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51 | Preaching Truth to Myself After Losing Three Sons | Sara Horton

Join us for a hope-filled conversation with Sara Horton, a bereaved mom, and a perinatal bereavement nurse. Sara has experienced the loss of three boys, all born sleeping. She received cradles for two of her sons and began attending Hope Online. Sara is passionate about sharing Christ's truth and hope with grieving moms struggling to understand God's goodness while suffering through deep waters.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • How stepping out of her comfort zone (to attend Hope Online) blessed her

  • What is it like attending a support group for the first time?

  • Reconciling your circumstances with your faith

  • The difference between our spiritual good and our materialistic good

  • Wrestling with doubt and resting in the Truth of God's Word

  • "Even if" kind of faith

  • Practicing biblical lament

  • Sanctification in suffering

  • Being honest with God and expressing your emotions

  • Praying even when you don't have the words

  • Is there a quota on trials and tribulations?

  • Rethinking what it means to be broken

  • What is the difference between joy and happiness?

  • Advice for nurses caring for grieving families

Full transcript below.



Sara lives in Chandler, AZ, with her husband, Brandon, their two earth-side boys, and a goldendoodle dog. She is also momma to three boys in Heaven: Charlie (6/2017), Cooper (9/2022), and Camden (3/2023), who were all born in the first and second trimesters.  


Sara first heard about Bridget’s Cradles while running the Perinatal Bereavement Program at a large hospital. However, it wasn’t until she received cradles for her sons Cooper and Camden that she got involved with Bridget's Cradles.



New episodes will be shared on the 1st of every month. Don't miss a single episode...subscribe wherever you podcast!

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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 1,400 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:

Facebook /ashleyopliger

Instagram @ashleyopliger

Pinterest /ashleyopliger

Follow Bridget’s Cradles:

Facebook /bridgetscradles

Instagram @bridgetscradles

Pinterest /bridgetscradles

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Instagram @cradledinhope






Episode 51 | Preaching Truth to Myself After Losing Three Sons | Sara Horton

Ashley Opliger: [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Cradled in Hope Podcast. 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: [00:00:45] Welcome back to another episode of Cradled in Hope. I am so honored to have my dear friend Sara Horton on the podcast today. Sara is a bereaved mom that I met through our online support group called Hope Online. I'm going to let her share her story, but I first want to give you a short introduction of who she is.

Sara lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband of 10 years, Brandon, and their two boys on earth, Brayden and Bentley. She is also a momma to three boys in Heaven, Charlie, Cooper, and Camden. Sara first heard about Bridget’s Cradles while running the perinatal bereavement program at a large hospital in Arizona.

It wasn't until she received cradles for her sons Cooper and Camden that she really got involved with Bridget’s Cradles. Sara attended her first Hope Online meeting five days after delivering Camden. Sara is passionate about sharing the truth and hope of Christ to everyone she encounters, particularly others who are struggling to understand God's goodness while suffering through deep waters.

As Sara's friend, I know that she can attest to God's faithfulness through trials. Sara has encountered more grief and loss and painful hardships in her life than most people that I know. But what I love about Sara is that she has a heart for Jesus and trusts Him with her whole heart. I am so honored that Sara will share her story with you and I pray that her faith and her testament to God's goodness would encourage your heart today. Let's dive into this episode. 

Ashley Opliger: [00:02:18] Welcome, Sara, to the Cradled in Hope Podcast. I'm so glad you're here. 

Sara Horton: [00:02:22] Hi. It's so great to be here. It's such an honor and I'm so humbled that you asked me to be on here.

Ashley Opliger: [00:02:26] Of course. Well, Sara, you and I have a really special story, and I'll let everyone hear it from you, but you are one of the mommas that have come to our online support groups that lives in another state. And I had the opportunity to meet you in person, which is just so incredibly special to me. 

So before we go into that story, I would love for you to share your story of experiencing loss and how that led you to Bridget’s Cradles.

Sara Horton: [00:02:54] Yeah, definitely. I am the momma of five little boys. We have Charlie, Brayden, Bentley, Cooper, and Camden.

Two of our boys are earthside with us, and we are blessed to get to raise them here. And our other three sons, Charlie, Cooper, and Camden, are in Heaven with Jesus. They were all born sleeping, all at various gestations. We lost our first, Charlie, back in 2017. We lost Cooper in 2022, and we lost Camden in 2023.

