14 Jun 2017

When my husband and I discussed having children, we always knew that we would homeschool them. As a child, I had always enjoyed playing school with my dolls and little sister. The opportunity to teach my children at home seemed like a dream, almost too good to be true!

When God laid a children’s story on my heart a few years ago, I thought that it was a great idea, and that someone else should write it! After all, I had a long list of reasons why I was not the one to write the story. I am homeschooling three grade levels with totally different learning styles. I am managing our home and am usually the maid, cook, teacher, mother, wife and CFO of our home. Plus, I had no idea how to get published, and self-publishing seemed like a daunting, expensive option.

God has a way of working out the details when He calls you to do something. He would not let this story leave my mind. One wintry January morning, I wrote the entire children’s book in about thirty minutes—that was the easy part.

I shared the story with some trusted friends who encouraged me to continue pursuing the publication process. Everywhere I looked, I found the same answer: you will not get published unless you have been published before. Interesting, huh?

I prayed and decided that the daunting, expensive self-publishing route was the one I should take. It probably took me longer than most people to finish the process of publishing the book, as I worked on it only when I had all other areas of my life in good working order, maybe once a week. The Lord provided two dear friends to illustrate the book and design the book cover. It still gives me cold chills (and a super grateful heart) to think of how He provided every single penny I needed for this project!

Why did I write this book?

We are blessed to have three healthy daughters on earth and two sons in heaven. Our first son was stillborn at almost thirty-seven weeks of gestation, and his loss threw a curveball into my world that I had the most difficult time working through. I knew God was good, and His plan was for good, but it did not seem good for my son to die, especially since this son would have been loved and cared for. Nine months later, I lost another son, this time earlier in the pregnancy. Nonetheless, I decided that the one daughter I had at the time was a miracle, and my dreams of having a big family were gone.

After the immediate outpouring of love and casseroles ended, I began to feel all alone. I knew God was with me. I knew He would use all things for His good, but good grief (pun intended), this seemed so difficult. It resembled nothing good to me. Following years of grieving, to varying degrees, and accepting God’s plan as best, the Lord began to show me how I could love other mothers and families who experience an infant or baby loss.

When He started putting this story in my head, I tried to dismiss it. Hadn’t I been through enough? That is when the Lord said clearly to me, “I will use all things for my glory, if you will let me.” Slowly, I gave my loss and my grief back to the Lord and told Him that if He could use it for His glory, and He wanted me to be a voice to encourage other mothers and families who lose a baby, I would be willing.

Over the past two years, the Lord has opened doors for me to encourage other mothers through my book. My prayer now is that the Lord would use this book to help other families to keep their eyes on Him in the midst of the storm of infant loss.

I share my story here to encourage other mothers to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading in their lives. If the Lord calls you to do something, He will provide everything you need to follow, even while homeschooling.

Daphne Petrey lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband, three little ladies, and four loud, but lovable beagles. Daphne’s self-published book, I Have a Brother–My Brother Is in Heaven, is available on Amazon and through her blog www.carrythemforever.com.