Discussion with Nancy Guthrie

Good evening, and welcome to Desiring God Live. My name is Scott Anderson, the executive director here at the ministry, and we’re coming to you live from our studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We thank you for tuning in tonight. It is a joy to have you with us. Our guest on the broadcast tonight is Nancy Guthrie. Nancy may be familiar to many of you because she is a well-known author and speaker. Nancy has written several books of various types, including several devotionals like Be Still My Soul and another one entitled O Love that Will Not Let Me Go. Later in the broadcast tonight, we’ll be discussing Nancy’s newest book, which is entitled The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis. This is a 10-week Bible study that really unpacks how to see Christ in the Book of Genesis. This is published by Crossway Books and we’re thankful that Crossway can be our ministry partner on the broadcast tonight.

Nancy has also written several books on the topic of suffering and the sovereignty of God. It’s a topic that she and her family are well familiar with because of the loss of two of their children, Hope and Gabriel, both of whom were born with Zellweger syndrome and both of whom passed away at about the six-month mark. In her book Holding on to Hope, Nancy has really recounted her journey through those times of suffering and loss, and this gives a wonderful account of their story. And it’s from these tragic experiences really that Nancy’s current writing and teaching ministry has come. She has a wonderful ministry of compassion to those who are hurting and in need and a ministry of passion to get folks studying God’s word and applying it to real life.

Nancy and her husband, David, are the host of Respite Retreats. And these are retreats designed for couples who have experienced the loss of a child, and they’re also the host of GriefShare, which is a video series used in thousands of small groups held weekly in churches across the country. Nancy and David live in Nashville, Tennessee, and their son, Matt, is a student at the University of Tennessee. So Nancy, thank you for being on the broadcast.

Thank you, Scott for having me. Honored to be here.

Well, it’s a joy to have you with us, and what I’d like to do is just kind of open up our discussion tonight and our conversation by having you kind of tell us a little bit about yourself, where’d you come from, and tell us about the kind of home that you grew up in. How did you come to faith in Christ and just kind of walk us through your growing up years and maybe bring us up to about 1998 or 1999.

I was blessed to grow up in a home where Christ was loved and the church was loved. I am one of those kids who was always in church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and Vacation Bible school, and I’m so grateful for that to have grown up in the church and knowing Christ and studying God’s word. My grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher who started churches all over the country. So I’m very blessed to have that background. I went to a Christian college, John Brown University, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas where I studied broadcasting and Bible, which comes together right here. So I feel I’m justifying my college degree even at this moment. I graduated from there, and I got a job right out of college in Christian publishing as a publicist at Word Books in Waco, Texas, and worked there for six years. The company moved to Dallas. I worked there for six years in publicity, working with wonderful Christian authors, working on promoting their books. I left that job when I had our son, Matt, who’s 21, and for a lot of years I did media relations for various Christian publishers from home. That was the biggest chunk of my life, I suppose, until 1998.

Do you remember when you came to Christ? Was it when you were a child or teen years?

I remember being a little girl in church. I remember very young, wanting to respond to an invitation, and going in to talk with the pastor, and I remember him asking me if I understood what it meant to be lost. I imagined myself being lost in a forest. I think he determined I hadn’t quite figured it all out yet at that point. But I came to Christ at about eight years of age at our Baptist church, and my grandfather baptized me, and I have been grateful for that.

Wonderful. BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) has had a significant role in your life, and I think we’re going to talk about this a little bit later on as it relates to some of your passion for God’s word. But just talk to us about BSF for those that don’t know what it is maybe and how that shaped your life growing up.

For me, working in Christian publishing, I was always working around great Christian content and ideas, and I was very busy at church. But at one point in my life, I realized that I was so busy thinking about theological topics and busy working for God, but there wasn’t a real relationship between me and God. I wasn’t talking to him through prayer, I wasn’t hearing him speak to me through his Word, and I got to a real low point in my life. I had known people who had gone to BSF, and I always thought, “Well, that’s really nice for them, but I really know the Bible, and so I don’t really need that.” But then I got to that really low point in life, and I visited the Bible Study Fellowship class in Nashville when we moved there in 1993. I vividly remember that first week when the lecturer Sue Johnson, who was talking about the woman with the issue of blood, was talking about how this woman had the life draining out of her and she needed a miracle. I remember her asking the question, “Is there anyone here who needs a miracle?”

It wasn’t an appropriate environment to stand up and raise my hand. But I wanted to because I felt like nothing less than a miracle would break through all of my accumulated knowledge about the Bible and about God and break through that mountain of hardheartedness and apathy toward God. As I made that commitment to BSF, I remember, initially, it just seemed like an enormous commitment to not be available to my clients on Wednesday mornings to attend the class. But it was a sacrifice God honored because what that became for me was me saying to God, “Knowing you through your word is more important to me than being available to my clients Wednesday morning.” And it came to be more important than anything. And so, as I made that commitment to BSF and sat on the front row for eight years, learning God’s word, God’s word began to really work in me immediately.

As I studied his Word, rather than just it being a theological study about an idea, his word spoke to me, and quite often, it spoke conviction, and I responded in repentance. I went from a person with no sense of relationship to a sense that God was at work in my life. He was changing me. I wasn’t the same person. So BSF was a powerful tool that God used in my life to build a strong foundation of knowing who he is through his word.

You were young marrieds at the time?

I’m still a young married.

Yes. Matthew had just been born?


Take us from that point, that was 1993, and you just a few years later really found yourself expecting your second child. Tell us Hope’s story.

Hope was born in November of 1998, and we went to the hospital expecting a healthy baby girl. And when she was born, the doctor noticed what he called lots of little problems. She was really lethargic. She had a real large soft spot and kind of some extra skin on her neck, and she wasn’t crying much. She wasn’t holding her temperature. He came to our hospital room that night, and he’d made this little list of what he called a number of little things wrong with Hope. He said, “A lot of times when there’s a lot of little things wrong, they actually add up to something more significant. So I want to have a geneticist take a look at her.”

That next day, a geneticist from Vanderbilt came over and examined Hope. And he came to our hospital room that night and told David and me that he suspected she had this rare metabolic disorder called Zellweger syndrome, which meant that she was missing this tiny subcellular particle called Peroxisomes. It’s a little enzyme you and I have in all of our cells that rids our cells of toxins. He explained she was missing that little subcellular particle, and because of that, those toxins would build up in her system. And in fact, a lot of damage had already been done to all of her major organs, especially her liver and her kidney and her brain.

