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Episode 15 - Grieving with the Gospel with Casey Nestor


Join us for a conversation with Casey Nestor about grieving with the Gospel. After losing her sons Judah and Caleb, Casey found herself laying on the floor in deep grief, crying out at the foot of the Cross.

Through her tears and questions, she depended on Jesus to survive the suffering and be sanctified in His image. Because she received a cradle for her son, Casey was connected to Bridget's Cradles and has become a part of our Hope Online community. Her testimony of faith has been a source of encouragement for many grieving moms.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Her experience receiving a Bridget's Cradle for her son, Judah

  • What attending an online support group has been like for her (and why she was skeptical at first!)

  • The importance of attending a Christ-centered support group

  • How to believe God is good even when life hurts so bad

  • Standing on the Word of God in the midst of grief and why we can't rely on our feelings or our own "truth"

  • Culture's trend of seeking "mediums" to contact their babies (and why that's dangerous!)

  • A beautiful illustration of the impact of the Gospel

  • Grieving your old self and finding a new identity in Christ in the New Year

  • Looking away from ourselves and toward helping others to find hope

Full transcript below.

Each episode has a special Hope Guide that you can download by clicking the button below. It is packed with hope-filled resources and extra information from the episode!

Discussion / Application Questions (leave your answers below in the comments!)

  1. Casey talks about how she had to learn to trust that God is good even when her grief hurts so bad. Through wrestling with God and discovering some false theology in her beliefs, she was able to believe that God is good, no matter what. Can you resonate with her feelings and if so, in what ways are you struggling to believe that He is good? List some Scripture references that remind you of His goodness in all circumstances.

  2. In this episode, Casey says that God is the only One who can heal our hearts and He's the only One who can connect us with our babies again. Do you believe that? If so, how does this fact change the way you grieve? Can this perspective alter your healing journey and if so, how? If not, what is in the way (e.g., doubts, the enemy, other beliefs) of surrendering your heart to Him?

  3. We talked a lot about finding purpose in our pain and how we should look toward others instead of solely focusing inward. God can redeem pain when we surrender and allow Him to use it for good. How has God prompted you to use your grief for good? List some ideas of ways you can focus on others, even when you're in the messy middle of grief.

Graphics to share on social media or pin on Pinterest!



Casey Nestor is married to Sean and is a mother to six children: four on earth and two babies in Heaven. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Casey received a Bridget's cradle for her son, Judah, who was born into Heaven in February of 2021 at 20 weeks. She also attends Bridget's Cradles' Hope Online support group every month.

Read More of Her Story:

Judah's Story on the Bridget's Cradles Blog



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Ashley Opliger is the Executive Director of Bridget's Cradles, a nonprofit organization based in Wichita, Kansas that donates cradles to over 1,090 hospitals in all 50 states and comforts over 26,000 bereaved families a year.

Ashley is married to Matt and they have three children: Bridget (in Heaven), and two sons. She is a follower of Christ who desires to share the hope of Heaven with families grieving the loss of a baby.

Connect with Ashley:

Facebook /ashleyopliger

Instagram @ashleyopliger

Pinterest /ashleyopliger

Follow Bridget’s Cradles:

Facebook /bridgetscradles

Instagram @bridgetscradles

Pinterest /bridgetscradles

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Episode 15: Grieving with the Gospel with Casey Nestor

Ashley Opliger: [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Cradled in Hope Podcast where we believe that the hope of Heaven, through faith in Jesus Christ, has the power to heal our hearts after the loss of a baby. It’s a pain no mother should have to endure and we want this podcast to be a safe place for your broken heart to land. Here, we are going to trust God’s promise to restore our joy, use our grief for good, and allow us to spend eternity with our babies in Heaven.

I’m your host, Ashley Opliger. I’m a wife, mom, and follower of Christ clinging to the hope of Heaven. My daughter, Bridget, was stillborn at 24 weeks in my first pregnancy in 2014. In her memory, my husband and I started a nonprofit ministry called Bridget’s Cradles, and God has given us purpose in our pain and we’ve seen beauty come from ashes.

