The Tension in Everyday


Yesterday the kids and I took our weekly poetry tea time on the road. It produced a few pretty pictures, almost tears, some hard to hear reading of Valentine books and poems, a couple near mishaps, and, in the end, revealed the tension in the everyday potential responses of life.

What’s filtered out in a pretty picture (and out of frame):

  • the kid who complained about the pastry they picked
  • the hot cocoa that spilled three times
  • the kid who took off socks and shoes then walked around barefoot
  • the amount of napkins used
  • the parents with one kid who looked perplexed & amazed at us (and then recommended a movie about a homeschool family–Captain Fantastic)
  • the kids who begged to finish someone else’s food
  • the mom who considered packing it all up and threatening to go home (many times over)



All that is true, but you can’t see it.

It’s true for all of our daily lives. The moments we live aren’t just the ones we capture in pixels (remember when it was film?), the ones that we want to remember. It’s every moment in between. We know that, but I think in our visual culture we’ve conditioned ourselves to think that what we see presented by others and ourselves is the most important, valuable, or the evidence of a beautiful, good, and worthy life.

What is true is that we can have mishaps, frustrations, and imperfections to our days without letting those steal the good that is also equally true and present in our days. This is more than just looking for the silver lining or only focusing on the bright spots of our days to the neglect of (or even hiding or not dealing with) what’s harder and more difficult.

We shouldn’t pretend things are sunshine and roses when they are dark and wilting. We can, and should, be honest with ourselves and others. Pretenses do little for our mental, spiritual, or emotional health and well-being, as well as hinder and limit our communication with others. Pretenses are screens to hide behind. They can feel safe and comfortable, but they are always limiting and often harmful.

When we recognize the tension between the good and the hard, we can hold them in both hands saying, “Yes, this day/situation/conversation/circumstance is hard, disappointing, frustrating, revealing my own sin, but there is also has a truth, beauty, or goodness that is also true here.”

It’s helpful to ask: What is true in this moment? What is true of God right now? What is true of me, as His child? What is true of these people, as ones made in His image? Knowing what is true, how should I respond?

What’s my next step in walking out my obedience as a child of God, knowing I am to bear the family resemblance in all I do?

It’s there in those small moments and decisions that we can experience and walk in the freedom Christ brings us. We don’t have to be controlled by sin–ours and others. We are specifically told in Scripture to not be controlled by sin or our flesh! We don’t have to be tossed around by the ever-changing circumstances of our lives and world around us. We can be steadfast amid the unknown, calm in the middle of the storm, and at peace in the flooding chaos. This is the gift of Christ in God. As believers, we have been freed from the power of sin and it is our master no more!

We can experience the moments of our daily lives without letting the small things become the things we major on, giving them permission to steal our joy and peace. The permission I’m speaking of is not controlling the actions of others. We can’t control what someone else does to us or how they respond, but we can control our own responses. When we give the devil a foothold, or as some put it relinquish the territory of our lives inviting sin to take the reins–that is giving permission. Our responses are not passive, even if we think they are. So when we do side step, allowing the sin to entangle us  (which we all do, right?), we have grace and comfort knowing Christ is our great and righteous Advocate, we can confess, repent, and ask forgiveness without fear.

It’s those moments where we feel the tension. We recognize we could respond in one of two ways:

We could respond to our frustrations and disappointments by letting our flesh take the lead.


We could relinquish our false sense of control and submit to the Spirit’s molding work in our lives. 

We stand there, amid the moments of life, recognizing the appearance of an infinitesimal shift in the path we could take. We know it’s there. It rests on us, ever so softly, in the moments before we act. Like a shift in the wind, barely detectable. And it’s the tiny shift that has the power to change the course of our day (week, month, life even) affecting our emotions, actions, and reactions for good or ill.

But the choice is ours in how we respond. Our response is not forced by how our kids are acting, how our spouse responds, what our friends or co-workers say or think–we are in charge of our emotions and responses. Even when we respond in a way we hate, one we recognize as sinful and harmful, we were not forced to make that choice. Every response we make is a choice.

Sin is always a choice. How we respond to the tensions of life is always a choice.

If the power of life and death is in the tongue (Prov. 18:21), then the words we say, the ways we respond to others affect not just us, but all those in our circles of influence. If our mouth is a rudder, whether in our internal or outer dialogue, we are navigating the ship of our lives, and leading others with us, toward the safety of shore or straight into a storm (James 3:2-9).

