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Episode 36 - God So Close - Relying on the Holy Spirit as a Grieving Mom with Becky Thompson

Join us for a conversation with Becky Thompson about how to rely on the Holy Spirit as a grieving mom. In the midst of a season of suffering, we do not have to wait to meet God on the other side; rather, He is a God so close Who longs to be near to us in our pain.

Becky shares her story of losing her daughter at eight weeks and how the Lord brought hope to her broken heart. She decided to trust in Him knowing that she couldn't lose Him too.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Loving and losing a life that nobody knew about yet

  • Postpartum depression and anxiety after pregnancy loss

  • Releasing anger and trusting that the Lord is weeping with you

  • Who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do?

  • What does it mean to be born again?

  • Discerning God's voice from the lies of the enemy

  • What is lie replacement strategy?

  • Battling against our own sin nature and how the Holy Spirit convicts us

  • Struggling in the forest of fear and trusting that God is with you

  • Why we need to address both the spiritual and physical aspects of anxiety

  • Believing in a God that is not far off and imagining Him holding you in your pain

  • More about Becky's books, Peace, and God So Close

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. Becky shares how she experienced God's nearness in her grief. She imagined Him holding her and weeping with her in her suffering. So often, we live like He is distant. But Becky says we don't need to wait until we die physically to be with Him. How does this truth change the way you view Him? What difference would it make in your grief to imagine Him carrying you when you're too weak to stand? Write how this would make you feel.

  2. In this episode, Becky talks about the Holy Spirit as a Person. He is one part of the triune God. She shares that He is Comforter, Friend, and Advocate. He brings peace, strength, hope, and conviction. And most importantly, He draws us into relationship with our Father. What did you learn about the Holy Spirit from this episode?

  3. We discuss how the enemy wants to put in every effort to create distance between us and our Father. Sometimes it's hard to know the difference between the truth and the lies of Satan. But, Ashley says the Holy Spirit is only going to speak truth that is in alignment with God's Word and His character. In what areas do you feel the enemy attacking you or speaking lies over you? Use the lie replacement strategy we talked about to speak truth over it.

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Becky is a national bestselling author and the creator of the Midnight Mom Devotional community, gathering 2 million moms in nightly prayer. She is the author of eight books including Peace and God So Close.

Becky lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Jared, and their three children. She has two precious babies in Heaven, Kaylin Joy, and Baby Thompson.



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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 1,300 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:

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Instagram @ashleyopliger

Pinterest /ashleyopliger

Follow Bridget’s Cradles:

Facebook /bridgetscradles

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Episode 36: God So Close - Relying on the Holy Spirit as a Grieving Mom with Becky Thompson

Ashley Opliger: [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Cradled in Hope Podcast on the Edifi Podcast Network. I’m your host, Ashley Opliger. I’m a wife, mom, and follower of Christ who founded Bridget’s Cradles, a nonprofit ministry in memory of my daughter, Bridget, who was stillborn at 24 weeks.

Cradled in Hope is a Gospel-focused podcast for grieving moms to find comfort, hope, and healing after the loss of a baby. We want this to be a safe place for your broken heart to land.

Here, we are going to trust God’s promise to heal our hearts, restore our joy, and use our grief for good. With faith in Jesus and eyes fixed on Heaven, we do not have to grieve without hope. We believe that Jesus cradles us in hope while He cradles our babies in Heaven.

Welcome to the Cradled in Hope Podcast.

Ashley Opliger: [00:00:52] Hello mommas. Welcome back to another episode. I am so excited to introduce you to our guest, Becky Thompson. This episode is packed with practical wisdom and a powerful testimony from Becky. If you haven't heard of her, she is a national bestselling author and the creator of the Midnight Mom Devotional community, gathering 2 million moms in nightly prayer.

Speaking to the struggle of balancing life as a wife, mother, and daughter of God, she has become a voice for modern Christian women. She has written eight books and has appeared on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and ECPA bestseller lists.

Becky lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Jared, and their three children. She has two precious babies in Heaven, Kaylin Joy, and Baby Thompson, and today she will share about how her babies in Jesus' arms have changed her life and brought her closer to God.

I'm excited for you to hear this amazing conversation about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as believers, but also how we can rely on Him in the depths of our grief. Let's jump in to our conversation.

Ashley Opliger: [00:02:04] Welcome, Becky. It's so good to have you on the Cradled in Hope Podcast.

Becky Thompson: [00:02:00] Ashley, thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited about our conversation.

Ashley Opliger: [00:02:04] Wonderful to have a fellow Midwestern woman here. You're just south of me in Oklahoma; you moved back home. Good to have you back in the Midwest.

Becky Thompson: [00:02:13] I feel more like myself here. We were in California for a little bit and then Tennessee, and I just feel like I'm home, and I feel like not trying to be anybody other than me, and there's a lot of peace in that.

Ashley Opliger: [00:02:24] That is a good place to be. And I think a lot of times Kansas and Oklahoma, we get overlooked, but it's not about the attractions that we have here. I think it's the people that make it home and make it just a good place to raise a family and to be in ministry. So it's good to have you here. Would you mind sharing more about yourself and your experience with pregnancy loss?

Becky Thompson: [00:02:46] Absolutely. Yeah, so Becky Thompson, married to my husband Jared for, I think it's 17 years this year. We got married in 2006, so have to do the math or fact check me, whatever. I thought I was 36 all last year and turns out I was only 35 this year and I'm turning 36. I have no idea how old I am, so I've been married to Jared for a very long time.

