Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
Today marks the 100th episode of Mortification of Spin. Todd, Carl and I reflect on what has been revealed since we opened the mysterious hatch of the unground bunker.
The time in the bunker has led us to some interesting locations, revealed that some of us may talk a little funny, that Carl and Todd are hopeless without me, and that there are some pressing issues that evangelicals are dealing with today. We discuss some of the prevalent themes that we have tackled on the show. But we also discovered something rather strange in the bunker. There is a peculiar magnetic pull and a constant spin that needs to be addressed. In fact, we’ve been told that we now need to return to the bunker and make sure that we punch in a our numbers every 168 hours to confront this issue. We do not know what the consequences may be if we fail to do this.
But if we fail to keep it running, if someone does not hold down the bunker and punch in the numbers on time, I know what to do.
Meanwhile, we will continue to have fun at our own expense, and try to set the world right.
Of course, the bunker is a great place to be because of the ones who join us on our mission. Hopefully we can continue in the mission for a while longer. Take a listen here and enter to win our Mortification of Spin anthology.
 
 
Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian

Something was brought up in my Sunday School class this week that was a very good reminder. We were talking about speaking the truth in love, and more specifically, honest communication with our spouse. Except this one point reminded me not to think of my husband only as my spouse---he is my brother in Christ. I was asked something along these same lines in an interview before, regarding the value of a wife praying for her spouse as her brother in Christ.

How does that change things?

It really helps to put things into perspective. It is so easy to be selfish, even in my prayers for my husband. Sure, I can think that I am being helpful in my communication or in praying for his best, but when I limit his identity and vocation in being my husband, I can become consumed with how his spiritual growth is benefiting yours truly. Basically, I’m helping myself.

After all, he is to love me as Christ loves the church. His blessings are my blessings. His spiritual growth and fruitfulness benefit me. Remembering to intercede for him as my brother in Christ does help me to pray with an eternal perspective for God’s glory and my husband’s good. The fact is, Matt and I will not be married to one another in the new heaven and the new earth, but we will always be brother and sister in Christ. Praying with this in mind reiterates that Matt doesn’t belong to me; he belongs to God.

And I believe that praying in light of this truth ultimately helps me to be a better wife to him as well. I can pray knowing that even where I fail, God is always faithful. Where Matt fails, God is faithful. As we hold fast to our confession of hope together, our goal is to consummate our marriage to the ultimate Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. And we are privileged to be ambassadors of his gospel while living in the community of his church now.*

 

*Much of this post was taken from my interview with David Livernois for Credo Magazine. You can read the rest of the interview here.

Posted on Friday, April 10, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
Evangelicals have taken note that our culture has systematically wiped out the word “evil” from our vocabulary. But don’t be mistaken, Christians and non-Christians alike are still very much aware of malevolence. But instead of recognizing the evil one, the evil of sin, and the evil in our own thoughts and actions when they are opposed to God, we have taken the personality out of evil. Yes, at first those concerned about such narrow-minded things such as orthodoxy lamented the spin that all language of evil had been changed to  psychobabble. 
But that song has been played so many times that less people are buying it. It seems that our problems are more profound than even a psychological diagnosis and we need a bigger playlist. It seems that no matter how hard we try to get better, something is still tirelessly working against us. And we found the perfect buzz-word to identify it. Now everyone is scratching the record to this explaination: toxic, t-t-to-to-to-toxic.
And now we have become a very suspicious group of people. Our fear is poison. It seems that everyone is out to get us. 
Sure, there is a measure of truth in this trend, or else it would not be so popular. Proponents have issued a wake-up call to be more educated about what we are putting into our bodies. It’s good to raise awareness about our responsibility in health, as well as the responsibility for distributers to produce a good product.
