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What’s the first thing you think of when May rolls around? Most people would say “Mother’s Day” of course! How wonderful it is that we have a day set aside to appreciate our mothers and to thank them for all they’ve done for us. But, there is an entire population of people who may see Mother’s Day through a different lens. Consider those who are unable to conceive or who have suffered a miscarriage or the death of a child. To those who have suffered a terrible loss or who are struggling to conceive, Mother’s Day can be a miserable time with countless reminders of what life could be like “if only.” Even those who have other children will never stop mourning the child they lost.

nullAs the month of May begins, make a pledge to reach out to at least one person who may not see Mother’s Day as a day to celebrate. Consider sending a Mother’s Day card honoring “someone special” (or make one of your own) and include a special message and a Bible verse. Just spending time together can be a special gift, especially when it allows the grieving mother to share memories of the child they lost.

There are many resources available to either help you educate yourself or to provide guidance and comfort to someone who is suffering. Here are some suggested resources:

  • Pastors and other trained counselors — If you know someone who is grieving over a loss let your pastor know and ask if he would mind if you referred that person. Or, your pastor should know of other Christian counseling resources.
  • Those within your congregation who have faced this type of loss and who might be willing to talk to others who are newly grieving.
  • Christian adoption services — Make a point of learning about what options are available and how arduous (and costly) the adoption process might be.
  • The book He Remembers the Barren by Katie Schuermann and the associated web site www.heremembersthebarren.com. This web site includes a blog on a variety of topics as well as a comprehensive list of resources.
  • The Bible study The Master’s Touch: Living with Infertility. Though geared toward infertile couples, the study would be appropriate for any audience who desires to better understand what infertile couples face.
  • Martin Luther’s statement Comfort for Women Who Have Had a Miscarriage.
  • Lutherans for Life has several articles and blog posts related to stillbirth and miscarriage.

Often we just don’t know what to say to someone facing these situations. There is definitely a long list of what NOT to say, for example, “you’re young, you’ll eventually have a baby” or “have you thought about adoption?” But, we can never go wrong by just being with someone, praying with and for them, or providing a loving gesture like a hug or a card of encouragement.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

Reaching Out in the Community

  • Research the availability of local grief support groups in your community for those who have lost children to miscarriage or early death. Perhaps start a group at your church. Or, invite a representative to speak at your church and open the talk to the public.
  • nullContact a local hospital to find out how you might support families of stillborn infants. Perhaps assemble a basket or bag containing:
    • The devotional Into His Loving Care
    • Comfort from the Psalms Mustard Seeds
    • A list of resources such as those mentioned above
    • A journal and pen
    • A charm bracelet with a cross, angel, heart, baby shoes, etc.
    • Practical items such as tissues, snacks, and bottled water
  • Another way to support families of stillborn or premature infants who did not live is to get involved with (or start!) a group that makes burial clothes for these tiny infants. Refer to the March 2016 mission servant activity to learn more. Or develop a process for collecting used wedding gowns to send to groups who make burial gowns from wedding gowns. One example is The Angel Gown® program.
  • Hold an annual remembrance service for those who have lost children and publicize it as a community event. After the service provide light refreshments and have resources available to help with the grief process.

A Prayer as You Plan:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful women you have placed in our lives who have nurtured and encouraged us. You have blessed us with their presence in our lives. Help us to be a blessing to other women who are childless or have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage or other tragedy. Remind us to be sensitive to others in their grief and to share the love and hope of Jesus with them. We ask that you give us opportunities to help and encourage others as we reflect and give thanks for the special women in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Resources:

Concordia Publishing House: www.cph.org
Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Store: www.lwml.org/store

The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at depgo@lwml.org. Thank you!

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