So this starts in utero?

Yes. So that was hard news to hear, and then he added to it, “There’s no treatment and no cure, and most children with this syndrome live less than six months.” And he handed us two sheets out of a medical textbook that had in very medical terms all the things that were likely wrong in Hope’s body and all the things that would likely go wrong and lead to her death and numerous postmortem pictures of babies with the syndrome and then he left the room. I remember David just crawled up into the bed with me, and we cried. And we cried out to God, probably the most unceremonious prayer, just saying, “God help us. What do we do with this?” And I remember us saying, “Lord, we want to trust you with this.” But really, at that point, we had no idea what that would look like or even where to start.

What did those next 199 days look like for you? Just give us a little snippet as you can as to what life was like and how you processed the realities that had broken in on day one.

We didn’t know how many days we’d have. At the hospital, I did realize, “Okay, most children with this syndrome live less than six months, and so she probably won’t have a first birthday.” And so, one thing we determined before we even left the hospital was that we would celebrate the days that God did give us with her. So we decided her life would be marked in weeks or months rather than years. And so we decided we would have a birthday party for her every month, and we did that. Our first one was with our small group from church and one with our neighbors. And it was our way of thanking God and celebrating the life that we were given. It was a limited life. It was a difficult life.

Hope was very limited. Her first day was her best, and it was kind of downhill from that. Although she grew physically, she declined, and Hope couldn’t see or hear or respond. And when she was about three months old, she developed seizures, and we had to medicate her heavily for those. But Scott, she was such a joy to us. It was such a joy to have her, and it was a joy to celebrate her life. But there was also this dark reality all the time that it was going to be brief. And that last birthday party we had when she was six months old, I struggled with whether or not to even have it because, honestly, at that point, it almost seemed like a denial of reality to celebrate her life because she was obviously so close to death, but yet that six-month mark was significant.

So we had a party, but on the way home, driving home from the party, I said to David, “I don’t think we’ll have a seven-month party.” And it was a couple of weeks later that David got up in the middle of the night to check on her. She slept in a crib just beside our bed, and she was cool to the touch, and he told me she’s gone. I think for anyone who’s watching, you know that if you have gone through that experience of anticipating someone’s death, you hope maybe that will make it easier that you know it’s coming, but it just doesn’t seem to work that way. Hope’s death left me with a profound emptiness and a deep sorrow and so many questions to seek to work through, to try to put together my understanding of this God who loves me and has ordained my life and Hope’s life with this bitter experience.

So for that, I went to God’s word, and over the weeks, months, and years, I went to God’s word with a lot of deep questions. Sometimes, some of us are consumers of God’s word. I interact with hurting parents who, oftentimes, want me to give them a few places in the Bible to comfort them, but that’s misusing the Bible. You can’t pick at the Bible and find comfort. The comfort is found in digging deep into God’s word in a way that we come to know him and how he works, and not only that, what he’s about in this world — what he has done and what he’s working toward.

It was as I pursued God in the midst of my questions that God really met me in powerful and significant ways. That first day after we got the diagnosis, my pastor came to see us in the hospital, and I remember saying to him, “You know what, Charles? I think this is where the rubber is going to meet the road in my life, and I’m going to find out if I really believe everything I’ve said I believe my whole life.” And that was really the truth. I found out that what you believe matters and that what I believe mattered in my life. It mattered in my sense of perspective about my loss and about the future.

You mentioned having your pastor come in, and in some of the reading that I’ve done, there was one particular couple that walked with you through really both these seasons. And you had monthly birthday parties. You all really folded in the church community, folded in the body of Christ, inviting them really into your suffering to be a part of it. Was that intentional, or was that a reflexive thing? Was that just a coping thing? You didn’t push people away and turn inward on yourselves. You actually did the opposite and you turned your suffering out onto the body. What was going on with that?

Some people have looked at that, and they’ve complimented me, thinking that I was being very generous and really I was being very selfish. The truth is, I knew Hope’s life was going to be brief. I wanted people to know her. I didn’t want to be the only one that missed her when she was gone. I interact with a lot of grieving people, and I feel especially for people who go through miscarriage or stillbirth or the kind of infant death that’s early on — their child never comes home — where no one ever knows that child, and therefore, people have a hard time understanding the depth of loss in that couple when they’ve lost that child because they didn’t know and hold and look into the eyes of that child.

So it was a great joy to me to share Hope with people so they would miss her when she was gone so they would understand my sorrow when she was gone. But also, Scott, there was something significant that happened during her life. None of our conversations were chatting about stuff that doesn’t matter anymore. In our little cul-de-sac neighborhood, you know how it is. You get together with your neighbors, and you talk about the lawn or the football team or whatever. No, we were talking about life and death and what good is prayer and what faith is and what miracles are and if we should expect one. So the conversation changed. Hope added a richness to our lives and to all those relationships. People would say, “I want to bring you a meal.” And we would say, “Well, bring enough for yourselves too and stay with us.” I look back at those months as being so rich in relationships with people just because the conversations were never casual or meaningless. They were rich, talking about the things that matter most.

In an interview that I saw that was done on your story, you talk about your struggle with fear, particularly with Hope. You said that you struggled with “the fear of finding Hope either dead in the crib or dead in my arms.” And I know tonight and in the days and years to come where people access this video there are people watching this right now who’ve been given a prognosis, or who have a spouse or a dear loved one who might not have much time. They’ve got a disease or a sickness or an issue, and a doctor has delivered news, and they’re struggling with a very similar fear of potentially finding that loved one dead in the bed, or dead in the crib, or dead in their arms. How in the world did you cope with that fear, and how did you press through that and overcome that?

I felt afraid.Sometimes I think we think we can just somehow magically get rid of fear, but every emotion we have to look at God’s word and speak the truth of God’s word to our thoughts because our thoughts lie to us. So for fearful, anxious thoughts, I would have to speak God’s truth to them. For example, when Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He’s saying, “I’m going to be enough for you.” That’s a good example of a way we use Scripture to talk to ourselves because I remember on some of those days saying, “Okay, I’m experiencing God being enough for me even in the midst of this horrible hard thing. So God, I choose to believe that you’re going to be enough for me when that day comes too.”

