Today I watched the funeral of Baby Hope Kolowski. It was livestreamed from Foothills Alliance Church in Calgary, Alberta.
I was saddened, encouraged and challenged.
It reminded me very much of Eva's funeral. They played two songs that we had at Eva's funeral.
Blessed be your name (which has been Eva's song from the first time I brought her to church) and With Hope by Steven Curtis Chapman.
As I mentioned in a previous post I have been following this blog for some time. Always with trepidation that this would be the time I opened the blog to news of Hope's death.
Her funeral service has blessed me beyond words. Her parents remind me of Mike and I although this is giving myself and Mike a huge compliment. Hope's parents are not a pillar of strength but a vision of being supported through the hardest time in their lives by Jesus.
I remember praising God at Eva's funeral. The anger came later. I also remember feeling touched by God at her funeral. Literally. The hand of God touched me. He gave me the strength to get up on stage and read a poem and a short tribute to my daughter. I remember shaking all over but managed to see the words I had written, through my tears.
Hope's life and death have impacted me. It has brought me back to my early days of losing and grieving Eva. But in a way that has also given me healing.
I watched the service for Hope and everything that was said about her from her captivating personality to her parents belief that she would make it through to her free smiles for everyone. Those were all things that were said and felt by many about Eva. I firmly believe that Hope and Eva are playing together with so many other children in heaven.
I have been told by others that my blog has helped them heal. I never understood what they meant until I received healing during Hope's funeral. I felt my anger slip away during her funeral. I am still sad. I still grieve my precious, precious daughter but my anger has slipped away and been replaced by trust. Trust in God that He knows what He's doing, even when all hell seems to be breaking loose in my life.
I have been going to prayer meeting every Wednesday since I was 12 weeks pregnant with Nathan. This prayer meeting has been of the utmost importance in my healing since Eva's death. Without it I'm not sure where I would be right now. But one thing that came to me over and over again at these prayer meetings was trust. Trust God. Trust. But how could I trust Him when He took my little girl from me? How could I trust Him?
One thing that was said at the beginning of Hope's funeral was a question "Will you still trust me even if I don't answer your prayers? Will you still love me even if I break your heart?"
Will I? Have I?
Hope's mom, Amy, has written a blog since Hope's diagnosis, in utero. Mending Hearts and Bending Knees. Hope's parents felt like knees would be bent in the fight to mend Hope's heart, and that, ultimately, her heart would be mended. What they never anticipated was that it would be the hearts of others that would be mended while bending knees.
It echoes a prayer we wrote at the very end of Eva's obituary. It is her family's prayer Eva's sick heart would bring many hearts to Jesus.
And I have not shown Jesus' love and mercy on my blog. I have shown my anger at the unfairness of my daughter's death but not how Jesus has carried me through the darkness and of the hope we have because of the gift of the cross. Because, truly, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' love and faithfulness.
Many of you know that when I was pregnant with our rainbow, Nathan, we called him Baby Hope, and had he been a girl, it would have been his name. I thought that a baby could give me back hope in such a hopeless time.
But true hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' love and faithfulness. Through Him I have true hope. The true hope of seeing my girl again. I hope you have that hope too. More than anything I hope that for you.
Should we ever be blessed to have another baby girl we will still name that girl Hope. But not because she is giving us hope but because of the hope we have in Jesus and in honour of a small warrior for God's kingdom. A small warrior named Hope.
Thank you, Hope, for giving me back hope.