I first learned about Bridget’s Cradles actually back in 2019. I was a perinatal bereavement coordinator for a large valley hospital, working there as a nurse. And I got to help families going through grief, provide mementos, follow-up support, we would do events and things like that. 

That's where I first heard about Bridget’s Cradles, but I honestly, unfortunately at that time, didn't really know what it encompassed. I wish I did; I would have loved to share that deeper with these families that I came across.

I really didn't start getting involved with Bridget’s Cradles actually until we lost Camden in 2023, and that's when I started searching for something. We had lost Cooper, and it was right before we lost Camden that I was considering the support group.

I was struggling with a lot of anxiety of this happening again. I didn't really think it would happen again, but yet the anxiety was there. And I was going to attend the next support group meeting. But a few days later, we found out that Camden had also passed. So, five days after delivering him, I went to my first Bridget’s Cradles  Hope Online support group.

It was definitely nerve-wracking. That's definitely something that is outside of my comfort zone. You're sharing such intimate details about your life and these lives you loved but lost, so much deep grief that sometimes you don't even know what to say, or you just cry. Ultimately, you just don't have the words.

But when I attended that support group, the Lord definitely blessed that time. And I met with other moms with the same grief that I was sharing. All of our stories looked different, yet our grief was so deep and so burdensome, but it was so great meeting with other moms that could share their stories. It was a safe place to talk about my babies and not feel judged or not feel any outside pressure, but truly just share their story and what I was feeling. 

So that was the first time that I attended the Hope Online and I've been to many meetings since. I also was so fortunate; my husband and I, Brandon, we were so fortunate to be able to attend the Wave of Light that Bridget’s Cradles hosts in October. 

We were able to go there and it was just such a blessing, again, being present, getting to talk about our babies, validating their lives. Unfortunately, in today's society, babies before birth aren't really validated as a human life. 

So getting to be there with other fellow believers and just getting to talk about our babies and acknowledge the great joy it was still to be their parents, even though it was much too short, was such a huge blessing.

They put a lot of work into the Wave of Light. So again, it was just so beautiful to be able to attend and be a part of their ministry in a deeper way.

Ashley Opliger: [00:06:08] Well, thank you, Sara. And it was such a blessing for us and just my husband and I and our entire team to get to meet you and Brandon. And it meant a lot that you were willing to fly from Arizona out to Kansas.

Kansas is not exactly a tourist destination by any means, but we just really loved meeting you. And you had raised money for the fundraiser for Shine Their Light that we do with Wave of Light

And you actually won our Shine Their Light Award and got to stand on stage and share Charlie, Cooper, and Camden’s stories and get to share your testimony with everyone, and that was really special. And they had their lights with their name on it underneath, and really special for me to get to experience that with you. 

And like I said, anytime, I feel like, I get to meet all these women on Hope Online and I feel so connected to them even through Zoom, it's even more special for me when I get to actually hug you and get to be with you in person and just grow the relationship even more. And I've been grateful how the Lord has grown you and I's friendship since then.


Thank you for sharing about your experience with Hope Online because I do know that with our support group or really any support group, it can be really intimidating and overwhelming thinking about coming to a support group, especially when you're so fresh in grief and you're not sure what to say, and there's a lot of unknowns of what it's going to be like. 

So would you maybe share some encouragement to a mom who's fresh in grief and maybe she's listening to this podcast and she knows that we have the online support groups, but she's just not really sure if that's something that would be beneficial to her, if that's something she'd be comfortable with? Can you share some encouragement to take that step and sign up for the next Hope Online?

Sara Horton: [00:07:51] Yeah, definitely. In short, just do it. It's definitely a little uncomfortable at first. You're in such a deep, dark place, but the fact that you're even considering it is such a great step. 

We go around and we get to share about our babies. We get to talk about them. Our kids aren't always validated by friends and family, and maybe it's unintentional by them, maybe it's not. But we get to talk about our babies in a place that's safe, that each and every other person there knows exactly how we're feeling, knows the grief that we're coming with, knows the heartbreak that we're coming with.

