Long-distance and Long-time

Five years ago right now, I found out I was pregnant with my ninth baby, who came on the heels of six consecutive miscarriages.
Five years ago right now, we began the process of building a home out in the country.
Five years ago right now, a friend of mine emailed me a crazy idea.

Boy. That was a busy year.

I now have a four year old Asher to show for that year.
I now have lived in this home, which we had built out in the country, for four years.
I now have participated in sharing a Pregnancy After Loss devotional, our free ebook download, for four years.

So many big things were obviously going on back then, and honestly, they continue to. Sometimes it is hard to see the growth of such blessings. It felt like so much big stuff back then, but when looking through the proper lenses, I can see that God is continuing to do great big things with those very seeds from five years ago. My friend Kristi reminded me this week that it was four years ago that R&R went live. What an exciting day that was for us! And today, she shares a little here about the growing process of our Rainbows & Redemption devotional to give a little special insight to the planting, blooming, and pruning progression.

Later this month, I will get to see Kristi in person for the second time ~ the first time was three years ago. I’ve known her long-distance for 5 1/2 years, as God has taken each of us on similar yet different journeys. We met online when we were both pregnant-after-loss, once: she was pregnant with her little Kyria, I was pregnant with my Peace. Neither of us were having a good time of it at all. We ended up delivering our precious little first trimester babies, three thousand miles apart, that November, in 2009. We have both had more pregnancies since then ~ my Asher and her Caleb were in our bellies while we wrote and edited R&R, so we shared wild roller coasters for months at a time. We have each called one another in moments of panic, straight from our own home bathrooms… because we were either starting to miscarry or had gotten less-than-encouraging blood test results or were worrying our brains to a fritz psycho-analyzing every little twinge and symptom and dream while PAL.

How good it continues to be to know that I am not alone.

We may be separated by basically the entire United States (she is at the SE corner while I am in the NW corner), but we are still there for one another, especially when it comes to specific niche topics. Things like miscarriage and related babyloss topics. Writing, specifically when it comes to words of encouragement. Homeschooling. Rainbow babies.

I hope to continue sharing life, prayers, and writing with Kristi as time goes on ~ my long-distance and long-time friend.  God grows beautiful things from little seeds. Like babies. And friendships. And books. Blessings.

Palm Sunday Thoughts…

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. We were given little crosses made out of palm fronds at church. The liturgy was different. The vestment colors were different. And as I dealt with a 3 year old who threw up all over her church dress and her carseat… and as I bounced a fussy, overtired little 4 month old… I was happily comforted in the reminders that my Jesus, my King, is Lord over all things ~ both small and great. He came in lowly ways. He ministered in the daily things. He came to save.

My mind repeatedly wandered back to a year ago… six weeks pregnant with Sweet Teen… and the terrible dance of hope & doubt I was enduring…
So today, I am sharing with you something I wrote that day; last year on Palm Sunday. It’s as true today as it was 366 days ago. Hallelujah! Hosanna in the highest!


Today was Palm Sunday—a day full of good reminders of our King who reigns, of His lowly entry and faithful rule, of how we as His people can & should cry out to Him, hosanna! Save us now, Lord, we pray! One of my sons in heaven is named Hosanna, and I love the excuse to say his name. When I do, I am crying to the only One who can save to the uttermost. This morning’s church service, as we visited a church we love a couple hours away, began with the choir, pastors, and dozens of children processing through the sanctuary with palms in their hands while we all sang to the Lord of His glory and honor, lauding Him with our praise. We cried out to Him beseeching Him to save us! And since we are on the other side of the story, we know with confidence that He is the Savior! He has saved us! He didtriumphantly bear our sins and conquer death, saving us from the holds of those shackles! Amen!
But we are still in the midst of the story. This morning I felt painfully, acutely aware that the story continues.

