As a mommy blogger who has served as a hospital chaplain in a high-risk pregnancy unit, I have felt the nudge to share with you a miscarriage liturgy for some time. Sadly, the statistics bear that 15-20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage. While it is as common as one in every four known pregnancies, there is often little said about it. Words, however, are very important. What others say or don't say can make a world of difference to those who have experienced it. Further, securing a safe place to share is essential.
For those of you who want to be that safe space for a friend or loved one, or for those of you who are hurting from a miscarriage and have wondered how to invite God in, I offer you this miscarriage liturgy. It appears below in abridged form from the book Healing Liturgies for the Seasons of Life. It is used with permission from the author, Dr. Abigail Rian Evans.
Dr. Evans' resource is a favorite of mine because it offers various liturgies for inviting God into our trials and milestones. The liturgies are largely composed of prayer, scripture, and sometimes symbolic action and come from a variety of church traditions. Dr. Evans' passion for the intersection of faith and medicine is apparent to the reader, and it has also made her a memorable professor of mine.
I have led this liturgy at hospital bedsides. You do not need to be a minister to led it, however; you just need a desire to bring comfort and approach God. Feel free to draw from it as needed - simply sharing these scripture references can be powerful.
A LITURGY AFTER MISCARRIAGE OR STILLBIRTH (from the Anglican Church of Canada)
OLD TESTAMENT READINGS
Baruch 4:19-23 I have put my hope in the Everlasting.
Jeremiah 31:15-17 Rachel is weeping for her children.
Psalm 42 Where now is your God?
Psalm 91:9-18 He shall give his angels charge over you.
Psalm 121 My help comes from the Lord.
NEW TESTAMENT READINGS
Romans 8:31-39 Nothing will separate us from the love of God.
I John 3:1-2 We are God's children.
Matthew 18:1-5, 10-14 Not one of these little ones should be lost.
Matthew 5:1-10 Blessed are those who mourn.
Mark 10:13-16 Let the little children come to me.
John 10:11-16 I am the good shepherd.
(Adopt with discretion for the circumstances.)
Loving God, we come in shock and sadness.
By grace and power you gave us opportunity
to create new life;
now we feel our human frailty.
Hear our cries of disappointment and anger
because of the loss of this new life.
Be with us as we struggle
to understand the mystery of life and death.
Receive this little one into the arms of your mercy,
to abide in your gracious and eternal love.
May we give ourselves over to your tender care.
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
(The mother and/or father may offer a personal prayer or reflection. The following can serve as models if helpful.)
O God, you have loved me into being.
Hear my cries for my loss.
I wanted to bring new life into the world.
Now I want to cry forever
and wash your earth with my tears.
Move me from this darkness
and bring me to the light of your love and peace.
In the name of Mary's son. Amen.
God of all creation, I wanted this child
with all my heart, my soul, and my body.
I feel guilty even though I am not to blame,
I feel unworthy, and alone.
Give me strength to trust in your faithfulness,
make me open to the comfort of family and friends,
and in time free me from the bondage of grief.
Bless me with the desire and power
to live again in joyful expectation.
I ask this in the name of your Son,
my friend and my Savior. Amen.
I pray this liturgy blesses you or someone you love today. Feel free to pass it on, but please do so with sensitivity for the subject at hand. If interested, you can find Dr. Evans' book here. Also, watch for my upcoming iBelieve article on how to further support someone who has had a pregnancy loss. I will share practical knowledge and tips from my training. You can subscribe via email on my blog to be sure not to miss it.
At first glance, summer brings the basics. There's sunshine, a break from school schedules, and hopefully an adventure or two squeezed in there. But when I think about what I really want from summer, I want the chance to breathe, recoup from the rush, and enjoy some quality time with my family.
We all know there's power in goal setting. Have you set any goals for this summer? For me, rather than getting too lofty, I'm ready to set some simple goals for simple pleasures. These goals are courtesy of my upbringing on the Indiana prairie. While I now live in the New York metro area, I've never forgot them, and I don't want my children to miss out on them either.
Here are 8 simple activities on my bucket list for summer family fun:
1. A watermelon seed spitting contest in the backyard. Have your children spit where they'd like to see watermelons grow - they'll get a kick out of that. Seedless watermelons are not allowed!
2. Lying on the grass in the summer sun so that you can smell the earth - hot dirt and cut grass give off an aroma that's not to be missed.
3. Staying up late to watch (and catch) lighting bugs. I love the giggles from the legs that tickle as they crawl on hands and up fingers.
4. An evening trip to the ice cream store. Whether it's Dairy Queen or your favorite custard stand, these stores are a magical place for fond memories.
5. Covering the pavement in sidewalk chalk. The bigger the chalk, the better, and you can find giant chalk these days! Get ready to get bested by your children in a game of hopscotch.
6. Going to an outdoor music festival hand in hand with your spouse or significant other. There's something particularly relaxing about hearing live music and looking up at the stars - even if you're at a rock concert.
7. Joining the local library reading program. These programs are free, encourage reading together, and typically give away prizes that are the equivalent of gold in our children's eyes. This is an easy way to get our children excited about learning when the pressure is off!
8. Sit and really listen to the crickets at night. (Only quiet conversation allowed.)
Sometimes finding enjoyment and fulfillment isn't all that complicated, especially when you're with the ones you love. Will you join this Indiana girl this summer?
Note: I'm part of the Today Show Parenting Team! Click here to see my post there too and vote for me!
It is with great pleasure that I announce my best giveaway yet! From now until Thursday morning, you will have the opportunity to register to win a Bible your early reader shouldn't be without, plus a faith-building resource that will enable you to expertly teach your child!
The Bible is the Gift and Award Bible. It's in a new version that will particularly appeal to early readers. The version is called the New International Reader's Version. It's short sentences and simple words, adapted from the New International Version (NIV), are easy for kids to read and comprehend. It also has a dedication page that's perfect for a "graduation" gift as your child moves up a grade this year!
Here's a favorite verse in the NIrV so that you can get the feel of it:
"'I know the plans I have for you,' announces the Lord. 'I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come'" (Jeremiah 29:11).
The second book is the Believe Storybook: Think, Act, Be Like Jesus. A senior pastor, Randy Frazee, who ministers in partnership with Max Lucado is the author. This thick, hardcover book is a unique and impressive teaching resource. Rather than being arranged chronologically, the book is topical. It covers core beliefs, practices, and virtues of the Christian faith. For each topic, there is an Old Testament, New Testament, and "Jump to Jesus" lesson, which serves as a bridge between the two.
I particularly love the "Jesus Answer" page at the end of each topic, which basically enables us to be good Sunday school teachers to our children! A key idea and corresponding scripture verse is identified as a takeaway. Parents will love how accessible this resource is, and children will love the beautiful illustrations!
To register, enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/7694. Every entrant will have the opportunity to unlock bonus entries to increase their odds! Please note that your entry information will remain confidential. The only thing you will receive from me if you register is an email invitation to join my listserv, which you can accept or decline.
I carefully selected these resources. Zondervan provided me with free copies in exchange for my honest review. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to get these two books for free yourself, books that you will proudly keep on your bookshelf for years to come.
God bless and good luck!