A Letter to our Brothers & Sisters

24 hours… While we still can’t know the conditions  surrounding Abel’s birth, what we finally DO know at last is that his birthday is going to be TOMORROW, January 22, 2016. We know this because in order to eliminate variables at delivery with Abel still in ‘breech’ position, Kelly will have him by C-section @ 7:30am Central Time. So roughly 24hrs from this post, the time will come for us to meet our son face-to-face. I promise that our Doc had reasons for delivering at 39 weeks (which is still amazing to type) rather than waiting til 40, so while the “1/29” won’t pan out precisely, we are ready and excited to have this baby boy!
While we encourage ANYone to continue reading, it is you “1:29ers” out there who  we  write to this morning… and due  to the amazing videography of #StandForLife Movement the other week (below), it feels like there are  more of us here down the home stretch than ever!

 

So for our brothers & sisters in Christ who have prayed for us at any time and in any capacity, this final post before Abel’s birth is for you. Here’s 3 things we want to be sure that you know:

(1) Your daily prayers will be a forever-special memory of this pregnancy with our first son, and God has answered many of them…

For Abel

For starters, we asked you to pray that we could all partner with the Lord in bringing dignity to Abel’s earthly life—for our son to be a reminder that every child, from the moment of conception, is precious.  Just prior to this 14th post, little man’s blog has 38,015 clicks by 18,215 different visitors. His StandForLife video has 10,551 YouTube hits and was shared by 435 people on Facebook, most of whom we’ve never met. As we’ve said before, Abel does not become our son on Friday morning; he has been our son since last April. So THANK YOU  for lifting him up, sharing his story to date, and giving his life meaning & value even from the womb all these months.
Secondly and profoundly, the fact that Kelly is carrying him here in late January (how incredible is she, btw?) just a week out from full-term is a gift in itself that we do not overlook.  Ever since we discovered Abel’s Trisomy-18 diagnosis last summer, we’ve known that any week could be ‘the week’ as mothers can  frequently  miscarry or labor prematurely. So closing in on 6lbs, active as ever, extending fingers, wiggling toes, kicking his Mama… these are all sweet, sweet things that were far from guaranteed. Thank you, Lord.

For Abel’s parents

We believe that God is the Creator of every life, and that He’s had a plan and a sovereign purpose for Abel Paul’s since well-before this diagnosis. Up to this point, standing for the sanctity of life in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16) and letting the Body of Christ shine (2 Corinthians 1:3-7, Ephesians 4:1-16) have been just two of the purposes that we can perceive at this time. As it pertains to Abel’s birthday tomorrow, the Lord may also purpose to hold up our boy as a powerful reminder that He is the God of miracles—but we must also accept that His plan might be different than that.  Either way, we believe with confidence & conviction that the ultimate plan & purpose for Abel’s life (and our lives) is to glorify the Glorious One. And by glorify, I mean having actions + attitudes that show Jesus alone is the greatest and most glorious Treasure that one could find  (Matthew 13:44).
So as that ultimate purpose also extends to Abel’s parents, this is perhaps the most wonderful area where God has answered your prayers. Because Kelly & I have needed to be reminded, daily, to fix our eyes on eternity where our great hope lies (2 Corinthians 4:16-18), which sits well beyond our short time on this earth. We’ve needed to be encouraged, daily, to re-up & abide with Christ (John 15:4-5) even—rather, ESPECIALLY in the midst of hardship (Hebrews 4:14-16). And we’ve needed His courage, daily, in our attempts to steward Abel’s life to the glory of God (Colossians 1:24-29).  We’ve asked you for months to pray for all that & more on our behalf, and God in his goodness has been faithful to extend those blessings to us through His Word, His Spirit & His People. Thank you, Lord.

(2) God is good, faithful & trustworthy – even if we do not find Abel physically healed as we’ve been praying.

