Facing Feelings of Guilt and Responsibility in Pregnancy Loss

“Was it my fault?” Prenatal-care instructions draw a straight line from our bodies and decisions to the health of our babies. We’re told to avoid eating soft cheeses and drinking alcohol. We’re instructed not to exercise too rigorously and to stay hydrated. We’re counseled to take a daily prenatal vitamin with plenty of folic acid. The burden of responsibility that accompanies motherhood starts long before a baby is born. So, when the death of a baby occurs within a mother’s body, this is the sort of question that haunts us as we mull over things we did or didn’t do, or feelings we did or didn’t have. A Common Offer of Comfort I remember so clearly my doctor placing his hand on mine, looking into my tear-filled eyes, and saying, “This is not your fault.” His intention was to offer comfort, but I remember wondering how he could say those words with such certainty when he knew so little about me, my past, or my actions during this pregnancy. Just as my doctor couldn’t tell me the reason behind my miscarriage, I cannot possibly know the reason behind yours. Yet whether or not my doctor’s statement was true, the sentiment behind it was absolutely correct. There is no point in being consumed by guilt over your miscarriage. Of greater comfort than these scripted words from a physician with limited knowledge are the words of Scripture—the word of the God who does know all things, who is in control of all things, and who actually has the authority to forgive and to offer full assurance of pardon. Greater Comfort in God’s Sovereignty David’s declaration in Psalm 139 v 16 tell us that God knows all the days of a baby’s life before he or she is even formed in the womb: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Facing Feelings of Guilt and Responsibility in Pregnancy Loss2022-05-05T00:00:24+00:00

Find Rest in Jesus Christ

The springtime months of 2020 were supposed to be busy. While all the events on my calendar were good things, still, it was packed to the brim, and I had little margin for rest. In fact, for the week following the Final Big Event chiseled into my planner, I had penciled in “Slip into a coma.” And then, a month before my anticipated collapse, the Lord wiped my calendar clean. My best-laid plans were scuttled in the onrush of a global pandemic. As it happens, a clear calendar and government-mandated quarantine do not guarantee a calm heart and mind. Inactivity does not equal rest. Days and weeks of inactivity may still be filled with the restlessness of worry and fear. A multitude of concerns, whether sparked by the virus or other circumstances, threaten to fill my days and keep me awake at night. The rest that I need—that we all need—cannot be found in settled plans, an empty calendar, or even the safety and well-being of my family. We need rest that doesn’t deny these very real concerns, but one that places them in more capable hands than our own. We need rest that entrusts ourselves and our loved ones to the God who made us and loves us and has planned for yesterday, this day, and all our tomorrows from before the beginning of the world...

Find Rest in Jesus Christ2022-05-05T00:38:08+00:00

A Certain God for Uncertain Times

Uncertainty. Just that word can make our stomachs churn, our hearts pound faster, and our minds race. Everyone is dealing with uncertainty right now due to the upheaval of the Coronavirus—whether it be your travel, work, schedule, group meetings, church, school, childcare, etc. It all boils down to our PLANS becoming uncertain. Less fixed. Less known. We are used to booking our schedules weeks or months in advance, always having what we need (or want) in the stores, and rarely inconvenienced in a way that technology or a little willpower won't "fix." The Illusion of Control But it's all an illusion. Your well laid plans, your schedule, your "tap of the iPhone and ___ happens" gives you and me a sense of control. But it’s not actual control. Times like this really drive that home. I don't know about you, but I really like to be in control or to have systems in place that make me feel like I am in control. My planner, schedule, timelines, phone, etc., while all God-given tools that can and should be used to serve Him and others, are often more about my own little kingdom than about His. This really points to the pride of my heart that the Lord graciously peels back in times like this. Scripture speaks to this concept over and over: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil'" (James 4:13-17). "The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps" (Proverbs 16:9)...

A Certain God for Uncertain Times2022-05-05T00:55:36+00:00

God Knows Your Story

“…in your book were written, every one of them,     the days that were formed for me,     when as yet there was none of them.”  Psalm 139:16b Deep in the human heart is a desire to hear, and sometimes tell, a good story. It’s there from the beginning, as babies, sitting on a lap for story time. It's there when we’re growing up, reading books, watching television, going to movies. It’s there when we get old, telling our own story to others, reminiscing with siblings about a shared childhood, or reliving long-ago moments when our present life is fading before our eyes. You Have a Story The blockbuster Broadway hit Hamilton capitalizes on this universal human desire by telling the story of an often-ignored founding father and his unknown but impressive wife, Eliza. After telling their fascinating story for more than two hours, the company asks the audience, “Who tells your story?” It’s powerful and poignant. It grabs your heart and reminds you that you do indeed have a story that may be someday forgotten to history but is equally important to every other story of anyone who’s ever lived. For those who cry easily, like I do, have a tissue handy for this one. After hearing the powerful closing number of this musical, it’s almost inevitable to ask, “Who tells your story?” But a bigger and more revealing question might be, “Who knows your story?” Your whole story, that is. Your siblings? Your spouse? Your BFF? The fact is, no one knows your whole story. People will come and go in your life, entering at a certain chapter and departing in another, knowing part of your story and hopefully understanding you better because of it. Some will see only a paragraph or two; others will be there for nearly the entire book but are only skimming your narrative. Sadly, some may glance at the cover and believe that they know your story without actually understanding the characters or plot. God Knows Your Story But God knows your story....

God Knows Your Story2022-05-07T22:40:11+00:00

Psalm 139 and Four Comforting Truths in Our Sufferings

Where do you turn in Scripture when God calls you to walk through suffering? During a particularly difficult trial 20 years ago, a wise Spiritual Mother asked me, “What if the worst thing you fear in this circumstance comes true? What is still true?” Her answer pointed me to Psalm 139. The entire Psalm is filled with comforting truths; here are four which have guided me through many a dark valley. God knows me O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalm 139 begins with God’s intimate knowledge of me. Not only does he know everything there is to know about me, even the ugly and shameful secrets which I hope to hide from the world, but he knows my thoughts before I think them and my words before I speak them. His knowledge of my path and acquaintance with my ways is not based on observation, but on his sovereign providence in my life, for he predestined my steps according to the counsel of his will before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4, 11). God doesn’t merely know my steps, but he is guiding my every step and holding me close...

Psalm 139 and Four Comforting Truths in Our Sufferings2022-05-07T22:57:36+00:00
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