Thursday, March 26, 2009


Quick aside: We made it to New York! It was a long train ride, but that's a whole other post. Suffice to say we survived. =) If you want to enter Eli & Seth's Profound Pictures Prize Package, please make sure and do it by noon on Saturday, March 28th!


I sit here, watching my two oldest kids sleep, wondering how they have survived mostly unscathed in this world. It’s funny, because if you would have asked me two years ago, I would have told you that most kids turn out just fine, it’s just that we always hear about the sad, scary cases because it’s like a car wreck…you can’t look away. As long as it’s happening to other people, it can’t happen to you…it’s against the laws of averages, right?

But now, looking at them, realizing how na├»ve and shallow I was, how immature in my faith, I know better. Most kids aren’t fine, and most parents aren’t lucky. Not one of us is righteous…no, not one. We are all saved by the grace of God and it is his will that forms our lives. Whether our kids our outwardly healthy or not, it is up to us to make sure their souls are healthy. That is the most important, maybe even the only part that matters.

Ava and Jace aren’t healthy because John and I are lucky or blessed. They are healthy because God wants them to be healthy. Seth and Eli were not born unhealthy because John and I are unlucky or cursed. There is no reason that I can understand that Jace was born just about as early as Seth and had absolutely no lasting complications, while Seth has many. No reason I can think of to explain why in the work Eli died just moments after I felt him kicking, perhaps even while I was buying donuts to ingratiate myself to the nurses in the hospital. No reason I can think of that Stellan is sitting in the hospital, his fate unknown as of yet.

I can’t think of the reasons because they are not earthly reasons. They are not earthly decisions. But make no mistake…just because we don’t understand them does not mean that God doesn’t understand them either. In fact, I firmly believe that He does understand each and everything that happens on earth, good and bad, and I’ll go one step further. I believe that He can and does grieve with us even as he is allowing something bad to happen to us.

I can’t tell you how much I want to be laying here right now, cuddling my almost two year old son, planning a birthday party for him on Saturday, running my fingers through his black curls and kissing his chubby cheeks. Instead I am trying to convey to a computer screen what it feels like to miss someone more than you can ever express while still being intensely proud of their life and what they are doing in the larger scheme of things.

Eli’s life has touched people, brought them to Christ, taught them to be thankful for what they have and showed them how to slow down and appreciate their loved ones. Just by living and dying he has saved other babies from being stillborn, just by arming their mothers’ with the knowledge that they are their baby’s very best advocate. He has saved babies who could have died in a car accident, improperly restrained, if they had not come to me for help. They could not have come to me if Eli had lived…I became a Child Passenger Safety Technician as a legacy to him. If he had lived, he would have been a normal little boy, rolling in the dirt and misbehaving, making an impact on our lives, sure, but not on the world in any huge way.

But now, he has touched so many…I am so proud to call him my son. Grateful to have been able to carry him for the time I had him, thankful that I got to know him in those months, that I had all the complications I did so that I could see him, alive, on the ultrasound screen.

I’ve said before I begged God to give him back, as I was in labor. I begged him to make the doctor, the ultrasound tech, my own brain wrong, to make Eli take a breath.

He didn’t. My answer was no.

At 25 years of age, I held a beautiful boy in my arms and no matter how much I wished it weren’t so, he was dead.

But did that make him any less of a miracle? No. His long fingers and toes, his soft, curly hair, his impossibly long eyelashes…there is no one in the world who can convince me that God doesn’t have a hand in all of that. No way that he was knit together so painstakingly for no purpose at all.

Today, I don’t have him to hold. Today, it is harder for me to remember exactly how he felt and what he looked like. But I still see the miracle of his existence every day.

I see it when his sister never ever lets an opportunity to share his story pass her by. She is learning to be a natural evangelist before she can ever learn about the negative connotations of the word.

I see it when his brother prays at night and tells God he is upset that Eli is not living in our house. He is learning it is ok to be upset as long as we take it to God instead of keeping it from him.

I see it when I open emails from moms who felt alone until they read his story, moms who also lost babies, who have no one who wants to talk about it, no one they can be real with. No one to talk to when they don’t get over it as fast as everyone things they should. If nothing else, they can be real with me. I understand real.

I miss him. I wish he were here. But I am beginning to see there were bigger things in store for him, things he couldn’t accomplish waiting around down here with us. I still wish we had gotten to keep him longer, but I wouldn’t trade the time we had with him for the world.

