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


A Letter from Us

The last couple weeks haven't been easy, and I haven't much felt like writing. It's kind of been a feeling of, "Where do I start?" However, we did want to be sure to post the following letter. For those of you who weren't able to be at Carter's celebration service on February 4, Ben and I wrote the following letter to our friends and family and had it read by one of our pastors during the service.

Dear friends and family,

When we first learned of Carter’s condition, we looked at each other and said, “I can’t do this.” “This story was not supposed to be ours.” Had we left that ultrasound room and tried to walk this journey alone, without God’s grace and strength and the support of His Church, we couldn’t be here today with such an inexplicable mix of joy and sorrow in our hearts.

This journey has and will continue to be bittersweet. We’ve experienced more pain and deep sorrow than we knew possible. We think about the “what would have beens”: Carter and Cohen as best friends and playmates, perhaps even partners in crime. All of Carter’s “firsts.” We ask ourselves what personality he would have developed and what funny things he might have said and done. These thoughts break our hearts and will probably continue to do so for a long time.

But in this pain, we are accompanied by a sweetness. God has drawn us closer to Himself, reminding us that our loss is Carter’s gain. Life isn’t easy, and neither is parenting. Raising a child in an unpredictable world can be such a scary thing, so although we miss Carter, we feel God is stepping in and almost saying “Hey, Ben and Sarah, don’t worry about this one. I’ve got it covered.”

God’s peace is something we may never fully understand or grasp, but this journey has allowed us to experience it in a deeper way than we knew possible. God is so faithful, good, and loving. In that one hour we were able to spend with Carter before he passed, God orchestrated such a beautiful and sacred time with our son. We felt God’s presence in that delivery room as we held Carter; heard his sweet little cries; kissed him; watched as grandparents, aunts, and uncles snuggled him close; as Cohen touched his baby brother’s toes; and as Pastor Steve dedicated Carter to God. In that hour, Carter experienced more love than many people get in a lifetime.

So while it’s tempting to ask, “Why God? Why us?”, we think about that hour we had with Carter and simply reply, “Why not us?” Life is difficult, but God redeems the broken pieces. He creates something more sacred than what we could have ever put together ourselves. Our hearts mourn the loss of our son, but we know God has and will continue to demonstrate His faithfulness. We hope that everyone who hears about our baby boy will not walk away angry or bitter but instead will see God’s presence in the midst of pain in a very real and tangible way.

We also want to thank everyone for all your prayer and support. While we may appear brave at times, we have had (and will continue to have) many moments and days where we don’t know how to move forward, but we firmly believe that is where God fills our broken pieces with the prayers of His people. Thank you for walking beside us and making Carter’s life so special.

We love you all, 
Ben & Sarah


  1. Nicole Reichard2/16/2011 9:54 AM

    The letter you and Ben wrote is just beautiful, Sarah. When I was a freshman in college I lost my roommate to cancer 3 weeks after she found out she had it. It was a very difficult time for me and her sister was my RA as well. We were all hurting so deeply and someone said to me that the pain may never fully go away, but it does get a little less painful each day so that you an keep on living. That was such an encouragement to me at the time to know that if I just kept on walking, eventually I would feel like I could breathe again. Although that year was really rough, that person was right. Eventually it didn't hurt as badly to not have her sleeping next to me each night and I didn't cry at the sound of her name anymore. I still think about her a lot, but remembering her brings me joy instead of pain. I will pray that the same can be true for your family as your think about little Carter. I will pray that God can help lessen the pain for you so that you can keep putting one foot in front of the other each day. Keep giving your pain to God and he will be your comfort and your peace. I love you guys so much and continue to pray for you.

  2. Thank you. I'm crying. God bless you.

  3. Dear Ben and Sarah,

    We have never met, I just read your post through a mutual friend, but we ARE family. You are my brother and sister in Christ, and now that I know a little of what you are going through, I WILL be lifting you to the FATHER! That is how the bride of Christ is supposed to function. The LORD gives and takes away but our hearts will chose to say "Blessed be the Name of the LORD". May you be granted comfort, peace and JOY this day.

    In HIM!!

  4. Sarah Harriman2/16/2011 11:58 AM

    Dear Ben and Sarah,
    Thank you for this beautiful letter. It brings many emotions and tears, but also thankfulness for the grace of God and how you have manifested that grace. You will never know the far-reaching influence of the spirit of submission, trust, honesty and grace that you have lived out. You are on my daily prayer list and it is my prayer that God will sustain, strengthen, encourage and heal you as you walk through the days and months ahead, knowing that it is He who holds you by His righteous right hand.

  5. What a beautiful letter. I loved hearing it at Carter's memorial service and I loved reading it today.

  6. Thanks for sharing your heart with so many at a time that your hearts are so raw. Your dad and I are so proud of both of you. Your testimony of God's faithfulness and concern for others have been constant even in your pain, and it has touched our hearts.

    We love you both!
    Mom Bender

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I think of and pray for your family often. What a testimony your faith is!

    Amie Ott

  8. Dear sweet cousin Sarah & Ben: Th-you for taking the time to share the personal message you shared at Carter's Celebration Service. The tears that so quickly appeared while reading it are clearing so I can answer back. It was a challenging journey that you went & will continue travelling. But with God in the lead He will make it all possible. Trust & obey. My heart smiled when you shared the mind picture of Cohen touching his little brother's toes. (I hope pictures were taken. Someday Cohen will 'remember' his little brother.)Hugs enclosed. God surround with His love. Dearly, Cousin Linda

  9. Sarah and Ben: I don't know where to start except to say that you have absolutely no idea how many lives your very handsome Carter has already been able to touch! My heart has been broken for your family since I heard about your ultrasound in early January. Our family has been praying for your family since then and you are daily in my thoughts and your sorrow weighs on my heart. Your focus on Christ has been unmistakable and irresistible as well. I know your family enough to know that you have already seen God's handiwork in your loss and you will not miss His plan for this to bring about amazing things for others! You are an inspiring family! My heart breaks for you especially Sarah because as a mom I just can't imagine your pain (or your mom's). I can only say that I will continue to pray for you because I am sure the days ahead will be just as hard for some time to come.

    Much Love,

    Cassie (Strong) Wells and Jason, Shelby and Caleb