The Macs

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

This year Mother's Day was so special and so hard all at the same time.  We dedicated Levi at church on Sunday. Two years ago we were standing on that same stage dedicating Cora. Man, that was a scary thing to do again. It shouldn't have been scary. Of course we wouldn't want our Levi's life in anyone else's hands but the Lord's. He loves Levi even more than we do. But as we have had to trust God with loosing our first sweet baby, I think we are tempted to just want to partially trust God with Levi. We are tempted to say, "Ok, God...we trust you with Levi's life as long as you promise to keep him safe and healthy." So, to stand on that stage and publicly dedicate Levi's life to the Lord, choosing to fully trust God and to raise Levi with open hands, was hard. Why do we as parents try to hang on when we know that our children are much better off in the Lord's hands than in our own? Why do we have a hard time trusting when we know our Heavenly Father loves us deeply and passionately? 

And standing next to all the other families dedicating their children...that was tough. We were the only ones up there with one child. All the other babies had their siblings standing up there with them. That was hard for me. I struggled to hold the tears. I wish little Cora could have been standing beside her brother on his special day. I wish we could have been together as a family. Someday...

This is what we wrote about Levi for the dedication...

Levi means “joined”. We love the meaning of this name as our family has felt everything but joined since Levi’s big sister Cora went to heaven. We know that even though our family will never seem complete here on earth we will one day be “joined” together again because of the hope we have in Christ.

Jerald is after Joel's dad, Jerry.  Jerry is one of the kindest, God-fearing men we know. He is a hard worker, is dedicated to serving the Lord in both his occupation and his every day life, and has such a servant's heart. Anyone who knows Joel's dad would understand why we would also want our son to have this name.

We chose Malachi 2:4-6 for Levi. We are praying that Levi would grow up to be a man who walks in uprightness and who stands in awe of our Lord’s name.

Levi is such a blessing to us. He is a sweet little boy and has brought many smiles and lots of laughter to our house again. We realize more than ever that every day with Levi is a gift. Today, as we dedicate Levi to the Lord, we are praying that we would be faithful to raise him with open hands.

Levi wasn't too excited about our Mother's Day photo together. The poor little guy was so tired and he didn't really want anything to do with pictures. 

And guess who else was dedicated with Levi? Sweet Miss Calla. Doesn't she look great? What a sweetie-pie. After church we celebrated Levi and Calla with lunch at my parent's house. It was so special to be surrounded by our friends and family. My mom is a rock-star and is the best hostess. I hope I am just like her someday. Thanks mom and dad for opening your home to all of us!

I kept forgetting to get a family picture. I knew we should have taken one at church, but I thought, "Oh well, we'll just take one later". By the end of the afternoon, Levi was so grouchy and Joel had already changed his clothes. This was the best we could do! Thanks for the pictures Ian!


Blogger Trish said...

Bless your hearts. You are such an inspiration. Love, prayers, and hugs to you both...

May 11, 2010 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Brown Apples said...

love the picture! it is precious! I need one for my fridge!

May 11, 2010 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Marla Taviano said...

My friend Amy (and her hubby Billy) dedicated their 2-month-old Gregor this Sunday too. And she, too, was missing her baby boy's big sister. Abigail went to heaven on March 6 of last year. Such a bittersweet day. I continue to pray for you and Joel. And that family picture is just stunning, hooded sweatshirt and all. Hugs!

May 11, 2010 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I know what you mean about letting go. It has been a fear ever since I became a mom. I think it has to do with feeling this love for someone we have never experienced before and we are scared to loose it. I guess that is how God feels about us. He loves us so much that He probably is scared to loose us, to sin, satan, drugs, any distraction of life. We are lucky to have him and to know our children and ourselves will one day be with Him.

Not sure if this makes since, so ignore it if it sounds crazy.

Love Levi, he looks adorable. And it is great to see Calla too!

May 11, 2010 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

I love your family picture. Both of my friends delivered babies 3 days apart and they are both dedicating their now 3 month old babies this Sunday at our church. One of them just found out that her cancer may be back so she has had to stop nursing her daughter in order to have a full body scan that involves drinking a radioactive iodine solution to detect any cancer growth. Anyways, I have a hard time finding words to comfort her but Praise God that she knows the Lord and we can just pray together and bear one another's burdens. You have an incredible story that God so beautifully orchestrated...even though it involves tragedy, it is bringing people to Jesus Christ. Blessings! :)

May 11, 2010 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Heather | Cookie Mondays said...

I LOVE the last photo of the 3 of you! That boy is going to outgrow you very soon :)


May 11, 2010 at 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is a great family picture! Joel actually looks great in his sweatshirt. Of course, don't tell him that I said that:)
We were thinking of you guys a lot on Sunday! I remember when you dedicated Cora. I don't know why. Maybe we had a family function or something around then. Anyway, can't wait to see you guys this weekend! Drive safe! Andi

May 11, 2010 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger teresa said...

thanks so much for your mother's day/baby dedication post. i appreciate how you share your heart, your struggles and your faith .... it all brings honor & glory to your Father.


May 11, 2010 at 11:43 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

I have a confession, Jess. Whenever I see a family pic of you guys, I place Cora's face right there IN the picture. It helps that you have pictures of her right there on the side bar... I mentally slide it over and there you are... the 4 of you.
I thought about you lots on Mother's Day. Wasn't sure how your day would go and I imagined along with the sweet, wonderfulness, there would be deep, deep sorrow as well.


