How Jesus Comforts the Woman Who Miscarries

Today, over at The Purposeful Wife, I am sharing one of the many incredible ways that Jesus is able to identify with the woman who miscarries. The fellowship that he offers to us in our suffering is a blessing that can often be overlooked, but if we are careful to seek him in the midst of our pain, he is faithful and willing to help us in our time of need. I'd love to share with you how Jesus did that for me. I hope you will join me over at Rachel's blog.

Today's Question from Rachel: "I loved the part of your book in which you identified specific ways that Jesus can relate and minister to women suffering miscarriage. When and how did this first occur to you?" (Read my answer here.)

Tuesday's Question from Rachel: "What has your personal grieving process after your miscarriages looked like? I know that every woman is different, and thought this might be encouraging to moms who have recently lost little ones and are wondering if the pain ever abates. While my miscarriage of six years ago seems distant, the more recent one still stings. Do you feel completely healed at this point, or does the memory of your losses still profoundly affect you at times?" (Read my answer here.)

I will be answering two more questions from Rachel next week, so be sure to like her page on Facebook so that you don't miss them.

What My Grieving Process Looked Like After Miscarriage

I'm so happy to have the opportunity to share more about my miscarriage experiences over at The Purposeful Wife today. While every miscarriage and every woman is different, I know that it can be helpful to hear the testimony of God's faithfulness to another when you are walking through a similar trial. Therefore, I pray that this little description of my own healing process will be a blessing to other women who are in the midst of miscarriage.

Over the next two weeks, I will be answering Rachel's questions regarding pregnancy loss and my book Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb. I hope you will join us as we discuss this painful trial in the context of the good news of the gospel.

Also, I'd like to invite you to send in any questions you may have about miscarriage, grieving, or the book. You can do so through the comments of these posts or by emailing me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Marmee's Wisdom: Work and Play

One of my summer reads this year is Louisa May Alcott's classic, Little Women. It is a book that I have wanted to read for some time, as I have long cherished the film adaptation starring Winona Ryder. My dear husband has had to sit through that movie more times than he would care to admit! Of course the book has been leagues better than the movie, making it a virtual feast for my imagination and a peaceful retreat as the whirlwind of my own little children swirls around me. Indeed, lingering in the home of the March family and exploring all of the nooks and crannies of their story has been such a joy.

One of the greatest joys of this book has been the opportunity to meditate on some of the spiritual lessons and themes that pervade its pages. Many of these lessons come straight from the mouth of the matriarch of the March family, affectionately referred to by her girls as "Marmee." For instance, take this little gem that she shares with her girls after they've experienced the uncomfortable affects of neglecting their necessary and good work around the home:

"Very good! then I am quite satisfied with the experiment, and fancy that we shall not have to repeat it; only don't go to the other extreme, and delve like slaves. Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty."

I love the instruction to "prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well." It calls to mind this sobering principle found in Ephesians 5:

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Time is such a precious commodity and the way it tends to slip through our fingers if you are not careful in the way you use it can be disheartening. I must admit that I am not an expert in employing it well-- fault has been glaringly exposed recently as the constant needs of the four little ones in our home bid for my attention.

More than ever I am in need of this reminder to keep regular times of focused work as well as play. Setting boundaries for each of these necessary and good activities brings greater peace and order to my home (as well as my own soul!).  It is a simple principle, but one that takes much self-control.

Spirit, please continue to develop this character quality in my soul, allow me to redeem the time you've given me, and give me grace to glorify the Lord in my work as well as in my play. 

From the Domain of Darkness

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son..
— Colossians 1:13

When a person places their trust in the Lord Jesus' sacrifice on their behalf an incredible thing occurs. The Bible tells us that they are instantly and irrevocably transferred from one kingdom into another.

One kingdom-the place we are all born into-is characterized by utter darkness.

It is cruelly ruled by the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2) whose character, Jesus said, is innately deceptive and murderous (John 8:44). This "prince" is leading a kingdom of blind slaves-who are shackled to him by their own sin-into the very pit of Hell.

And we all, before placing our trust in Jesus' substitutionary death on our behalf, willingly followed him, pledging our allegiance to his kingdom of death (Eph. 2:2).  

We were completely and utterly blind to our desperate state (2 Cor. 4:4), like cows being led to the slaughter.

But.

The one who spoke the first brilliant rays of light into existence-the one who brought something beautiful out of nothing at all--is able to break through that terrible darkness (2 Cor. 4:6). 

In one magnificent moment, when a person repents of their sins and places their trust in Jesus for salvation, the kingdom of God rips through the dark casket they've been lying dead in and breaths life into their lungs!

Yes, the God who died on a cross over 2,000 years ago to ransom a people for his own possession, breaks the heavy chains of sin and guilt that shackle men and women to certain damnation each and every day. As he removes the scales from the eyes of the blind, they see him as the God and Savior he truly is. He immediately embraces them as blood-bought brothers and sisters and qualifies them to be members of his kingdom-a kingdom ruled by truth and love (1 John 3:14).

This is my story.

This is the story of every single person who believes that Jesus died to save them from their sins.

We are those who have been delivered out of darkness and transferred into the light.

It isn't something that is yet to occur, it has already happened.

Right now, in this very moment, we are citizens of God's glorious kingdom.

And yet here we are, walking around in our sin-infested bodies, in a sin-broken world. We see death and destruction all around us. We see the handiwork of our former ruler in our families, in our country,  and in our world.

We see darkness.

Lots and lots of darkness.