That was my experience by the way. He has been enough for me in these hard places. So for fear, anxiety, and all those different things, we speak the truth of God’s word to our feelings, and we find that our feelings change. That the word of God can actually change our feelings. That was my experience. And to that person who is facing the death of someone you love, our culture thinks of death as a tragedy. I would say in my experience with Hope, certainly, it felt like a tragedy to me. It was tragic to me to think that I would not grow old with Hope. I looked at Hope, and I thought of all the things that I would miss out on getting to do with her, all the things of life that I wouldn’t get to enjoy with her.

But once again, I had to look at that feeling and apply the truth of Scripture and ask, “Is it a tragedy to spend a short time in this broken world and then to be ushered into the presence of God?” I had to say, that’s not a tragedy. It feels that way to me, but that is not a tragedy. And so to that person watching I would say, Christ and Christ alone takes the sense of tragedy and despair from death. He rips those things out of death because when we know that Christ is on the other side of death, then even though there’s a scariness of the unknown, we also know that when Christ is on the other side of death, we can rest. It is not tragic to leave this world and go to be with Christ. It might feel that way, but it isn’t.

Amen. Well, this was a genetic disease, and therefore, you and David were no longer able to have children. That was, I’m sure, the thinking. Why don’t you tell us about Gabe?

Well, we had a hard decision to make after we had Hope because we didn’t know when we had our son that we were both carriers of this recessive gene trait, but then after having Hope, then we knew, and in so many ways our family didn’t feel complete. But as we looked at the possibility of having another child and risking having another child with a syndrome, it was a really difficult decision to make about whether or not to take that risk.

And the risks were considerable?

It’s a 25 percent chance that whenever we have a child, that that child would have the fatal syndrome. And the truth is, our lives aren’t just me and David. There was Matt, and he had lived in a house waiting for someone to die for six months, and then he had lived with a really sad mom, which could not have been very much fun. There were our parents as well. And Scott, as hard as it is to lose a child, to watch your child lose a child was very difficult for our parents. So making that decision was not just thinking about ourselves going through it again or that child, but the broader group of our family and friends. So we took surgical steps to prevent another pregnancy, and evidently it didn’t work.

It was a year and a half after Hope died that I discovered that I was pregnant, and my heart was pounding. I went up to David’s office, and I told him, and we sat there shaking our heads, and both of us were talking about how for both of us, there had been times when we had regretted that vasectomy decision, but that we’d come back around feeling like we had made the wise decision. But we also thought, “Okay. Well, if this has happened, God’s hand is in it. This hasn’t happened as an accident outside of his control.” So if he has ordained this for us, for me, there was that sense of, “Okay, I know he loves me. I know he’s for me. He’s not out to hurt me. And if he is asking me to do this again to walk down this road again, then he must have something really good he wants to do with it.”

So we went through prenatal testing, and we discovered that this child did have the syndrome. This time it was a son. So our prayer just began to be that God would accomplish that good that he had in mind. I remember going away for a weekend after we got those prenatal test results and found out he also had Zellweger syndrome and just saying to God, “Okay, if I have to go through this again, just don’t let this be wasted pain in my life. Don’t let it be for nothing. But mold me and shape me into someone that you can use to accomplish whatever it is you have in mind for us.” So Gabe came, this was July 16th, 2001, he was born, and his life in many ways was very much like Hope’s in terms of how he was affected. Hope had been with us 199 days, and Gabe was with us 183. It was very similar. It was different in that we knew throughout the pregnancy what to expect.

You told people?

Once we knew, we shared it with our church and our friends and our family. But it was oftentimes, quite frankly, awkward in that pregnancy to be pregnant. It was interesting how people responded. Many people were rejoicing but there was also some sorrow. Many people also believed that we should be praying for a miracle for God to heal Gabe in the womb, that he would come out somehow differently than the tests had already shown. And honestly, they were thinking of us as faithless that we chose to accept this as what God had determined about his life.

Talk about that a little bit, Nancy, because in some of the interviews you talked about prayers for healing, that while you understood God was capable to do that, it was almost a lazy way to pray. There was something else to be praying for. This was a genetic thing that wasn’t going to change. It was fundamental to this child’s being. It is how he was fearfully and wonderfully made.

I probably wouldn’t say lazy way to pray. God invites us to ask him for what we want, and he’s our Father, and we can do that. But I do think you’re hitting on what the distinction was for us. It was that Hope and Gabe weren’t sick. I think there’s some inconsistency in the church in how we pray about healing. When a child is born with Down syndrome, I don’t think we find many churches that pray that extra chromosome will be removed. Or when a child is born without an arm, we don’t find many churches that pray that an arm will grow. So they were not sick in a way that needed healing.

I think because people were unfamiliar with it and because he was hidden away in my womb that it seemed like, “Why don’t we just pray that all of this changes?” But I mean the prenatal tests reveal the reality of what’s already going on in his body. And once again, it’s not that God is not powerful enough to do that. God raises the dead. God created man out of the dust of the ground. He can do it. So it’s not a matter of lack of faith in his ability. But I guess I figured out that faith is not always defined by our ability to work up fervor to believe God to do a miracle, but that faith is trusting God to do what is right.

What a lot of people perhaps define as faith, I think, is actually seeking to manipulate God to get what they want. I think real faith is submitting to what God wants, knowing that he can change it. And we certainly knew he could do whatever he wanted to. But we sensed God calling us to trust him, not in terms for him to change the trajectory of what he seemed to be doing, but to trust him with it. And so, for many people around us, that didn’t seem like faith to them, and that was hard for us. Some people looked at us and genuinely believed that things could have been different if we had prayed differently, and that was hard at times. But we believe that Gabe was who God ordained for him to be, and he had a purpose for his life and a purpose for this in our lives. And rather than trying to pray that away, I wanted to welcome God to do it his way.

Amen. You all gave an interview with “Christianity Today” a few years back, and you said, “When Gabe came along there was something thrilling, knowing that God was at work, that this thing was so beyond the pale, that God had to be up to something for this to happen in the way that it did.” Does that sound crazy?

It sounds good crazy. It sounds Bible crazy. Talk to us a little bit about that. Was that the immediate mindset? Did God send that grace, that kind of faith, or was that something, a perspective that you grew into over the course of the pregnancy?

