Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jonathan's Story

In the Fall of 2012, not a year after Jael joined our family, we were advocating for parents to step forward for a little boy named Sasha (on a popular advocating site).  I had done this for two children before him, but this little boy's need seemed desperate.  He was wasted.  He was beautiful.


I yelled from my figurative mountain top.  My oldest daughter, at Church camp, cried as they asked for prayers for Sasha.  She knew his situation was dire.

No one stepped forward.  Everything was silent and all we heard were crickets.

Have you ever heard that phrase, "If you point your finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you."  (Usually they say "four", but my thumb is...well...a thumb and if it pointed back at me when I'm pointing my'd be VERY awkward.)

We didn't see the fingers pointing back at us.  Wondering started though.  Questioning had begun, "Is this OUR son God?"

It was a big step after we had just added to our family three times in two years.  So Thomas and I prayed, and talked.....

...and God gave me a name...Jonathan.  This little boy we were advocating for...his name wasn't Sasha...but Jonathan.  That had never before happened while advocating.

During this intense time, we had an opportunity....our first night away...IN YEARS.  

The quiet was deafening.  No, I mean really...we had eight children and were in a hotel alone.  It was DEAFENING.  Nothing profound there...

We were going to a local adoption conference. 

At this point our hearts were broken for Jonathan, but there was a war going on inside us.  I'm not going to start being dishonest here.  It was rough.

The quiet woke me up in the wee hours.  There were no animal sounds, no "MOMMY!".  I picked up my phone, in the silence of the night, and saw (through blurry eyes) the verse of the day.  Jesus was talking to Thomas.

"Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” John 20:29

My heart sighed, but I could barely stay awake.  I snuggled back into bed with my husband.  (My husband who happens to be named Thomas.)  I proceeded to forget completely what my verse of the day was.  My husband doesn't get the same one, so this one was just for me.

We dragged our bodies out of bed in the morning, our eyes still crusty (now THAT is a beautiful picture) from sleep.  Free breakfast though, WORTH IT!  (I mean it's FREE! Really?!!!)

At breakfast we talked more about Jonathan.  God had been talking to me and I knew.  I knew Jonathan was our son.  He was silent to Thomas though.  Silent until this morning....

It was through pancakes my husband looked at me and said, "Honey, it's like that verse where Jesus told Thomas, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' "

Wait...WHAT?  I had tears fill my eyes (my husband probably thinking I was nuts) and my phone flew out of my purse.  Instant recall...

When I showed him my verse of the day I felt like we were both on holy ground.  My husband's eyes filled (though I'm sure he would say it was "allergies"). 

THAT is the millisecond in time that we both knew Jonathan was our son.

As we shared privately with friends and family, we had never had so much resistance.  A field day was being had by the master of lies.  I don't think there was an instance in our lives we had ever felt more alone.  It was necessary though.  We learned more through this time of following God, than years could teach us.  Following God is not always easy or pain free, but it's ALWAYS right.

I don't share this to guilt anyone.  Our friends and family surround us with love.  It was a hard (and blessed) knowledge that took US a couple of months to get to.  This was big.

It was during this time I wrote this post.

"The Alternative"

We knew the announcement may be met with adversity and we prayerfully hoped.

On December 10th, 2012 we announced our adoption of Jonathan.

"The Big News~Our Christmas Blessing"  

We learned he was in an adult mental institution in a rural village.  The phrase "Lost Boys" was coined for these children/men.  Only two had exited the green gates of the institution before him.  Yet, Jonathan was in a laying room.  Few survived....

Though our kids celebrated, the prayer for his survival was on the lips of even our youngest child.  For the first time, our family knew Jonathan might not make it.  We knew even the trip home might be dangerous.

We had met with a conference room full of doctors, who were setting a plan in motion to care for our son.

Over the next couple of months, we fell in full on love.  Not "falling in love" with a child we did not know, but God gave us something beyond that.  He gave us a son.  Whatever happened at that point, NOTHING would change that.

