Exciting News to Share {and a big thank you!}

March 30th, 2015

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It was almost ten years ago now that I started blogging. Back then, it was to share photos and stories of my children for family and friends far away. Every once in a while, I would share a post about something God was doing in my heart. Slowly, as my kids grew and there was less to share about them, I started writing more and more about my struggles with depression, what I was learning through God’s word, or thoughts on applying the gospel to everyday life.

Friends and readers began encouraging me to step outside of my comfortable blogging home and send my writing to other publications and websites. They said, “You should write a book.”

Slowly and hesitantly, I sent out articles to a few places, and then a few more places. Some were accepted, some were not. In each attempt, I learned something more about the writing process and about myself.

I knew nothing about the publishing industry, nor about writing a book. About five years ago, I reached out to a friend of a friend who had once worked in publishing. She very kindly gave me guidance and direction. I sought out resources to hone my craft and improve my skill. Eventually I took the plunge and met with a few publishers to talk about my book idea.

I was rejected. Multiple times. And I have to admit it was a hard, discouraging process to go through. I put the book idea back on the shelf and focused on writing articles and developing my voice. I prayed through each word I typed, asking God to use it to make his name known. There were many times that I questioned my writing ministry. I often wondered, is it a worthy pursuit? Is it glorifying God or myself? Why even write if everything’s already been said?

But doors kept opening for me to write articles so I continued to step through them and as I did, other opportunities opened. Until one day when my friend Melissa Kruger offered to connect me with the publisher who published her book…

And it is with great excitement that I get to share with you the news that I am publishing a book with Christian Focus Publications. The book is on emotions and I can’t wait to share it with you sometime next year!

Though writing is done in isolation, it actually involves many people. I’ve witnessed the Body of Christ in action throughout these years of writing. I am so thankful for the numerous friends and fellow writers who encouraged me, guided me, opened doors for me, and sometimes even pushed and prodded me when I needed it.

Because of that, I have a lot of people to thank. First, I want to thank you, dear reader. Thank you for reading my blog posts and articles. Thank you for your encouraging emails and comments and for sharing my posts with others.

(Warning: Here’s where I thank a bunch of people!)

I am also grateful to Heather Bixler who was the first to invite me to write for her motherhood blog. I am thankful as well to Collin Hansen who opened a huge door for me when he accepted my first article at TGC. Trillia Newbell is a dear friend and a steady encouragement to me in writing. She has generously connected me to other ministries and websites, including introducing me to my now editor at Desiring God Ministries. Jonathan Parnell at DG has also been a huge help to me. His editing has helped me hone and refine my writing. I am so thankful for his editorial wisdom and direction. His invitation to contribute a chapter to a book helped open the doors for other opportunities as well. I am also thankful to Tony Reinke at Desiring God, who used some of my writing in the book Mom Enough.

I am grateful to my friend and editor, Ashleigh Slater, who provided opportunities for me to write for several websites. Gloria Furman is a fellow writer who has encouraged me in my writing, shared her wisdom with me, and also helped me refine my writing when I wrote for her former website. Lindsay Swartz reached out to me and encouraged me to use my counseling background in writing for the ERLC. Rachel Miller and Dr. Aquila very kindly share my posts on a regular basis at The Aquila Report. I am thankful to iBelieve, For The Family, True Woman and the CBMW for giving me the opportunity to write for them. I am also thankful to the Gospel Mag which translates my posts into French (Merci!). Karen Hodge has also been a great encouragement to me and has generously opened doors for me, connecting me with others and providing opportunities for me to speak. And I am especially thankful to Melissa Kruger for connecting me with her publisher. Her kindness, generosity, and wisdom about writing and publishing has been invaluable to me.

