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Like many holidays, Mother’s Day can be emotional and hard. Even those whose moms are still around – some have little to no contact with them. Some are still waiting to have a family, they hurt too. But those that especially touch my heart are those that have lost their mothers and mothers who have lost their children.
I’m dedicating this post to a few of my very special friends who have lost their children. Their grief is unimaginable to me. But how they have survived is an inspiration. They decided to take a horrible event, a loss that can never be replace and honor their children by helping others.
Today I want to introduce you to:
Letitia and I met at a Bible study at NorthPark Baptist Church in Trussville a few years ago when we moved to Birmingham, Alabama. I was touched by her testimony of losing her son, Dante. Since then, she has been my constant prayer warrior partner. Her son suffered through much sickness before he passed into the arms of his Heavenly Father. I am certain that Letitia’s faith and prayers grew out of that time. She has touched my life in such positive ways that I couldn’t begin to list them. When I left Birmingham, she asked if we could meet. She gave me a set of pearl earrings that I wear almost everyday. Her message was simple but it ministered so much strength into my weary soul. Those who have known the deepest depths of pain know how to comfort those in pain better than anyone else. I thank God for Letitia!
Pearls from Heaven
“I thank God that he allowed me to be a Mother to my boys. Although there is a huge void in my heart for Dante, I thank God for Nigel who has been my strength. I thank God for the Ultimate Gift and being a Mother to a Pearl. I love and miss you Dante!”
~ Letitia ~
Dawn lost her son, Seth, on May 31st, 2009. He was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on July 25, 2007. He fought a tremendous and courageous battle for nearly two years. Nearly one year after Dawn and her husband lost Seth, they were blessed with his baby sister Saydee Hope.
“If it were not for her, I hate to even ponder where we would be. Most folks are too busy to see the impeccable importance of the “little things” in life. They take those things for granted and yes we were those people at one time. Childhood Cancer Families learn quickly that the little things can be miracles for our children. Our jobs become full time nurse and main care giver and that job consists of trying to make your child’s horrible days better. When they are miserable or worried, we are the ones who try our hardest to lift their spirits… all the while our own hearts and souls are breaking watching our children suffer from toxic treatments side effects.”
The Seth Harris Childhood Cancer Foundation (SHCCF)
Dawn, with the help of family and friends, set up a non-profit foundation to honor her son as well as help the many other families suffering. The Seth Harris Childhood Cancer Foundation (www.shccf.org) helps Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital (Seth’s hospital) when the need arises. We also are very involved with Camp Rainbow, a non profit summer camp for pediatric patients and survivors between the ages of 6-17 in Mississippi.
The SHCCF provides needed items to Blair E. Batson Hospital when monies in the hospital’s budget does not cover them. They have provided numerous things from pill splitters, a keurig and pods for the kitchen on the childhood cancer floor (3c) and for the nurses in the childhood cancer clinic. Kleenexes, overnight care packages for families caught off guard for an overnight stay with their child, snacks, t-shirts, socks, coloring books and colors are just a few of the items SHCCF provides. Families with a childhood cancer patients are adopted and provided with Christmas presents for their children, lifting some of the parents’ burdens.
SHCCF’s main goal is to raise awareness for childhood cancer. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The color for childhood cancer awareness is gold. Placing gold ribbons/bows on mailboxes, front doors, offices is a way to start a conversation about how others can help. Childhood cancer is the #1 killer by disease for children in America. Awareness is the beginning of the work that needs to be done to stop this horrible disease.
Leslie is one of those moms who you can’t help but want to befriend. She is one of the most supportive parents I’ve ever known. Her sweet daughter, Marissa, was on my daughter’s soccer team. She was a beautiful, talented, athletic, wonderful young lady with wisdom and intelligence beyond her youth. Her spirit was even more beautiful. Her goal was to someday help the people of Africa – in particular the children displaced and orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.
“…but I always have to remind myself of the African children and all over the world (also the kids in the Mexican dumps) so that I’m not so selfish. I’m glad that God showed me that. It’s like He opened my eyes to a whole new perspective outside of me and my own little world.”
~ Marissa ~
Marissa died in a car accident in 2008 but her dream didn’t. Her mother, Leslie, along with her father and many friends and family members, made sure that Marissa’s dream would come true.
Marissa’s House Projects
To honor Marissa’s memory, Marissa’s House was formed and soon after completed the first orphanage in Ethiopia. Because of the outpouring of interest, Marissa’s House Projects was soon birthed. Their hope is to build multiple orphanages so many more children & widows might be rescued from poverty.
Marissa’s generous spirit will continue saving thousands if not millions. You can help her memory continue on by becoming a partner in carrying out her dream.
Dara is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We wrangled little ones side by side while homeschooling. From the beginning, I knew there was something different about this family. They spent Saturdays handing out detergent and quarters at the local laundromats. They were there just to love people and make them feel valuable. Their commitment to family and community was amazing.
