LAGRANGE — A former LaGrange First Baptist Church pastor and wife have turned a family ordeal into a message of hope.
Jim and Deanna Reynolds have authored Our Victorious Heart, a Journal of Grace, which recounts the difficult path through the short life of their daughter Nicole Grace.
Nicole was born June 10, 2004, with Mosaic Trisomy 18, a condition where most of her cells had three sets of the 18th chromosome, instead of the normal two. This led to heart defects, brain anomalies, and other serious issues. Nicole died in Nov. 28, 2004.
The devastating diagnosis was discovered in a pre-birth ultrasound, and confirmed within two weeks after Nicole was born.
The family posted on the World Wide Web almost daily prayer requests of Nicole’s status. The worldwide godly believers responded, and encouraged them, but surprisingly, many respondents said they were encouraged by the family.
“It was very humbling and awe-inspiring the way it impacted others, when all we did was send out prayer requests. We heard from (people in) countries we didn’t even know existed,” Deanna said.
Although it was bittersweet to compile email memories of eight years past into book form, the couple has found more blessings.
“Writing has helped me regain the faith that I had then,” Jim said.
“We relive the encouragement we got from all over the world. I still don’t understand why so many people across the world were captured by our story, but they were,” Deanna said.
They have fond memories for the LaGrange congregation Jim pastored almost 12 years. They gave him paid time off, and a deacon and his family cared for the other Reynolds children, Michael and JoyLinn.
“We couldn’t think of one person (of the LaGrange congregation) that didn’t do something,” Deanna said. “It exemplified what the church is supposed to be.”
Reynolds long envisioned being an author. He wrote on-line devotions. One reader of his posts was Teresa Ortiz, now editor-in-chief for RMS1437 Publishing, and charged with finding new talent. She called him to pen Nicole’s story. Jim immediately accepted.
“I look to the Scripture (in Isaiah 51) that says ‘look to the rock from which you were hewn.’ God shaped me for this,” Jim said.
“The book isn’t just for anyone who has lost a child, but for anyone who has gone through a trial,” Deanna said.
“The purpose of the book is based on 2 Corinthians 1, especially where it talks about God being the God of all comfort. This creates a heart of victory. Nicole means ‘Victorious Heart.’ There are things we can learn in trusting Him no matter what,” Jim said.
“To us, Nicole had a great purpose, and our goal, our prayers, are for every last measure of His purpose in using His story through her life,” Deanna said.
Our Victorious Heart is now available in print and through Amazon for Kindle and Barnes and Noble for Nook devices.
Reynolds now pastors Community Bible Church in Knoxville, Ill.
For more information about the book, or having them speak, contact the Reynolds at www.city-of-refuge.org or ourvictoriousheart.@gmail.com or 309-343-5154.