This is the story of our precious baby boy, who was diagnosed prenatally at
17 weeks with a fatal chromosome disorder called Trisomy 13. Although
Jonathan's condition is considered "not compatible with life", we desired to give
him every chance at life. Our prayer is that those who are touched by our story
are drawn to God, who is Life Himself. John 14:6

To start at the beginning of our story, click here.


what He knows

it seems that sometimes in life, trials and devastation causing suffering are not solitary events.  they tend to come in the company of each other, don't they?  this has been the case for us lately, as a couple other lesser struggles and disappointments have come about in recent months following jonathan's life and death.  we've questioned God's reasoning.  we've questioned God's timing.  we've questioned decisions we've made after praying and feeling led in one direction that now seem wrong.  we've been stressed and confused.  and we're tired. 

little did i know there was a big lesson for me in one of these recent trials.

we have two female cats, a black and white one and a fluffy gray one.  we found the black and white cat on the side of the road when she was just five weeks old, apparently tossed from a car.  i spotted her peeking up through the grass from across a busy highway, while we were driving 45 mph.  therefore, greg thinks i planted her there so that we could happen upon her and keep her.  (i didn't.)  we bottle-fed her and raised her as the only parents she's known, basically.  the other cat was given to us by a friend when she was just a kitten, about two years later.  one cat is really sweet and friendly, and acts more like a dog.  the other cat is just plain mean sometimes, with a real wild streak. now, which one do you think is the mean one?  yep, the one we rescued as an orphan and now lives like a queen.  but i digress.

lounging in the bathtub

well, as if it wasn't bad enough to lose our baby boy, just three weeks after burying jonathan we almost lost our (nice) cat to an undiagnosed condition.  we didn't think the emotional distress or timing could get much worse.

one day we noticed she was really lethargic and not eating.  the next day we were in the vet's office listening to him tell us she was barely alive and that she might need a blood transfusion.  needless to say, we weren't about to bury anyone or anything else.  for the next several weeks, the treatments that followed for this cat were pretty much torture for her.  she was poked, prodded, stuck with countless needles, and she slept in strange places with barking dogs.  we held her down and shoved medicine down her throat every couple of hours, which had its own set of unpleasant side effects.  and just when things were looking better, she suffered a pulmonary embolism.  that was the night we said goodbye to her, because we thought for sure the vet was going to put her down.  and we didn't know how much more we could take of it.

the cat was suffering.  on top of it all, she was probably deeply distressed by the treatments she surely perceived as torture that her "parents" were putting her through.  she couldn't understand that what we were doing was for her good, that we were trying to save her life.  she didn't know what we knew.

our cat seems to have fully recovered since then, thank goodness.  but gosh, we sure complained loudly to God about the added emotional and financial stress and the timing of the whole mess.  i didn't know there was a lesson in that experience specifically for me until i came to a section in the book "if God is Good" by randy alcorn, where he shares the story of a three-year-old boy who had ingested some kind of poison.  on the way to the hospital, the boy's father continuously slapped the child to keep him awake so that the child would not fall asleep and die.  the poor boy did not understand why his father was hitting him like this.  the child was suffering not only from the poison he had ingested, but because he was perceiving his father's slaps as cruel.  of course he could not understand that his father only did it for the boy's own good, to save his life.  the child didn't know what his father knew.

and then there's the story of a certain family i know very well *ahem* who seemed to have it pretty good.  they're what you might consider a typical "good christian family", blessed by a good marriage, good jobs, an adorable baby girl, a nice house, and good friends.  life was very...good.  and then one day they learned that their new baby-on-the-way was diagnosed with a fatal condition.  in just a single moment, life was turned upside down.  suffering began immediately and stretched out before them like a long, desolate road.  their baby died shortly after being born, their lives forever scarred by such a loss.  what good could come from that?  what good God would allow something like that to happen? 

the Father, whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours, did allow it to happen.   perhaps in His sovereignty, He planned it to happen, knowing full well the suffering that would fall on this family.  but perhaps He determined the suffering they experienced (and still experience) was for good; necessary to save their lives, to save someone else's life, whether spiritually or otherwise.  and while they can certainly see plenty of the good that came from their suffering, they can't begin to fully know what the Father knows. 

but what we do know is:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  ~Jeremiah 29:11

"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." ~Psalm 100:5

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." ~Romans 8:28

the lesson i've learned is that knowing Him means knowing that He is good, whether in times of blessing or in times of suffering.  knowing He is good means we don't have to question what He knows. 

i'm praying that knowing Him is enough for me.


  1. True about trials often following one after another. William Gurnall, a Puritan, wrote in regard to the shield of faith, that Satan's arrows often come in rapid succession. "Yea, if one tempta­tion speeds not [does not overcome us], how soon can he [Satan] send another after it! — as quick as the nimblest archer. No sooner than one arrow is delivered, but he hath another on the string."
    Thankfully God supplies us with armour of divine making to repel whatever the enemy sends our way.

  2. Trying for a THIRD time to comment (totally getting a new computer!) but I want to make sure you know your words are so encouraging! Thank you!

  3. What an amazing post---that I can totally relate to. Since losing Hannah in September we have been suffering some sort of snowball effect of tragedy rolling at us (including a dog with kidney stones and surgery a week after we lost her) and making and facing decisions we thought were right and now....let's just say I understand where you are coming from. Let's just say I DON'T understand where He is---but I am GLAD He does. And God is good. ALL of the time.

    xxx Katy

  4. Awesome post! I completely understand! I too am so glad that God knows so much more than I do, and I am so thankful for his perfect plan for us. Every day is hard, but knowing that God is in control, makes every step easier. Love that book too....I read it during the last part of my pregnancy, and it was a great source of encouragement for us. We are reading his book on Heaven now!