But now everything is labeled “toxic” and I’m afraid we’ve lost the meaning of the word. While I have many personal reasons for wanting the world to boycott Starbucks (mainly because they make bad coffee), I’m not going to use the argument that their Pumpkin Pie Latte is toxic. Because it’s not. Sure, there’s way too much sugar in it, but it’s not even close to toxic levels, I’m sorry to say. While I agree that it is not a healthy drink, I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a lot more than 3 ½ teaspoons worth of sugar to poison me. One scientist* pointed out that in order to consume enough Pumpkin Spice Lattes to reach a toxic level of sugar, your body would already be poisoned by consuming a toxic level of water from the drinks. And to say that caramel coloring can cause cancer, well, you actually need the science to back that up---and we don’t
What I see happening is that everything “out there” is evil, from Subway’s bread, to our pasteurized milk, to our shampoo. We are anxiously checking our labels and looking for better, natural, organic, non-GMO alternatives. We’re even using strange methods to detox our bodies, from marketed detox juices (that ironically contain more sugar that Starbuck’s PPL), to detox foot pad treatments.
In one way, maybe we are moving in the right direction. We have personalized evil a little more. We have noticed that something is after us and that we need to be vigilant against it’s forces. And yet once again I think we are being played for our ignorance about the true “poison” that is killing us (and our ignorance of actual science).
Evil isn’t only what is “out there,” but it is also within our own hearts. Sin is what’s killing us. And the effect of sin has put a curse on our sacred “nature.” That’s why we often need preservatives. Nature has lost it’s perfect goodness.
But we need even more than preservatives. We cannot detox sin. We can’t boycott our own hearts. Sin is personal. We are personally committing it and we have offended the only One who is good. We have ruined his good creation, not Starbucks or Subway or the scientists who invented vaccine technology. And we can argue about the best diets and the best exercises to fight against what is poisoning us, but we can’t fight the fact that as we try our best to be good stewards of our bodies, they are still subject to decay. The death rate is 100%. Not one of us will beat those odds unless the Lord returns first. And even then, we will need new bodies.
But the good news is that is exactly what is to come for all those who repent and believe in the person and work of the One who really did beat death. The very One who we have offended, God himself, came. He took on our weak bodies, faced our temptations, and endured real oppression, without sin. He lived in perfect righteousness, fulfilling all the law, and then faced the wrath of God for the sin we have committed. He put himself in our place so that he could give us his inheritance. That’s a social justice that we could never accomplish.
I find it strange that as a society we want to pick apart every ingredient and demonize every chemical (remember guys, water is a chemical…) but we are turned off by examining our own confession of faith. It is easy to be distracted by so-called toxins in the name of health and miss the true evil that is killing us all. And in effect, we miss the true Good. It’s not us and our activism against toxins. It’s the One who really is running the world, Jesus Christ.
I wish we would be as vigilant at fighting false doctrine as we are about fighting azodicarbonamide.
 
 
*Disclaimer: these links are not from Christian sources and one in particular has offensive language. 
Posted on Tuesday, April 07, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
Kevin DeYoung points something out in his latest book that I would love to read more about. The second half of What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality is filled with short chapters answering popular and thoughtful objections to the biblical position of marriage, and therefore sexual relationships, being shared between one man and one women.
One of the more adamant objections is that it just isn’t fair. How can we ask same-sex attracted people to accept the fact that they will never be satisfied, that they cannot seek love in marriage according to a desire that they didn’t ask for in the first place? DeYoung approaches this question with much sensitivity, and tackles it from different angles. The blaring obvious response is, what about the heterosexual singles who do not find a spouse to marry? 
He challenges the church that this isn’t a burden that someone should carry alone. While all of Christ’s people have their crosses to bear, we have the whole covenant community of the church to help us hold fast to the confession of our hope. And so DeYoung reminds us that “those Christians in our midst who experience same-sex attraction need not be friendless, helpless, and hopeless.” 
Here DeYoung reveals a proclivity in the church that may need some admonition. We rightly want to support and encourage godly family units. But we can easily elevate the family into a priority which it has not been given. He continues:
But, of course, none of this can be possible without uprooting the idolatry of the nuclear family, which holds sway in many conservative churches. The trajectory of the New Testament is to relativize the importance of marriage and biological kinship. A spouse and a minivan full of kids on the way to Disney World is a sweet gift and a terrible god. If everything in Christian community revolves around being married with children, we should not be surprised when singleness sounds like a death sentence.
