tisdag 14 oktober 2014

in swedish news

many of you have perhaps already seen the facebook link i posted this morning regarding the newspaper article that has been written about us in today's edition of sweden's largest Christian newspaper, "Dagen" ("Today"). well, as the article is in swedish and many of you don't read or speak the language, i won't make you google translate the whole thing. here comes a translation :).


Photo caption: Both Jordana and Andreas bear the name of the child they lost on necklaces they each wear around their necks. Now Jordana is pregnant again. Levi’s little brother is due in January. He will be called Josiah, which means ”God heals.” Photo: Lina Mattebo

”Their Son Died Before He Was Born”

Levi would have been ten months old now, but Andreas and Jordana Surell’s first child died before he was born. Levi’s death is the worst thing that has happened to the couple, but it has also taught them that God’s goodness remains through it all. And soon Levi will have a little brother.

Andreas talked to Levi every evening. With his hand on Jordana’s stomach, he’d say, ”Hey Levi! Pappa here. Are you gonna kick for me?” And Levi answered every time with a hard kick, every night except 16 January. It was 10 days past Levi’s due date; Andreas had just finished his last exam in school, and Jordana had met up with two friends.

But not until they’d gone to bed for the night did Jordana realise that she hadn’t felt Levi kick for awhile. So when Andreas’ voice didn’t give any response, she knew at once that it was too late. Shocked whispers and panicked screams echoed through the apartment, ”Honey, he’s gone…How could this happen? Is this for real?”

At the hospital, what Jordana already knew was confirmed: little Levi’s heart had stopped beating. But in her head and heart there was a song from God, ”It’s not over. It’s not finished. It’s not ending. It’s only the beginning. When God is in it, all things are new.”

When they were finally alone in the hospital room after receiving confirmation that no one should have to hear, Jordana turned to Andreas and said, ”I know it sounds crazy, but God is telling me ’It’s not over.’ I don’t know if that means that God is going to heal Levi or if it just means that this story isn’t over, but I believe that we have to worship God even though it feels horrible.” So in that cold, white hospital room with no movement in her big tummy, with tears pouring down their faces, they listened to Israel Houghton’s worship song and praised God.

Levi’s hair was red, the same shade as his pappa’s beard. He had his mamma’s nose and his pappa’s lips. But his parents don’t know what his eyes looked like. When Levi was born on 18 January, they were closed, all life gone. The doctors don’t know why Levi died, as both he and Jordana were totally healthy.

In spite of the seemingly meaningless, Jordana and Andreas share of God’s presence and goodness in the midst of their endless grief.

”The whole delivery was truly covered in God’s grace. In the middle of it all, I felt God whisper the Swedish worship song ’The Lord Is My Strength and Song’ in my ear.  I’m not even a big fan of that song, but I sang out that truth throughout my contractions,” said Jordana.

Andreas continues, ”It had been a long time since I felt God’s presence as strongly as I did during our time in hospital and afterward. It’s hard to explain…Of course, something horrible happened, but at the same time, we experienced so much grace and goodness.”

There are visible signs of Levi throughout the flat six floors up in Stockholm. On the wall in the room that should have been his hangs a painting with his full name and birth information in happy, gold letters. Both Andreas and Jordana have silver necklaces engraved with Levi’s name that they wear. And above the sofa hang two large black and white photographs from the photo session they had just a few weeks before Levi was born.

In spite of these signs, several people who have visited them haven’t asked how they’re doing since Levi’s death. Even though Andreas and Jordana have been mostly positively overwhelmed with friends’ and the Church’s care—through encouraging texts and Facebook mesages, that the freezer filled quickly with food, economic help, company, and prayers—others’ silence since Levi’s death has been rather difficult.

With tears streaming down her face, Jordana says, ”I wish people would ask if I can tell them a bit about Levi. Ask why we chose just the photos we did for the wall hangings, what he looked like, why I wear his name on my necklace. There are a thousand things to say! Now it’s like he never existed.”

Andreas adds, ”I believe that many people don’t dare ask questions because they’re afraid we’ll be sad. And of course we might be, but to ask us gives us a choice. Then we can say, ’We don’t feel like talking now, but we’d love to another time.”

When they were planning the music for Levi’s memorial service, they discovered that several well-known worship leaders—Brenton Brown, Matt Redman, Darlene Zschech, and Steven Curtis Chapman—had all lost children and then gone on to write songs that have touched many. Andreas and Jordana hope that their experiences can help others as well. Although they’ve cried and been angry, Levi’s death has not meant a great crisis of faith for them. Many have asked, ”Why you guys?” and in the darkest moments, Jordana has even screamed that question, but often the answer has been, ”Why not us?”

”It’s a part of the western world’s culture, and especially Sweden’s culture, to believe that the world, that God owes us something. We’re used to being handed everything by the system. ’Here you go. Nothing’s going to happen to you.’ But we walk with God when life is going along normally as well as in the midst of crises. As Christians, we don’t live in a protected bubble.”

For Andreas and Jordana, the choice to try to have another baby was an obvious one.

”We finally came to a point where we felt that regardless of how long we wait, we’ll still have the same questions, the same doubts and fears. But we’re ready to be a family,” says Andreas.

Levi’s little brother is expected in January. He will be called Josiah.

Jordana shares, ”One month after Levi died, I sat in church, not listening at all to the sermon. Then I suddenly felt that God whispered Josiah to me. When I looked it up, I learned that the name means ’God heals.’”

Andreas felt him kick for the first time a few weeks ago.

”I was afraid that it would be more painful than joyful since Andreas loved to talk to Levi and feel him kick in response, but he started crying tears of joy. It’s truly a gift from God that we can experience such peace,” says Jordana.

Footnote: If you have gone through a situation similar to Andreas and Jordana’s or want to read Levi’s whole story, feel free to check out  www.levigideonslegacy.com.

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