We have three kids, three living children, and two children that wait in Jesus' arms. My oldest is Colton and he is 13 - I have a teenager! And then Cadence is 11 and Jackson is eight. And I write books, and I lead an online group of women in nightly prayer with my Mom, and it's called Midnight Mom Devotional.

And we have 2 million followers, people from all over the world, praying nightly with us for all the different needs of a woman's heart, but specifically a mother's heart. And I started all of this online ministry work that I do in 2013, which means that this is my 10-year anniversary of being in an online space and trying to meet women right where they are because I am right where they are.

So basically it's just like calling out, “Hello, I'm here,” and letting women say, “Oh, I thought I was the only one. I'm so glad you're here too.” So I just bring the hope of Jesus. Yeah, that's my ministry in a nutshell, [I’ve] written books and I speak and just here, it's just me, just still Becky. But I guess it's my professional bio, [but] my story of loss….

So this is where our stories overlap, meaning the work that I do and the ministry that I do, and then the ministry that you do here, Ashley. In 2009, my husband and I hadn't been married very long. We got married very young, and I had a story like so many other mommas and found out that I was pregnant and told everybody right away.

I had never experienced loss, whether it was miscarriage or child loss or stillbirth or anything like that, in my close family. I had no context, and it was something that happened far away to other people. And I knew it happened, but it wasn't going to happen to me.

And then I think we were only eight weeks into the pregnancy, so I was designing a nursery in my heart. I had the birth date planned out, what my work life was going to be like on the other side. I had lived an entire lifetime in those eight weeks of being Momma to my sweet Kaylin Joy, and then …

Ooh, I haven't talked about this in a minute. I did not think I was going to get emotional, but I'm sure all of your guests feel very similar.

Kaylin changed my life because I needed the Lord in that season of life more than I had ever needed Him in any other season. I started to have the signs of losing her and I didn't even know, I'd never been pregnant before. I didn't have a sister who had been pregnant, I didn't have friends that had been. I was the first one in my generation of all of my friends and people to be going through this. And so I was kind of leading the way.

The Internet wasn't like it is now, so it wasn't like I had all of these online forums that I could pull from or support or people I could poll or talk to. So I called the doctor that I had made an appointment to, and I wasn't scheduled to see him until after 12 weeks.

And I didn't know why at that time they didn't want to see me until 12 weeks. I think they knew moments like these happen, and so that's why they scheduled appointments out so far. Called them and told them what was going on. And my goodness, they didn't call me back. And I called again and they didn't call me back. And I called again and they didn't call me. For three or four days I called three or four times a day.

And looking back, I have so many things that I at 36 or 35 would do differently, but I just didn't know. I just didn't know. And finally got the doctor to call me back. I went in, he did an ultrasound and I was in labor at that point and didn't know it. The pain was to the point that I was in active labor for this little baby.

And he performed the ultrasound and said there was a good, strong heartbeat and there was no reason that I couldn't go home and just have what he called a successful pregnancy if I took, I think it was progesterone, I think that's what he wanted to have me on, and so just go take the medicine and that everything would be fine.

And we pulled out of the parking lot of the hospital and called everybody we knew because this was the best news, and we were so excited. And I was still in the middle of those calls, I think I was actually just finishing up one of my last calls to say “Everything's going to be okay,” and we were in the Walgreens parking lot in Yukon, Oklahoma. There's very specific data for you. But I was in the Walgreens parking lot, Yukon, Oklahoma, and I lost the baby and she was born right there.

And so we drove to the hospital, the same hospital I had just been in for that appointment, and there wasn't a need for an ultrasound because she had been born. And that was that journey.

I went home and had to deal with a loss of a life that nobody had loved as much as I had loved in that amount of time. And that's just how it felt. And I say I, but it was my husband and I, it was both of us, and it was our parents and it was the people that were dreaming with us.

But shortly after that time, I think, looking back, I was dealing with maybe a little bit of, I think it's fair to say I was dealing with a postpartum type of depression, which I wonder if people discussed enough. I'm sure you guys discuss it plenty.

But only eight weeks, but my body had already said, “This is life,” and so I was anxious and depressed, and I was in physical agony still. And I think it was all of the events that take place after birth, but there was no baby at home with me.

And here's where Hope enters into my story, Ashley, because Hope had been there all along. Hope had held me, and Hope had loved me, and Hope had comforted me, and the God of all Hope never let me go and never left me in any of this.

But I had prayed. I had prayed during the time leading up to the loss, “Lord, I believe that You can, and I believe that if the world was as You had designed it to be in the beginning, this wouldn't be a part of our story. But even if this doesn't happen the way I want it to happen, even if I don't hold her here, I believe You're good because I have to believe that You are still good, because I cannot lose her and I cannot lose You too.”

That was my prayer to the Lord. “I cannot lose my Anchor. I will have nothing. I will be adrift without You, Lord. So I need You to help me hold onto Your goodness in the middle of all of this.” And He did. And He walked me, over the course of the next few years, it wasn’t even…

I feel like a lot of my healing came then with the release of anger. I didn't hold onto anger very long. I mourned and I grieved, but I wasn't angry. I know that's not everybody's story, but a lot of freedom came for me personally when I moved through anger, when I got to the other side of anger and I just let the Lord weep with me.