If that’s the church’s challenge, what’s needed in the wider culture is a deep demythologizing of sex. Nothing in the Bible encourages us to give sex the exulted status it has in our culture, as if finding our purpose, our identity, and our fulfillment all the rest on what we can or cannot do with our private parts. Jesus is the fullest example of what it means to be human, and he never had sex. How did we come to think that the most intense emotional attachments and the most fulfilling aspects of life can only be expressed with sexual intimacy? (119)
This is something that I have been thinking about lately, and even more so with Easter just passing. While we want to uphold and celebrate marriage and children, the church needs to be careful not to inadvertently send the message that we find our ultimate satisfaction in pillow talk with the spouse of our dreams and raising a brood of godly images of ourselves. And I think this very thing highlights the importance of getting involved, dare I say intimately, with your local church. I am encouraged by these words that I have a covenantal family made up of all different types of people. My husband isn’t the only person whom God is using for my sanctification. And while I am thankful to be in a relationship where two become one, we also belong to the body of Christ.
Whether we are talking about same-sex attraction, singles longing for companionship, or disillusioned spouses who thought marriage would fulfill their need for intimacy, the church’s challenge is the demythologizing of sex in a culture that  sells it as the answer to all our loneliness, hurt, and loss. We are all making a grave mistake if we are seeking fulfillment in a sexual relationship, even if it is within marriage. This is something we all need to hear more about.
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
This is a billboard advertisement just minutes away from my house. I have to drive by it on many occasions. It’s no wonder why so many women, from tweens to moms, have such body-image issues. A plastic surgeon, who is ostensibly all about helping people feel better about their bodies, is just showing his hand. 
Women, they want you to feel horrible about yourself. And they want you to be objectified. We have been reduced to being ogled like a piece of food---and all this time I thought muffins were good things!
I remember years ago I had to have a small cist removed from my back and I was referred to a plastic surgeon. The whole time I was in there I was self conscious that the people in the waiting room would think I was being seen for, ahem, something else. Well that little visit got me put on their mailing list. A few short weeks later I received a mailer for their latest technologies. They had carefully worded this advertisement to make women feel bad about their bodies. Apparently I now had to be worried about banana rolls on my thighs, muffin tops over my jeans, wings that aren’t meant for flying, and worst of all, as I was just beginning to feel like the new laugh lines appearing on my face added character, I read their new name: parenthesis. Well that didn’t sound good! Instead of aging gracefully, with lines revealing the joy I’ve had in life, I now felt like my mouth was trapped between two punctuation marks. I decided that I was going to keep calling them laugh lines, daggone it!
But now it seems these “doctors” have gotten more aggressive. Instead of junk mail that we can throw in the trash, unassuming drivers are now hit smack in the face with professional devaluing. If I were the only one who ever had to drive past this billboard, I would just roll my eyes and maybe say a few words that aren’t very Christian. But I have two teenage daughters and a ten-year-old son. I am appalled that they have to see such a demeaning message. 
What chance do our children have when they are blasted with such a message, from a doctor, that the size of their midsection determines their worth as a woman? Or let’s back it up from there, in what situation are they going to find themselves in with their pants half unzipped, longing for a loving response and admiration for their beauty?
Because, yes, women want to be beautiful. But what is our expectation for being loved and accepted as beautiful? Is it so everyone driving down Route 9 will want to honk their horns at us? Do we really measure our beauty by the number of whistles we provoke from construction workers or the number of likes our latest selfie racked up? Can a doctor make me beautiful? Do I want my son to be told this is what he is to look for in a woman?
I will repeat myself here by insisting that beauty is not something to be consumed (even though muffins are). Beauty is worthy of proper admiration, but let’s not lower our standards and reduce it to a waistline. True beauty is not cheap and it consists of so much more than one physical attribute.
