For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. - Psalm 139:13-14


Carter Benjamin Westfall

We finally got to meet our Carter Benjamin yesterday. While I want to share the entire story of his arrival and our goodbye, we aren't ready to include all the details quite yet. However, we wanted our friends and family to hear from our lips about the beautiful blessing that came to us yesterday morning.

Because pretty much nothing has gone as planned with this pregnancy, God decided to allow that trend to continue with Carter's birth as labor began about five weeks early. Plus, the day of his arrival brought the worst snow and ice storm to hit the area in years. So when my water broke early Tuesday morning, we knew that traveling to the IU Med Center in Indianapolis was out of the question, and therefore we opted to deliver Carter here in Marion. My OB-GYN actually had the day off, but he made an exception to come in to the hospital to help us and deliver Carter.

The labor progressed slowly, which allowed all of our immediate family to make it to the hospital carefully and safely on the bad roads. Since we ended up in Marion instead of Indy, we were able to have several church friends stop by and offer support and prayers. When it came time to give birth to Carter, our family was surrounded by a lot of love.

Carter arrived at 5:52 am on February 2, weighing 5 lbs and measuring 17 3/4 inches. He was so beautiful and perfect, and we were able to spend one amazing hour with him. During that time, Carter was overwhelmed by love as Ben and I, along with Carter's big brother Cohen and each of our immediate family members, pastors, and a close family friend were able to hold him, kiss him, and talk to him. Pastor Steve literally sprinted through the winter storm a block and a half to be at the hospital. He arrived in time for us to all gather around Carter and dedicate him to God, right there in the delivery room. I wish I could describe how beautiful and sacred that moment was.

When Carter passed away, he went quietly and peacefully snuggled in Ben's arms. Ben and I both felt God's comfort and peace in that moment, knowing it was Carter's time to be with Jesus. Our family continued to surround us as we took pictures of Carter and held him for quite a while. Saying goodbye was the hardest part. I can't even go into detail about that right now.

We just want you to know that while our hearts mourn the loss of Carter we feel God orchestrated his entrance in and out of this world better than we ever could have imagined. Our God is good.

God has been so faithful, answering so many of our/your prayers. However, we still covet your prayer support in the days ahead as we know they will continue to be quite difficult emotionally and physically. I (Sarah) am recovering quite well from labor and delivery, but I know that the next few days will be quite taxing. Please pray for God's continued grace and strength for us, our family, and close friends. Many hearts are hurting. Pray for us today as we finalize Carter's memorial service and burial plans. Pray also for Carter's big brother Cohen as he continues to fight off some seasonal illness and ear infection; we would love for him to feel well. Thank you for your love and prayers. We will post memorial service information soon.


  1. Marcia Woodard2/03/2011 10:34 AM

    Sarah and Ben,

    This is the first I've commented, but I've been reading and praying. I'll be continuing to pray that God will make you especially aware of His comforting presence, as you walk with Him through this new territory.

  2. Crying with you, and yet praising God for all the ways you were able to be blessed in this situation.

  3. Dear Ben and Sarah,

    You don't know me but I am part of a large community of believers who have been praying for you and your families for weeks, since you found out about Carter. We have a large adult bible fellowship class and your friends have included you on our prayer list for a while now. I hope knowing that so many people, who you do not even know, have been taking you all to the throne of our Almight God brings you comfort. We will continue to do so. Thank you for being so transparent with your lives and hearts and allowing us to be blessed by your strength and courage, grace and perserverance during what we all know is a tremendous time of grief and loss. God is good, sovreign, faithful, merciful, comforting, providing, and praise be to God for Him being all of those things to you ALL even in the hardest of times. We will continue to pray you through and love you, even though we do not know you. God bless you all.

  4. Our hearts are broken for you. Praying for unfathomable comfort and healing.

    Much love,
    Kristi & Rusty Hawkins

  5. My heart goes out to you. Still continuing to pray for you and your family as you deal with the days to come. I am so glad for you, Ben and family to have had special time with Ben and for you pastor to be able to dedicate him to the Lord, how amazing! Our God is good and he will continue to keep you in his arms and comfort you in these days ahead.
    Melody Courtney

  6. I prayed for you all day yesterday that you would feel the closeness of our Lord through your blessing and trial. God is SO good even during the hard times. I pray that He will use this time to bring you closer to Him. I will continue to pray for you, your family and friends in the days to come.
    Dolores Pyer-Lafayette, IN

  7. Sarah and family, I am praying for you today. I am so thankful you had that time with Carter. How special and beautiful and precious that hour must have been. My heart is filled with emotion. So much love to you...Colleen McNiff

  8. Nicole Reichard2/03/2011 11:58 AM

    Lord, we know that you never change. You are the same God you were before any of this happened. You love your children and chose to bless them with many good and perfect gifts. Thank you for blessing Sarah, Ben, and Cohen with the gift of Carter. We know that you planned his life before he was even thought of and you planned for Sarah and Ben to be his parents. We know that Carter's life did not end yesterday. Not only will his story change the hearts of so many more people than we can imagine, but we know that he is living in a perfect body in heaven with you. Be with the entire Westfall and Bender family right now as they grieve the loss of such a beautiful little boy. Keep them tucked in your arms and give them a peace beyond anything they could imagine. Carry them through these difficult times and grow them into even more beautiful vessels through it. Thank you, Lord, for all hope, comfort, peace, grace, and love. We love you.

  9. sarah,
    we are praying for your family. I don't have words to share with you my own emotions for you. The Lord is a good and gracious God. He has provided you with strength beyond measure.

