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45 | Miscarried Hope | Rachel Lohman





Join us for a hope-filled conversation with Rachel Lohman, founder of Hope Again Collective and the author of Miscarried Hope. After losing her first baby to miscarriage, Rachel felt that the rug had been pulled out from underneath her and her faith. Over time, God led her to recover her faith and hope in Him by trusting in His goodness despite her circumstances.


In this episode, we discussed:


  • Struggling with your faith after loss

  • Reconciling His goodness during difficult times

  • The Five Stages of Hope from her book

  • How Jesus modeled how to grieve during His time on earth

  • Why Rachel wrote Miscarried Hope

  • All about Rachel's jewelry line for bereaved moms, Hope Again Collective

  • The role of empathy in supporting a friend or family member who lost a baby

  • Finding purpose in pain (and having a posture of open-handedness)

  • Encouragement for moms fresh in grief


Full transcript below.



Rachel is the founder of Hope Again Collective, a handmade jewelry line that shares the stories of loss moms and has donated over $10,000 in practical grief resources to women going through miscarriage or stillbirth.

 

Rachel has generously offered Cradled in Hope listeners a discount code to receive $5 off your order at Hope Again Collective. Use code cradles before 1/31/24 to receive $5 off your jewelry order!

 

MEET OUR GUEST


Rachel Lohman is the founder of Hope Again Collective and the author of Miscarried Hope.


Rachel holds a Master's Degree in Theology and Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.


She is the mother of two living children and one in Heaven. Rachel lives with her pastor husband, Mark, in Southern California.


Connect with Rachel:

Instagram: @rachel.lohman

Hope Again Collective: @hopeagaincollective

 

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MEET OUR HOST


Ashley Opliger is the Executive Director of Bridget's Cradles, a nonprofit organization based in Wichita, Kansas that donates cradles to over 1,400 hospitals in all 50 states and comforts over 30,000 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


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


Episode 45 | Miscarried Hope | Rachel Lohman


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: [00:51:04] Welcome back to another episode. We are so honored to have Rachel Lohman as our first guest of 2024. I know you're going to be so encouraged by the message of hope she brings. Much of it is from her book, Miscarried Hope: Journeying with Jesus Through Pregnancy and Infant Loss.


Rachel is also the founder of Hope Again Collective, a handmade jewelry line that shares the stories of loss moms and has donated over $10,000 in practical grief resources to women going through miscarriage or stillbirth. 


Rachel holds a Master's Degree in Theology and Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, and she is a mother to two living children and one in Heaven. Her husband, Mark, is a pastor of a bilingual church in Southern California, and I am looking forward to you hearing her share about the stages of hope that we walk through after we've lost a baby. 


And so we're going to jump into this conversation real soon, but I want to encourage you to listen until the end. At the very end, she is going to give us a discount code to purchase jewelry from her website, Hope Again Collective. So be sure to listen to the end. She's going to give you a special discount code for Cradled in Hope listeners to get $5 off your first purchase, so make sure to stick around for that. Let's jump into the conversation now. 


Ashley Opliger: [00:02:05] Welcome, Rachel, to the Cradled in Hope Podcast


Rachel Lohman: [00:02:08] Thanks for having me on, Ashley.


Ashley Opliger: [00:02:10] I'm so excited for this conversation. We found each other on Instagram and I love your book that you just released called Miscarried Hope, which we're going to talk about a lot in this episode, but I would love for you to introduce yourself to our listeners and tell us your story of experiencing miscarriage.


Rachel Lohman: [00:02:28] Sure. I actually was born and raised in the Midwest, in Indiana, and came out to Southern California where I've now been over half my life. My husband and I, after a few years of marriage, when we decided, “Okay, we want to start a family,” our first experience with parenthood was with loss. 


So we lost our first baby to miscarriage at about seven-and-a-half weeks and that really was a defining point in our story and in my story that's led me to where I am now.

 

I think there were so many factors, but particularly because it happened as we entered parenthood, and it was just so blindsiding. It felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath us, but especially from underneath my faith, and I really struggled with how to recover my faith and also my hope in God. 


