Tag Archives: Nancy Guthrie

Books to Help the Grieving Process in the Death of a Loved One (with help from Nancy Guthrie, Dee Brestin and Zig Ziglar) Part 2 of 2

Friends!  Last week we learned about a children’s book about the death of a child and ways to handle such.  This week we’ll get to look at a handful of books by different authors which are equally helpful.  If you’re like me, usually at a loss for words, grasping for something, anything, I believe these authors offer a number of nuggets.

First up is author Nancy Guthrie.  She and her husband, David, lost two of their three children to Zellweger Syndrome where babies only live less than six months with no known cure. Hope was their first child, followed by Gabriel.

Unbelievably, Nancy wrote Holding on to Hope:  A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God not long after both babies went to Heaven.

Their story was first published in Time magazine on 7/16/01 in an article called, When God Hides His Face:  Can Faith Survive When Hope Has Died? The Guthries think so.

I must share three stats that will make your hair stand on end:  “The odds of carrying a recessive gene for… Zellweger Syndrome are 1 in 160. The odds of two carriers meeting and having a child who suffers from the syndrome are about 1 in 100,000.

David and Nancy, already the parents of a healthy son, Matt, drew that 1 in 100,000 chance when they had Hope, who struggled with life for 199 days. After Hope was found to have the ailment, David got a vasectomy. The odds of a woman becoming pregnant after her partner has had the procedure are roughly 1 in 2,000.”

Nancy did indeed become pregnant with Gabriel, who also had the syndrome and lived about six months. How does one cope?

I’m beyond thrilled to report Nancy and David’s faith has remained intact, and their friends from church have been “an unfailing pillar of strength.” Nancy said while pregnant with Gabriel, “If God would ask me to suffer this significantly, I think He has something significant He wants to do with it through me, if only just in my heart.”

I know what you’re thinking.  I thought it too. (Reminds me of Job.)

In Holding on to Hope, Nancy walks us thru’ parts of the Book of Job, holding our hands, digging for pearls we can cling to. She tackles these subjects with vulnerability that’ll make you weep: (At the end of the book, there’s also a section of Scriptures on each of these topics.)

Nancy and David, along with her numerous books she’s written since their children’s deaths, are a visual of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

In the chapter on Intimacy, Nancy says, “It is one thing to believe that God is faithful and will supply all your needs—even in the darkest of times. It is another thing to experience it. In the darkest of days, we’ve  experienced a supernatural strength and peace that could only come from God. Perhaps you have too.”

Nancy says her husband, David, “…always feared a tragedy would occur in his life. But …now that the tragedy has come, the fear is gone. Now that he has experienced his greatest fear, and experienced God’s supreme faithfulness to us through this difficulty, he no longer fears tragedy in our lives. We know God more fully because we’ve experienced Him more fully through our sorrow.”  Wow.

Anne Graham Lotz wrote the Foreword of Nancy’s book. She says, “Holding on to Hope is like a beacon of Light, drawing the reader to God and God alone. My prayer is that God will use this book to rescue you from the depths of being buried alive in the debris and rubble of your own life experience, …planting your foot on the solid ground of His Word, setting your spirit free to soar in the rarefied atmosphere of genuine worship.”  Wow again!

Don’t miss this little powerful book, plus here are four others of Nancy’s I especially like:

Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow

The One Year Book of Hope

What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)

This one is by David and Nancy:

When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One:  Finding Hope Together

Nancy’s also written outstanding Bible studies. (I have her newest on order:  Even Better Than Eden:  Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything About Your Story)

To see what else Nancy’s written and to learn more about her go to her website:  www.nancyguthrie.com

And if that’s not enough resources, oh yes, there’s more… (Variety is truly the spice of life.)  Two more beautiful and helpful books on dealing with grief are:

The God of All Comfort:  Finding Your Way into His Arms by Dee Brestin. Dee shares about experiencing the loss of her husband and how worship was (and is) a healing salve to her soul.

The Confessions of a Grieving Christian by Zig Ziglar.  This was a fairly recent discovery for me.  I didn’t know Zig lost an adult child.  It’s comforting to hear his honesty and see the God of hope at work.

Next week we’ll pick back up with another new children’s book which is happy and bright (after reviewing such serious material!), followed by helpful resources for reading to your child or grandchild, as well as for ourselves!

SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME.

Sigh.

‘Til next time!

 

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Books to Help the Grieving Process in the Death of a Loved One (with help from Anne Riley) Part 1 of 2

Friends!  Anyone besides me ever feel helpless when your friends lose loved ones?  Sorry to say I’m the babbling fool at visitations where the bereaved has to comfort me.

I know.

