Why A Father Needs To Grieve And Give Hope

A father's touching story of grief and hope!

Children are a gift from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.  Psalms 127:3

October 12th will mark a milestone in our family. Something that helped to define us, and shape us into the family unit we have become.  It took us to places we would never choose to go and stretched us in ways that hurt us, and even broke us, but it was NOT a mistake.  This milestone showed us the Father’s love, the love of His people and it taught us to trust Him. As a young couple, we were drawn together, to God, and to our knees.

It was the summer of 1990, and we had been married less than a year. We had already suffered a miscarriage, but were rejoicing in the news that we were expecting again.  Although the first several months had brought extreme sickness, there was the promise of new life that we clung to and rejoiced over.
When we were sixteen weeks into the pregnancy, there was a concern with “measurements,” and so an ultrasound was ordered. My young wife went to this appointment with a friend, while I was miles away at work, and was told, “Your baby is going to die”.  She was given options of giving up our baby due to the possibility of more concerns and we were left with some lofty “choices.”

What were we to do?

We had made a commitment early in our relationship to follow God’s word and trust Him. This was not a surprise to God. It was not out of His control.

Have you ever made a commitment of trust together as a couple or as a family?

The following Sunday, I stood before our church family and shared our news. We cried together and the body of Christ came alongside us and helped carry us through.

We prayed. Oh, how we prayed!  Maybe God would do a miracle? There were so many people all over the country praying for us. This gave us strength and courage.

My wife and I even chose to sing this special music the Sunday before she was born.

Rejoice In the Lord   (By Ron Hamilton)

God never moves without purpose or plan

When trying his servant and molding a man

Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems strong

In darkness he gives us a song


Oh rejoice in the Lord He makes no mistakes

He knoweth the end of each path that I take

For when I am tried and purified I SHALL come forth as gold

I could not see through the shadows ahead

So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead

I bowed to the will of my Master that day

Then peace came and tears fled away

On October 12, 1990 we met our Elisabeth Jayne.  She was beautiful. She was with us for 20 minutes and has been safe in God’s care ever since. The days and weeks to follow were difficult. My wife’s body had to heal. We had to leave the hospital without our baby.  We still had a home minus – a baby.  And then we had to bury our baby.

Is there a pain that has left you bitter or walking hard after an answer you still seek?

But He is faithful. The Giver of good gifts. He had given us time to prepare. There were pictures to treasure, a memorial service to proclaim His good news, and He was still with us. He taught us that children are a treasure and not to be taken for granted. That every single child is a gift and life is precious.

Has a trial left you wondering how to praise Him in the storm?

We are a lot further down the road now. There have been many more trials and joys, losses and blessings. He has been with us every step of the way.

“Rejoice In the Lord”

Now I can see testing comes from above

God strengthens His children and purges in love

My Father knows best and I trust in His care

Through purging more fruit I will bear

Oh, Rejoice in the Lord….

How can the gift of life bring us closer to seeing trials through eyes filled with eternity in mind?

If you are a father and your pain seems to be lost in the movement of time, I would encourage you to find strength in His love and healing.

Happy 23rd Birthday Elisabeth. We love you and can’t wait to meet you.

May I pray with you as you walk through a valley of suffering?


Dan McCarthy

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  1. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read. You have honored your daughter’s life well as you point to Jesus.

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