Yesterday, we both met and said goodbye to our granddaughter Johanna Raye Carswell. In her birth we saw the Lord answer several specific prayers; in her death we have experienced His all-sufficient, amazing grace.
Our family has known about Johanna’s condition since April. During that time, we have sought to educate ourselves about Trisomy 18. So, when the time came for her to be born, we were under no illusions that she would be here long. We knew that she would have several profound, and ultimately fatal, physical issues. We knew that her life could be a few minutes or a few months. We knew that Trisomy 18 is a fatal condition in 100% of cases.
While we knew all those things, any many more besides, we still sought the Lord and His will in the matter. We asked Him to allow her to be born alive so her mom and dad could spend some time with the daughter God had blessed them with. We asked God that He so work in her little body that her physical deformities would be minimal. We asked God that she be spared from suffering and pain after she was born. God answered every one of these prayers for us, and we praise Him for that!
Nikki and Chad were blessed with 63 special minutes with Johanna. We were told that Johanna would have clubbed hands, she did not! She had beautiful, long fingers. While she definitely exhibited some clear signs of being a Trisomy 18 baby, she was absolutely beautiful to us. When the time came for her to leave us behind, she passed from earth to Heaven quietly and peacefully. God has been so gracious to us!
While we are saddened that we could not keep Johanna with us; we are rejoicing in our heavenly hope. We know where she is. We know she is well today. We know that we will meet her in glory someday. We will miss the many little, and big, things that mark the life of a baby girl who lives to adulthood, but we rejoice that Johanna has been spared the pain and heartache of this life.
We will have a memorial service on Monday October 26, 2009 at 2:00 PM at the Blue Ridge Memorial Park Cemetery here in Lenoir. Pray that we will use that service as another opportunity to celebrate the sovereign God of Heaven and earth. He has been so good to us and we want to praise Him for His grace and His goodness.
Please keep our family in your prayers. We are all doing well as we rest in the arms of His boundless grace.