Top 5 Faith-Based Books on Child Loss

feature image:  Karim MANJRA (via Unsplash)

feature image: Karim MANJRA (via Unsplash)

In the months after my son died, I could barely handle my own story of loss—let alone anyone else’s. It was just too much. But eventually the rawness of my grief lessened as God’s grace poured in. When I was ready to crawl out of my shell of suffering, I found additional faith, hope, and a sense of normalcy in the stories of others.

You can find a ton of Christian books out there on suffering—many of which are incredible, soulful resources that have helped me in my healing. However, I want to share a few books specific to the grief of child loss. I’ve chosen these five because they accurately describe the pain of losing a child, but also the grace I discovered in the midst of the suffering.

I have carefully curated this list for anyone who…

  • Has lost a child—whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, or even as grown adults. I think you’ll find that the grief of losing a child bears commonalities no matter the age or circumstance. And these stories speak to finding God in that pain.

  • Is wading through grief of any kind. Loss—whether due to death, disease, disappointment, shattered dreams, or unmet expectations—produces grief. Loss doesn’t discriminate based on circumstance. But I think you’ll find that while the situations in these books may be different from yours, the grief and the joy available will bear many resemblances.

  • Has a friend or family member who has lost a child. Compassion and support for a grieving parent is vital. These books can help you better understand that unique loss and how you can best support and remain present in their lives over the long haul. (Remember: Grief doesn’t keep a calendar.)

  • Is in a helping profession and wants to understand the pain associated with child loss. These books are great resources for doctors, counselors, teachers, ministry leaders, nurses, psychiatrists, life coaches, health advocates, and anyone else who professionally tends to the heart, mind, and body of others.

  • Wants to deepen your faith and understanding of God’s grace in suffering. Sometimes we need to lean in on the faith of others when ours feels faltering. I find that the more stories I hear about God’s presence in pain, the more strength I gather for when mine falls apart.

Note that most of these books are more narrative than instructive or how-to (that tends to be my preference). But I think you’ll find that the stories themselves can help us heal, understand grief, and find faith in broken places. In the list, I give a quick insight into why I chose each book, but I promise not to give away the details—because they’re not my stories to tell.

1. Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman & Ellen Vaughn

What I loved most about Mary Beth’s story is how she openly confessed her struggle to see God in the midst of her most excruciating pain, in the wake of losing her daughter to a horrible accident at their home. In many ways, this book gave me permission to feel and to confess all of my grief experience before God.

2. I Will Carry You by Angie Smith

I Will Carry You was the first book I read after finding out our son wouldn’t live after he was born. Angie’s story mirrors so much of my own—and she tells it with such vulnerability, authenticity, and even much-needed laughter. I think you’ll find her story carries both the heaviness of grief and the refreshing waters of joy all at the same time.

3. Through the Eyes of a Lion:Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power by Levi Lusko

I chose to include this book for several reasons: First, I think you’ll find Levi real and engaging in how he tells his story and fights to find God in it. Also, because the grief experience can vary greatly across genders, I wanted to be sure to include at least one book written by a man. Lastly, while the narrative for Levi’s book is his daughter’s unexpected death, the message is much more universal for anyone wanting to view life through a spiritual lens.

4. Colors of Goodbye: A Memoir of Holding On, Letting Go, and Reclaiming Joy in the Wake of Loss by September Vaudrey

It’s a beautiful thing when a book is both artistic and inspiring based on the rawness of the story and the way in which it’s told. And that’s exactly what September achieved in courageously retelling her experience with her college-age daughter’s accident and death. It’s a beautiful memorial not only to her daughter, but also the grace that can find us in the midst of such wretched grief.

5. And Still She Laughs: Defiant Joy in the Depths of Suffering by Kate Merrick

After hearing Kate Merrick’s interview on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, I had to have her book. I finally read it just a few weeks ago, and it’s simply captivating. Kate is everything you want in a writer: conversational, deep, funny, inspiring, and authentic. While I geeked out on her writing style, the genuine way in which she let us into the pain of losing her daughter to cancer is even more exquisite.

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