"How can you be so strong?"
"How are you getting through this?"
We have been asked questions like these so many times while Daniel was in the hospital and after his passing. The answer is always the same--By the Grace of God. You would do the same. I was reminded of a quote today that I chanted in the hospital quite frequently to calm myself: "The Will of GOD will never take you where the GRACE of GOD will not protect you." These words are so true.
I have been meaning to post this story for about a week now. Some of you were able to attend Daniel's reception and heard me speak about my life-changing moment in faith, but many of you weren't, so I feel it's important to share the story of Dana and Stephen with you.
About six or so years ago, our friends Dana and Steve lost their six-year old son, Stephen, to Leukemia. It had been a valiant battle, but Stephen was destined to move on. I remember arriving at his funeral and seeing hundreds of people sobbing, some having trouble holding themselves up. And then there was Dana. Dana, the Mother of Stephen, approached the altar and proceeded to speak the most eloquent and faith-filled words. She literally comforted the hundreds of people in attendance.
I remember watching her in awe, asking myself, "How can she possibly be so strong?" The answer was clear--by the Grace of God. Dana was divinely embraced. She gave testimony about her son's sickness and how her job as a Mother was to do what was right and necessary for her son. Seeing him suffer was not an option. And so she let go of her little boy and watched him go to Heaven.
Dana changed my heart that day. That was the day I, and others I know, decided to find a church home. That was also the day I knew I wanted to be a Mother. Despite the toughest loss imaginable, I could see right through her pain to the unconditional, selfless love that Dana had for Stephen. I longed for that relationship with a child, and I longed for that relationship with God. I wanted that faith. I wanted that unwavering and profound faith that could get someone through anything.
Fast forward six years and here we are. I am now that Mother saddened by the loss of my son, but I am also the Mother who is divinely embraced by faith. Maybe God put us in that circumstance to prepare us for our future. To prepare us for our own journey of selfless love--for our children, and for God. We are inspired that our sweet son Daniel has touched so many people in such a short time and humbled that his story has similarly brought so many people back to their faith. We will never forget Dana, or her family, for sharing their family's love story with us.