i have been wanting to write you a letter for awhile now. however, i know for sure that my words will never be adequate to express what you mean to me. i can only hope that when you were welcomed into heaven, the Lord showed you the depth of our love for you and what your life has meant to us and to others.
when your daddy and i first learned of our pregnancy with you, we were so excited. our lives were going to change because of this wonderful blessing. little did we know!
i made your sister, kate, a shirt that said, "i'm going to be a big sister!" and she wore it to break the exciting news to your grandparents. everyone loved you from the moment they knew you were to be. we wondered what you would be like, if you would be a boy or girl? would you have blond hair and blue eyes like your sister? were you going to have more of mommy's or daddy's personality? we began planning for you, and dreaming about your future. from the very beginning of your life, we knew that you were chosen for our family and we couldn't wait to meet you.
at only 17 weeks old, the story of your life changed drastically in just one day. as we watched you on the ultrasound screen dancing, kicking, and so full of life, they explained to us that something was wrong and you would probably die. the road before us had suddenly forked and there was a decision of great magnitude and consequence to be made about which road to travel. one road was very wide and smooth but led to death, and the other was very narrow and rocky, but led to life.
sweet baby, please know that there never really was a choice. we knew the decision whether you lived or died did not belong to us.
we came to terms with the realization that the story of your life would be different and shorter than most. in our quest for understanding, we put away the pregnancy and baby books and began studying the scriptures. in our acceptance, the Lord showed us that His plans were no less greater for you.
dear jonathan, do you know your life has made a difference in this world?
did you know that from the moment we told others about your diagnosis, family, friends, and even strangers were on their knees praying for you? did you know that our friends and family told their friends and families, and therefore a huge prayer chain was created just for you? did you know that this blog, which was only intended to be a simple vehicle to keep family and friends updated on our situation, has been read by over 65,000 different people? did you know that through the generous donations of goods and money from those you have never met, children in need from our local area and all the way in africa will be helped and provided for because of your life?
did you know that people have told us that their lives, their faith was changed because of your life story? did you know that people have told us that they made the decision to continue their pregnancies even though they too had a fatal diagnosis, because of your life? did you know that complete strangers have told us how they look forward to meeting you one day in heaven? did you know that because of your life, family bonds were made stronger and deep friendships were forged? did you know that the significance of your life has touched even young children, who prayed for you, drew pictures of you for us, who came to your funeral by choice, who have talked to you at your gravesite, and who have told me how "cute" you were?
dear jonathan, one of the best days of my life was the day you were born.
five minutes old here
we could not have known that this day would be so wonderful, as we walked into the hospital with both fear and excited anticipation of your arrival. i will never forget the moment when you were born and we learned you were alive! i will never forget seeing you for the first time and thinking how perfect you were. and i will never, never forget the indescribable feeling of being in the Lord's presence when He took you home. your hospital room became a sanctuary that night.
dear jonathan, there was so much rejoicing when you were born. when our doctor went to inform our family and friends that you were here and you were alive, a celebratory cheer of praise and thankfulness echoed down the hospital hall. when they weighed you and we learned you were 4 pounds, 3 ounces, we also cheered for you because at only 32 weeks old and expected to be small, it was a major achievement! you were so determined to make it, weren't you? but the greatest gift to us and indeed a miracle, was that the Lord blessed us with 40 minutes with you. forty minutes was 39 minutes above and beyond what we had petitioned of God. we rejoiced in every minute we had with you. and while that time was brief, we do not forget that we had 32 weeks and 4 days with you as well, which we will always treasure.
dear jonathan, do you know that you have changed my life?
before you came, i was OK with my comfortable life, my comfortable identity, and my comfortable walk with the Lord. and i was OK with not changing a single thing about it. because of your life and the journey we went on together, my faith has been transformed from barely adequate to unshakeable. my perspective no longer flounders in this world but has become established on the eternal. they said you were too sick to survive, but because of your "sickness", you have brought great healing into my life. they called your condition "incompatible with life", but you showed me how beautiful life really is.
because of you, i have learned how to truly love unconditionally. to trust unconditionally. to believe and to hope unconditionally. i have learned through your life that God's promises are always true and His will is always best. i have learned that it's not about me nor my plans for my life, it's about Him and His plans, for His glory. and jonathan, i do believe i can justifiably say that your life did indeed bring Him glory. not because of anything we did, but because of everything He did. sometimes during our journey, i felt as if i was just a front-row spectator watching your life take on incredible meaning and purpose. how blessed are you that God would choose you for such a mission. and how blessed are we that we witnessed it first-hand.
there is just so much to tell you, so much good that has come of your life that i cannot begin to describe here. perhaps you know all this better than we do, and even more. you, sweet jonathan, have an amazing legacy. your life is a miracle. we are so proud to have been chosen to be a part of this miracle. and there will never be a day that you are not a part of us, a part of our family.
we love you and miss you so much. we look forward to the day we get to hold you once again.