And I would picture Him, Ashley, weeping with me in my suffering. Sometimes I think we paint God far off and we picture Him waiting for us at the end of eternity, like He needs us to die physically before we can be with Him. But the truth is, He is with us here, now.

And when we become born-again Christians, meaning our life is new and our spirits come alive, He enters in and He is close from that moment on, as close as He will be in eternity, just not fully revealed.

And so when I saw Him in my story and I saw Him in all of those hard places, I had time for the next few years where I let Him show me: “I was with you when you were praying. I interceded for you. I was with you when you went to the doctor and you were in labor, and I was speaking peace over your heart and body. I was with you as you rejoiced when you heard the news, and I was with you when your sweet Kaylin Joy slipped from your body into My arms.” And that has been my comfort.

That has been my comfort and my message, because I've realized that I don't need a God who waits afar off for me. I need a God who holds me close through everything, through all of it. And when He revealed Himself to me through that time, through that loss, it painted a picture of Him.

Ashley, when I say I saw Him, I didn't just imagine Him there. It was like I was in prayer and the Lord showed me Jesus holding me close. I pictured Him there. And it changed the story. It changed the story from, “Why didn't You,” and, “How could You,” to the Lord weeping over the brokenness that entered into the world when Adam and Eve sinned that He paid His life to overcome.

But we still live in this broken space and yet, through the suffering of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and now the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we don't have to suffer as those with no hope, that we have an eternal hope and a present hope that He is with us in all of it. And that really is the message that I speak from.

What happened with Kaylin and what happened within me, through her life and through her passing, is that I received this revelation of the God who holds us in all seasons. And now I get to have that as the message of my life, whether in joy or suffering, whether in hope or heartache, we have an eternal hope that holds us in all seasons.

Ashley Opliger: [00:13:27] Amen, sister. That'll preach. Oh, my goodness. You're sharing the hope of the Gospel that in spite of this broken world and in spite of sin and death ravaging all aspects of our lives, and this includes the perfect design that God had for us as women to conceive and give birth to life, because of sin and death, that system is broken. And unfortunately, sometimes babies die, and that is heartbreaking. And that is not God's good design for earth.

And so often I think the anger that women experience is because we have our theology wrong and we believe that maybe He intended for it to be this way, and how could a good God want this for me?

But when you flip your perspective like you did and you understand, no, this breaks God's heart just as much as it breaks our hearts, and that He was the one that created your precious Kaylin Joy and He wants good for us, and when the brokenness of this world overwhelms us, He's there to hold us.

And that's the motto of our podcast, Cradled in Hope. It has two meanings. One is that our babies are cradled by Jesus in Heaven, but that He cradles us in hope now, like you said, not when we die, which of course when we die, then we will be in the perfect presence of Jesus, but even now when we're suffering and we're walking through this.

And what a beautiful image that God gave you to picture Him wrapping you up in His loving arms because He is a good Father that loves us, that wants to comfort us. And you actually talk about this in your book.

You have a book all about the Holy Spirit, and I really want to dive in now and talk about the Holy Spirit, not only as Christians, but also as women who are grieving, because the Word tells us that Jesus intercedes for us on our behalf when we don't even have words, but our spirit is groaning. We're in the depths of despair, but we can be present with Him right now.

And You call Him our Friend, our Comforter, our Helper. Would you share about how God revealed Himself? Obviously as a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, but you also studied His Word to know more about the Holy Spirit and His role in our life. So would you share more about that book?

Becky Thompson: [00:15:41] Absolutely, yes. The Holy Spirit, I've grown up knowing about the gift that Jesus promises His disciples before He goes to the cross. He talks about who the Holy Spirit is, explains to them in detail.

He’s spoken vaguely to His disciples, but in John 14 through 16, Jesus is saying, “Listen, I'm about to go to the Father, but it's for your benefit that I go.” He says this in chapter 16 of John, “So that the Advocate can come, because if I return to the Father, then the Father can send the Holy Spirit.”

He calls Him the Advocate or Helper or Comforter. He's got so many different names, but the Holy Spirit, I feel like He's so misunderstood in the body of Christ. He's kind of overlooked. We sort of hush about Him, like certain churches talk about Him, other churches don't talk about Him.

It's almost as if the Holy Spirit is just some sort of extra bonus that Christians get. This is how He’s spoken of often, like, “There's Father, Son … and Holy Spirit.” Or we call on Him only when we need Him to do something and then we start talking about the Holy Spirit. Then we start talking about how He's with us, but we don't have this full grasp of who He is.

I grew up in a church, well, I grew up Methodist, which I feel like is very traditional, but I also was taken by my parents to different churches that had different denominational influences, and so churches that maybe talked more about the Holy Spirit or explained more or had just different Bible teachings or conferences or things like that, where explanation about His personhood.

And I feel like this, Ashley, is so important for the life of every Christian woman to really grab hold of the fact that it's not, “Father, Son and … Holy Spirit?” But it's Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that He is God. He is just as much God as Jesus is God.

You know how many people kind of go, “What?” They back up from that sometimes because, “Well, He's mysterious and I don't get it.”

But here's what I mean when I call Him a person, Ashley. He has a mind because Scripture explains, “Who can know the mind of someone except their own spirit that is within them?”

