Monday, June 29, 2015

In the Event of Miscarriage: A Liturgy


As a mommy blogger who has served as a hospital chaplain in a high-risk pregnancy unit, I have felt the nudge to share with you a miscarriage liturgy for some time.  Sadly, the statistics bear that 15-20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage.  While it is as common as one in every four known pregnancies, there is often little said about it.  Words, however, are very important.  What others say or don't say can make a world of difference to those who have experienced it.  Further, securing a safe place to share is essential.

For those of you who want to be that safe space for a friend or loved one, or for those of you who are hurting from a miscarriage and have wondered how to invite God in, I offer you this miscarriage liturgy.  It appears below in abridged form from the book Healing Liturgies for the Seasons of Life.  It is used with permission from the author, Dr. Abigail Rian Evans.

Dr. Evans' resource is a favorite of mine because it offers various liturgies for inviting God into our trials and milestones.  The liturgies are largely composed of prayer, scripture, and sometimes symbolic action and come from a variety of church traditions.  Dr. Evans' passion for the intersection of faith and medicine is apparent to the reader, and it has also made her a memorable professor of mine.

I have led this liturgy at hospital bedsides.  You do not need to be a minister to led it, however; you just need a desire to bring comfort and approach God.  Feel free to draw from it as needed - simply sharing these scripture references can be powerful.

A LITURGY AFTER MISCARRIAGE OR STILLBIRTH (from the Anglican Church of Canada)

Suitable Readings

OLD TESTAMENT READINGS
Baruch 4:19-23     I have put my hope in the Everlasting.
Jeremiah 31:15-17     Rachel is weeping for her children.
Psalm 42     Where now is your God?
Psalm 91:9-18     He shall give his angels charge over you.
Psalm 121     My help comes from the Lord.

NEW TESTAMENT READINGS
Romans 8:31-39     Nothing will separate us from the love of God.
I John 3:1-2     We are God's children.

GOSPEL READINGS
Matthew 18:1-5, 10-14     Not one of these little ones should be lost.
Matthew 5:1-10     Blessed are those who mourn.
Mark 10:13-16     Let the little children come to me.
John 10:11-16     I am the good shepherd.

PRAYERS

(Adopt with discretion for the circumstances.)

Loving God, we come in shock and sadness.
By grace and power you gave us opportunity
to create new life;
now we feel our human frailty.
Hear our cries of disappointment and anger
because of the loss of this new life.
Be with us as we struggle
to understand the mystery of life and death.
Receive this little one into the arms of your mercy,
to abide in your gracious and eternal love.
May we give ourselves over to your tender care.
In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

(The mother and/or father may offer a personal prayer or reflection.  The following can serve as models if helpful.)

O God, you have loved me into being.
Hear my cries for my loss.
I wanted to bring new life into the world.
Now I want to cry forever
and wash your earth with my tears.
Move me from this darkness
and bring me to the light of your love and peace.
In the name of Mary's son.  Amen.

OR

God of all creation, I wanted this child
with all my heart, my soul, and my body.
I feel guilty even though I am not to blame,
I feel unworthy, and alone.
Give me strength to trust in your faithfulness,
make me open to the comfort of family and friends,
and in time free me from the bondage of grief.
Bless me with the desire and power
to live again in joyful expectation.
I ask this in the name of your Son,
my friend and my Savior.  Amen.

I pray this liturgy blesses you or someone you love today.  Feel free to pass it on, but please do so with sensitivity for the subject at hand.  If interested, you can find Dr. Evans' book here.  Also, watch for my upcoming article on how to further support someone who has had a pregnancy loss.  I will share practical knowledge and tips from my training.  You can subscribe via email to my blog to be sure not to miss it.

Monday, June 22, 2015

8 Simple Activities for Summer Family Fun


At first glance, summer brings the basics.  There's sunshine, a break from school schedules, and hopefully an adventure or two squeezed in there.  But when I think about what I really want from summer, I want the chance to breathe, recoup from the rush, and enjoy some quality time with my family.

We all know there's power in goal setting.  Have you set any goals for this summer?  For me, rather than getting too lofty, I'm ready to set some simple goals for simple pleasures.  These goals are courtesy of my upbringing on the Indiana prairie.  While I now live in the New York metro area, I've never forgot them, and I don't want my children to miss out on them either.

Here are 8 simple activities on my bucket list for summer family fun:

1.  A watermelon seed spitting contest in the backyard.  Have your children spit where they'd like to see watermelons grow - they'll get a kick out of that.  Seedless watermelons are not allowed!

2.  Lying on the grass in the summer sun so that you can smell the earth - hot dirt and cut grass give off an aroma that's not to be missed.

3.  Staying up late to watch (and catch) lighting bugs.  I love the giggles from the legs that tickle as they crawl on hands and up fingers.

4.  An evening trip to the ice cream store.  Whether it's Dairy Queen or your favorite custard stand, these stores are a magical place for fond memories...

I'm part of the Today Show Parenting Team!  For ideas 5-8, head over to the Today Show Parenting Blog and VOTE FOR ME! :-)

Sometimes finding enjoyment and fulfillment isn't all that complicated, especially when you're with the ones you love.  Will you join this Indiana girl this summer?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day from our house to yours!  Enjoy your day, and watch for a new post next week!


Friday, June 12, 2015

WINNER Chosen!

Thank you to all who applied for this week's giveaway!  Jamie F. of Indiana is our lucky winner of the Gift and Award Bible and the Believe Storybook: Think, Act, Be Like Jesus! For those of you who might purchase these resources on your own, note that you can specify a pink or blue cover for the Bible - it's a special gift.  May God bless your homes today, and may we all continue to grow in Christ.  We are giving our children an imperishable and live-giving gift when we do!