Saturday, December 13, 2008

Short holiday message

Holidays can be a difficult time for those who have lost loved ones, including babies who died before birth. Take a moment to remember those around you who may be struggling to walk in joy this holiday season. Reach out, acknowledge their pain, be a listening ear, and give them permission to express what is on their hearts. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” -Romans 12:15.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Poem - Abide in Me

I found this in a book - Safe in the Arms of Jesus, by Lightner. It is based on a poem by Rossiter W. Raymond.

Beside a grave I knelt in tears,
and felt a presence as I prayed.
I turned to Jesus standing near -
He said: "Be not afraid!"

"Lord, You have conquered death, I know;
restore again to life," I said,
"This little one that we loved so -"
He said: "She is not dead!"

"Not dead? That thought small comfort gives,
our emptied arms can't hold her near.
Now far way with You she lives -"
He said: "But I am here!"

"She is not lost who lives in You?
Grief says such things can never be.
Yet hope asks what the heart must do -"
He said: "Abide in Me!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

When My Heart Condemns Me

Several months ago I happened upon on a blog that quickly found a place in my heart. Check it out to read the entire story of this precious family: Abby and John Gjertsen have graciously given me permission to include parts of their story here for you.

Almost everyone I've talked to about miscarriage has felt some twinges (or large amounts) of guilt, wondering what they did wrong or could have done more right. Abby addresses this very issue in a recent post. Their son James lived 482 days; just this past August he died. A few months earlier they miscarried their daughter Dora. Please keep them in your prayers.


when my heart condemns me
Posted on September 4th, 2008 by Abby.

Today would have been James’s swallow study at the hospital. I have the detailed instructions for it marked through on my calendar, leaving no space to write anything new on today’s date. (That’s a good metaphor for my time right now–recently very full, and presently very empty.) The swallow study was supposed to give us a better understanding of what was making James choke on certain foods and thin liquids. I regret not spending more time trying to feed him by mouth, but we were waiting for the results of the study. He did enjoy eating, though. I wish I had tried to fit in more spoon-feedings simply because he liked it, at least until the coughing or retching began.

I regret a lot of things, looking back, and although everyone tries to talk me out of it, I feel a pretty sizable sense of guilt about James’s death. He was my responsibility. I was on duty. What if it was not his neurological problems that killed him, but something I did wrong? Maybe I should not have let him sleep on his tummy after he came home from the hospital (and was off all the monitors). The cloth diaper he was lying on might have kept him from breathing (although he was able to turn his head). His sugars were good…I had been giving him free water at night, but water should not cause any problems…I go through the list over and over in my mind.

I have confessed these things to God and begged His and James’s forgiveness. So when the guilt-tape starts playing again, I go to 1 John 3:16-20.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

God knows that I really did try to lay my life down for James and love him with actions and in truth, although I was not perfect in faith, diligence, or courage. Christ enabled me to do what I did do, partly by setting me the example of love through His literal sacrifice. Hebrews 10:14-23 confirms that Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to secure our complete forgiveness for sin, and not only that, but also to cleanse us from a guilty conscience. That is the source of the hope we profess. And that is what I tell my guilty heart, as many times as it needs to hear it. God forgives me through Jesus, and Jesus has also cleansed me from a guilty conscience. God does work creatively and redemptively, even through my mistakes and bad decisions.

I like to think that James has forgiven me, too, if he needed to at all. I never knew him to hold a grudge when I had to hurt him in life, at least not for long. He seemed to understand that it was all meant for his good, and he would put it behind him pretty quickly (after an angry shout sometimes).

I will write soon about the divine comfort and joy God has given me since James died, but I wanted to share these thoughts first. I suspect that there’s a lot of guilt out there amongst parents, especially “special needs” parents (and medical professionals), who are responsible for life-and-death decisions and interventions day after day. I just wanted to share the verses that help me avoid the temptation to listen to my heart and despair.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why Us?

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Phil Roberts. You can learn more about their story by going to We will be posting more from them in the future as well.


Why Us?

Why Not Us?

The “Why us?” question never really goes away, as hard as we try to avoid it. And it’s one that has no good answer.

(The futility and subjectivity of the question are even more obvious when we look at the big picture: After all, why did we get to have any kids at all? Why did we get to have four that did survive? Why aren’t we busy right now trying to go to China to adopt a baby from there?)

Maybe a better question is “Why not us?”
Why wouldn’t we experience the heartbreak of losing a child? Why wouldn’t we get to fulfill every previous generation’s expectation that they would have to bury at least one of their children at some point? And why wouldn’t we have something to give to the whole HOM and NICU communities that we wouldn’t possibly be able to give if we had not experienced the pain of losing Emily?

Already her loss has positively impacted more people than we are able to count. No matter what, we would never want to dwell on our loss to the point of losing out on the life that the rest of us have been given. But at the right points along the way, we will continually work and cry and rack our brains and reminisce with her photos and do whatever it takes to keep Emily…from fading out of our family’s memory.

This kind of grieving is the lowest of all the possible low points of the HOM experience.
But somehow this low point is also our family’s greatest privilege.

