The Macs

Sunday, December 5, 2010

eleven months & three days

Today Levi is eleven months and three days old.
The same age Cora was when she went to be with Jesus.

Eleven months and three days usually isn't a significant milestone in a child's life, but for us it is. Today we celebrate Levi's life. We know that every day with him is such a gift. We have anticipated this day for a long time, wondering what it would be like when Levi passed his big sister in age.

Today means that all of a sudden Levi becomes older than our last memories of Cora. That is so hard for me to accept since in my mind Cora will always be the "big" sister.

Today means that every milestone Levi reaches from now on we didn't get to celebrate with his sister. From now on there will be no more comparisons between what Levi is doing and what Cora did.

Today means that we are passing the familiar stage of parenting and entering a stage where we feel like new parents again. We have only been parents to babies.

Today is a reminder of the day we were forced to say goodbye to our sweet baby girl. Thinking of what happened that day is almost unbearable.

Today Cora would have been two years and nine months old...exactly. I can hardly even imagine what Cora would have been like as an almost three year old.

This afternoon I came home to my boys after a weekend of being away with some girlfriends. I needed to get away and it was so encouraging to spend time with my friends, but it was hard for me to leave Levi. As I anticipated the significance of today I couldn't help but be reminded of the pain I felt when we said goodbye to Cora on the day when she too was eleven months and three days old. Today brought back a flood of emotions. The last time Joel and I drove home when we had a baby this age we couldn't even go home. We didn't know how to face an empty house or how we were even going to make it through the next day. I can't even describe to you what it was like to come home today to my sweet baby boy. I missed him (and Joel too) so much while I was gone. What a joy to see his sweet smiling face and kicking legs when he realized I was back. This evening we just spent time hanging out together. It was so great. And you better believe that Mr. Levi got smothered with a few extra hugs from his mama.

There are a lot of things that were hard about today, but today is also a reminder of God's sufficient grace. Today is a reminder that the same grace God has given us to move forward since loosing Cora, the same grace that God has given us as we raise Levi, is the same grace He will continue to give us as Levi moves past this eleven months and three days milestone. God's grace is sufficient. His grace is all we need for today and for whatever we face in the days to come. What a great reminder that when we rely on God's sufficient grace instead of relying on our own strength, He will give us the strength to face today.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8


Blogger Gabby Malcuit said...

Your faith is an inspiration. God bless you and your family. May he continue to give you strength through this difficult milestone.

December 5, 2010 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger TiffanyM said...

I've been following your blog for over a year now, and I think i've commented a few times. Cora and my Sammy were born on the same day. Your story is so touching to me. Thank you for allowing others to follow your journey.

December 5, 2010 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger vera said...

You have been in my prayers since I learned about your blog when Cora was sick, and I am sending extra prayers your way on this difficult day. Your faith is so inspirational. Thank you for sharing your heart and your babies with us.

December 5, 2010 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Kylie and crew. said...

Oh Jess, what a painful day. Truly you have lived a "parents worst nightmare" and as you have lived it, and allowed us to watch....I know you have changed lives. I wish I could have known Cora. I wish that you still had her, but I'm so, so, thankful for Heaven and the eternal perspective. Thanks again for being are an amazing women and Mama.

December 5, 2010 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

... weeping as I ache for you.
I was wondering when this day was. Realized it was soon since you said he was 11 months old.
I've been lifting you up in prayer. You are right... God's grace IS sufficient. In all things. Every situation.

Praise the Lord, for using Cora's life to bring glory to His great Name! I am eager to meet your sweet girl someday.

December 6, 2010 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

And tomorrow you shall wake to a new day...God bless the journey ahead.

December 6, 2010 at 1:14 AM  
Blogger Mum2twopreciousgifts said...


I have been Blessed to follow your journey since prayers were asked for Cora just after her diagnosis.

I am often incredibly moved by your posts. I often just sit and reflect and pray thanks after I have read them.

You write so beautifully ALL the time. But today's post was one of your most special yet.

God Bless you, Joel, Cora and Levi.

December 6, 2010 at 3:33 AM  
Blogger ~Rachel said...

You are amazing! I can't even imagine what sadness today can bring but you choose to look on the positive of what that yummy little boy brings you. Stay strong today girl and know that many of us are praying for peace for you and your family today {and always.}

December 6, 2010 at 5:29 AM  
Blogger Trina Y. said...

thank you for always sharing Cora with us!


December 6, 2010 at 5:37 AM  
Blogger ej236 said...