I sat there with my family, in the midst still of our own story of asking the Lord to save and preserve and give us life in place of death, begging Him with every little panting breath to cause this baby to live…
In front of us was a family whose daughter suffered a terrible cancer some years ago, and the Lord preserved her precious life, and there she sat with parents and siblings, with health glowing in her cheeks and hair and the saving presence of the Lord spilling from her eyes as she sang…
In front of them sat a family who buried another son this very week—the Lord saved their little boy by ushering him to heaven, and now He saves this family every moment by upholding them even in the midst of horrible grief…

I cried repeatedly.
Suffering everywhere I looked. Sometimes already redeemed. Sometimes not yet.
It is hard to wait for the redemption, and wonder whether we will see it here in this life, or whether we will be yet waiting to see it in the next.

And then Pastor Sumpter preached on hope & joy.
He said, so much of joy is bound up in hope.
How painfully, purely accurate.

I am so afraid to hope and so afraid to be joyful. Even though there is a sliver of me that wants to shout from the rooftops that the Lord has filled my womb—I want to plan and prepare and anticipate and expect an autumn baby—I want to let the kids kiss my tummy and pray aloud all day for the little baby without wincing in my heart of anxiety—I want to talk about baby names for this little person, to embrace this pregnancy rather than moment by moment telling myself not to get attached.

Today we heard an exhortation to ignore the voices in our head that shout realism and logic and probabilities. We ought to rather take joy in hoping, and not to grow weary if we have to keep asking. It is exactly realism, logic probabilities, and my own history that causes me to limit my joy and squelch my hope. But we serve the Lord who delights in giving good gifts, who takes pleasure in acting outside the boundaries which people expect of Him, who came in order to redeem the broken places so that our joy could be full and our hope renewed.

So this week, even as I constantly preach truth to myself not to give in to anxiety just because it certainly doesn’t do any of us any good, I will also be reminding myself day by day to be joyful even when I don’t know the end of the story. Because that is why Christ came. I rejoice in hope—and this hope is not bound up or settled on the things of this world. This hope in which I rejoice is bound up and settled on the glory of God. And because of this, because of God’s glory, we can rejoice fully! Even when suffering comes. Even when endurance is necessary. When character is tried, tested, affirmed. (Romans 2:1-5)

This hope is not foolish. Hope that is grounded in God’s glory will not put us to shame. He died for me. So that I could have hope. So that I could rejoice.

So as I remind myself of these things this week, walking toward Easter as well as taking daily steps further and further into my pregnancy, I will remember the joy and the hope along with the suffering and the grief. It’s the dichotomy of living the Christian life. May He give us the strength and peace to glorify Him this week through all of this.

I want to hope with unabashed, reckless abandon. I want to have incalculable, irrepressible joy.

This is the Lord‘s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
and He has made His light to shine upon us.
Psalm 118:23-27

Photo Challenge, Week Nine

Week Nine: Shadows


This week’s inspiration of shadow takes on a visceral, gutteral frame for me.
You’ll notice I ended up with a black and white version of my own shadow on a stony path.
Shadow is the absence of light. Or at least the blocking of light.
I have spent years feeling lost in shadows.
Walking on a stony path, groping for the Light.
Things look skewed when you just focus on the shadow.
Perspective is different in the shadow.
So while this may seem like a juvenile, easy attempt at capturing “shadow” for a photo challenge,
this was actually a very thought-out and well-provoked subject.
It hit home.
I understand shadows.
In a large sense, they feel like home to me.
But here’s the thing: notice that I didn’t say darkness.
It isn’t that there isn’t Light, or that I don’t see the Light.
It’s that I realize the Light has to overcome something
in order for its potency to mean something.

Light needs darkness
for its counterpart.

That is what makes Light so amazingly stunning.
And when it comes to shadows, we truly see that juxtaposition.


Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection
Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows… but will you come?

~C.S. Lewis~

Balloon Release, PAIL Day 2015

I can’t remember for sure if we have done this every year or not, but if it hasn’t been an annual tradition, it’s been really doggone close. I remember doing it with Gabriel at our old house when he was only a year or two old, and how the balloons got caught in our neighbors’ pine tree. Whoops. It has worked much  better since moving out to the country, with more wide open spaces.