God prepared our hearts for more though...learning more...stretching more.  Within weeks God had given me a dream (more than that really)....

"I held him in my arms.  I could feel the feather weight of his body.  I could feel the sharp angles of his bones through his skin.  His body was all sharp angles...starving...but he is our son.  I can still feel the weight laying on my chest.  I wasn't just holding him in a dream."

...and my husband  had a vision of Jonathan.  In the middle of the day everything else faded and this is what he saw. It lasted mere seconds. 
"An adult Jonathan, facing away from me, turned...smiled...and said, 'Thanks Dad...'"

God prepared us.

On March 13th, year ago...this was an excerpt of our post.

"Our Jonathan is in the Arms of God"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Our Jonathan is in the Arms of God

This morning, our early riser ran to me telling me that the phone was ringing and it was Reece's Rainbow.

It was a call that no parent ever wants to receive.  I barely remember what was said.

Jonathan is gone from this earth.

It's a knowledge that no one wants to share with their husband...a sobbing no one wants to hear... as their children break down when they realize their brother is gone. 

It's a statement no one wants to hear when they tell their toddlers that Jonathan is with Jesus. "But mommy...I want him here!"

It's a embrace no one wants to and your husband clinging to each other afraid to let go.

My heart feels like it's bleeding.  It is shattered.  I don't remember such pain.

We remember though....GOD IS SOVEREIGN.  GOD IS ON HIS THRONE.

This morning we joined hands and thanked God for taking our Jonathan.  We want him here.  We very selfishly want to be the ones holding him.  My arms physically ache...a piece of me is missing.  We cling to God though...with a tenacity we didn't know we had.
The pain does not dissipate.  The loss hasn't gone away.  We had a memorial service for Jonathan
  ("Jonathan's Candlelight Memorial" ) and life has continued.  Today marks one year after the day we found out Jonathan was with Jesus.  We are sad, yet will still celebrate.  He is where we want to be.  We thank God for the opportunity to love Jonathan into Heaven.  These words I wrote for Jonathan's Memorial Service still hold true.
"His body’s whole, he stands with honor. 
Jonathan is not just our child, but first and foremost God’s child.
A body bent on this earth
Now bows at the feet of our Savior.
 He runs and never gets tired
through meadows and streets of gold.
He feels a love we could only give at a distance...
So distinctly, in such realness as we could never imagine.
I’m a little jealous.  I’m jealous of my son who gets to stand with my Savior.  I’m jealous of my Savior who holds our son.  I’m so thankful that Jesus loves him more than we can wrap our human brains around.  Heaven…with God…is where Jonathan is supposed to be. 

Because he joined God, he may not lay in our arms, but he doesn’t have to go for years and years of often painful therapy and hospital stays, no frail bones, or pain in moving.  He doesn’t have to fear or struggle to make himself understood.  He is not trapped inside a body that doesn’t have the perfection of Heaven. 
He is free.  Free to walk with our Savior…free to laugh (oh how I long to hear him laugh)…free to love with abandon, knowing he’s forever protected by God….
Jonathan, sweetheart, your mommy and daddy love you.  Your family here adores you.  Help Jesus prepare a place for us, son.  We’re slow, but we’re coming….."


For those of you who are new to our blog.  Know God continues and continued to bless us. 
Benjamin's Story ("Our Newest Son~Announcement")....Jonathan's brother... starts at this point.  You can find all the posts leading to Jonathan under the label "Journey to Jonathan" at the bottom of this blog.

We now have ten children, including one son waiting in Heaven.


  1. Tears.
    And a cyber hug.
    I'm so thankful his life touched yours (and through you, ours) and brought glory to his Father.

  2. Love the memorial you wrote! Our little ones are enjoying Heaven together! We will join them soon!!
    To God be the Glory!


In the joy of following our Heavenly Father, we sometimes choose to proceed with a whisper, a verse, or a downright matter how we follow Him, the momentum that follows is like nothing we've ever experienced before.

Join the is a beautiful place to be. It's not always easy, but then the best things never are.

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