My Story: Jess Wellman of Edinboro

I have been a Christian for all of my life. But it wasn’t until this past April, when my life changed dramatically, that I actually became a “good” Christian. And there is one tiny little life that I have to thank for this. Her name is Madelyn, and she is my daughter. And this was part of her purpose. Let me start with a quote by an anonymous author: An angel, in the book of life wrote down my baby's birth, and whispered as the book was closed, "too beautiful for earth."

Maddie truly was just too beautiful and perfect to remain with us here on earth. But God has a plan. I believe that everyone is placed in this world to fulfill a God-given purpose, and we aren’t allowed to leave until we have accomplished what we were sent to do. Madelyn only needed 3 short days to complete all for which she was created, and although I do not fully understand everything that has happened, I feel as though God has given me many answers that I was afraid I would not be blessed enough to know in this lifetime. We were not given long with our sweet little angel, but we did get to make some memories to keep of her, not all of them are perfect memories, but they are what we have, and I would like to share some of what Maddie has taught me, with all of you, for this is why she was given to us.

I was the one who was blessed to be with her 24/7 for the past 10 months. And even before I saw her tiny flicker of a heartbeat on the ultrasound for the first time, I was in complete love. I felt her the first time she moved. I’ve tried to soothe her through numerous bouts of hiccups. Tickled her little feet. And provided her with warmth, love and security while she grew into the perfect angel she is. I may not have ever heard her sweet cry, though I longed to every minute since she was born. She knew my voice. The best memory I have after she was born, as weak as she was, she way lying in the NICU as they were preparing her to be life flown to the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. I was talking to her, and telling her how much I love her, and that we would be right down there to be with her. And she opened her precious little eyes to look at me.

She knew mommy was right there. I’ll never forget that. I will also never forget holding her tiny hand in the Pittsburgh NICU, right after we arrived. I would just sit by her and talk to her, longing to hold her. She had a good little grip, and I knew she was a fighter. So sadly, she took a turn for the worse on Tuesday, and waking up that day, I just had a feeling it would be the last I would get with her. Mother’s intuition. Around 2pm that afternoon, we finally did get to hold Madelyn, and we did not stop holding her until after she passed away shortly after 8pm. Although she was attached to a hundred different things, it was the moment I had waited for since the day I read that positive pregnancy test. I was holding my precious child. And she was still fighting. I gave her a million kisses, whispered a thousand “I love you’s” and told her how I wish I could kiss all of her boo-boos away. Those were the best moments of my week, but also the hardest. She waited for her grandparents to come and everyone got a chance to hold her. My body was where her life was formed, where her heart started beating, and where she made her first move. And in my arms, next to my heart, was where she took her last breath.

Many people might be angry at God for taking her so soon. They might waver in their faith or turn their backs on God. But this is not what she was created for. Maddie was put into our lives to bring more people to Jesus, and as I have said, if even one soul has been saved because of her existence, then her precious life was worth every second. Since Madelyn’s passing, I have received countless e-mails and messages from both friends and strangers who have heard of my little girl. All carrying a similar message: Madelyn’s story has strengthened wavering faith, inspired struggling lives, and given hope to people feeling hopeless.

Madelyn has been touching many lives since April. I have been told, that much of the inspiration comes from me, and how I have handled this tremendous loss. How I have been leaning “whole-heartedly” on my faith to get me through. Madelyn showed me this. If I didn’t have this strong faith, how would I ever get to hold her again?

Faith is not something to give up on in difficult times. It is not something to turn your back on because things seem unfair. Instead, faith is what we cling to when we don’t feel we can go on or when we don’t know how we will make it through each day. I felt this way often when we were with Maddie. McLane ran a series about Heaven which actually concluded only a couple of weeks before I had Madelyn. I have always believed in Heaven, but the series got me excited about going there. And I now have even more reason to be excited, for one day, when I have accomplished what God has sent me to do, I will be reunited with my precious daughter, as she is waiting there to welcome me when I return Home.

So many people have told me that they have been inspired by my strength and by my faith. Just knowing that I am an inspiration to someone’s faith, gives me more peace than anyone will ever know. I am strong because God has given me strength. I am proud to openly declare my love for Christ. I have learned how to listen when God speaks to me. I pray daily. My sweet Madelyn has made my faith stronger than it has ever been, and I am eternally grateful to her for that gift. I may not know when, but I am certain that I will see her again, and that I will be walking with her and Jesus one day. I thank God, that we were the ones He blessed with such a perfect little angel. He chose us to be her parents. He entrusted us to help her fulfill her purpose. And that purpose was to guide more people into the light of Heaven.

To honor Madelyn’s short life, keep her memory alive, and to help reach out to more people, I began a ministry called Madelyn’s Purpose, to help others affected by pregnancy or infant loss. The response has been awesome, and I continue to be amazed at how God is working in my life, and how He has His hand in everything we do.