Not Alone, edited by Jessica Snell, is a powerful book addressing the painful journey of those touched with infertility and miscarriage. It’s a collection of stories shared by many different people, some whose experiences are long past, some whose are more recent, and some whose are still ongoing. Some of these men and women now have children, and others remain childless. They share their unique experiences and how they’ve been torn, broken, and grown by their experiences, expressing their journeys with much transparency, yet always end by reminding themselves and the audience of the hope of Jesus in their own way, finding comfort in one of the thousands of comforting truths of the Messiah.
I highly recommend this book for many reasons, the most compelling of them being that it’s raw, faithful to Scripture, and depending on the reader’s experience, it’s either relatable or eye-opening.
The writers of these stories surely don’t hold anything back when they share what they’ve gone through, and it’s both gut-wrenching and moving at once. Each of them have experienced or still are experiencing undeniable and seemingly unbearable trials, and they’re truthful about it. They express their absolute anger, confusion, lack of faith and distrust in the Lord during certain periods of time, their grief and self-pity, inability to rejoice with others, and frustration with ignorant remarks from friends and family. They’re all true Christians, and their utter honesty is even shocking at points, but it’s something to greatly appreciate. I say this because our Christian culture today tells us that allowing ourselves to mourn and grieve, to be sorrowful and honest about our hurt, is wrong and weak; that we must shoo our true feelings about the dark seasons and trials in our lives behind a mask of false happiness. Instead, these brothers and sisters show that it’s okay – even good – to acknowledge and confront and deal with where we are, even if it seems like we’re in a pit of darkness, but to do so with hope, which comes from a personal relationship with Christ alone. How can we truly praise and appreciate Jesus if we’re never honest with Him, with ourselves, and with others about the pain we experience? You might find some parts of certain stories a little uncomfortable, but that plays a significant role in making this book a must-read.
2. Faithful to the Bible
Although these writers are uncomfortably honest at times throughout the book, they stay rooted within Scripture. At no point do they contradict the Bible. Sure, they’re quite blunt about how they’re feeling, even when they’re emotions are wrong and sinful. Still, even in the times when they reflect on these negative thoughts and feelings, repentance has already taken place, and they reveal what the Father has taught them through these fires. They don’t continue on in their self-pity or jealousy or anger. They don’t remain in their disbelief or distrust in God. They may have at one point in time, and they share that, but they always go back to God’s written Word for guidance, direction, truth, and hope. While the honesty of these contributors is an important aspect of the uniqueness of this book, it would be a worthless aspect if had they not remained faithful to Scripture. They use their transparency to teach readers how to face the grief and pain that come with trials, while still praising the Creator and putting hope in our Anchor, Jesus Christ.
3. Eye-opening or Encouraging
For readers who have been faced with or are currently being faced with the reality of infertility or miscarriage, I can’t imagine who encouraging this book will be for you. Those of us who have never had to deal with these trials can only sympathize, offer hope, and join in mourning. We can’t truly understand or give you the sense that we’re “in it together.” Although each experience is unique to the individual, I’m confident that you’re bound to find a story that is at least similar to yours. That doesn’t mean that it lessens the pain of the real trial you’re facing, but surely you know that you are not alone. Not only that, but there are many stories in which God has eventually blessed these people with children, after years of infertility or miscarriage, offering even more hope to those who face these realities now.
For readers who have never had to endure these difficulties, we still can’t fully understand unless it were to happen to us. However, I have a much better understanding of what actually happens when a miscarriage occurs and a deeper knowledge of the physical and emotional pain one endures due to miscarriages or infertility. There are people in my life who have had a miscarriage, and then the Lord granted them a beautiful, healthy child just this year. Before, I could barely sympathize because I had no idea whatsoever what a miscarriage entails and what the effects on the body and heart and mind are. After reading this heart-wrenching collection of stories, my eyes have been opened wide to the incredible gift of the child they’ve been given, and I’m all the more joyful for their new little girl!
All in all, this is an incredible piece that I strong suggest, whether you’ve experienced miscarriage or infertility or not. I guarantee that you’ll grow in your faith in multiple ways after reading the journeys of these brothers and sisters.