The Hope of Resurrection
About the Guest
The time had come to let Molly go. Surrounded by family, Jake and Rebecca Mutz surrendered their newborn daughter to the arms of Jesus. Hear Jake and Rebecca, Dennis and Barbara Rainey, and Bill and Pam Mutz share their thoughts on the memorial service. Hear also, how Rebecca has processed her grief in the last five years.
Surrounded by family, Jake and Rebecca Mutz surrendered their newborn daughter to the arms of Jesus.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. Some of us have been at the bedside of a loved one, who is dying after a long life; and we are saying, “Goodbye,” knowing that unless God somehow supernaturally intervenes, this family member or this friend is going to pass from this life to the next.
Dennis: I did that with my mom, who lived to be 91. Even though you hate to say, “Goodbye;” you know there’s been a long, productive, fruitful life that’s been lived.
Bob: But it’s a very different experience when you’re at the bedside of a little baby girl, who is seven days old, and you expect that again, unless God intervenes supernaturally, you will say, “Goodbye,” to her on that particular day.
That’s what happened for your daughter, Rebecca, and your son-in-law, Jake, with their baby girl, Molly. We have been revisiting, this week, the events around Molly’s life and her death.
I had the opportunity to talk to Jacob and Rebecca—weeks after Molly’s home-going—to talk with you and with Barbara, and to talk with Jake’s parents, Bill and Pam Mutz—and to hear about the profound influence of the little girl you wound up referring to as Mighty Molly.
Dennis: Yes, Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven—a time to be born, and a time to die.” You just wouldn’t think it would happen with a baby, after only seven days.
Rebecca: Thursday morning, when I woke up, I saw the time it was on the clock—very early in the morning. Right away, the first thing I thought of is: “You have x amount of hours before Molly’s life is snatched away.”
Barbara: It was not looking good that morning. In fact, when we came Thursday morning, the nurse said, “She’s telling us it’s time to go.”
Rebecca: It’s like she knew that she had to hold on until Thursday.
Barbara: She was losing color in her face, and her hands were turning blue because she wasn’t getting the oxygen she needed.
Rebecca: I’m sure God just decided: “Okay, I’m going to give you until Thursday because this is the day you wanted. I’m going to give you this gift of having her until this day.”
Pam: It was just an interesting thought about how precious time is. There are times when we waste it so much because we think we have so much time; and yet, God tells us to number our days and to present to Him a heart of wisdom.
Barbara: Rebecca and Jake have made a very courageous selfless decision.
Jacob: Rebecca and I had talked. It was really important to me because of how proud I was, as Molly’s dad, to get to share her with other people. So, we decided to let each of the grandparents—each of our parents—hold Molly for a little while.
Rebecca: That was neat because we said Mom should go first. We said, “Okay, we’ll give them each ten minutes.” So, my mom held her first.
Barbara: I didn’t ask for it, and I was perfectly happy not, because I wanted them to have every minute with her. I mean, she was their baby, not mine; but we got to hold her on Thursday. It was just so, so sweet.
Pam: It was precious. It was precious because I knew the next time I’d see her she’d be able to see, run, hear, and talk.
Rebecca: And then, my Dad held her.
Dennis: Wow! [Emotion in voice] Another piece of my heart is going to have to break.
Barbara: And I think that really made me attached to her even more—just getting to hold her and kiss on her—and just have her be right there.
Bill: We were in the window of opportunity of being able to hold, in our arms, someone that God was going to soon hold in His.
Barbara: It was heartbreaking to hold her the first time, knowing that we wouldn’t see her alive again.
Bill: And when you have that foreknowledge, and you have the ability to recognize that transference is about to take place, it makes it a very, very holy place.
Jacob: We decided to take Molly off life support when it was the shift of one of the nurses that we had had before.
Pam: My daughter, who is a nurse, Lori, also had said to me, “Mom, how would you like to be the nurse that’s chosen to pull the tubes out?”
