Question Submitted: I can’t praise your book highly enough, but I’m not always sure about how/when to give it to people. Sometimes, people are not in a place where they’re ready to talk about barrenness, or they may feel that others giving them resources is intrusive. It’s such a sensitive topic. Do you have any suggestions for how/when to give a copy of He Remembers the Barren to others?
I know what you mean. He Remembers the Barren is not exactly the kind of gift you want to wrap up and put under the tree for your loved one. Who wants to open a package and find this inside instead of something from Bed, Bath, and Beyond? Or who wants to pull a book with this cover out of a stocking in front of family and friends? Let’s all say it together: awkward.
Yet, I still think He Remembers the Barren is a good gift worthy of giving, because it reminds all of us that God’s love and favor is not dependent on our becoming mothers but, instead, on Jesus becoming our sin on the cross so that He might give us His blessed righteousness. In Christ, we are freed from the burden of sin and the curse of death that comes with our wretched barrenness; in Christ, we are made worthy of God’s love and favor; in Christ, we have true hope whether we are mothers or not.
So, please consider giving your loved one a copy of He Remembers the Barren, but use some of your James Bond-esque stealth in the giving. Here are some suggested tactics (Q and M approved, of course):
- Read the book yourself, so that you know what your loved one is going through and can better love her through her grief and suffering.
- Give the book to your loved one’s parents, siblings, pastor, etc. for the same reasons.
- Make sure your church library has a copy of the book on hand as well as your local public library.
- Write a note to go with the book (i.e. “This book is not a label or a judgment. It is a great big hug from me to you. I read it, and it helped me know that God remembers me even when I suffer. I thought it might help you, too. I love you.”)
- Give her the book in private and at a time when she does not need to be around people for awhile. You can mail it to her home, or you can hand it to her wrapped and tell her to wait until she is alone to open it.
- If you two already have a history of openly discussing her barrenness, then give it to her in person when it is just the two of you. And tell her what she means to you.
- Give her the book without any expectations on your own part, and saturate the giving in prayer.
- Once you give it to her, don’t bring it up. Wait for her to talk about it or not talk about it.
- Don’t be offended if she doesn’t read it for awhile. Depending on what phase of the grief cycle she is currently experiencing, she may want nothing to do with it at first. She might even be embarrassed or offended. Still, won’t it be nice that the book will be there for her when she is ready for it?
I have had people turn shades of green at the mere mention of my book. The thought of reading something about the very thing they loathe makes them sick to their stomachs, because their present grief is too poignant. Such is the way of suffering, so I don’t force the book on them. Still, I try to give it to them, because I think the book really does offer comfort and empathy and relief amidst the pain of suffering.
Thank you for caring enough for your loved one to do what is hard. She is blessed to have you in her life.