Good news!  I have a few remedies up my sleeve I’d like to share in the form of a children’s book this week, and several other books for us grown-ups next week.

John and I were blessed to have dinner with old and new friends in Lexington this past April.  We learned about a book where a family lost two of their children. I immediately thought of Nancy Guthrie in Nashville who experienced such. (We’ll talk about her books next week.)

To my surprise, Nancy was not who our friends were talking about.  Surely there’s not another family who’s also lost two of their children? Sadly, there is, and a family friend has written a beautiful children’s book to help families cope with losing a child.

The book?  Voyage to the Star Kingdom

Author Anne Riley was so moved by her friends’ story, she and her cousin, Amy Grimes (who’s also friends with the family), put this beautiful book together.  Anne wrote the story (www.annerileybooks.com ) while Amy created the beautifully charming illustrations. (www.storypaintings.net ) Anne says Amy came up with the “essential story elements” and God wove the rest of it together.

When Anne first heard of Frazer and Dana Gieselmann and their plight to fight Batten Disease, she was so moved she literally couldn’t move.  She kept praying about how or what she could do.  It was in church the Holy Spirit convinced her to use her gift of writing to tell their story.

Blessed with three beautiful daughters, Frazer and Dana were completely thrown off guard when their daughter, Milla, began having seizures in August of 2013.  By October of 2014, Milla was diagnosed with a disease that’s very rare, and so far, incurable. It attacks the brain, causing loss of sight, mental impairment, worsening seizures, and a decline in motor skills. The dreaded disease is known as Batten Disease. Milla passed away November 26, 2016, just three weeks after her 6th birthday.

Unbelievably, Batten Disease possesses a genetic nature, thus docs suggested Frazer and Dana have their other two daughters tested.  Soon afterward, they learned their youngest daughter, Elle, also has the disease. Elle began having seizures not long after the discovery. You see now why Annie felt compelled to do something. (Miraculously, their eldest daughter, Ann Carlyle, does not have the disease.)

Thanks to extensive research at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Elle is receiving new treatments, infusions, and surgeries. Their long, hard, ongoing fight is explained in detail on their blog:  www.thegieselmann5.blogspot.com

Warning:  The family’s daily battle will tear your heart out, however the book is so well done, you’ll want to share it with your friends. Huge favor:  Please pray for this precious family.

The Gieselmann’s live in Memphis, Tennessee, so upon discovering Milla was treated at Le Bonheur Hospital, I immediately reached out to a friend of our kiddos who went thru’ an excruciating ordeal, also at LeBonheur, when their baby boy only lived two months.  I told her about this book and she said her NICU nurse gave her a copy. She and her husband, like the Gieselmanns, thankfully live with an eternal perspective. (See Revelation 21:1-5)

The grandest news of these sad stories comes as a reminder from Anne: “Milla and Elle will receive their prize early. Yes, we will suffer greatly in their absence. But this life is so short compared with eternity, and one day very soon, Frazer, Dana, and Ann Carlyle will be with Milla and Elle forever.”

My other favorite aspect of this book is it speaks matter-of-factly about real-life issues.  You’ll see the family undergoing multiple storms.  Two of their three daughters have to leave their family on earth, per the request of the Star King. Anne emphasizes, “The rest of the family will follow soon, but for now, they must say a temporary farewell.”

A beautiful angelfish escorts the girls to Heaven. (Don’t miss the part where they learn about how to fight evil on their journey.) Upon their approach, they see a man coming out of the Radiant Palace, waiting for them.  “Are you the Star King?” the youngest girl asked.

He smiled and said, “I have many names: Elohim, Jehovah, the Alpha and the Omega, the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd. And yes, the Star King.

Oh, my beloved children, I am so glad you’re here.”

The story gets even better as the King shows them He’s set a table for five. You must read this book to witness something beautiful!

One hint arrives from the Angelfish: “You will be together again sooner than you think. The Star King is not bound by time.”

This is a beautiful picture of 2 Peter 3:8 in the NIV that says,

That verse reminds me of a time when I read about a young Mom who knew she was dying of cancer. She asked her pastor to verify the above Scripture, promptly proceeding to do some mind-blowing math.

She said, “I figure if a thousand years is like a day, then forty years is like an hour. I’ll be leaving my husband and children soon. He may live another forty years, but that’ll be just like an hour to me in heaven.

…My children may live another seventy or eighty years, but that’ll be like two hours to me.” Just before she died, she told her husband, “I love you. Take care of our children and I’ll see you in an hour.” (from One Month to Live:  30 Days to a No-Regrets Life by Kerry and Chris Shook.) Now that’s some sweet eternal perspective!

Soak in 2 Peter 3:8, and you will sleep well tonight. And every other night.

‘Til next time!

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