Everything that I had believed for all of these years, I was now questioning, not in a way that I didn't want to believe it, but just in a way that I couldn't reconcile God's goodness with some of the things that He allows us to walk through.


So, after a while, of months of really wrestling with God, I felt a pull to start talking about our experience and my story. And then years later, Hope Again Collective, my jewelry line, was born out of that, just feeling like there needed to be more space for women to be able to share their story of this type of experience.


And then a couple years after that, the book came. I had no idea the fruit that would be on the other side of deciding to say yes to first talking about our experience, because I didn't want to, and I felt a lot of shame and a lot of hurt surrounding that loss for a while. 

So now sitting a few years beyond that, it's just amazing to see and really walk in the redemption of what God can do with chapters of our stories that seem broken beyond repair.


Ashley Opliger: [00:04:40] I'm so sorry for your loss, especially walking through that, as you said, entering into parenthood, because I think for all of us who have lost a baby, it's not something that you expect as you're getting so excited to grow your family and to have a baby. 


And so when this happens, it's earth-shattering and completely life-changing. And, like you said, it changes who you are. It shapes your identity. 


And so would you walk through the early grief and your healing journey with the Lord of wrestling with your faith and reconciling who He is and His character and how that really changed you? 


Rachel Lohman: [00:05:17] Mm-hmm (affirmative). There’s one very pointed memory that I have and it was within the first month after our loss.


I remember just laying on the rug in our house, and I don't know if I was journaling, just trying to rest. I wasn't in, necessarily, a good place. I was feeling the grief pretty deeply. And I remember that my husband had King of My Heart playing, the worship song, in our kitchen and he was singing that refrain of, “You are good, You are good.”


And that moment I just felt like it froze in time for a second because we were having such different experiences of God within a few … I mean, we had this tiny little house. And I didn't understand how he could be in the place where he was. 


I didn't understand how I was in the place that I was, where the first time I was questioning God's goodness, not that His character hasn't always been good, but I just had a really hard time reconciling trusting in the goodness of God moving forward when I was living through what I thought was supposed to be a good thing that turned into a nightmare.


And the heartbreak and the shock of that was really just more than I ever could have imagined.


I have now seen in the time that I spent processing with God, processing with my therapist, processing with my husband, what I realized after that season was that it was an invitation for me to seek God's goodness in a much deeper way that wasn't subject to the ebbs and flow of circumstances. 


And I think previously without realizing it, I had attached God's goodness to circumstances. And in a way that made sense in my mind. And what I've learned is that the character of God, the way that He works, it really is so much beyond our comprehension. And I didn't want to sit in that tension for a while. 


So that's a bit of what it looked like in the early wrestling with God, with recovering my faith. And yeah, it was such a formational piece of my faith journey. 


Ashley Opliger: [00:07:39] I love that you shared that, about how it's circumstances that change and that is what skews our perspective of God. If you think about His character and that He's immutable, He's never-changing, logically we can understand God can't be tied to circumstances and to each of our circumstances. Right?


Because there are so many people on this earth, billions of people on this earth, who are all going through different things, whether it's good things or hard trials that they're walking through. And if God's character is ever-changing based on everything that everyone's walking through, then He's just all over the place. Right? And how could anyone trust Him? 


And so logically, we know He has to be immutable and good as the Word says He is. But for some reason, when we go through something, especially for the first time, something very difficult, such as losing a child, it does make us realize we were wrongly attaching His character to our circumstances and to our own thoughts as broken humans that are going through this life.


And so I love that you shared that because it is an invitation for us to really understand and know God so much deeper and better of who He really is. 

So as you walked through your grief, you talk about this in your book, which we'll dive into deeper in a minute, but you talk about the Five Stages of Hope. So what are those? And can you walk us through that journey?


Rachel Lohman: [00:09:04] Yeah, the Five Stages of Hope, I pulled those out of Holy Week. And admittedly, I had never really examined the emotional experience that the disciples and Jesus walked through during Holy Week. 