Take a deep breath and listen to the still, small voice of the Spirit say, “This is the way, walk in it.”




Freedom is more than we give it credit

When I think about the freedom Christ’s life, death, and resurrection sealed and delivered to us for us and I look at my own life and the live’s of believers around me, I can’t help but think we’re missing something. We’ve stopped. We’ve sold ourselves short of full freedom in Christ. How often do we live and walk beat down, carrying about like we’re monotonous drones, feeling victim to our circumstances, past, and emotions? How often do we feel powerless in our fight against sin, in our delivering of the Kingdom?


If Christ’s freedom is a rain storm, we put up an umbrella to protect us from its full power. We still get wet. We still reap the benefits and see the affect of this freedom in our lives, I can’t help but feel like we’re still missing something. 

I truly believe freedom in Christ is much more than we think, more than we can ask or imagine. I think we put it in boxes and give it a list of rules and a checklist, because to truly be free in Christ would be too much. More freedom than we trust ourselves with.  I know we imagine pure freedom, but without clear cut lists of good and bad we hesitate. There’s the outside pressure to conform and our own inner demons. We fear, so we put on chains, blockades, hurdles in our path instead of walking in freedom.

We exchange fullness of life for fitting in. We dare not be different or step out in faith for fear of being called unbiblical, immature, or wild–too much. And there will always be someone who will throw a stone at anything that doesn’t fit into their own neat, safe Christian box. But if we look at the New Testament (or even the Old Testament), none of these men and women would be characterized as safe, fitting in, or neat. If we know God is not safe (but he is good as Mr. Beaver says), but He is wild and surprising–otherworldly. He thinks in ways and has priorities that we do not, then why do we think our lives should fit so neatly within four 90 degree angles? 

The only answer I can think of it we’re afraid. We’re afraid of what freedom would truly mean, what it would ask of us. To truly reflect the vastness and majesty, the beauty and wonder, the glory and mercy of God as his chosen people we can’t live in a box. We can’t all look the same or make the same choices. We offer the world a truncated view of who God is when we strive to match, when we continue to live up to these checklists and man-made rules. 

What if we were not afraid to be kind without reservation that we’d get hurt…

What if we forgave without fear of being seen as weak or fear of being taken advantage of…

What if we spoke words of grace and healing instead of cutting down with sarcasm to be seen as funny…

What if we didn’t hide our pasts and all its ugly pimples and implications, but truly showed the world what Christ has freed us from…

What if we served out of love instead of as a tool toward our own ambitions…

What if we laid aside man-made rules and checklists for holy living and trusted that God has a better way…

What if we when we asked, “How are you doing?” we weren’t just being polite and had the patient to truly hear…

What if we let go of “I should do this…” and “I need to get better at, do more of…” and went to the Word to see what God actually says we should do…

If we all were truly free (and in Christ we are–do you believe it?), if we all truly walked out our freedom in the magnificent ways God has uniquely and individually created us—can you imagine it?

The weight lifted from our shoulders, no more guilt, free to ask questions and pursue interests, to express ourselves as God has created us. We were not all made with the same purpose and gifts, why do we let ourselves be hindered by human commands and doctrines?

The book of Colossians echoes much of Ephesians. It can read as a condensed version of everyone’s favorite epistle. But Colossians has this pivot in chapter 2,

“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7

Live in Christ in the same way you received Christ. And how was that?

Freely. Empty. Gratefully. We brought nothing to the table. We could add nothing to our salvation. We could not perfect Christ’s sacrifice–it was already perfect. We cannot add to Christ’s holiness–he is Holy of Holies.

Live as we have received.

“For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Christ set us free for freedom. He didn’t set us free so we could fulfill the law. He didn’t set us free so we could let others weigh us down with rules and regulations. He didn’t set us free so we could whine about how horrible we are and how often we mess up. He set us free because he himself is freedom!

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12) and he continues when the Pharisees think they’re going to call him out as a blasphemer, “The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him” (John 8:29). Jesus isn’t seeking to please the Pharisees, these the ancient timers who loved the check boxes and list of to does. He doesn’t care how he looks to them. He doesn’t care if his disciples think he’s crazy. Many of them leave him, because he was too wild for their sensibilities.

