Saturday, October 4, 2014

Celebrating Selah's Birthday

Well, it's been quite some time since we posted anything here.  A great deal has occurred in our lives since my last post, but I hope to catch everyone up with a few of the highlights.  God is graceful.

First, we celebrated Selah's first birthday on October 29, 2013 by going to UNC Hospital and giving books that are now being given out to families who are experiencing similar situations that our family experienced the year before in that very hospital.  The book we decided to donate was the same book we read to Selah, "On the Night You Were Born," by Nancy Tillman.  This book meant a lot to us and our family so we wanted to share it with others.  We contacted the author and she sent us to the publisher who donated 20 hardcover copies of the book, which we were very thankful for.  

We stayed in Chapel Hill for the night and went to dinner together to reflect on our little girl's life and impact she had on so many.  It continues to amaze us how many people tell us how much our story and her story have impacted their lives.  But we just want to point to Jesus and share His message through our lives.

Another way we celebrated Selah's birthday was by having a balloon release with a few of our close family and friends.  We then had a small party with birthday cake.  For those who have never lost a child, we realize that some of these things may seem strange to you.  But we try to figure out the best way to continue to honor Selah's life and the blessing that she was to us.  We are thankful to get to have a birthday party in her honor.  

Another way we intend to honor and share our daughter is in participating in community outreach events that help continue Selah's legacy.  So, for her second birthday we decided to do something a little different.  This year we want to donate needed items to the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill that houses families who have children in the Children's Hospital.  Although we did not use the Ronald McDonald House, they were very helpful in finding hotel rooms for our family members and friends while we were in the hospital with Selah.  

We have decided to collect items up until her birthday that we will then take and donate to the Ronald McDonald House and the families it serves.  The items needed range from food to household items to gift cards for food, gas, and groceries.  Many of these families are out of work for weeks or months on end and we know that they will get great benefit from any items donated.  Brittany and I intend to donate several items on our own, but we would love your help with this as well.  Below you will find a list of the most needed items for the house and/or families.  If you would like to help us donate items for this cause or have questions about donating, please feel free to contact one or both of us on Facebook.  We will be delivering the items on her second birthday, October 29, 2014.  

*Items needed: 
-Paper towels                         -Laundry detergent
-Toilet paper                          -Clorox/Lysol wipes
-Plastic wrap                         -Aluminum foil
-Gallon/quart Ziploc bags     -Batteries (AA, AAA, C)
-Toothbrushes, toothpaste     -Floss
-Travel size toiletries             -Feminine products
-Coffee creamer/sweetener   -Cookie/Brownie mix
-Juice boxes                          -Granola bars/PopTarts/cereal

*Gift card ideas: 
-Food Lion                           -Harris Teeter
-Lowes Foods                      -Dominoes Pizza
-Carrabba's                           -Panera
-Outback                              -Red Robin 
-Burger King                        -McDonald's
-Wendy's                              -Pre-paid Visa/Mastercard giftcards
-Starbucks                            -Walmart/Target

Thanks so much for your help in this endeavor.  We hope to bless many families with these items in just a few weeks.  Selah's legacy continues to impact our community even two years later. 

Jason and Brittany

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

"Who can find a virtuous woman?  She is far more precious than jewels..."  Proverbs 31:10

As Mother's Day weekend is upon us, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about this upcoming day...

A couple years ago I heard a pastor say that until he pastored his church, he didn't realize how Mother's Day is not always the happy day that it's made out to be in our country.  For many mothers it is a reminder of the children they have lost, their hopes and dreams that have been crushed, or the pain of never getting to carry a baby.  There are mothers that have lost children to tragedy, those who have lost children to disease, and those who have lost children to complications at birth among other things.  Those women will silently feel the pain of empty arms this weekend and they should be honored too.

While many of us will go to our grandmother's for lunch on Sunday or take our moms out to eat, still there are those that are struggling with infertility.  There are those who are struggling with the loss of a children through miscarriage.  There are those who are struggling with the fact that they had to make the heart wrenching decision to put up their child for adoption because of the circumstances they were once in.  These women are no less mothers than any other.  They should be honored too.

This weekend, many will lavish their mothers and wives with praises and honors because it is the right thing to do.  Those mothers should be praised and honored for the hard work that they do on a daily basis.  But the job of the mother who lost her child is no less harder than the mother with three screaming children in the house and another on the way.  She is no less a mother than the mom who has watched her children grow up and graduate from high school and college.  She is no less a mother than the young woman who is 7 months pregnant or the mother who is celebrating her first Mother's Day with a child.  She should be honored too.