In my mind, I had just been like, “Okay, here are the historical events. Here's what we do as a church or at the church,” whatever, but I was shocked when I saw how closely the emotional experience of the disciples is during Holy Week with that of what we experience as loss moms. And out of that. I saw Five Stages of Hope emerge. 


And it was important to me as I wrote this book to give loss moms some sort of a framework for recovering their hope. A lot of us are familiar with the stages of grief, but I found a need for some sort of roadmap for my hope to be recovered again after loss. 

And so that was something I wanted to be able to share. And then God just showed me through Holy Week what has been the most profound example for me to find a lot of meaning and a lot of hope in my own story.


So the Five Stages of Hope: Expectation, Shock, Despair, Grief, and Active Hope; and I'll real quickly give you a brief summary of each stage.

 

In Expectation, it's this high peak of emotion. It's when you're holding that positive pregnancy stick. It's for the disciples when they're standing on the side of the road watching Jesus’ triumphant Palm Sunday entrance. 


So Expectation on Palm Sunday, it was this pinnacle of hope. It was, “This is really happening.”  And how many of us feel the same way when we hold that positive pregnancy stick? 


Then just a few days later at the Last Supper, as they're gathered around the table with Jesus, they enter into a period of Shock. That's when Jesus says, “I'm going to be leaving you soon.” 


And it's this message that they can't quite comprehend, keeping in mind that they are at such a peak of emotion coming off of Palm Sunday, just as we are coming off of the Expectation of being pregnant, only to realize, at whatever stage in our pregnancy, something isn't right. Something may not be the way that we hoped it would be. 


And just like we see with the disciples, there's this veil of Disbelief, like, “What do You mean, Jesus? You're not really going to be leaving us. You're the Messiah. Messiahs don't die. They don't leave.”


When we hear those, the first indications that something could be wrong, I mean, I remember for me being like, “Well, I believe this bleeding is going to stop. It's not going to mean what I think it means.” We go into that sort of mental space. 


Then we move into the third stage of hope, which is Despair. And in Holy Week, that's marked with Good Friday. and this feeling of being forsaken by God. That's when it becomes clear that death is imminent, that Jesus goes to the cross, that our babies have died, and we're asking the question, “God, are You there anymore?”


Or as Jesus says in His final breath, “Why have You forsaken Me?” It's a feeling of deep Despair. 


Then we move into Grief, which Is marked with silent Saturday. For many of us loss moms, I think this is the longest stage in the Five Stages of Hope. And for the disciples, I think one thing we have to keep in mind historically is that that silence may have felt unending, that feeling of hopelessness. 


They didn't know that the Resurrection was just around the corner, like we do when we go to attend a Good Friday service, maybe, at church. We know that on Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection and that's just two days away. 


So we only have to sit in that uncomfortable feeling of Jesus' crucifixion, and then in the silence and confusion of Saturday as we're waiting in between death and hope, we only have to sit in that for a limited amount of time. 


But that was not the case for the disciples when they were experiencing that in live time. Just as it feels for so many of us in that silent season of loss, the questions just swirl, like, “Am I going to be able to be pregnant again, to have another child in my arms? Are things ever going to be good again with how I feel about my body, with the friends and family who may have let me down in the way they responded to loss,” all of those questions in the silence of Saturday. 


And then lastly, we move into Active Hope, and that is marked by Resurrection Sunday. And the implications of living in the stage of Active Hope are that the way that we view our babies’ stories is informed by the Resurrection in such a way that we have that hope that we'll see them again, and that death no longer has the final word in their story.


And a lot of times, that can seem like an abstract concept or like something that doesn't really affect us on the day to day, but I think after you've walked through this type of loss, it really does affect the way you live day to day, when you know that the end of this key piece of your story is no longer marked by death, but is marked with hope, that changes things. So those, in very short form, are the Five Stages of Hope. 


