I also know that I never would have survived without the Lord holding me through it all.

  5. This was powerful.
    My firstborn, a son, turns 10 this month too.
    This was a reminder to treasure him as a gift from God.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. My heart is overwhelmed. I understand all the emotions. My sweet girl, Morgan Elizabeth, would be 14 August 27. We welcomed her and released her to God that same day. Thank you for sharing. It is wonderful to celebrate the impact they had on so many in their short but precious lives. Thank you!

  7. What an amazing testimony…such sadness and happiness all rolled together-i could not even begin to understand that kind of pain & joy, I could barely get through reading this-it wrecked my heart, when baby Molly’s heart rate started increasing oh how I hoped she would make it through. BUT God is sooo so amazing in all the things that happen in our lives amidst the chaos and loss, no matter the situation or how it plays out, His infallible peace is there to clothe & comfort us-I’ve come to know this, there is nothing like it…priceless peace straight from the throne of an Almighty King! His ways are not our ways, and our only hope is that “we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God”!

    1. Amen! I too can not imagine this! But by God’s grace we take a deep breath? And thank Hod for the moments we had…

  8. Thank you for sharing the details of Molly’s life and your famil’s love. How the TRUTH of GODS PRESENCE and COMFORT has shined through this otherwise sad and tragic earthly death! But oh what joy you share with believers who know without a doubt she is perfectly whole, in heaven, with JESUS, waiting to one day join with her family in praise to our SOVEREIGN LORD! Thank you for sharing with us!

  9. Oh how I have wept through this story! What a sad but blessed time. We lost a baby girl at only 21 weeks gestation…a stillbirth that forever changes our lives. What a blessing to have met and held your dear Molly. May God continue to heal your hearts as you celebrate the life He gave and took away. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I cried through the whole story! I’m a newlywed woman, looking forward to having children of my own soon – but this is my greatest nightmare… It’s comforting to see the end of the story, and see that even if it does happen, you can move on. We just need to remember to trust God in all things, that he’ll take care of it, and he’s got a plan. (Jer. 29:11) Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story!!

  11. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years!! Her story continues to amaze me, not only how you and Dennis walked this journey, but Rebecca and Jake as well. God will indeed continue to use her life to reach many.

  12. I have the book you wrote on Molly’s precious life, “A Symphony in the Dark”. This quote still ministers to me, “And dying is but getting dressed for God, our graves are merely doorways cut in sod.” I first read it when I stayed at Burnt Fork Ranch, in Montana. I discovered it on their bookshelf. With that book you’re broken hearts showed each one of us how to walk that difficult path. It reminds me of a quote by Billy Graham, “All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die.” Your journey with Molly did not take years but you showed each one of us what that short and painful path looks like for a believer trusting and hanging onto God’s promises, thank you.

  13. What an amazing Speck story and Rebecca’s response to Molly’s heart rate inspires me. Thank you so much for sharing this my friend…

  14. What a beautiful testimony to God and His unending Love. Molly was a blessing in so many ways and continues to bless those that read her story of her life! Happy Heavenly Birthday, Sweet Molly!!!

  15. May I ask what her heart condition was? I’m a pediatric RN, seen several people go through various issues at birth, making various choices in level of care and seeing various outcomes. She looks good in the pictures, considering all that must have been wrong.
    Thank you

    1. Barbara Rainey

      Hi Cindy, thanks for asking! After ten years I don’t remember all the details so this explanation may not be perfectly correct but here’s what I remember. She had an enlarged Vein of Galen (10X the size it should’ve been) that ultimately caused her heart to be enlarged due to the extra work supplying the blood to the brain. She was so beautiful and looked perfect from the outside and without going into too much detail, the doctors essentially said they could operate multiple times to try to save her and she could die on the operating table or they could enjoy their time with her. The chances of her living through the surgery/surgeries were very low. It was a devastating and difficult decision for them and all of us. Thanks again for asking!

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