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Living in the Light



Filtering by Category: Theology

The Baby Given to Women Who Miscarry

Jessalyn Hutto

This article was published on October 15, 2015 at The Gospel Coalition. You can find the entire article here.

"Her eyes welling over with tears, my friend looked me full in the face and asked an honest question: What does the gospel have to do with my miscarriage?

The question sounded simple, but I knew the answer could be life-changing. I also knew there was nothing simple about her grief—the pain and bewildering loss that flows from having a baby stripped from your womb too soon. And I knew my empathy wouldn’t be nearly enough to mend her broken heart. She needed genuine hope for her future, and a biblical explanation for her pain.

Twice now, I’ve been her. I’ve been the one sitting in a doctor’s office staring at grainy black-and-white images of my dead baby, tears pouring down my cheeks. Twice now, as the cold news of an absent heartbeat met my ears, I’ve been plunged into the deep, wrenching grief reserved for mothers who’ve lost an unborn child. The sting of death is in no way lessened by the invisible nature of such loss. It is real, and it is horrible.

Yet the truth of the gospel has provided immeasurable comfort to me in the midst of such pain. So when my friend posed that question—that crucial questionmy heart leapt at the opportunity to point her wounded soul to the comforting, joy-inducing reality of Jesus Christ. Because his gospel truly is everything to a woman who has miscarried."

Continue reading here.

Our Expectations and Our Reality

Jessalyn Hutto

Jasmine Holmes was so very kind to review my book, Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb, at The Gospel Coalition today. In her review, she quotes a paragraph from one of my favorite sections of the book entitled, "What to Expect from a Sin-Broken World."

I say that this section is one of my favorites, but it is not because I got to explain a happy thought. Rather, it is because I had the opportunity to express an essential truth that every Christian must lean on in times of great disappointment and pain in order to find hope and peace in the gospel message. I will post the entire section below in the hopes that it will bless all who are currently struggling through trials, but especially those dear sisters who have lost little ones.

For many of us, the effects of this fallen world seem like distant theological concepts that carry little weight in everyday life. As a result, we live with expectations befitting a pre-fall Eden, rather than a sin-broken Earth. We expect to live healthy, fulfilled lives. We expect to have marriages in which we perfectly understand and communicate with our spouses. We expect to become pregnant easily, carry our babies full-term, and deliver them in perfect health. Our hearts yearn for the creation to function as God intended it to, and thus we don't naturally expect pain, discord, or death. Yet, this is exactly the inescapable inheritance we've received from our first parents.
The daily manifestations of God's beautiful grace, which we are blessed to experience despite our fallen state, are like windows into a world we do not yet fully inhabit - a world where God's goodness flows, unhindered by sin, to his created beings. A world with no more pain or suffering or death. In short: heaven.
Yet we tend to believe that we deserve such comforts and perfections in this world. We picture ourselves living out our lives in peaceful delight, doing work we always love, serving in churches where nothing ever goes seriously wrong. We buy pregnancy books, fully expecting our babies to grow according to each chapter's description. Rarely do we consider the awful truth that our babies are conceived in sin-infected bodies walking around in a sin-infected world. Indeed, even our babies' genetic make-up is subjected to the same futility as the rest of creation. Though pregnancy books may encourage us to put off distressing thoughts such as miscarriage and stillbirth, a biblical worldview demands that we have a realistic view of what pregnancy can and sometimes does look like in a post-fall world.
It certainly isn't my aim to pain a hopeless picture for those already experiencing grief. There is real, good, credible hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ for every daughter of Eve. I want to encourage you - if possible - with the knowledge that miscarriage is indeed a terrible thing. Women who experience miscarriage rightly feel as though something horrific just happened to them and their child. They need not feel obligated to treat the event as something common that they should simply "get over" and "move on" from. It is common, but that does not lessen its horror! Miscarriage, like every other manifestation of the fall, is the opposite of what God intended for our world - it is not good, it is very bad. Knowing this is essential to our finding encouragement in Christ.
For many women, miscarriage will be one of their first experiences with the serious physical effects of the fall. I distinctly remember the emotions that surged through me when we lost our first baby to miscarriage. Suddenly, the idea of death took on a whole new meaning. As my womb was robbed of the life it once carried, the groaning of creation became terribly personal. Later on, when I delivered the lifeless body of another of our precious babies who had died at 15 weeks gestation, my soul yearned like never before for Christ to return and do away with death forever.

You can read more about Inheritance of Tears here.

Miscarriage and the Hope of Heaven

Jessalyn Hutto

The final question I answered over at The Purposeful Wife about my book, Inheritance of Tears, was on the topic of infant salvation. Rachel asked, "I also appreciated your theological look at the question, 'Do all babies go to heaven?' So many Christians today hold to this view without having a clear Scriptural foundation for their belief. Have you always held this position? How did you come to land on your current understanding?"

You can read my answer here.

On this topic, I would also recommend a recent article from Sam Storms which makes similar arguments for infant salvation as I do in my book.