“In 2008, May 1 was the first Thursday of May that year and was therefore, the National Day of Prayer in America. It was on that very day, 9 years ago, that Jonathan’s body “fell to the ground, as a seed, died, and was gloriously raised up to bear much fruit.” That’s how he would describe what happened:).
On that day, Jonathan began his life over, for a second time. He’d get the biggest kick from watching people’s reaction when he’d tell them, “I’m turning 4 years old today!” because he actually started celebrating birthdays from this day, the day God raised him up from death.
These May 1 Birthdays were as special, if not MORE special to him, than his actually birthday. God had started his life over that day and being humbled by such a miracle, Jonathan embraced a vision to, no longer live for himself and his own glory, but to “live and not die to tell of the works of my God.”
From that day, his whole life took on a profound direction. He had come face to face with death and was privileged to be among the few, who intimately knew that his days were numbered and he purposed that each and every one of them needed to count for the glory of God.
For him, that meant BIG things like writing his own book about what he’d experienced, speaking at camps, and speaking at churches, but it also meant LITTLE things like taking the time (in secret) to help a young family who was stuck in the snow on the side of the road, rushing from his seat in a restaurant to open the doors for an elderly couple who were slowly approaching the front of the restaurant, or simply being a voice of love and encouragement to his siblings who needed him.”
~ Dara ~
Their story of how Jonathan died that day and was resurrected by prayer, made it onto CBN’s The 700 Club.
You can watch here:
I remember being on the prayer chain that day. Getting a call and stopping everything to pray for Jonathan and my sweet friend.
“It was the National Day of Prayer and early that morning, Dennis shared at a City Wide prayer breakfast where he exhorted our city, from Luke 18, to ‘not become weary’ or give up hope in the place of prayer. He told them that God would bring justice speedily to those who would persevere!
He left the breakfast and entered our House of Prayer to lead a prayer set later that morning. Dennis prayer led as he cried out from Exodus 33, “Show us YOUR GLORY, Lord!”
At 3:45pm that afternoon, on a rural baseball field on the outskirts of Hattiesburg MS, during a practice, with his father pitching, Jonathan collapsed of sudden cardiac death. Lying lifeless and unresponsive for 28 minutes (no breath and no heartbeat) and after 22 minutes of CPR (by 3 different sets of people) and 3 electrical shocks by EMT’s,
JONATHAN’S HEART BEGAN TO BEAT AGAIN!
The following 10 days of extensive testing and hospitalization would reveal TWO MEDICAL MIRACLES!
#1 –He suffered NO BRAIN DAMAGE and NO ORGAN DAMAGE! NOT A TRACE!
#2 He was declared a NORMAL AND PERFECTLY HEALTHY 16 YEAR OLD WITH A PERFECTLY HEALTHY HEART– NO ABNORMAL ENLARGEMENT, NO ELECTRICAL MISFIRING, AND NO RARE GENETIC DISEASE.
HE WAS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY HEALED! His doctors were amazed. GOD, we give YOU GLORY TODAY! GREAT THINGS YOU HAVE DONE!”
~ Dara ~
Jonathan lived 7 more years in a body that was perfectly healed with a heart that never malfunctioned again, NOT EVEN ONCE, after the Lord touched him and healed him that day. It was a REAL and sovereign miracle of the Hand of GOD.
“Jonathan went into a surgery (that was meant to simply replace malfunctioning hardware) a strong healthy young man with an enormous heart to love his family, to love others, and to bring glory to God.
We don’t understand why he was so dramatically healed, then so abruptly taken from us 7 years later, (due to a fatal medical mishap). But we will see him again one day and then, we will understand and then, we will know all the greater goods that have come about as a result of our loss.
And although his Bright Light is no longer here with us, we still stand in awe of what God did for him and for us 9 years ago. God still gets the glory for a miracle that remained!
We continue, sometimes daily, to commit our hearts to remain unoffended. And even though we don’t understand the reasons that God has allowed this Permanent PAIN into our happy family, we are confident that one day we will declare, “It was worth it.”
~ Dara ~
Oh, my gosh, what faith! What a testimony! As I type this through tears flowing down my cheeks, I am still in awe of the strength and faith of these ladies. I know their pain is still there and very raw during this time but they give me so much HOPE.
Many times, as a mom, I feel so ill equipped, like a failure, that I’ve short-changed my children and could’ve done a better job. But I do know this, the love I have for them, goes beyond description.
There are those mothers who have abandoned their children, walked away, and care more for themselves. But then these women, they shine like stars on a dark clear night.
You walk out and gaze at such beauty and wonder how did they get there. And you just can’t take your eyes off them.
“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on his beauty…”
Also published on Medium.