Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Mourn with the Parents of Stillborn and Miscarried Children

  1. Be content simply to "mourn with those who mourn" (Rom. 12:15). Know that your words of comfort will not be much consolation in the short run, even if you have experienced miscarriage yourself. As with most other kinds of loss, each person's experience is profoundly different.
  2. Don't try to be the hero. Your may desire to utter just the right words that will bring healing and resolution to mom and dad's pain. But that desire may arise more from your own struggle to reconcile the reality of death with the hope of Christ than from the need of those suffering to hear your words.
  3. Remember mom. Her pain will linger after most people have ceased asking about it. Don't be afraid to broach the subject and encourage her six, nine, or even twelve months after the fact.
  4. Remember dad. A miscarriage is not a set of circumstances in which mom suffers the pain and dad gives support. It's tempting to think that mom bears all the pain, but a father feels helpless in his own way. He needs much love and encouragement.
  5. Be patient.  My wife and I have struggled over and over again to choose worship and dependence rather than despair or indifference. Sometimes we have failed. Be patient with those who seem not to be "getting over" their loss. Pray for the truth of God's goodness to break through. Love, love, love on your friends who have lost.
  6. Read them the Psalms. Just pick them up and start reading. They give lyrical shape to the confusion, anger, pain, relief, hope, and every other possible emotion the suffering feel. Reading the Psalms helps us to live emotionally with a doxological mindset. Psalm 34 has been a key text for me.

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