This afternoon, my children and I let off nine balloons into the sky.
Why do we do this every year, Mommy? Gabriel asked while Asher blew kisses to our babies in heaven & Evangeline said, Goodbye balloons- I will miss you!
I answered Gabriel with tears in my eyes, It reminds us in a way that we can see with our eyes, how our babies have left us & life here on earth, and gone to heaven where we can’t see them anymore but where we know by faith they still live.
Asher piped up, And this way, our brothers and sisters have balloons to play with.
To which quick & quippy Gabriel responded, oh Asher, they don’t play with the balloons- they probably don’t even see them. We just do it because we love them so much. And because we miss them playing here with us.

And he’s right. We do it because we love our children, and we do miss them. And it is a tangible, visible way to slowly (year by year) teach my children about their brothers and sisters. As I handed each of my three kids three balloon strings, I named off three of their siblings’ names. They repeat them.

With laughter and with tears, with memories and while looking ahead, this was our PAIL Day 2015 Balloon Release.

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Nine Treasures, on PAIL Day

Today (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day)
we are remembering our darlings in heaven,
the nine siblings of our treasures here.

While this day does not cut so acutely into my heart as it once did, it is still a day that bittersweetly blesses and affects me.
In addition to treasures of glory, of Christ, of spiritual hopes & faith ~ we have nine treasures in heaven.
Little treasured people whose bodies I held within mine… and in my hands…
Boys and girls, my sons and daughters, who were beautifully created and wonderfully knit by their heavenly Father.


Covenant Hope, Glory Hesed, Promise Anastasis, Peace Nikonos
Mercy Kyrie, Victory Athanasius, Hosanna Praise,
Heritage Peniel, Fidelis Se’arah

~ oh, how we love you. I think of you all the time and imagine what life would have been like if you had stayed here with us. Your brother Gabriel talks about you a lot. And even Asher and Evangeline are starting to know your names, to remember how your lives have been entwined with theirs, to acknowledge that our family is much bigger than what meets the eye. ~


I am so happy, blessed and honored and privileged, to be their mommy. And I look ahead with joyful anticipation to holding them again (or if I don’t get to hold them, at least being with them and seeing them and singing with them) when I join them on the other side of eternity.


Pregnant with a Rainbow, Part V


A very big part of my PAL journey is wrapped up in that one little word.

I have been continuing to write weekly entries into a Word document where I am essentially journaling through this pregnancy, mostly for my own sake, but perhaps to share in snippets with others (now or in the future), and anxiety has been one of the most frequently recurring themes. In case you’re curious, joy seems to be giving it a run for its money; humility and thankfulness being runners-up.

It takes a big bite of courage paired with a gulp of honesty for me to publicly share how real anxiety is for me.
How big a part it has played in my life this year (and not just this year, but since that’s my current topic of conversation, it’s where I will stick for now).
Let me share, by picking & choosing, a few of the more notable times I have written about anxiety in this PAL journey with my Sweet Teen.


Four Weeks …~…~…
I invite you to share with me in the Lord’s work—to walk through the hope and rejoicing, to navigate the fear and the anxiety, to experience vicariously the psychoanalyzing of every twinge and the microscopic scrutinizing of every piece of toilet paper.

Five Weeks …~…~…
Anxiety is bubbling up around me in more noticeable, tangible ways than it has yet in this pregnancy. I feel naked, exposed, vulnerable.

Six Weeks …~…~…
I am so afraid to hope and so afraid to be joyful. Even though there is a sliver of me that wants to shout from the rooftops that the Lord has filled my womb—I want to plan and prepare and anticipate and expect an autumn baby—I want to let the kids kiss my tummy and pray aloud all day for the little baby without wincing in my heart of anxiety.

Nine Weeks …~…~…
Coping with the emotional aspects of very real and present anxiety can be the ugliest and most monstrous of challenges—it is the type of battle where my enemies are invisible, my battle lines are blurry, my armor is thin, my weaponry is inadequate. This is a challenge where understanding sympathy is harder to come by… the average joe can not grasp this mysteriously invisible war on anxiety…
Anxiety can be my worst enemy. I focus a lot on purposeful resting right now, on breathing and praying, on being still. Meanwhile, anxiety threatens to clench my chest and speed my heart until my palms are sweaty and my ears are ringing. I run to the bathroom neurotically, not because I have to go, but because I want to make sure I’m not bleeding—I just need to check that tissue once more. There is part of me that just assumes that one of these mornings, I will wake up in a pool of blood. And every day that it doesn’t happen, rather than revel in the unbelievable joy that is the Lord’s tender mercy made new yet again, I tend to resign myself to thinking, well, not today but maybe tomorrow.