Rebecca: [Emotion in voice] And I replay her—the nurse—coming in. Sometimes, I think I should be angry at the nurse for—but I’m not mad at her—but it like all happened in slow motion.
She came in; and then, another doctor came in because she had to observe the whole thing. I just remember crying, and telling her I loved her, and telling Jesus to come get her quick.
Jake: It would have always felt too soon to take her off of life support. So, they finally unhooked all of the tubes and took her off of life support.
Rebecca: I don’t know when Jesus took her. I think it happened so fast.
Jake: We sat together on the couch—huddled all together, and prayed, and cried, and released her into Jesus’ arms. [Ticking clock]
Barbara: And then, the two of them decided that they wanted all of us back in there again.
Dennis: And that was when I saw Molly for the first time without the tubes. Wow! That was really tough.
Barbara: It was just another one of those moments—I walked in, and I saw her. I just said, “Oh, Molly!” because she was gone! [Emotion in voice] It was just so sad to see her little lifeless body, and to know that we wouldn’t have her, and just the reality of the death of someone that you’ve fallen in love with in just seven short days. It was so sad.
Dennis: She just was beautiful—just a beautiful little girl—and to think she was gone.
Barbara: And so we sat there. The four of us parents just kind of circled them, and Jacob was still holding her at this time. We just sat there and looked at her. Nobody really said anything because there wasn’t anything to say. He just continued to hold her.
Dennis: Jake stayed there with her, and he stayed for another hour. In fact, Bill had to go back in and say, “Jake, it’s time to put her down.” I think he was having a hard time letting go.
Bill: When Jacob left the hospital on Thursday evening, after everything was over—numbed of course, as you can understand, as he held Molly in his arms up to maybe an hour after she’d gone home to be with Jesus—his sister was in the lobby—Lori, who was the pediatric nurse.
Lori said to Jacob, “Do you know you did the right thing?” He said, “No, I don’t.” She grabbed the sides of his cheeks, and looked in his face, and said: “You look at me because you did exactly the right thing. You know you did the right thing, Jake. You did the only thing you could have done. Do you understand that?” He kept saying: “No, I don’t. I’m not sure I did the right thing.”
It was a great picture of a sibling that understands—that goes through having seen so many children in so many, many horrible situations—trying to get the attention of her brother and helping him recognize that they did the exact right thing for Molly—the thing that should have been done. They have had nothing but confirmation about that decision; but even leaving, he’s still wrestling with having done everything he could have done for his little girl. That’s what a good dad should do.
Dennis: I think the memorial service gave a chance to celebrate her life—talk about a little of what the message was of her life—and honor Jake and Rebecca for their choices and how they’d stood strong and trusted Christ. I think it gave a lot of busy people an oasis, in the midst of life, to kind of reflect on what’s important.
Bill: I think it was a bittersweet treat because we love our kids so much, and our kids know that we love them so much. It was a private family time.
Rebecca: The one thing I wanted to make sure—one song I wanted to make sure we sang is a song by Chris Rice called Untitled Hymn.
I wanted to make sure we sang that song because I’ve always liked that song anyway. I always thought this would be a great song to play at my funeral. I never thought I’d pick it out for my daughter’s funeral, but I wanted that song to be played for her.
[Song: Untitled Hymn in background]
Rebecca: They started the song. The whole service, I had wanted to get on my knees; but I hadn’t. I didn’t know why I hadn’t, but—so, I finally just got off my chair, and got on my knees. I just lifted my head to heaven and just listened to the words. I just thought of Molly being with Jesus. She wasn’t hurting anymore. She wasn’t in pain.
Before I knew it, our entire family had surrounded us because Jacob, at this point, had joined me on the floor. Our parents surrounded us and, then, our family. I remember looking around and just taking in that moment of seeing everybody weeping and in pain for us. I just loved that because it just pales in comparison to what heaven is going to be like.
