At any rate, J loved the story in the clipping which was written for a family who lost their precious little girl just 44 minutes after her birth due to anencephaly. (Both J and I have carried children who were never born.) The story that follows the letter from the family is beautiful and comforting. As a director of a mom's ministry, I am often given the privilege of praying for and ministering to moms in crisis. J thought that this story might be a source of comfort to mothers dealing with the loss of a child - either prior to birth or in the early years.
I think she's right.
So without further ado, is what I read in the clipping:
Words can't even describe how thankful we are for our family, friends and this community. The past six months have been the most trying time in our lives. Allison and I chose to carry our daughter VernaAnn to term, knowing that she was not compatible with life. She was destined to die from anencephaly, not by the hands of a human. We had to give God the chance to use her life in awesome ways. We had the support of our friends and family, and many people of this community. For that we are so thankful. Thank you to everyone who brought over food, watched our girls, and most of all for those of you who prayed for us and for VernaAnn, so graciously and persistently. God did answer so many prayers for us. We got to hear her heart beat for 44 minutes. Faith and Sophia got to hold their sister. Allison was able to deliver and didn't get sick from anesthesia and got to spend every second of that precious 44 minutes with her. There were so many more prayers answered, miracles given, and ways that God showed Himself through all of this. Just a couple of special thanks. To Pastor Scott and Christy Sheets. You guys have done so much for us. Lacie Jones, thank you for making VernaAnn's memorial services the most beautiful I have ever attended. And, of course to our family, moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, thank you for supporting all of our decisions, and for being there for us through everything. Thank you teachers at MPCG for the dinner following the family service and for being such great friends to Allison. And lastly, to our family at Riverside E. Free. We say "family" because that is what it is like, because we are family of God and when one hurts, we all hurt and our family was there for us in so many ways.
Thank you so very much,
The family of VernaAnn Gabrielle Johnson (Ross, Allison, Faith, & Sophia)
Here is a story written by Pastor Scott Sheets that will give a different perspective of the life of our little angel VernaAnn.
A Heavenly glimpse at the life of VernaAnn
Flashes of Divine light and rumbles of celestial thunder emanated from the Heavenly workshop. Gabriel glided to the Creator's workspace and lighted silently outside the entrance. He peeked inside the sacred shop and watched the LORD complete the final touches on a new soul. The LORD leaned back with a contented smile. Gabriel thought he hear Him whisper, "This is very good."
"Come in, Gabriel," the LORD said. His voice reverberated like the crashing of a thousand oceans. His attention seemed to be focused on His work and yet at the same time fully fixed on His angelic visitor. God's mysterious omnipresence still invoked awe among the angels, including Gabriel. Gabriel had long ago realized that no one sneaks up on the LORD. He phased through the entrance and stood next to the Creator.
"LORD," Gabriel inquired, "What will be the purpose of this soul?"
"My dear Gabriel," the LORD said as HE laid His Divine hand on Gabriel's shoulder. "This one will be hard for humanity to understand. Many will not recognize the purpose of this dear child of mine. In fact, some will criticize Me and condemn Me for bringing this soul to earth. They will wonder why I allowed the heartache and suffering. But despite their doubts, I certainly have My reasons and it has nothing to do with a lack of love or a lack of power."
The omnipotent Creator lifted and cradled the sould in His hand. "Humanity simply does not understand my greater purposes. I have told them in My Word that My thoughts are not their thoughts, nor are My ways their ways. Yet, they still struggle with thtat truth. And though they may not understand, her life will serve great purpose."
"What will her life consist of LORD? Will she marry? Will she have a family?"
"No, Gabriel. I have not ordained that number of days for her. Most of her life will be lived in the security of her mother's womb. There I will knit her body together, but many will believe my knitting was incomplete. Her breaths upon the earth will be few. She is one of the chosen ones that will be spared the hardships and trials of living among fallen men in a decaying world. I will usher her quickly back to Me to enjoy My glory forever. However, in her brief time on earth, she will be dearly loved and will touch the lives of many."
Gabriel glanced at the soul and then fixed his vision once again upon his Maker. "This child's parents will come to be with her one day, but she will not return to them, will she?"
"That is right, Gabriel. Like David my servant inscribed, this child's parents will come to be with their child and Me in heaven, but their child will not return to them on earth. And though the time will seem long to them, when they enter eternity they will realize how short a wait it truly was. But while they wait, I will strengthen their faith and draw others to Myself on account of this child."
Gabriel leaned over the newly formed soul in the LORD's hand. His angelic wings caressed her face. He lifted his head and asked, "LORD, do you think they will understand how much You love their child and them despite the suffering they'll endure?"
"They will in time. I died for this child even as I died for her parents and grandparents and all of humanity. That demonstrates My love for them more than anything else I could do. The child's parents have trusted in My shed blood on the cross, and this child is covered by that same atoning blood since she will never reach an age to take that step of faith."
"Gabriel, hand me that book over there."
Gabriel grabbed a thin, white book on the corner of the LORD's workbench and handed it to Him. "What is it LORD?"
"This is her diary. ALl of the days that I have ordained for her on earth have been written in this book. I have known the scope of her life from the beginning and have loved her from the beginning. Her life is as precious to me as every child."
The LORD laid the small book down on the workbench in front of Him and slowly wiped His Holy finger across the front cover. Glistening gold letters appeared upon the heavenly material following the course of His finger. He withdrew his hand and revealed the name: VernAnn Gabrielle Johnson.
The LORD lifted up VernaAnn to His face and breathed upon her the breath of life. "Now go forth my child and accomplish the purposes I have for you. Fear not, for I am with you and will bring you back to My Glorious Presence very soon."
VernaAnn vanished from the LORD's workshop. The LORD exited and stood in front of a crowd of saints who had gathered outside. The group consisted of earthly relatives who had trusted in Jesus and had gone on before VernaAnn to be with the LORD in Heaven. They faced the LORD with their faces aglow and brimming with joy. VernaAnn's namesake stepped forward and said, "She's so beautiful, LORD, and such a wonderful addition to Your family."
"Yes, she is, my child. Yes, she is. But now there is other work to be done."
"Gabriel!" the LORD beckoned. "Gather some seraphim and prepare to strenthen and comfort my chldren on earth. Many of VernaAnn's loved ones will need ministering to in the times ahead. Remind them of My love, strengthen their bodies, protect them from the fiery darts of doubt, guilt, and depression. And make sure to tell them that I am coming back very soon to bring all My family into eternal Glory."
Gabriel spread his wings and sped away upon a Heavenly breeze to carry out the LORD's bidding. As soon as he had departed, another angel apporached the LORD carrying bowls of incense. He laid them at the LORD's feet and backed away with his head bowed. The LORD bent over and inhaled the pleasant aroma. "Ahh, the prayers of the saints," He said. "Now their faith will grow and they will know Me better."