Sixteen Weeks …~…~…
Of course, staying in prayer and in Scripture and reading good things to encourage my spirit in the Lord is good always but I won’t pretend that it is a magic fix for my anxiety and worries, or that suddenly when I seek to hold my thoughts captive by resting in the Lord that it all clicks and works 100%. It doesn’t, because I am still a sinner, and I still live in a fallen world.

Seventeen Weeks …~…~…
In those moments when the anxiety is particularly cutting—when there is a pink tinge on the toilet paper, when it has been two days since feeling movement, when I can not quickly find the heartbeat on the doppler, when I am feeling tender pressure “down there”—I want to focus less on the worry and anxiety, and more on trusting and committing my way to the Lord.

Twenty-Four Weeks …~…~…
This pregnancy has not been without its complications, and it has been full of abundant anxiety on my part. But it’s miraculous.

Twenty-Seven Weeks …~…~…
As I was thinking this evening about going to my OB appointment tomorrow morning, I started to panic rather fully and ended up in tears simply because of my vivid imagination running away with me and getting the better of me. I was imagining being there by myself—usually I don’t have to go alone, but I will be alone tomorrow which scares me so much—and them not being able to find the baby’s heartbeat, and having to be by myself at a terrible ultrasound or something. How just thinking about something like that could get me into a total panic and a total teary mess is ridiculous. It shows how absolutely vulnerable and anxiety-prone I truly am.
It is not only my duty but also my joy and privilege to trust in Him alone. If I give up of myself—including the inner turmoil of anxiety, worry, fear, doubt—my trust in Him will cause my roots to be deep, strong, and abiding to the point of producing good fruit.

Twenty-Eight Weeks …~…~…
In my moments of the most anxiety, the most doubt, the times when I am tearful and feeling sick… these are the times when I know I need to throw myself at the feet of my merciful Lord! Why is it so much easier to have that knowledge in my head than it is to actually follow through with it by faith?

Twenty-Nine Weeks …~…~…
The physical struggles that have come with this pregnancy coupled with the overwhelming anxiety that darkens my eyes and fills my heart now on an almost daily basis leave me feeling vulnerable and naked before my family, the friends who peer into my life right now, and even You. Lord, would You clothe me? Please cover me with Your pinions and outstretched hand. Put Your whole armor on me. So often these days I feel the schemes of the devil himself threatening to choke me—he taunts me in my pain and nausea, he plagues me with blinding anxiety that fills my days and my nights with terrors and fears. Wrestling the physical battles of flesh and blood is real enough in pregnancy: the pressure, the pain, the inability to sleep comfortably, the continued nausea—just to give a few common examples, but Lord, You know the deepest and hardest parts. Wrestling the invisible battles are even harder because keeping my feet up, putting ice packs on my neck, taking Tylenol or Zofran—they don’t do a thing. When I close my eyes and envision the nightmare of delivering my baby ten weeks too soon, it is spiritual forces of evil in their invisible cloaks that are grasping and twisting my nerves, slicing my heart to pieces, making my heart pound and my eyes overflow with tears. Oh God! Strike down these powers and these dark rulers and authorities—they have no power over me!
There is nothing like the anxiety I have been battling recently, especially this week. The internalized fears paired with the physical things that exacerbate my worries threatens to choke me every day, and has me in tears by the time evening arrives. Even in sleep, my dreams focus on the anxiety and inhibit my rest.