I am eternally grateful—as much as it hurts—that for nineteen days we got to meet and know and hold and love and celebrate the little girl who is Emily Anne Roberts.

She stands as a reminder of what we had already discovered on our journey as Christians: that God loves us, that He Himself demonstrated that most vividly through the death of His Child, and that sometimes His greatest grace comes to us in ways that we wouldn’t have asked for, and certainly don’t understand, but wouldn’t trade in for the world. In the end, all we really understand is that the day we get to see Jesus for the first time is also the day that we get to see Emily again. And the painful parts will be redeemed on that day.

For right now, her absence, and the place she has in our hearts, somehow make our highest points seem even higher, and make the future seem even brighter. When Ashley says “Hi, Daddy” and when Benjamin and Casey and Danielle flash their chubby-cheeked baby smiles, I know that a part of Emily’s mystery and innocence and legacy is right there with each one of them. And with us.

“Where did you go, baby girl?”
“Not so very far away at all, Mommy and Daddy.”

Friday, September 12, 2008


I'm not sure who wrote this, but a friend of mine shared it with me:

A Baby’s Secret

I’m just a little fella
Who didn’t make it there
I went straight to be with Jesus
But I’m waiting for you here.

Don’t fret about me mommy,
I’m of all Gods lambs most blest
I’d have loved to stay there with you,
But the shepherd knows what’s best.

Many dwelling here where I live,
Waited years to enter in:
Struggled through a world of sorrow
And their lives were marred with sin.

So sweet Mommy don’t you sorrow,
Wipe those tears and chase the gloom,
I went straight to Jesus bosom
From my lovely mother’s womb.

Thank you for the life you gave me,
It was brief, but don’t complain;
I had all of heaven’s glory
Suffered none of earthlings’ pain.

Thank you for the name you gave me.
I’d have loved to brought it fame,
But if I’d lingered in earth’s shadows
Might instead have brought it shame.

I’ll be waiting for you Mommy ---
You and Daddy, and you too sis ---
I’ll be with you then forever ---
Then we’ll enjoy heaven’s bliss.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Do you "count" the babies you've lost?

When someone asks if you have any kids, or asks how many you have, do you include in the number the baby or babies in heaven?

This is a great debate amongst those who have lost babies. Some strongly believe you must include every pregnancy in the count, as they are just as much a person as anyone we can see with our eyes. Others don't, often because it just gets messy. In a way, it's a real downer to say "I have two children here and two in heaven," but at the same time, maybe if everyone said that it'd become more understood and more accepted? "Two in heaven" leads most people to assume that the children had been born and sometime later passed away, and when they learn that the deaths were due to miscarriage or stillbirth, it's almost as if they dismiss the losses because they were "only" that kind of loss. Obviously they don't really understand what it's like to lose a baby.

Right or wrong, to many people it seems more tragic to lose a baby after birth than it does before birth. That is part of why we have to join together, share our experiences, and offer support to one another.

So for our own emotional well-being, and for that of those around us, should we not "count" the losses? I'm not going to give my opinion, as this must be left up to each person. I will, however, share what one woman told me: her answer depends upon who is asking, in what circumstance, and how she is feeling at that moment. If it's someone she trusts to handle things right, and if she feels up to going into more details, she includes the baby who died. But if she anticipates that the person will be dismissive or if she just doesn't want to "go there," she doesn't include the loss in the tally.

There are times when including the loss in the count can open up a really good and healing conversation - for you or for the other person. This is especially true if the other person lost a baby to miscarriage or stillbirth as well and has not felt free to talk about it with anyone.

I don't think you're wrong either way. Just something to think about.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Letter from Julie's baby

Julie (see previous post) felt that this letter was for her from Merry-Joyce, the baby who miscarried. Read it and be blessed:

Dear Mama,

I saw you cryin’ the night you found out I was gone. Why were you so sad?

You loved me so much when I was with you. I could tell. You talked to me about my brother and sisters and my dad. And my Jesus.

Mama! I met my Jesus! He helped walk me home. He is so nice, mama. He loves me, Just like you said.

Mama, he loves you too. He said you’re sad because you miss me. Don’t be sad, I am forever a part of you and daddy. We’ll be together soon.

Mama I love you. Daddy, too. Please tell everyone about my Jesus.

Love, Merry-Joyce

Julie's story

Hi, my name is Julie McNutt. I have four children. I have yet to meet my youngest child, as she is resting now in the arms of my Jesus. She was born into Heaven March 11, 2007. Her life verse is Ecclesiastes 3:11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

In January of 2007, I wasn’t feeling well. My youngest daughter, Glorey, 3 at the time, told me, “Mommy, you have a baby in your belly, that is why you don’t feel good.” Well, of course, I dismissed this idea, as much as I welcomed another baby, she was only 3, what did she know.