Beauty is a package deal, and our expectation for being valued, loved, and even admired for our beauty will never be met in another person’s quick judgment of our figure. I’ve quoted this gem from C.S. Lewis’s “The Weight of Glory” before, but it does us all good to read it again:
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words---to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
We don’t only want to be beautiful for a compliment or a cheap thrill. And we don’t just want to notice beauty from afar. Lewis acknowledges something we all ache for. We want to be known and accepted. And we want to participate in beauty. Beauty isn’t something that we horde, but something we share in an appropriate way in our different relationships. And it doesn’t point to ourselves. Beauty isn’t a commodity. And it is truly valuable. We all want it, and Lewis articulates this so well:
But we pine. The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.
We are blessed to see beauty all around us. At moments in our lifetime, we are blessed to share in the beauty. But:
Someday, God willing, we shall get in...
Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning.
If we have the proper eternal perspective, we long for that beatific vision and our own glorification when our unity in Christ will be consummated and we will be like him. Like Lewis, I challenge you to think of how this reality changes the way we treat our neighbor:
The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
Is it just me, or has the whole idea of good critique and constructive criticism these days been snubbed like the awkward, knobby-kneed boy asking for a tweenage diva’s number? It seems that as a society, and even in the evangelical world, all questions, differing opinions, and critique are taken as personal attacks. But isn’t everyone to expect constructive criticism at work here and there?
When I was in college, it was actually a sign of respect for your work to engage in critique. In the many art and writing classes that I took, a third of our grade was based on our ability to properly do this. When our assignments were due, they were displayed before the whole class for a critique session. Talk about a great motivator to not slack on your work! The students were to point out both what they liked about the work and what parts they may think the creator has fallen short. It was to be constructive, both sharpening our skills of discernment and helping the artist improve. We were careful with our words, as we all knew that the artist had invested time into this piece, and was now sitting there in front of the whole class. 
This was a very vulnerable position for the artist, and a sticky situation for the one offering critique. If we were just being nice and giving a velvety critique, our own grade would suffer.
Constructive criticism was a necessary element for our grade in the class and our maturity in the field. As growing artists, we needed to learn how to take critique. We had to learn to listen to our peers and begin the hard work of filtering these educated opinions for the benefit of our work of expression. 
Not all of the critique would be true to the direction we wanted to go with our piece. Which advice do we follow? Maybe we completely disagree with the first criticism offered, only to find out it is the consensus of the majority of the class. In this case, we need to evaluate whether our perception of our own work is delusional. Maybe we are not properly communicating how we intended. From this we needed to decide whether our piece had enough redeeming qualities to improve upon, or whether to abandon that project all together. We began to learn how to listen to criticism without taking it personal. 
This is truly a life-long process. Even the most diplomatic of criticisms is usually hurtful. We weren’t to merely develop thick skin and let it bounce off. We had to really listen and try to grow from it.
It was a humbling process. But nonetheless, I was still in my college-phase, and I learned even in this setting how to get by without really giving my all. Part of it was laziness, and part of it may have been fear. You see, I was decent at art, but there were some amazingly gifted students in that program. I knew that I would never be able to pump something out to their caliber. I mean, it wasn’t like I was an art major. So if I just worked hard enough to get a good critique and grade without embarrassing myself, I could nurture the secret knowledge that I wasn’t giving my all when my work was sitting next to the really great ones.
But my Scottish professor saw through my prideful neglect. He pulled me aside one day during class and said, “Aimee, you are producing ‘A’ work, but I am going to start giving you ‘B’s’. Do you want to know why? Because this is not ‘A’ work for you. I know you can do better. Why aren’t you giving me your best? No matter, you can decide if you’re satisfied with the ‘B’s’. I just wanted you to know that my grading scale has changed with you.” This is one of the greatest pieces of critique I’ve ever received. He read the work to tell him something about the artist. Then he gently pushed back, and asked the questions that I needed to ask myself. Now, how was I going to respond?
