Winner of Best Memoir
from the Catholic Media Association
Catholic Media Association
~ Best Memoir
~ 2nd Place Grief & Bereavement
The Nautilus Foundation
~ Silver Award Memoir/Grief
What if your greatest sufferings were an invitation to joy?
When Elizabeth Leon received a life-limiting diagnosis for her unborn son, she expected her baby to die. She didn’t expect his death to be a sacred experience that transformed her heart and left a message of love for the world.
LET YOURSELF BE LOVED
Sometimes the miracle you get
is not the miracle you prayed for.
In Let Yourself Be Loved, Elizabeth Leon tells the story of her son, John Paul Raphael, and the fierce beauty and purpose she found in only 28 hours and 10 minutes of her son’s life. Elizabeth Leon explores the landscape of surrender, hope, and grief and shares the freedom that she discovered in consenting to a path she did not choose.
On the surface, it may seem like an ordinary story. Babies are born every day. Some of them die. But, the Lord specializes in using the ordinary to do extraordinary work. John Paul Raphael left sacred truths through his short and shining life.
Let Yourself Be Loved is a story of freedom for every person who has ever walked through uncertainty or loss. Elizabeth Leon writes with authenticity and humanity as she prepares for the death of her baby then navigates the wasteland of grief. As a Catholic wife and mother, she honors the sanctity of human life and the powerful impact of her baby’s brief time on earth.
Elizabeth reminds us what it means to be human as she shares vulnerably the agony and the beauty of discovering grief and joy inextricably woven together. She invites us to open ourselves to the lessons that come from life and death.
“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.”
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Elizabeth Leon is a Catholic wife, mother, author, and speaker from Ashburn, Virginia. She has been a leader in ministry and faith formation for more than twenty-five years and inspires others to find freedom and healing in Christ through her speaking and writing. Her gift is her willingness to be vulnerable and love with a heart wide-open despite the brokenness of divorce, adultery, death, and abuse.
She and her husband, Ralph, are the parents of 10 children, 5 of hers, 4 of his, and their son, John Paul Raphael who died in 2018.
The Lord used the death of her son to lead her to freedom and to teach her to let herself be loved. She is passionate about spreading this mission to inspire others to find freedom through healing in Christ.
PRAISE for LET YOURSELF BE LOVED
“This story brims with hope, unflinching love, and the reminder that there is purpose and meaning in every moment of life. Elizabeth Leon shares her story with candor, joy, and a level of wisdom that’s been hard won through suffering.
I have had the privilege of watching Elizabeth navigate some of the very challenges she writes about, and stand amazed at the way she has risen with grace and dignity. Let Yourself Be Loved will remind you that God is faithful, that no suffering is without purpose, and that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)”.
Author & Founder of Walking with Purpose