Meeting Our Sweet Girl

Meeting Our Sweet Girl

On Sunday, March 25 at 10:37pm, Leeza gave birth to our precious little girl, Bethany Rose Kuravackal. She was 4lbs, 2oz and had a full head of jet black hair. She lived for about 10 minutes before going home to be with the Lord.

Our journey with Bethany over the last several months hit an unexpected bump in the road last November as we found out she had a lethal condition that was deemed “incompatible with life” (you can read more about this portion of our story here). Ultimately we decided that rather than terminating the pregnancy early, we would continue on and treasure the life God has given to us no matter how long or short that life would be. Last night, in the midst of very raw feelings of pain and heartache, Leeza and I were asking ourselves whether we made the right decision. Ultimately we came to the conclusion that it was worth it in the end just to spend even a few brief moments with Bethany. She was so perfect. Although she passed after 10 minutes we were told we could keep her with us as long as we wanted, so we ended up spending almost 24 hours with her. We believe that her spirit went to be with the Lord but her body was with us and that’s all we had. Still those few hours we had, as painful as they were, are moments with our dear Bethany that we will always treasure.

As we thought about the day Bethany would arrive for the past few months we had no idea what to expect. I wondered if we would doubt God’s sovereignty and love for us. But when I found myself in the operating room for the cesarean, sitting by Leeza’s head with a curtain separating the doctors from us, there was an overwhelming sense of peace that just came over us. It was the kind of peace that can only be explained by the presence of Christ with us. His grace was indeed sufficient for us (2 Cor 12:9).

Bethany has taught us so much about hope, so much so that we almost named her Hope (I will post later why we went with Bethany instead). Because of her life, the reality of the hope we have in Jesus through His resurrection is something we’re experiencing on a much deeper level than ever before. Our hope is in the One who laid death in His grave and caused death to lose its sting (1 Cor 15:54-57). And because His death was followed by resurrection, we who are in Christ will also rise with Him one glorious day. It’s on that day that He will wipe every tear from our eyes and remove all our pain and suffering, bringing complete restoration (Rev 21:4). It’s on that day that we will see face to face the Author and Perfecter of our faith, living forever with Him in glory. It’s also on that day that we will see our dear Bethany again, completely healed. For these reasons, Leeza and I find ourselves truly longing for that day. We are thankful that the Lord gave Bethany to us, because through her life she has taught us what it means to have hope in Jesus.

As we grieve the loss of Bethany, we pray that the Father would use this journey to make us more like His Son. We are beginning to understand that our grief is an integral part of being made like the One who was acquainted with grief and our sorrow an integral part of being made like the Man of sorrows (Isa 53:3).

As difficult as this experience is for us, we trust that it is ultimately for our good and for His glory. We join with Job, who suffered incredible loss, in saying “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”


  1. Sally

    April 1

    Jerel, it is really funny how the spirt of God works. God had placed you and Leeza on my heart for the past 2 weeks and even though I knew you guys were expecting I did not know the due date or had an update. I went looking on your fb page for your blog and couldn’t find it. So Jerel I am telling you and Leeza that you were thought of and prayed for and I will continue to do so. I can’t imagine the pain and unanswered questions you two must have and you may never have the answers while on this earth. But know that you both are loved.
    Philippians 4:7
    Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (New Living Translation)

  2. Bright & Susan

    April 1

    Dearest Jerel & Leeza,

    We together with you praise God Almighty for Bethany’s life. Its is impossible, no matter how hard we try to imagine what the both of you are going through. Thank you for sharing this jounrney with us. Especially Bethany’s picture. She is so sweet, and like you said, perfect. You have been in our fervent prayers before Leeza conceived, and even more with joy when she did. Yet the Lord tested our faith when the news of Bethany’s health was revealed. Now as you go through mourning her loss… know that our Father above knows exactly what you are going through.

    Our prayer is that God will shower and cover you with His grace. And that your hearts will be filled and overwhelmed with His peace that passeth ALL understanding.

    We love you both so much! Please never hesitate to call on us even if it is for as much as a hug, or a shoulder to cry on. Our hearts and thoughts are with you these tough days ahead.

    With much prayer & love,
    Bright & Susan

  3. maria john

    April 1

    Dear Leeza and Jerel…
    I did not know you guys were pregnant. I think I cannot say more than what you have written. I thank GOd for the strength He has given you as He is taking you both through this trial. I just want to share my heartache on reading about your Bethany…He is real..He will work out His purpose.. Hugs to Leeza..

  4. Karen Goodwin

    April 1

    Ours tears are falling with you.

  5. Emmanuel & Sanghi

    April 2

    Dearest Jerel & Leeza,
    We could not stop crying after I read your blog. We can feel your pain. We know how it feels to lose a loved one. Our prayers are with you. All we can say is, our God is an awesome God and He will never let you go. Bethany is happy and probably looking over you guys. She is probably sitting at the feet of our Savior and asking Him to give you guys peace. We will all see her again and rejoice in the Lord with her. Our thoughts are with you guys.
    With love and prayers,
    Sanghi & Emmanuel

  6. Sam and Glory

    April 3

    Dear Leeza and Jerel,
    May God give you both comfort during this trial. May He give you both strength and peace.
    Leeza I love you as if you are my own sister and i I can’t imagine what you are going through right now, but I wish I could reach out and comfort you somehow. I just want to let you both know that we share in your heartache.

  7. handmaiden

    April 4

    Jerel and leeza, i don’t think you made a mistake in keeping her for 9 months… by faith and patience allowed OUR Heavenly father to weave her beautifully and wonderfully so that she would spend Eternity with HIM….Your part was to prepare her and give birth to her for HIM……so do not loose heart…..2Samuel:12/20……

  8. Sheena and Siju

    April 5

    Leeza & Jerel –

    First off, We offer our condolences for your loss of Bethany and thanks for sharing this experience with us. Your family is truly a testiment to those around you. You did the right thing to truly put an unfortunate circumstance that was presented totally in God’s hands and to carry Bethany to term.

    Being a new parent, I could only imagine what kind of feelings are running through your mind but we truly believe that God can give us only what we can handle. You both would make awesome parents and we see nothing but good things to come.

    With much love,
    Sheena & Siju

  9. sheeba and reggie (houston)

    April 7

    Leeza and Jerel,
    Once again, thank you for opening up your hearts and giving us a glimpse of this very special time in your lives. Your testimony has and will continue to encourage more people than you may have intended. We have been & will continue to pray for you. Without a doubt Bethany is with our Lord. And what a privilege and blessing it is for her to see her Savior face to face right from the beginning of her life. I can only imagine your pain but I am confidant in the One who’s upholding you in His righteous right hand.
    in Christ,
    your cousins

  10. Your words and your faith are beautiful offerings to the Lord. I cannot add to them nor comprehend what you have gone through but the fruit of His touch is obvious. Bless you both for sharing from your hearts.


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