Well, fortunately you have nine months. There was a lot to think through and process, but God prepared us for it in advance, I believe, so that we were ready to receive this pretty quickly. In fact, I remember the day after I found out I was pregnant. When we first discovered this and had that first conversation, David was afraid I would blame him, and I was a little afraid he would blame me in that sense. I thought the next day about that statement Joseph made. Do you remember this? In Genesis 45:8, he says to his brothers, “It wasn’t you who sent me here but God.” Now that is a profound statement about God’s sovereignty because his brothers sent them there. They sold him into slavery. So there was a human component to him being sent there. And yet, he saw over that the invisible hand of God, of God’s providence sending him there to be in position to save his brothers.

I remember being in our bedroom and just looking at David and saying those words to him and saying, “You know what, I’m thinking about Joseph, and I think I have to say the same thing to you, ‘It wasn’t you who sent me here but God.’” I guess that “thrilling” word seems a little bit weird, but I think wherever we are in our lives — good bad situations — when God is unmistakably involved, it’s thrilling, maybe especially if it’s the hardest thing you can imagine.

I think what we were getting at there was that sense of the odds from a human sense were astronomical that this would be happening. So the fact that we knew that God was sovereign over this and he was working through this and he had intentions for good in it, there is a thrill in that. Now, David often says that he used to think that joy and sorrow couldn’t coexist, that if you had deep sorrow, you couldn’t feel joy. In our experiences, that’s one of the big things that we have learned, that joy, — incredible, deep, real joy, and incredible deep sorrow — can coexist. So maybe that “thrill” word also fits in that. It can be devastating and painful and disappointing, and yet at the same time deeply joyful knowing that God is doing something significant in what’s going on in your life.

Amen. Scripture speaks of being “sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” I think you said, “Faith kept us from despair, but it didn’t make it hurt any less.” So there is a way to hurt deeply and yet to not drop into that abyss of despair, to maintain a faith and hope and joy in God.

Faith doesn’t make hurt hurt less. David is actually the one who said it when we put Hope’s body in the ground, which is the lowest day of my life. I was walking away from my child’s body being put into the ground. And David said, “You know, I think we thought faith would make this hurt less, and it doesn’t.” I think that’s what many people think about faith. That hasn’t been our experience.

I have hurt deeply but God has met me in that pain. He has shown himself to me in the midst of the pain. He has helped me to know him in a way through the pain that I couldn’t have known him apart from it. Isaiah calls Jesus “a man of sorrows.” Well, I don’t think I could know that aspect or understand that aspect of who Jesus is without knowing sorrow myself. So, in that way, I thank God for the sorrow that helps me to know Christ in a deeper way.

Well, tell me about a certain “Time Magazine” article. It was July 16th, 2001. That’s a special date, and it’s also the date that this “Time Magazine” article came out. Talk to us about this amazing piece that was written about your family.

I mentioned to you that I did media relations for a lot of years for a lot of Christian authors. And so I worked with lots of Christian and secular media, and one of the people I had worked with on a couple of stories was the religion writer for “Time Magazine.” When we got the prenatal results for Gabe, we knew that there were lots of awkward conversations coming with people. I would say, “Yes, I’m pregnant again but . . .” So we printed up a card that told people the whole story and how we felt about it. A lot of people think we must have incredibly bad luck, but we don’t see our lives that way. We believe God was providentially in control of our lives, and he’s doing something good. So we gave it to everybody we knew just to avoid awkward conversations from the dry cleaner and the place where we eat out on Sundays, everybody.

I sent it to people in the media that I knew I’d be working with again, and one of those was the religion writer at “Time Magazine.” And he sent me back a beautiful personal and professional message. He told me he’s not a believer, but he said — and this is someone who has interviewed most religious world leaders — “But I’ve never felt plunged more deeply into that mystery than when I finished reading your card.” And he said, “I don’t think I would’ve made the same choices you’ve made, but I’m profoundly moved by your obedience to your God.” He asked if he could come to Nashville and do a story. So he came and spent four days with us, and though he doesn’t share our faith, he shared our sorrow. He wrote a beautiful story that appeared in that July 16th, 2001 issue, the day Gabe was born.

That was an amazing thing. It kind of started his life out in the spotlight in a sense, and with us saying, “Is this part of what you have in mind, Lord?” And that sparked the local newspaper to cover Gabe’s life, all six months of his life. And it was hard to decide whether or not to do it because I knew the time was short, and I didn’t want it to be spent performing for a camera. But I also saw it as an opportunity for people to look inside someone’s home and see the difference that Christ makes in the lowest point of life.

So they were there on all different days, and they were there with us at the hospital the night Gabe died, and we handed over his lifeless body. It gave readers the opportunity to see into that because those are the moments where I remember my pastor saying, “This is where we ask, is the gospel really true?” That’s the place you ask, “Is the gospel really true? Do I really believe that I can entrust my child to Christ and into his loving care?” Those are the places where the gospel became even more precious to us, more solid, and more significant.

Amen. David Van Bema, who wrote that article in “Time Magazine,” wrote this of believers. I’ll read you from the article now. He says, “For believers, suffering is not an injustice nor a punishment. Rather, it is a harrowing invitation into a higher dialogue.” He seems to get it right for believers.

It’s an incredible story.

I hear the subtitle of your book and his line, “The harrowing invitation to a higher dialogue.” I hear Suffering as a Pathway to the Heart of God. And I’m wondering if, at that time, surely you had no sense of stacks of books or maybe even a book. But regarding A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God, you’re at that point where you’ve buried two of your children. At what point were you beginning to sense a call to writing or a sense that this needs to get written down? You’ve had millions of people exposed through “Time Magazine” newspaper stories. Where did the birthing of a book come into play?

Actually, the week before Hope was born, I read the Book of Job in Bible Study Fellowship. I had read it before, but it impacted me like never before. Most specifically, there in Job 1, I saw Job’s initial response to loss. You might remember this. It says that Job fell to the ground in worship. I remember sharing with my group, “I don’t get that. How could he do that?” And mostly, I was thinking that week, “Could I do that?” When I woke up in that hospital room the day after getting Hope’s diagnosis, I remember thinking about Job and thinking, “I guess here’s where I’m going to find out how I’m going to respond to the worst news I can imagine.”