And yet we're all there to love one another and support one another. And ultimately, above all of that is to shine the light of Christ in each other's life. We obviously would never choose this for ourselves or anyone, honestly, but the Lord gives such great peace to us as we walk these roads and as we come together as a community of believers, supporting one another and getting to honor each other's children, just a huge blessing.

And of course it doesn't make the pain go away. But it's always nice knowing someone's there to carry the burden. We exchange numbers if that's something you're comfortable with. We're there to talk to one another, even outside of the support group. 

You make friends and it really is a community that comes together to support you along in your grief journey, wherever that may be. Whether you're the freshest of fresh or you're years on out, there's always a level of grief laying in the background and Hope Online just gives you that resource.

And from there, you make further friends and further connections of people to support you in your grief and your walk with Christ, which is the ultimate goal of the support group.

Ashley Opliger: [00:09:36] Amen. And I think it's so important that it is Christ-centered because I've talked to women who, they've had limited resources in their area. And so they've attended a non-faith-based support group, and they've told me how sad it is because yes, there's the commiserating and talking about the grief and sharing in the heartache, but then it just stops there because that's all you can do if you don't have hope. 

And so, yes, we do share our heartache, and we cry, and we validate our stories, and we talk about our babies, but we always point to hope because we aren't grieving without hope like the rest of the world. We're grieving with hope. And Jesus has the solution that our hearts are longing for, which is reunion with our babies. He's the only One that can resurrect them. 

I want to come back to something that you said at Wave of Light, and you shared this in your speech. You said at that first meeting you were just so broken and you felt like this moment was going to either push you to be a stronger, more faithful Christian, or you were going to turn from that faith. 

And I know that that's a struggle for so many. It's like they grew up in the faith, but now they're going through this traumatic, painful experience, and they're thinking, “How could a good God allow this to happen? Why did He let my baby die?” And so there's this wrestling now of trying to reconcile your faith with your reality. 

So would you talk about your own grief journey and how you did find faith to come back to your faith and to grow into a stronger Christian through this experience? 

Sara Horton: [00:11:11] Yeah, absolutely. As you mentioned and I said in my speech at Wave of Light that I definitely came to this point in my walk with God, where this was a big thing, losing these babies.

And we don't just lose the life that was there. We lose hopes and dreams and what we thought our life was going to look like. And yet I was at this pivotal point where, was I going to say, “Okay, God, this is Your plan for my life, and You are still good through this,” or, “All right, God, You're clearly not good.” And I really wrestled with that. 

And like many others, I grew up in a Christian home. I had great, godly parents that taught me these truths. I knew these truths from a very young age. I learned all the Bible verses in Awana, I did all these things. So I had it hiding in my heart, but my circumstances were telling me something different.

When I looked out horizontally at what was going on in my life, my circumstances told me that God wasn't good. The feelings I was feeling was telling me that God wasn't good, that, “Why would a good God do this?” Right? We all have those questions when our circumstances don't align with what we know to be true.

And I had to make the choice in those moments that, “Okay, am I going to lean into what I know to be true, even though it doesn't feel true? Or am I going to just walk?”

But I knew in my heart that I really didn't have the choice because I knew that I grieve right now in hope. I know that I'll see my babies again. I know that God truly is good. And not good in the sense that everything's going to be magically all butterflies and rainbows in my life, and everything's going to turn out so perfectly. You know, we're going to have the big house with the perfect family, the well-behaved kids, all these different things.

But I know that God is good because He tells me He's good, and because His ultimate good for us is to show His glory. And it's for His glory, it's not necessarily for our materialistic good, which is often what we misinterpret, especially as we look at Romans 8:28, and it talks about how God works out all things for our good to them that love God.

And sometimes you wrestle with that, like, “God, I loved You. God, I trusted You with my baby's life, but this isn't good.”

But despite what our circumstances show us and tell us, and our feelings tell us because of our circumstances, we can rest in the promises of God. There are so many different verses that I quote to myself still on the regular, as we walk through so many different trials in our lives, that even if what my circumstances are telling me don't align with what I feel and what I know to be true of God, I can still rest in His promises that everything He says in His Word is absolute Truth. 

So I really had to wrestle with that and wrestle with the fact that He had to be my all in all. It didn't matter what the person next to me said. It didn't matter how loving or kind to me my husband was. They were never going to bring me the peace and comfort that I needed because God had to be my all in all.

