2013 in Review

I began this blog post back on January 1, but due to a crazy start to the New Year, I never finished it. Each time that I’ve sat down to work on it since then, something pulled me away. Last night, I was finally able to sit down and finish! So, here are my reflections of 2013 in regards to how the Lord used my sweet son.

Reflecting back on 2013, preparing for 2014…

As Eric and I entered 2013, we were only three months out from saying hello and goodbye to our sweet boy, Amalya Nathaniel. I remember so many emotions surrounding that New Year. We were still pretty raw from our loss, and leaving 2012 was difficult because Amalya’s entire existence, from conception to birth and death, had been contained in 2012. Moving into 2013 felt like we were closing the door on his existence. I remember wondering what the Lord had in store for us for the year to come. I wondered if it would include Amalya, and if our son’s life and legacy would have meaning in the new year. Would our son even matter in 2013? Or would his precious life only have meaning in 2012?

Now, standing on this side in 2014, I’m in AWE of the way the Lord orchestrated 2013 to reveal to us His long-lasting plans for our son’s existence.  I am awed by the way He allowed us to see the deep impact our son’s life had on a broad spectrum. I am so thankful to say that 2013 filled my heart with love, joy, peace, healing, hope, and many proud momma moments!!! I am so thankful that the Lord allowed our son to have a lasting impact and that I was able to get a small glimpse of that impact during 2013.

So, what did the Lord do with Amalya Nathaniel in 2013? Well, lots!!! Here is a small overview of some of the things the Lord did with our son. For starters, He allowed our son to be a catalyst to spark the new Neonatal Donation Program at IIAM (the organization who placed his organs with the various researchers). Since the launch of the Neonatal Donation Program in summer of 2013, at least twelve other families have been able to participate in organ donation for research after saying goodbye to their little ones.  For us this is simply amazing. We are happy that because of our son’s initial donation, other families are now able to donate and create lasting legacies for their children.

The Lord has also allowed our son’s story to touch the hearts of hundreds of people through public speaking opportunities that Eric and I had. During 2013, the Lord allowed us to speak in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Nevada (twice). We have been able to share with members of the organ procurement community, nurses and hospital staff, and various researchers. Each time that we speak, we get to share about the amazing life of our son, the gift that he truly was from God, and how special his donations have been for us. Each time we speak, we get to hear from people who have been impacted by his story, and each time it reminds me to be thankful for my son.

The Lord also used our son’s organs with each researcher in unique ways. During 2013, we were blessed to hear back from each researcher who used part of Amalya. We received a letter from the group who used his liver. We met a representative from the research group who received his pancreas and received an e-mail with specific ways his pancreas was utilized. We have also been in touch multiple times with the researchers who received Amalya’s whole body. That particular research organization has gone above and beyond to reach out to us and share with us how they used our son. We have learned that his whole body donation truly was a blessing and has solved the problems to multiple medical questions/problems that this group had been researching. They believe that in the long run, THOUSANDS of lives will be saved due to the things they learned and through the professionals they were able to train with their new knowledge. Not all families hear back from the researchers with specifics about how their loved one’s gifts were used, so for us this is just another miracle in our son’s story. We are so happy that his donations had a long lasting impact. This is just another way that his legacy will live on for years to come.

2013 also revealed a fire that the Lord had placed in my heart to serve other families. I have been able to reach out to the infant loss community on multiple levels, which has been such a blessing to me. Each time I work with another family, I get to share things I’ve learned through my experience with my son, and his life once again impacts others.

And finally, the Lord used our son to allow this website to be created. I started this website only six months ago, and in that short time the Lord has allowed it to grow and be used in many ways. I have been blessed to hear from others how helpful the site has been to them, which is my goal. Not only do I want to help families pursing donation, but any family who is carrying to term after receiving a terminal diagnosis. Recently I added a special section just for Organ Procurement Organizations to help answer their questions and help them interact with families in a positive way. Each time I work on my website, I think about my son and remember how blessed we were that the Lord chose us to be his parents.

So, why do I write these things? Am I just trying to brag?? No… My goal in writing these things is to show how amazing the Lord truly is. How He was able to take a situation, a devastating situation like the loss of a child, and turn it into something incredible. I want to show how the Lord’s plan for our son’s life is still playing out. Although our son is no longer physically with us, and wasn’t with us for very long, that does not mean the Lord’s plan for his existence is over. This “Work of the Lord, Given by God” is not yet finished. We do not know what else the Lord will do with our son, for our son is truly HIS WORK… It is amazing to see the Lord’s plans for my son’s life unfold. I am so very blessed to be Amalya’s mother.

I also write this to encourage other families to consider donation. You don’t know what type of legacy donation will allow to be created. Please realize, that I know donation is not for everyone, and that not every family will be able to donate, and that donation isn’t the ONLY way to create a lasting legacy for a child whose life will be brief… BUT, I do believe that it is something worth considering.

As I end this, I must add that these are just a FEW of the things the Lord did in 2013 with our son. There are other things that I did not share. There are also things that I probably don’t even know about. Someday I hope to learn all of the special things the Lord did with our son, but for now I feel so blessed that I have a small glimpse into the amazing ways He used my boy. I cannot say enough how blessed I feel to have been given such a gift. Our son has truly brought us a deep long lasting joy. We know that the Lord formed him in the womb for a special purpose, and it is awesome to see that purpose unfold. I am thankful that his existence did not end in 2012, and we look forward to what 2014 might hold. I’m sure the Lord has many more plans for our son. I pray that this blog post is uplifting and brings hope to others that are walking this road. Know that we serve a mighty Lord, and He can create beauty out of the ashes.


2013 in Review — 2 Comments

  1. Love you Bethany and am so thankful for your heart to serve others and be a conduit for knowledge and hope!

    • Thank you so much, Amy. I am blessed to know you. You have also been an encouragement to me!