My post is a little different today. Instead of my own thoughts, I’m sharing a story of a sweet friend and young mom. Our girls met and lived with her in Africa. Keely became like a sister to them. Her (along with her now hubby and 2-yr old son) journey over the last 6 months is one of heartache and triumph.
But it’s mostly a story of God’s presence.
Today, August 7, her little boy met Jesus. I share the story of Judah … as told by his mom, along the way…
Finn’s sharing the news! These Beasleys are going to be a family of four come August. We’re over the moon and can’t wait to meet our tiniest little.
Mama and Baby Brother, Week 23
Oh, friends, what a journey these past few weeks have been for all four Beasleys. After our first ultrasound of Baby Beas raised some concerns, we were referred to a perinatologist for a closer look. He too had concerns, even more than we expected. The weeks that followed held several doctor visits, a round of tests for mama, and lots of waiting for us all. Prayers upon prayers. Today, at last, a diagnosis: little brother has Trisomy 13, a very rare and severe chromosomal disorder. Many babies with T13 are lost in the womb, and of those that make it to term, most will not live past their first week of life.
Our doctors have suspected this diagnosis for some time, so today’s news does not feel new or shocking to us. We have felt nearly everything one could over these past few weeks from despair to hope, deep heartache to amusement over our tiny, twelve-fingered son ☺️.
We are learning to have much grace with ourselves as we process, grieve, hope, and walk forward into each day that we’ve been given with our little boy. He is still growing and kicking and is seen minute by minute by our God who loves him even more than we do. We‘ve felt God so near, the Holy Spirit bring so much comfort, and been reminded throughout these providential weeks of Eastertide that we are people who live daily in light of the resurrection, hope and life that flows from suffering and death. We know and trust that God is working out a beautiful resurrection story in our lives and the life of this little boy. This is not the journey we expected, and not one we would have asked for, but goodness, how greatly we have seen God’s kindness and mercy in these hard and tiring days. Thank you, sweet friends and family, who have already started this journey with us. We love you all more than you know and are thankful to celebrate the life of this little boy with you, for all the days that we have him. #trisomy13
Since the first days we learned of little brother’s diagnosis it has been our wish to find a meaningful name for him. We’ve been eager to call him by name, to speak of him by name, to pray for him by name. In the Bible, Leah, burdened by her reality, seeks comfort in her ability to bear children. After three little ones, she is drawn beyond herself, and casts her eyes on the Lord. What she believed would bring her joy and contentment was never meant to fully satisfy. “And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah.” Judah. “Praise,” “Confess the name of God.” A name of strength and certainty. She had learned to praise God despite her circumstances. Our sweet Judah, even in his earliest weeks of life, has already led us to praise the name of the Lord time and time again. To see His goodness and kindness, despite our suffering. Lawrence, Aaron’s middle name and one that has been passed down through several generations, is one given to our son in love. A reminder that he is now and forever our family. Judah Lawrence Beasley, we love you so much. #trisomy13 #judahlawrence
There have been some hard days this week. As Judah continues to grow and I get farther along in pregnancy, the anticipation of what’s to come feels heavier and heavier. It has made me often feel physically tired. Pregnancy is long. Your body goes through so much. Then labor. Then months of healing and recovery. But those things are mixed in this beautiful, wonderful way with the arrival of a new little life to enjoy and learn and know. Today I am weary of the thought of one without the other. I feel it deeply. I sometimes question what to share and what to keep to myself, after all these are such tiny glimpses in days of living. We still hope. We still remind each other of truth. But these hard, weary days are part of Judah’s story too and we need to welcome them in, in all their discomfort. #trisomy13 #judahlawrence
The time we’ve had with “our judah lawrence” has opened our eyes to see God’s provision and love for our family so plainly. I can’t tell you how many of our prayers have been answered, just in the last few weeks. He has provided rest, connection with a family who has also walked this road, a trained hypnobirthing instructor willing to freely share her knowledge and training with us out of her own generosity, an abundance of dear friends who have and are continuing to share their various gifts to deeply bless our family in these months, and so much more. Thank you, Judah, for opening our eyes. Your life has already changed us. In these months we have surely seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living because of your meaningful life. You are a gift to us.
