A blog about the life of the Balentine family: Adam, Amy, Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My thank you address at Simon's Celebration

Below is my address and thank yous I shared at Simon's Celebration of Life service.  Several people have asked me how I stood up and spoke at my son's memorial - my answer is simple, by the grace of God. 

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Saturday, June 14, 2014 (one month after Simon's birth)
Thank you for being here today.  I thought I would just take a moment to give thanks to each person who has been with us along this journey.

Thank you to strangers, near and far that we don’t know.  Thank you for taking the time to read our thoughts on the blog and to get to know us through our words.  Thank you for allowing Simon to influence your life.  Thank you for praying for our little boy and for our family.  We don’t know who you are but are forever grateful that you walked with us.

Thank you to our friends who have checked continuously on us.  You have held us up, given us space, met for playdates, delivered us meals, planted trees, raised money for other families going through this journey, cried with us, laughed with us and offered countless prayers.  I feel a fresh bond with each one of you and I am so thankful for you.

Thank you to our siblings.  God has perfectly placed each one of you in our lives.  Even when we didn’t know what words to exchange with each other, your smile, text, call and simply just being present spoke love to us.  You are our first friends and we are thankful to walk through life with you – through the good and the bad.  Thank you for your endless prayers and for loving us as much as you do.  I love you each unconditionally.  

Thank you to our parents.  You have stood alongside of us and have lifted us up.  I hate that you have had to grieve the loss of your grandson, but I also recognize you have had to watch your children grieve – I can’t imagine your pain.  I pray for God to continue to comfort you as this journey is not over.  Thank you for praying for us.  Thank you for loving Simon.  Thank you for dropping everything for one week and essentially residing at our house, taking care of Adam, Teddy, Simon and me.  Your love is selfless.  We love you each so much.

To my Teddy, who’s playing downstairs right now.  You are such a beacon of light.  I am so thankful God entrusted us with you.  You are an amazing big brother.  I pray you have future siblings that dwell on earth with you, as I can tell you are a great leader, much like your daddy.  I am so thankful you were gentle with your baby brother.  Simon was covered in love when you held him.  I love that you continue to ask about your baby brother and look forward to the days when you better understand Heaven and that you will reunite with your brother at your entrance to Heaven.  Thank you for helping mommy and daddy stay strong.  We love you unconditionally but could never love you as much as Jesus Christ loves you.

To my Simon, my small but mighty warrior.  Behind God, I met you first on October 10, 2013!  You introduced yourself to me when I got light headed at the top of our stairs at home and thought, if I didn’t know better, I would think I was pregnant.  The idea of being pregnant again made me so happy.  When I saw the positive pregnancy test, I couldn’t wait to tell daddy.  We rejoiced and began counting the days until we would meet you.  When the doctors told us your body seemed challenged we wanted nothing more than to show you love.

I loved getting to know you both inside and outside of my womb.  I loved that you wiggled a lot in my belly – it was a constant reminder to me that you were very much alive. You had such a sweet spirit and demeanor.  However, you made it very clear that diaper changes, touching your feet and kissing your forehead didn’t make you happy. You didn’t seem to mind us kissing your lips though!

Simon, Daddy and I chose Jeremiah 1:5 as your bible verse: I knew you before you were formed within your mother’s womb; before you were born I sanctified you and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.  You were a perfect messenger for Christ.  I am confident some of the first words you heard Jesus say were “Job well done good and faithful servant.”  That makes me one proud momma.  I am so excited for you to meet those you have changed for the Kingdom one-by-one as they enter.  I’m unsure of the exact number of people you have brought to Christ, but I know it is large.  You will be very busy in heaven greeting these people.  Above all of these people, Simon, you changed mommy the most and even though I thanked you while you were in my arms many times, I look forward to thanking you again in the next life.  

Simon, you got mommy back on the course of what is important in this life.   For months leading up to your birth and then the week of your breathing life, we lived minute-by-minute.  You taught me how to put checklists aside and how to be present in the moment.  You are actually still teaching me this today – to take nothing for granted.  

Thank you for teaching mommy obedience.  Because of you, I have learned to say “yes” to God’s plans.  Not only to say yes, but to trust His plan as well.  I have found freedom in obedience and surrendering all to Him.  

I am no longer afraid of death because of you, Simon.  This was something I have very much been afraid of before God gave me you.  You have helped show mommy how beautiful death can be.  Death, while it feels like the end is most certainly the beginning.  The beginning of living eternally with Christ.  

Dance and sing with Jesus, Simon.  You are a precious gift.  I love you so very much.  See you soon.

To my husband, I am so proud to call you my husband.  You are my very best gift.  I am so thankful Simon was in your arms as we ushered him into Heaven.  I won’t forget our words to him – mine were "go ahead and go, Simon" and "please take him God. " And yours were, "Simon if you see Jesus, reach out for him, grab him."  Those words pierce my soul but also bring such peace to me.  The Holy Spirit was certainly present and I am thankful we were hand-in-hand experiencing Him together.  God’s hand is orchestrating each moment of our lives and he is speaking to us through these moments that are tying our bond of marriage closer and closer to one another. 

You are incredible, Adam.  You are a strong, courageous and wonderful man.   You’ve became even more of a man over the last 9 months.  You have fearlessly led our family through the fire.   You have taught me how to suffer well by diving into God’s word.  You taught me how to give our baby back to God.  Your leadership and love has helped me stay strong.  Thank you for endlessly caring for our family.   Thank you for your faith which is an example to all.  Thank you for being my best friend.  I love you.

To my Savior, thank you for sacrificing your own son first – your son who saved me.  Thank you for always reminding me that nothing of this earth is for us to own – it is all on loan.  My husband, my children, my family, my possessions and money.  All yours.   Thank you for giving us Simon.  Thank you for choosing us to be his parents.

Thank you for answering my countless prayers surrounding Simon’s life.  You gave me more than I asked for, but I am especially grateful for Simon being born alive, that I got to see his eyes, hear his voice, feel his tiny fingers wrapped around my fingers, smell his sweet breath, watch my husband hold his 2nd son, and watch Teddy hold his baby brother.  Thank you for allowing Simon to live his days inside our home.  I wanted this so badly, Lord, and you graciously gave it to me. 

As Timothy Keller, pastor and author best put it:  There are things in life we feel like we can’t live without.  But then, we realize we can if we lean into you.  When good things are taken away it should hurt, it should sting, but it can’t uproot us.  This is because our suffering can’t touch your love and salvation, God. 

Lord, Help me bring people to your well. Help me share my brokenness so that others will see being a follower of Christ isn't about being perfect. As God, you are the only perfect One. 

Thank you to everyone present today.  I ask each of you to continue to ask about Simon.  While Simon’s life on earth is over, our journey with him is not.  We love talking about him and love sharing his life.  Simon is our second son and we will forever include him in our family. 


I am honored you would spend your morning with us, thank you.

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On a closing note, I can't help but think about what we were doing one month ago on this day.  May 18 was a Sunday and we spent time outside.  Simon seemed to love the outdoors and sunlight - didn't care much for the wind blowing in his face, however.  Simon was four days old.  We had gotten the routine down and we were very much embracing the family of four.   Simon had gone through his first pack of diapers that day as well.  


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