And I had to come to a place where I had to surrender that. “Okay, God, my plans, my hopes, my dreams for my life, no one's ever going to be able to provide the peace that You can provide to me through my circumstances.” 

So that was a really hard thing to wrestle with that. “Okay, God, You are my all in all, even if,” as we see in Daniel with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, with bowing down to the king and his false gods, they said, “We will not do this, even if you throw us in the furnace. Even if God chooses not to save us, He is still good.”

And I had to come to that point in my life where I had to say, “Okay, Lord, my hopes and dreams, yes. I wanted more healthy living children. But even if that's not what you have for me, Lord, You're still good. Even if something happens to my living children, Lord, You are still good. Even if something happens to my husband or,” fill in the blank. 

We all have those things that we hold so dear in our heart, but none of those things can take the place of God. And we have to come to that point in our lives where we realize that God is our all in all. 

If I were like Job and God took everything from me, can I still say that God is good? 

And I really wrestled with that for a while, but it was honestly through some of the podcasts I listened through with Bridget’s Cradles, some other resources, obviously the Bible, and diving deeper into the Bible and really applying these truths in my life is where I was able to say, “Okay, God, I don't know if we'll ever have another healthy living child. I don't know if something will happen to my living children. I don't know if this perfect life that I thought I had is going to continue this way. But You are good, and You are all I need.”

So it was definitely a struggle, but God was with me even as I struggled. And I really got to experience personally in my life what biblical lament was.

As we see a lot in Psalms with David, we see where David is really struggling with, “God, where are you? You're not here. People are trying to kill me. Where are you? You've abandoned me. You're not here.” 

But yet, in that same breath, he says, “But God, here's the truth I know about You. You are good. You are my strength. You are my song. You are my fortress.”

And as I walked through this grief, and as I continue to walk through different grief in my life, I practice that. And I say, “Okay, Lord, what You're putting in my life does not feel good. This does not seem like it's good. But yet I know You are a God of love and You love me. You love me and my family and my kids and all around me more than I ever could.”

So just continually preaching that truth to myself, because it's not always going to feel good, whether it's losing a child or whatever God brings in our life. It's not always going to seem or feel good, but yet it's going to work out for our good, our spiritual good, which is far greater than any materialistic thing that we could ever have or ever own. He's going to work it out for our spiritual good and ultimately His glory.

Ashley Opliger: [00:17:01] Sara, I love everything you just said, and I'm so glad that you used the phrase ‘preaching the truth to yourself’, because you recently told me that when we were talking over Voxer, which is like a walkie talkie app, and you just have the most genuine, authentic faith.

And I can say that because I've gotten to know you through everything you walked through with your three boys in Heaven, and things that you're walking through now. And I'm just so inspired by your faith that in the midst of the difficult trials, and I mean like in the middle of it, not on the other side of it, but in the middle of it, you are preaching this truth to yourself.

And you sent me this Voxer, where you had talked about that, preaching the truth to yourself, and just reminding yourself of the truth of His Word and the hope that He has and that all of these things are being worked for our good, and that it's that spiritual good that you talked about. 

Because of course, as humans, we think, “Well, if it were for our good, everything would turn out exactly how we wanted it to be and we would get the things and everything would look exactly like we want it.” 

And of course, no suffering would be involved with that because none of us would choose suffering to be a part of our lives. But there's so much good that comes from suffering. And I wish that it weren't so because it's, obviously, painful and something we want to avoid, but there's so much sanctification and pruning and things that make us more like Christ as we walk through the hardships.

And when we are in Heaven, there will no longer be sin and death, and so we won't be fighting against our sin nature, and everything will be good and right. And we won't be sanctified any longer. In Heaven, we’ll be in our glorified bodies. And so this is our opportunity on earth to walk through these trials and become more like Christ.

And when you look at it from that eternal perspective, it does help you walk through the loss of a child and the different experiences that you walk through on earth. It’s like, “Okay, this is for my good and for His glory, even when it's not something that I want, that even-if kind of faith. So I love that you shared that.

The other thing that you mentioned, you said something like, “When I looked across horizontally at my life and at my circumstances”, and immediately I was thinking we can look horizontally or we can look vertically. And ironically, that's a cross.