I made an appointment with my family doctor, for Jan 25th. The first thing he asked was, could you be pregnant. I told him it was possible, but not probable. He ran a urine test. It came out negative for pregnancy. I was sent for an abdominal x-ray, because he thought that might give him a better clue as to what was wrong. The x-ray came out OK. It did show that I MIGHT have a kidney stone, but that wouldn’t be causing the symptoms I was having. He finally diagnosed me with gastro-interitis. I ate a bland diet for 3 or 4 days until I felt better. On Jan 31, I was a couple of days late for my cycle. I had been on a 26 day cycle for 8 years, so I thought, maybe I am pregnant after all. I bought a home test, and it was positive.

When I told my 3 year old I did have a baby in my belly, she said, “No you don’t, you have two.”

On Feb 1, I was scheduled for my yearly exam, with my OB/GYN. I told the doctor I had taken a home test and it was positive. He congratulated me, wrote orders for pregnancy labs, and gave me a script for vitamins. Shortly thereafter, I started feeling really tired. This being my 4th time around, I wasn’t surprised. What did surprise me was that I was getting headaches. They were not horrible, just annoying.

At my next appt. on March 1, I mentioned the headaches. I was told it was not abnormal, and instructed as to what I could take to relieve them. I am not one to take medication if I can function without it, so I just decided to tough it out. At the time I was 38 yrs old, it was my fourth pregnancy, I was more tired than with my other pregnancies and I am fairly tall. The Dr. suggested all of these things can play into having a multiple pregnancy. I told the doctor what my daughter had said about having 2 babies in my belly, and he thought that was funny. Add to that, he usually delivers 3 sets of twins a year, and he only delivered 2 the year before, so he needed to catch up. He scheduled a sonogram for March 29, at which time I would have been about 13 weeks, just to see if Glorey knew something we didn’t.

On March 9th, I was at my best friend, Jeannes, house, for a scrapbooking party. I went to the bathroom, and noticed some brownish discharge. I called the Dr.s office number. Of course, this being a Friday night, and not an emergency, I was told the nurse on call would call me back. An eternity passed, the phone rang, and the nurse assured me everything was fine. If the discharge became red, call back. On Sunday morning, it was red. I called back. Since it was just a light flow, I should just go about my day. But keep an eye on it. We went to Sunday school. I had everybody pray.

This is when I started wrestling. I told God, He couldn’t have my baby. He gave it to me, and although it would always belong to Him, it was mine, and he couldn’t have it back. I wanted this baby. I had already named her. Naomi Ruth. Surely He wouldn’t take her, now that we were calling her by name. That just wouldn’t be nice. He told me, this isn’t about the Baby. This is about you and me. I gave him my baby, knowing if I didn’t give it up, I would be losing much more.

After church, we went to Carlos O’Kelleys for lunch. While waiting for a table, I went to the bathroom. I came out, cancelled our table, and told my husband we were going to drop the kids off at Jeannes. He understood. I called Jeanne, told her we were bringing the kids over to play. She understood.

At the hospital, they did an internal sonogram, a cervical check, and blood work. I never lost hope. Although I was preparing for the worst. Finally, the doctor came in and told me, although my cervix was still closed, I had no baby in my womb. My husband cried. I just accepted it as fact.

Because we had gone to Via Christi, it being a Catholic Hospital, a Sister came in to talk to me. She assured me I had done nothing wrong to cause this. She also reminded me of another mother who lost her son almost 2000 years ago.

The next day, I called my OB, told him what happened, and scheduled an appt. for 3:30 that day. I told my husband I could go alone, so he could watch the kids. I made it to the building, and on the way up in the elevator, my body let go of all remaining pregnancy product. I made my way to the bathroom and called the office from my cell phone. Marsha, my nurse, brought in a wheelchair to escort me to the office. Because he couldn’t stop my bleeding, the Dr. instructed me to call my husband to come get me and take me to the hospital. I underwent surgery for a D & C.

I realized the struggle of giving my baby back to the Father just the day before was the only reason I was able to make it through. The one thing I had wanted more than anything in the world was taken from me. But I know my Father has only the best in store for me. I also have the promise that He has a plan. I don’t know what that plan is. But I trust Him.

The next week was a blur. Not because of grief. But because of love. Our church family surrounded us and showered us with cards, phone calls, meals, hugs. My other mother even arranged a tea party with the Ladies of Royal Purple ministry. (Tea parties are my favorite indulgence next to chocolate.)

One of the most important things I did for me to help with the grief, was to name my baby. I have always been fascinated by names. So I wanted a name that would honor my child, and my experience. Her name is Merry-Joyce. One reason I changed it, was because I needed something to help me remember her with a happy heart, not a sorrowful one. Mary spelled MARY means bitter. Merry spelled MERRY means happy. Joyce means joyful. I know how easy it would be to be bitter about this. But just saying her name, reminds me to rejoice. I still have the Father. In that I can rejoice.

I do have times where all I can do cry. Sometimes it is a song. Sometimes it is a baby belly on another woman. The hardest day so far was my birthday just past. I was supposed to be a mother of four children.

Some day, when I get home, I will get to meet my baby, maybe even my 2 babies. Until then, I will use this experience to bring glory to my Father.