And so this is Scripture explaining to us that the Holy Spirit has a mind. He knows the mind of the Father. He's not just like gravity or wind, even though He's sort of expressed as these, like wind or fire. But He is a person without the confines of flesh to keep Him in one place, which is so cool. And I feel like we could grab hold of this.

So, okay, let's just keep unpacking it for a second. So we know He has a mind. We know He has a will because Scripture says that the Holy Spirit distributes to believers gifts as He wills. So He has a will. He gets to make decisions because He is a being.

And see, He teaches. Jesus says in John 16, I want to read this specifically. These aren't words recorded about Jesus's teaching. This is Jesus saying this. Okay? John 16:12.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear, but when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the Truth. He will not speak on His own, but He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you.”

So in this little passage we have Jesus saying when He comes, He will guide. He will speak. He will tell and He will glorify Jesus. It also says that He will speak what He hears. So we have personhood attributes here. We have more than just some sort of bonus that Christians get in their lives. We have living, breathing God with us at all times, revealing Jesus to us.

And so I say this and it feels kind of gutsy, but it is Biblically true. It's Biblically true that we can only know Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us. And so if you know Jesus, if you feel like He has led you in your life, if you feel like you have heard His comforting voice, if you feel like you have felt His comforting love, then all of this has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

And so women that go, “I don't know the Holy {Spirit}, I know Jesus. I'm good with Him. I'm good with the Father, but I just don’t know the Holy Spirit,” He is just like Jesus in that when He comes in, peace comes in. When He comes in, Jesus is revealed. When He comes in, hope rises, fear goes, strength comes. He is every bit of Comforter, Friend, Advocate, Helper that we need.

And I love what's happening in the Church - that's Church big C - right now, because I feel like the Holy Spirit is revealing His personal work in the life of the believer, leading people to repentance, leading people into deeper relationship with Jesus, and ultimately pointing to the good work that Jesus completed on the cross.

So I love the Holy Spirit. I could talk about Him forever. I wrote a whole book on Him, like you said. But ultimately I would love to, I can't say demystify because He is a mystery, but my heart is to familiarize women with Him as a person. That's really what I would love our listener friend to grab hold of.

God isn't just out there and He isn't just everywhere, but He is personally knowable right now at this moment in your life, no matter what part of your story you’re in.

Ashley Opliger: [00:21:23] Amen. I always tell moms that because of the Holy Spirit, I feel as though the veil of Heaven is just so thin, because the way I think of it is if the living, breathing God is living inside of us through His Holy Spirit and our babies are in His physical presence in Heaven, we're right there.

It's just so close. I don't think we really understand how close Heaven is. And that veil, I guess, if you want to use that terminology, is so thin because we're right here in the presence of Jesus, and Kaylin and Bridget, they're right there with Jesus Himself.

And of course, Biblically, we know we're not to speak directly to the dead, but because we can have full access to Jesus in the Holy Spirit. I just talk to Jesus and talk to the Holy Spirit and say, “Will you give Bridget a hug? Will you tell her that I love her?” I don't think there's anything Biblically wrong with that because we are told to pray and to never cease praying.

And so I love that you share that because that is such a gift. And Jesus Himself said, “It's better for Me to go and you have the Holy Spirit.” And so if Jesus is saying that, that means that it's important to us as believers.

But I do think sometimes women, and I want you to speak to this kind of misconception, is that sometimes we feel like, “Well, do I have the Holy Spirit inside of me? Wouldn't I feel so different? Or why do I still then struggle with this sin? Or why am I still doubting if I have Jesus Himself in the Trinity of the Holy Spirit inside of me? Why do I still doubt? Why do I still sin?”

And of course, we're still sinners, but He's allowing our unholy temple of a body to indwell with His righteousness. And so would you unpack that for the mom who's listening to this and saying, “Yes, I believe in Jesus, I'm a saved Christian. But I don't feel the Holy Spirit inside of me. How do I know that I have Him and how do I let Him guide me,” in the areas that you spoke about being convicted and Him guiding us.

Becky Thompson: [00:23:26] There's a Scripture that speaks, and I think it's in Ephesians where Paul is explaining to the church in Ephesus about, “continue to be being filled with the Holy Spirit,” as if being filled with the Holy Spirit is an ongoing experience, as if we don't run out. It's not like there's a hole in the bottom of our spiritual bucket.

I think of it like this: It's as if you are a glass that is already full and you are filled the moment that you become born again. Now, I feel like there's a lot of Christians, and I feel like this is important and I don't even know if there's just one listener that's going, “I need help with this,” or if there's a bunch, but I just feel like there's one mom specifically that's like, “People talk about that all the time. What do you mean, ‘born again?’”

And so we're just going to stop and speak directly to her for a sec, because born again, especially in the context of what we're speaking about here on this particular podcast, you were born in the flesh, and that means that you have life in a body, but your spirit was not born into new life until Jesus regenerated your heart, meaning you were alive in the flesh, but you did not have life in your soul, in your spirit until Jesus made you born of spirit and of water.

And so when that happened, when you became alive, it was the breath and life that Paul talks about. So we are born of flesh and we are born of spirit. As a matter of fact, we have life in our spiritual being because Acts 17:25 says, ”This is the One. God is the One who gives life and breath and everything else to people.” He does not need any help from man. He has everything He needs, but the Spirit of God is the One who gives us spiritual life. He is the one that gives us spiritual breath.