In front of class with our own work displayed, we were highly aware that we were critiquing a vulnerable person just like ourselves. Since our work was up there too, we were humbled in our critique of others. Some experiences in life stick stronger with you and continue to work for your growth. This is one of mine that I continually need to remember for both sides of the criticism coin because I so often forget. The exposure my classmates and I had reminds me that everyone is made in the image of God, the Creator. That must always be before me in both my giving and receiving constructive criticism.
We were created to work. But not all work is equal. Many people will produce better work than my own. Thankfully, my work doesn’t determine my standing before God—-the Lord Jesus Christ’s does. This is liberating! I can give my best, and Christ will bless my efforts with his intention for my work. I have the freedom to just lay it out, let others help me improve, and go at it again. God’s standards are high. They are perfect as a matter of fact. On my own, I can never measure up—there is no getting by with good enough. But Jesus Christ made himself vulnerable on our behalf. All of our works of unrighteousness were put on display over 2,000 years ago on a cross. And his perfect work was applied to us. 
Does our work now reflect our grateful response? Do we labor with both humility in ourselves and confidence in the One who is transforming us into his own likeness? He’s the one who took it personal. And he is the one who will personally be the advocate for his people on that last day. For this reason, those who look at our work should be able to see our joy in the artist behind it.
Posted on Monday, March 23, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
I love reading biographies of strong women in the faith. Ian Murray provides this in his biography, Amy Carmichael, ‘Beauty for Ashes.’ Some women in the church are truly magnetic. It appears that Carmichael had that combination of delightful disposition, strong convictions, and perseverance that was attractive to friends, family members, and new acquaintances even before her amazing missionary work and accomplishments.
Attractive Personalities
As I was reading about Carmichael’s strong resolve to be a missionary, her amazing work in India rescuing children from the evil horrors of temple prostitution, thereby establishing the Dohnavur Fellowship and providing a Christian home for hundreds of children, I was greatly encouraged by her unwavering love of our Savior. It also made me think about how such dynamic women can use their attractive personalities for the good or the detriment of the faith.
That got me thinking about another Aimee (unfortunately spelled like my name)—Aimee Semple McPherson. While Amy Carmichael established a refuge for abused children, risking her own life and providing gospel nurture and physical care, Aimee Semple McPherson established a whole new denomination and spread the damaging faith-healing movement at her own gain. In doing so, she tore up her family, possibly faked her own kidnapping, and in the end died of a drug overdose.
Beautiful Legacy
Both Amy and Aimee left a legacy. Both of them were even beautiful women.
Posted on Friday, March 20, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
About four years ago, I decided it was time to get more seriously involved in a workout routine. Having been raised in a family that values physical fitness, I have always lived a somewhat active life. However, in my thirties it became apparent that my body was not as obliging to my requests. It was time to get a little more disciplined if I wanted to feel as strong as I did in my twenties. So I did the practical thing for a mother of three: I started buying DVD workouts by experienced trainers. The first workout I did was an hour long. As I was chugging along I thought to myself, “You’re a little winded, Aimee, but you’ve still got it!” 
And then I woke up the next morning. Whoever thought it would hurt so much to go down stairs? And bending, what an arduous task when your muscles are screaming at you! The morning after soreness just told me I needed strengthening, I’m not in my twenties anymore, and the exercise was working. So, even in pain, I kept at it six days a week. 
The Christian life is littered with obstacles. Athletes train for these kinds of things. Have you ever known a professional athlete who trained alone or without a plan? While I might be able to think of some good exercises, I do not have the knowledge of putting together the most beneficial workout routine. And I certainly wouldn’t go for a full hour unless I was being led. Many of the workouts I do combine circuit training and super-sets. I surely wouldn’t have thought of concepts such as combining emphasis on aerobic and anaerobic metabolic systems or active rest on my own. But these trainers have a plan for me to follow. 
Often, the routines require each circuit to be repeated. There are many benefits to this. The first time through, my muscles and my brain are being introduced to the form. However, the second time around is even more advantageous. Now I already know the technique. So if I’m told it’s time for the second set of UFCs or sissy squats, I know what in the world that means as well as the technique involved. At this point my muscles are reaching fatigue, and I am told this is good because that is where “the magic happens.” Muscles are being further toned the second time through. This point of muscle fatigue is also the point in the workout where I ask, “Why did I get myself into this?” That’s when I know change is happening. 