Thinking about it in those terms, it’s like when we do look to the left and to the right and we look at the things on this earth, we can be overwhelmed with our circumstances and that can feel as though that's just caving in on us.

And if we try to view God through those circumstances, we're going to have a very different view of God. But if we look vertically and we look to the truth of His Word and we stay in alignment with His good nature and His character, that can help us have a different perspective looking back down on our circumstances, if that makes sense.

So, I love that you shared that and also that you shared Romans 828. Are there any other transformational verses that really impacted you through this journey? 

Sara Horton: [00:20:02] I was constantly reminded of quite a few things, honestly, as I was in those desperate days, just feeling as low as low can be and truly just broken, searching the Scriptures for reprieve, for those truths that I know they’re in there, but finding them and really meditating on them. 

I talked about Job briefly earlier; in one of the verses in Job 1:21, part of it talks about, “the Lord has given, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord.” And just focusing on the fact that the Lord is still good and He is still worthy of our praise.

I know a lot of times we're tempted through our grief to be angry or to shut God out. One of the things about lament and about God is that God already knows what we're thinking.

He knows if we're angry. He knows if we “hate” Him right now or whatever the emotion happens to be, He already knows. So He is big enough to take on all of those emotions for you to talk that through with Him. 

That's one of the things God taught me through this season was really how to pray and how to not just pray for a meal or pray for other people, but really talking to God and having that relationship where it truly is just a conversation with a friend and pouring out my heart in that lament.

And there were times I literally didn't know what to pray, but instead of saying, “Okay, I don't have words,” I went to God and said, “God, I don't have words to pray. I don't know what to say. I am so deep in this grief and hurt that I don't know what to say, but I know that You are good. And I know that You are here, even if it doesn't feel like it,” so reaching out to God, pouring my heart out to God, begging God to give me reprieve, at least a brief reprieve from this grief and pain that I was feeling. 

Another verse that I was meditating on is Psalm 18:30. Part of it talks about, “As for God, His way is perfect.” Again, how could losing a child be part of a good, perfect way, right?

But I constantly meditated on that, that, yes, this is not for my materialistic good, but it is for my spiritual good. 

It was either a book or a podcast or something I was listening to, it was a dad, he was a pastor and he had lost, I believe it's a daughter. And he said, “I'm so thankful that God didn't make me choose between losing my daughter and what He has taught me through this, because of course I would want to save my daughter, but I would never want to not have these valuable lessons that He has shown me through this.”

And that really resonated with me. Of course I would never want to walk through this again. Of course I would never choose this for anyone else. But the deep relationship that I have been able to grow with Christ through this time has been so valuable and it's really equipped me for other areas in my life.

As a Christian, we're not promised a quota on trials and tribulations. So learning what we can from each trial really puts us in a pivotal spot for the next trial that God brings into our life. We're not promised that easy road, but we are promised that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us.

Ashley Opliger: [00:23:14] 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: [00:24:23] Something, Sara, that you and I have talked about a lot is just surrendering that control, that we so often, especially as mothers - and it's hard because God wired us and designed us as mothers to be protective and want to nurture and care for our children in our womb and on earth - but I think there's times where we can almost cross this boundary of protecting to controlling. 

And that's just human nature is we want to control things and we want to have things be the way that we want them to be. And I know that when you lose a child, like both you and I have, there's this propensity afterward to feel like everything's out of control now because you've lost a child and the worst has happened to you. 

And now it feels like the other shoe is going to drop. Something else bad is lurking around the corner, or like someone else is going to pass away. You're just very vulnerable in that grief. And you want to try to control everything because you feel like your life is now out of control, basically. 

How did you surrender your life to Him and His will and His plan for your life? Because that's so hard when we want things to go the way that we want them to.

Sara Horton: [00:25:37] Anytime we talk about surrender, we have to realize what that means is that we have to fully come to the end of ourselves. We're reminded in the Scripture that we are nothing. Right? Without God, we are nothing. 

And oftentimes, we think, “Oh, we're so broken. God can't use us,” but broken is exactly where God wants us to be. He can mold us and make us into what we're meant to be when we are broken. 