So if you see a mom this weekend that you know has lost a child, don't be afraid to wish her a "Happy Mother's Day."  Don't be afraid of the tears she may cry.  Those few tears will just be a glimpse of the life that she lives every day and the tears she sheds along the way.  Honor her with those words because the connection between her heart and the heart of her lost child will be even stronger this weekend.  She may shed those tears while you're standing there, but the thoughtfulness  and honor you show her with those words will live with her for many years to come. 

Through it all I have decided that if I have to go to Hell and back, which is where we've been this past year, I would choose no other woman to walk beside me through the fire than my wife.  She has shown grace, faith, and courage while struggling through the hardest days of our lives.  She showed as much love for our daughter in the ten and a half short hours of Selah's life as many moms will show in a lifetime.  She is so much stronger than she gives herself credit for and I am thankful for the woman that she was when I married her and the woman and mother that she is today.

This weekend, I honor you, Brittany Bennett...the mother of my daughter.  The woman who gave birth to our beautiful Selah while knowing she would probably not live more than a few hours.  The woman who cares for me and brings me joy every day.  You are and will always be a mother and I love you with every fiber in me.

Peace to all! 

"Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.  Her sons [or daughters] rise up and call her blessed.  Her husband also praises her;  Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!  Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised."  
Proverbs 31:25-30

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sustaining Faith

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

It's been a while since I posted here so I figured I'd give an update of what's been going on with us since my last post.  It seems like just yesterday that we were in the hospital at Chapel Hill holding our little Selah and praying for a miracle.  At the same time it seems like years since we felt the touch of her soft, perfect skin against ours.  Life has a way of doing that to you I guess, but it's still a strange feeling.  In the meantime, the Lord continues to teach us and help us grow in our faith.

We've been told by some people, all well-intended, that in 10 years we will look back on all of what we've gone through and understand what God was doing through our situation.  I have pondered on this for a while and I don't think that I will understand all this.  And honestly, I'm okay with that.  I'm okay with God knowing all things and me not knowing the half of it.  That leads me to the gift of faith.  I don't mean the kind of faith that brings you salvation...that faith is in Jesus Christ, the son of God.  I have that faith too.  But I'm talking about the kind of faith that says, "I believe in a sovereign Lord who knows what is best for me and my family even if it hurts and even if I never understand it."  This faith says, "Although, I'm walking through the hardest time in my life, I will trust that you will walk with me and carry me when I need it."

This faith sustains us.  It's the main thing that gets us through our tough days, of which there are many.  Our grief is still fresh and is sometimes very overwhelming, but it is getting better little by little.  We joined a GriefShare group and completed a 13-week course that has helped teach us about grief and how to approach it from a biblical perspective.  We got to share our feelings, fears, and frustrations with other people who have had losses in their lives as well.  One thing we have learned is that grief is something that can take over your life, it crashes over you like a tidal wave.  However, we've also learned that Christians should grieve differently than non-believers.  As Christians, we have the Creator of the universe living on the inside of us.  We have the Holy Spirit, the great Comforter, who abides with us forever.

Our greatest hope is the second coming of Jesus Christ because that alone will solve the world of its brokenness.  That alone will save the world from the heartbreak of losing a child, the horrors of experiencing divorce, and tragedy of watching others suffer.  God didn't create this world to have any of that in it, but since the fall of man the world has been full of sin and has been broken.

I now understand what Paul meant when he penned his letter to the church at Philippi.  For years we have turned Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength," into a great verse to put on sports t-shirts or quote in the high school yearbook, but I'm afraid many have missed the intent of what Paul was trying to convey here.  In the verses before verse 13 he says, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength."

When you read this verse in the proper context, it takes on a whole new meaning.  Paul had experienced the life of plenty and the life of want.  He had traveled with other believers preaching the gospel and he had slept on cold, dark prison floors.  But Paul found his strength to endure all sufferings through Jesus Christ.  See, earthly things could not touch Paul.  If he lived?  "To live is Christ."  If you killed him?  "To die is gain."  I have a more in depth understanding of these verses after our experiences over the last year.  I hope to be better at being more content no matter the circumstances, but suffice it to say, Philippians 4:13 is about much more than hitting home runs and making 15-foot jumpers.  

In closing this post, we'd love to have your help in remembering Selah.  We think that we've come up with a way to "take" Selah to different places around the state, the country, maybe even the world.  We would love for those who read and/or follow our blog to spell Selah's name out with different objects and take a picture and send it to us along with the location the picture was taken.  The picture above is an example of what we are looking for in this project.  In it, we spelled out her name using coffee mugs in a shop in Charleston, South Carolina, which is where we visited a few weeks after her passing.  You could spell her name out in the sand at the beach or spell it with rocks in the mountains.  Be as creative as you would like and send us a picture.  We would love to turn this into a memory wall with all of the pictures we receive and who knows...maybe we could turn it into a coffee table book if we get enough.