Ashley Opliger: [00:14:29] First of all, that's amazing. I love that God gave you that vision of putting to words the disciples and all of their experiences through the Holy Week and relating to loss moms. As you were walking through. I'm like, “Yes,” like, “I can relate to everything you're saying.” And I'm sure everyone listening can relate as well. 


And I think it's. really profound and beautiful that God gave you that link and connection to connect that part of Scripture and, obviously, such a important week in Jesus's life and how it points us to that hope of the Resurrection. And we can live with that eternal perspective, knowing that death doesn't have the final say, that we will get to see our babies again.


But let's go back to Jesus' time on earth as He's walking through His final weeks of ministry and He knows what's coming. What can we learn from the example of Jesus’ grieving during His time on earth?


Rachel Lohman: [00:15:25] Yeah, that's a great question and something I wish we asked ourselves more often as Western Christians, because I don't think that we do grieve a lot of times at all or in a way or make spaces in our churches or our Christian circles for grief the way that we see Jesus modeling it.


One of my favorite examples of the way that Jesus models healthy grieving is how He responds to the death of His close friend, Lazarus. And what's so interesting about that is Jesus knows that He's going to resurrect Lazarus, but that doesn't change the way that He responds to Lazarus' two sisters, who are deep in their grief.


And they meet Jesus when He's walking up to their home. They come out and they start blaming Him, which is just so relatable and I feel like gives us so much permission to be honest with God about our own emotions and feelings in our grief. That doesn't offend Jesus. That doesn't scare Him off. He doesn't turn around and leave. 


Instead, He responds by weeping with them. He sees their grief. He doesn't try to stop it. He doesn't push it back against it and defend it. He doesn't defend why it took Him a while to get there. 


He doesn't say, “Oh, well, just be thankful for the time you had with him,” or, “Don't worry, you have hope, you know, this isn't the end of it,” all those clichés that we're tempted to respond to grief with today, even though Jesus very well could have said those things because it was the truth. He was going to resurrect Lazarus. 


So I just love how emotionally attuned Jesus is in that moment to say, “The most important thing that I can do for these grieving women right now, it's not to give them answers, not to point them to the future, it's just to enter into the grief that they're experiencing and to share it with them.”


And that's one of the shortest, yet most profound verses in all of Scripture is that “Jesus wept.” So I love that living example that we have. And that's one of, I think, the most profound case studies for how we can respond to grief today.


Ashley Opliger: [00:17:34] I love that story and I've shared on this podcast before, I heard a pastor preaching about this story. And we don't exactly know all of the reasons why Jesus was crying in that moment. I think obviously His empathy for His fellow people that He loved, but I think also this pastor mentioned that He knew that Lazarus was in Heaven, and then He was going to resurrect him and bring him back to a broken earth.


And this is just a speculation, but it's like, could He have been weeping as well for having to bring him back to this broken earth? Because He knows the amazing nature of Heaven, that this is Paradise and that he was going to get to go be there with his best friend?


And again, that is not written out in Scripture, so I always make sure to say that because we're always grounded in Scripture on this podcast. But it's just another perspective because Jesus does have both perspectives, Heaven and earth, because He was fully God and fully man.


What a beautiful picture of His humanness and His willingness to understand and relate to us in our brokenness and our sadness, and that even Jesus, who had power over death, still upset Him and grieved Him. And so I think it's also a foreshadowing of the fact that He came to defeat death and that was His role as Messiah. 


So I love that you shared that story, and I think there's a lot of implications for us as followers of Jesus to be able to relate to people in that way. 


Ashley Opliger: [00:17:59] 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, bridgetscradles.com, 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: [00:20:14] I would love to transition now to talk about your book, Miscarried Hope. I know that the Five Stages of Hope, that's a big part of your book, but will you give us some background on why you wrote it and what the book is about?


Rachel Lohman: [00:20:27] Sure. I wrote the book because after my own loss. I scoured whatever resources were available for me, and I was still feeling this need for more. 

I know things have changed in the years since. My loss was over six years ago. But I was really searching for something that would help walk me through these deep questions, these very honest questions, these questions that didn't have perfect answers. 