Although we wish you didn’t have a need to be listening to this podcast, we believe God has a reason for you to be here today. We pray this time would be a source of healing for you as we remember that Jesus cradles us in hope while He cradles our babies in Heaven. Though we may grieve, we do not grieve without hope. Welcome to the Cradled in Hope Podcast.

Ashley Opliger: [00:01:26] Happy New Year sweet friends. I am praying for you as you navigate a new year and new chapter in your grief. I know that this day can be a hard milestone when you're grieving, and we will talk about that in our episode today. But first, I want to introduce you to my friend, Casey Nestor.

She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, and received a little blue cradle for her son in Heaven, Judah. After receiving his cradle, she started coming to our Hope Online support groups and I was able to get to know her better through these monthly Zoom calls.

Then a few months ago, when traveling to Atlanta, I got to meet her in person and have dinner together. I have enjoyed becoming friends with her and walking with her in her grief.

Each month, during our Hope Online calls, she always shares valuable Biblical wisdom and insight in our groups and spends her time encouraging other moms in our group, even outside of the Zoom room.

But I thought she should be on our podcast to encourage you as well, and let me say, after recording this episode with her, I can't tell you how much it blessed me and how much I think it will bless you. We talk about so many aspects of grief and also how to walk in the new year with hope. I'm excited to introduce you to Casey and hear our conversation.

Ashley Opliger: [00:02:46] Welcome Casey. We are so glad to have you on the podcast.

After getting to know you in all of our Zoom groups for Hope Online, it's been wonderful to hear your testimony and how God has walked you through your grief. Would you mind introducing yourself and sharing your experience of loss?

Casey Nestor: [00:03:04] Yes. My name is Casey Nestor. I live outside of Atlanta in Duluth, Georgia. I am married to my husband, Sean, and we've been married for a little over 11 years. We have four living children and two babies in Heaven.

In 2018, we decided that we were going to try for a third baby. We were super excited. It took us six months to get pregnant, which was really different than our first two pregnancies, which were really easy and happened right away.

So that was challenging in its own self, and when we found out we were pregnant, we were just so overjoyed and excited. But we lost that baby at eight weeks, and we named him Caleb, and that was really a difficult loss for us.

And then after that, God gave us our baby, Isaac, who was born a year almost to the day of my D&C.

And then in February 2021, actually three years to the day that we lost Caleb, we lost our baby, Judah, at 20 weeks. We went to the 20-week ultrasound and we just were told that there was no heartbeat.

Ashley Opliger: [00:04:24] I'm so sorry, Casey. Your precious Judah connected you to Bridget’s Cradles. Would you mind sharing more about his birth and receiving a cradle for Judah?

Casey Nestor: [00:04:34] Yes. We went for the ultrasound, just the normal anatomy scan. We had no idea that something was not right.

And we went in and found out that there was no heartbeat and that he went to be with the Lord, which was so hard. And we decided to go ahead to the hospital that day. Mostly we just were so in shock and overwhelmed, and we really didn't know what to expect and just kind of felt ourselves moving through the motions of like, ‘Okay, I guess this is the next thing that we do in this situation.”

So we got to the hospital and they induced me, and he was born at three o'clock that night. And I remember feeling like, “We're in the hospital room,” it was so difficult.

I was feeling like we thought we were going to be finding out whether we were going to have a boy or girl and be planning a sweet gender reveal party. And then here we are in the hospital getting ready to deliver our stillborn baby and feeling like, “How did we get here? What are we doing here? What is going on?” I felt like my world was crashing down all around me.

And it came to the time to deliver him and I remember feeling, “I cannot do this.” I remember crying out to God, “God, I can't do this!”

And there's a popular song that goes, “I'll walk through the fire because you're walking with me,” and immediately He brought that song to my mind. And I thought, “Okay, God, I can't do this. You're going to have to do this.”

And He walked me through delivering Judah, which was so hard, but then it was also such a blessing of getting to hold him and cherish him.

And a little bit after he was born, one of the nurses brought a sweet little blue cradle in to me, and attached was the card from Bridget's Cradles that had the verse from Psalm 139, that said, “You knit me together in my mother's womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

And I remember thinking that, “I had no idea I would be here. This is not where I wanted to be, but You knew I would be here. You prepared this cradle for me in advance. Someone took the time out of their day to carefully knit that cradle together to comfort us during that time,”

It felt like God wrapping His love around us and being like, “I'm with you. I'm going to get you through this.”