Jesus only cared about following the Father’s will. We see this throughout his earthly ministry (John 4:34, 6:38; Matthew 7:21). He only cared about doing what God the Father wanted him to do. And you know what, that can sound harsh to our modern ears, our sense of justice and tolerance, but if we step back and think of who God is and that he is working out all things for His glorious plan–what is better for us? What is better for the people in our lives? To live to please them, to do what will make us look good? To choose what’s comfortable, what makes worldly sense? Or to do what please God?

After Jesus said these things many believed he was the Messiah, the Son of God. Then he turns to his followers and says, “If you continue in my word [my teaching], you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

This brings us back to Colossians 2 (are you still with me?), “just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him…” Paul immediately follows this with a warning to not be swayed or taken captive by heresy, philosophy, human traditions, and on but to instead be taken by Christ. And why? “For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ” (Colossians 2:9). Let’s breathe that in for a second, the fullness of God is in Christ…all God is in Christ. Paul doesn’t stop there, in verse 10 he continues, “and YOU have been filled BY HIM, who is head over every ruler and authority” (emphasis mine).

There’s two things here we can’t miss: first, because we, as believers, are identified in Christ’s death and resurrection those things have been appropriated to us. His holiness is now our holiness, His righteousness is now our righteousness. We are filled with God’s nature in Christ! Can I get an amen?! That’s everything. When Peter is writing in his second letter he says, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). This is it–we are filled with Christ’s nature. We have everything we need in him!

Carry that with us as we move on–don’t forget it. Second, we have been filled “by him, who is head over every ruler and authority.” This is important as we move about our lives and discern influences. There is no Bible teacher, discipler, social media influencer, theologian, pastor, conference speaker, or friend who has something better to say than what Christ has already said. Nothing of what they have to say can add anything to our holiness. Any of their wisdom, influence, or help should always be tested against the word of Christ.

Paul gives this–it’s not just asceticism, the worship of angels, liturgical rituals, or paganism Paul is warning about. So often that’s what we hear, but what is usually brushed aside or ignored is this, “All these regulations refer to what is destined to perish by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines. Although these have a reputation for wisdom by promoting self-made religion, false humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value in curbing self-indulgence” (Colossians 2:22-23, emphasis mine).

Think about that. What voices are you giving weight to in your life that are human commands and human doctrines? What looks good, looks like pure religion that comes from God, but is really false humility? What looks like wisdom in regulating or crafting a life of holiness, but has no power against the flesh?

Now, do any of these things that are crossing your mind, do they possess the spirit of freedom? Do they bring you closer to Christ? Do they celebrate freedom in Christ? Would Jesus put himself under these regulations?

Test them, Church. By and by, most of them don’t live up to Christ’s freedom.

There’s so much more to say. Paul continues to expose these appearances of holiness in Colossians 3 with what our heavenly, otherworldly nature looks like.

pexels-photo (1)

Let’s shake off–the list, the rules and regulations, the appearance of holiness. We all feel it. We all want to. We don’t belong to this world, we belong to a heavenly one. Let us live on earth in our heavenly, spiritual, otherworldly nature. Because that is our most true self. 

Let’s get drenched.



photo credit: one, two


Guilt, Checklists, & Freedom

CoffeeCupThere’s this undercurrent that reappears where I feel stifled in my spiritual life. It feels tight. I feel guilt for not reading my Bible enough, not praying enough, not talking to people enough, not being still enough. Not being enough in general. That does not come from the Lord.

God is not sitting in heaven wagging his finger at me, disappointed that I’m doing something wrong. I’m not even doing something wrong!  [An aside for all the people ready to say, “But we all sin! Every day!” Yes, we do. But I’m not talking about willful sins, sins of omission or commission, but the weight of extrabiblical laws and how they intersect and are raised to the level of biblical commands.] I’m still praying and reading my Bible and thinking on things, but not in the two-tone, one-dimensional, pink-hued way so often described. I still carry so much baggage from, perhaps well-meaning, Christians on what it looks like to be a good Christian, especially a good Christian woman (can I get an amen?).

“If you really love God, you’ll do this…If you really love God, your life will look like this…” You’d read your Bible everyday, first thing in the morning. You’d have a special prayer list for every day of the week. You’d have a list of gratitude. You’d regularly enter into praise and worship. You’d bring meals and help out every time you’re asked. You’d always be joyful with a smile on your face. You’d always be able to say how God is working in your life at any moment. You’d share the gospel with x number of people each week. You’d only watch movies with a PG or less rating. You’d only read Christian novels. You’d only listen to Christian music—and the gospel must be explicitly spelled out in each of these or you’re compromising your witness, polluting your soul.