And so we talk about being born again. We talk about born not just in our bodies, but in our spirits in that moment, that we become alive through the Spirit because of what Jesus has done, and we now enter into this family of God now.

At that moment, we have access to the Holy Spirit. At that moment, the Holy Spirit comes and intercedes to the Father on our behalf, crying out, “Abba Father.” And so this is what we mean when we say we receive the Holy Spirit when we become born-again Christians.

But I believe. Ashley, that there is this ongoing experience that takes place in the life of a Christian, in the life of a person who says, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who suffered, died. and rose again. I believe that. I believe He is the one true Son of God.”

There has to be this ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but this doesn't happen like breathing or thinking when we're asleep. This is a partnership, where He is doing this regenerating work, making us new each day.

But Scripture talks about this dying to self, meaning we have to choose to walk in the spirit instead of walk in the flesh. We have to make spiritual choices. Just like you make good choices for what you eat, you have to partner with the Holy Spirit. We have to engage with Him.

And I really believe this all goes back to remembering that He isn't far off. He is right there with us. And God isn't waiting for us to pass away in this life before we know Him. And that is really what takes place with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Ashley Opliger: [00:26:59] I want to read from John chapter three. This is this sweet moment between Jesus and Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees. And Nicodemus had witnessed some of the miracles that Jesus had done, and he was really questioning, “Okay. This is a rabbi who I'm hearing a lot about and I'm seeing these things with my own eyes and I'm hearing it from people around.”

“And so he came to Jesus at night,” verse two, and went and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

And this is when Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

And this confuses Nicodemus. And he says, “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born?”

And here is where what you are talking about with this is the Spirit. “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth. No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’.”

So Jesus is telling us this is a spiritual birth that we're entering into the Kingdom of God. So I love that Jesus addressed this with Nicodemus and explained that this is spiritual.

But to come back to our question, how can it be that we still struggle with sin and we struggle with doubt? We have received the Holy Spirit, but we’re still in our sin nature, we're still in a broken world with the adversary, with Satan, and we are also battling against the principalities and the forces of darkness and Satan.

And so we have to discern what is from the Holy Spirit and what is from Satan, who is the angel of light. He's good at twisting God's words and trying to mimic who God is. And so we have to be really careful that we're really measuring everything to Scripture. Would you speak to that? How do we experience the Holy Spirit when we also have this opposite force against us and our own sin nature to battle against?

Becky Thompson: [00:29:03] Absolutely. I can't even remember who said this, but I heard it once said that we always say we've got the Holy Spirit and then the devil's after us. Sometimes it's not the devil, sometimes it's just us. Sometimes we are just our own problem. Sometimes we're like, “Oh, the devil is after me. Look, I've done X, Y, or Z.”

And God's like, “I just need you to make better choices, my friend. I just need you to consult Me and I will gladly lead you.”

Devil's not anywhere involved in what we're talking about with us and the Lord, but in this conversation I think it's really important that we go, “We do have a real enemy and he really is after us,” but at the same time, while we're battling outside influence from the enemy who wants to steal and kill and destroy the hope of our hearts, we also have this flesh nature, and the flesh wants what's opposite to what the spirit wants.

Paul said in his letter to the church at Galatia, “So I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh craves what's contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.

And I think this is the dying daily that is required in the spiritual life. I'm going to be honest with you, Ashley, I'm just going to speak like a real person for a sec. There are some TV shows and I think they're so funny and they are not good. And the Holy Spirit. He's like, “You don't need to watch those.”

And I'm like, “That's good writing though. You heard that. It was so funny in that last time we watched that episode.”

And He's like, “We shouldn't have watched that episode.”

And I'm like, “You're right. We shouldn't.” And so I don't.

This is what it looks like to say, “If You're convicting me, Lord, if You're telling me what I should or shouldn't do.” And what He convicts me of, Ashley, might be different than what He convicts you of.

We’ve got the Bible as an outline of how to rightly live our lives, but in all of the things that seem to fall outside of what the Bible says, how do we walk according to the Spirit when sometimes our flesh wants to be crabby with our husbands? How do we walk according to the Spirit when we feel like no one is helping us? How do we walk in grace when we are grieving? How do we walk according to the hope of the Holy Spirit when we are mourning?

There is a spiritual aspect where we have to go, “Is this the Lord who's leading me?” We also have just a natural aspect where the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, but He's also working in our natural lives.

He is not just out here dealing with what we consider to be spiritual things. Right? He is out here leading us in all of the mundane things of our lives. He cares about what I watch on TV. He cares about how I do or don't reply to that text message or email or opportunity, or how I filter things through my life.

And so how can we be sure? I'm coming back to your question because I'm remembering it, but I'm just picking a few people up along the way. I feel like I'm on a bus and I'm grabbing some mommas, and the door is open and they're jumping on. Hopefully none are jumping off.

But I'm getting back to your point about how can we be sure that it's the Holy Spirit who's leading us when we have all of these other outside influences and we're battling our own flesh nature, as we're calling it, as Scripture calls it?

The Spirit will always lead us toward peace. The Holy Spirit will always confirm what Scripture says is true. The Holy Spirit will always glorify Jesus in action and in prompting. There's not a time when the Holy Spirit shows up and He, Jesus, was wrong in any way by what He did or what He does in our lives. The Holy Spirit always draws us toward the Father.

