Little One Lost eBook

Little One Lost CoverLittle One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss is now available in Kindle format on Amazon.

I also learned that the paperback is available to Canadian readers at the goDutch bookstore.

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Slaying the Discouragement Dragon

Jerry Vanderstedt’s image of Smaug, created at San Diego’s Comic-Con in 2014 (image from Vandersteldt’s Facebook page). You can find more of his incredible artwork by clicking on this link to his website.

Discouragement can seem as overwhelming as a fire-breathing dragon. It singes your body, saps your energy, and steals your very breath. Like Smaug in The Hobbit, its speech invades your mind and twists your thinking. How can you defend yourself against such an insuperable enemy?

Several recent events have discouraged me in my work. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt discouragement so strongly. My feelings led me to an online search for Bible texts that might help lift my spirit. I needed divine assistance to switch my focus from feeling sorry for myself to keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

I found many lovely verses, including several I’ve written about, like the frequent biblical commands to “fear not” or “be strong and of good courage” and 2 Corinthians 12’s promise of “sufficient grace,” all of which I reflected on in A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God. I came across beautiful verses about God’s “tender mercies” and his “great peace” as well as the “deep delight” we can have in him; verses I explored in Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law. My search brought up several Psalm references, including these gems I discussed in Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss – “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Ps. 3:3). “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you” (Ps. 33:22). And this verse, which also appears in Discovering Delight: “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word” (Ps. 119:114). I was even reminded of how God encouraged Elijah when he ran away and wallowed in his pity party, an incident discussed in Matthew Muddles Through.

My morning search also yielded a very helpful lesson on Overcoming Discouragement by Steven J. Cole, pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship in Arizona. Rev. Cole bases this excellent lesson on Ezra 5:1-17 and suggests this strategy for dealing with discouragement:

To overcome discouragement, we need a fresh encounter with God’s Word, we need to get back to work for Him and to persevere, trusting Him to accomplish His will through us.

When we’re discouraged, we’re tempted–like Elijah–to hibernate and wallow in pity. But we must dig into the Word, force ourselves to get back to work, and trust God to fulfill his purpose for us (Psalm 138:8). People and circumstances will discourage us, but God’s word encourages us.

As I face the Dragon of Discouragement, the sword in my hand may appear small and dull. But this weapon isn’t mine at all; it’s God’s. And it’s the substantial and razor-sharp Word of the Lord.

Two new books launched

DSCN4962What a fun Friday! A radio interview and book signing doubled the fun during my local launch of two new books. Between 10:15 and 10:45 yesterday (December 19), Patricia interviewed me on the local Christian radio station, KCWN 99.9. After that, I signed books during the station’s Christmas open house until 1:00. I want to thank General Manager, Bev De Vries, and DJ Patricia for their gracious hospitality. The station’s facility is decorated beautifully, and entering it feels like stepping into a welcoming home.

Patricia made the interview completely painless. In fact, it was a lot of fun. Growing up as the middle child in a pastor’s family, she felt a lot of affinity for my book-boy Matthew. Talking about him and the problems he faces in Matthew Muddles Through was a hoot. She shared her enthusiasm for the story with listeners.

Bev De Vries took this picture through the production room window while Patricia and I were on the air.
Bev De Vries took this picture through the production room window while Patricia and I were on the air.

We then discussed my other new release, Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law. She described it as going “deep” and we talked about the writing style, which Aimee Byrd called “a commendable style of commentary meets personal devotion.” Patricia and I also spoke briefly about Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss and A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law. Before I went off the air, I had the opportunity to share my excitement about my current memoir collaboration project with Uriah Courtney, who was recently exonerated after more than eight years of wrongful incarceration.

booksBook signings are always enjoyable. It’s great to meet new friends and experience the support of existing ones. The best kind of book signings are when a steady stream of people comes in and I have time to speak to each person individually. And this was one of those signings with wonderful opportunities to talk to individuals, including some people I hadn’t seen for years.

I’m thankful for the doors God opens and I grateful he equips me to walk through them. books-2

Local launch and book signing

Glenda Mathes and Diane Smith at my September 9, 2013, book signing
Glenda Mathes and Diane Smith at my September 9, 2013, book signing

This Friday, Lord willing, I’ll be interviewed by Patricia on KCWN 99.9 FM and will be signing books during the station’s Christmas Open House from 11:00 to 1:00. The station is located at 304 Oskaloosa St. in Pella. Local people, come over between 11:00 and 1:00 for some cookies and conversation!

And if you’re still looking for Christmas gifts, you can’t go wrong by giving someone an opportunity to dig into God’s Word. Discovering-Delight-front (1)Copies of my new devotional, Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law will be available for $10.