It’s no wonder why Christianity isn’t appealing. We’ve made it tepid, boring–lifeless. We’ve sucked the life out of the freedom Christ bought for us with all the rules and opinions. And anyone who colors outside the lines runs the risk of being labeled as immature, testing the waters, a rebel–or worse, they’re laughed at and labeled a heretic.

So many rules and regulations, so many boxes to check. How can we keep up? How can we ever please God?

I’ve been reading Colossians for a women’s ministry workshop I’m going to and it’s felt so dry, so restricting, like a wool turtleneck that won’t quit itching. But when I realized I was carrying all this unnecessary guilt to the Word. Guilt over whether I was doing it “right”–the right way, the right attitude, the right answers, the right time of day, the right translation. I was carrying so much guilt and so many checklists to reading the Word in order to “be good enough,” pleasing to God.

But I already am.

As a redeemed child of God, I don’t have to be “good enough.” I don’t have to meet a checklist. I don’t have to, I shouldn’t, approach the Word or the throne of Grace with trepidation, fear of automatic disapproval. That’s not how God has called us as his children.

This isn’t new. It’s a cycle I regularly find myself in. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

“You were running well. Who prevented you from being persuaded regarding the truth? This persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” Galatians 5:7-8

When I realize it’s not God who is holding a ruler to me and finding me lacking, but man made rules, regulations, and guidelines the Word unlocks, it frees. As it should, as it does. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). That’s a litmus test unto itself, isn’t it?

Is what is being preached, be it book, article, sermon, song, opinion, blog post, testify to the freedom of Christ?

“For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Or do the checklists, to dos, rules, and regulations led you into guilt, keeping you from coming to the table and fullness of life in Christ? Do they breed the life of Christ in you or is it a mask of holiness and humility under self-made religious mandates?

“If you died with Christ to the elements of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? All these regulations refer to what is destined to perish by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines. Although these have a reputation for wisdom by promoting self-made religion, false humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value in curbing self-indulgence.” Colossians 2:20-23

As believers, aware and in awe of God’s goodness, holiness, love, and mercy we will naturally be drawn to the Word, prayer, and service. It’s often in our desire to please God in innocence we go looking for how we may better please him. We add to what doesn’t need adding to, we accept as normal what is added on, we find guidance in guidelines and before we know it the Truth and man-made rules are so blurred we can’t see the border lines. We find our identity and position before God chained to what does not lead us into freedom.

“For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

Freedom in Christ is much more than we think, more than we can ask or imagine.

But that is more words for another day.


Remembering on Infant Loss Awareness Day

SONY DSCMy mom gave me a stuffed animal monkey when we found out we were pregnant with our first baby. A few weeks later I would hold this little monkey as we lost our first baby, thinking of all the things we’d never get to experience. Never would I have guessed the years would add two more babies to that list.

Today is Infant Loss Awareness Day. One in four women experience infant loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death). It’s a staggering number for a topic that doesn’t get talked about much. Today I’ll be sharing a bit of my story—the grief, the journey to healing, pregnancy after miscarriage, and why so many of us are talking about it. It doesn’t have to be a lonely journey.

Why do we share?

These babies are real. They may not have been wrapped in blankets snuggled in arms of love or breathed on their own, but they were ours and their hearts beat inside of us. Woven together in our innermost being they bore the mark of their Creator, whether their lives lasted 9 weeks, 19 weeks, 39 weeks, 2 hours, or 3 days. We share because we want you to know they existed. They’re real.

Wearing the badge of 1 in 4, women often feel the weight of being the sole bearer of their remembrance. If we don’t remember them, who will?

We don’t share our pregnancies before 12 weeks to make you uncomfortable. We share because we know life is short. We don’t share our losses for a pat on the back for bravery or even for your sympathy. We share because we want your empathy, your understanding (this could be you—your sister, co-worker, best friend, your mother). We share because we want to remember our children who’ve left no mark on the world. We share because we want to know we’re not alone.

We had lots of plans for our first 5 years of marriage. Children were 2-3 years into that plan, so when we found ourselves married for 5 months and pregnant it was a surprise. A welcome surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. It came as a shock when two months later I began to miscarry. I knew it happened to some women, I just never guessed it would happen to me.

I went through the stereotypical cycle of grief—denial, bitterness, anger, and on. Denial to the point I was convinced the doctor and the blood tests were wrong and I was still pregnant. It didn’t help that the pregnancy symptoms didn’t exit as soon as the baby did. It was two weeks before I could even confess this to my husband.

