Every Woman a Theologian
—  You Can Be Both Real and Safe —
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Dear friend,
TW: miscarriage
I waited a week past when I should have tested. I didn't want to hope. We'd been waiting for months with no progress, far past what it “took” with our other children. When I finally took the test, a faint pink line appeared.
Tears welled in my eyes. For this child I have prayed. 
But not long after the lines appeared, after I dared to bravely hope, my body ended that story - ending the plans, the little dreams, and cautious excitement. No matter, I thought. It was barely enough time to celebrate. I'll just move on, try again next time. 
It took several weeks to acknowledge the sadness I felt. It took another week for me to decide to share publicly - something I prefer not to do when I'm in the middle of hard.  Some call it “trauma porn”: constantly marketing the difficult and painful, turning a sacred suffering into a consumable story, a product people can view and comment on like their favorite TV show.
I didn't want that. But I did want to obey what the Lord asked me to do, and He asked me to share the story.
In December I wrote extensively on the problem of evil and suffering. My Advent series explored the goodness of God's character and why His character is not in question when hard things happen; His character is the answer to the problem of pain. After Ivan was born I did a deep study of miscarriage and infant death. I was desperate to learn the truth as I wrestled with doubt and postpartum anxiety. The PPA faded, but the work I did bore fruit: I came out on the other side more confident than ever in the goodness of God and His kindness in the face of the world's evil. The work I did formed much of the Advent series in December 2023.
Little did I know I would be walking those words only a month later.
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It's taken a month to fully grasp the weight of this loss. It took a while for us to explain to our children, who were as excited as us about the possibility of a sibling. And while there is danger in sharing a story too soon, there is redemption in sharing a story to reveal the goodness of God in suffering. Even in the eyes of my children I could see a deeper view of God in formation, an understanding that life does not always go as we hope, pain comes and sometimes does not leave; but God. 
I am no stranger to pain. I just keep my pain sacred. My local community - not the internet - is the place to process the details of hard things, and I stand by that belief even when it leads people to assume that I haven't experienced hard things. I've been as open as respectability allows. But this time, I have opened a door to our loss, revealing in real time that I truly believe the words I taught in December. 
God did not take my baby. I live in a fallen world, broken by sin and evil. And I also follow a redeeming God, who loves me and loves this child, and who has given all of Himself not just once on a Cross but every day and every hour as my sustaining grace. 
A few days after I shared publicly, I posted this:
“I know you sit under the gaze of the one who sees, the God of Hagar.” my friend @amycategannettcommented yesterday when I announced our miscarriage.

Yes, I thought, Beer-Lahai-Roi: the God Who Sees.

I read through every comment, tears in my eyes, feeling validated in what I already believed but hardly dared to hold: it wasn’t too early to count.

Then I wondered… what was I supposed to read in my Bible in a Year Plan that painful day? I know I didn’t read the passage on the prescribed date; I was too upset and confused. The reading plan our community is using is customized: Genesis 1-8 first, then all of Job, followed by Genesis again. The passage could be anywhere. I opened my red leather Bible and ran a finger down the dates on the plan.

January 16th: Genesis 16-18.

“Behold you are pregnant, and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Ishmael because the Lord has listened to your affliction… So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing” for she said, “truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:11-13

I have written, spoken, taught, and posted about the personal nature of God and the power of His Spirit: how His Spirit speaks personally through the Word, the Church, and our inner man, always for our holiness and our comfort. As I held the open Bible, tears pooling on its pages, I held a sign of God’s undying affection… The Spirit speaking truth and comfort, like Jesus promised He would (John 14-16).

Like Hagar, I have seen Him who looks after me, and I will follow Him all of my days.
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I don't know what story you're holding or what grief you bear, but I hope you know Christ grieves with you. 
they said I didn’t feel,
they said I wasn’t “real”,
they told me I was cold
because I didn’t do as told:
turn your pain into parade,
grieve, but not THAT way;
only safe if I was raw
only if they heard and saw
every failure on display
so they could judge and share and say
“you’re not authentic”
[in my way]
so I took the risk to feel
when it was deep and hot and real
in pain I plumbed the depths
of the place where grief is kept
in secret solace found
a holy solid ground,
raw, but safe at last
from the wounding of the past,
every failure healed by grace
as I beheld my Father’s face:
“you can be both real and safe”
(in My arms).
Authenticity, PDM
You can be both real AND safe with Him.

Five Faves

  • My fave lunch wrap recipe. I took a hint from Brighter Day Press and made my own Aldi spin on it… Here's my recipe!
    • Aldi spinach wrap
    • Kirkwood crispy chicken nuggets
    • Aldi Caesar dressing (½ TB)
    • handful of coleslaw mix
    • white cheddar cheese
  • Current favorite latte at North Perk, our local coffee shop: I don't have a single drink I order every time…. I like to change it up! Lately I'm loving the lavender-pistachio latte with nonfat milk.
  • Abercrombie high waisted skinny jeans: I bought these two years ago and still love them! I got the black distressed wash. I like to wear them with Chelsea boots or heeled sock booties.
  • You've heard me say toddler boys must be “employed and exhausted” and it's true!  Ivan is 3.5 and has a little list of “big boy chores” when he's particularly cranky or high maintenance. Yes, he gets plenty of connection - but he also needs an outlet for energy and to learn responsibility. He's so much more fulfilled this way! Here is a list of 34 age appropriate chores for toddlers. Starting these young pave the way for a much easier home life when they are 5+!
  • Cube pillow: Attention side sleepers… this will change your life. We borrowed one from a friend because Josh and I are waking up so sore from our sad pillow situation. These are amazing. 
Shop Faves This Week

Here are a few of my favorites as we clear out the Every Woman a Theologian shop in preparation for the SPRING collection next weekend!
  • CLEARANCE: in our clearance section there are a few It Is Finished sweatshirts left. I cried the first time I saw these - I love the illustration on the front. Perfect for Easter (in colder weather locations anyway!).
  • Love of God Cards: I have these next to the kitchen sink. I designed these to include verses and quotes from famous theologians about the love of God - since all of us need reminders of His affection.
  • Good News is Coming: This sweet picture book is one of my favorites to read aloud. I love how it sums up the gospel in such clear terms for little hearts.
  • Glossary of Theological Terms: A great beginner guide for people who feel overwhelmed by the big words in theological books.  Print and ebook both.
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At Home with Phylicia

  • Lent starts this week - on Valentines' Day! Here's how we are celebrating. 
    • Our free Valentine's Day Guide is available here, with a short history of St. Valentine and a coloring page for kiddos!
    • We celebrated Valentine's Day a little early with paczkis (a Polish tradition!) and some candy boxes for the kids, since tomorrow is Ash Wednesday - the start of Lent. Josh and I are both fasting on Ash Wednesday to begin the Lenten season, a time of lament and looking forward to Easter.
    • Throughout Lent, I will be fasting every Friday (a “normal” fast of broth and water for the day). I will share my prayer schedule for those days if you would like to join in! (If you are pregnant, nursing or have a history of eating disorders, fasting food is not advised, but you can fast other things, like social media, caffeine, etc). Fasting is a spiritual practice modeled by Jesus, His disciples, the early church, and in the lives of leaders and missionaries through church history. Fasting is giving something up for a time for increased spiritual awareness of what God has given and a heightened sensitivity to God's priorities in prayer. 
    • If you would like to join me on Wednesday and Friday, feel free to tag me on Instagram @phyliciamasonheimer with what you are praying for so we can all pray together!
for the awakening,