Here’s a fact: I’d have my work cut out for me to find a baby that has been MORE prayed over before their birth than our son, Abel. So in case you may struggle sometimes with a formulaic “If-Then” view of relating to  God (“if only I would have done ___, then God would have rewarded me by ___”) then PLEASE hear this: The goal of prayer is to draw near to God and let Him draw near to us (James 4:8), and  He invites & asks us to do so (1 Thess 5:16-18)  even while we won’t ever comprehend Him fully this side of eternity (Isaiah 55:8-9). So prayer’s  intimate purpose is to fully confide the desires of our hearts to Jesus, that we may know Him more even if we understand Him less. I mention that to show that  God does not accumulate our prayers like donations to a crowd-funding site, as if there were a magic number of prayers that He needed to hear before He’d determine to fix Abel’s chromosomes. So with a Biblical view of God & prayer, there is zero room to let that haunting “if only” thought agonize us as believers… Please know that, and please apply that truth to any past or present situation in your own life.
Here’s another fact: the “If-Then” view of relating to  God is also bogus when put in reverse. “IF You heal my son, THEN I’ll trust you… IF you somehow show me You’re real, THEN I’ll believe… IF You give me what I feel like I need, THEN I’ll follow you.” At best, this is a WEAK faith that will collapse on itself the moment disappointment or suffering enters the equation. But I think calling it ‘faith’ at all is a misnomer… because faith is not real when it’s loaded with conditions and contingencies.
Instead of an “If-Then” faith, we believe that followers of Christ are called to an “Even If” faith (Daniel 3:16-18)  that unconditionally honors & clings to a faithful God  in every scenario. Because Jesus never shied away from stating clearly that following Him was a far cry from guaranteed  health & wealth in this world (Luke 9:23).  In fact, God’s Word tells us that  Christian  suffering is not strange, but to be expected (1 Peter 4:12-13). It tells us that we’ll know Christ more sweetly & more intimately  as  we experience sorrow & grief just like He did  (Philippians 3:7-11, Isaiah 53;3-6). It tells us that we can even  REJOICE while  enduring & persevering through earthly hardships, because they are  opportunities to exalt  Him with our allegiance in the present  and strengthen our unwavering hope for the future (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4).
So we don’t know what tomorrow has in store, and in that regard it’s still really scary for us  to think about. But we know that as the Body of Christ, we hope  to live out the heart of Psalm 119:30 in this and any season: “I have chosen the way of faithfulness, and I have set my heart on Your ways.” 

 

(3) We want you to feel encouraged to keep those alarms set … and not just for us

Some of the most consistent & uplifting feedback we’ve heard from folks  is how much the daily alarm has renewed & revamped the prayer lives of many… and in our minds, this is yet another small way the Lord has chosen to use Abel’s life, and another way that you guys honor it. So if that alarm reminds you to draw near to the One  who has drawn near to you, then we encourage you to keep it.  Feel TOTALLY  free to move it to a different time if it helps, but consider continuing to pray for those who may be hurting or walking through seasons of uncertainty.  Be reminded of the reality of Christian suffering–that it’s not an excuse to doubt God’s goodness & power, but an opportunity to share in Christ’s sufferings for us… And take heart in the eternal hope we have because of that suffering Savior, who gave His earthly life that we may truly live with Him, forever.

 

It’s been quite a journey so far. Thank you. We love you.

-D&K

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26 thoughts on “A Letter to our Brothers & Sisters

  1. As usual, a very awesome post. You are no doubt in the right profession, Daniel, and Kelly is an amazing wife and mother. Can’t wait for you, to meet Abel face to face!!!!

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  2. Btw, I am about 99 percent sure that Jan. 22, Abels birthday, is the date of the annual march for life in Washington DC that has been going on for years

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  3. Continued prayers for you all as you become parents – what a wonderful privilege it is.
    Praying tomorrow will go very smoothly.
    (ps I am a ZTA sister of your mom’s Daniel, she is one of the reasons I pledged).

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  4. I have been and continue to pray fervently for Abel and you all. Your story, your faith, your love and devotion to your son and the Lord is touching lives in ways that you may never fully realize this side of heaven. Please know all 3 of you are so so very loved. Praying! Praying! Praying!