The kingdom of light is alive in our hearts, but is at the same time yet to be revealed in the physical world. In these moments-these small moments before eternity-we are called to have faith in a spiritual kingdom where our Savior reigns. We are called to live as citizens of that world while walking about in this dark one.

How blessed we are to have our eyes open to the heavenly beauties of the the kingdom of God while being surrounded by such evil! How privileged we are to experience the love of the good and kind King who cares for us and lavishes his grace upon us in every moment.

We were not worthy of the light, but he gave it.

May we cling to it today; may we be filled with it today; and may we allow it to shine through us today, so that others may be beckoned to follow this glorious light.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
— 1 Peter 2:9

Happy Mother's Day to the Woman Who's Miscarried

“Happy Mother’s Day, dear sister.”

Does it seem cruel to say such a thing? 

Does it sound as though I am insensitive to your loss?

I will be the first to admit that the words don’t come out very comfortably. But I pray that you will trust that I have no desire to belittle your pain or to to make light of your current grief. I don’t wish to add to the painful reminders of your loss that so  easily characterize this holiday.

But I want to say it to you, sweet sister.

I want you to know that you are worth celebrating this Mother’s Day—That your desire for motherhood, that your willingness to open your womb to new life, and that your current mourning is worth recognizing. 

You are worth recognizing because you are a mother.

What is a mother anyway? Why do we, as a society, set aside a special day to lift up the women in our lives who have children? Is it the mere ability to reproduce that is worth celebrating? If we are focusing on the ability to reproduce, it is God whom we should be celebrating, not mothers, for only he can give life where there was once nothing... 

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How Can You Help A Friend Who Miscarries?

Since the release of Inheritance of Tears, my life has been quite a whirlwind. Very little of the craziness, however, has been a result of the book! In truth, there have been many days over the past two months that I've completely forgotten that something as wonderfully exciting as publishing a book, has taken place. Regular life--the joys and insanity of caring for a household of 6--has been more than enough to occupy my time, thoughts and energy.

And so, as reviews for the book have started to filter in, I've been in a constant state of wonder at God's willingness to use me to serve the church in this way. I'm so happy to see Inheritance of Tears being well-received and pray that it will bear much fruit as it falls into the hands of women who need it. 

I'd like to send out a huge "Thank You!" to every single person who has shared about this book. I'm hopeful that your kind efforts will lead to many women being encouraged in their darkest hours.

Recently, I've had the wonderful opportunity to answer some very practical questions regarding miscarriage and how to lovingly serve those who are mourning the loss of their children.

At this time, there are two separate interviews (more to come!) that I would like to share with you. I  hope you find them helpful as you seek to minister to those who are suffering...

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Book Review: From Good to Grace

Over the past several years there has been a growing awareness of a quiet sickness plaguing the church. It is quiet because it has the outward appearance of godliness and spiritual growth, and it is a sickness because it leads to spiritual exhaustion at its best and spiritual death at its very worst. It’s an extremely cruel enemy because it deceives people into feel good about their spiritual walks at one moment, and causes them to feel completely defeated by their indwelling sin and failures when they are inevitably revealed in the next. 

What great foe am I referring to? The temptation toward legalism and moralism in the Christian life. Christine Hoover refers to it as the “goodness gospel,” and says that when she lived under it, she “appeared to be a good Christian,” on the outside, but on the inside, “felt unlovable and was riddled with guilt about [her] inability to please God.” As an adherent to this false gospel, Christine “sought joy, peace, and love through being good, and instead found [herself] miserably enslaved to [her] own unattainable standards.” Perhaps you can relate?

To be sure, many of us have found ourselves in a similar spiritual maze. We know that in and of ourselves, it is impossible to please God, and yet we so often faultily feel as though pleasing God is all up to us. This type of do-it-yourself Christianity has been the subject of many blog articles and books in recent years as the church seeks to reorient itself to the concept of grace-empowered Christianity. That is to say, enjoying the powerful work of God’s grace in a believer’s sanctification, and not just in their initial salvation. We have been inundated with calls to rest in the indicative realities of the Bible (what Christ has done for us), and to allow that sweet, gospel knowledge to produce the sanctification and holiness that we all so desperately desire.

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The Other Half

The stack of books on my nightstand inches higher everyday. Some were recommended and loaned by friends, some borrowed from the library, and some sit caked in dust because I’ve put off reading them for so long. The majority of the stack, however, have scraps of paper jutting out from their pages–evidence that I’ve started reading them but never quite finished. They remain on my nightstand because I have this thing about finishing books: I want to give each book a fair shake, and reading just the first few chapters isn’t a fair shake in my opinion. The first few chapters don’t tell the whole story.

I suppose I have this thing about whole stories, because although I became a Christian when I was eight, for the 20 years that followed I only knew the first half of the gospel story. I knew that I was a sinner, and I knew that Jesus Christ died on the cross to forgive me of that sin when I confessed Him as my Savior, but I didn’t know how this act of death and resurrection affected my life after my initial salvation. I hated that I continued to sin, that I failed God, that I couldn’t be good enough to prove my worth for what He’d done for me. I knew He loved me at the cross, but I felt certain He couldn’t love me in my ever-present state of failure and weakness. So I repeatedly cycled around to the first half of the story–the part that told me I was a sinner–and then, wallowing in that truth, tried desperately to make up for my imperfections with good behavior. 

I thought that was the whole story: saved by grace, sanctified by self-effort. But one day God began showing me through His Word that there is a second half to the gospel story–the part about life after salvation–and what He showed me changed everything. 

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