That's what I love about Him. That's really the litmus test in my life. As moms, we can be so critical. As women in general, we can be so critical of ourselves. We can say things like, “I am the problem,” and, “I have made a mistake,” and, “I am a failure.” And we can label a lot of things. We can hear the voice of the enemy over ourselves and just on our own yucky thoughts and believe them to be true.

But the difference between the voice of condemnation, which is really the enemy speaking over us, and the voice of conviction is that when we are convicted by the Holy Spirit, He is offering us opportunity to return to the Father, always.

And when we are condemned by the enemy, he is putting in every best effort, he's playing his best cards to cause there to be space between us and the Father. It's all he wants.

And so we have to remember that the Holy Spirit always brings us back into relationship with the Lord. The Holy Spirit always draws us closer. He always offers opportunities to try again. He always offers opportunities to begin anew. He always offers opportunities to find more hope, to have more strength. But it might look like removing things from our thinking, from our practice, from our attitude, from our heart that are causing there to be space between us and the Father.

So how can we be sure? We read the Word, we see how God spoke in Scripture, but we also practice just listening for His kind voice, always drawing us back into relationship.

Ashley Opliger: [00:34:04] I love that you explained it that way because I think especially when we're grieving, we're weak, we're vulnerable. And this is such a sweet time for God to be present and for Him to hold us and wrap us up and for us to draw near to Him.

But also it's an opportunity for Satan to give us the spirit of fear, of anger, of bitterness, resentment, disappointment. It's an opportunity for him to condemn us and give us guilt and shame.

Like you said, as women, we often blame ourselves. And I can't tell you how many women I've spoken with that feel that she miscarried because of something that she did or did not do. And I think that is just the lie of Satan wanting to put that spirit in her of guilt and shame that she did something to cause it.

And so that just breaks my heart because that is not from God. God would not speak that over His daughter. And so I love that you said that the Holy Spirit is always going to be in alignment with His Word, in alignment with His good character.

And so whenever we have these thoughts that come to our mind, we can really discern who it's coming from based on, “Does this measure up to Scripture?”

Of course, the Holy Spirit, He's sanctifying us as Christians, and we're learning more and more about who God is, but especially when we're grieving, what an opportunity to draw near to Him and His Spirit and let Him comfort us, let Him speak Truth over us and be this present help. They love that verse that our help comes from Him and so we should always be looking and fixing our eyes on Jesus.

Ashley Opliger: [00:35:41] We hope you are enjoying this episode so far. We want to take a quick break to tell you about some resources our ministry provides to grieving moms.

On our website,, you can find hope-filled resources on grieving and healing including memorial ideas, quotes & Scripture, featured stories, and recommended books and other organizations. We share ideas on how to navigate difficult days such as due dates, Heaven Days, and holidays.

In addition, every month I lead Christ-centered support groups for bereaved moms called Hope Gatherings, both in-person and online. You can find a list of upcoming dates and sign up for our next support group on our website.

Lastly, we would love for you to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. You can find us on these three pages: @bridgetscradles, @cradledinhope, and my personal page @ashleyopliger. You can also join our private Cradled in Hope Facebook group for grieving moms to find community. We would be honored to hear your baby’s story and be praying for you by name. Now let’s get back to our episode.

Ashley Opliger: [00:36:51] I want to transition now and talk about the book that you wrote called Peace, because this is an area I frequently talk to women about after losing a baby.

Of course, sadness and pain, that's a natural response to losing a child. But a lot of times we don't expect for this debilitating anxiety and feelings of panic and fear to overwhelm us as we're now navigating this new normal.

I've talked to so many women that say that now that the worst, the most unthinkable thing that's happened to them in their life, it feels like, “What's next? Who else am I going to lose in my life? What other bad thing is awaiting for me around the corner?”

And when you've experienced such trauma as losing a child, your brain changes and you now are thinking different thoughts and experiencing different emotions. And some of this is a brain issue and a chemical issue; some of it's a spiritual issue.

And I know you talk about all of that in your book, but would you talk about your own journey with chronic anxiety as a Christian woman, and how can we find hope and healing through God's Word?

Becky Thompson: [00:37:58] Absolutely. Well, how long is your podcast? Because this is the message of my life. I have a God who is close because I need Him to be close. I have a God who's close because, when I said at the beginning I couldn't lose Him because He is my only anchor, I mean it.

From the time that I was little, I have been afraid and not afraid of Him. Not afraid of judgment, just afraid. I felt afraid. There was no light I could click on to see that the room wasn't scary. That makes sense when you're little, and turn the light on and everything's fine.

In my heart, I just walked around as if I couldn't find the switch, just to flip it on and say, “Everything's okay.” I met the Lord at a really young age, felt His presence at a young age, didn't [just] have head knowledge about Him, had heart knowledge about Him, felt what it's like when He comes close.

There was peace, there was goodness. It was an overwhelm of just His awesome power. At a very young age, I encountered the Lord as if He walked into the room in a manifest way.

And yet the rest of my days, like all of the others, I had head truth and heart truth, but I lived in a body that was always worried. I had a mind that was always playing out the worst-case scenario. I had a heart that would race and I would panic even when I was little.

And nobody called it anxiety. And people didn't have terms like that 35 years ago that were used easily. Maybe they would call them nerves or shy, but I was chronically, medically anxious, just always. And it wasn't until after I lost Kaylin and then gave birth to Colton, my oldest, in that span of my life, that I realized, “This is now debilitating.”