Where am I going with all this? Much of our conditioning in the Christian life is hard. As biblical pastors, teachers, and mentors lead us we realize that we aren’t quite as spiritually fit as we thought we were. When we face a challenge or obstacle, we find our strength and stamina are weak. First we have to learn the form. Theology has specialized language just like every other discipline. For my workouts, I need to learn lingo such as skull crushers, spider push-ups, and supination arm extensions. When learning what the Bible teaches about God’s redemptive plan through Jesus Christ there’s all kinds of vocabulary involved such as propitiation, imputation, eschatology, and covenant. Also, in many of our first experiences in trying to live in light of the gospel, we fall on our faces. We are in a continuous battle with sin. But through repentance and prayer, the Lord uses even those times to strengthen us. When we encounter our new vocabulary the second time, we know it and can learn deeper by the use of it. When we encounter a similar temptation over, we are stronger and wiser to turn away. Our trust in the Lord grows as we see how he has been faithful all along. 
There will be many blessings throughout our Christian lives. But there will also be times when we ask ourselves how we got into all this. And sure, there are obvious moments in life where this question is our wisdom talking, telling us we shouldn’t be involved in a particular situation. It is a discerning question. Many times this question comes because we did not properly count the cost. It demands us to estimate the value and purpose of our cause. But make no mistake, we will find that the most valuable things in life bring us to fatigue. That’s when we are toning—during the “burn.” 
 
 
*This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Theological Fitness (P&R)
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
I’m just going to go ahead and embarrass myself here---for the sake of the gospel and all. When I was a sophomore in college, I was heavily convicted that I was not living my life according to who I was---a Christian. But I also realized that I really didn’t have a lot of knowledge about the faith that I professed. I began attending a local church, and I wish I could say that they befriended me and discipled me. I did get the smiley welcome, “Where are you from?” question, but was ignored beyond that.
So the next thing I did was visit the Christian bookstore, The Gospel Shoppe. After perusing the shelves and enjoying the smell of new books, I honed in on the table featuring local authors. There was a book there called The Fruit Bearer. I thought I could probably use some fruit in my life at this point. So I killed two birds with one stone; I bought a book that would support a local author and hopefully help me to be one of those fruitful Christians.
The female author was engaging and motivating. But she also wrote about something that I had never been exposed to---speaking in tongues. As it turns out, according to this friendly author, speaking in tongues was both a blessing and a sign that you are bearing the fruit of the Christian life. I wondered, is this real? I did want to bear fruit. But something didn’t seem right, even for this immature Christian. 
I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. I prayed, asking if this was real, would God grant me this gift, this fruit. I waited. I did all the things this author told me to do, mouth agate, just waiting for God’s holy language to pour out of me. Nothing happened. I felt stupid.
But I didn’t think this is what the Christian life boiled down to. I knew too many good Christians who did not speak in tongues. So instead of pursuing “the gift” any further, I went to Scripture. That book I bought was filled with very poor theology, but it led me to dig deeper into what Scripture said about the topic. It also led me to seek out other authors who wrote about the sufficiency of Scripture.
Has that ever happened to you? Maybe not the embarrass yourself by trying to speak in tongues thing, but have you ever read a so-called Christian book that raised some red flags and then led you to study God’s Word more on the issue?
It has happened to me on many occasions. And in that way, I see how God uses even irresponsible, errant books labeled as Christian, to spur his people to learn and value good theology.
In a sense, this is how we have the Christian creeds and confessions that we hold dear today. Along with giving Christians a vocabulary to articulate biblical truths, many of the creeds were written in response to heretical teachings. False teaching will always be with us on this side of the resurrection (2 Pet. 2:1). While I adamantly oppose false teaching and I am continuously disgusted by bestselling books that infect the church, I am thankful that God in his wisdom and goodness even uses bad theology to spur his people further to the truth.