And I was needing some sort of a guide and a roadmap for that, but also this recovering hope piece. I didn't know how to move forward with trusting God, trusting hope. Even thinking about my future and dreaming for the first time felt scary. 


So I knew I wanted to write something on this topic. I didn't know what it would be exactly or when it would be, but after spending a few years with Hope Again Collective and coming alongside women, helping them share their stories, a lot of them for the very first time, I started to see these themes emerge, not only in their stories, but in what they were experiencing after loss.


And quite heartbreaking things too, like the vast majority of women feeling somewhat to blame for their loss, feeling shame, feeling like they have a negative relationship with their body post-loss, all of these things that I think largely are because they're not given space to share their story or they don't feel supported by our culture at large, who, A, doesn't do a great job responding to grief, but especially doesn't know how to respond to pregnancy and infant loss.


So all of those factors combine, my personal experience, what I was observing, and then some social factors, into this desire to write something on the topic. 


And then when God gave me this outline of Miscarried Hope, the Five Stages of Hope, to be the backbone of the book, then it all clicked and that was a moment of excitement, like, “Wow, this helps me make sense of my story. And I had never connected the dots this way before. How much more could this help other women once I get it into their hands?” 


So that was the backstory for how Miscarried Hope came into being. 


Ashley Opliger: [00:22:50] Well, I love it. And I love that you say recovering hope because I see in our ministry and support groups, a lot of times women come in and they were followers of Christ and they had a faith upbringing, but this major loss and trial really has them questioning things.


And, like you mentioned, you weren't necessarily at the point of deconstructing, but you were still wrestling with, “Okay, this isn't adding up with the theology that I had going into this.”


And so I think it's important at that stage where grieving moms, as they're walking through it, they're at this juncture and crisis of faith, if you will, of, “Am I going to lean in and on this faith that I have, even though I have questions and I'm going to dig deep and I'm going to really try to figure out who God is, and I'm going to trust Him with my pain?

Or am I going to let this be the catalyst that makes this chasm between us, and I'm going to start falling away from Jesus and deconstructing my faith?”


And unfortunately, that does happen. And so a book like this and ministries like ours and yours that are pointing people to hope, that say, “It's okay to struggle and have these questions, but let's not lose our firm foundation. Let's get through this with Jesus. He's going to walk through it with us. He's faithful. He's good. He loves us. He's going to sit with us in it.”


And so I love that about your book is that you're just wanting to point people to the hope of the Gospel because aside from that, what other hope do we have? So I'm going to dive into Chapter Four, which you talk a lot about the importance of empathy. And so how can empathy make a difference after miscarriage or stillbirth?


Rachel Lohman: [00:24:34] I think the biggest reason that I hear of family and friends feeling reluctant to step in and support a loved one who's going through pregnancy and infant loss is the fear of saying the wrong thing or not knowing what to say, which is completely valid.


I have actually caught myself in moments feeling unprepared or like my words could potentially be more harmful because I don't say the right thing. But what happens in those instances when we back away from supporting a mom out of fear of saying the wrong thing is that she ends up feeling even more isolated and even more alone and unsupported.


So that's where the role of empathy can be a huge component. You don't have to go through pregnancy and infant loss to know how to respond to somebody who is. 


When I'm responding to somebody who's going through something that I haven't been through exactly, I like to put myself, ask the Holy Spirit, “Okay, guide me to an example in my own life where I have felt a sort of pain or loss.”


And if you can remember what that felt like and what you needed from God, what kind of comfort or presence you needed from God or from other people in your life, that is enough to inform the way that you respond. 


You don't have to know the ins and outs of the situation particularly, but just to have the posture of, “I've been in pain. I've been needing hope. I've been needing the reminder that God is with me.” Maybe I just needed a hug. “I need somebody to practically show up and support me.” I needed to know that somebody was praying for me or thinking of me.


