Julia Brink’s firstborn son didn’t live past his birth day. But in his hours-long, short life, he did amazing things. 

Including saving his mom’s life. 

The Wild Years

Born and raised in Owego, New York, Julia moved to Patuxent River, Maryland, when she was 18 — still just a teenager. And teenagers are known to make some poor decisions from time to time. Julia’s choices were greatly influenced by her two vices: alcohol and an eating disorder. But when a third vice showed up in the form of a boyfriend, well, that’s where this story really begins.

New boyfriend’s decision-making skills weren’t much better than 19-year-old Julia’s, and she said the two of them focused almost entirely on partying. But when they got into some serious trouble involving alcohol, they both decided it was time to stop.

She and her boyfriend got involved in a church she said was full of love, grace and forgiveness. But there was still a long road ahead. 

“They eased us into health,” Julia said. “However, I still could not break my issues with the eating disorder.” 

After spending four years battling it without success, Julia asked the ladies at her church to pray with her. 

“… I prayed that God do whatever He needed to do to help me stop because I could not do it on my own,” Julia said. 

And God DID give her someone to help — Julia found out she was pregnant.

A Surprise Answer

The positive pregnancy test was a surprise to her because Julia had been using birth control. Then came another surprise, this one the answer to her prayer.

“I heard what I swear was God say to me, ‘You are pregnant with a boy, and he will do great things,’ ” Julia said. 

She was both terrified and ecstatic at the same time. That’s not uncommon for a new mother-to-be, but what’s most amazing about this part of Julia’s story is what happened next. 

“My issues with the eating disorder were immediately and permanently removed,” Julia said. “Because it was not about me anymore, I never again struggled with those issues.”

God, through her unborn baby, had cured Julia. 

A Short But Great Life

Julia’s baby grew, and she faithfully kept prenatal appointments. Then some blood work results indicated she needed to see a specialist in Baltimore. Young and happily unconcerned, Julia kept the appointment and got two pieces of news. The first came with excitement: She was having a boy! The second came with grief Julia called shattering. 

“Your baby has terminal birth defects and will die,” the specialist said, giving them words no mother or father ever wants to hear. 

“We went home, and I cried and prayed and realized that God’s words to me were true,” Julia said. “This is a boy, and he has and will continue to do great things …”

The couple had the weekend to process the news and talk about scheduling an appointment for an abortion. They had a decision to make, but for Julia, there was no question. 

“… I cannot terminate the pregnancy. This was God’s plan,” she remembered.

News of his arrival had already ended her eating disorder; Julia knew she couldn’t end his life. The great things God had promised her son would accomplish were not over.

As she carried the baby to full term, Julia encountered God on the regular. 

“Nearly every second of my days I spent seeking God for comfort, and His faithfulness was unparalleled, despite all my bad life choices and many unchristian characteristics,” Julia said. 

Her grief-filled pregnancy led her to a friendship with a God who hadn’t judged her for her mistakes. He wanted only to love her, be with her and give her peace. 

“When I arrived at the hospital … the fear hit me. But soon after it was replaced by that peace that transcends all understanding. I knew my baby would die but that God had a plan and that God was good.”

Julia’s firstborn son only lived a few hours after his birth, but somehow, Julia had peace. The friendship she found in God during her pregnancy built her trust in Him and His plan. 

“That baby did do great things,” Julia said. “I can honestly say he saved my life and allowed me the opportunity and desire to meet my God every day. Amidst the suffering was the most illogical peace, joy and comfort. During this time my eyes were first opened to God’s profound faithfulness and love.”

The Rest of the Story 

Julia and her son’s father had married during the pregnancy, but they didn’t have much money. So Julia worked two jobs and studied for an associate degree at the College of Southern Maryland. It was certainly a busy time, but the busyness occupied Julia’s mind through some intense emotions. 

Two years later, they had another son, Joseph. Not long after, the marriage dissolved amicably, and Julia became a single mom at 23.

Undeterred by a dizzying schedule and long work hours, Julia found a job at Pepsi through a friend from church. She continued her education and earned a bachelor of science in accounting from the University of Phoenix while working over 60 hours a week and graduated in 2010. 

She wasn’t finished with education, though, and went on to pursue a master of science in International Management at the University of Maryland. She graduated in 2015. Julia now works at a government contracting firm in Huntsville, Alabama. 

Bad Decisions, Good Life

Despite some mistakes and heartaches, Julia has experienced great joys. In 2013, she married David, a medically retired Navy veteran, Julia and David live in Huntsville with a yours-mine-and-ours-type family. Their blended families include three of his, one of hers and two of theirs for a grand total of six!

Julia’s story may have started out with some poor decisions, but the good thing about stories is they often don’t end up where they started. 

And sometimes the smallest characters make the biggest impact.