My Dearest Evelyn,
The first moment I saw you I was struck by your beauty. Even with so many tubes and wires coming from you, everyone who saw you commented on what a lovely baby you were. I believe that was somehow part of your testimony here during your short stay.
I was so delighted that you came into the world screaming. You were full of passion. And you were so plump! The Bible says that God formed your inward parts and knit you together in my womb. I believe that you were perfect the way He made you, Evie. He doesn't make mistakes and He made you the way you were to glorify His name. Mommy hoped He would glorify His name by healing your inward parts here on earth, but that was not His plan. You know, we don't understand God's ways a lot of the time and sometimes life is just so perplexing. Things often turn out so differently than we expect. But one thing always remains constant: Jesus is still sitting on His throne and He has not changed. He was not surprised when the doctors kept finding new problems in your chest. Daddy and I were so tired of bad news that that we began running the other way when we saw a doctor coming. But Jesus knew. He was not surprised when the surgeon told us he'd never seen a set of problems as complex as yours. Mommy wondered how a world-renown surgeon could not do anything to help her baby, but God made you that way. He wanted to do something through you because He had a plan and purpose for your life. He knew that even the most gifted surgeon would not be able to fix you. Jesus always knew. He made you, baby girl.
In your twelve days here in this life you have impacted more people than many do in their entire lifetime. You touched hearts in a way that most people can't. God spoke very clearly to me about a month before you arrived that He was giving you to Daddy and me as a gift. He said that you were going to keep us from lukewarm Christianity. At the time it didn't make a lot of sense, but Evelyn, God has done such a work in mine and Daddy's hearts. I am changed forever. I got to choose to love, knowing that it could result in loss. I got to choose to believe the best, against all odds. I got to learn what faith really is, even though it didn't turn out my way. You have given Mommy the best gift a daughter can give. The opportunity to believe for the impossible, and to love deeply, getting nothing in return. Mommy needed this lesson! I've been longing to be able to love others more but I've felt locked out, like I will never be able to feel the pain of others in order to be used by God to comfort them. Thank you for unlocking my heart. I am forever grateful to you, my Evie girl.
We never ever stopped believing that God was well able to give you a new heart and lungs. Even after you left us we continued to ask the Lord for a miracle and for you to be healed. That was the most we could do, and we did it with all of our strength. Yet at the same time we were holding you with open hands and willing to let the Lord accomplish His plan in your life.
Evelyn, some people leave this earth having never accomplished the purposes God had for them here. Instead of choosing to receive His gift of amazing life and freedom from sin, they choose to live for themselves. People choose not to follow Jesus and they never even see all of the blessings God had just for them: freedom from guilt and shame, and peace no matter what trial. I want to tell you that you did accomplish your purpose here. You hit the mark that God had for you. I take this as a challenge, and I will use it to challenge others in the days to come. I will say to them "Evelyn had twelve days and used them all, how many days will it take you to get right with Jesus and start accomplishing the purpose He has here for you here?"
Despite the tears and deep grief, my heart is glad. I am content knowing that God is the giver of all good things. He gives and He takes away. I will always bless His name. I am thankful for the twelve days we had with you. I am especially thankful that the Lord touched your body and helped you to breathe life for the span of four hours on your own. That time with you was more precious than I can express. My heart was consoled as I held you and kissed your sweet face as I had so longed to do since the moment you were born. Now Jesus is holding you and kissing that same sweet face. I was excited for the day I get to heaven before, but now I am even more excited because I will be with you in the presence of Jesus, worshipping Him for eternity. I will hit the mark God has for me here and then I will be on my way. The Bible says that this life is fragile - it is but a breath. So goodbye, my sweet daughter. I will see you in a breath!
Evelyn Hope Nelson was born in Palo Alto, CA on February 23, 2009 and died in Boise, Idaho on March 7, 2009 of Congenital Heart Disease. She is survived by her father and mother, Chris and Stephanie Nelson, and her big sister, Clara Nelson. She is also survived by numerous relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Many many thanks to all of you who prayed for our family and who sent us verses and words of encouragement. Thank you for the meals, for cleaning my house and for even giving us money to help with bills. Wow. The generosity of the people we are surrounded by. We love you all so much more than we can say and we cannot wait until it's our turn to bless, clean, cook, and pour out love to you.
All our love,