Even if that takes the form of just sending a simple text, “Hey, I'm thinking of you today. Hey, I prayed this Psalm over you today,” that oftentimes can be enough. We tend to think it needs to be big grand gestures and the perfect words. Sometimes the ministry of presence, which comes through empathy, is more than enough and can be a really beautiful gift to someone who's grieving.


Ashley Opliger: [00:26:34] Yes. The small gestures really add up, and I think also consistency is something that's important because when you lose a baby, oftentimes you'll have the initial support flowing in and people will show up right then, but then after a week, a month, the months go on. 


It feels like people see you back at work or back doing your normal routine and so they think you're doing better, you're fine, and so the support weans off over time. 


And so I think there's something beautiful, like even just your text example, about getting a text message a couple months later, “I'm praying for you. I'm thinking about you right now. Is there anything that I can do for you?” Or offering a very specific tangible act of service or kindness that you can do for them, because so often we do feel isolated, but also lonely as time goes on after the funeral, after that initial grief period.


And sometimes it's even harder because you are surrounded so much by friends and family in the beginning. And you're still in survival mode in those first three months. Your brain’s still in shock. And then after that three-month mark, the shock wears off, and your body and brain are processing your grief all over again.


And so I think it's important for those listening that are wanting to support someone to stay consistent even after those months and even years later.


Rachel Lohman: [00:27:58] Absolutely. That's such a great point, Ashley. And I think some simple ways to be intentional about supporting loss moms in the long term, one thing I like to do, and I'm not perfect at this, but when I can remember it or ask, I put a loss mom's anniversary of her baby going to Heaven, or she wants me to remember the due date, whatever is a key date. I put that in my calendar and I just set a reminder a week before so that's on my radar. 


If she's somebody who lives close to me, maybe I bring her a small bouquet of flowers on that day. Somebody who's not close to me, who's another state away, I'll send a text on that day. Mother's Day, holidays, just say, “Hey, I'm thinking of you.” 


When the emotions feel a little bit heightened, it's so helpful to know that you're not alone on those key dates that you're remembering your baby. So that's just a really simple way that I like to be intentional about offering long-term support.


Ashley Opliger: [00:28:55] I think that's so important and beautiful that you do that. And speaking of gift ideas for anniversaries, Heaven Days, due dates, you have this beautiful jewelry line called Hope Again Collective


And this is for anyone to purchase, but it specifically grew out of the pain that you experienced in losing a baby. So would you just share more about Hope Again Collective, what it is and who it's for and how people can find your business?


Rachel Lohman: [00:29:25] Sure. Well, I started making handmade earrings on my kitchen table during the pandemic and it grew. It's grown a lot. Now my assistant and I, we do necklaces and rings and just a variety of different products that can offer support to loss moms and make a thoughtful gift.


So the majority of our pairs are named after a woman who has walked through pregnancy and infant loss. So when I release her earrings, I also share her story that she submitted or she can say whatever she wants to about her loss experience. I provide some guiding questions. 


And then we post that to Instagram. And oftentimes that is one of the first times that she is publicly sharing her story, and it's in a safe space where primarily other loss moms are responding, offering support and words of encouragement. That's been a really beautiful ministry space that has happened on Instagram. 


And then each month I select a loss mom who has a current loss-related need financially, whether she needs funeral costs covered, cremation, grief therapy, outstanding medical expenses, where maybe a D&C wasn't covered or whatever it is. There are so many expenses associated with loss and that it's just really salt in an already very painful wound when you're dealing with the emotional toll of losing a child, but also then needing to come up with the financial cost due to cover all of that.


And so each month I pick one mom to donate a percentage of everything sold across the site. So I just love supporting small businesses that have some sort of give-back element. And so if you're like me, if you like to shop businesses like that, I'd encourage you to check out hopeagaincollective.com.


Ashley Opliger: [00:31:18] That's amazing. I absolutely love that business model that it's both a business and a ministry. And you're giving women a space to share their stories and then honoring them in that way of having the jewelry named after them. And I'm assuming the earrings that you're wearing right now are some that you've made?


Rachel Lohman: [00:31:35] Yes. 


