hope for a mom's heart, by merri ellen wright: a review

I'd like to share with you one of the most encouraging resources I've read dealing with "help & healing for those grieving pregnancy loss or early childhood death" (as the subtitle reads). My dear friend, and our church's Women's Ministry Director, shared it with me, after our pastor's wife passed it along to her as a helpful resource. And I want to do my part in spreading the word about this 2011 release from Iron Sharpeneth Iron Publications, A Ministry of Ironwood Camp in Newberry Springs, California.

The book is Hope for a Mom's Heart by Merri Ellen Wright. And it is a refreshing spring, a heart-to-heart with a woman who loves and understands graciously.

Merri Ellen looks forward to the reunion with her Savior and three precious children who got to see Him face to face before she did. She is a pastor's wife who makes her home in Utah with her husband and four other children. 
Merri Ellen, picture courtesy of her daughter via facebook.
Doesn't she just look like a person we'd be friends with?
Beginning with a tender presentation of the gospel, Merri Ellen then broaches the subject of loss, sharing Scripture and personal testimony as she gently shepherds the reader through the stages of grief and healing. I was so thankful that she ventured beyond a mother's grief to the grief of the father and the family--siblings, grandparents--and others. Talking openly with our kids--crying together, praying together, looking forward to heaven together--as they've wanted to and needed to, has given us a family bond that we would not have had otherwise. 

Merri Ellen tastefully offers spiritual truth as well as practical suggestions for "going on," including ideas for making a memorial for your child. I loved this, because she included several of the things we have done, things that have been particularly helpful to us as a family, in her list. 

Their family planted a tree on the church property for each of the three children they lost. After a woman in our church was killed in a car accident along with her child and unborn child, the family made a memorial garden complete with a beautiful waterfall and reflection bench. It's absolutely beautiful. 

I personally wanted something that blooms in February, something fragrant and uplifting for the annual remembrance of our little rosebud, Kali Grace. We call it our "Kali bush," but it's actually a winter bush honeysuckle (or, Lonicera fragrantissima). There is nothing so sweet in February, and I'm thankful both for my gardening friend, Mrs. Shaffer, who had a shoot to share in the spring of 2008. I remember not wanting to cut it back at first but was then reminded of the beauty of pruning and how painful things produce fruit. And even tonight I was out there with the clippers, shaping up our Kali bush, anxiously awaiting the fragrantissima of this memorial planting.

Mother's Day 2008, Alan bought me this beautiful painting, Under His Wings, by our friend Ron DiCianni. For a while it hung in our room but has found its home in the nursery with fresh green walls and blue & white accents. 

It reminds me of His whisper on that fateful day in February: "It's okay, Michelle. I have her." And it is okay. In fact, I can honestly say that I would rather have held her in my womb for sixteen weeks, to know that there is a precious little girl in our family tree, and that she is with her Father in heaven, doing what I long to do: praising Him perfectly. Merri Ellen mentions this precious thought too, in the chapter called "Your Child Now."

And we started last year to make a donation "In Loving Memory of Kali Grace" to Piedmont Women's Center. There was nothing that could've been done to prevent the homegoing of our baby with Trisomy 18, but there is much to be done to prevent the early death of many unborn. You can read more about Kali Grace under the label "rosebud." 

After an encouraging chapter on helping others who are going through the loss of a child, she shares vignettes of others' stories that helped her realize that she was not alone, that others do understand her grief and feelings. Absolutely, we each have a unique story, unique details, but if we think we're the only one who has ever ... we're shutting out a unique bond of other sisters in Christ who we have for mutual encouragement. I know for me, one of the most healing things for me personally was following through with Nancy Leigh DeMoss's suggestion at the end of each lesson in A Thirty Day Walk with God in the Psalms: praying for someone else.

At the end of the book, Merri Ellen offers a plethora of additional helps: collections of hope-filled verses, medical Q&As, symptoms of denial, what not to say, ways to memorialize, prayers to pray, suggestions for husbands in helping their wives. And at the very end of the book, there are pages for you to make it your own, recording your story, verses of hope, letters and prayers, and current thoughts. 

 Thank you, Merri Ellen, for sharing your story, for opening your heart and the Word to us. I feel like we've just had a very good talk and consider you my dear friend. 

Hope for a Mom's Heart a beautifully written book, a fabulous resource for believers who have gone through miscarriage or the loss of a child by other means, a tasteful gift for a mom whose arms are painfully empty perhaps given along with a meal or a special plant or some jewelry. I hope and pray it will find its niche and meet needs in many a woman's heart. 

Will you help me spread the word? One simple way: "Like" this book on facebook, by visiting here.

Grace and peace, dear friends, 

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