So what surrender looked like with me is, “Okay, Lord, I know that You are going to work this out for my spiritual good, so that hopefully one day I can use it for Your glory or this can be used for Your glory. My heart is telling me to feel one way, but my mind knows something different. And Lord, as I grapple with these truths and what my circumstances are telling me, Lord, help me change how I feel. Give me Your peace.”

And that's what I prayed for is, “Lord, just give me Your peace, because this is never going to, from an earthly perspective, feel or seem good.” Losing a child, losing a loved one, you name the different circumstances, it's never going to feel good, “but Lord help my heart and my mind to align with Your Truth and bring me Your peace.”

And truly, through just consistently praying that, it didn't happen overnight. It was this consistent, “Lord, I am weak. I surrender myself. Here I am, hands open wide, Lord. Just take my life, take my plans, take any control that I have, and just take it and mold it into what You want it to be, even if it's not what I ever thought it would be.”

Most of the time, our lives don't ever turn out how we think they're going to turn out. Yet God is in control and God gives us that peace. He gives us the strength. He gives us the grace for each and every day. 

And that's another thing that I continuously preach to myself, is that when I'm tempted to worry or fear, “God, You gave me the grace for today. I am robbing myself of the joy of today because I'm fearing for the future. Lord, that's grace for another day, so help me to focus on what the next right thing is in the season of my life.”

Ashley Opliger: [00:27:43] And I think that that's something you and I talked about too, is the anticipatory grief or the looking forward and worrying about things and trying to control them. 

Most of the time, the things that we worry about don't come to fruition. And like you said, it's robbing today of the joy that God has for us. And I think so often that's really where the enemy wants us to sit is in a place of fear and control, where we fear the future and we are not feeling any joy come back to our lives. 

And obviously, the loss of a baby is not good. Like we said, God can bring about good through it, but it doesn't feel good because it's not good. It wasn't the way God designed His good and perfect world in the beginning. 

But through that experience, even though it isn't the way that it was designed, and yes, we need to grieve and we are going to grieve, it doesn't mean that God can't bring joy back to our lives. 

And so often I've talked to women who feel guilty for laughing again, or smiling again, or letting God bring that reprieve that you mentioned. Like, “I just need a reprieve from this intense emotional pain that I'm going through,” and the Lord gives it. And then you get it, and then you feel guilty because you're like, “I just lost a baby. I shouldn't be smiling. I shouldn't be out enjoying a dinner with my friends,” or whatever it is. And then you feel guilty. 

And I really do believe that's the enemy wanting to pile shame on top of the grief because he doesn't want you to move forward in healing with the Lord through this. So would you share some of your own experiences of joy coming back into your life and what that looked like?

Sara Horton: [00:29:23] One of the books I read throughout my grief process was from Elizabeth Elliot, called Suffering is Never for Nothing. Phenomenal book dripping with so many truths. One of the things that I really love that she said is, “Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God.” 

And throughout the Christian walk, we can definitely go through with the dance between joy and grief. We can still grieve, but God brings us His peace and a joy everlasting. 

God brings joy back into our life and we try to enjoy things again. Whether it's children or friends or family or events or just normal life, the temptation definitely is to feel guilty for experiencing joy because we're supposed to be sorrowful. Right? We're supposed to be sad. We just lost a baby.

And it looks so different as a Christian because we can truly still be grieving. And as a parent who loses a child, you will always have a form of grief in you. You will always long for the what-ifs of this child. 

You're always going to wonder who they would have been, but that doesn't mean that we can't experience true joy in Christ, which He promises to us if we turn to Him, we depend on Him, we look to Him and we have that full surrender of, “All right, Lord, this isn't what I wanted my life to look like. But please turn this grief into joy. Help me to truly experience joy.”

Because joy isn't a superficial thing. Joy isn't equivalent to happiness. And I think a lot of times we equate joy and happiness as the same thing. Happiness is the feeling, the emotion, but joy is something that truly comes from a fully surrendered life to Christ, even in the depths of the ugliest circumstances we could ever walk through.

Ashley Opliger: [00:31:08] I love that distinction because I think, too, sometimes we feel as though if we have joy, that we're somehow betraying our baby or we've moved on from our baby. And that's another weight of, “I don't want to move past the grief because the grief connects me to my baby.” 