Ashley Opliger: [00:31:36] Well, they're beautiful. No one can see the video of our Zoom call right now, but they're beautiful. 


And so please go check out Hope Again Collective. They have many different products offered on there and, as she mentioned, a portion of those proceeds will be going to help another grieving mom. Such a beautiful ministry that you have created and God is just continuing to grow.


And this podcast, we talk a lot about using our grief for good and finding purpose in our pain. That’s something I'm so passionate about because I do feel like we find so much healing in serving others. And so can you share what that has meant to you in both your book and Hope Again Collective?


Rachel Lohman: [00:32:17] I will say that it was not something that I set out to pursue, the purpose in my pain. And I know that for a lot of women who follow Jesus, that can often feel like a pressure of like, “Okay, well, I know God's not leading me through this for nothing. He's not going to show me something later or give me redemption or purpose from it.” And it can feel like, for me, anyway, this pressure or this quest to figure it out.


But God does all of that in His time, and that is exactly what Hope Again Collective has been. That is exactly what my book has been. I just had this little burden on my heart to do something and to minister to women in this space, but I had no idea it would take the shape and form of what it has. 


And it's just amazing to step back and look at what God can do, bringing in your story, wanting to redeem some of your pain or add purpose to it, how He interweaves that with each person's unique gifts and the way that we're wired so that it's life-giving, oftentimes, too.


I love being creative and making jewelry. I did it as a middle-schooler in my parents' basement and had no idea that it would come back into my life and be a pretty consistent full-time part of my week now.


So, yes, I have seen God do that in so many ways to bring purpose out of pain, but it has been not by my own doing. It's really just a posture of open-handedness, saying, “God, this is a chapter of our story that You and I have walked together, that for whatever reason You have seen fit for my story. And I may never understand it, but I'm going to be open to whatever You want to do with it, whether that is a book or a business or a ministry, or whether that is simply sharing my story one time over coffee with another woman who needs to hear it.” Both of those, I believe, are equal fruit in the Kingdom.


Ashley Opliger: [00:34:19] Amen. Thank you so much for that reminder, because sometimes there is a pressure to be like, “What good is coming from this I need to conjure up to honor my baby's life in this way?” And it doesn't have to be anything big. 

And honestly, the stories that we share, none of us have set out to do these grand things.


It always starts with a small act of obedience. That's how anything starts in God's Kingdom. He is overjoyed when the work begins and you don't even need to know what the end story is going to be.


I think both of us, even where we're at in our ministries, we still don't know what God is going to do in the next year, five years, 10 years. We might have visions and dreams of what we hope He'll do or the things that we plan to do, but ultimately God is in charge and all that we are asked to do every single day is just be obedient to what He asks us to do. And that's how anything starts. 


And I love that you said it, it's just about whatever you're passionate about, whatever God has gifted you at. And so what one woman does in memory of her baby that she's going to pour out and serve other people is going to be so different from someone else.


Because it's not meant to be something we do as a chore, as like, “Oh, we need to do this in order to honor our baby or bring glory to God.” This is something we get to do.  We don't have to do it. We get to do it out of gratitude of our salvation and the hope that we have. And so ultimately whatever you do, it should be something that you love and that is in your giftings. 


And obviously I'm very passionate about this, but I feel like God will lead you to whatever it is that He wants you to do. And all you have to do, like Rachel said, is just have that open hands and posture of surrender and saying, “Okay, God, I'm available. You just tell me what it is I need to do.” 


And it might be something so, so small and that's okay. God's glorified in whatever that is. You don't have to write a book to bring God glory or start a business or a nonprofit. He is glorified in the small acts of obedience that you do every single day. So thank you for that reminder, because that is so important. 


So as we wrap up our time, I would love for you to speak to the woman who is listening right now, who has just recently walked through loss, and she's in the initial stages of grief, walking through the Expectant, and now she's in this Despair. What would you say to her right now?


Rachel Lohman: [00:36:41] Yes, I would first say, “I'm so sorry.” If you're listening and that situation applies to you, if loss is fresh in your story, my biggest piece of encouragement to you would be to see God in this season as a close friend. 


