The sting of death when you lose a child will flood the heart in moments of deep grief and mournful sorrow, but nothing can take away our hope in the reality that Jesus conquered death.
“My beautiful daughter was born almost a year ago. When I look at her, I feel the immense joy that comes from parenting a little one so dependent on me, a reminder of my dependence on Jesus alone. However, my joy in parenting did not come quickly or easily.
Within a few days of my daughter’s birth, I knew something was very wrong with me. I felt far away from everyone around me, even the baby I nursed and rocked gently in my arms. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and panic attacks struck me hard and fast.
I felt lost in a lonely world without warmth or joy.
During a Bible study on the book of Romans, a friend reminded me sin affects every area of our lives. My brain went haywire not because of personal weakness, but because we’re fallen people living in a fallen world in desperate need of a Savior.
God faithfully reminded me the world can’t and won’t be perfect. But God makes his presence known in the darkest places because he is the God of light, and his salvation through Jesus shines brighter than any dark place our bodies and minds bring us.
We serve a great God who sees time from the very beginning to the very end. Even the most hidden thoughts of my heart—those scary, terrifying, anxious thoughts—are under God’s mighty and compassionate care. God can still the racing thoughts of our hearts, and heal every recess of our broken minds. We know Jesus will return and establish his kingdom over all the earth, and the world will be beautiful, whole, and perfect forever.
No matter how motherhood challenges you, Jesus will shine light into your darkness and pull you out of the pit in which you are faltering—with strength, power, and the tender care of a mom holding her baby in her arms for the first time.”
Today’s article from Hannah Abrahamson discusses PPD. While we believe the gospel provides hope to women suffering from PPD, this topic requires sensitivity. We encourage anyone who is experiencing PPD to seek additional counsel from a trusted pastor, licensed counselor, or medical doctor.
“‘So, when can I see you and the kids?’
This conversation has been looming over me for months, heavy with dread & anticipation. But I made the phone call. ‘Mom, I really don’t think that’s a good idea. Maybe once I can see some real change, we can start spending more time together.’
My relationship with my mother is anything but typical. Growing up, it wasn’t something that I could articulate well. It wasn’t until college, sitting in a psychology course & learning about emotional abuse, that I started to be able to name my experience.
Now that I’m a mother, I worry about how my experience as a child will affect my two, small children. How can I possibly mother when my very frame of reference is broken?
By adopting a new one.
The Bible tells us that everything in God’s original creation was good. As sin entered the world, everything changed. Like a drop of dye in a glass of water, sin quickly spread throughout God’s good creation, until nothing was untouched—human relationships were poisoned.
Fortunately, God didn’t not abandon humanity in its broken state. Almost in the same breath he used to pronounce judgment upon us for our sin, he gave us hope.
By his perfect life & death upon the cross, Jesus paid the penalty necessary for our redemption. In doing so, he secured for us an imperishable, undefiled, & unfading inheritance which waits for us, even in the thick of our suffering.
When our hearts ache because our earthly parents failed us, it’s this hope that we cling to. We now look to God as the example of the perfect parent, rather than looking to the broken, earthly one we experienced.
Though we still feel the painful effects of our fallen world, we have reason to rejoice. The God who says, ‘Behold, I am making all things new,’ is working in us as well.”
Today’s article from @alissamgriffin addresses child abuse. While we believe the gospel breathes new life into all relationships, this topic requires sensitivity. We encourage anyone who has experienced abuse to seek counsel from your pastor, an older woman in your church, or a trained biblical counselor.
Infertility is painful for countless reasons, but one reason is women can feel isolated from or misunderstood by their loved ones.
I know this struggle all too well.
Now that I’m in my early 30’s, I’m the only woman in my circle of friends who does not have children. I respect and admire their commitment to their families, for that is a good, godly calling! However, the natural result tends to leave me, a childless woman, feeling removed or not properly cared for.
How, then, should you love your friend suffering through infertility?
There isn’t one ideal approach, and every woman is different but here’s what I’ve learned. By leaning into Christ, you can love and serve her well through these three Gospel-centered ways:
(1) Mourn with her.
(2) Remind of her of her identity in Christ.
(3) Speak truth, not fluff.
There is unending grace for you and your friend as you navigate this trial together. Be committed, be bound, be unshakable.
In October 2010, my husband and I sat on the floor in our boys’ bedroom as they ran around us in a pre-bedtime frenzy. Surrounded by bunk beds, toys, and trains, we told our young sons I had cancer.
Angiosarcoma has a five-year survival rate of 30%. My boys were six and four, and their little sister was 18 months old. I closed my tear-filled eyes and started begging the Lord to give us those five years. I wasn’t bold enough to ask for more.