You don't know me. I found your blog through some friends and I lived in the same dorm as you at KSU. I just wanted to let you know that you are such a strong lady and are such an inspiration to everyone. I have a 19 month old and some days I just get so frustrated with things, but step back and think how lucky I am to have her. Thank you for sharing your story, you have touched so many and are truly a blessing. Stay strong through these days. I can not say I can relate but I will be thinking of you. God Bless You!

December 6, 2010 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

You are amazing & I cry when I read your story, but I always rejoice in the faith that you have & you make me want to learn more & more about Jesus. So glad your weekend away brought you home to two precious people in your life!

December 6, 2010 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Beautiful. I love how you write--so raw and honest. I have read your blog since Cora was sick, and you amaze me with your faith. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

December 6, 2010 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

you are such a special person. there such beautiful times to look forward to with your little boy. you inspire me with every post. thank you.

December 6, 2010 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger ems said...

Sending up extra prayers for you today - you know Bethany and Cora are so close in age . . . often makes me cry reading your blog to think about all the "what ifs". I am continually encouraged by your steadfast faith!

December 6, 2010 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, and pouring out your thoughts in your post. It's got to be so difficult, but I'm sending prayers your way, and wanted you to know how much of an inspiration you are to me. Your faith is incredible, and you lead by example. Thank you! Thinking you your family today.

December 6, 2010 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous AshleyAnn said...

Sweet friend I am praying for you and your family...thank you for sharing this.

December 6, 2010 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Sadie said...

You are an amazing mother. I will be praying for some more healing. You are exactly correct- His grace is enough! (((HUGS)))

December 6, 2010 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Chelsy said...

I've been following for a little while now, but you don't know me. I have tears in my eyes. My heart aches for you. Can't even imagine the pain. Praying for you and the journey ahead. That little Levi is just precious.

December 6, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Danise said...

May God be with you today and always!

December 6, 2010 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger meg duerksen said...

that was a big day.
my heart aches for you and your pain jess.
no one can even begin to imagine what you feel.
you are a beautiful example to everyone of trusting in the one true God.
last week in BSF during our lecture she mentioned Job. She said after all he experienced he said "i used to HEAR of you and now i KNOW you" i thought of you. and how you probably feel that way.
(job 42:5-6)

December 6, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Extra prayers for you & Joel today! You are an amazingly strong woman and mama and your words are always just right! You are constantly making me evaluate my perspectives. Thanks for sharing your heart! And that little Levi is just stinkin' adorable ... just in case you don't hear that enough! ;)

December 6, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger  The Morris Family said...

3 years, 4 months and 10 days was that milestone for us....Joel. When Mercy, who is our daughter under Joel turned that age, last year, lots of pictures, and just holding her trying to "feel" that age again as when I held Joel at that age.You are so right, grace is what continues to carry us. Today Dec. 6th, is the day four years ago that Joel(age3) was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, like your Cora. He went to be with Jesus 1/23/07.

May our hearts cling to Him as we anticipate our reunion with our children one day!!


December 6, 2010 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I'm saying extra prayers for your family. I know your sweet Cora is watching in heaven and cheering on her little brother as he continues to grow and thrive. God bless you all.

December 6, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Such a beautiful post...

December 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Townsendpartyof5 said...

YOU are AMAZING! Your faith and journey are a blessing to me. Thank you for this gift.

December 6, 2010 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

Praying with you!


December 6, 2010 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

I will be saying an extra prayer for you, Jess and Joel as well as Levi on this special day.
Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us.

With love and prayers,

December 6, 2010 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Jess, you and Joel have been in my prayers since I learned about your blog when Cora was hospitalized.Your faith has taught me to be both a more faithful person, and to be more open, too.

Your family remains in my prayers. Thank you for sharing them with us!

December 6, 2010 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Carla said...

Like so many of your posts, this has stayed with me all day since I read it early this morning. Such a difficult painful time and yet so full of hope for the future. I can't tell you how many ways your story, and how you tell it has changed me. As Vera said, thank you for sharing your heart.

December 6, 2010 at 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Jess! We are always praying for you guys! Lots of love to you! Andi

December 6, 2010 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

I had been thinking of you and your family as I knew this date was approaching. My daughter and Cora are just 2 days apart in age. Your strength and faith have been such an inspiration. Continuing to pray for you and it is an absolute joy watching little Levi grow up.

December 6, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Jess, You are in my thoughts and prayers. You are loved. Thank you so much for that verse. It is absolutely perfect.

