As a young mother, I was the first in my family to have babies and had no personal experience with miscarriage. When we conceived our second child two years later, losing a baby still wasn't something I feared or even knew much about. Then, the Lord placed me in a small group with two women who'd struggled for many years with infertility.
When one of them conceived for the first time and soon after miscarried, her sorrow was immense. While I grieved alongside her, I wondered if there were right and wrong ways to comfort her. Privately, I wondered how God could allow this tiny life who we'd prayed for so long and hard to slip from the world never held by a loving parent's hands?
Miscarriage & the Church
Whether or not you have experienced a miscarriage personally, it's likely that at some point you will have a friend or family member suffer through one. It is my feeling that the more we strive to understand our sisters' pain and equip ourselves with biblical wisdom, the more available we'll be to comfort those who are mourning in a meaningful way.
The more we strive to understand our sisters' pain and equip ourselves with biblical wisdom, the more available we'll be to comfort those who are mourning in a meaningful way.
In a new book by Jessalyn Hutto that Jen Wilkin describes as "deeply personal and brave," we have the opportunity to peek into the private pain of miscarriage, while approaching the subject with our eyes on God's Word.
After experiencing her own heart-breaking loss, author Jessalyn Hutto admits a "whole new world of suffering in the church opened up” (p. 11). Her conceptual theology became first-hand, practical theology. Through her own pain and questioning, she found a gaping hole inside the church walls.
Convinced of the need, she set out to establish "a solid theological framework with which to make sense of this suffering" (p. 12). The result is a fantastic resource for the church. Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord When Death Visits the Womb is a book that is needed for both those who've miscarried and those who hope to love someone who has.
Personal, Concentrated, Applicable
Sitting down with this book is like sitting down with a kind, candid, and honest friend. With gentleness, Hutto is able to both teach and counsel readers primarily through God's Word with the wisdom and first-hand knowledge of personal loss.
Hutto writes from a place of humility, making theology accessible and personal. This isn't a textbook—it's a mingling of stories, experiences, and how they demonstrate the realities of our fallen world, and a reminder of how God's promises provide us with understanding, comfort, and hope. The gospel is clear and present throughout each of its five chapters.
The short, 102-page book doesn't shy away from asking the hard questions:
- Why do terrible things happen?
- Who is really in control?
- Can I trust Him?
Each of these questions are cautiously and lovingly addressed with more than theological platitudes, but with an understanding that will offer many healing.
The first chapter, "An Inheritance of Tears," deals powerfully with how the birth of death and the consequences of sin correspond with our personal loss. Appropriately, Hutto includes "A note to the friends of sufferers." I believe her words are the first step for any of us hoping to show love outside the context of personal experience. The following chapters handle these topics:
- "The Good but Difficult Plans of God" (ch. 2)
- "Our Good Shepherd" (ch. 3) who allows the loss and comforts the grieving
- The difficult seasons of "Hard Frosts and Spring Flowers" (ch. 4)
- "The Coming Glory" (ch.5)
I especially found helpful the section from chapter 4 highlighting five distinct ways God uses miscarriage to accomplish spiritual good in women's lives. At the end of each chapter is a loving pastoral prayer that Hutto prays on behalf of the grieving mother.
Hutto doesn't settle for shallow answers. Instead, she mines Scripture for answers. With winsome boldness, she speaks truth into an area of life that is often overlooked in ministry and often socially uncomfortable to address among friends. Like a skillful nurse, Hutto applies the hope of the gospel and the return of Christ as a healing ointment for God's saints.
I encourage you, regardless of your experience with miscarriage, and your age or stage of life, to familiarize yourself with this book. Jessalyn Hutto's An Inheritance of Tears is sure to heal, strengthen, and equip you!
Leave a comment below by Friday, April 3, and we'll randomly choose ten of you to win Inheritance of Tears.