And knowing that this joy doesn't mean that we're happy that this happened, it doesn't mean that we don't still miss them and we're not going to always miss them. Like you said, this is going to be a lifelong grief that we experience.

And truly, I always tell people, “The Lord has healed my heart and He's brought joy back to my life. But until Jesus comes back or I go to Heaven and see Bridget again, once we are reunited is when my heart will be finally made whole and fully healed. And I don't feel like it's going to be that way until I'm with her again and I'm in the perfect Kingdom of God in Heaven.” 

And so I think you're right to say that you can have this joy, this peace, this contentment and acceptance with God's help. He is our strength. He is the One that provides that kind of joy. It doesn't mean that we're happy or that we are glad that this happened, but it means that we can have this peace and contentment to move forward with hope. 

And I truly believe that our babies are honored the most when we can say we're not moving on, but we do want joy to come back. And we do want to be a light and we don't want to spend the rest of our lives in this pit of despair and sadness. That's not what the Lord wants from us. I don't believe that's what our babies would want for us. 

And so I love that you shared the Elizabeth Elliot quote, because those two feelings, it seems like they can't exist at the same time, but they can. And I know so many grieving moms, that's the perpetual state that we live in. Right? We're just in this season of holding both, the grief/the gratitude, the joy/the sorrow.

So Sara, this has been seven years since you've lost Charlie and then only a year out from Camden's loss, but where would you say you're at right now? Where has the Lord led you and what has He taught you in this season now?

Sara Horton: [00:33:20] The Lord has brought me to such a place of peace. And honestly, looking back, September of ‘22 and then not long after, March of ‘23, when we lost both the boys, Cooper and Camden, you're in such a deep, dark place. You never feel like you're going to breathe again. You never feel like you're going to see the sun again.

Even though you have the hope, ultimate hope in Christ, you're just so deep in grief that it's so hard to imagine what a year looks like. But the Lord has given me such great peace as I continue to look to Him through every step of the way.

The Lord has really taught me through this about prioritizing my time with Him, that it doesn't matter whether the times are good or the times are hard or everything in between. My relationship with the Lord has to be the ultimate priority in my life. 

So I've really been able to grow through these experiences with losing the babies and really just cling to His promises, really prioritize my time with Him. Because again, if the Lord takes everything away from me, my relationship with the Lord is the ultimate priority and the most important thing for any of us in this lifetime, so just really focusing on that.

If you're in the trenches, momma, hang tight. The Lord is with you. 

The big lesson that I learned is that even though we're walking through these deep dark valleys, the Lord never left me. He was always by my side. Sometimes it's more tangible than other times. Sometimes He is there, but He's more silent, and it might feel more painful, or it might feel like He's left your side. But as the Bible promises us, He will never leave us or forsake us. 

He is always there for us, “Even,” the Bible tells us, “if I make my bed in the depths of Hell, You are there with me. Wherever I go, Lord, You are with me.” And that's just been such a great comfort that despite whatever I may walk through in this life, He is always there.

And when I continue to make Him a priority in my life, that peace is so tangible. And it's truly hard to explain unless you have felt it yourself by fully surrendering to God, fully surrendering your life, your family's life, your will, your everything, and just feel that peace that the Lord brings to you.

That doesn't mean that all the circumstances are going to be good. That doesn't mean from the outside looking in, people will still be like, “Wow,” like, “You're going through difficulties,” but the Lord truly brings this deep peace. 

There's no other way to describe it, but just this feeling of such great peace that He will always be there and that He is going to take care of me, despite what everything else tells me.

Ashley Opliger: [00:35:52] Amen. Just that reminder that He loves us. 

And I think so often it's such a simple thing to say, “He loves you, He loves us,” because it's hard to feel it in the middle of it. But just knowing He loved us so much that He died for us, so why would He not be sitting with us in this now? Why would He not want to comfort us and be with us? He loves us. He loves you. And just being reminded of that, He's always going to be with us, and He's for us, He's not against us. 

So I would love to close this conversation with some advice for other nurses, because we send these podcast updates to all of our hospitals across the country, and so we might have some nurses listening. And I would love for you, from your own experience both as a grieving mom and as a perinatal bereavement nurse, what advice would you have for nurses in caring for grieving families?