My cancer diagnosis shattered my illusion of having control over mine or my children’s lives. I knew my children would face suffering, but I assumed I would be the one to comfort them, pray for them, and guide them through the hardships. I couldn’t imagine not being there as they grieved.
Mothering through cancer was never easy. I hated missing school programs, awards ceremonies, tee-ball games, birthdays, and holidays. I hated letting others care for my family while I fought for my life in another state. I hated the harshness of our present circumstances and the uncertainty in our future.
But God was always at work.
I learned to rest in his presence with us through the hard times. When I wasn’t able to trust his plans, he poured out his peace. When our needs were extreme, so was his provision through the body of Christ. When I wondered how my children would be impacted, he showed us how he was filling them with his strength.
I revisited the familiar promises of God’s word, seeing them through the new lens of a cancer diagnosis. Did I believe that God loved my children with an everlasting love and would continue his faithfulness to them? Did I have confidence that he would work all things together for good, even if his plans involved suffering and heartache?
Because it all comes down to this: Is God enough?
I still struggle to pray, ‘Thy will be done.’ But I’m thankful that I can plead the righteousness of the One who prayed those words with perfect trust. As he grows my faith, I am able to more wholeheartedly believe he is truly sufficient.
“‘Am I going to continue to trust God, even if he never fulfills the longings of my heart?’
That question filled my mind after the doctor informed me that I was born with a somewhat rare medical condition that prevented me from bearing my own babies. The news almost devastated me. For the first time in my life, I faced a situation I couldn’t quickly fix or work my way out of. It didn’t seem fair. With a tear-stained face, I entered into the greatest wrestling match of my life with the Lord.
‘Where was God in my childlessness?’
‘How does the Bible speak to my suffering?’
‘Why would God withhold apparent good from me?’
Maybe you’ve asked similar questions. Maybe you’ve struggled month after month to get pregnant, to no avail. Maybe you’ve lost a precious little one by miscarriage. Maybe you’ve had one child, but are experiencing second hand infertility and another baby won’t come.
God met me in the midst of my longing for motherhood.
As I searched scripture for hope in the midst of my suffering, I learned that the pages of the Bible weren’t silent on the topic of childlessness. Seven barren women are highlighted in the Bible.
I’m glad the Lord included the struggles of other women like myself—women longing to be mothers.
Because the good news the gospel offers in the midst of our pain is that our identity isn’t in our ability to bear babies. The greatest role of a woman is not to be a mother, but rather to glorify God with our whole lives in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Biblical womanhood is about boldness, tenacity, tender heartedness, and loving the Lord and his people.
Even if we never have that longed for baby; even if our family looks different than we’d imagine, we can rest in the fact that the Lord promises his presence. In him, we can find hope.
Press into him and allow him to speak life into your soul.”
Nine weeks. Sixty-three days. Seven hundred fifty-six hours.
Those numbers measure the span of time I lived in the hospital in 2015.
The plan was simple: I was to continue carrying our second daughter, Alisa Jane, until it was no longer safe to keep her in my womb.
Recently, I told a friend about this experience, and she asked, ‘How did your family logistically make that happen?’
Thankfully, our little family didn’t just survive that season; we actually thrived, even in all the heartache and grief. Reflecting on the experience with the benefit of hindsight, I answered my new friend with the simple, yet profound, reason for this: ‘The body of Christ surrounded us.’
Speaking to the disciples on the eve of his death, Jesus said, ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
We know God’s love means we are to offer this same type of love to those not yet covered by the blood of Christ. Yet sometimes, I wonder if we have neglected to remember the true intent of Christ’s words on the eve of his death. Jesus was concerned that night with how they would love one another.
Jesus anticipated that his followers would be known by their love for one another, because the uniqueness of their love would reflect the greatest love this world has ever known: God’s incomprehensible, unconditional love.
This is the distinguishing characteristic of the Church.
Those nine weeks I lived at Baylor Hospital were some of the most humbling days of my life. I watched as believers from our community surrounded us in support. Friends with children of their own gave of their time. Christians we hardly knew provided meals, grocery shopped, and gave financially to help us navigate that trying season. Believers—some I had never even met—visited me almost daily, bringing with them the fragrance of Christ to the 6th floor at Baylor.
When we operate as he intended for us to live, we, the body of Christ, are a magnificent reflection of the greatest love known to man—God’s love for us.
The fear in the room was palpable.
I had just spoken to a group of moms and girls on the primary topic of social media under a gospel-centered framework, and I was left to field questions from the moms. But you know how one person’s anxiety can get a whole group riled up? That’s what happened.