Please know that as I share these selected snippets with you, they are just that: selected snippets. The document I have been writing during this pregnancy is already 82 pages long, so very clearly this is just a small and very narrow glimpse into my experience. I wanted to share with you a view into the side of PAL that is anxiety… but it is only one facet. Please remember that. Please know that the Lord is my shepherd, and I am His joyful sheep. Please know that my husband, my parents, my children, and my medical team are all not only aware of the anxiety, but participating in both the struggles & the solutions with me.

That said, if you too find yourself overcome with anxiety, especially during a Pregnancy After Loss(es), I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to be reassured that it is a normal part of this particular experience. I want you to know that your level of anxiety does not say anything about your walk with Christ, nor does it generally effect the child within your womb.
And as always, please remember that I am a comment or an email away. If you need someone to walk alongside you during a similar journey, I’m here ~ and I want you to know that I truly believe in living out Romans 1:3-4 in a tangibly empathetic way.

Grief Has Become Part of Me

Living through grief takes courage.
Looking back at the darkest parts of grief takes courage.
Living life after grief takes courage.
Looking ahead to see that the darkness isn’t always so thick takes courage.

Isaiah 61:3
…to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

I am amazed to look back over the last eight years since my first baby died and see how far God has brought me, even though that grief has been compounded eight times since then.

  • I smile and laugh. Daily.
  • I have children. Even some here on earth. Wow.
  • I can see others’ babies & stairstep children without feeling like my heart is going to implode. Sometimes I can even hold someone else’s baby. Even marker babies.
  • I often see those maker babies (who are turning into marker children) as joyful ~rather than painful~ reminders.
  • I can buy baby gifts or maybe even attend a baby shower without weeping.
  • I don’t have daily anxiety attacks that my husband or one of my living children is going to die.
  • I see all the reminders and memorial items in my home as comforts.
  • I speak of all of thirteen of my children, including my nine in heaven, with gladness and thanksgiving. There might be twinges of sadness and what-if, but there is no despair.
  • I can write about my grief, my miscarriages, my emotional or mental or spiritual struggles, with honest humility rather than humiliation.
  • I find immense joy in Christ my King, to whom I belong ~and to whom my children each belong~ and find ever growing trust in His sovereign goodness.
  • I have a marriage that has been tested by the fire of grief ~including our own version of infertility called uRPL~ which is stronger and deeper and richer than I knew it could be at only 8 years into our covenantal union.
  • I can give of myself ~including my heart, my tears, my experiences, my prayers~ and no longer have to be primarily on the receiving end of comfort or encouragement.

(for similar perspectives from a dear friend of mine on the “then” and “now” relating to miscarriage’s grief, see what she shared here & here)



I can look ahead to the future with hope and joy… and that happens to include looking ahead to my eternity in heaven, where I trust the Lord will reunite me with the covenant children I continue to miss, right through my new normal and through my embracing of life as it is. I have hope. I have joy. Not only for eternity, but for now. Because of Christ. And His work in me.

Grief changes so slowly most of the time, that it can be hard to notice the changes.
And then maybe after a big chunk of time, suddenly you turn around and see it:
the darkness is not as thick, perhaps the darkness has even lifted.

Sometimes I have felt guilty for those moments when I realize the grief is not as thick.
As though I am not adequately marking the lives of the children who I have lost to heaven.
As though working through the grief and assimilating it into my life is a negative thing.
As though grief is more of an eternal roadblock than a continuing road through my life.

But it is okay… in fact, it is not only okay and normal, but it is truly good… that life continues going on, moving forward, taking new shape. It is good that our grief does not cement our feet in one solid place for the rest of our lives. It is good that someday, somehow, the Lord brings us down the road again. He continues to shape us and mold us, recreating us to some extent, incorporating our past ~including our grief~ into our new normal now & for the future.

I am not the same person I was before I suffered the grief of miscarriage.
Part of who I am is the mother of children in heaven.
My grief, my fertility struggles, my suffering ~ it does not define who I am, but it is part of who I am.

So if you are in the thickest parts of grief’s darkness ~ it may well feel like the clouds will never lift, but someday you will see the sun shining again. You will have new shades & shadows to yourself, you will see through new lenses, and nothing will be exactly the same. And because of our God who is the God of grace & redemption, that’s actually a good thing.