During Hope’s life, I went back to the Book of Job, trying to figure out how Job responded to this incredible loss in his life. Because having read the whole story, I see it comes to the end, and his life is described as good. I thought, “Okay, how can he lose so much, and how can he question God so honestly and boldly and emerge from it, not angry or alienated from God, but actually with a more intimate relationship with God and with a life that is described as good.” Because, at that point, I didn’t think my life would ever be good again. I couldn’t imagine that it would. So I spent those months during Hope’s life going through Job, looking at all of his responses. I was invited to give a little talk to the women at my church actually when Hope was about five months old about what I was learning, and I did that.

Then after Hope died, because I’ve worked in publishing and worked around books, everybody would ask me, “So are you going to write a book?” I thought about it right at first because I felt like I had learned so much through our experience with Hope, but that faded away very quickly with grief setting in on me like a boulder on my chest. And I went from feeling very full and wise to feeling empty with no answers for anybody. I couldn’t imagine writing anything. I just kind of set that aside. Then I got pregnant with Gabe, and that spring in Bible Study Fellowship, we were studying the Parable of the Talents. We were studying Matthew, and we came to the Parable of Talents. And you remember, there’s the one steward who’s entrusted with some resources and afraid of doing the wrong thing, he buries them.

The master comes, and the master has only one expectation, that is that the resources are invested for a return for his kingdom. And I remember the teacher asking a couple questions. One question she asked was, “What has God placed in your hands?” And I thought, “Well, I’ve had this experience in publishing. I know how books work and how to put one together, and I have love for the Scriptures, and I have some communication gifts. And then, on top of that, he’s giving me this experience.” At this point, I was about seven months pregnant with Gabe. I just looked at all that God had placed in my hands and realized that I was that unfaithful steward. I had buried it, afraid of doing the wrong thing with it.

So I went home that day and started writing Holding on to Hope. It’s really a very short little simple book. I sent it to the publisher the week before Gabe was born, and then it came out on what would’ve been his first birthday. And it’s sweet that God has used it really all over the world. It’s in nine languages around the world. While it’s been a while since I’ve had this experience, when someone loses a child — or people from all kinds of loss experiences read it — and I hear from them, it meets them where they are. And, oftentimes, what people tell me is that they felt alone before they read it. And then, after they read it, they didn’t feel alone because they saw somebody else has experienced what they’re experiencing in their loss. So I’m really grateful for how God’s used it.

Well, we are grateful that God put it on your heart to write this, that’s for sure. And you’ve ministered to people through this book and through several of the other books, but you also have this thing called Respite Retreats. We’re going to take a break in just a moment or two, but why don’t you tell us a little bit about what Respite Retreats are?

Over the years since I’ve written that in several other books, especially for people who are hurting or grieving, lots of people get in contact with us, me and David, especially people who’ve lost a child, and David and I love to get together with people. In fact, this afternoon, here in Minneapolis, I got together with a couple who’s lost a child and it’s a privilege to get to do that. Because when you’ve lost a child, you’ve got friends around you who want to help you and so want to be there for you, but they’re limited in their ability to understand. It can be such a relief to be around other people who get it and you don’t have to explain things to.

So a couple of years ago, David and I had dinner with a couple coming through town who had read some of my books and wanted to get together with us. We were driving home, and it had been a really sweet time with this couple. There’s something special that happens when it’s husband and wife, and husband and wife together. I said, “You know what? We ought to start a retreat for couples who have lost children.” And we knew the perfect retreat center to do it outside Nashville. So we’ve now had six Respite Retreats. And we gather at a beautiful 12-bedroom lodge in the country outside Nashville. There are 11 couples and me and David.

We spend from Friday evening until midday on Sunday sharing our stories with each other, sharing our sorrow with each other, talking about some of the very practical things that grieving parents deal with. We talk about things like, “What am I going to do with my child’s bedroom or belongings? How do I deal with all the disrupted friendships with those people who I thought would be there for me and they weren’t there for me? What do I do with my questions for God and his role in this?” There are so many things like that. So we spend the weekend together. Couples come fearful of sharing their greatest sorrow with a bunch of strangers, and then by Sunday, nobody wants to go home, and they’ve found this new group of people who understand their sorrow. So our next retreat, our seventh retreat, will be Labor Day Weekend right outside Nashville.

If anyone’s watching and you’ve lost a child, or if you know someone who’s lost a child you can tell them. A lot of times, we see someone’s lost a child, and we feel like we’ve got nothing in our toolbox to help them, and we so want to come up with some way to help. Well, here’s a way you can help them. Think about sending them to a Respite Retreat because what we see every weekend we do is that the Holy Spirit takes the little that we have to offer and he multiplies it and he brings real healing to these couples lives, some of whom have given up on ever feeling okay again. We are thrilled to get to do that, and we just kind of schedule them as there is need. And our next one is Labor Day.

Folks can learn more about Respite Retreats through nancyguthrie.com. Well, Nancy, before we take a break, I have one more question for you. Hope has been with Jesus for 12 years and Gabe has been with Jesus for 10 years. Looking back now on a decade-plus of bearing this grief and then seeing some measure of really amazing fruitfulness come from this, in what ways do you and David still struggle with grief? Is there still a deep grief? Is it a different kind of grief? What does a decade do in that regard?

I know some people who sometimes unfortunately will say to someone who’s lost a child, “You’re going to feel this forever.” Well, that’s half true. You do feel it in a sense forever, but you don’t have to feel it with the intensity that you feel it at first, especially those first months and even first few years. God is a healer. He brings healing. Time doesn’t heal, but time spent seeking God in his Word, asking him to do a work of healing brings healing. There is a brokenness that will be there until I enter into glory and all that has been broken will be healed. And sometimes, I’m surprised by sorrow. We just passed what would’ve been Gabe’s 10th birthday. It wasn’t a really sad day for me, but the month before that was the 12-year mark of Hope’s death. I was desperately sad all day and weepy all day.

I find what has happened is that over time I have more control about going to that deep place of grief. Early in grief, it has so much power over you. It comes on you in a wave, and you are helpless to fight against it, and you have to give into it. I think, as God brings healing, the hurt is still there, but I have more power to say, “Not now, maybe later.” It’s shorter amounts of times. I don’t go as far down for as long. And certainly, there is sorrow, but I also have gained perspective on it and have gained tools. I hate to repeat myself, but it’s what I mentioned earlier that speaking the truth of Scripture to our desperate thoughts and feelings doesn’t make all of those feelings go away instantly. But what we need to address the desperate thoughts and feelings is the truth of God’s word.