But I get it. Raising kids in today’s culture is hard. Especially raising kids who love the Lord. .
However, it is far from hopeless.
I can recall one trial in particular I would not want to relive, but I would also not undo the good that came from it. When my daughter was in high school she battled an eating disorder, a struggle that stemmed largely from how she saw herself compared to others. Social media was the primary avenue for the comparison (thus the reason for my talk to those fear-filled mothers), but not the heart of the problem.
Had life as her mom remained problem-free, I would have never believed that—deep down—the notion I really held to was that God is good as long as he works according to my plan, my way, my timetable.
I was forced to face my idols of control, comfort, and ease.
It’s never easy to see our sin, but seeing our sin is good because until we do, we don’t know how much we need a Savior. So with the struggle, pain, and worry also came the opportunity to grow in my own need of grace and dependence on God for all things.
So those things we fear and try at all costs to avoid, I get. No parent wants to wade through difficult issues with their kids. But sometimes the unavoidable things are God’s grace to us and our child.
Sometimes they are the very things he uses to draw us more to himself, and lead us to greater compassion and grace for others.
My husband and I host a weekly small group comprised of eight married couples who are all under the age of 35. At the close of each of our meetings, the girls and guys divide to share more intimately and to pray for one another specifically. Our semester’s praises and prayer requests were all over the map, especially in the realm of fertility and childbearing, and we rarely left our time together without the shedding of tears.
At times I feared that our group would not survive because of the fact that we were walking triggers for one another. We fought feelings of guilt in weeping and feelings of contempt in our rejoicing.
But instead, God caused this community to abound in love for each other. I witnessed the beauty that emerges in the tension when weeping and rejoicing are happening all at once.
We know that just as Christ assigns our roles, he is sovereign over our experiences. We can trust that whether our families are growing or we are in seasons of waiting or mourning, there is nothing that happens outside of his sovereign will, and that he is working all things for our good.
When the tension of weeping and rejoicing is painful and awkward, we must resist the temptation to avoid each other. We must continue to meet together, reminding each other of God’s goodness, and praying for one another.
There’s a reason we are called a body. We need one another.
The birth of our babies—especially our first—is supposed to be magical. We expect a quick rebound from what’s often the most physically challenging experience in our lives. Messages fired at us on television, through the internet, and on social media aim to convince us: once we embrace our child for the first time, we’ll float our way through bliss.
What if our stories are different?
My first encounter with childbirth, for example, left me feeling as if I’d been tossed into a furnace.
I suffered, but I didn’t despair. Why not? I credit the hand of God. From the abundance of baby meals sent by friends and family, to the compassionate care of my OB, to the willingness of many to listen as I retold the story of my traumatic birth—I was cared for. The Lord met me in my furnace.
Through the fire, I had my clearest-yet view of Christ. I saw and felt his dedication to me. I learned to trust him not just day-by-day, but moment-to-moment. Postpartum depression slowed me down. I learned to savor the good moments.
"The fog of physical exhaustion, emotional weariness, and feelings of constant failure didn’t lift for at least the first year... I simply wasn’t myself; I felt like a hollow shell of a person. I didn’t enjoy being around people, was increasingly short-tempered...The difference was Postpartum Depression...
For those of you in the throws of PPD...You can rest. It isn’t solely up to you to fix yourself - physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Healing takes time. But as you wait, know God is working on your behalf...
By God’s grace, you can be honest with your husband, open with friends, and seek the counsel of medical professionals, boasting all the more gladly of your weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon you.
Postpartum depression can’t separate you from the love of God, friend (Romans 8:39). Because of the reconciling power of the gospel for believers, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Even when you’re hurting, trust the gospel’s prescription for your heart and the healing comfort of his nearness."
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month and we at Risen Motherhood want to recognize all of you who have lost a child too soon. Below you'll find a selection of articles, posts, music and podcasts that we pray encourages a mom in the midst of grief. Just click on the links at the bottom of each quote to go to the original source.
I've been a mom of two for just nine weeks. And in those short nine weeks, motherhood has flipped me over, stretched me thin and spit me out empty. Between a colic/reflux/generally fussy newborn; a curious, demanding and needy toddler; and an unexpected, fast occurring move to a new state; I've pretty much been owned by this season of life.
My temper is short with my toddler, all of my usual patience for his incessant request for cheese, colors and horsey spent. My house, not really ever clean, but usually picked up at the end of a day, a total mess - crumbs from four different meals are piled below the high chair, toys littered in every room of the house, and clean laundry sits in the dryer, forgotten for the past seven days. And my husband, he receives the brunt of my angst - he and I are burning the candle at both ends these days, neither with any fuel at the end of the day for each other.