Ashley Opliger: [00:07:21] Casey, that's going to make me cry.

I'm thinking back to my experience, being in the hospital and feeling like my world was ending, and God getting me through the most difficult experience that any parent can walk through, leaving the hospital without your baby.

And then to see what good that He brought from Bridget's life and creating the cradle and designing the little tag with Psalm 139, He knew in advance the families and the babies that would be held in these precious cradles.

And not only does He knit together our babies. I do think he knits together our stories and He knits together a community of moms to support each other through.

And the cradle is the reason why I was able to meet you. And you and I actually got to meet recently. I was in town in Atlanta visiting Amanda, who is our Director of Communications.

And we got to go to dinner with you, which was such a blessing to get to meet you in person after meeting you through the ministry and through Hope Online, which I'll let you share more about your experience with Hope Online and how you got started coming to our online support groups.

Casey Nestor: [00:08:34] Yes, I started following Bridget’s Cradles on Instagram because I just felt like I needed to find some connection to other people who were experiencing what I had experienced, who knew what I was going through.

So I started following you online and you posted that you were having a virtual Zoom that night. And on an impulse, totally on a whim, it was the Holy Spirit. I just signed up to go on the Zoom meeting.

And I remember sitting there that night, talking to my husband about it, like “I signed up for this group, but I don't really want to go. It just seems weird. It's a Zoom meeting,” and I was really nervous about it.

And he was so great and encouraged me to follow through, to see what it was all about, and give it a try. And it was such a blessing for me. That very first night you talked about so many of the things that we had been talking about that we were really struggling with.

It was such a blessing to realize that I wasn't alone in my grief, that I wasn't the only one feeling the kinds of feelings that I was feeling or struggling with the things that I was struggling with. And it has been such a blessing for me to walk through this grief with other people who understand.

Ashley Opliger: [00:09:55] Would you mind sharing maybe some of those aspects of grief that we've discussed in our online support groups that have been helpful or healing to you so that other moms know what a support group looks like and what we talk about and how it's helpful?

I think there are so many barriers to women signing up for this, and we can talk about that in a little bit. But what has been helpful or what stood out to you? What messages really spoke to your heart that we have discussed?

Casey Nestor: [00:10:23] I think when I thought about doing an online support group, it just seemed like it would be impersonal or weird or awkward.

And then you start to feel like, “I don't know what other people's stories are.” And especially if you've experienced an early loss, I think sometimes there's a misconception that it's not as bad of a loss or that you're not hurting the same way a mom would who had lost a baby later in pregnancy. Maybe you feel like, “I'm not sure that they'll think that I should be in the group,” but everyone is so kind and compassionate and understanding.

And with grief, I think loneliness can be such a place of vulnerability and a place where we're really easily attacked. I think feeling like you're alone, you're the only one who's going through this because a lot of us don't have friends that have experienced pregnancy loss or miscarriage. They haven't gone through the same experience. And you feel like you're alone and sometimes you can feel like you are crazy for having some of the feelings that you do after walking through such a deep grief.

And to hear someone else say, “I struggle with that too,” Or, “I've walked through that too,” is such a comfort. And I've had the opportunity to be able to reach out to girls in the group and exchange prayers and thoughts, and that's just such a comfort to know that someone's lifting you up. They know what you're going through. They'll ask you about your baby, about your family.

That's such a comfort to feel like you're able to connect with people, even though you may live far away and in other circumstances, you might not have that much in common with, it's an instant connection of, “We’re in this club that no one would want to be in.” But once you're in, it's very instantly connecting.

Ashley Opliger: [00:12:27] That's been one of the blessings I've seen from Hope Online is that the connection across even state lines and across the country.

I am friends on Facebook with all of the moms that have come to Hope Online. And whenever I see a mom post something about their baby online, whether it be their baby’s Heaven Day, or they post a picture of their baby's grave, what I have found to be so beautiful is whenever I see a post come up on my feed of a mom that's come to Hope Online, when I look at the post, I see that the first comments are moms from the group.

And so to see other moms in the group that they've connected on Facebook and they are encouraging and supporting and commenting on their posts, obvi