Saturday, August 28, 2010

Marathon Fundraiser

Hi Friends,

As many of you already know, my wife Heather and I created the Micah Wessman Foundation following Micah’s death. The mission of the Foundation is to provide Christ-centered resources and assistance to parents grieving the death of a young child. Since creating the Foundation in December of last year, the Foundation has already provided several care packages to grieving parents. The Foundation has also provided two scholarships for parents to attend Smile Again Ministries, a grief retreat center for grieving parents in Cross Lake, MN.

On October 3, 2010, I will be running the Twin Cities Marathon. In participating in the marathon, I hope to raise financial support for the Foundation by enlisting the support of friends and family to “sponsor” my race. If you are interested in supporting the Foundation’s work with grieving families, please consider sponsoring me in my marathon run. You may consider sponsoring me on a "per mile" basis. Based upon my goal of completing all 26.2 miles, a per-mile pledge of $1.00 would yield a total pledge to the Foundation of $26.20. Other "per-mile" pledge examples are listed below:

Per Mile Pledge/Total Pledge:


I am also open to other types of pledges. Consider incentive pledges, such as doubling your pledge if I meet certain time goals. (My goal for the marathon is 3 hours and 50 minutes). Of course, the Foundation will accept a contribution of any amount. Please keep in mind that, since the Micah Wessman Foundation has received IRS approval as a tax-exempt organization, any contributions to the Micah Wessman Foundation are tax deductible.

Since Micah’s death, Heather and I have increasingly felt a calling to use our own God-ordained circumstances to help other grieving families through their grief. We believe that your contributions to the Foundation will greatly assist the ministry’s efforts to reach grieving families. On behalf of both Heather and I, thanks for your continued prayer support, and for your support of the Micah Wessman Foundation. Checks may be written to the Micah Wessman Foundation and mailed to the Foundation at 4011 Boardman Street, Minneapolis, MN 55417. Thanks again.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Micah's Legacy, Part II: To Find Our Ultimate Happiness in God, Not Our Circumstances

Second, God has worked through Micah’s life and death to center my hope for ultimate happiness on God, and not my own circumstances. I cannot adequately describe my anguish as I sat in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital, knowing that while my little son’s body was lying next to me, his spirit was already gone. When we took him off the breathing machines, and his little heart stopped beating, many of my own dreams died along with him.

Over the past year, Heather and I have wondered whether there could ever be any set of earthly circumstances that can ever provide us with sufficient joy to make up for this loss. Certainly, the birth and health of our second son Owen has provided us with great happiness. But regardless of Owen’s future health and happiness, or the success of our careers or other life opportunities, I find it difficult to believe that we can ever be naturally happy again. The death of our Micah, and our hopes and dreams for him, has left such a void in our hearts and in our home that no set of circumstances can ever make us or our family “whole” on this side of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

But just as Micah’s death has removed any hope for ultimate happiness based upon earthly circumstances, it has also provided us occasion to grasp the supernatural joy found in Jesus Christ. There is reason to hope and live in joy, not in anything related to our circumstances, but in God Himself. As Christians, we are called to find our ultimate joy in Jesus Christ. Jesus told us that He came so that we may have joy in the knowledge of the saving grace found in Him alone. He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11.

Even though King David experienced significant earthly successes, it was God that ultimately brought him joy. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4. David said, “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you’…The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.” Psalm 16:2, 5.

The Apostle Paul, before he became a Christian, had reason to take pride in his circumstances. He was a zealous Jew, even persecuting the early church. And yet, following his conversion, he considered all his background“…as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…I count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11.

Micah’s death has allowed me to “cut to the heart” of happiness in life. Is my joy from my job? But what happens when I lose it, or it significantly changes? Is my joy in my hobbies, my athletic pursuits or my entertainment? What happens when I lose my sight or my ability to run or walk? Where is my joy then? Is my joy in my spouse and children? What happens when my child or spouse dies? How will I have any ability to carry on in life if all of my joy was centered solely in my child or spouse?

