Of Thorns in Roses: The Story of Willa


“If we’re hopeful it’s because things will someday be made right, and all things sad will come untrue,
and darkness will be swallowed up in light, and joy will run rampant and all will be well.”
– BJ Brawner


 When faced with heartbreaking loss, how do you respond?

I think the answer reveals something about who we are: what we are made of, how we see the world, where we find our strength. In the case of Sara and BJ, who lost their baby before she was born, it is clear that they draw their strength from Someone other than themselves. I, along with many others, watched as they navigated the unknown terrain of grief with honesty, tenderness, and hope. After they became pregnant, the three of us thought it would be special to make a little birth film telling the story about the pregnancy and birth and all the attending excitement and happiness. Having filmed their wedding several years ago and subsequently becoming friends with them, it seemed like a natural next step. So I was especially shocked and saddened to hear that Willa had died at 34 weeks. After the funeral, the three of us decided that we would still make a film, but it would be a different story – still Willa’s story, but we would explore what it means to have  hopeful expectation met with stinging disappointment. Fifteen months after her birth Willa’s story, as told through her amazing parents, is here to provide you some inspiration. Again, in the words of BJ:

“We want to be the sorta folks who get their hopes up. We want to feel the weight of this world in its entirety, in its beauty as well as its brokenness. We want to laugh from our bellies and weep from our souls. And we can do that because our hope and our peace and our happiness is not here—not in our babies (nor in each other, nor in our house, nor in good food, nor in travel…). These are all good things that, although marred with brokenness, serve as signposts that point us back to the King and his Kingdom. We live in Advent for all that it’s worth, waiting for the Christmas feast when all will be made right.”

Willa Rose

You can follow BJ on Instagram here and Sara here, and me here.
  • jess cudzilo

    July 29, 2015 at 9:13 pm Reply

    easily one of the most beauitful and well-created stories I’ve ever seen told via video. well done. and thank you. thank you.

  • ashley

    July 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm Reply

    bittersweet and honest and so very beautiful
    thank you for sharing their intimate story

  • Abby Price

    July 30, 2015 at 6:37 pm Reply

    Absolutely beautiful. As a mother to 6 lost little lives, watching this was extremely emotional, but such a blessing to see a strong couple become even closer in the midst of devastation when so many are torn apart. The understanding those two show to each other is gorgeous. I pray that it continues for them throughout the rest of their journey thru parenthood.

  • Cindy Belcher

    July 31, 2015 at 4:14 pm Reply

    Beautiful. You are a wonderful young couple and your testimony to God and hope and life is astounding.

Post a Comment