Even though Reese's due date is August 28th, my doctor had scheduled my C-section for today. August 20th was "supposed" to be her birthday, yet GOD had a much different plan.
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9
I want to share the words I spoke at Reese's memorial service. GOD overwhelmed me (and still does) with His peace as I spoke, then I fell apart before I could even reach my seat. He is good.
We think of Reese constantly, and at certain times our loss just washes over me. Then the emotions pass for a moment.
We feel your prayers, tears, and love for us. Thank you!
Reese Catherine Rowe
August 11, 2009 ~ August 13, 2009
Thank you for being here today to support Jason, me, and our families. It means so much to see your faces and know that you care this much to be here for us.
*We are thankful for the time that GOD gave us with Reese. We were so blessed to have her on earth with us for two days. Today is about honoring her and giving glory to GOD for her sweet little life.
*As difficult as it was for us to leave the hospital Thursday night, I will never forget the comfort of going to see Reese, touch her, hold her whenever I wanted – what a gift!
Several verses have gone through my mind this week as I have thought and felt so many things.
I will always treasure our mother ~ daughter moments. Especially late at night or early in the morning.
At night around midnight after everyone went home, I would go up to her room and spend time with Reese. I had so much I wanted to say to her.
I would wake up early around 5 and go up to her room. What a privilege it was for me. The LORD would whisper to my heart Psalm 139:18, "…when I awake I am still with You."
*As the reality of Reese’s situation began to sink in, and my mind drifted to planning her funeral, I thought of how different this would be from mourning a loved one who had lived a full life.
As hard as it is to lose anyone you love, with Reese there are many of what will never be. What I will never have with my daughter. What Jason and Zach will never have with her. Hopes lost, plans unfinished, and dreams unfulfilled.
I want you to stay with me, because if this is all there was and all I believed, I could not be standing here before you now speaking at my own daughter’s funeral.
*Most of you know I was diagnosed with meningitis and encephalitis in May. Throughout my illness, even though I was in the worst pain I’d ever been in, I never questioned GOD, never got angry. I wasn’t bitter. Overall, I accepted it – thankful that Reese was ok, Zach was in good hands, and by leaning on my family’s and friends’ love, prayers, and support GOD carried me through.
With each passing day after she was born Reese showed no improvement, and we knew there was very little hope. It was then that I began to feel my anger rising. I prayed, "GOD, do anything to me – I can handle it. It’s my body. Take away my health, but GOD NOW, you have touched a big nerve. Don’t go there. Don’t take away my baby girl. Do not touch my daughter."
I know we are not immune to any suffering, but I wanted answers. My heart cried, "GOD, you’ve stirred me so. What are we going to do without her?"
In a way I challenged GOD, believing He called me to – not pridefully (I don’t have any pride left) or defiantly. I believe GOD led me to a "match" because He wanted to meet with me in a way He never had before.
The LORD replied, "Katie, give Me what you’ve got. I can handle it."
So I did. Some of the things I said to Him were serious, some on a lighter note. Yet He answered. Through my family, friends, His Word, many of you.
I cried out, "GOD, I have a baby book with blank pages waiting for me to fill!" He said, "All of Reese’s days were ordained in My book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16
One night I went to see Reese, and the nurse had lovingly given her a bath. This meant the world to me. Such a sweet detail. But I said, "GOD, I’m the one who is supposed to bathe her." He answered, "The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21
This same nurse put a tiny bow in her hair. I said, "GOD, I’m the one who is supposed to fix her hair." He replied, "I will you quiet you with My love." Zeph. 1:17
One night I said to Reese, "This is not how it should be. Dad and Zach are supposed to hang out doing guy things and you and me have fun doing girly things." GOD answered, "I will restore the years the locusts have eaten." Joel 2:25
I said, "GOD, I have this precious diaper bag that I picked out especially for Reese. I searched for weeks to find it." He said, "My mercies are new every morning." Lamentations 3:23
As we were preparing to say goodbye to Reese, the nurse helped me dress her. I thought, "LORD, I should be able to have more chances to dress my sweet baby girl in pretty outfits." He answered, "Reese has already obtained an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away…" 1 Peter 1:4
The first morning Jason and I were home we were lying in bed talking about Reese. Jason said, "She should be right here in between us." GOD said, "I hem you in behind and before." Psalm 139:5
I pleaded, "GOD, but I already have a girls’ trip planned with Reese and my friends with their daughters. We were going to stay up late and giggle and paint each other’s toenails." He replied, "The joy of the LORD is your strength and stronghold." Nehemiah 8:10
These are just a few things that will never be with Reese.
GOD was gracious enough to answer me with His comforting words. But really He alone is the answer. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I AM GOD." As my Mom reminded me, GOD is everything He says He is or He is nothing at all. I cannot believe He is nothing. He must be enough.
*Before Reese was born I began praying for her. What an honor to already be praying for Reese! Deuteronomy 30:20 says, "For He is their life and the length of their days." I prayed the day before she was born that GOD would be her life and the length of her days.
GOD used these specific words through me, as Reese’s Mom, to pray over her short life before she was even born. Of course, I had no idea her life would be cut so very short, but GOD did. He knew the length of her days would only be two on earth with us. Yet I also prayed He would be her life, and He is. I believe Reese is with Jesus.
My prayer for us now is Ephesians 3:13 – 21. Ephesians 3:20 – 21 have always been my favorite verses. The following is a summary of these eight verses.
"When I think of the wisdom and scope of Your plan for us, GOD, I fall down on my knees and pray…that out of Your glorious unlimited resources You will give us the mighty inner strengthening of Your Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in our hearts, living within us as we trust in You. May our roots go down deep into the soil of GOD’s marvelous love, and may we be able to feel and understand, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high GOD’s love really is and to experience this love for ourselves, though it is so great that we will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. Amen."