I remember the day the anger broke. An older family friend stopped me at church one day, she’d never been able to have children herself, and all she said was, “I just remember getting to the point where I wanted to go to a baby shower and be happy for the person.” It didn’t change my situation, but it broke something in me and I realized I wanted that too. Being bitter and angry is exhausting.

I came out of that season with a greater trust that God was good…even in this God was good. I believed it to my core.

Thanksgiving a few years later, with a 3 year old and 10 month old, my family pointed out my exhaustion seemed to be more the pregnancy variety than the general motherhood kind. Sure enough I got home and the test was positive. I was about 8 weeks along.

The first week of December I miscarried that baby. I was in utter shock. I’d already had my miscarriage. This wasn’t suppose to happen again. It was Christmas. We were getting ready to visit family on both coasts for 6 weeks. We were going to Disneyland. Losing another baby wasn’t part of the plan.

I slowly realized I had made a one sided deal with God. I had my pocket testimony, my experience to be able to comfort others. I wouldn’t have worded it then, but I thought I had “learned my lesson” and God was done dealing out pain.

I didn’t know what to do, so I shoved it all down and tried to be happy. It was this day at the beach (pictured) nearly 8 weeks later that I felt anything. The water was awakeningly frigid, my boys were experiencing their first touch of the Pacific. It was a spark of hope, the first light of joy. I wasn’t so naive anymore to think that pain and suffering was a one time deal. I began to pour myself into the God who would heal all things, wipe every tear, render every wrong right, and be hailed as “Worthy!” Life wasn’t so much happy-go-lucky anymore as it was deep mysteries to be pondered.

A few years later, mom of a 5, 3, and 1-year-old, I found out I was pregnant again. The same day as a dear friend. We instantly began to imagine growing babies together. A week later I lost mine. This was the hardest yet, not just because I watched my friend’s pregnancy, but it was the first time I really began to ask the question, “Why?”

Why me, God? Why again? How many more times? What other pain do you have for me? Why do You heal some and not others? Why do You have the power to heal—with just a word You could do it, why do you choose not to?

It felt like everywhere I looked in my real-life community and online there was story after story of God healing and answering prayers. Why didn’t he do that for me?

All I could cling to was Peter’s words, “Where shall we go? You alone have the words of life.” I poured myself into the words of the old dead guys, stories of depression and despair where God still loved and led his people. I listened to songs of brokenness and trust, hopelessness and faintest light. I needed to know even this was broken I wasn’t alone.

They call a baby born after a loss a rainbow baby. I’ve got a full rainbow. It’s a hard one to swallow. It’s a mix of grief and blessings knowing if the babies I lost had lived I wouldn’t have two (almost three!) of my children. I’ve struggled with immense guilt of loving the ones I’ve lost, wishing to meet them and loving the ones here.


But a rainbow…is a sign of God’s covenant to keep His promises. And sometimes those promises are hard. Sometimes those promises mean heartache and struggle, but—He is still who He says he is.

I’ve been reading Jeremiah this week and over and over God tells his displaced people, “I will restore your fortunes” (Jer. 27-31). “I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13).

It’s bittersweet. The pain and the joy co-mingled. Part of me doesn’t want to accept good from the hand that allows pain. But, I always go back to this…”I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who You are—You have a father’s heart and a love that’s wild, and you know what it’s like to lose a child” (JJ Heller, “Who You Are”).

There will be a day we’ll stand in the Kingdom of Light and all will be made new, all will be redeemed. No more death or mourning or tears. Fortunes will be restored.

Addison Justice. Joseph Allen. Otto Augustus.

Jordan Ebenezer. Olivia Jane. Riley Glory. Victoria Irene.

Why talk about infant loss and grieving?

We need to know we’re not alone. We feel alone so often. We need a culture that’s willing to talk about grief and enter into pain. We often don’t know how to help ourselves. Our grief is often tempered against a time limit—aren’t you over this yet? is the message we get. No, we’re not over losing our children. I doubt we’ll ever be.

But…we want to know how to live in this new normal. How to experience joy and pain without denying one over the other. We long for fullness of life, but are often sucker punched with grief out of nowhere. We need a community and culture that’s willing to acknowledge this dichotomy. That will talk about it.

