WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas family is helping others find hope by reaching out to strangers experiencing a test of faith. The Davis family, of Whitehouse, created the Lamby Ministry as a way to honor the memory of their granddaughter who died from health complications in 2012.
Almost immediately after her birth in 2008, Haven Grace Davis experienced an irregular heartbeat. That eventually led to other concerns, including non-compaction, nerve issues, and requiring a feeding tube.
While each day with Haven was a blessing, her mother, Lacy, says they never stopped praying for healing.
"What we can say is God is sovereign and God is faithful. And that is the answer for intense suffering in our life. No matter what, God is sovereign and God is faithful," Lacy said in a 2010 interview.
The Davis' turned to Facebook, enlisting spiritual support from thousands of strangers around the world. Brandon, a pastor for a Tyler church, soon found a personal peace that prepared him for whatever came next.
"And ever since then it has been that way. its been praying really hard but then kind of walking in total peace right through the middle of a storm that hasn't stopped since the day she was born," he said in 2009.
Three years later, they say God's plan for Haven was revealed. Brenda Davis was by her granddaughter's side during her final hours.
"'(I said) you're going to get to go home pretty soon and when you do, guess what?' I said, 'Jesus is going to be there waiting for you.' and she just, her little eyes got really big and she went (breathes in). Just like that was just what she wanted to hear, you know, or that it just gave her a sense of peace, even though she was in a lot of pain."
Her little heart had apparently given all the love it could muster.
"We've hurt to the core. I mean, there is nothing on this planet that will hurt you more than watching your little three-and-a-half year old precious baby girl leave this world. Death is an ugly thing. It's an ugly thing, but it was a beautiful thing when we realized she wasn't there. She was in the arms of Jesus," Brenda said.
For their family, it took this great loss to begin seeing the world differently. Brenda says life began to slow down with a new awareness.
"It's just all about loving people. And realizing that they may have a smile on their face and they may look like everything is fine. but deep down, they may be hurting. and you have to be open to comfort them at a time when they need it."
Brenda has poured herself into helping others. As a memorial, they arranged to send a box of Haven's favorite stuffed toy to Children's Hospital in Dallas.
"I put it on Facebook and I mean, it just bombarded into people saying, 'Please send one to my little nephew or my niece, or a friend of mine's little girl.'"
Families are now connecting through the Lamby Ministry on the 'Praying For Haven Grace' Facebook page. Requests are fulfilled with a plush lamb doll shipped from the Davis home in Whitehouse. Each one is carefully stitched with a reminder of a precious life. Then a special message is slipped around the lamb's arm.
"It's a personalized prayer card where we talk to the child and let them know that this lamb is representing God's love for them and that we hope that the little lamb brings them comfort and peace, just like Jesus did to us."
In the last four years, hundreds of lambs have been mailed across the country. Many families respond by posting meaningful testimonials on their Facebook page.
"It's something you can hug and hold and think Jesus is here. Christ is with me. you know, because you have that little memory embedded in it."
Haven's legacy is one of love and healing grace through the power of prayer.
"Through her suffering, she was able to love and care more for other people than she did for other people. And it's living on. It hasn't died."
Brenda says she will continue the Lamby Ministry until God leads her down another path.