At the beginning of my talk, I told you I had given my baby the life verse Eccl. 3:11. Because my miscarriage was a 2 day event, I decided that it was necessary to give my child a 2nd verse. Eccl 3:12 reads, So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Do's and Don'ts

The following is a resource I found from Bethany House. Please keep in mind that everyone is different and processes grief differently; some people will react in the exact opposite way from what is stated. However, the majority tend to feel similarly to what is described below.

More than anything, my goal is for this resource to make you think about what you say and why you say it. Are you trying to make yourself feel better for saying the "cure-all" sentence? Or do you truly have their best interests in mind even if their grief makes you sad or uncomfortable?

One final word - please do not read this and decide that you shouldn't do or say anything for fear it'll be wrong. You play a very important role in the lives of those around you who are grieving. Don't allow Satan to convince you that you should stay quiet. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you, ministering exactly as is needed at exactly the right time.


After My Miscarriage

Don't tell me, "You can have another baby." How do you know? Besides, I want this baby.

Don't tell me, "at least it happened before it was born. It's not like you knew the baby." I did know my baby. For the short time s/he was with me, I loved my baby with all my heart. I had hopes and dreams for this baby. I had names picked out and a theme for the nursery. I knew my baby was going to be a very special person.

Don't tell me, "It's just one of those things." It was not just "one of those things" from my viewpoint. Miscarriage has had a devastating effect on my life, and making it sound as though it was an unimportant event does not lessen the impact.

Don't tell me, "It's common," or "It happens to a lot of women." This happened to me, and all I want is to have my baby back.

Don't tell me "It was just a blob of tissue." In my heart and in God's eyes, I know I was carrying a living being inside me from the moment s/he was conceived. Please don't trivialize my beliefs or that precious life.

Don't tell me, "You should be over it by now." Even though the physical effects may have subsided, I am still hurting emotionally. My child has died, and it takes much longer than a week or two to recover from that pain.

Don't tell me, "You'll get over it." The miscarriage was the death of my child. I will never "get over it." The pain and grief will eventually lessen, but I will always wonder what my child would have been like. Every should-have-been birthday, and every anniversary of the miscarriage will be a reminder.

Don't tell me, "You should get pregnant again as soon as possible. That'll help." Help what? I need time to grieve the baby I have lost. I can't even begin to think about getting pregnant again at this time.

Don't tell me, "It won't happen again. The next time will be fine." Again, how do you know? My second pregnancy ended in miscarriage also, even after doctors said there was no reason it wouldn't be successful the second time around.

Do listen to me when I want, or need, to talk about what I am going through.

Do be sensitive to the fact that I probably won't want to hear about your pregnant friend/neighbor/cousin/daughter, or about your new grandchildren or nieces and nephews for a while.

Do give me time to grieve. Some days I may need your shoulder to cry on after everyone else thinks I should be "okay" by now.

Do understand that there are "milestone days," such as the expected due date or the time I should have felt the first kick, when I will be feeling the loss as deeply as when the miscarriage occurred. I will need your support then.

Do know that I am like any other person who has experienced the death of a loved one. I may not feel like talking when you come for a visit, or I may do things you may think inappropriate - such as clean the house - just to have something to do so I don't have to think. Be patient with me.

Do show care to others who have experienced miscarriage. Treat their loss with the same respect and love you would give if they were suffering the death of any other loved one.

Do let those of us who are going through - or have gone through - a miscarriage know that we are not alone. Send a note or make a phone call to let us know you're thinking of us, especially on those difficult "milestone days." Sometimes we feel that we're the only ones who remember, and it's nice to know that our baby was important to you too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Glory Babies gathering

Below is the bulletin announcement for our first gathering. If you have any ideas for this gathering, please call, email, or post a comment. I want women and their husbands to feel comfortable to come, and to be as outgoing or as anonymous as they desire. I want them to leave feeling encouraged, validated, and understood. Two ladies have agreed to share parts of their stories of loss, but I'm not yet sure what else the night will look like.

You are invited to join the Glory Babies ministry as we gather for a night of encouragement and fellowship.

Tuesday, August 12 at 7pm in the Parlor.

Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to Melissa through the e-mail below or contact her at 706-1822 should you have any questions.

Glory Babies is a ministry that walks with women through the losses of miscarriage and stillbirth.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not forgotten

This is another excerpt from my friend's blog:

I am continuing to work on my garden. I am almost done with all of the rock and landscaping, now I have to pick out what types of plants that I want to put in there as well. This project has been very meaningful to me b/c I feel it is a way to honor Caden and to never let him be forgotten. Forgotten, that is a word that has come up a lot lately. I do feel that way very much lately. I know a little bit of why I feel that way, but don't entirely understand it. I really don't want Caden to be forgotten, and in my efforts to be the best person I can be, I think that if I am happy and doing well, then I am forgetting him. Even though I didn't get to know him really, I would have liked to have had the chance to be the best mom that I could be. When I think about wanting to have another baby, I think that I am such an awful person for thinking that way b/c my son is not here. How can I ever be happy again, when there is so much pain inside me. At times like this I see myself taking thousands of steps backwards. Going backwards is the most awful thing for me to do in my own eyes. I just don't know what to do sometimes and just cry and cry. It is so hard to go back and deal w/ things that I thought I had gotten through already.