And if we don’t? We’ll continue leaving generations of women to keep their loss quiet, to fend for themselves in pain, to struggle to find their way out of the darkness on their own. We’ll continue to leave mothers bearing the scars of loving the lost and the living and the guilt that’s so warped between the two. We’ll leave children missing chunks of their childhood, whole pieces of their mothers from the pain and struggle of daily functioning after loss, simply because it’s easier to not talk about it.

There is no one size fits all action plan and I don’t know what it’d even look like, but we do have a voice. And as painful as it is to share the loss of our children, the grief we bear, and the mistakes we’ve made floundering in this unknown territory, we need to talk about it. Infant loss won’t be eradicated, but we still want to live. We want to be happy without denying what we’ve lost.

The darkness cannot be made light unless someone is first willing to light the candle. And there’s a throng of us holding out our candles.



Miscarriage: What to Say?

Lingering Grief of the Named Unspoken

Coming Up for Air: Facing the Deadness Because He Lives

The Journey of Miscarriage: Traveling from Risk to Grief to Bitterness to Good

Songs for the Brokenhearted

The Willingness of Motherhood

Motherhood is a Risk


Miscarriage: What to Say?

In our miscarriage story, I shared how I felt lonely and that few people spoke with me about it. It was painful. At times it made me feel that my family and friends didn’t care. As I began to let go of my bitterness, I stopped holding these people to a standard of giving me comfort. I forgave.

But I also realized something. About a month after the woman stopped me in the hall at church, my sister-in-law spoke to me after a church function with another women by her side (this woman had 5 miscarriages before having her first child). She apologized for not saying anything or asking me how I was dealing with the miscarriage. She couldn’t imagine what I was going through or what it was like to lose a child….she didn’t know what to say.

For some reason compassion swelled in my heart. I was blessed and freed by her apology. But it also opened up my eyes to the other side of a miscarriage. Many people keep quiet simply because they don’t know what to say. To be honest, I know I would have been in the same boat prior to losing Addison.

This is one of the reasons why I am open to sharing about my experience with losing a baby. After we had our miscarriage it seemed women came out of the woodwork saying they’d had a miscarriage too. Some statistics say that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Still so many women say nothing of their experiences because grief hurts. Love is risky.

The problem with this is women grieving a miscarriage feel they’re alone. They need to be heard. They need to hear the experiences of other women. Now, when I meet a woman who’s had a miscarriage and I share I have too, there’s an instant bond. I don’t have to tell her what I experienced or how I felt. She’s been there too. She understands.

But where does that leave those who haven’t lost? I believe, they still have a role to play.

What do you say when a family loses a baby?

  1. The most important thing is to say something. That family, the woman especially, needs to know you’re there and willing to hear. So many people often avoid those experiencing loss, because it’s uncomfortable and they feel ill-equipped to help if they haven’t experienced the same thing.
  2. Be wise in your words. While most of the time saying something is better than saying nothing, be careful what you say. Comments about “Maybe next time will be better” or “I guess this wasn’t God’s timing” do little to help and can cause the couple more pain. Those statements feel insensitive and seem to diminish the pain of the family.
  3. Help them. Offer to cook dinner. If they have already collected baby items, gently ask them what their plans are for them, if they need help going through them, or offer to store the items for them. If they have older children, offer to babysit so that the parents can take time to talk and process their grief together.
  4. Grieve alongside them. If the family choose to name the baby call the child by its name. If there’s a funeral or memorial service–big or small–join in. This lets the family know you see their pain, you support them, and confirms in their hearts and minds that this baby was real.
  5. Understand that a new baby doesn’t replace the one they’ve lost. For us, Joey is a huge and precious blessing that we cherish all the more because we lost Addison. But in no way, shape, or form does Joey replace Addison. We still miss that child. We still grieve for that baby. Addison was a person as much as Joey is and neither can be replaced by another.
  6. Pray for them. Pray that God would heal their hearts and that they would see His character and perspective. Be gentle and patient here. Grieving is a process that ebbs and flows, sometimes it moves forward and then falls back. Don’t expect everything to be “back to normal” in a few weeks or month. Healing takes time.

I am so grateful for the outpouring of support I have received in sharing our miscarriage story. So many women have shared their experiences and how God has healed them.

I know there are so many ways to help and support those healing from a miscarriage. Let’s stop grieving from being an isolated experience. Help me help others know how to respond to a miscarriage or other loss, so…

If you have experienced a loss what is the best thing someone did or said as you grieved and healed?