Not Alone in Grief ~ Giveaway!!


This is a first, I think, for Joyful Domesticity ~ a giveaway!!
Please share this giveaway by sharing this post’s link,
especially if you know someone suffering the grief of miscarriage.



In this you rejoice,
though now for a little while, if necessary,
you have been grieved by various trials,

so that the tested genuineness of your faith—
more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—
may be found to result in praise and glory and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:6-7

My two favorite go-to books for gifting to someone suffering a miscarriage are Samuel Rutherford’s The Loveliness of Christ and Nancy Guthrie’s The One Year Book of Hope. I don’t even know how many copies of those books I have bought and shared with others through the years, but I always figure if the person I give one to already has a copy, at least now I’ve given them a second copy so they too can pay-it-forward and continue the line of encouragement for those who are suffering. When we are in grief, we can feel so isolated & alone ~ but please remember, you are not alone.

Bear one another’s burdens,
and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

To enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of these two books, please leave a comment simply sharing whether you would prefer to receive a copy of Rutherford’s book or Guthrie’s book, and whether it would be for yourself or for someone you know.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up
1 Thessalonians 5:11

I will leave the comments open through this week, and randomly choose a comment (blindly picking a number) on Sunday, August 30th ~ I will update the post with the winner, and contact the winner by email so I can arrange to ship your new book to you right away.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

Comforting Myself in My Grief

This is my comfort in my affliction,
that Your promise gives me life.
Psalm 119:50

There have been times in my grief where I just needed to do something.
Partly as a distraction of keeping myself busy,
partly as a motherly act of doing something in honor of a child I could not rock or nurse or read to,
partly as a balm for a bleeding & broken part of me that needed tending.


I have read. and returning to these books, or even just seeing them on my shelf, continues the comfort they have offered…

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I have written. blogs, forum posts, guest posts for various websites, devotional entries, private journals, countless letters to other grieving women – most of whom I have never met…

I have scrapbooked. when my first baby died, I made a scrapbook in her memory from pregnancy and the miscarriage, including pictures of the flowers we received, email quotes, the cards, etc. and someday yet to come I plan to make a “siblings” scrapbook including all thirteen of my children…

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I have sewn. for every child I have carried in my womb, we have bought an arrow to put in a leather quiver in my husband’s study – and I sew a personalized name tag for each arrow with the baby’s name and a Scripture for that child…

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I have painted. for instance, this painting which represents our four children here and the nine who have flown to the gates of glory…


I have metal stamped. for instance, jewelry (for me as their mommy, and also for their two grandmothers) and tears bottles

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I have gardened. there is something healing about whacking the ground with a hoe when your eyes burn with tears and your body throbs with a combination of physical & emotional & spiritual pain – I had a big vegetable garden at our old home, and while I have not yet had that at our new home, I have a little flower garden (which happens to be excessively overgrown and untidy at the moment) which has roses and a peony in honor of specific babies, as well as a bell and a birdbath in honor of others…

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I have decorated. these children gone too soon still beautify our home and life – when I see Victory’s chimes, Hosanna’s light, Mercy’s rose, Heritage’s flowers, Fidelis’s bell, and my babies’ names in various artwork around my home, I remember that they are still part of our family, still part of our covenant line, still part of God’s good work in our home & life & family & ministry, still honored here and loved tremendously…

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I have kept my babies close. until their decaying bodies are put with my own in the ground once our souls are reunited in the presence of Christ at His wedding feast, they stay close to me, in the sacred space of my own bedroom…



Putting my hands to physical toil and involving my brain in mental energies outside of crying or talking through my feelings, struggles, emotions, dreams (whether broken or yet whole)… that has been a way of seeking comfort myself when needing comfort in my grief.

As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 66:13

Other people of course do not always fill all the gaps I feel.
I can not always just sit on a street corner with a sign that says, “in grief ~ anything helps” and wait for someone else to fill my hands.
My hands are open to receiving comfort from others.
My hands are folded, my heart bowed low, my conversations continual with my heavenly Father to receive His comfort.
But my hands also often are busied in various ways to comfort myself with tangible things.