I want to raise children with healthy souls who strive to be Christlike in every way. That is the point. That is THE point. Eli is not only refining my soul, John’s soul, and the souls of people he encounters. He is refining my other children’s souls, and I hope that they will be more empathetic, sensitive, caring people because of him.


Kandis said...

Wow!! What an amazing post and what an amazing testimony to your precious little boy!! May you feel God's arms around you as you celebrate his birthday on Saturday and always!!

the schros said...

I've only commented once before- I know part of the reason you keep this blog is because of the comments- the "other side" of cyberspace conversation. El- as a mom, you have touched me deeply. I truly pray that if God has grief in store for me I will be able to glorify him & lift His name up. As you have done. You are a testimony to me. You have allowed Jesus to glorify The Father by living in you, through you. You will say it is only by grace that any glory comes to the Father through your life, your experience, your grief; and I agree. But God still honors those whom he pours his grace over & thanks on my part--yes, maybe in just a small way--is still deserved. Thank you El. Thank you for doing what you were designed to do. Thank you for loving Jesus. Thank you for proclaiming his name. You are a blessing.

Chelsea said...

You are so right on the knit together part. God doesn't waste anything- he would not have formed every tiny, beautiful detail of your sweet Eli if there hadn't been a purpose. He could have chosen to take him home much sooner, or much later, but every aspect was for a reason. And even though we'll get glimpses of those reasons, I expect when you reach heaven and see the vastness of how he touched lives, it will be stunning. And make God's Great Plan oh so clear. Even though I know this about God forming each of us with a purpose- thanks for the reminder. It's nice to hear it put a way that the pictures that form in my head are so clear.

Fiauna said...

So beautifully said. Thank you for sharing.

Joy said...

another beautiful post, El.

I must tell you.. I have a number of atheist friends. And during Robbie's NICU stay and subsequent issues, several of them have made comments like "well, this atheist is going to pray."
Or "I made a promise to go to church so I need to go iron a skirt." and those comments spoke so loudly to me.
When I wanted to shout to the heavens WHY ME.. those words comforted me.
God does work through every thing. It's truly amazing.

Mommy3 said...

What an inspiring post! I see Eli in heaven dancing on the clouds with his birthday balloons! :) And he is so proud of his mama and family down on earth.

Sonya said...

Beautiful post. I have to say that I haven't been following your blog very long but I have read Eli's story as well as Seth's and they both have touched my heart and my life. Thank you for sharing your story and being so honest and real.
I too want to raise my daughter to have a healthy soul and for her to strive to be Christlike.

Melissa G said...

Wow, praising God that you have a Heavenly Perspective.
Your little Eli has just touched another life... mine.

Happy Heavenly Birthday precious Eli. Wow, what a celebration they must have in heaven!!

God bless you and thank you for sharing your story so beautifully.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your beautiful post! I'm thinking and praying for your family at this time. I know Eli is smiling down you all- so so proud of all you've done in His name.

Furry Bottoms said...

Left a surprise for you on my blog. Come and see! :-)

Laura said...

I totally understand what you are saying about the effect Eli's life has had on others. I have much the same story with regards to Kyle - because of him, myself, and a few others, have also become CPST's and then there is the work of the foundation and just those parents who decided that because of Kyle, they would continue to harness their child, or continue to rear-face their child etc.

Hugs to you now and esp tomorrow!

Madison Sanders said...

I'm glad you posted this because it will help you to be able to put your feelings down on paper.

I'm still praying for you.

amanda said...

beautifully written. i love how it wasn't scripted or anything, but straight from the heart, exactally where it should come. thanks for sharing a part of it with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

aww.. i wish u didnt have the ache of missing ur eli.. I wish no one ever to had to go thru what u have.. but i am definately one of the people affected by him. Your blog was one of the first i read and i cried for several nights in a row laying in bed thinking about how u must feel. I then started going to church again, and even more importantly, started appreciating my children more. a lot more!! Eli and El.. thats who changed my life and brought me closer to God.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post! I couldn't agree with you more. And I am amazed thru your strength thru everything. God is good!

Emily said...

Amazing post. Everything is with God's all perfect plan and we cling to that and the knowledge that we will be praising Him together for all eternity.

Sassy said...

El, you and Eli both have been such huge blessings. Your faith is an inspiration to many. Your honesty is refreshing, and you have been an incredible witness to the God that we serve. Thank you! Thank you for your honesty during such a difficult time and thank you for sharing your family with us! We love you!

God Bless,

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful tribute to Eli. Thank you for sharing him with us. I will be praying for your family as you enjoy this vacation together, and I hope we will be able to meet "in real life" someday soon! Blessings-
Laura from FL

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