Searching for a gift for a middle grade reader, aged 8 to 12? Why not foster their reading skills with a novel that conveys truth in an engaging story? Matthew Muddles Through is about an ordinary but imaginative kid, the middle child in a minister’s family, who faces trouble on every side. Matthew’s humor and imagination help him cope with his problems, and in the process he learns more about loving others and trusting God. Copies of this juvenile fiction novel, the first is a series of three, will be available on Friday for $10.

PrintI’ll also have available copies of A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God and Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss for $10 each. One fortunate person will be able to purchase my singular copy of Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism for $15. This is the first volume of the popular Life in Christ catechism curriculum, which has sold in several countries and is being translated into eight languages.

Save shipping! Buy any of these books on Friday and the author will be happy to sign them for you.

Those of you who don’t live nearby may be interested to know that I’m scheduled to be interviewed on the Janet Meffert Show on Monday, December 20, at 2:30 Central time. You can listen online at the show’s website.

Writing book reviews

A few months ago, I blogged about how to Support Your Author Friends. One of the suggestions I mentioned was to review their books.

Elaine Marie Cooper
Elaine Marie Cooper

My new Word Weaver friend, Elaine Marie Cooper, recently posted this entertaining article about How to Write a Helpful Book Review (or How to Keep an Author from Crying). She provides humorous and illustrative “do” and “don’t” examples related to an imaginary book she makes sound so appealing I’d like to read it.

Elaine’s recently released Fields of the Fatherless is available in Kindle and paperback formats at Kindle. This moving story from a young woman’s point of view tells a fictionalized version of historical events surrounding a little-known battle at the beginning of the American Revolution.

I’m thankful for every review people post about my books. I’ve received some incredibly humbling ones in magazines and online. But I’d certainly appreciate more. If you’ve been blessed by my devotional, A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God, would you take a moment to head over to its Amazon page and post a review? Many people have personally expressed appreciation for Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss. If you’ve found it helpful, would you consider sharing that in a review? You don’t have to be a writer or a publishing professional. Any reader can post a review.

It’s easy to do. Simply state the name of the book and author and relate why you liked it or how it helped you. You don’t have to write a long review; in fact, shorter is better. A review as brief as twenty-five words can pack a powerful punch. On Amazon, you also have the opportunity to rate the book by giving it from one to five stars (five stars being best). 

If you’d like a better idea of how to write a review, check out Elaine’s post for helpful suggestions.

I encourage you to post reviews of all the books you appreciate. Your authors friends will thank you for it!

Chicago book signing

If you happen to be in the Chicago area next Monday, September 9, 2013, stop in between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, where I’ll be signing copies of my books: A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God ($10), Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss ($10), and Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism ($15).

AMOS coverA Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God explores the concept of rest that permeates the Bible from creation to consummation.  After God created and named the different aspects of our universe in six days, He rested. When Christ returns to complete His kingdom, all believers will enjoy perfect rest. Between these two great bookends of history, God calls us to rest in Him every day.

In today’s hectic and distressing world, we need to recapture the concept of daily rest. Demands and distractions agitate our spirits. Disasters trigger anxiety. Diseases generate pain. Despair creeps into our hearts. These influences displace our peace and pull us from resting in God and His Word. The reflections in A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God pause our spinning thoughts and calm our fluctuating feelings.

ENDORSEMENTS:

Glenda Mathes has written an uplifting series of meditations on the subject of rest for the weary. Starting with the premise of sabbath rest as a model for how God wishes his children to live, Glenda weaves a wide-ranging tapestry of how Christians can follow God’s mandate to rest in him both now and eternally. The book is filled with great texts from the Bible, accompanied by interspersed quotations from the Heidelberg Catechism and personal reflections and recollections of the author. This is a great book for all who labor and are heavy laden, and who want to obey God’s command to rest. People for whom Sunday observance is important, as well as those who love the Heidelberg Catechism, will especially resonate with this book.

— Leland Ryken, professor of English, Wheaton College

‘Rest’ is a topic often overlooked in our hectic schedules, but Glenda Mathes shows it is essential to a Christian life. Not as another thing ‘to do,’ but as part of our calling. A Month of Sundays invites us to overcome our distractions and fears and seek the one true source of rest, Christ Himself.

— Janie B. Cheaney, columnist for WORLD Magazine, and a contributing editor at RedeemedReader.com

Little One Lost CoverDo you grieve the loss of a preborn child? Do you wonder how to minister to someone who grieves the loss of an infant? The grief of miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn loss is often misunderstood and frequently ignored.

In Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, I share my own experience of loss and show from Scripture that these littlest ones are not really lost.