And I am grateful that as I look at Hope and Gabe’s lives and deaths, that God has been good enough to repeatedly, over and over again, pull back the curtain and show me how he’s using my loss for good. We’re promised that if we belong to him that he will work all things for our good. So it’s a matter of faith to trust that he will do that, knowing that he’s not obligated to ever show us what that good is. That calls for a lot. That’s faith in the face of loss — trusting that God will use it for good even if I never get to see in this life how he uses it for good. That’s real faith. I just feel abundantly grateful to God that he keeps pulling back the curtain and showing me ways that he uses my loss for good in the lives of others.

He is a kind and good heavenly Father. Amen.

We want to kind of shift gears a little bit now to some of the fruit that has come from what God has ordained in your life. The way I’d like to kind of bridge the gap is just to talk about the importance of working the word of God into your life as foundational to enduring any of the storms of life. I look back on your life, I see BSF, and I see providentially that God was putting Bible study on your heart in major ways and all of that in preparation for riding out the storm. So speak to that a little bit.

I’ll say this. You can’t go to church Sunday to Sunday and sit in church or even Sunday school in church and anticipate that you’re going to have the foundation underneath you that you need to endure the storms of life. That’s what so many of us do. That’s what I did for so many years. We have to know God through his word, and that’s not picking at it here and there. It’s diving into it to not just know Bible stories, or not just to take away little bits of inspiration, or even look at its stories to try to figure out how to have a better marriage or how to be a better parent.

For me, in coping with the things I’ve experienced, I have needed to understand the bigger picture of what God is doing in the world. I mean, as I went to the Scripture after the losses in my life, I had some very big questions to try to answer. Up to that point in my life, maybe I had heard the answers, but they didn’t click because maybe they didn’t matter so much. I think about something Joni Eareckson Tada says. She talks about how we’re willing to paddle around in the shallow end of theology when times are good, but then when that unimaginable thing happens, we get pushed into the deep end. I think there is some truth in that, that hardships of life press us into a deeper understanding of who God is and what he’s doing in the world.

I know that that has been the case for me. As I pondered the question, “It’s not your job to just be providing me with this comfortable life that I’ve wanted. If you’re doing something bigger in the world (and obviously he is), what is that? And what impact does that have on me?” That’s been my pursuit to understand the Scriptures in that way.

And what you have found, if I’m understanding your story correctly, is that in Bible study, you found more than just answers, but what emerged from the text was the person of Christ.

Absolutely. It’s not a vague faith in God, but a trust in the person and work of Christ.

Amen. Speaking of Joni Eareckson Tada, she has said the following quote: “God wrote the book on suffering, and he called it Jesus.” All the more reason, perhaps, to see Christ at every opportunity in our Bible reading. Would you agree with that? If suffering points us to Christ, we need to be reading the Scriptures, looking for Jesus at every turn.

The world doesn’t understand suffering. So the shallowness about God in the world says, “Somehow, incredible suffering and the goodness of God can’t both be the case.” They think that the suffering in the world somehow cancels out or makes the goodness of God not possible. And that’s exactly where we have to see Christ because we look at suffering and something happens to us where we can’t imagine how anything good is going to come out of it. I’m not belittling that. I deal with lots of suffering people, and I stand there shaking my head with them saying, “How can anything good come out of this?” But there’s only one place where I know to look and only one place I know to point people to look, and that is that the most innocent victim, the greatest betrayal, and the most intense suffering ever experienced was by Jesus on the cross. We would have to say that the slaying of Christ on the cross was the most evil thing that has ever happened in this world, and yet out of it flows the greatest good of all time — the salvation of sinners like you and me.

So the only way I know how to make sense of my suffering and the suffering of others is to look at the cross. It’s there when I look at the cross that I can begin to believe, “Okay, if God and his economy and his sovereignty can bring something so good out of something that’s so evil, then I can begin to believe that maybe he can bring something good out of the suffering in my life and the lives of those I interact with that is good, even when I can’t see how that would be the case.”

One point that I’ve heard you make in the past is that suffering taught you that it’s not all about you, and that, in turn, changed the way you read the Scriptures. It changed what you came to the Scripture looking for and seeking. Where did the impulse to start to see the Scriptures from a redemptive historical perspective, that desire to see the arc of redemption in Scriptures, to see Jesus in all the pages of the Bible at every turn. When did that break in?

I think it really got going in my life maybe five or six years ago as I began to listen to preachers who preach a sense of redemptive history and a gospel-centered approach. One would be Tim Keller. I was beginning to listen to his sermons. He would be going along, and then come to that point where he shows us Christ and our hearts melt. He has really helped me to see that the gospel is not about what God wants me to do for him, but what he has done for me through Christ. So that’s powerful. But I have to say my introduction to John Piper about six years ago affected me this way. As I began to voraciously consume his sermons this happened. I’m so grateful for the Desiring God website that you all make so much fabulous content and preaching freely available. I’m glad you don’t charge because I’d be bankrupt. As I just began to work my way, listening to his sermons and reading his sermons, especially whatever passage I was working on when I was writing or teaching, has really been very shaping to me.

Then, around that same time, we got a new pastor at our church who preached with a real sense of redemptive history where week by week, I was going, “Wow, I never saw that before.” All of those things began to play together. It showed me that while there was plenty I knew about the Scriptures from lots of years of following Christ and studying the Bible that somehow I had missed that sense that the whole Bible is about Christ from the very beginning and that we can see him in every part of the Scriptures.

Well, one of your other books is about seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. If you ask somebody, “Where will you find Jesus in your Bible?” Most people aren’t going to immediately say, “Well, the Old Testament.”

You go to the Gospels.

Yes, you go other places for that. At best, they might see him in some of the prophecies of the Old Testament.

That’s the way I always thought about Jesus being written about in the Old Testament. I thought it was pretty much limited to that.

Right. Old Testament is for some practical tips for daily living, some moralistic stories and example stories. We say, “Go be like David,” or such and such. At least, that’s how many of us grew up understanding the Old Testament. In your book, in particular now, and the series that’s going to flow from this, you’re really taking a very different approach. Talk to us a little bit about the burden that’s on your heart for us to see Christ in more significant ways, broadening our understanding of his presence in the Old Testament.