There is the end of the song where it says, “With your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye.” I don’t know if I sang that to her when she was dying; but I just kept thinking: “She did. She kissed the world goodbye. She said, ‘I was here long enough and now I’m going to go.’”
[Song: Untitled Hymn]
Bill: The funeral was, by far, the most difficult for Jacob. It was hard for everybody, but it was—Jacob spent—because, again, this deep wrestling of: “Did I do everything I could have done? Did I stand in the gap, as a dad?”—that’s the wrestle.
Jacob: The graveside service just felt surreal—almost kind of like I was watching myself on TV—
Bill: At one point, he even cried and lay prostrate on the ground as he prayed because his heart was so broken.
Jacob: So, we were there. You know what you’re there for; but it just seemed like, “How can this really be?”
Dennis: Heavenly Father, thank You for the comfort of Your words.
Dennis: I had done one other funeral of a child—a five-year-old boy—
Dennis: Thank You for the Holy Spirit.
Dennis: —a couple of days before Christmas. I knew whose words, at a graveside, are the only ones that brought comfort and perspective—and that’s the Scriptures.
Dennis: Our hearts are broken. We want to be people of faith.
Dennis: The family was seated theater-style under an awning. In front of them was a little coffin that was just a bit bigger than an oversized shoe box.
Rebecca: I just sat in the first row, right in front of her casket. I just wanted to sit as close to her as I could. I thought about—I wanted to pick up her casket and hold it, but I didn’t.
Bill: Little baby coffins are so hard to look at because every part of you says, “Lord! Why?”
Dennis: They had a big pink balloon that was there, at the graveside, after the service was over.
Bill: We have added this tradition of sending balloons up after our children, who have gone to be with the Lord. So, Jacob and Becca had a balloon to write on.
Dennis: Jake and Rebecca took the balloon. Jake wrote—over half of it—he wrote this long note to Molly.
Bill: I remember Jacob starting his writing with, “I’m so glad to know you’re not in that stupid white box in front of me.”
Jacob: I felt very engaged then, as I was writing on that, and definitely not detached anymore. One of the things I just remember writing is that I was so glad she wasn’t in that stupid white box that was sitting in front of me, even though her body was there—that she’s in heaven—and that we have great hope in getting to see her again.
Rebecca: Jacob finished writing on the balloon. Then, I wrote on the balloon. Everybody had gotten up from their chairs, and had come close to stand near us, and read what we had written on the balloon. It was a really big pink balloon. So, we had plenty of room to write on it. Jake wrote on half, and I wrote on the other half.
Bill: Well, when this balloon was done, it was covered with writing—from top to bottom, left to right, in halves—that they had both written. Then, the two of them went outside. We sang, as a family; and then, they let the balloon go.
Jacob: I don’t know—there’s something about doing a physical thing like that—to my personality or to my temperament—to me—that made that really special.
Bill: And it was a spectacular picture as those balloons headed directly over Molly’s grave and went straight up against the vivid Colorado blue sky—and these pink balloons, with these long, shimmering ribbons hanging—of our transference from this place to eternity. I don’t think anybody there will ever forget that picture. It was a beautiful, beautiful sight.
[Song: Untitled Hymn]
Bob: Well, it is not an easy place to be; but as the song said, “God is there;” isn’t He?
Dennis: He is. You do see more clearly from the valley, but it hurts. I mean, it really does hurt to see a child that you love—two children, that you love—suffer so deeply and so profoundly.
And yet, if the gospel—if Jesus Christ has not risen from the dead—then, this is all despair—I mean, there is no hope beyond the grave.
But the greatest news that’s ever been announced is that: “You don’t have to live in your sin. He died for your sins, was raised on the third day, and offers you forgiveness and eternal life if we’ll turn to Him.” That really is the hope of heaven—that we’ll see God someday because of the finished work of Jesus Christ—if we will but place our faith in Him as our Savior and Master.