Comfort comes in many ways, many forms, many facets. Sharing ideas on what is comforting is just one of those blessed facets.
One of the beautiful things about living in Christ myself and living in a community of His people (both in real life and online) is that these varied aspects of comfort work together in harmony to produce something that can be most balming, most healing, most reaching.

You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
Psalm 71:21

So when you are in grief, use your hands.
Fold your hands and lift up the emptiness of your hands ~ in prayer to the Father of all comfort.
Open your hands and be ready to receive ~ open to the comforts that others around you want & try to bestow.
Busy your hands ~ fill those palms and fingers with tangible projects and good things that bless your own broken soul.

Let Your steadfast love comfort me
according to Your promise to Your servant.
Psalm 119:76

Reading Gave Me Comfort

In the midst of some of my deepest sorrows, darkest grief, and most despondent years, the Lord provided many encouragements for my heart through books, blogs, and online forums. Reading gave me comfort, and was always at my fingertips. When I asked how you comfort others with the comfort you too have received, I was immediately noticing how reading your words was a blessing. And then of course I responded with my own words, opening myself up again to share my experiences, before sharing some of the tangible blessings that I personally found paramount & pertinent in my miscarriage sufferings. Perhaps it is because blogs tend to be word-centric or perhaps it is simply because I have the written word knit so much into my life & self & history… but words are not only part of how I minister but also a huge part of how I am ministered to. The Lord uses words to heal me, bless me, challenge me, grow me, and put me back together when I am broken.

In light of this, let me share some of the particular conglomerations of words that have given me comfort as I tried to keep from drowning in the waves of grief, as I rode the storms that came and went with my many miscarriages. Again, not an exhaustive list, but the cream of the crop from my personal tastings.


Samuel Rutherford’s The Loveliness of Christ has been something that I have not only read through, but referred back to often, and given repeatedly to other bereaved women as well. While the encouragements in this dear little book are not isolated to the grief of miscarriage, so many of them are excessively pertinent, as you may begin to grasp here.

Nancy Guthrie’s The One Year Book of Hope was a lifeline to me when I was sinking. I shared some thoughts and snippets from it here on my blog occasionally: like here, for example, and here again between readings of it (because I did read it two years in a row).

C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed spoke both to my husband and to me in specifics that are quintessentially foundational when traveling the road of grief. He put into words so many things that we suffered and felt but had not articulated. I put together a bunch of quotes from this book here, so of course they are drastically out of context; but I hazard a guess that if you too are living out a storm of grief, they will resonate with you in your own context there.

Jerry Sittser’s A Grace Disguised was another book with which we personally identified, and found many of his poignant paragraphs echoed in our own hearts and experiences. Again, I shared quotes out of context here, but trust that you would find them good teasers at the very least, and possibly inspire you to pick up a copy of the book to read them within their context. It’s that pertinent.

Mrs. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert was revisited numerous times during my years of recurring miscarriages and unending grief. My leather-bound copy is well loved, notated, shared, and oft returned to like an old friend. It truly has been a place of comfort, a place where my tears have dimpled pages in sorrow and in thankfulness.

Hannah Hurnard’s Hind’s Feet on High Places (and to a lesser extent the sequel Mountains of Spices) was an allegory that blessed my heart and challenged my faith in its own ways. A very pertinent telling of a girl named Much-Afraid’s journey through hardships, with the companions of Sorrow and Suffering at her side, following the Shepherd in her steep climb to the High Places. To say that it hit home numerous times, to the point where I had to set the book down and revisit it at a later moment, is a bit of an understatement.


While it seems that the days of bloggers have much slowed in recent years, I found empathy, companionship, friendship, and compassion through the world of blogs. My mother and I found stories of other bereaved women, where their babies died at various ages & from various things, but the grief and the suffering was so similar, woven throughout them all. The open hearts and honest glimpses that these women shared allowed me to work through my grief in a likewise open and honest way, which was not only healing for myself but I have since learned that it has greatly blessed other people ~ Mrs. MK, Jess Mac, two different Butterfly mamas, and many more either plowed paths that I followed or walked alongside me… and that has continued to bless me even years later, and even after some of their blogs have fizzled almost completely. While my platform here on my own blog did not originate as a place to simply process grief or walk with others through grief, it has definitely played a large part in that journey. The theme of Joyful Domesticity retains its original intent: that of pursuing and proclaiming a joyful heart in my domestic life and calling. And much of that has been greatly impacted by my grief, my sorrow, my bereavement.