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  5. Just seeing your beautiful story. My birthday is also 1/29 :-), but it is so exciting that you will be meeting your precious son tomorrow! We will be praying along with you for things to go well tomorrow for mom, dad, & little Abel!!

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  6. January 22nd is our wedding anniversary. We found out after the fact that it also happens to be the anniversary of Roe v Wade. What a beautiful day for a baby to be born. A picture that God is the author of life, and that He numbers our days. Praying for you now and tomorrow- that God surrounds you with His love.

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  7. Continued prayers for you and Kelly and Abel Daniel. Y’all, your faith & trust and posting of your feelings, faith n trust has been amazing to read & experience. What an awesome example of walking with God you have set. Virtual hugs for your whole family & your doctor .

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  8. Kelly and Daniel, I have been praying for you and for Abel and I will continue to do so. I cannot tell you how touched I have been by your blog and your incredible witness and dedication to Christ. You are an inspiration to me and, I am sure, so many others as you put your complete trust in our Savior. Late in life, I learned to ask God that His will be done, rather than what I wanted, and it is easy to see that the two of you are so wise and faithful beyond your years. You mentioned Romans 5:3 which is my favorite Bible verse–“and hope does not disappoint us”. I am so proud of the two of you for placing your trust and hope in God, He will not let you down. Your faith and witness to Christ has had a huge impact on me over the past few months. I will pray for you over the next several hours and please know that God’s community of faith, hope, and love is surrounding you and that you are loved very much. Godspeed, Gary Olander.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  9. Loving prayers to surround y’all ! God has Abel in the palm of His hand and will deliver him to yall’s loving arms. Abel will know nothing but love in his precious life ! God Bless your sweet family.

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  10. Daniel & Kelly, my prayer partner Sue is in your friend Erica’s home study group in Danvers MA. Sue sent me this link this morning as I was reading the Word and praying. Your story and faith have blessed my heart beyond anything words can express, I wish I had been following and praying for you from the beginning of your journey, but many others have and I look forward to following and praying for Able Paul’s journey no matter how short or long the LORD has numbered his days in His Book (Psalm 139:16). I did not finish my daily reading but I did stop and pray the following Scripture verses for you at 7 am EST:

    LORD, thank You for creating Able Paul’s inmost being and knitting him together in Kelly’s womb. I praise You because Able Paul is fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Able Paul’s frame was not hidden from You while he was being made in the secret place. As Able Paul was being woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw his unformed body. All the days ordained for Able Paul are written in Your book before one of them has come to be (Psalm 139:13-16).

    Father God, thank You that You have made known to Daniel and Kelly the paths of life and filled them with JOY in Your Presence (Acts 2:28) throughout this pregnancy. Holy Spirit, thank You for filling Daniel and Kelly with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they have lived lives worthy of You, pleasing You in every way…growing in the knowledge of You, and being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to You (Colossians 1:9-12). You, LORD have always been before them, because You are at their right hand they have not been shaken; their hearts are glad, their tongues rejoice, and their bodies live in hope (Acts 2:25-26).

    Jesus, Great Physician, thank You for guiding the doctors, nurses, technicians, and everyone involved in Kelly’s pregnancy. Guide their minds with wisdom and their hands with steadiness this morning as they bring Able Paul into this world. Bless the work of their hands and give them success (Psalm 90:17). I pray in Your Name that by the faith of Daniel and Kelly Able Paul, whom You see, will be made strong and healthy; for it is Your Name, and the faith that comes through You, that gives complete healing (Acts 3:16). I pray that Able Paul will grow in wisdom, age, and favor with God and people (Luke 2:52).

    LORD bless Daniel, Kelly, and Able Paul, make Your face to shine upon them and be gracious to them. Turn Your face toward them and give them Your Peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

    Thank You Father that Your Word goes out from Your mouth and does not return to You empty, but accomplishes what You desire and achieves the purpose for which You sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

    I praise You that these prayers have come to pass before I am done speaking them. Blessed be Jehovah Who has not forsaken His loving kindness and His truth (Genesis 24:15, 27).