Bob: We have Rebecca here with us. Rebecca, we’ve been looking back at this event from five years ago, this week. I’m just curious.
How long did it take before Molly’s life and this event was not a daily focus for you—it wasn’t, right there, on the forefront of your mind every day?
Rebecca: I think it probably took almost two years. I mean, in those two years—the first year, as people say, in grief, is the hardest year. You don’t know what you’re doing. You’ve never done it before—assuming this is your first loss. Everything is different. Everything is an adjustment. It’s a new normal. I just look through a whole different lens now. It’s not on the forefront of my mind anymore, as much as it used to be; but it’s still there, and it’s been five years.
Bob: Last week, you’re at the cabin. You’re in the kitchen, and the song comes on Pandora®. Tell me about that.
Rebecca: Well, we were all outside, having a picnic outside by the pool. We were having hamburgers. I just had to come in and get some food for Rainey.
Untitled Hymn, by Chris Rice, comes on—which is the song we had played at her memorial service. I hear it often. I always think of her when I hear it, of course. I almost never cry anymore, which is interesting; but my dad was in the kitchen. We kind of looked at each other and made eye contact.
I’m standing there, stirring the grits. I’m not crying. I’m just standing there, thinking about the words and listening to it. He comes over, and he puts his arm around me. Just something about it—a daddy, and his daughter, and us standing there together—and he had his arm around me. I don’t know, I think I just decided it would be a great time to cry. So, I started crying. We stood there and listened to the whole song, standing there together.
My mom walked up and put her arms around me, too. The three of us just stood there. I was like, “Okay, just enjoy this moment—we’re there—acknowledging my grief.” I just soaked it up.
A lot of times, I kind of— it’s like I block my emotions out of it. I’m just like, “Yes, okay.” I really had this thought: “No, don’t hurry for the song to end. Just stand here and enjoy it.” I don’t get to stand with my parents and cry about Molly, ever. The last time we did that was probably at her memorial service, five years ago. So, that was really sweet and very significant.
Bob: I know that putting the events of Molly’s life together in a book—working together with your mom on that—I know that that was good for your heart. I know you’ve heard from people who have read the book and passed it on to others who have been in a similar situation.
We’re encouraging listeners, this week, “You can do the same thing.”
You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and get a copy of the book, A Symphony in the Dark by Rebecca Mutz and Barbara Rainey that shares Molly’s story. Maybe, there’s somebody you know that you’d like to give this book to. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Our toll-free number is 1-800-FL-TODAY if you’d like to order by phone. So, go to FamilyLIfeToday.com or call 1-800-358-6329 and ask for information on how to get a copy of the book.
Let me also mention that Rebecca and I are going to continue our conversation here. If you’d like to hear an extended conversation with Rebecca, we’ll have that online. You can download that at FamilyLifeToday.com. We also have Molly’s more complete story—about two-and-a-half hours of reflection around the life of Mighty Molly. Again, find all that, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or if you need anything, give us a call at 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Now, I know many of you are planning your holiday meal. Here, in the United States, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I know you’re making plans to have family or friends over for a Thanksgiving dinner or, else, to go to somebody else’s house. I know a number of you are going to be using the resource that Barbara Rainey developed called Untie Your Story, where the table place setting includes questions that enable a family to interact together.
This resource, called Untie Your Story, we have been making available, this month, to those of you who are able to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “I CARE”. Make an online donation, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. You can make a donation over the phone and ask for the Untie Your Story resource when you do. Or request the resource and mail a contribution to FamilyLife Today. Our mailing address is P O Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.
And let me encourage you to carve out a little time tomorrow—no pun intended—to join us as we’re going to consider together what the Psalmist meant when he said, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” We’ll hear from Dr. Duane Litfin tomorrow. I hope you can make that part of your Thanksgiving Day celebration.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
©Song: Untitled Hymn
Artist: Chris Rice
Album: Run the Earth—Watch the Sky, (p) 2003 Rocketown Records
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