You can email your pictures to: or .  We would really appreciate your help in this project.  It will be a wonderful way for us to keep Selah's memory alive.  Until next time...shalom!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Celebration of Life

Selah James Bennett

Coats, NC—Selah James Bennett, of 184 Irbin Drive passed away peacefully in her mommy’s arms on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill.  Selah was born at 2:26pm on Monday, October 29, 2012 and saw the eyes of Jesus at 1:04am on Tuesday morning.  She is the infant daughter of Jason and Brittany Bennett of Coats, North Carolina.  She is the granddaughter of David Bennett and Connie Bennett of Lillington, North Carolina and Bobby and Mitzi White of Kinston, North Carolina.  She is also the niece of Jonathan and Kimberly Bennett of Lillington, North Carolina, and Link and Christy Neal of Los Angeles, California and the cousin of Lily, Lincoln, and Lando Neal and Zane Bennett.

In Selah’s passing we felt God’s presence as family members talked and sang to her in her final moments.  Selah defied the odds and opinions, as the doctors believed she would not survive more than a few minutes after birth.  The Lord gave us ten unforgettable hours with our beautiful baby girl and we are incredibly thankful for that time.  She was a little warrior and the strength and peace of God was upon her all the way to the end.  She had her mommy’s nose and lips and her daddy’s eyes.  We will never forget our perfect little angel. 

A public memorial service will be held in memory of Selah on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 6pm at Church Alive 5309 Umstead Road in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.  Please feel free to join us in wearing pink as we celebrate this memorable life.  The “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation” provided a volunteer photographer to record her short life with us.  In lieu of flowers, we would be pleased for you to support their mission to help other grieving parents through their remembrance photography at: The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, 2305 E. Arapahoe Road, Suite 220 Centennial, Colorado 80122 or .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Angel

Our sweet, beautiful Selah James went to be with Jesus this morning around one o'clock am after 10 and a half hours of fighting like a little warrior.  She passed away peacefully in her mommy's arms with the room full of our family and Pastor Laura.  We all stood around and were able to talk to her all the way to the end and give God praises for His true love for us and for her.  Selah continuously defied the odds that were against her little life and never gave up for one second.

One of our prayers leading into these last few weeks was that if it wasn't God's will to heal her completely, that we would at least get to hold her while she was alive for a few moments.  We prayed that she would not be stillborn and that she would be able to know her mommy and daddy's love for her over her short time on this Earth.  We know that the Father's love is so much stronger and bigger than we could ever fathom and so we're so glad that the Lord did not allow her to suffer for one minute and took her in the most peaceful way.  But we're also glad of the fact that we got to hold her against our skin and give her as much love as possible while she was with us.

The doctors never expected her to make it out of the operating room, but she showed all of us her incredible strength.  Over the 10 and a half hour period we experienced so many miracles.  God showed His face in every way imaginable.  We were able to hear her little whimpers and cries...things that we never knew we'd get to hear.  We were also able to read her a bedtime story just a few hours before she passed.  The room was full of tears as Brittany held her and I read "On the Night You Were Born," by Nancy Tillman.

Another blessing for us was being able to hold her in our arms, skin to skin.  She nestled against our chests and opened her eyes several times to look at us.  She has Brittany's nose and mouth and my eyes and eye brows (poor thing).  We even got to put some lip gloss on her perfect, little lips.  She looked like an angel the entire time and we know that she's in the arms of Jesus and not suffering through anything of this world anymore.

We can't thank you all enough for your support and prayers.  We truly felt the presence of God with us all day yesterday and even now.  There is an overwhelming sense of the Holy Spirit pouring its power over us and  flooding our hearts and the entire room with the love of Christ.  We never would have imagined that Selah's story would touch so many lives in such a short amount of time. Selah James Bennett will live well past her final breath on this Earth and we are so thankful for that.

Thank you all for your prayers and please continue to lift us all up in the coming days and weeks. Please remember, His ways are higher than ours and we submit to His will because He has aligned our steps and His love endures forever.  Rejoice in the Lord always!

Until next time, God bless you all.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Selah James Bennett, 6lbs. 14 oz., was born at 2:26pm this afternoon.  The procedure went very well.  Brittany was incredibly brave and strong throughout the entire surgery.  Selah's lungs are not functioning at full capacity, but she is still breathing on her own as of now.  The doctors came in this afternoon and did an ultrasound and that test revealed the absence of kidneys.  This prognosis, in and of itself, is a fatal prognosis. 