And I don't mean that in a cliché way. But with a close friendship or relationship, those are rare, we tend to tell those people everything, how we're really feeling, what we're angry about, what has hurt us, what we have doubts over, what we're struggling to trust, whatever it is. 


And God, I believe, wants a relationship and a friendship with us that is not there just when things are going good and we're filled with joy, but He wants to be as close to you when you're in the pits of grief and you're asking all those hard questions and you're even mad at Him. He can take that, and He still wants to be connected with you in this season. 


So I know it can feel so tempting to want to distance yourself from God, to push yourself away from God, to feel like you can only ask the safe questions. But God, in His goodness and graciousness wants to be a friend to us in all times.


So lean on Him. Don't cut off that line of communication. Keep wrestling with Him, and just as the Scripture promises, when you persistently knock on a door, He's going to open it and He's going to answer it. 


It might not be the type of answers that you're looking for that are black and white, but sometimes it's an answer with His presence, His peace, His comfort to you, His love. Whatever it is, He will respond to you in this season. Press through the silence and keep that communication open with God.


Ashley Opliger: [00:38:35] Amen. He is the true source of hope. And even though our human nature wants us to pull away, that also is the enemy wanting us to pull away from our true source of hope and our only source of healing. And so just keep pressing in and know that He is good and He is good to you and that He loves you and He's going to walk this journey with you. 


I am so excited for our listeners to get connected with you and learn about Hope Again Collective. You mentioned the website, and you also have social channels for that, that you can share.


Rachel Lohman: [00:39:09] Yes, you can connect with me on Instagram @hope againcollective, or if you'd like to follow along with more of my author page and personal stuff, that's at Rachel. Lohman


Ashley Opliger: [00:39:22] And can you spell Lohman for us? 


Rachel Lohman: [00:39:23] Sure. L-O-H and then man.


Ashley Opliger: [00:39:27] Perfect. Okay. And you are so generous to give our listeners a $5 off discount code for anything on the hopeagaincollective website, which is so amazing. So do you want to share that discount code with us?


Rachel Lohman: [00:39:39] Yeah, you can hop on the site at any time and use the discount code cradles in the checkout box, and $5 will be taken off your order. just as a way to help you make a first purchase and support a great cause and hopefully have some fun jewelry for yourself or to give to someone else. So use code cradles at hopeagaincollective.com. [DISCOUNT CODE EXPIRES 1/31/24]


Ashley Opliger: [00:40:01] Perfect. Does it have to be capitalized or anything like that? 


Rachel Lohman: [00:40:03] No, just no spaces.


Ashley Opliger: [00:40:06] Perfect. Okay, cradles will be the discount code so you can log on to her website. As she mentioned, she also has her personal page. Do you also have a website for your book?


Rachel Lohman: [00:40:17] Yeah, it's on my personal website at rachelloman.com or you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, anywhere that books are sold.

Ashley Opliger: [00:40:26] Perfect. Well, thank you, Rachel, so much for sharing your Five Stages of Hope and your entire testimony with us. You've been such an encouragement to me and, I know, to our listeners as well, so thank you for being here. And would you mind closing us in prayer?


Rachel Lohman: [00:40:39] Sure. Thanks, Ashley. 


Lord, I pray for every person listening right now that You would give them an overwhelming sense of Your delight in who they are, that they would feel Your Holy Spirit wrapping them like a hug. 


You know where each of us are in our stages walking through hope, and I pray that You would meet us there today with a reminder of Your goodness and of Your death-defeating hope and of Your deep love for us. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of new life, of eternal life, of life beyond the grave. It's in Your Son's Name we pray. Amen.


Ashley Opliger: [00:41:27] Thank you so much, Rachel, for being here. 


Rachel Lohman: [00:41:30] Thanks, Ashley.


Ashley Opliger: [00:41:32] 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 bridgetscradles.com/podcast


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 edifi.app. Thank you so much for listening.




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