For the longest time I have seen God as a good God, and I still believe that, but for a while now, I think to myself what is the use? Like today, I remembered to pray for a friend was going through a very scary medical procedure, and while I was praying for her, I said to God, " I don't even know if you hear me anymore, but please be w/ my friend and protect her and give her a sense of peace and calmness as she goes through her procedure." It make me so very sad when I hear myself say those things. I don't want to be mad or angry w/ God, and I know that he is only looking out for me, but I just don't understand him right now. Even so, I still pray and hope that he will hear me someday. Maybe one day I will know why I have to suffer so much right now.

When we lost Caden, I felt abandoned by God, my friends, & family off and on so very many times. I felt like every time that I was pushed to hurry through my grief and be ok again, that Caden was being taken away from me all over again, that pain stings more than I will ever be able to express.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ups and downs

Below is an excerpt from a blog that a friend of mine wrote. Her son was stillborn last November. Please keep her (and her husband) in your prayers. She graciously gave me permission to include it on this blog. Reading it I am challenged to be a better friend, to be more authentic, and to never quit evolving into who God has created me to be. May you be blessed as you read this.


I finally gave my friend her quilt/blanket that I made for her tonight. I had it finished a couple of weeks ago when I couln't sleep one night. Going to her baby shower was one of the hardest things that I have done. I couldn't even look at the things that she got, especially the clothes. I never got to have a shower, and I will never have that same excited feeling again. I wish that I could have that back, but I guess that is all part of my healing process. I hope that one day I can actually be somewhat joyful and attend a baby shower for friends.

A lot of people ask us how we are doing? It is so easy to say "Fine", when really we have so much on our minds and hearts that we aren't sure if anyone is really wanting to know how we really are. So here goes.

My husband: He has been reading this book about a pastor in Olathe who lost his college aged son. The book is about what he is learning through his grief process. A lot of what the book has to say hits home and he can definitely relate to it. I think that it is great to have a man's perspective on grief. His sometimes wonders how Caden would have been at this stage. He would have been 7 months old. My husband right now is in so much need of encouragement. He needs some kind of reassurance that life is going to get better than it is right now. He also wants to move on but not forget Caden and feel good about life again. I am proud of him though, b/c he is still continuing to reach out to other guys and invite them to do things with him or play on his sports teams with him. He is so good about that kind of thing. He also has been so much more open about how life is just hard sometimes, and I see him reallly searching for the truth GOD and what GOD wants him to do in his life. He doesn't have things all figured out, but he is showing me that when things are so super tough and we don't think we can do it, we are wrapped up in the arms of Jesus and he will sustain us.

Me: I have my ups and downs and when I am down, I am REALLY down. All I can do is just cry when I have those down times. It is so hard to explain or even be a part of. I so much want to be different and joyful. I feel as if grief has taken so much away from who I am that I can't see who I am becoming again. I really struggle with that. Right now the hardest place for me to be is church. I wish it weren't so, but I praise God so much at home and in my own time and place and have seen glimpses of God in a very private and personal way, that when I am at church, I feel like I am just there to be there. I feel like I have been labeled "The Girl Who Lost Her Son." I wonder sometimes if my life or Caden's even matters at all to anyone anymore. I love the people at my church, but sometimes it is so hard to be there. I sit by myself sometimes, and it hurts so much that no one stops to ask me if I would like to sit with them. I also have felt like I need to go to the altar every time I have the chance to just thank God for getting me this far. I often would love for someone to come and pray with me just to know that they still care and that I still matter and that Caden still matters, but a lot of times that doesn't happen. I know that many people have no idea what to say or do, so they say nothing and do nothing. That sometimes makes it worse for me, because I think that they just don't care. I get the feeling that people just don't know how to be around me right now. I am so completely lost when I am at church and just don't know where I belong or fit in. Do I even have a place right now? My only child is not with me, but I did have a son, I am not too old, so where does that leave me? That is what I am needing constant prayer and support to find that place where I belong again. I feel like I am starting all over again, and it is soooooooooo hard.

Real quick. I have come to terms with some aspects about Caden dying and my guilt and such. I recently read a book called " A Room of Marvels." In the book the author goes to heaven where many of the people that have died or that he had impacted in some way are in heaven taking him on a journey to his special room. You know the verse " In my house there are many rooms,... I will go there to prepare a place for you" (my very paraphrased version). Anyways, his daughter is there. She died when she was 2. She is the one that asked God to let her father take this journey. He sees all of the people's lives that he has touched in one way or another that he never even knew about. The last stop on his journey is into his "room" where his daughter is waiting for him. She talks to him about why he is always so sad and in pain when he thinks of her. She assures him that she is just fine, and doesn't have to be crippled anymore. In heaven she is "perfect". She wants her daddy to not be in so much pain b/c she isn't and that some day they will see each other again. But for right now she is saving his "room" for him until he comes. That was such a touching chapter that I cried the entire time I was reading it. What I learned from it to relate to myself is that Caden is ok. He is waiting for me and wants me to be happy. He knows how much I miss him and the life that we could have shared together, but he is in perfection and doesn't have to feel any pain. He knows that I will be happy again, and he wants that for me. He is looking down on me and wants me to do the best I can and to keep looking to GOD for my strength. He is with me always. What a great thought.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Resources summaries