It moved from all of my normal coping to, “I cannot function, I can't sleep. I'm worried about everything.” Like you said, my brain, my heart, everything changed and I shifted.

Now, here's the thing. I never talked about being anxious in my life. My parents knew that there were certain things that I just wouldn't participate in. I didn't play sports because it made me nervous. I didn't go to a lot of parties in middle school or high school. All of that made me nervous.

I had lots of things that made me nervous and I just didn't do them. And I don't think I knew I had anxiety until after Colton was born. I feel like it's important to give this full context so that people understand that I grew up and have lived most of my life in what I call the forest of fear. And I felt very alone.

You hear a lot as a Christian woman, and there's no fault in this saying except that it doesn't include all situations. “If you just pray about it or if you just play worship music or read your Bible more, that you will just be better.”

And we expect this only for what seems like mental health issues, mental health sicknesses, because as an adult I know that the chemical processes in my brain, they're different than what's called neurotypical.

I don't have a neurotypical functioning brain. And my brain's an organ just like your heart's in organ, and if there was an issue with your heart or if you needed glasses to see, we'd go to doctors, we'd talk to specialists, we’d get the help that we need.

But because there is so much conversation about faith as it relates to fear in Scripture, women who are anxious often feel as if there isn't just something wrong with the way they feel. They think that there's something wrong with what they believe, and maybe they don't know Jesus and maybe they aren't saved, and maybe if they just had more faith, they would stop being so afraid.

And I think we have to be really careful in our conversation about anxiety and mental illness and fear that we don't only make it a faith issue when it is so complex in all of it. There is actually a time in Scripture when, this is an interesting thought and I'm just going to follow where the Lord is leading me here, where Paul tells Timothy, I believe, to drink a little wine because of his stomach upset.

And so rather than Paul to tell Timothy, “Because of your tummy issues, you must not have enough faith.” You know what I mean? Paul tells Timothy, “Pray about it and the Lord will fix it”. No, Paul tells Timothy, “Be sure that you're caring for your body's issue.” And so Paul cares about all the spiritual aspects of Timothy's life, but he's also like, “Hey, you've got something here,” and he offers a physical remedy.

Now, the reason I'm bringing that up in all of this is because I think that we cannot overlook the spiritual importance of dealing with anxiety. We absolutely must pray. We absolutely must read the Word. We absolutely need to practice what I call lie replacement strategy, where we go, “This is the lie that the enemy is telling me, and this is the actual Scriptural direct correlation to where God overcomes it with His promise of Truth.”

And so there are spiritual things that we must do, but there are also practical things that must be addressed when we are dealing, especially with what I would think of as postpartum anxiety, which is often caused by hormonal and chemical imbalances.

And I am not a doctor. I want to say this on your show, please don't edit it out. I can give no advice. I can just say what I have learned to be true for myself, and that is there's been a time in my life where I have needed doctors. There's been a time in my life where I have needed counselors. There have been times in my life where I only could find hope and help through the Holy Spirit, but God has led me in each season to each bit of help in the process.

For our moms that are listening right now, for the women that are here in this space saying, “I can't stop being afraid,” I want to paint this picture for just a moment before we move on.

I want you to see that as you call out in this forest of fear, as you say, “This is where I am and I don't know how to tell anybody because everybody just tells me I should be better, I should just not feel this way or just wait and time will fix it,” I want you to know that you don't have a God who waits on the other side of this season like, “Let Me know how it turns out.” That's not His attitude.

He's not calling to you from the other side of your fear. He is safely holding you, guiding you day by day as He walks you toward total healing. He is the one that went before us and He is the one that walks presently with us, and that is where I want you to see Him.

I want you to imagine that you have a real God. He is not far off. He's not an idea. He's not just a concept. He is the living, breathing, one true hope of your soul. And if you believe that someday He will resurrect your spirit and you will have new body in Heaven leaving this mortal dust behind, then you believe that there is a supernatural event. You already believe in the supernatural God, I want you to supernaturally see Him present with you right now, this moment.

The same God that waits for you in eternity holds you right here, speaks Truth over your heart, speaks Truth over the lies that you're hearing. Can you picture Him with me? Can you picture Him covering your ears? Can you picture Him holding you so close to His chest that one of His hands is over your ear while the other ear is pressed so you only hear His heartbeat?

Sometimes we just need to remember where we are positionally in relationship to God Himself, so that from that proximity to the Lord, from that nearness, from that absolute closeness, we can see Him healing us and leading us down our personalized pathway to peace.

Ashley Opliger: [00:46:05] That is such a beautiful picture, and that is the God that is so close, that wants to be with us in our pain. And I love that you talked about the need to address the physical aspects and the spiritual aspects, because that's something we've talked about on our podcast before.

If you are listening and have not listened to our episode with Julie Busler, Episode 29 I believe, she wrote a book called Joyful Sorrow, Breaking Through the Darkness of Mental Illness, and she talks a lot about talking to Jesus and her therapist and the need for medication, if that is what is medically needed. Maybe it's vitamins or a different diet; sometimes food can be impacting our bodies.

And like Becky said, I am not a doctor either. I'm not a counselor either. We always put that disclaimer on our website, but there are obviously physical aspects to this as well.