Mom and Dad are taking turns holding Selah and cherishing every second of this journey.  The ending outcome may not be what we want, but God continues to bless through so many not-so-tiny miracles.  The doctors never expected Selah to make it out of the OR, but here she is and it's just a testament of God's grace and the hundreds, if not thousands of prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf.

Thank you for your great support and continue to pray for our coming minutes and hours.  We will continue to give God the glory because that is what we're called to do and He is worthy of our praise.  We praise Him in the storm because He carries us through and will not forsake us. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Packing and Praying

Brittany and I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for all of the thoughts and prayers that people have offered up for us and for Selah during the last several weeks.  We have been completely humbled by the amount of people who have sent cards, called or sent texts, and/or sent Facebook messages to show their support and to encourage us in this most difficult time.  Our family, our church family, and our friends have been incredibly supportive, not to mention the people that we don't even know that have been so kind to us.  Our Pastor and his wife, Glenn and Laura Lee, have been incredible and we could never repay the blessings and pillars of strength and encouragement that they have been to us during this time.  We are so grateful to you all and we pray blessings over you and your families.

Ok...let me quickly share a humorous story from this past weekend.  As many of you know, I am a huge sports fan.  I have been since I can remember and I'm incredibly blessed to have a wife that will not only go along with my obsession, but will, at times, contribute to it.  My birthday was this past Monday and someone offered us free tickets to the Duke and Carolina football game on the Saturday before.  Brittany was well aware that I would love to go to the game so she "talked me into" going even though she was almost 9 months pregnant and feeling every day of it.  To make a long story was a great game and Duke won in the final seconds, which of course made us both extremely happy.  And minutes later, for the first time during the course of our pregnancy, Selah kicked and Brittany could feel her moving around!  She hadn't kicked at anytime before this moment so I have officially deemed her a true Blue Devil.

Well, Monday is the day...we have a scheduled C-section with our specialist, Dr. Goodnight, and the team of doctors and nurses that have been taking care of Brittany and Selah for the past 7 months.  Obviously we are pretty anxious about what is to come.  However, we know that the Lord is in control and He will provide us with the strength that we need for whatever lies ahead.  We have waited what seems like years to meet our little girl and we can't wait to hold her for the first time.

As I said in my previous post, we are continuing to pray for a miracle.  But we know that God's ways are higher than our own.  Whether He heals her completely or she passes not long after she's born, His ways are perfect and He will see us through.  I told our church a few weeks ago that I would love nothing more than to walk my daughter to class on the first day of Kindergarten or walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.  We have so many dreams of her growing up and being a part of our everyday lives, but none of those things are better than her being with Jesus and that is all that matters.

The Lord created Selah for a purpose and aligned her journey to His will from the beginning.  If she serves a higher purpose by living for 30 minutes than she does by living for 80 years then so be it.  We know that our God is able to save her and we pray that He's willing, but if not, she is His child and we find comfort in the fact that she will not have to suffer through this world.  If she goes to be with Jesus, she will be completely healed of all the challenges that she might have had to face in this world.

We have been singing a worship song at church the last few months that has the line, "We wait for walk in the room."  The song goes on to talk about the manifested presence of God and its glory.  Every time we worship to this song, that line brings tears to my eyes.  I have been praying and praying that God would walk into the room and change everything about Selah's situation.  But the other day the Lord reminded me that He's been in the "room" with us this whole time.  We couldn't have walked through these last 7 months if not.

Part of me feels grateful that the Lord has found us worthy enough to reflect His glory in this nightmare of a situation.  Sometimes it can be easy for us Christians to reflect God's glory when everything is going great and we're not walking through hardships.  But what is most important is how we reflect Him when we are walking through something that might be life altering.  I pray that the Lord finds us to be faithful to Him on this path that He has put us on.  We've gotten to praise Him and lift Him up during the good times, but now we get to praise Him and lift Him up in the hard times and I am so thankful for that.  1 Peter 4:13 "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."

Finally, we wanted to share some details with everyone so that you could be specific in your prayers as you pray with us.  The C-section is scheduled for 12-noon on Monday so first and foremost please pray that the procedure goes well and as planned.  Pray for Brittany's health and guidance of the doctors as she endures this procedure.  Pray that God will heal Selah completely, but if not that He will shower us with His grace and comfort.  Pray for our family as they endure this with us.  And finally, pray against the spirit of fear as we go into this time, pray that we are strong and faithful to what God has entrusted to us.

Thank you again for your support, your thoughts, and your prayers.  They do not go unnoticed and we will forever be grateful for them.  Also, we are not sure who it will be, but someone will update this blog sometime next week, hopefully near the beginning of the week, even if it is a brief update.  We want to keep people informed so they can be as specific as possible in their prayers.  Thanks again and until next blessed!