The following are books we've reviewed and found useful in this ministry:

Grieving the Loss of a Loved One
Kathy Wunnenberg. 235 pages.
A consumable resource for the parent who requests daily guidance through the many emotions affiliated with grief and loss. Author draws attention to Biblical characters who experienced similar emotions. Space available for guided journaling. While not specifically directed at infant loss, this could prove to be a valuable resource. Scriptural. Recommended for the grieving parent.
On Grief and Grieving
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler. 232 pages.
Addresses the five most common stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Chapter on “Angels” and the afterlife are questionable. Includes practical advice regarding children affected by loss, suicide, memories and taking care of one’s self during a time of bereavement. Not scripturally based (not inherently un-scriptural, just not purposely based on the Bible). Recommended for both the grieving parent and the grief partner.

SIDS & Infant Death Survival Guide
Joani Nelson Horchler and Robin Rice. 312 pages.
Information and comfort for grieving family and friends. An endearing collection of personal stories of those who have lost babies due to SIDS. Artfully compiled to address the serious issues of defining SIDS, funeral arrangements, marking the holidays, loss to grandparents, etc. A great resource for this specific type of infant loss. Not necessarily scriptural. Recommended for both the grieving parent and the grief partner.

Grieving God’s Way
Margaret Brownley. 314 pages.
A collection of 36 short chapters addressing various moments and activities that encourage healing. Ideal for the person who is unable to sit idle during the season of grief. Short daily readings. Recommended for the grieving parent and the grief partner seeking active ways to encourage healing. Scripturally based.

When You Don’t Know What To Say
Harold Ivan Smith. 87 pages.
A short, concise work equipping each grief partner (healer) with more than words or actions to aide the person who is grieving, but gives the proper posture when committing to walk the journey of grief. Scriptural. Highly recommended for every grief partner.

I’ll Hold You In Heaven
Jack Hayford. 113 pages.
A concise work addressing the questions often raised by those who have lost a baby to miscarriage, SIDS, stillbirth and even abortion. This booklet addresses he reality and significance of even the tiniest little being. It answers the question, “Where did my baby go?” And it directs the bereaved in how to walk with the assurance that the child will one day be held on Heaven. Recommended for both the grieving parent and the grief partner. Scripturally based.

A B Cs of Healthy Grieving (A companion for everyday coping)
Harold Ivan Smith. 170 pages.
The precise handbook gives daily encouragement while coping with the various stages and emotions due to loss of a loved one. Each ‘devotional entry’ ends with an “I can…” statement which enables the grieving person to press on. Recommended for grieving parents. Not scripturally based.

Silent Grief
Clara Hinton. 192 pages.
This work chronicles one woman’s walk through her own grief at the loss of a baby. Together with other people’s stories the author addresses such issues as the immediate pain of loss, well meaning friends, and moving on. It is a bit like reading through another person’s journal. Recommended for the grieving parent. Scriptural.

Empty Arms
Pam Vredevelt. 166 pages.
Beginning with the author’s own loss due to a stillbirth, the reader is taken through the long journey of loss and grief. Vredevelt artfully weaves medical information together with her expertise as a counselor to answer many haunting questions of why. She addresses the loss to husbands, spiritual/emotional battles, and well-meaning but bumbling friends. Through knowledge and helpful suggestions, this book equips both the grieving parents and the grief partner. Scriptural.

Safe in the Arms of God
John MacArthur. 171 pages.
MacArthur addresses the difficult questions of a baby’s eternity. When people say, “Your baby is in heaven,” can we be sure of that? He addresses the inherit sin of mankind and the innate innocence of little ones with direct scriptural references. Ideal for the person who needs Biblical proof of these truths. Recommended for both the grieving parent and the grief partner. Scriptural.

Safe in the Arms of Jesus
Robert Lightner. 92 pages.
The author provides a sound basis for our hope that little ones truly are “safe in the arms of Jesus.” Lightner argues that the one who is unable to make the decision for/against salvation in Christ before his/her death is not bound by the requirements of sin. An insightful read for either the grieving parent agonizing over the question and for the grief partner who is often faced with the question. Scriptural.

Empty Arms
Sherokee Ilse. 70 pages.
Having experienced, miscarriage, stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy herself, the author addresses several pertinent issues dealing with the death of a baby. She addresses the immediate issues/needs in the moment of loss as well as the long term needs of the grieving. Concise, helpful. Not scriptural. Recommended for both the grieving parent and the grief partner.

