Scott and Kori were happily married. Both had careers after earning three college degrees between them and were ambitious and hard-working young adults. They wanted children but decided to wait a few years to get their careers on track. They then decided to take the plunge into parenthood. The day was joyous beyond words as they gave the news to their family, “We’re pregnant!” Both came from large and close-knit families that united as one big, happy family when they married. The pair launched into preparations as all young Moms and Dads “in waiting” do. And they were having so much fun!
One day Kori felt something different about the baby. To make certain, their doctor had them see a specialist. They where shocked to hear the news that their baby had a chromosomal disorder — “Turners Syndrome.” And babies with that seldom survive. Imagine the horror of having your baby with a certain death sentence living — at least for now — in your body. Still, they prayed, hoping for a miracle. But the inevitable happened: one day the baby quit moving. The fear for their baby in an instant became their reality.
Kori gave birth to Emerson who was stillborn. Those years of waiting, planning, and creating the perfect scenario for their first baby just melted into their tears, anguish, and unspeakable pain. It seemed the pair were living in a fog while preparations were made for Emerson’s funeral. It was a graveside close-family funeral. Driving up to that gravesite and seeing that tiny white coffin and knowing it held the first daughter and the first grandchild is unexplainable. But it happened. That single moment galvanized the most devastating loss a mother and father can ever feel: the loss of a child.
In the days that followed, Scott and Kori took a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona just to refresh and reset their hearts and minds. They in the past year of their lives had lived through the joy of a first pregnancy, the excitement of knowing they’re having a daughter only to have death steal all of it away. They needed to recoup. And they did. Little did they know that trip would initiate a newness in their lives they had never imagined. As fate would have it, a trip to the Fashion Mall in Scottsdale started the pair on a trek down life’s road that changed them forever.
A close pastor friend and his wife happened to be in Scottsdale at the same time. And at the very moment that pastor and his wife were at the Mall, Kori and Scott ran into them while shopping.
The pastor had just completed a sermon-series at his church titled “The Providence of God.” He pulled Scott to the side and said, “We can’t always find answers for bad things that happen to us. Sometimes bad things just happen to good people.” He then told Scott this: “If you and Kori will resist the temptation to shake your fists in God’s face in anger, He will pay you back. God promised that.”
Those words rocked the pair. They were doing their best to find a way to walk through the darkness of their devastation and to move-on with their lives. Those words rang true to them — they’re both hard workers and positive believers. They decided to not just “give it a whirl,” but to “give it their best.” And so they did, looking for that God “payback.”
It wasn’t but several months of believing God’s promise to “repay evil with good” while resisting the natural blame folks most often put on God, they found out they were once again pregnant! A second baby was on its way. But it was even better: THEY WERE PREGNANT WITH TWINS!
August 29, 2005 — the day Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans — in a Louisiana town 300 miles from the Big Easy, Earth saw Grace and Emmaline Shurley arrive. You can imagine the glee for the entire extended family when the pair of beautiful babies moved into the Shurley home with Mom and Dad. Scott and Kori were more than excited…and thankful.
In this picture are Grace and Emmaline fourteen years later. They are amazing young women, wonderful students, friends, cousins, granddaughters and Christians who have already set their worlds on fire.
Kori is the best Mom one could imagine. She has a very successful career in architectural design, owns her own company and is continuously in great demand. Scott owns his own company as well — a medical services company that has clients all over America.
But all of this goodness sprang from one little thing: a seed. For a moment, let’s go back a bit. Do you remember the story of Noah and his ark in the Bible? God became so upset with men because he could find only Noah and his family that were God-fearing. He told Noah to build an ark, to get two of every kind of animal, and get on that ark. God then sent rain that lasted for forty days and destroyed every human except Noah and his family members.
When that flood was over, God promised Noah that as long as the Earth existed there would never again be such a flood. Further, God said (In Genesis 8) “As long as Earth exists, men will always have Winter and Summer, Hot and Cold, Nightime and Daytime, and there will always be “reap and sow.”
We can all understand those first promises, but that last one: Hmmm… What does “reap and sow” mean? That means that everything people throughout time have and will plant in the ground, those people will always see results directly from their planted seed. In other words, when one plants peach seeds, peaches grow.
To that end, Scott and Kori purposely did just that. They planted their just anger and rage for losing their baby in such a horrible way in God’s promise. They decided to just trust God and test what He promised. The reaping they were allowed to receive provided not one, but two healthy baby girls! Though as heart-wrenching as it was to see their firstborn not live, Emmaline and Grace have taken the sting of death away and shown their parents every day that living in expectation instead of living in grief and despair is much more valuable and provides much more good for them and their family than any anger could have.
I miss Emerson. I was there that day when we buried their little girl and our granddaughter. I cannot imagine the pain and heartache this cost our baby girl and her husband. But we too knew what they learned in that mall in Scottsdale: “The Best is Yet to Come.”
Oh, and as a P.S. to this story, Kori a few years later discovered breast cancer. Rather than panic, she and Scott pulled together to tackle one more major life problem — their second. Even though the odds of a second such devastation happening were minuscule, they had no choice but to accept the challenge and go to war again. And in war one more time, they triumphed.
July 17, 2017, I told their story here at TruthNewsNetwork. Some of you may remember that. But today is even more special. Last Friday, Kori celebrated being 10 years cancer-free!