Well, it all flows out of Luke 24, where there’s this incredible scene in the New Testament after Christ’s resurrection when he is walking on the road to Emmaus with two disciples, and they don’t recognize him. He comes along and he says, “Why are you so sad?” And they say, “Well, haven’t You heard what happened?” Because in their mind, they had just witnessed Jesus being crucified on a cross. So in their mind, they’re thinking, “We thought He was Messiah. He couldn’t have been.”

Jesus chides them in a sense and says, “Oh you foolish of heart, so slow to believe all that the Prophets had written.” He basically said, “If you had really studied your Old Testament, then you would have known that the Savior would save through suffering.” Because it says you would’ve known about his suffering and his glory to follow. Then there is this verse in Luke 24:27 that has just changed my whole understanding or approach to reading the Scriptures. It says:

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Now, to describe who he was and what his ministry was all about, he didn’t start in the Gospels. He didn’t start by describing his birth, or his sermon on the mountain, or even his death or resurrection. He went back to the Old Testament to explain those things. Now, this is one of the places in the Bible where we so wish Luke had given us more. It would be so thrilling, wouldn’t it? It would be thrilling to have heard Jesus himself work his way, beginning with Moses and the Prophets, through the Old Testament, open it up, and say, “Well, see this need? I’m going to meet this need and see this promise to Abraham to bless. I’m going to be that blessing. And see this need for mercy? I will provide the basis for God to show mercy.” Again and again, it must’ve been a beautiful thing to hear Jesus himself do that. We don’t get that in Luke. But that doesn’t mean we can’t discover some of those things ourselves.

Sure. Let’s talk about this then. This particular book is the first in a series. And there are going to be five, correct?

The series is called the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series. They’re all 10-week bible studies. I’ve designed them for small groups looking for a Bible study to do this fall. So this first one in this series is just on Genesis. It’s 10 weeks of looking at the highlights of Genesis, but in a different way than we’ve studied Genesis before because many of us have done studies on Genesis. It’s foundational. But not many of us have studied Genesis with the distinct purpose of looking for what Genesis reveals to us about Jesus. So that’s the focus of each lesson in The Promised One, to see how it reveals Christ.

As you wrote it, did you have a target audience in mind? Was there sort of an end user that you were trying to tailor the book for? I mean, I couldn’t help but notice — and was really kind of struck with this — you have a lot of culturally relevant touchstones in this book. It’s not every day that you pick up a Bible study book by Crossway whose first chapter starts with a reference to the movie The Sixth Sense, or that refers to the book The Kite Runner. Even in your story on Noah, I thought it was interesting how you introduced that chapter by telling a really poignant, powerful story of one girl’s struggle with bulimia. It made for really engaging reading. Who was sort of the end user? Maybe another way to say it is just who is this book for?

Well, I’m thinking about people who come to Bible study, and we all come with needs, and the Bible is profoundly theological. I love theology, and I love it here that I hope what I’m doing is faithfully teaching the theology of the Scriptures, but the theology is practical. It meets real needs. So the things you’re referring to are where I’m trying to speak to, especially that woman in Bible study, and help her to see how these are not just Bible stories. I want people to see the difference that seeing Jesus in Genesis really makes. How do we read Genesis differently than a Jewish person or the person did in that time? What is the hope we find because we look at it in the person of Christ?

So, for example, in the chapter on the fall, we really look at the issue of shame. I mean, that was Adam and Eve in the garden, right? They went from naked and unashamed to hiding, and most of us can relate to that. We have things we have done that we hope never come to light that we would like to hide. It is Christ who answers that deep need. We have to rid ourselves of shame. And the way he answers that is that we know that when Christ hung on the cross, he hung full of shame. But it wasn’t his shame. It was my shame. It was your shame. So those are the kind of ways we find Jesus even in the pages of Genesis

They’re in the midst of the curse. God promises this offspring of the woman who’s going to come, and He’s going to crush the head of the serpent, but the serpent is going to bruise his heel, and that’s going to happen on the cross. And when he does that, he will bear our shame so that we don’t have to be ashamed. Then I go on from there to say the beautiful promise is, not only does that mean we can live in the here and now, not burden down by shame, but there is a day coming when we will enter into a new heaven and a new earth, and there will be no more shame at all. And so, with each week, we look at how Jesus answers that deep need that we can see even way back in Genesis that we have.

Yes. Again, I thought it was compelling. It felt fresh and relevant. I think it’s because you do tap into these deep kinds of universal felt needs that we have in each of the ways that you unpack these sections of Genesis. Now, you already alluded to it. I want to talk about this a little bit. There are sections to each chapter. For the viewers that are wanting to get their minds around how this book is laid out, each chapter has a personal Bible study section, then there’s a teaching chapter or teaching section in every chapter, and then there is a discussion guide. There’s also a fourth part I want to talk about separately because it’s my favorite part of the book. But why did you lay it out that way? What’s going on there in those sections?

Well, I’m thinking about the typical small group, especially women’s Bible study. Women can do the personal Bible study on their own, spending time, getting into the Scripture on their own, and answering those questions. That tills up the soil that they’ve gotten really familiar with the passage, which is the primary goal really of that personal Bible study section. And then there’s the teaching where I hopefully apply it and illuminate the understanding of it and present Christ from it. So people using the book, their small group, would do the personal Bible study, and read the chapter, and then come together. Some churches may choose to have somebody actually teach it some. Others may make it just solely a discussion using that discussion guide.

In a lot of Bible studies, we answer questions, and then we come together, and we discuss our answers to the questions. In the discussion guide I have for this one, it is not necessarily going through the answers to the questions on the text, but to discuss the big picture, the themes. What are we supposed to take away from this? And so, hopefully, that discussion guide will help people not just give rote answers that they found from the text, but really discuss the meteor issues that they’ve discovered in that chapter.

Well, each chapter reads really well. Those three sections, the way they kind of play out, I just found them all yoked together really well. But there’s this fourth element that you threw in here. And Nancy, I have to admit I’ve never seen anything quite like it in a Bible study like this. Every chapter has this section in the chapter, and it’s called “How Genesis Points to What Is Yet to Come”. And there’s this eschatological emphasis that you bring into every chapter. There’s this whole end-of-days thing that you bring in here, the whole restoration and consummation of all human history that you tie into the very story. I just thought it was amazing how you took the story from the text, and you lead to Christ, but also lead out to eternity, to how it’s supposed to be when the curse is removed and when wrongs are made right, and injustices are rectified, and vindication happens, and when there’s the eternal happy ending. What I found it did for me is it made the reading, every chapter, incredibly hopeful. It was life-giving at the end of all of these. Where did that idea come from, and why did you include it in the book like that?