Sara Horton: [00:36:49] One of the biggest things, and it's hard when you're in the hospital setting, when you're under an employer and what you're allowed to disclose and talk about can be a little bit more limited unless, obviously, your patients bringing it up and they ask you to pray with them or whatever it happens to be.

But just taking the time and knowing there's nothing you can say that's going to make this go away for them. So take a moment and take that pressure off yourself. A lot of times we go in, and you're like, “I don't know what to say to these families. They're going through the worst possible thing in their life. What am I going to say to them?”

Well, just know there's nothing you could possibly say that is actually going to make this better for them. You can show them, especially if you're limited on what you're allowed to share, faith-based, you can still show them the love of Christ in how you treat them and how you care for their deceased child, even if you aren't at liberty to really delve into what that is more specifically. 

Do all the mementos. These parents, this is the only tangible thing that they have for their child, so take the time. I know things get busy, and you're pulled in different directions, but this is the only moment that they have with their child. These are the only tangible things that they have for their child. 

That was something I really tried to hit home with our nurses, is do all the mementos. Take the pictures. Do whatever the family is requesting you to do to help make these lasting memories, because this is all that they get to go home with. 

Their arms are going home empty. They're not leaving the hospital with the child that they thought they were. Bless them with all the mementos that you possibly can give them. 

And if you're able to, if your hospital's okay with it, obviously, show the love of Christ and talk to them about the hope that they can experience. Because ultimately that is the only hope that we have. 

And it is so hard when you're in grief and you have nowhere to turn. Death is finality for these families that have no hope. So if you're able to, share the hope of Christ to these families. They are in such a fragile state, but share the hope of Christ because that's the only thing that will truly bring them any sort of peace in the coming days.

Ashley Opliger: [00:38:58] Sara, that's beautiful. And that's something that we say all the time regarding our cradles, is our cradles are a temporary comfort. They provide that comfort for the family to hold their precious baby in something dignified for their baby, for them to bond and hold and make those memories and get pictures with their baby.

And maybe they even choose to bury their baby in the cradle or take the cradle with them and have that as a keepsake. But ultimately, that's a temporary comfort because beyond that cradle, it's not giving you the solution of being reunited with your baby. And that's not something that Bridget’s Cradles can do, or I can do. That's something only Jesus can do. 

And so the hope of Christ is the only solution, the only cure for death. And so I love that you shared that. And obviously that's something that you have to be delicate about in your employment situation, but as the Lord leads and as you're able to have those conversations. 

And certainly for us, our cradles have the tag on it, and so families can go home and read our blog and listen to our podcasts and come to our online support and hear the Gospel if they don't hear it in the hospital. 

But thank you for all the ways that you've served other grieving families as a nurse. And thank you for sharing that advice. I think that's going to be really helpful.

Sara, it was such a blessing to have you on, and I feel like we could just keep talking for hours. There's so much wisdom that the Lord has imparted on you in your journey. 

And I just love your heart for the Lord and all the ways that God has grown you. I know that there's more that God has for you in sharing your testimony and your sweet boys in Heaven's lives. And I'm just grateful that you shared their story and your testimony with us today.

Sara Horton: [00:40:41] Well, thank you. It was definitely an honor and very humbling to be here and be a part of your ministry. 

Ashley Opliger: [00:40:46] Well, Sara, would you close us in prayer? 

Sara Horton: [00:40:48] Yeah, definitely.

Lord, thank You for this time. Thank You for Ashley. Thank You for Bridget’s Cradles. Thank You for this ministry that You've birthed through such tragic times, Lord, but thank You that they were willing to be used by You to be instrumental in so many families that are grieving and their lives, not just to comfort the temporal grief, Lord, but also to truly point them to You, point them to the hope that we can only have through You.

Thank You again for this opportunity. Thank You for this time. I pray for all the mommas that may hear this, I pray that You'll do a work in their heart. Bring them the peace and comfort that You can only bring to them, Lord. Thank You for all You do for us. Thank You that even though our circumstances might tell us something different, thank You that You are always good.

Thank You for loving us, and thank You for sending Your Son to die for us. We love You, Lord. Amen.


Ashley Opliger: [00:41:42] Amen. Thank you, Sara.

Ashley Opliger: [00:41:45] Thank you for listening to the Cradled in Hope Podcast. 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

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.


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