In the middle of December, just a month ago, I sat in a room for brunch with some young mother friends.  They asked questions about Maggie, blogging, and some suggested I write a book.  This has come up in conversation before, not just with me but also my husband, who writes elegantly about our little girl.  I confessed some things to those at the table as I will to readers now.  I have read books after my daughter died about grief and recovery and baby loss stories from both the non-Christian and Christian perspective.  The Christian perspective writings were filled with scripture and talked frequently about prayer and reading from the Bible all throughout the authors’ struggles.  While we were waiting months to hear good news, then bad news, then bad news, then good news, then no news, etc, hundreds of people spoke to us about having been praying daily for us.  In my home, time of prayers became much more frequent and deep, and intertwined my relationship with God and my husband to a more real and special depth.  However, I am confessing that even we, or I, didn’t pray every single day.  I didn’t go to the Bible often for guidance and reassurance and peace like the Christian baby loss writers seemed to have done.  How could I possibly write a book from Christian perspective when I didn’t cover my days with prayer and scripture?  So there it is.  Not perfect for sure.  But here is what I did do:

When my husband listens to music, he listens for greatness in the actual chords and other musical verbage of stuff I don’t know.  I love to sing along to pretty songs and be inspired by how I react.  Sometimes that means I become in awe of God’s goodness, greatness, love for me; other times I just feel lost in the hurt, but know He cares for me even so, and find strength through the song.  So no, I don’t have many scriptures that come to mind if someone were to ask me what gives me hope.  Shame on me.  But I have songs.  This first song I will share was one I listened to in my car on the way home from work most nights.  I was seeing multiple patients in the hospital each day who were asking questions about my growing belly.  “Is it a girl or boy? What’s their name?  Is this your first baby?  You must be so excited”.  And repeat in the next room over.  I held myself together well until I walked to my car and started my ten minute drive home.  This song sung by the York College Concert Choir, You Raise Me Up, played twice at least on my way home at night while I cried and sang along, releasing my anxiety and sadness of the day.  These other songs I will list for you to enjoy.  Some of these songs were from before Maggie died, others became special after she died.  Each of these has been an encouragement to me in times of weakness, sadness, hopelessness, anger, even joy.  Take some time and listen to these songs that have helped carry me through deep valleys.  Perhaps one might help carry you through the next valley you stumble upon. 


Please Be My Strength, Gungor
Because He Lives, Acapella
Blessed Be Your Name, Tree63
Beautiful Things, Gungor
Nearer My God To Thee, amazing piano
Rescue, Acapella
Peace Be Still, Acapella


Teresa Brooks
1/18/2012

I heard "Rescue" for the first time at an Acappella concert 3 days before I left my ex-husband. It was a time of a very deep valley and I truly feel He rescued me from that horrible situation! It has ministered to me, too! Also, "You Raise Me Up" has meant so much to me with my battle with MS! If you have not heard it performed by the group who wrote it, Secret Garden, I urge you to give a listen! You know, Joy, in the times of greatest distress and grief, there are many of us who haven't had the desire or ability to utter prayers or search scriptures. I had someone tell me once that when I couldn't raise my arms they would raise them for me literally and in prayer! Doesn't make you less of a Christian! His strength is perfect when our strength is gone! Love you!

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Clark Roush
1/18/2012

Sweet Joy! I am incredibly moved and humbled that our musical offering touched you when you needed it. When I arranged it for the choir, I obviously had no idea what it would eventually mean to you and why. Thank you for sharing and creating that link and upload. You are precious to Sue and I, and we love you dearly!

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Stacia
1/18/2012

Great post.

I read alot of books too after Nicoda and pulled things I liked from all of them -- it didn't matter to me if it was a Christian one or not. And you are being way too hard on yourself about praying daily or reading Scripture....that is why there is a verse that says the Spirit will translate our groans. Just like when you have a patient who is too weak to feed themselves -- it is just fine to have other people feed them or in this case do the praying for them. I loved some of the same songs that you did above, but also loved 'Held' by Natalie Grant and 'Homesick' by MercyMe for the grieving time.

You are a beautiful woman of God and a beautiful mommy! I am proud of the way that you are grieving and honoring your daughter!

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Anthony
1/19/2012

"I didn’t go to the Bible often for guidance and reassurance and peace like the Christian baby loss writers seemed to have done."

That is exactly why you should publish. People would be able to relate to your writing because most people who claim Christ fall short in such matters. I suspect that if you did write about your experiences, the Lord would elevate the work beyond categorizations of "Christan" or "Non-Christian" books, to further his glory.

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1/19/2012

Music is absolutely a gift from God! The Psalms are perfect examples of rejoicing, mourning, lamenting, thanking, praying, rehearsing God's goodness and provision in the trials. I'm also so thankful for those songs you mentioned. I still listen to my "Maggie Music". I still don't quite know how to pray when i'm missing Maggie, but my music always helps me too. I totally agree with Stacia that the Holy Spirit is right there groaning for us. Lucky for us, God is so gracious and doesn't keep track of our works (prayers, reading His word, etc.) . He just gives graciously to us.

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