I have also had the joy and privilege of working with other women on various blogs & websites through the years, such as Grieve Out Loud, Faces of Loss, and Mommies With HopeI have also guest-posted throughout the years in various places (including a reproductive immunology support group and my reproductive immunologist’s patient testimonial series) to share my story and my testimony, and while that has been a double-edged-sword type of challenge, God has definitely used those opportunities for my good and my healing, while also using my feeble words and experiences to lift up others who are downtrodden. While many of these aforementioned sites do not have the present activity they once had (I think a lot of places have turned to Facebook groups through the years, which is not a place where I participate… so it is my own choice that has left me out of those group aspects most recently…), it has been a blessing to come alongside other women, even when I was not yet “on the other side” ~ trudging through the tearful trenches together was a blessing. Pushing and pulling one another through the muck was a bittersweet joy.

Online Forums

There was a time when I spent roughly two solid years in a loss forum section of an “i am pregnant” website. It was the first place I learned how online communities could not only function but also bless my socks off. Interestingly, it was my mother who introduced me to the site, encouraged me to sign up, and she even got to know the women from that loss group alongside me as I shared stories with her of these bereaved mothers who, like me, desperately longed to grow their families. Some of these women were Christians, some of them weren’t. It was a wonderful place to encourage sisters in their faith as well as to share faith with those outside of Christ’s family. The Lord not only used that place to lift me up, but I learned through the years that He also managed to use me in the lives of other brokenhearted women. We prayed for one another. We shared life stories with one another. We followed one another’s cycles and losses, spoke of each others’ babies by name, sent care packages to one another. We rejoiced when someone finally got their rainbow baby after loss(es). I remember when one woman on there suffered her fifth miscarriage, and I was horrified that anyone would ever have to suffer so many losses. She and I even talked on the phone numerous times, and we almost met in person one time (although it never quite worked out). I did end up meeting in person with one woman I met on that forum, and not only have we stayed friends, but we have had playdates and she did photography for me when God finally filled my arms with my own rainbow babies. I didn’t have people in my real life circles who knew what I was going through in an experiential way, but God provided the community I needed to fill that specific hole in my heart & life. I am so thankful He did that.

After a while there, my mother found and shared with me a Christian-specific infertility & pregnancy loss forum, started by the author of the book Hannah’s Hope. The forums of Hannah’s Prayer have been a place where I have shared in ministry (the giving & the receiving) for six years. I love being on the leadership team there, where we moderate forums, encourage other women in their own hard journeys of infertility & loss, and where we take seriously the ministry of prayer for one another. I have formed true friendships there, including with numerous women whom I have had the privilege of meeting in person. I even helped write & co-edit a Christian devotional e-book for women going through the pregnancy-after-loss journey, Rainbows & Redemption, along with a handful of specifically-chosen women we met in the forums of Hannah’s Prayer. Where I have had a hole in my life that in-person friends and acquaintances could not fill, the Lord has provided a community of Christian women to step into that gap. His hand has been obvious, and His work of healing has been plain. He has used this place to work in me, and continues to use this place to work through me. I can not describe the privilege of being on both the giving & receiving ends of His grace here. I continue to feel Him at work, and I praise Him for that!


Luke 12:6-7
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?
And not one of them is forgotten before God.

Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

… … … … …

The Lord has used many things, many people, many places as He has ministered to me, fed me, upheld me, and remembered me. I pray that He might even use this place, this servant of His, and some of the things that I have shared here to likewise minister to you.

Next time, I will share with you some of the things I have done myself in my own journey of grief. Please don’t hesitate to chime in with a comment to share your own pertinent thoughts. Today, can you share any books or blogs that God has used to comfort you in your grief?