    Father, I thank you that you have heard our prayers. I know that You always hear us (John 11:41). I give You all the praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength for ever and ever. Amen (Revelations 7:12)!

    Now to You, Lord, Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can pray or imagine, according to Your Power that is at work within us, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever (Ephesians 3:20-21).

    JoyOnYa! & HUGS2U!

    JOY is the settled assurance that God is in control, the confidence that ultimately everything will be all right, and the determined purpose to praise Him in all things.

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  11. I don’t know you but have prayed for you. I couldn’t help but be in awe of an amazing God this morning as I heard on KSBJ that today, in the snow, there will be a Pro Life March. This is no coincidence on Abel Paul’s day of birth!

    Continued prayers and may you feel God’s loving presence and arms around all of you!

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  12. Your precious testimony of God’s love and grace gives Him much glory. May you all be blessed and held tight in God’s loving arms no matter what the outcome and this precious baby-by his very life-gives light to the world.

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  13. I just discovered your blog this morning – the day of Abel Paul’s birth. Praying for you now. Thank you for sharing his life that others may draw closer to our wonderful savior.

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  14. Thank you for the opportunity to pray for your family and these immediate needs. I have asked for my prayer partners from my medical missionary training days to surround you with their prayers and we have seen miracles in the past, and expect one for your family also. Not presumption, but faith in a God that not only creates, but restores to health also. What ever the outcome, God and your family matter in this universe right now, and what ever brings us closer to others needs, that we are united as one voice. Thank you for asking for our prayers and may your son be surrounded by prayers throughout his life time. God bless you during this unknowing time, God has a purpose for your son’s birth in your life.

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  15. I have been lifting up your family in prayer and will continue to do so. I am so overjoyed for you both having just seen the photo of your precious boy!!! I am on a bus back from D.C march for life and have shared your story with many on the bus. What a beautiful witness to the immense value and purpose of EVERY life God creates. Enjoy Abel Paul’s birthday. Praise God!!!

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  16. WOW, well done Daniel and Kelly! I pray you have been blessed with your bundle of joy on this day which, you said was your son, Abel Paul’s day to be delivered. Every thing you said Daniel, in your letter, is so MUCH the same way I think. Love the turn of “IF ONLY” to “EVEN IF”, way of thinking! …In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in Jesus Christ’s name, may you and your wife Kelly live to KNOW how so wonderful it is to be a parent. Whether with Abel Paul or, soon thereof a God given treasure in human form. Amen. God bless.

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  17. The Lord continues to shower grace and blessings over you. Here in Pro-Life March week Divine Providence has chosen Abel and you his parents who say yes to life- to experience Abel’s birth today the day of the march in Washington DC. God blesses us through you and Abel.

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  18. Daniel and Kelly,
    My love andvprayerscare with you and your family as you meet your precious little man! My daughter Angela was born with Trisomy 18, it was a very bittersweet time, one that I would not trade for anything in the world! We had her for 12 1/2 amazing years…..God has a plan for your family, you will make it through this if you follow his lead….I will be thinking of you!
    Jo Blair Houston

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  19. My niece (in law) liked this post and I just have to comment. My nephew who is like a son or brother to me lost his daughter to this. It has had a profound affect on me. I don’t think they know this. I wanted to write a book about what they experienced but I just could never put it into words.I just can’t imagine what you all have gone through. I held my niece days before she passed and was there there the day she went to be with the Lord and I can’t seem to get her out of my mind. I know she is in a much better place but I miss her so much! I’m not going to lie but I’m sobbing right now. It’s been almost 9 years since they lost her but it seems like yesterday. I can’t wait to see her again, hold her, love her!!!

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  20. I will keep my alarm set.❤💙💚💛💜you have one beautiful amazing little man.I will keep praying for him and you.and prayers for others who need it at that time.congratulations on your perfect little man..

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