Benjamin Joseph Jansen
And through faith, Ben still speaks…
Our second son, Benjamin Joseph Jansen, was diagnosed with Trisomy 13 at the end of his first trimester. This was not news any parent expects, and not the circumstances we would have chosen for Ben or our family. Even so, God moved us to cling to our faith, trusting that He would be molding us increasingly into who He wants us to be through this journey with Ben.
We knew in our hearts that if our desire was to surrender our lives to God, there was only one path forward, and that was to carry Ben for as long as He planned. We resolved to prayerfully wait on the Lord and place our trust in our all-powerful, loving, patient and merciful God.
We will never forget the day we found out about Abel Speaks through a family friend. We immediately went to their website, watched their video, read their story and suddenly felt a weight lifted off of us. We were so encouraged that there were other families we could talk to who had received a similar disheartening diagnosis for their child and who had continued their journey with hope and grace.
Throughout our journey, Abel Speaks has been a light shining bright for us and lifting our hearts over and over again. We have been constantly supported by this wonderful team who is walking hand in hand with us through it all. They have comforted us when we were overwhelmed and anxious. They have provided fellowship when we needed it the most in our lives. We began as complete strangers, but this community soon became dear friends who have prayed for us, cared for us and supported us so selflessly. They had already walked in our shoes, and they instilled in us a resilient hope that we too could endure the road ahead.
Ben entered this world with a glorious zest for life on September 19th, 2020. We got to take him home, and spent our time with Ben celebrating his life and loving on him with all of our hearts. There are few moments as memorable and euphoric as the moment we walked into our backyard with him bundled in our arms as he breathed in the fresh fall air and felt the rain starting to come down on his face for the first time. Ben showed us that even in the midst of pain and heartache, life has moments of complete and surreal beauty and joy. Even in our toughest moments together, we were reminded that God wasn’t asking us to walk this road alone. He was right there with us providing us an unfathomable peace and strength, and surrounding us with faithful family and friends to love and support us.
6 days after he was born, God called him home to rest in eternal peace with Him. From the outside looking in, Ben’s life may appear to have been a tragedy, but from our perspective Ben’s life is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given us.
“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” -Psalm 139:12
It is impossible to summarize all of the ways Ben’s life has changed ours. His life has drawn us into a deeper faith, and a relationship with our Heavenly Father that we have never experienced before. Ben’s life is a story of God’s pursuit for us—a story of His redemptive love, His amazing grace, and His sovereignty. Our powerful and loving God in His infinite wisdom does not make mistakes. He has meticulously crafted every detail of our lives. His plan is always better than the plans we make for ourselves and there is an insurmountable peace in resting in that truth.
Ben’s life has been an invitation to love the way we have been loved by our Heavenly Father, selflessly and completely unaltered by our imperfections. He taught us that God can and will carry us through absolutely anything if we trust Him. He showed us that even the shortest lives can make an impact for God’s kingdom, and that ultimately we were not made for this world–our eternal home is with Christ. And while we wait for that day when everything will be made whole, we live each day with the promise that soon and very soon, we will be reunited with Ben in the presence of our mighty King.
– Brian and Natalie Jansen, in memory of Ben