Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Heaven is a Wonderful Place

I never get tired of kissing these sweet cheeks, but this week these 2 little faces have received a few more kisses than usual...



Monday afternoon I was sitting at my desk when my mom called to tell me one of my oldest friends, who was pregnant with her 3rd baby girl, had been told by her doctor earlier that same morning they were unable to find her baby's heart beat. She was 41 weeks pregnant. She and I live a few hours apart and in those hours after hearing this news I wished that distanced didn't exist and I could drop whatever I was doing to just give her a hug. I know I'm very fortunate to have never had a pregnancy end in anything other than a happy ending. I can't imagine the pain of lossing a baby, whether it's in the first trimester or what Kate had to experience Monday afternoon. My friend Brantley goes to church with Kate's in-laws and she forwarded the prayer request sent out from their family...

Dear Church family,

Please pray for our son, Michael, and his wife, Kate, who was due to give birth on February 20th. Claire Dowling Howell (8 lbs. 8 oz.) was stillborn yesterday afternoon, February 27th. Claire was spared this life and, upon opening her eyes for the first time, saw the face of her Heavenly Father. Please pray for God's comfort and peace as they walk through this trial. Pray also that God would use our unexpected loss for His glory and honor.

I love their sweet words that "Claire was spared this life and, upon opening her eyes for the first time, saw the face of her Heavenly Father." Kate and I grew up attending a church that has always put a lot of emphasis on it's children's ministry and we attended years of Sunday School, GAs, children's church, vacation bible school and summer day camps together. Somewhere along the way I remember singing the song "Heaven Is a Wonderful Place"...the words are "Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory & grace. I want to see my Saviors face because Heaven is a wonderful place...I want to go there". I grew up learning songs and hearing stories about what a wonderful place Heaven is, but when we loss a family member, especially in such an unexpected way, it's easy to forget all those lessons and just wish we could keep them here on Earth with us instead. My head is reminding me that as a believer in Christ we're all to be looking forward to the day we're called Home and of the promise we all have of spending eternity together. My head is reminding me that loved ones who have gone before us are in a perfect place and we're the unfortunate ones who have to remain in this very imperfect world. But right now my heart hurts for Kate as a mother and as a friend who can't imagine what the last few days have been like for her and her family. But Kate's in-laws are exactly right, that sweet baby was spared the pain of this world and instead woke up in the arms of our Heavenly Father. 

Claire's middle name also holds a special meaning...Dowling was Kate's middle name which was the maiden name of her maternal grandmother who she shared a very special relationship with.  Kate's grandmother passed away while we were in college and I feel very confident she was waiting to welcome her little namesake with open arms as she entered into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Kate and her family have been in my thoughts constantly since hearing the news on Monday and since then I've been just a little more thankful for the 2 children I've been given...and those sweet cheeks I get to kiss. Tomorrow they will be having a private service for the family and I ask that if you have a chance, say a prayer for this family. The power of prayer is mighty and I know they appreciate each and every one.

If you know Kate or Michael Howell and would like to leave a comment for them at the funeral homes website, here is the link 

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Auralee said...

So, so sorry. I honestly had to stop reading the post because it hurts my heart so much. I hope and pray God gives them the comfort for this horrible and unfortunate event.

Harriet said...

Tara, you have such a wonderful way with words. I had not seen the prayer request from Michael's church and I appreciate your sharing it. Thank you for your love and support. Kate is truly blessed to have you in her life.

The Howell family said...

Oh Tara I have no words right now just thank you I hope you know how much your friendship means to me