December 6, 2010 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger The Schilling's from Cimarron said...


ahhhh of course when I read this I cried! I still remember those days of seeing you at the hospital and seeing sweet baby Cora. I remember when we were leaving the hospital with our Jaylee it was a bittersweet day for us. So happy yet we did NOT want to leave you all! I am so glad you have Levi to hold on to now. I know Cora is watching over him every minute! Love you always and thank you for once again sharing your memories and faithfulness to the Lord! You are a true blessing to me! Give the boys a hug for us! :)


December 6, 2010 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger ashley said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder that God's grace is sufficient. I think about Cora often and keep your family in my prayers.

December 6, 2010 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Andy and Jenni said...

I'm not sure why I don't comment more often - your posts often resonate with me. Although our daughter is still with us, we know that she won't be for long. Her little brother has already surpassed her development, and it does make us feel like new parents, too. I find promise, and solace, in your words and in your faith.

December 6, 2010 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger lil misses' mama said...

oh, jess. praying for you lots this week.

December 6, 2010 at 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

{{{hugs}}} That was beautifully written - you remind me everyday of how to walk in faith and trust in that sufficient grace of His - thank you!

December 6, 2010 at 3:01 PM  
Anonymous katherine said...

I wondered when this day was. I can imagine how every milestone will be bittersweet and pray that God's grace sustains you. The faith He has given you is such a gift.

December 6, 2010 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Marla Taviano said...

Crying with you, for you. And praying for you today too as you miss your beautiful little girl and ease into a new place. Love and hugs!!

December 6, 2010 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you simply amaze me.

Prayers, prayers, prayers.

December 6, 2010 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

That is a day I'll never forget. I remember the text that came in on my husband's phone and then bawling for hours and hours.

You are so very loved, by people you know, people you don't, and most importantly by God.

December 6, 2010 at 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you and I don't even know you! You continue to be a blessing to me through your story and are constantly challenging me to deepen my walk with God. I am praying for you as you begin another chapter of losing your baby girl and being an amazing mommy to Levi.

December 6, 2010 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Bambi said...

(((hugs))) to you Jess and to Joel and Levi too.

December 6, 2010 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Krystal said...

Not to diminish or in any way negate your love, parenting, missing, etc. of Cora, I just wanted to say that I often feel like a new mom with my kids when new situations arise. I frequently have to go to God for help on what to do. Both kids are very different, and they sure don't come with manuals, as you know.

Anywho... I'm praying for you, for your parenting of Levi, and for your hearts missing Cora.

Hugs in Christ,

December 6, 2010 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Thank you for the reminder that HE is enough. You have been such a blessing to me. I continue to pray for you and your sweet family.

December 6, 2010 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Mommy2QTPies said...

What a beautiful post. Long time reader, but hardly ever comment. This one brought me to tears. You are amazing and such an inspiration to all!

December 6, 2010 at 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Aimee said...

Your words are so full of beauty and love for Christ. Once again I can only say thank you for sharing your story with those of us whom you have never even met.
As a side note, Grayson, who you added to be prayed for on your sidebar...He turned three years old this December the 5th. Thank you so much for your prayers, we are seeing a miracle in the making in his sweet life.

December 6, 2010 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Aww honey, you will make it through this day. It usually takes me a few days to really get over that milestone day. For us it is 6 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days that is hard. And every time one of my babies hits that day, I always think about what if that was it? What if that was all the time I got with them. It just breaks my heart. I hold onto them tighter and take more pictures... Hang in there mama.

December 6, 2010 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Toni :O) said...

May the memories of her joyful smile and spunky spirit help guide you through these difficult days. I pray for your family all the time, you are always close in my thoughts. Merry Christmas and hope you have so much fun for Levi's first Christmas! God bless!

December 7, 2010 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Tammie said...

I have followed your blog since about a week after Cora got sick and I have cried many times reading your stories, but I want to thank you for them. It is good to be reminded that every day is a gift from god and we need to appreciate our days and never take them for granted. I always have extra hugs and kisses for my babies after thinking of loosing them and I pray for you often.

December 7, 2010 at 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

praying for you! thank you for sharing your heart with us-- God is so evident in your story.

December 7, 2010 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Claudia said...

I was thinking about you and Christmas time the other day, isn't weird how we think of people we've actually never met but through a blog we feel like you are a part in our lives - and that's what Cora's life has done for so many (I know you wish it was different, that you rather hold her and have her instead of inspiring people as you pour your heart in this blog ...) her short life has inspired so many that are hurting, so many that have gone through the same loss than you, I'll say a special pray for you today and through out this season.