Through the personal stories of several couples, readers learn about a variety of losses, including the pain of infertility. Additional sections deal with acknowledging loss, finding comfort, grieving with hope, and healing from pain.

Steeped in biblical wisdom, this book will resonate with mourning parents and assist anyone who longs to comfort those who grieve a little one lost.

ENDORSEMENT:

Helpful for those struggling with the questions that occur following infant loss, and hopeful because of Christ, Who loses no little ones.

— Dr. Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-chief of WORLD magazine

CoverNot My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism is the first volume in the “Life in Christ” catechism curriculum. It is a workbook aimed at grade five students, but can be used effectively by older or younger students. Many adults appreciate its simple and thorough explanation of the catechism beloved by generations of Reformed believers.

One of the most heartwarming endorsements I’ve received to date was from my oldest grandson, who recently began using it for his homeschool Bible class. He told me, “I like that book you wrote, Grandma. I like how you break each lesson up, so it’s not too much to read.”

I hope to see you on Monday afternoon!

 

Little One Lost reviews

Little One Lost CoverTwo reviews of my book Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss are now available online. Both appear in publications of the OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church). Because I am not affiliated with this denomination, I’m a bit surprised but extremely grateful to the OPC pastors who picked up and reviewed the book.

A review by John Mahaffy appears in the March 2013 issue of New Horizons, which is available online here. This issue of New Horizons contains other great articles on infant loss and infertility.

I’d read Mahaffy’s review before, but today I read for the first time this review by Gordon H. Cook Jr. in the online version of Ordained Servant. His review captures the emotional impact of the book and brought tears to my eyes.

This book was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written. It was emotionally draining to immerse myself in the heartrending stories of the brave couples who shared their losses. During the editing process, I cried every time I read through the manuscript. And, yes, I still cry whenever I read the book.

God created us as full-orbed individuals with a strong emotional component. Our feelings help us comfort others as we become the hands and feet of Christ. We reflect our Savior when we incarnate Christ’s compassion.

That’s why Cook’s review bringing tears to my eyes was a good thing.

Radio interview

This morning a local radio station broadcast an interview with me about my books Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss and A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God.  Dr. Bob Leonard’s interview for his “In Depth” program is now available online here.

Connected Kingdom podcast

Last week David Murray and Tim Challies interviewed me about my book, Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, for their Connected Kingdom podcast. That interview is now up on Tim’s  Challies.com, David’s Head Heart Hand blog, and the Connected Kingdom podcast site.

Signing books today!

Me and Bethany at my book signing in July. That’s my son-in-law, Nick, holding my grandson, Layton, in the background. It was 105 degrees on July 5, but it’s 31 degrees now with a forecast high of only 53!

This morning I’ll be signing copies of my book, Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, at The Sanctuary coffeehouse and Christian bookstore on the south side of the square in Pella. My daughter, Bethany, and I will be there from 10:00 until noon. Stop in for a free bookmark. I’ll also be giving Hugs and Kisses, mostly those of the Hershey’s variety.

Do you grieve the loss of a little one? Do you wish you could help someone who does? Reasonably priced at only $10, Little One Lost is the kind of book you’ll want to have on hand so you can give it to someone who needs to read its biblical comfort.

My prayer is that today God will send into The Sanctuary those who need to read Little One Lost. If you can’t join me in person, will you join me in praying for God to do that? May he receive all the glory!

Little One Lost is written in accessible language and short chapters so it can be easily digested by people lost in grief’s fog.

Here’s a summary of the book’s content:

Published by Reformed Fellowship in Grand Rapids, the volume contains a preface that explains why I wrote the book, an appendix defining medical terms often used in related discussions, and six primary parts.

The first chapter in Part One, Acknowledging Our Loss, relates my own story, “The Hole in My Heart,” which appeared in the March April issue of The Outlook and is found online here. Other chapters in this initial part are Society’s Paradox, Knit Together, and Common Occurrence.

In Part Two, Losing a Child, several families relate personal stories of their various experiences: Repeated Loss, Medical Dilemmas, Hopeless Labor, Father’s Love, and Delivery Distress.

In Part Three, Bearing Infertility’s Loss, three families share their different perspectives on living with infertility: Empty Womb, Childless Marriage, and Supernatural Children.

Part Four focuses on Finding Our Comfort in these chapters: Not Lost, Biblical Comfort, Covenantal Comfort, Confessional Comfort, and Only Comfort.

Part Five, Grieving with Hope, deals with a variety of aspects related to grief, including guilt: Hopeful Grief, Guilty Grief, Being Forgiven, Forgiving Others, and Family Grief.

Part Six explores Healing Our Pain through Prayerful Work, Graceful Acceptance, Remembering Life, Compassionate Care, and The Hope in My Heart.