God of the Little Things

Jessalyn Hutto

There are two kinds of God's sovereignty that are difficult for our human minds to grasp. The first is his sovereignty over the big, terrible events of our lives. This is because we cannot understand how a good and loving God could possibly be orchestrating the devastating, debilitating, and often deadly circumstances that we find ourselves subject to as humans living in this sin-infested world.

Indeed, we are often met with a crisis of faith when a spouse leaves us, when a pregnancy ends in miscarriage, or when we get the awful news that we are dying from cancer. In these times we are forced to decide whether we truly believe in the God of the Bible--a God who is incomprehensibly sovereign over evil events and at the same time good in all he does--or wether we will invent a more palatable god of our own design. When catastrophic events happen in our lives we must trust--with God-given faith--his revealed Word when it says that he "works all things for the good of those who love him."

The second category of God's sovereignty that I believe we have difficulty accepting--that I see my own heart struggling to believe--is his control over the minute, tiny details of our lives. This, perhaps, is an even greater struggle than the first because it confronts us every moment of our lives. It is the unbelief that continually fails to recognize God's continual, purposeful interaction with the moments that make up our days...

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Made for More by Hannah Anderson

Jessalyn Hutto

Hannah Anderson's new book, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God's Imageis a welcome addition to the growing number of books on theology written for a female audience. In its 172 pages, Anderson tackles the weighty topic of what it means to be created in the image of God--what theologians refer to as imago dei. Seem like a dry, crusty, impractical book with little relevance for your life? You couldn't be more wrong. In fact, Anderson proposes that before we can accomplish the simple task of rightly understand our identity as women, we must first understand our more fundamental identity as God's image bearers... 

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Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

Jessalyn Hutto

A few days ago I had the privilege of worshipping alongside thousands of sisters-in-Christ who were ready and eager to hear gifted speakers like Kathy Keller, Nancy Guthrie, and John Piper teach them from an often forgotten book of the Bible: Nehemiah. Many of these women paced the back row of the humungous conference room with their babies–some even nursing their sweet little ones as they listened to the preaching of God’s Word. Talk about dedication and girl-power! It was truly a beautiful sight to behold and a joy to be a part of. Truly, The Gospel Coalition’s 2014 Women’s Conference exceeded all my wildest expectations.

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Why Our Children Need the Church

Jessalyn Hutto

In this quarter’s issue of Credo Magazine, I had the opportunity to share a little bit about the importance of the church to our children. Here’s a snippet from that article:

“Through regular interactions with teachers, parents, mentors, and pastors, our children are given the opportunity to observe the powerful, sanctifying hand of God in the lives of other Christians. Through the ordinance of baptism our children are able to watch as men and women confess their belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ and commit to living their lives in obedience to him. They gaze in wonder as these believers are plunged into the baptismal and brought back up to the joyful celebration of the congregation, symbolizing their death and resurrection with Christ. In the same way, as the communion plate is passed and the wine and bread are consumed by the members of the body, our children witness the centrality of the gospel to every believer’s life. They are beckoned to come and taste of the Lord’s goodness for themselves—to receive the gospel of grace being proclaimed.”

To Read the Full Article, Click Here.

Awake Oh Sleeper!

Jessalyn Hutto

“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” (John 11:11)

There are few things as final as death. This horrid thief of breath is a common enemy every human must face and ultimately surrender to. There is no potion, no surgery, and no vitamin that will delay the inevitable failing of our bodies. And so each of us will one day have to say painful goodbyes to our spouses, our parents, and our children. There is only one Man who has ever faced the enemy of death and emerged from the battle field victorious and he holds the sun and moon and stars in the palm of his hand...

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Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman

Jessalyn Hutto

A wonderful thing is happening in the Christian publishing world: books are once again being written for women and by women that don’t revolve exclusively around Proverbs 31 and Titus 2! These books are challenging women to step out of their circumstances, behold the beauty of God and his gospel, and then bring that new vision back into their everyday lives.

These gospel-filled books are desperately needed by every woman regardless of her stage of life, but perhaps those who are moms of little ones need this dose of sanity just a smidgen more feverishly than others. Books that give them a theological framework to view their chaotic, non-stop, and and often exhausting calling can feel as good as a full eight hours of sleep when your baby is still nursing through the night does...

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How Elsa's "Let it Go" Should Challenge Complementarians

Jessalyn Hutto

This powerful song takes place after Elsa’s powers–which were previously a secret–are made known to her kingdom. Up until this point in the movie, she has tried with every morsel of her being to keep her magical “freezing abilities” (for lack of a better description) to herself. The desire to hide her powers began as a young girl, when she accidentally almost killed her little sister with them. Since that experience as a child, she has chosen to suppress her abilities, and in many ways she suppressed herself. Once she is outed for having magical powers, she runs away to the mountains where she feels free to use her powers and test her limits–which turn out to be very impressive. Of course, what she doesn’t know is that her uncontrolled powers have forced her kingdom into an eternal winter, and thus the story unfolds...

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