My husband is my biggest fan and greatest supporter. My two boys are patient and understanding and faithful in prayer for me. Then there are all the friends who prayed for me and encouraged me in all the ups and downs of the writing process: Lisa, Marilyn, Cara, Kerri, Miriam, Karen M., Tiffany, Christy, Amy, Chris, Misha, Melissa D., Jessalyn, Emily W., as well as my local church Body and my extended family. In addition, the pastors, elders, and leaders in my church have encouraged my writing and guided me when I need theological clarity and direction. I am very grateful for their guidance and wisdom.

But above all, I am thankful to God for this opportunity to write a book. All things come by his grace. It is his grace that is behind each and every door that has opened for me, each and every person who has helped me, and each and every word I write. Apart from his grace, I can do nothing.

Please pray for me as I finish writing the book and that each word I use would bring God the glory and fame that he is due.

Many thanks to you all!




Book Review and Giveaway: Inheritance of Tears

March 26th, 2015

I once met together with a friend, following the loss of her unborn baby. I wanted so desperately to help her, yet her pain was something I had never experienced. All I could do was listen. I remember her saying, “All these women are coming out of the woodwork. I didn’t realize so many other women had suffered from miscarriages.” She went on to tell me about the love and support those women were giving her.

Though the tears of miscarriage are shed by numerous women, there hasn’t been much written on the subject to provide them Biblical encouragement during their grief. Until now. My friend Jessalyn Hutto has just published a book titled Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb on the subject of miscarriage. Having gone through two miscarriages herself, Jessalyn writes with the wisdom of one who has been there.

TEARS-COLOR-460-72-295x452This is a theologically rich book, saturated with biblical truth. It covers those hard questions we all ask when faced with severe suffering. “Why me?” And in the case of miscarriage, “Why my baby?” There are no clichés here, no pat answers, and no simple platitudes, just Biblical truth. Jessalyn takes the reader directly to the pages of God’s word to explore the origins of suffering, God’s work in and through suffering, and the place of suffering in the greater story of redemption.

This book is compassionate and honest about how painful it is to lose a baby through miscarriage. Jessalyn shares the pain of her own heart wrenching losses. She then points the reader to Christ, the One who suffered for us at the cross. I especially appreciated her chapter on the eternal hope we all have in our suffering and the particular joy parents will have of meeting their unborn child in eternity.

I often like to send books to friends when they are going through a trial or a season of suffering. This is one such book that I have sent to a friend. If you have experienced a miscarriage or know someone who has, I recommend this book to you.

I asked Jessalyn a few questions about Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb and this is what she said:

Miscarriage has been experienced by so many women. Why do you think there hasn’t been much written before on this subject?

There are many reasons for this. First of all, I believe that the frequency at which miscarriages take place is grossly underestimated. Statistically speaking, up to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. That means that up to one-fourth of the pregnancies that occur in our churches end in sorrow rather than joy, but the weight of this reality is hard to observe due to the extremely personal nature of the loss. Often women don’t become aware of the startlingly large number of people who are touched by miscarriage until they experience one themselves.

Another reason for there not being many resources written for women who miscarry: the extremely intimate nature of this type of loss. Up until recent times, miscarriages were hardly spoken of. Women in my mother’s generation, for instance, hardly ever shared with others when they lost a baby in the womb. Even today, pregnancies are rarely announced before the second trimester. This means that when a woman miscarries (which typically occurs before that coveted 12 week benchmark), she is often left to walk through her suffering alone because few people even knew she was pregnant to begin with. The experience of miscarriage is often a silent, invisible one.

Recently however, many wonderful articles have been written on the topic of miscarriage from a biblical perspective. By God’s grace, there is a growing awareness of this unique type of loss and women are being ministered to in their suffering. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to write this book, which I hope will be a useful resource of the church as it seeks to effectively comfort the many women who have been touched by miscarriage.

When someone is suffering, in an effort to help them, we often say things that actually hurt them more. I imagine the same is true when a woman has lost her baby. How can we help rather than hurt a woman who has miscarried?  

