Let Yourself Be Loved: Big Lessons from a Little Life by Elizabeth Leon
“The story of John Paul Raphael is a grand love story, God’s from the very beginning. It is the saddest story with the happiest ending. A tragedy with a plot twist of joy. A story that taught me the beautiful agony of surrender and the radiance of hope. Through our baby, light flooded the darkest caverns of my heart and seeds of grief sprouted into spectacular blossoms of peace, purpose, and joy. Not the miracle I wanted, but a miracle I would learn to love.”
Let Yourself Be Loved explores the heart of a mother carrying a baby to term with the certainty of death. Diagnosed with Trisomy 18, John Paul Raphael Leon lived only 28 hours and 10 minutes. Let Yourself Be Loved is an authentic and gripping narrative about the ferociousness of grief and the sacred landscape of child-loss. It is an invitation to share John Paul Raphael’s mission to let yourself be loved by an extraordinary God that wants to claim your heart for freedom.
From a positive pregnancy test through the first two brutal years after her son’s death, Elizabeth Leon writes with unflinching honesty about the tsunami of grief and the exquisite agony of choosing to live and love in its wake. With vulnerability and courage, she surrenders to God’s plan and learns to embrace the fragility of life and the nearness of death. A faithful Catholic, her writing is deeply prayerful while she wrestles humanly and spiritually with rage, fear, and despair.
In the depression that followed her son’s death, Elizabeth Leon is forced to examine her own brokenness and confront the holy mystery of John Paul Raphael’s short and shining life: in the light of faith, our deepest sufferings are an invitation to joy. Her writing triumphantly heralds the hope that when we surrender to the Lord, we are offered the pearl of great price, which is His Presence and His deep love for us. Let Yourself Be Loved is a road map to find joy in the shadow of the valley of death and why it is worth it.