May 12, 2010 at 12:23 AM  
Blogger The Fishers said...

I cannot imagine the mixed emotions you must have felt this Mother's Day. Many prayers for your family. I think your family picture is precious!

May 12, 2010 at 7:02 AM  
Blogger Micah said...

You are amazing, Jess. I'm so proud of you. You know first hand that "WITH God all things are possible." Love those pictures. You have the most adorable family. XOXO

May 12, 2010 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Tamara said...

What a beautiful post from a beautiful mother. You are more amazing then you will ever realize, you bring so much hope and inspiration to me and I'm sure all your readers.

May 12, 2010 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

What a wonderful way to spend your first mother's day with Levi.
I cannot fully imagine how difficult the day must have been for you, but I thank you for continuing to share your journey with us. Thank you for letting us complete strangers in to have a glimpse of your sweet family.

With love and prayers,

P.S. Frame that photo of the three of you! It's wonderful! ;)

May 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read your blog since late last year, and though I read weekly, I don't post very often. I thought of you on Mother's Day, with your precious little - well, maybe not so little :) - Levi, but without your sweet Cora, and hoped for peace and love that day. I am so glad you had a special family day, and just know that Cora was watching over all of you as you dedicated her little brother. I hope you still feel her all around you in little ways, each and every day. God Bless your beautiful family!


May 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

You guys are amazing!! Levi is growing sooo fast. Such a cutie. The family pic is great...sweatshirt and all!

May 12, 2010 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Just beautiful!!!!

May 12, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger JuliaVP said...

My heart breaks for you and rejoices with you at the same time. I am so thankful for your honesty as you continue to grieve. And I'm so thankful that you are clinging to the comforter. Won't it be an amazing day when your whole family is together with Jesus!

May 12, 2010 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger meg duerksen said...

all of it.
love you guys.

May 12, 2010 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Thanks for sharing your heart with us. Happy Mother's Day. I'll keep praying for your sweet family.

May 12, 2010 at 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Sheryl from Colorado said...

What a beautiful little family you have. Your little Levi is one of the cutest baby boys I have ever seen. I am so happy to see such beautiful smiles on all your faces. God is GOOD and He will provide every need for you!
Oh and do you need me to add a "Levi" to your "Cora" bracelet? I would be happy to do that for you!

May 12, 2010 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I love that last picture! You know, my favorite thing is to dress my kids in their "real" clothes, even for formal pictures. Pretty clothes make for pretty pictures. I love those too. But pictures in my kids' favorite outfits? That's a cute picture that comes with memories attached. So don't sweat the informal clothes. When Levi's all grown, he'll be able to look at that picture and see the same dad that he saw every day of his life. Happy Mother's Day!

May 12, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing..As usual you are so very graceful...Love the pictures...Levi is a doll...


May 12, 2010 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

honored to share in your and the Johnson's celebrations on mother's day.

May 12, 2010 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Jenifer's Journey said...

I love the pictures and my preys are with you guys Cora will always be with yall in spirit but I know yall want her there in person

May 13, 2010 at 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Christina said...

You ask these questions at the beginning of your post...they are so honest. I have struggled today, and other times during my life, with those things. I can say that I trust God, that He is all good, that He knows best and works in the world for His glory. And yet, why is there so much bad? I know the answer, the fall, and all that, but it is still hard. A dad in our town committed suicide two days ago, leaving a wife and three young daughters...I found myself praying that God would hold them close, help them to know He would not abandon them. Do they already feel that way? Did He momentarily? These are the things I struggle with. It makes me long even more for the time when, as you say, we are with Him in eternity.
Your pictures are always wonderful...he is such a handsome little guy! Thank you for sharing such a special day. I'm sorry for writing some of the above...just relating to the questions of trust.

May 13, 2010 at 1:55 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Well done! What a huge hurdle to get over! But you've done it and you can be so proud of yourselves for having done it so bravely and so trustfully. Levi is a very lucky boy to have such wonderful parents...

Sue x

May 14, 2010 at 2:42 AM  
Blogger Kristin Stegent said...

I love the family pic even though Joel had already changed. Great picture of you guys!!

Can't imagine how hard Mother's Day was for you...and dedicating Levi. Thank you for sharing on your struggle to trust God completely with Levi. I could understand that being SO hard! You guys are great...

May 14, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Polka Dot Moon said...

Many blessing to you, Joel and sweet Levi! Cora is always in my prayers too!

Beautiful picture :)

May 14, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I found your blog through Amy Jones and have followed it regularly but never posted. Your story is such an inspiration. After all you have been faced with you continue to praise Him, and I know that is not always easy. I needed these words today "Why do we as parents try to hang on when we know that our children are much better off in the Lord's hands than in our own? Why do we have a hard time trusting when we know our Heavenly Father loves us deeply and passionately?" My sweet baby girl Katelyn goes in for open heart surgery Thursday morning and I am not doing well with it. I know God is in control and this is all part of His wonderful plan, but I am struggling with trusting Him. I keep hearing your words over and over since I have read this post. Thanks for sharing. May God bless your family.


May 17, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger ricky said...

Jessica! You look so gorgeous in your picture! What a beautiful photo!
~Kristen & Ricky

May 20, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

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