And when you've lost a baby, no matter how many weeks, your body is hormonally changing after your loss. And I think that it's fair to call it postpartum depression along with grief at the same time. It's almost like you're being hit with both grief and this physical aspect too.

And just like you, Becky, when I had my first living son after losing Bridget, I had horrible postpartum anxiety and depression, had to go to counseling when my son was six months old. It was debilitating like yours, and I feel so strongly that it is not a sign of weakness to go to a counselor. It's a sign of strength to say, “You know what? I need help.”

Of course, I always recommend that you go to a Christian counselor because they're going to bring in the whole counsel of God and lead you spiritually as well. But it's so important to bring this up and to start talking about it because so often we get written off like it is a faith issue or that it's just going to get better with time.

And sometimes it doesn't get better immediately with time and we need to address some of the sources and we also need to be praying through it. And so thank you so much for sharing that.

We are linking her book. Peace, as well as her book, God So Close in our show notes as well as on our Hope Guide; there's a full feature page that you can go and check out more about her book and go onto Amazon or wherever books are sold and find those books. They are amazing resources for women.

And so Becky, would you mind sharing how our listeners can get connected to you, your website and social channels, as well as the new community that you have just started and opened up for women to join?

Becky Thompson: [00:48:31] Absolutely. Well, before I go, I just want to thank you and bless you and the ministry that you're doing here is so important and the women that you love so well.

I just feel like the Father wants you to know how proud He is of you, and this ministry really does matter and it's changing lives. I know if your listeners could all provide that feedback, I know you receive some, but if they could all tell you at the end of each episode how much healing they've found, I think you would truly be blessed that the Father is so proud of you. And I just feel that in my heart and I wanted to share that.

Thank you for the gift of this space and the opportunity to share with your listeners. They can find me at, really simply there. But also just a search on Facebook or Instagram for Becky Thompson, that'll pull me up.

And then also Midnight Mom Devotional is that prayer community I reference that I lead with my mom, with over 2 million moms praying there nightly for all different situations.

And we pray for the momma, not just about the things moms face, not just for our kids and our lives, but we pray for the momma. So if you are in need of prayer, that page is for you. Midnight Mom Devotional is the name of the Facebook page.

And then the new community is called The Clearing, and it's just a space for women to come and breathe and find the hope of Jesus in a safe place that isn't judgemental, but also is just very welcoming of His presence.

The only expectation that women can have when they go to that community is that they will meet with Him and find more about His Word. So The Clearing Community is the name of that space and it opens up once every three months. Yeah, I'd love to have whoever wants to come join. Thanks again for having me on. This has just been so great.

Ashley Opliger: [00:50:07] I love it so much. So every one of those links that she just mentioned are in our show notes and on our Hope Guide, you can find them there.

Becky, would you mind closing us in prayers for all the mommas who are listening that are navigating this journey, whether they are fresh in grief or they’re years down the road? Would you pray for all of the hearts that are listening right now?

Becky Thompson: [00:50:27] Absolutely.

Well, Father, we come before you as daughters first, and we just say we need You. We need You today just like we needed You yesterday, like we're going to need You tomorrow. We need a fresh dose of hope.

Lord, I pray right now that You would comfort as only You can, that You would bring hope as only You can, that we would feel Your presence even now, even in this space.

Father, as the woman who's driving down the road or she's in her home, she's on a walk, wherever she is in this exact moment, I ask for a fresh revelation of Your Spirit, Lord, a movement around her or within her that so awakens her heart to Your living, breathing Spirit, that she goes, “I will never be the same. I will never wonder again because You have grabbed my heart.”

Lord, I thank You for the healing that's coming, the joy that's coming, the peace that's coming. Lord, I thank You that as You walk down our personalized path to healing with us, that You are the Healer. You are the One who's doing the healing work, but You are also the Spirit leading us. We're so grateful for Your kind presence.

Lord, I just pray You cover each listener with peace like a blanket now. Give her hope for tomorrow, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Ashley Opliger: [00:51:46] Amen. Thank you so much, Becky, for being here.

Ashley Opliger: [00:51:50] Thank you for listening to the Cradled in Hope Podcast on the Edifi Podcast Network. We pray that you found hope & healing in today’s episode.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss new episodes when they release on the 1st of every month. You can also find this episode’s show notes and a full transcript on our website at

There you can also download a free PDF for each episode, called the Hope Guide, which is filled with notes, Scripture, links, discussion questions, and so much more. Be sure to leave your email address so that we can keep you updated on podcast episodes, upcoming support groups, and other hope-filled resources.

If you’re interested in volunteering or donating to Bridget’s Cradles in memory of a baby in Heaven, you can find information on our website on how you can get involved and spread hope to other grieving families.

One way you can help is by leaving a review of this podcast on iTunes [or the Apple Podcasts app]. Consider the minute of your time as a way YOU can personally share the hope that you’ve found here with another mom whose heart is broken and needs healing.

Thank you so much for listening and sharing. Until next time, we will be praying for you. And remember, as Jesus cradles our babies in Heaven, He cradles us in hope. Though we may grieve, we do not grieve without hope.

Cradled in Hope is part of the Edifi Podcast Network, a collection of faith-inspiring podcasts on Edifi, the world’s most powerful Christian podcasting app. To listen to Cradled in Hope and find other podcasts by leading Christian voices, download the Edifi app in the Apple and Google Play stores or online at Thank you so much for listening.


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