dear annabelle grace...

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
(Jeremiah 1:5)

This letter is written to my sweet little niece Annabelle Grace Green who at this moment rests safely in her mothers womb. Last week she was diagnosed as having Trisomy 18 and in the next few weeks time she will come into the world without ever taking a breath. She has been on my heart a lot this week and I wanted her to know how much she is loved.

Dear Annabelle Grace, 

I got to see a picture of you today. Your Mama showed me the sonogram and I was thrilled to see your little heart beating, your arms waving and your beautiful little body. What a miracle you are! Oh my sweet girl how you are loved. 

I hugged your Mama tight and told her how proud I was of her for fighting so hard for you little one. You see, I will never have the privilege of holding you in my arms, or singing to you, or watching you grow up. You have something called Trisomy 18 and as long as you live inside your Mama you are safe, but once it's time for you to come out in the world, your little body will not be able to handle it and  you will go home straight into the loving arms of Jesus. 

I wonder what God was thinking when He decided in His infinite wisdom to allow you to have such a life. I know He is a loving God and nothing comes to our lives without first coming through God's hands, but sometimes it's hard to understand His plans. Then I looked at your Mama and Daddy's faces and saw the love they have for you and I knew the answer right away. 

You life is a testament to the power of love. You were conceived in love by two people who have promised to care for each other, you and your three older brothers and older sister for the rest of their lives. When your Mama found out she was pregnant with you she was so excited to have another baby. She felt so blessed by God to be able to bring you into the world. Now that she knows you will be going home to Jesus sooner than she ever thought, she feels honored and blessed to carry you in her womb so you can be loved and cared for by her for as long as God allows. 

"Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." 
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Oh my Annabelle, you have already taught us so much. You have taught us that perfection is in the eyes of God alone and not those who say you have no worth or that you might be a burden for your Mama and Daddy. You are so much more than "tissue" my girl. God made every single cell in your body and only He knows the full purpose and plan for your life. You are a Green, a fighter, a little girl made by God to know Him, love Him and serve Him. You just get to do it in a very special way. 

You see your cousin Courtney taught me something a long time ago. She taught me to be empathetic and patient and to trust in God for His mercy and grace to get through every single challenge that would come. She taught me to live each day to the fullest and appreciate every moment because that is all God has given us. Just this day sweet girl, to live and love and learn. She taught me that every life is so very precious and that God uses each and every one to sing His glory and praise, no matter what "that life" may look like or how short or long it may be.  

God chose your parents just for you and you for them. They aren't afraid of having a "special" baby. They have your older brother AJ who has Aspergers Syndrome. He is such a smart young man who loves you already. You know he can build anything he thinks of and one day maybe he will be an engineer or architect. He loves to run and just finished his first 5K. Isn't that amazing Annabelle? I think so and he is only eight years old. He is the best big brother to your sister Sarah and your two other brothers Sean and Thomas and I know that if you were to come home, he would love you all the same. 

Sarah and I talked about you this weekend. She is very sad that she is not going to get the opportunity to hold you and help your Mama feed you and take care of you. She loves babies so much and was absolutely thrilled when she found out you were a girl. She wanted to teach you how to dance and sing. She is going to be a gumdrop in her dane recital. She is so happy when she dances. She even got to help name you. She gave you the middle name "Grace" because it sounded so pretty. I think other than your Mama and Daddy, Sarah will miss you the most. She has wanted a baby sister for so long. She is praying her little heart out that God will chose to perform a miracle and you will be born just fine. So I will pray for the same thing right along with her but if God doesn't chose that, when you get to heaven can you watch out for her in a special way? I think she will be sad for a little while but she knows that you will be there in heaven to love her and help her for the rest of her life. 

Sean and Thomas are still too young to really know what is happening. At almost three and one, they keep your Mama very busy during the day while AJ and Sarah are at school. But one day when they are older they will be told a wonderful story about their little sister Annabelle Grace, who will be a saint in heaven.  I can only imagine how proud they will be to know that and to talk to you in their prayers seeking help and protection through your intersession. 

Do you know that when you get to heaven you will never be alone? After Jesus hugs you and holds you and the Blessed Mother sings you a lullaby, your Grandpa Green will hold you and watch over you. He will be the first one in our family to get to meet you. How lucky is he?? You will also meet your two cousins, my little boys Simon Jude and Oliver Hunter. I bet they will run and play with you all day long. Then there is Aunt Pam's little one and Aunt Alex's little one and Aunt Jennifer's little ones. There is your second cousins Taylor and Nikki along with many special little friends who are now with Jesus. So many people all waiting to say hello and love you for an eternity until your Mama and Daddy get there. 

Oh how I wish it would be different. How I wish I could hold you and love you and rock you to sleep. How I wish I could see if your were going to be a blonde or a redhead (my bets on blonde). I wonder if you would love to draw like your big sister Sarah or run like AJ? I wonder if your would play with baby dolls or kick soccer balls or both like I did?

I know that your Mama and Daddy wonder these things too. Their hearts are broken that they won't be able to watch your grow up big and strong like your other brothers and sister. But...they also have a very strong faith that even if they do not understand why God is asking them to make this sacrifice, they love Him so much and trust Him even more that they are willing to let you go to Him first, event though they want you here with them. 

My dear Annabelle, I look forward to the day I get to see you in heaven. Can you tell Simon and Oliver how much their Mommy loves them and misses them? You see I never go to hold them either and sometimes that makes me sad. So I understand how your Mama and Daddy feel today as they wait on God to decide the timing of your homecoming. 

I promise to pray everyday for you sweet Annabelle as I do for your cousins and all those special people I told you about. I love you so much my sweet girl even though I will never get to look into your eyes and tell you that in person. 

So Miss Annabelle Grace Green, I need you to know that you are wanted and loved so very much by so many people. Even though I will never hold you in my arms, I will always keep you very close in my heart. My sweet little niece, soon to be a saint. How cool is that?

With ALL my love and prayers, 
Aunt Mary Beth