Myla June Kimsey was born on January 2, 2010. By all accounts she was a perfectly beautiful little girl, and God was going to use her life in a powerful way. She would strengthen faith and win hearts. It didn’t take much. Myla’s story is short, but her impact is far-reaching.
Shortly after Myla was born, doctors discovered she had developed an infection in her lungs. She was transferred first to a hospital with a NICU and shortly after airlifted to a hospital with specialist in dealing with her illness. Her parents, Drew and Crysta, were assured the whole time that she was going to be fine, told they would have their little girl home in a week or two.
As Drew and Crysta were getting settled in at the new hospital, doctors came in and told them Myla was deteriorating and would need surgery. They signed the forms and waited. Some time later a teary-eyed doctor came in and gave them the worst news any parent can get. Little Myla, just one day old, had died in surgery.
To hear her dad tell her story now is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Drew grew up in church and was surrounded by Christian friends his entire life. He knew the truth of the gospel and had always thought his faith was strong—but it had never really been tested.
Drew simply had no way to process what was happening. When he got the news that his baby daughter was gone, he passed out. Drew and Crysta had been married for just over nine months. They were young and had conceived on their honeymoon. Myla was not part of their original plan. Crysta left school to focus on her pregnancy and prepare to raise a family.
Myla had already changed so much about their lives; it didn’t make sense for her to be gone so quickly. How could this be the perfect plan of a God who’s good? If God really did have plans to prosper them, as Jeremiah 29:11 claims, then how could this road possibly lead there?
You can call what Drew did next a result of his upbringing or an indication of remarkable faith, but Drew simply feels like it was his only choice. In desperation he turned to the Bible. “I had never been put on my face so hard that all I could do was crawl to the Bible,” he explained.
Years before, Drew heard a local pastor deliver a message that compared Satan to a scarecrow, with power only in illusion and fear. The pastor emphasized that God has plans to prosper us, and all Satan can do is try to scare us away from the abundant fields God has planted.
The message stuck with Drew. As he began to be involved in youth ministry and preaching, he developed and presented his own sermon based on the scarecrow analogy. As Drew dealt with the passing of his daughter, he found those sermon notes in his Bible and felt like a hypocrite. How could he have told others that Satan was only a scarecrow? It was clear to him now that Satan was a monster with real power, capable of very real damage.
As Drew dealt with those feelings in preparation for Myla’s funeral, God moved in his life and spoke into the grief. Drew recalls, “I began to realize, well, it was God speaking into my life. And he said, ‘You think this is real? Final? Do you not know that I have conquered death? I have conquered death for your daughter, and she will live with me for eternity.’ My God is so big death itself is a scarecrow. I don’t have to fear it.” It was that message that Drew delivered at Myla’s funeral.
“He will be strong in your weakness”
Drew felt a supernatural strength during those difficult times. “As I stood there next to my daughter’s grave, I felt a strength that was unlike anything I had ever felt in my life. When I talk to people now who are going through tough times I can say with certainty—not because it’s in the Bible and I believe the Bible—but because I felt it. I can say that if you turn to God and trust him, he will be strong in your weakness. He will give you strength.”
Drew finds comfort in knowing Myla is with her Savior and Creator. “I can rejoice that my daughter is in heaven forever. She is better taken care of now than I could ever have taken care of her here. I have to bear the pain of losing her, but she is in perfect hands. I can rejoice that God has conquered death for her.”
The pain of losing a loved one never fully goes away. It is there like a shadow over everything you do. The scarecrow loves to remind us of our loss, to show us others with whole families, to make us feel cheated. It’s a struggle to stay continually focused on the victory that Jesus won on the cross. The little things knock the wind out of you. Every Halloween, Drew thinks about what Myla would have dressed up as or what candy she would have preferred. The what ifs can be overwhelming. A picture of a lost loved one shows up on Facebook or a little girl laughs at the playground, and you’re on your knees in that hospital waiting room all over again.
Even in the joys of life, the loss can be overpowering. When Drew and Crysta were pregnant with their son, Colton, every visit to the doctor made Drew feel like he was going to vomit. It could be difficult to believe this story would be different than the last.
In those moments it is what you choose to remember that matters—that love is, indeed, greater than fear. Drew says, “I have to re-remember it all the time. Satan will try to remind you of what you lost. When I think about Jesus going to the cross to conquer death for my daughter, I realize how good God is, and it makes me want to be the crazy guy in the worship service. I just can’t help but worship a God who would do that.”
Drew believes that even though his daughter was only here for a little while, she has a powerful testimony. Her story is important and powerful. Her story has brought glory to the name of the God who conquered death to be with her. “I love for God to get credit for what Satan tried to use.”