I think, like most people who’ve grown up like I did, solidly evangelical, most of my life had a sense of life here and dying and going to heaven. It was really not that many years ago that I really began to understand that God’s plan that he is bringing about for history is his intention to restore what was once in the garden. He began, created this world, and we lived as his people and his place under his rule in this perfect environment, and sin entered into that.

So most of the Bible is the story of him redeeming that. His intention is to bring full restoration so that we will one day enjoy living in his presence in his place as his people under his authority in the new heaven and the new earth that’s even better than Eden. But I think, somehow, most of us have gotten off track. A lot of us, in general, who are evangelical do think that Christianity is all mostly about us and God hovering around us to meet our needs. So we think, mostly, about our little slice of time on this earth and then going to heaven when we die. For all my life, I never even really understood the new heaven and new earth. Now, honestly, I’m not sure how I put everything together in the sense that it’s clear. I understood the resurrection, the bodily resurrection, when we would return with Christ. But somehow, I never put that together with us then living on a renewed earth, an earth that in a sense has also been resurrected to perfection and beauty and living on this renewed earth with Christ.

I think some of those deeply entrenched things that aren’t fully biblical needed to be uprooted, and I’ve needed to see it everywhere in the Scripture. I think about maybe 10 or 15 years ago when I was really introduced to the idea that God is the one who chooses. I always thought that I chose him. And then I began to be told that he chose me. And at first, it kind of bugged me. There are so many things about those beautiful Reformed doctrines of grace that, at first, I struggled with. So I think, for me, it was a process. First, I was like, “I’m just not so sure about that.” And then I began to understand them. And then very significantly as I understood them, I was beginning to see them throughout the Scriptures. It’s not just taught in one place, but everywhere I looked that God was the one doing the initiating. I learned that he was the one choosing and working. And so then I moved and now I see it everywhere. So now I accept it and even cherish it. I love this about him.

Well, I think it’s the same thing about the new heaven and the new earth. And so that we have to begin to see it everywhere through the Scripture that this is what God has always been working toward there in the garden right when Adam Eve fell, and God gave the curse in the midst of the fall with that beautiful promise of grace. It was right there at the very beginning. He promised, “I’m going to send one that’s going to be a descendant of the woman, and she will crush the serpent’s head.” That’s always been his plan from the very beginning to bring us to full restoration. I just think we’ve short-circuited that thinking only about going somewhere away from this earth when we die. So I’m hoping to help people as they work through these studies, and that feature will be in this one as well that the other four that will include. In each of them we come to see the new heaven and the new earth, this future consummation of all that God has planned for us to see throughout every aspect of the Scriptures.

As I read your story first and then the book second, it dawned on me maybe halfway through that I think that maybe God gave you eyes to draw those connections to Christ and to the end of all things because of the sufferings that you’ve been through. There’s a couple of things in some of the interviews that I’ve watched and listened to and some of the articles that I’ve read where both you and David spoke of how the doctrine of the resurrection became precious to you with the passing of both Hope and with Gabe.


That suffering actually has made you long for heaven and that new heavens and the new earth and that restoration of all things. And Nancy, really, who better than to draw our gaze toward that in writing than you? And so thank you for doing that.

Well, here’s the thing. So many people expect that I would have thoughts of heaven because my children are with Christ, but so many of us believers put all of our focus about heaven on seeing those we love again. Many people anticipate that my greatest longing for heaven is to see Hope and Gabe again. And I assure you I long to see them again. The truth is, it’s so hard for me to imagine sometimes, but every once in a while I almost catch my breath, and I realize that that is a reality because of Christ that I will one day for the first time, actually all five of us will be together as a family, which is a beautiful thing to me.

But here’s the thing, Scott. I don’t think it’s going to be all about us seeing each other. The beautiful thing about that day when it happens is that we will not look at each other; we’re going to look to Christ. He will be the beauty and the glory and the joy of that day. Yes, we will have joy in seeing each other, but Christ will be the center of it. And that’s going to be an incredible day when all who belong to Christ are gathered with him around his throne. So I want to draw people’s eyes to see that.

Amen. Well, you do, and you do it so well. So thank you for this, and just rehearse for us again, four more volumes coming.

It’ll be a total five book series. The second one will come out next February, called The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books. I’m currently working on the third one, which will be, I think: The Lamb of God: Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

And there’s a DVD resource that ties into this book?

A lot of women’s studies want to experience the teaching together rather than just reading it on their own. So there is a DVD of me teaching the same content that’s in the teaching chapter that women’s or men’s Bible studies can use. There’s a brand new website for the whole series, which is SeeingJesusintheOldTestament.com..

That’s wonderful. Well, we certainly hope that you’ve been encouraged by tonight’s broadcast. And if you’d like to learn more about any of what we’ve discussed tonight about these books or this topic, I would really encourage you to get a copy of any of Nancy’s books. Again, the book we featured tonight, The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis. But her devotionals are wonderful, several of which are published by Tyndale, and several are published by Crossway. Then the story of their journey through suffering into the joy of Christ is called Holding on to Hope: A Pathway Through Suffering To The Heart of God. I encourage you to really get any of these. You’ll be profoundly helped by them I trust.

If you’d like to learn more about Nancy and the ministry that the Lord has called her to, I would encourage you to go to her website. On that website, you will find Nancy’s speaking schedule. She also has links to other interviews and articles that she’s written, other meditations that she has written, even a question and answers section. If you have other follow-up questions that we didn’t get to tonight, there’s a whole bunch of questions there that Nancy thoughtfully answers and carefully answers on the website.

My name is Scott Anderson, and you’ve been watching Desiring God Live. It’s a joy to have you with us tonight, and we do trust that you will be able to watch this broadcast again. And until that time, may Christ remain your treasure and your joy.

attends Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, in Franklin, Tennessee, and teaches at conferences around the country and internationally, including her Biblical Theology Workshops for Women. She and her husband host Respite Retreats for couples who have faced the death of a child and are co-hosts of the GriefShare video series.