Good guilt, Bad Guilt – and what to do with each
Becca Cowen Johnson. 174 pages.
Author explores the difference between good guilt, the purpose of a healthy conscience, and bad guilt, the shame that condemns. Cowen Johnson explores family expectations, religious expectations and cultural guilt. Chapters 12 through 17 address the actions needed to alleviate guilt in a healthy, God-inspired way. Scriptural. Recommended for the grieving parent who is crippled by guilt at the loss of a baby.

When the Cradle Is Empty
John and Sylvia Van Regenmorter. 162 pages.
This book addresses the many issues couples experiencing infertility may face. As multiple miscarriages are common for infertile couples, this may help those struggling with two types of loss; the loss of a baby and the loss of hope. The couple addresses such issues as faith during loss, high-tech methods to achieve pregnancy, and finally the end of the journey. Scriptural. Recommended for the grieving parent also dealing with infertility.

The Blessing Book
Linda Dillow. 131 pages.
The author addresses our reactions to different types of fear and pain as seen throughout the Psalms. The book is a guided study useful to anyone dealing with difficult circumstances. Scriptural. Recommended to grieving parents and the grief partner who desires a shared biblical study.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Secondary losses

A good friend of mine is a marriage and family therapist. She attended our recent Glory Babies partner training and (as usual) provided some great insights. One thing she talked about was secondary losses. She drew a diagram - but I'm not sure how to get that on here...I will if I figure it out! Basically, there's a circle in the middle of the page. Inside that circle you write down the loss (for example, a miscarriage). Then draw larger circles around that first circle - kind of like the rings on a tree. Each outer circle represents secondary losses. With a miscarriage, examples of secondary losses include the anniversary of the loss, the due date and anniversaries of that due date/birthday, Mother's Day, going to a baby shower, finding out a friend/sibling/coworker/etc is pregnant...the list goes on and on.

These secondary losses are things that can bring on all the emotions of the initial loss like a flood, often unexpectedly and out of the blue. By brainstorming potential secondary losses, you can anticipate those hard moments and take out a little bit of their sting. They will likely still be difficult, but oftentimes it is a tiny bit easier when you know they're coming, and you can even begin to process through them and decide how you'd like to respond (not that we always respond how we'd like to).

At that same training, one of the partners who attended said that one of her secondary losses was on her own birthday, because she had pictured having a new baby on her birthday that year and there wasn't one because of the miscarriage. This tool can be used for any type of loss (death of loved one, loss of job, disappointments in any area), and is something you can not only use for yourself, but something you can walk through with another person who experiences a loss. If you have ideas of other secondary losses that can occur with miscarriage, post a comment on this post.

"simple" questions

I remember getting ready to graduate from college, bombarded by questions from everyone wanting to know "what are you going to do now?" Then, once I had a job, the question was "when are you going to date?" You know where this is going.... Next was "when are you getting married" and then of course "when are you having a baby?" It seems that we are always looking to the next possible stage of life, and always "encouraging" others to move to what we perceive to be that next stage. After our miscarriage (our first pregnancy, so no other kids), people continued to ask when we would start our family. It had become a painful question, no longer small talk between two aquaintances. One of the worst questions was on Mother's Day, when lighthearted "jokes" were made.

I have two main problems with this kind of questioning. First - why the pressure to do the next thing? I am no more whole as a parent than I was as a spouse; no more whole as a spouse than as a single...etc. The questions, while seemingly innocent, give off an assumption that someone is lacking, missing out, incomplete, if they have not moved to the next stage (whatever that is) or are at least moving in that direction.

Secondly - of all the various stage questions to ask (college, degree, job, spouse, kids, etc), asking about a baby is perhaps the most painful. We need to THINK before asking this question. Perhaps the couple is waiting before starting their family - this seems to be the assumption most people make when asking the question. Perhaps they do not want kids at all (for a variety of reaons) - for those who really want a baby, this option is almost unfathomable, but it isn't a wrong option. Perhaps they have tried but have been unable to conceive. Or, perhaps they have lost one or more babies to miscarriage or stillbirth. Asking when they will start their family just jabs at the already painful place in their hearts.

Let's stop assuming. And stop expecting that everyone else is on the same path, with the same desires and goals. I realize that we ask because we are interested about the other person, and don't really know what to talk about. So we ask about the future, or about what we think the future does or should hold. Let's be creative here. Think of questions to ask that don't immediately hit on possibly painful areas. Share something about yourself, or strike up a conversation about the weather. Or ask what they're looking forward to in the near future, or where they see themselves in five years.

Just think. Don't assume. Imagine different situations and how your questions/comments could affect the other person. Be sensitive. And remember - these aren't "simple" questions.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


There are many verses in the Bible that speak to us in times of loss - verses that we identify with, verses that bring hope or encouragement, verses that remind us of important truths. Here is a place for everyone to share the specific verses that have ministered to them. Please be sure to include the reference, and which version you're typing. If you'd like to include a few sentences about how the verse helped you, that would be great as well!


This is a place for you to write memorials, letters, etc. for the baby/babies you have lost. It can be as simple as listing the name(s) or as long as you'd like.