The other day I was present when a dear lady gave her life to Christ, her baby was 40 weeks when they realized she was gone, last Friday this lady gave her life to Christ and can now be reunited with her baby girl one day ... so many stories of pain and yet so many stories of hope.

Your Levi is a ham and I'm sure you gave him extra hugs yesterday, today and tomorrow ...

You're a wonderful woman and I loooove reading your blog.

Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family, here and in heaven!

December 7, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Don, Aimee, Kaitlyn and Kysen said...

From a mother to a are such an inspiration and a breath of fresh air! God bless you as you continue on your journey with your little guy! They are sooo fun! I have a 4 year old little guy and each day is a new adventure! I will pray for your daily as you learn how to be a parent to Levi!

December 7, 2010 at 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Robin in Benton said...

I've been reading your blog since a prayer request that I received when Cora was ill. I remembering crying for you and your family the day that she went to be with Jesus. And today I'm smiling in my heart for you - for your faith and the way that God has allowed Cora and your family to touch the lives of so many people - and for that sweet little guy that you come home to now. Blessings to all of you...

December 7, 2010 at 11:51 PM  
Blogger The Mershawn's said...

It's so hard being a parent...
You make us all miss that sweet girl, even though most of us never knew her. So grateful you have Levi to watch grow & to keep you BUSY. But I can only imagine how unbearable it must feel so many times watching him grow without her. Yuck. But God's strength IS perfect & will surely get you through. Praying LOTS of it your & Joel's way!

December 8, 2010 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger The Hensley Family said...

I follow your blog weekly and have wanted to comment so many times. I am the mom of 2. My oldest, Emma is almost exactly the same age as Cora and I also have a 15 month old son, Chase. I cannot imagine the pain your family has endured. I have felt loss - but the thought of not being able to bring either of my babies home is unbearable. I'm am Moved everyday by your strength. You are one of the most Amazing women I have ever met (at least I feel like I know you!). I just wanted to say Thank you for sharing your story with us. It has given me new respect for how fragile life is and how Amazing my children - and all children are.

I can't imagine how you do it - but please keep sharing. You are an inspiration. Cora and Levi are so lucky to have a Wonderful mom who loves them both - and she will always be with you. Someday you will all be together - but until then - know that all our prayers are with you and that you are giving so much to so many other moms by sharing your story and your strength in life.

God Bless!

Val Hensley

December 8, 2010 at 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Nan said...

I'm not sure if it was a typo or a purposeful spelling, but you wrote "loosing Cora." It struck me that "loosing" Cora is just what you have done, even more so than losing her. You have "loosed" her into the arms of Her heavenly Father and you have said, "Lord, use her -- even now in my sorrow and grief. Use the precious life of our little girl that we so clung to. She is and always was yours. Make her glorify you."

And He is doing just that.

Keeping you in my prayers whenever I think about you.

December 9, 2010 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Melissa Joy said...

This post was beautiful and passionate and remarkable.
Much love to you, and prayers.

December 9, 2010 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger Al's World said...

You are truly an inspiration to us all. You are truly a living example of where there is destruction, there is also hope. You and Joel are living examples of how even through the valleys, God is there, that His hand is upon us at all times, thank you from the bottom of my soul for not giving in to the doom of what your life could have been, but for always focusing on the light even when it is hard. Because I have been trying to not give into the doom after I lost my mom, and you always steer me back to where I sould be, focused on Christ. Your life is an inspiration. Thank you!

December 10, 2010 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Thank you for this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear today - one in which the exhaustion of keeping up with a very active 18 mo. old (plus his three older sibs) was catching up with me and I was entering "complain mode." I have continued to think and pray for you as you approached these anniversary dates of Cora's life. It gladdens the heart to see Levi's pictures and read about his milestones and how God continues to encourage you through these tough times.

December 10, 2010 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger TDM Wendy said...

"There are a lot of things that were hard about today, but today is also a reminder of God's sufficient grace. Today is a reminder that the same grace God has given us to move forward since loosing Cora, the same grace that God has given us as we raise Levi, is the same grace He will continue to give us as Levi moves past this eleven months and three days milestone."
Love that. Love that. Love that. Our daughter Faith would have been 8 years old yesterday! Wow. God has brought us a long way and blessed us greatly. And now Cora and Faith are partying in heaven.

December 13, 2010 at 12:15 AM  

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