Holding on to Hope: A Pathway through Suffering to the Heart of God

Published on November 1, 2016 by Joshua R Monroe

Tyndale, 2013 | 198 pages

What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps and What Really Hurts

Published on by Joshua R Monroe

Crossway, 2014 | 192 pages

Have your own question for Nancy Guthrie? Let us know and we’ll pass it on!

We’ve been asking you to submit questions for our female authors. Our first question came from a sister in Christ in Singapore. Her name is Jeannie, and she wants to know how she can best love a friend whose daughter went to be with the Lord just one day after birth.

 

Jeannie writes:

A question for Nancy Guthrie: 

I am a fellow sister in Christ in Singapore. Thank you for sharing your story in the latest book Holding on to Hope. I have a friend who delivered a baby daughter Faith, and Faith lived for one day. It was thoroughly unexpected, after a long wait. This has just happened. Would you mind giving a word to her? Her name is Yan Wen. 

I plan to get the above book when it is released and arrives in Singapore. Your personal word, however brief, would add that added connection. I know this is a big ask since I am sure many come to you. I ask nonetheless in the hope that this may be possible. 

In the event it is not, I just wish to thank you for sharing the grief of mothers who have too momentary of time with the child God gives. My broader question would be: what was the process you undertook as you wrote this book?

Thank you.

Nancy Guthrie answers:

Jeannie:

What a great friend you are to Yan Wen. You felt the longing for a child with her and now you are entering into the sorrow of losing her daughter, Faith, with her. The fact that you care enough to want to get a copy of Holding on to Hope for her to help her not feel so alone in her sorrow says so much about your desire to walk well with her through this loss.

I love it that you used Faith’s name in the e-mail to me. Keep saying her name! One thing that will be especially hard for Yan Wen is that because Faith’s life was so short and likely relatively few people met her, Faith will not be as real and vivid to the people around Yan Wen. Likely they will expect Yan Wen to get over this quickly as if Faith was never really here. But, of course, she was. As you and others continue to speak of Faith as a real person, it will assure Yan Wen that you valued her life and therefore esteem her grief. 

I also encourage you to make a note to yourself on your calendar to drop Yan Wen a note or give her a call or an extra hug on the 3-month, 6-month, year, two-year marks of Faith’s birth and death. These will be hard days for Yan Wen and it will mean a great deal to her to know that Faith is not forgotten on these days. 

You can find more ideas about how to be a good friend to Yan Wen and other people around you who are grieving in my new book, What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps and What Really Hurts.

And here’s a note you can pass along to Yan Wen when you give her Holding on to Hope.

 

Yan Wen:

I’m so sad with you over your loss of precious Faith. I know you had looked forward to a lifetime raising her and enjoying her and instead you were given just one day with her. What a disappointment. What an enormous empty place she has left behind in your heart, in your home, in your dreams and plans for the future of your family. 

I hope you will be blessed by friends and family who will give you some time and space to simply be sad. Because Faith’s life was so valuable, it makes sense that you will feel that sadness for a while. Some people around you may see your tears as a lack of faith. But I think tears are a gift God gives us to wash away the deep hurts of life in this broken world. Many years before the death of my daughter, Hope, and my son, Gabriel, a counselor told me, regarding a much lesser loss, “When you begin to feel sad, let yourself be sad.” I was glad I had developed that ability for these much greater sadnesses to come in my life. 

I don’t think anyone experiences a loss like you have experienced without having to work through some significant questions about God’s love, his goodness, his sovereignty, and his involvement in our lives. I pray you will not run away from the questions, and not use the questions as an excuse to turn away from God, but that over the months and perhaps years to come, you will bring all of your questions to God by searching for answers in the scriptures. He will meet you in the questions and show himself more clearly to you. 

Finally, I pray that you will experience healing that is likely hard for you to imagine in these dark days. Sometimes it can seem as if life will never be good again, that you will never feel joy or feel normal again. But our God is a healer. It is an aspect of who he is and as we abide in Christ, we experience the healing that only comes from him. May God himself fill up the empty place that feels so cavernous to you today with his grace and peace. 

Nancy Guthrie

Buy the books

Holding on to Hope: A Pathway through Suffering to the Heart of God

Tyndale, 2013 | 198 pages

What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps and What Really Hurts

Crossway, 2014 | 192 pages