When people ask me about whether a popular book they are hearing about is biblically sound, I am of course going to share any knowledge I may have about that. I also think that it’s important to offer critical reviews that can be helpful for potential readers to discern a book’s content. But when someone is eagerly reading these books that I would rather burn, I try to ask questions that will lead them to Scripture for further investigating. Maybe God will use that as a springboard to spur the reader to the truth. I am thankful he has done that with me more than once.
Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2015 by Aimee Byrd on Housewife Theologian
This book is long overdue.
I have never suffered through the tragedy of a miscarriage, but a number of women I love have. I am so glad that Jessalyn Hutto has written a book for all those who have been affected by the loss of an unborn child. Her goal is to help the reader “see the unique trial of miscarriage within the broader context of God’s plan” (86).
CruciformPress is a great publisher for this kind of book. They publish short, concise books that are around 100 pages on important topics facing the church today. I find that I often recommend their books as a “gateway” for those who aren’t typically readers because CruciformPress books are attractive, trustworthy, and unintimidating. And I would think the last thing you would want to give a woman grieving the loss of her unborn child is an academic tome to try and explain away their pain.
Hutto does no such thing. In fact, she wants to confirm how tragic miscarriage is. “Few people understand the pain a woman feels when she learns that he unborn baby has died” (51). Jessalyn Hutto does. She shares her own experience of two miscarriages and offers the reader the fruit that has come from her pain.
Miscarriage shouldn’t be. Something has gone horribly wrong. And so Hutto begins the book with the very real pain that may feel impossible to bear. She says something very wise about coping with this pain: “Women don’t need empty platitudes or frivolous advice when their babies die: they need God and his Word!” (12). So that is what Hutto gives. It always amazes me how often we need to go back to Genesis with the deep questions in life, and it is no different with a miscarriage. Hutto takes the reader there, explaining, “The Bible gives us the only satisfactory explanation for the existence of such tragedies and our natural inclinations to grieve them” (19). 
In this little book, Hutto also addresses the difficulty of trusting God’s goodness and even embracing God’s sovereignty when your own child’s life is taken from your womb. Your theology, what you know to be true about God, will direct the way you respond in tragedy. And so she affirms from Scripture the goodness, the loving kindness, and absolute power of our God in all circumstances. And she points the reader to Jesus Christ, who is “no stranger to suffering” (55). With a beautiful presentation of the gospel, Hutto gives “three ways in which Jesus can relate to---and therefore perfectly comfort---the woman who has miscarried” (59). I don’t want to sum these up in a short review, because I think it is more meaningful to read through Hutto’s offering here in the context of the whole chapter and book. 
Maybe you had a little gut-check when I mentioned the fruit that has come from Hutto’s pain. This book is certainly a fruit that will help many, but the author insists that God will produce good even out of miscarriage. The death of an unborn child is not random and “sorrow isn’t without purpose” (82). She reminds the reader that “we do have the joy of knowing that we do not suffer for a moment outside of our God’s loving and perfect will” (70). And again, Hutto gives us the theology of who our God is, before applying it with some noticeable ways the Lord may be using even miscarriage for the spiritual good of his people.
Hutto explains that the title of her book comes from a devotion from Susannah Spurgeon. Mrs. Spurgeon “proposed that ‘tears are the inheritance of the earth’s children’ because, as Romans 3:23 informs us, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ Any woman whose womb has been visited by death and has had to say goodbye to her precious baby can readily accept Mrs. Spurgeon’s poetic phrasing” (21). But Hutto assures us that we are not left in despair. And neither does Mrs. Spurgeon’s devotion: “’Tears may, and must come, but if they gather in the eyes that are constantly looking up to [God] and heaven, they will glisten with the brightness of coming glory’” (33).
You may pick up this book with a devastating experience in our inheritance of tears. Hutto makes sure to acknowledge those tears, but doesn’t leave you there. She points you to the One who works even through our own tears so that they will glisten with the brightness of his coming glory.