Be Not Afraid

Dear John Paul, On Your First Birthday:

Today, you are one year old.  I can’t believe how quickly time has flown, and how much we’ve been through together in one short year.  As I watched you gaze in excitement at your birthday oatmeal this morning I thanked God, with my whole heart, for the incredible blessing you are in my life, and in the lives of so many others.

Last night, your Daddy and I lay in bed together, our heads touching, our hands grasped tightly together.  We were in that same position one year earlier, on the night before your birth, except then, we were in a hospital room, and we were so afraid.  Even though we hadn’t met you yet, we loved you so much, and we would have given anything for you to be born safely the next morning.  But, we knew it was out of our hands, and all we could do that night was love one another, love you, and love our God, placing all of our trust in Him, believing with our whole hearts that He would deliver you and I safely to a place of health.  Something amazing happened in that hospital room that night, but I’ll tell you more about that and the power of prayer when you’re a little older.  For now, all you need to know is that two things were true that night:  we loved you, and God loved you.  And those things will always be true, for all of your days, no matter what life brings your way.

Though you were born at 10:07 a.m. as it stormed outside that cold day in February, I didn’t meet you until 6:43 p.m. that night, after I recovered from the surgery performed to bring you safely out of my womb and into the world.  The hours waiting to see you were excruciating.  Though I was confused from the medication they gave me, I knew one thing to be true:  when they took you out of my womb they took more than just a part of my body-they also took a part of my soul.  And it wasn’t until I held you in my arms for the first time that I felt whole again.

You were so beautiful when I first saw you, so tiny and pink and your face all scrunched up. Your skin was so soft as I held you in my arms, and in that moment, the skies opened and heaven met earth as you reached up your tiny hand and touched my cheek when I said, “I love you” for the first time face to face.  I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life, for, it was the manifestation of all the hope and faith I’ve ever had.  In that moment, I knew, without a doubt, that God was present in all things, even in my cancerous body, and even in a tiny baby fighting for each breath.  The love I felt in that moment alone has been enough to carry me through a year of fighting cancer and depression, and I know it is strong enough to bring me through whatever the future holds for us.

I have so many wishes, hopes, and dreams for you, my sweet boy!  But, the most important hope I have is that you always know how loved you are by me, your Daddy, and your family, and how beloved you are by your God.  I am in awe of who you are and who you are becoming, and so thankful for the person and mother you’re making me.

I will always love you my little goose!



Today I am praying in thanksgiving, not only for the safe birth of my sweet John Paul, but for the unending love of my family and friends and the incredible care given to John Paul and me by INOVA Fairfax Hospital, from the incredible nurses, to my amazing oncologist, anesthesiologist, thoracic surgeon, high-risk obstetrician and the entire NICU team.  How blessed we were to receive such incredible, compassionate care!  I am also praying in thanksgiving for all of you who read these words and who prayed for us on that February morning not so long ago.  I am forever indebted to you for your love and kindness.


  1. Heather Tiger

    What a beautiful love letter to a son from his wonderful mother. It will be a birthday gift he will treasure when he is older. I enjoyed doing the same thing for my son when he turned one! Blessings as you journey with you family. I look forward to reading more.

  2. jonniebug

    And as the tears of happiness stream down my face, I want you to know that you bless me. I wrote a similar letter to my granddaughter Embry on her first birthday. God was so good to give me a son, Gabriel, and so good to let me live past the prognosis to see my granddaughter. Happy Birthday John Paul. Happy Birthday Allison! Jonnie Hickman This is Embry –

  3. Sarah B.

    Happy birthday to the sweetest one year old around! Guess what? I don’t know if you ever met my friends Laura and Ryan from A Simple House, but they had their baby early this morning!

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