Two thousand years from now, Micah and I will have enjoyed each other in the presence of our Lord and Savior for many, many years. Our happiness will have not been reduced by the pea that stuck in Micah’s throat. Instead, we will have spent many years together searching out the unreachable heights of the wisdom and power of God, giving praise to God for how He divinely orchestrated human history to display His wonderful attributes to us. Until then, I can be thankful that God uses events in our lives to teach us about what it means to be ultimately happy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Micah's Legacy, Part I: The Unconditional Love of God

As I previously posted, we have now passed the one-year anniversary of Micah’s death and his home-going to Heaven. Heather and I have contradictory feelings about the one-year anniversary. In some ways, it seems like our little Micah was just here. Just last night I came across an old Time magazine of mine that I had saved because, shortly before he died, Micah had gotten his little hands on it and had torn it to shreds. Both Heather and I agreed that it seemed like it was just yesterday when we had watched him, with a little mischievous smile on his face, tear that magazine apart.

But in other ways, it seems like five years, not one year, since we lost him. I think grief has a way of slowing time down. Maybe it is because we lose the illusion that circumstances of life can be controlled or manipulated as we wish. Or maybe it is because grief is emotionally and physically exhausting and life is not as “easy” as it used to be. Or maybe it is because we now have greater reason to look forward to heaven, and we have an increased desire to finish the race of life and enter eternity.

But regardless of how fast time moves, Micah’s departure has certainly left us forever changed. In light of this one-year anniversary, I have had the opportunity to reflect on some of the practical ways in which Micah’s death has impacted me. Over the next few months, I thought I would add to the blog a series of posts about Micah’s legacy to me—that is, how God has used Micah’s death in my own life. While I currently have about five different posts in the works, it is certainly likely that I will add to my list as I proceed. As always, thanks for keeping up with us through this blog and for your prayers.

(1) The Unconditional Love of God

First, Micah’s departure has helped me better understand the unconditional love of God. If Micah had lived past July 27, 2009, I would have loved him regardless of who he would have become as a person. If he eventually became a doctor, a carpenter, a musician, an athlete, a teacher or a janitor; I would have loved him if he was single or married; homosexual or heterosexual; a believer or an unbeliever. I would have loved him if he became a serious person or a clown, a recluse or the life of the party. I have an unconditional love for my son, even now, in his absence.

If Micah had lived, I would have had the opportunity to demonstrate my love for Micah through his successes and his failures. The pain of loss is so great now, not only because we miss who he is, but also because of the loss of opportunity to love him unconditionally. In the absence of his physical presence with us, I cannot demonstrate to him an unconditional love in the context of a father and son relationship. Of course, even though Micah has left us, my unconditional love for him has not.

I think that my pain in the loss of the opportunity to love Micah unconditionally is a “clue” to the nature of the unconditional love that God demonstrated to us through Christ. God gave us salvation, through grace, not because there was anything good in us, but because of his great love for us. His love is unconditional towards us who are given the gift of faith. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7.

The night before Micah left us, Heather was sitting on our living room floor with Micah, talking to her mother and father-in-law. She sat with Micah on the exact spot on the floor which, just 12 hours later, Micah would lay as Heather and the EMTs tried to revive him. As Heather was sitting on the floor that night with Micah, she commented, “I can’t imagine how God could allow His Son to die. I love Micah so much, I can’t imagine seeing him die.”

You certainly do not need to lose your children to understand the nature of the unconditional love you have for your children. But now that I have watched my son die, I have a small sense of the pain that God the Father endured when Jesus the Son went to the cross. As agonizing as my grief has been in losing Micah, God the Father’s grief in losing spiritual separation from His Son was even greater. Amazingly, God the Father deemed the pain He experienced in losing his Son to be worth the price of our redemption as sons.

How great is God’s unconditional love for us! His love for me was bought at a cost that, through Micah’s death, I am only beginning to understand. Our relationship with Him is, in God’s eyes, worth the greatest price. The Cross of Christ is therefore not only the symbol of my salvation, but of God’s great love for me.

Maybe through this love for our children we can better understand the love that God has for us in Christ Jesus, a love that cannot be separated by anything. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate use from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39. Perhaps God placed this unconditional love in the hearts of parents to help us, as Christians, better understand the love that the Father has for us through his son, Jesus Christ.