Though Joey Feek passed away in March of this year, she has continued to impact millions through the inspiring stories shared by her husband, Rory.
He keeps her memory alive through beautifully chronicling snippets of their life story on his blog This Life I Live, or what he refers to as “scenes from one man’s extraordinary, ordinary life.”
On a pre-Christmas post written on December 20, Rory gave us all a raw and real picture of the obedient woman of God Joey truly was. He opened with an honest confession that Joey never really wanted to have a baby:
She didn’t want to have a baby. She told me so. Dozens of times. In 14 years of marriage, it was literally the only thing that we ever really argued about. Not that I wanted to have a baby so much…but that she refused to even think about it. My wife, Joey ,was a Believer and gave God everything…her hopes, her dreams…everything, except her greatest fear.
Though Joey was a strong woman of faith, she struggled with fears and doubts just like the rest of us. We all have that one thing that is extra hard to surrender to God. For her, a baby was that one thing:
She trusted Him completely in every area of her life, except that one. For lots of reasons. Having a baby would of course be painful. And it was a commitment, not just for nine months or a few years when they’re young…but for a lifetime. And having a child would ultimately get in the way of her goals, of her music and her dreams. And so Joey wouldn’t consider it. Not even talk about.
But Joey refused to allow her own fear of having a child to thwart God’s plan for her life. She wasn’t ready to take the leap, but she did it anyway.
One day in the summer of 2013, Joey unexpectedly came up to Rory and said, “I’m ready.”
“Ready for what?” he asked.
She simply replied:
“Ready to trust Him.”
Though the implied meaning may appear broad, Rory knew EXACTLY what she was talking about.
“So…you wanna have a baby?” he asked.
Her reply to that struck him even harder:
“No, I don’t. But more than what I want, I want what God wants.”
I can’t keep even the smallest part of my hands and my heart closed to Him any longer…not after all He’s done for us…for me. He’s allowed all my hopes and wishes to come true, beyond my wildest dreams. And He’s given me the gift of our wonderful marriage and love…so I wanna trust Him. I need to trust Him.
And so, she did.
About 18 months later, their precious little Indiana was born.
And that baby became the beaming bundle of joy in Joey’s life in a way she never could have imagined:
From the very first moment my wife held Indy in her arms, she was never the same. It was Joey’s first real glimpse of what unconditional love felt like. She knew in that instant what life was truly all about. She didn’t care that Indiana had almond eyes and a single-line across the palms of her hands. And that she was going to grow up with some difficulties that most children don’t have. All she knew was that she had been given a gift. The greatest of all gifts. And from that moment on, the woman who was scared to death of being a mother wanted to be nothing else but a mother.
Even up to Joey’s last days, Indy was the light of her mama’s life. As cancer weakened her body and inflicted a pain “morphine just couldn’t seem to touch,” the sparkle in Joey’s eye remained every time she came face to face with her baby girl.
“A baby changes everything,” wrote Rory.
As he packed up his truck after Joey died to head back to Tennessee, Rory admitted that he felt the weight of the cruel world crashing down on his own faith:
Though my faith is strong…as I drove down I-65 in the snow that evening just south of Indianapolis… I knew that on my own, I might’ve pulled over on the shoulder and curled up into the fetal position. Or even worse, pulled the steering wheel hard left into oncoming traffic.
But one glance back at Indy gave him the ray of hope he needed to press forward after losing the love of his life:
But instead, on that drive home that night…I just kept looking in the rear-view mirror, saying, “thank you, God…thank you.” Strapped in a car seat, smiling back at me as she played with her doll, I saw incredible hope and a future and a lifetime of love that I wouldn’t have been able to see on my own.
Yes, a baby changes everything…
Like all of us, Joey had a category of her life that she struggled to surrender to God; but like only true warriors of faith, she chose to say “no” to her own will and carnal understanding in order to fulfill His larger purpose.
And oh, what a beautiful thing it was.
Photo: This Life I Life
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Rory admitted that this “farmhouse Christmas” was going to be harder than the rest, but the pretty little pig-tailed legacy Joey left behind replaced that sting in his heart with a smile.
It’s going to be hard to be there without Joey. To gather around the Christmas tree in the house she grew up in and exchange gifts and celebrate this special holiday without her. But it’s also going to be beautiful. I know it will. Because Joey will be there…in our hearts…and in our minds. And especially in the unbridled joy and smile of our little one.
Truly, a baby changes everything…