Isla Belle’s Story
Jessica and Ethan were so excited to learn they were expecting their first child together. Even though the timing wasn’t theirs, they embraced and openly received God’s perfect timing with the beautiful gift of a child. Isla Belle was due to enter the world on April 23, 2022, and they couldn’t wait. But when Jessica noticed a lack of activity around 24 weeks, she anxiously went to the doctor where she learned her daughter’s heart had stopped beating. “Leaving the hospital empty-handed, without my little girl, was the worst pain I had ever experienced; even more than the physical pain I was in from labor,” said Jessica.
An Opportunity to Honor
On Isla’s due date, Jessica wanted to do something to honor her daughter. She wanted to do something special that would lessen the pain of that particular day and comfort her grieving heart. A member of the Praying Through ministries Child Loss Prayer Team, Jessica was sharing with the team about the upcoming milestone and how she was anxiously anticipating it when it was suggested she look into the Ambassador Program. Jessica immediately jumped at the chance to deliver the hope of Christ to other mothers faced with child loss in Yukon, Oklahoma at Integris Canadian Valley Women's Hospital and to do it in Isla’s name.
Through a book drive, Jessica’s friends and family purchased 10 copies of the devotional “Loved Baby” by Sarah Philpott from her Amazon Wish List. “The Loved Baby devotional gifted to me by Praying Through ministries gave me such hope, so I wanted to share that same hope with other moms going through the grief of infant loss.” Jessica went on to share, “My hope is that although there will be other mothers who will leave the hospital without their sweet babies, with my help, they will not leave empty-handed. They will leave with these devotionals and the hope of Jesus to cling to.”
Jessica was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from her friends and family as she reached her goal of 10 books in just one day! And even more profound than the number of books was the underlying meaning it had to her. She shared, “Their support really lifted my spirits, I felt them acknowledging that my child was born and loved, although it was into Heaven.” Each donated book was matched with an encouraging note from Praying Through ministries, a gift tag in honor of Isla, and a sticker of Biblical hope and encouragement.
The Blessing in being a Blessing
As Jessica penned some of the notes herself and adorned the books with ribbon and tags, she processed her grief in a very special way. She also included her 12-year-old son in part of the process. “Writing each note individually felt so personal. It was me, connecting with a mama that was about to experience the same grief we recently went through. I was able to use this experience to show my son that love and contentment can coexist with grief.”
For Jessica, returning to the hospital to deliver the books was difficult. Anxiety and sadness were present, but so was the Holy Spirit. Jessica shared, “I chose to focus not on my anxiety, but rather on the mom that would need this devotional. I felt the Holy Spirit comfort me in that moment. ”
Would you like to honor a child who has passed or celebrate a NICU or PICU graduate through our Ambassador Outreach Program? We would be honored to link arms with you as you deliver the hope of Christ to families at your local hospital or OB office. Visit our Ambassador page for more details.