All the feels over here as I look at this photo from our ultrasound today. Tiny, snuggly, heartbreakingly sweet Judah, who kept smiling while we watched. Next to it a check from the church we were a part of in PA, sent freely as a love offering for us to use as needed. Grace upon grace. As we learn more about crafting our birth plan for Judah, receive new resources from our doctors and care team, and read more stories from other families who have lost a baby, we hear reminders from every direction of how important it is to have a network of care. That having support from friends and family is invaluable as we prepare to meet Judah and as we enter the grieving process. I could cry buckets for how thankful we are for each and every one of you. You all have watched Finn for us when we’ve had long doctor appointments, you’ve given financially, you’ve spoken words of love and encouragement, you’ve sent gifts, you’ve prayed, you’ve wept with us, you’ve admired his tiny ultrasound photos with us, you’ve offered yourselves as helpers for when Judah finally arrives, and so much more. You have tangibly reminded us of God’s deep and vast love for our family. I’ve never experienced anything so humbling than being on the receiving end of so much hospitality, kindness, and love. It speaks the Gospel to us again and again. Thank you, dear ones, for showing us that we are not alone or forgotten, but seen, known, and loved. #ourjudahlawrence
“Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide;
in every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul, your best, your heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul, the God does undertake
to guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious will be bright at last.
Be still, my soul, the waves and winds
still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on
when we will be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul, when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we will meet at last.”
“A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, asleep; and they woke him up and said, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ The wind ceased, and there was calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” | The Gospel Hymn, The Gospel Reading • All Saints, June 24
There are days that feel heavier than others. Yesterday was one. The nearer we get to Judah’s due date, the more it sinks in that our time with him on earth is coming closer to its end. We make countless decisions and process logistics for his arrival which gives us some measure of comfort but what we really want in the depths of our hearts is a healthy baby boy. We speak extra words of truth to each other on these harder days when we feel saddened by those who avoid acknowledging Judah for fear of saying the wrong the thing, or when strangers in the grocery store ask when I’m due and if I must be excited for Finn to have a brother, or we buy milk and realize that by the time of its expiration, Judah may be with Jesus.
We feel our God draw nearer still to us on these days. And we take a moment to gather up treasures from friends and loved ones, thanking Him for these tiny, tangible reminders of love for our sweet boy. Today I see God’s kindness in a basket of blueberries, and the eyes to see it have been given to me by my son. #ourjudahlawrence #trisomy13
Little Judah bear and me at 36 weeks ☺️ Today was our last scheduled ultrasound before we meet our little boy face to face in the coming weeks. His growth is right on track! 5 pounds and 13 ounces today, all snuggled up like a cozy little pretzel. Judah, we love you so. #ourjudahlawrence #trisomy13
The sweetest gauze outfit handmade by dear friend… This week has felt like such an advent in our lives. Judah is coming and with anticipation we wait for the holy, sacred moment of his arrival. God is with us. Dear ones have waited with us, speaking truth and hope to us in our moments of deepest heartache. We’ve known such deep fellowship. People are praying. Fasting. Interceding for our family. It is often hard to describe the overwhelming power of God we have experienced, ushered in by the life of our son. Even this morning our home has felt like a sanctuary. God is so near. The prayers of the saints so palpable.
“Jesus’ death continues to bear fruit through all whose death is like his death, a death for others. In this way, dying becomes the way to an everlasting fruitfulness. We touch here the most hope-giving aspect of our death. Jesus says, ‘In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest’ (Jn. 12:24). This is the mystery of Jesus’ death and of the deaths of all who lived in his Spirit. Their lives yield fruit far beyond the limits of their short existence” (Henri Nouwen).
Thank you, dear and faithful family, for waiting with us. Praise to you, Lord Christ. #trisomy13 #patausyndrome
Our precious Judah Lawrence is here!! Born alive around 3:30am, weighing 7 lbs. We are in love and praising God for answering so many prayers that have brought us to this unbelievable, sweet moment. We are well, sleepy, and snuggling with our sweet boy. #ourjudahlawrence
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Praising God for waking this morning to lots of snuggles at home with Finnegan James and “our judah lawrence.”
Judah, you’re a whole day old! Thanks be to God!
Little Judah bear is snoozing on the back pew. Oh what a miracle and joy that he could meet his sweet church family today!
Another day with “our judah lawrence”! Thank you, God, for these sweet days we have to treasure. Our hearts are so full of gratitude for this time and for the prayers of so many that have bathed our days in peace and rest. God is powerful and good. ❤️ #trisomy13
Judah is with Jesus ❤️ This morning has been so powerful and so peaceful. We had the most perfect morning as a family of four. It was quiet, we ate breakfast together, and felt so thankful for the most ordinary of moments enjoyed together. As soon as we finished breakfast, Judah passed quickly and peacefully. No struggle, no panic, no pain. We didn’t feel scared or alarmed. Friends, family, and pastors came, we prayed and wept and rejoiced together. Everyone left and we said our last earthly goodbye to Judah bear. God has answered a thousand prayers and we have been recounting them all this morning. We feel His presence in our home so strongly that it feels like we can see and touch Him. Like the fourth person in the furnace in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednago. We could not have imagined a sweeter way to say farewell to him. Judah Lawrence, our sweet son, you have been the very best gift. We love you now and always. ❤️ #ourjudahlawrence #trisomy13