Ideas for Closure

First, let me say that just because you do something for closure, you're not necessarily "over" the loss. The sadness, memories, etc. can and likely will continue for a long time. (However, if you find that the sadness IS over for you, that's fine too - it's different for everyone.) This post is for ideas of things people can do to remember their babies. List your ideas, whether or not you've tried them yourself. If you have a picture of what you have done, we would love to see that here as well. Let the creative juices flow!

Friday, June 6, 2008


This a place for our prayer partners to use to pray over this ministry and specifically over the women they are praying for (but please don't use names!).

What is your story?

Everyone's story of loss is different; even two seemingly identical stories can be experienced in very different ways. What is your story? When did you lose your baby or babies? How did you feel?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

When others move on

I had a long conversation today with a friend who recently lost her mother to cancer. I called to see how she was doing, not knowing what to expect, or even if I would reach her. Part of me didn't want to call - what if she was having a really good day and bringing up her mom would bring her sadness? What if I would say the wrong thing? Yet I knew from my own experience that it is far better to take the risk and reach out than it is to play it safe. We need others to acknowledge our losses, even months or years down the road. As she talked, I could tell that her mom is on her mind frequently, and that she has been doing everything she can to process through all of the changes that have taken place in her life over the past few years. She mentioned feeling alone, not knowing others her age who have weathered similar situations. She said sometimes she wishes a friend of her mom's would call just to say they were thinking of her mom that day too. In the final months of her mom's illness, countless friends were in and out, stopping by to visit or asking how they could help. While that was a wonderful support, it needed to continue after her mom's death. It needs to continue even today. Yes, life goes on. Yes, the pain is far less for most everyone besides my friend and her immediate family. Yes, it has slowly become easier - but it is still hard. And it probably always will be hard. She wasn't complaining as she shared these things with me; she was very aware of the things God has been doing and continues to do in her life. She is thankful for many things that have happened. But at the same time she still needs support and encouragement. I post this story even though it is not directly about miscarriage to illustrate the point that we must consciously choose to reach out again and again to those who have lost loved ones. Their pain is real, whether or not we acknowledge it or give them space to be real. We cannot fix the pain or remove it entirely, but by simply remembering and validating feelings, we can be the hands, feet, and ears of Jesus as He heals their hearts day by day.

Lyrics to Bring the Rain by Mercy Me

Mercy Me
Bring The Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory

And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Lyrics to Glory Baby by Watermark

Glory Baby, You slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened Dear,
You disappeared on us baby, baby

Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we're home with you Until we're home with you

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there's a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away, when we're home to stay
*We can't wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you*
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little baby, it's hard to understand it
Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing, and we know we're stronger people
Through the growing, and in knowing

All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would, just like he said he would


I can't imagine Heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know, all you'll ever know


How this ministry began

In the summer of 2006, my husband and I were very excited to learn that we were going to have a baby. It was not long, however, before that excitement was replaced with grief as the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I was not at all prepared to deal with the huge range of emotions that followed. It seemed that I didn’t really have anyone to walk with me through that season. While I didn’t know exactly what I wanted or needed from another person, I knew that I felt very alone, and very sad.

As people learned of our loss, they offered well-intentioned words. However, instead of bringing comfort, many of those words seemed to dismiss my pain, sadness, anger, despair, guilt, and doubt. I felt as though I was expected to move on, be thankful for what I had, view the loss as a blessing in disguise, and simply “trust God.” Many of the comments had truth in them, but they were not offered in the right way or at the right time. I think that is often the case with other losses as well; in general, we are uncomfortable seeing people in pain, and we seek to say or do something to alleviate their pain -- and our discomfort. Looking back, I see that I needed a hug, time to process through the loss, permission to grieve and ask hard questions, and the grace to doubt God and have ugly days.

I understand that it is difficult for people to support a person through a miscarriage, in part because they never met the baby who died, never held him or her, never had a personal connection similar to what they may have had with others who pass away. Often there is not a body to bury, nor any rituals to carry out that we associate with death. Yet the loss is the same. Many people do not realize that as many as 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage. There is a great need for support. Out of my experience, as well as the experiences of many others who have graciously shared their stories, a new ministry has begun.

Glory Babies is a new ministry, here to partner with women who experience miscarriage. We don’t pretend to have all the answers; we are here to pray, listen, support, encourage, and walk with women on their journey toward healing. We have a wonderful group of women who are available and ready to meet with women one on one, talk on the phone, or email. We also have a precious group of women who pray for each pair of partners.

The pain of miscarriage can last for a long time, especially for women who never felt the freedom to truly grieve, or who did not have a sense of closure after the loss. Glory Babies is here for anyone, whether the loss was very recent or many years ago. Already we have found that women feel a sense of relief when they are given the opportunity to talk about their loss and how it impacted them – to know that they are not alone, not crazy, and not wrong for how they feel. While the focus of this ministry is on women, we acknowledge that men are also impacted by miscarriage, and in time we plan to expand the ministry to include things that would be beneficial for them.

Please pray for this new ministry. Pray that we will have wisdom as we talk with women. Pray that women will find strength in the Lord and not believe the lies of the enemy. Pray that we will continue to find partners who have a heart for this ministry.