The first thing I would say is don’t immediately try to make sense of her loss. Often people will be quick to say things like, “There must have been something wrong with the baby,” or, “God knows what’s best for us, so this pregnancy must not have been the best thing for you at this time,” or, “God will use this for your good.” Remarks like this are genuinely spoken in an effort to comfort a suffering mother and may even be true statements, but in the midst of her suffering, they feel more like a knife to the gut than healing balm to the soul. It is far better to simply spend time with a grieving mother, crying with her, and praying for the Lord’s perfect peace to overwhelm her soul.

On the heals of that advice, I would say this: listen. Listen to a grieving mother explain her pain. Let her share about her unborn child with you. Listen to her agony as she wrestles with deep questions about death and God’s love. Be someone she feels comfortable crying in front of, for she truly needs to cry.

One of the most tempting things to do as a comforter is try to speed along the grieving process, but there is an appropriate time for deep and horrible grief—the death of a baby you were carrying is certainly one of them. Let her mourn, all the while gently pointing her suffering soul to the glorious day when death and suffering will be no more, and we will be in the presence of our loving Savior.

Why is theology so important when we face losses such as miscarriage? How does our theology carry us through?

I was very blessed to have a strong biblical understanding of the doctrines of sin and the fall, as well as God’s sovereignty when I experienced my miscarriages. I can confidently say that this theological foundation made all the difference to me when I lost my babies. Because of what I knew to be true from the Bible, I had a strong confidence in God’s great love for me, even as I was experiencing such a terrible providence from him. Theology is often viewed as a boring, academic study, but in reality it is the gospel framework for every Christian’s life.

Knowing what the Bible says about mankind’s fall into sin and subsequent suffering, as well as God’s plan to redeem humanity helps us to see beyond our suffering while at the same time, not belittling it. For a woman who has just experienced the death of her baby, theology can allow her to know why something terrible like miscarriage has happened as well as give her hope for her future and for the future of her baby.

If there is one thing a reader gets from this book, what do you hope that would be? 

My greatest desire for women who read Inheritance of Tears is that they will be pointed to Jesus. Miscarriage is such a terrible experience. You are battling feelings of sadness, disappointment, and extreme grief—not to mention physical pain. It is so easy to fall into a pit of depression, envy, and anger. I’ve tried to deal honestly and openly with the terrible pain involved in miscarriage, all the while directing our attention to the one who makes all the difference: our loving and good God. There is such marvelous hope for the woman who has miscarried found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and my one prayer is that each woman who reads Inheritance of Tears will be filled with that joy-inducing hope. 

Are there particular books you read or Bible passages you clung to after your miscarriages? 

Nancy Guthrie’s writings have been a tremendous blessing to me. Most notably her book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow. More than anything, I found myself in the Psalms (especially Ps. 42). They have a marvelous ability to speak honestly about suffering, while at the same time lifting the sufferer’s gaze to the goodness of God. The book of Revelation has also become very dear to me. What hope there is in its pages! Its awe-inspiring descriptions of our victorious and loving Savior have helped me to look beyond my current suffering and anxiously await the glories that are yet to be revealed. 

The book is short, by design. Is there anything else you want to share with readers about the subject of miscarriage and trusting God’s providence that you didn’t include for the sake of brevity? 

Yes, this book is very short. On the one hand that is good, because it means it is extremely accessible to women who are in the midst of suffering, but of course there is so much more I would like to say. What I have included in this book is—what I feel—the most imperative truths a woman can arm herself with while experiencing a miscarriage. What space did not allow for was a more in-depth look at specific, practical issues every woman must face when she loses a baby. I would strongly encourage those who experience miscarriage to search out other women in their local body of believers who’ve walked through similar trials, to ask the practical and intimate questions they may have. This is what the body of Christ is for—to learn from one another and to care for one another as we experience trials.

I have one copy of Inheritance of Tears to give away today. Enter below. US residents only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.

 




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