  10. We are so thankful that God brought your family into our lives. Thanks for living out such a great example of trusting in God in difficult times. Thank you for sharing your story with us in such a beautiful way. We will continue to pray for you and your family!

  11. Your words have lifted me up! Your spirit and trust in CHRIST have encouraged my soul! God's timing is PERFECT and His Kingdom will NEVER fail!!

  12. Monica Shaeffer2/03/2011 12:43 PM

    Ben, Sarah, Cohen and family: We have been praying for you and may you continue to feel God's peace and the holy spirit's comfort as you journey through the grief for your Carter Benjamin. There are no words for this difficult time but we grieve with you.

    Love, Craig, Monica, Jack, Juliet and Evana Shaeffer

  13. TracI Munday2/03/2011 12:51 PM

    You are such an inspiration to me & to so many others. You have such amazing strength & faith in GOD. Thank you for sharing your journey & Carter's precious story with us. Praying that you will continue to feel God's presence and comfort in the days ahead.

    Love you,

  14. Hurting with and praying for you. john lee

  15. Sarah my heart breaks for and with you. I pray Gods grace and peace be with you and your family in the days and months ahead. I have to tell you that I asked my prayer support team to pray for you and my Aunt says that you are a wonderful example of leaving it all to God. Thank you for being an example.

  16. I don't know you, but can only imagine what you must be going through. Praying Jesus will hold you.
    Roseanne Evans

  17. Though we don't know each other, we are bonded through motherhood and through Christ Jesus. I have been lifting you up in prayer as you met and said goodbye (for now) to your tiny miracle. Thank you for your testimony. I will continue to pray for peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  18. I am a friend of a friend, but I wanted you to know I am praying for you. For peace and comfort during this trying time, and for the days, weeks and months to follow.

    Ashley K

  19. Ben,
    Thinking of you, Sarah, & Cohen during this difficult time. May God help you in the days to come.
    Sending prayers your way,
    Gusta (Wayne) Owens

  20. Ben and Sarah,

    We prayed for you today at WGM, and your friends here have been and will continue to lift you guys before the throne. I won't be able to be at the viewing and service tomorrow, but my thoughts and prayers will be with you. Thank you for sharing during this incredibly difficult time.

    Tim Rickel

  21. Ben and Sarah -

    You may remember Michelle and I from Lakewood many years ago when we were involved with the youth class and you two were just engaged... I just found out about Carter yesterday and our hearts break for you 2... Please allow me to share this prayer - "Father I just ask for you to shroud Ben, Sarah, the Westfall families and the Bender families in your comfort and assurance that you are in control even when we least like it. Lord you give and take away and that is hard to accept here in this feeble human form but we know in the peace that you give our spirit through you that it is for a purpose. I ask that you wrap your loving kindness around this family like a warm blanket on a cold winters day and assure them that you are and always will be in control. Father I ask this in your Son Jesus name - Amen!".

    You and your families will be in our prayers during this most difficult time.

    In Christ,
    Curt and Michelle Hadley

  22. It is so nice to know how much God is involved in helping you through this. You have a beautiful baby boy in Heaven whom you will get to spend eternity with. It's so encouraging at times to remember where our real home is and that it's a short time here on earth compared to the eternity we have in Heaven with Jesus and those we love. God is good. I will continue to pray for your family and believe that he will meet all your needs.

  23. I don't know you or your family, but we have friends in common and I know your God. He is so good and His Spirit flows through your words in such an amazing testimony to the power of eternal life in Him. As your Sister in Christ, please know I am praying for your family as you suffer this loss. God's grace on you always.

  24. Sarah and Ben,
    Even though it's been many years since we have seen you and your family, we still thank God for the loving friendship we knew.
    Please know that if there is anything we can do to help, we are here. Lew and I have a son who has been with Jesus for almost 19 years now. He only lived with us for 11 precious days.
    There are no words to express the depth of a parent's grief, but you both know that your precious son is also with Jesus, and this is the ultimate comfort. We will keep you all in our prayers, both through this celebration of his brief life and as the days pass and you get back into the "routine" of life.
    We love you!
    Lew and Debbie Snyder

  25. Ben and Sarah,

    I am so sorry for your loss and we are praying for you and Cohen and your whole family. Your faith is inspirational & thank you for having the courage and strength to share Cohen's story. Thank you for giving God glory even in a devastating time. You are a blessing to me and so many.

    Robyn Joyner (Abbey's friend from Zion Bethel)

  26. Warm Salutations CousinSarah & Ben: What a snowstorm you have endured. The way was not always clear to see "where" you were going, but you knew Who was with you. You had the most(!)perfect guide throughout it all. Th-you for providing your blog that kept me(and my children Katy, Mark & Mike, and our SmGroup)fully aware when/how to pray for you throughout Carter's earthly voyage. Tears filled my eyes as your spirits shared your 'all' throughout this...Ben's touch to your pregnant belly,Carter's active response to his father's touch&words, the humorous 'bath time' for Cohen while on the phone with Michael, the answered prayer of Carter's earthly life was granted for an hour & his resting place in Ben's arms when God took him from there. Th-you for sharing it all. God has plans to use you, 'this' and more for His glory. Alone He is to be glorified through all of this. Shalom. God's peace(which transcends all our human understanding)fill your lives. Lovingly, Cousin Linda Messmann

  27. Sara & Ben,

    Janine shared your story at our Bible Study tonight. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. What an amazing testimony of your faith and trust in God. Our prayers for you will continue. Thanks for sharing the journey with the rest of us. God bless your family.

    Teresa Brooker