This post is taken from this excellent blog: He Remembers the Barren. It was not written for or by me, I’m just sharing it with you.
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He Remembers the Barren by Katie Schuermann is a tender conversation with women in the church who wrestle with the issue of barrenness in marriage. Addressing questions frequently asked by those struggling with infertility, the author walks alongside the reader, relaying personal stories to both encourage and support those who are suffering. Issues such as control of our bodies, family planning, and the source of conception are examined through a theological lens, reminding the reader of her clear vocation in Christ and pointing her to the ultimate source of fruitfulness, vitality, and comfort, our Triune God.
With Psalm readings, beloved hymn texts, and collects penned by Dcs. Melissa A. Degroot, each chapter of He Remembers the Barren resonates on a devotional level that is pitch perfect for women struggling with the grief and shame which often accompany barrenness. This book also serves as a valuable resource for pastors, family members, and friends seeking to better understand the barren experience of a loved one.
What are people saying about He Remembers the Barren?
“He Remembers the Barren by Katie Schuermann is a gift. It is a gift for men and women who cry and hope and pray for children. It is a gift for mothers and fathers who don’t know how to care for those who aren’t. Thank you, Katie, for helping me understand what to say and how to pray for those who are barren. Most of all, thank you for pointing always to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who never forgets His own and whose grace is sufficient for us all.”
DEACONESS ROSE E. ADLE
LCMS BOARD FOR INTERNATIONAL MISSION
“This is a book that is about Christ who alone is the source of our joy and hope, our life and peace. Katie does not hold out a Jesus who will fix the problem of barrenness but a Jesus whose favor for sinners reaches to the very depths of our being. As Katie so aptly puts it, fulfillment is found not in the womb but in Christ. Writing with tenderness and a realism shaped by the cross, Katie makes a lively use of the Gospel to draw her sisters away from the temptations to self-pity and despair to the sure and certain promises of the Son of God recorded in the Scriptures and proclaimed in sermon and sacrament. Only in Christ is there true contentment.”
JOHN T. PLESS
CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PASTORAL MINISTRY AND FIELD EDUCATION
“With He Remembers the Barren, Katie Schuermann has penned a significant devotional writing on a sensitive and emotional subject. What is so beautiful about this book is how she deals with childlessness in a Christ-centered and grace-full way, avoiding apathetic fatalism on the one hand and self-pity on the other. The hymn selections and prayers that conclude each chapter are pitch perfect. The chapters are sensitive and compassionate without being emotionally manipulative. This is a valuable resource for anyone who is having difficulty conceiving or knows someone who is. As a pastor, I will be sure to have a few copies available to give away.”
REV. WILLIAM M. CWIRLA, PASTOR
HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH – HACIENDA HEIGHTS, CA
“In He Remembers the Barren, Katie Schuermann tackles the difficult subject of childlessness, a topic upon which society—and even at times, the church—has remained largely silent. Joining the pious ranks of women such as Hannah, who mourned her barrenness before the Lord, Katie answers the complex question, “Is there a place for barren women who still want to use their innate feminine qualities to nurture those around them?” The suffering woman longing to be a mother will be comforted by Christ crucified on every page of this book, and His mercy will move the reader from helplessness to hopefulness. He Remembers the Barren points continually to the cross, providing both a keen insight into an oft unspoken reality for many women within the church as well as sound Scripture to comfort and encourage.”
ADRIANE DORR, MANAGING EDITOR
THE LUTHERAN WITNESS
“He Remembers the Barren is a unique and greatly needed work. Its uniqueness comes from the perspective of the author. She personally understands barrenness and she personally understands Jesus Christ and His grace as revealed in Holy Scripture. Katie Schuermann artfully brings these two perspectives together and offers to the church a writing that will touch the hearts of many with needed empathy that only someone who has been there can bring and with needed hope and peace that only Jesus Christ can bring. This resource will also be a powerful tool in the hands of pastors, helping them understand barrenness and helping them minister to those dealing with it.”
JAMES I. LAMB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
LUTHERANS FOR LIFE
“He Remembers the Barren fills a glaring void in pro-life resources by addressing the grief and suffering of those Christian women, and men, who are unable to have children. Katie has been able to give voice to a deeply personal and taboo subject so that we may all empathize with, and learn from, our sisters in Christ who face this situation.”
EDWARD SZETO, SPECIAL PROJECTS COORDINATOR, LIFE MINISTRIES
LCMS WORLD RELIEF AND HUMAN CARE
“’Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; Break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!’ (Isaiah 54:1 and Galatians 4:27) Prophet and apostle speak words counter-intuitive to our most basic human impulse — be fruitful and multiply. How can there be joy in barrenness? He Remembers the Barren shows us the way. With moving prose and through people of great pathos, Katie Schuermann takes us on a journey through sorrow and joy, as we mourn with Robin and Katherine and Carol and Gina, and their husbands, barren but not broken, as they come to terms with the loneliness of this barren reality in their lives, Christ going with them all the way. But Katie’s story of barrenness is also a story of hope. Real, authentic, and lyrical, He Remembers the Barren speaks to our hearts and gives voice to the yearnings of our souls. As we journey with Katie and her barren ones, we journey with Christ and in Christ, as she shows us how, through Him, even in barrenness, there can be joy inside our tears. Like Jerusalem at Isaiah’s time, we come to understand that, in Christ, there is fecundity in barrenness. Comfort is here for Christ’s broken ones who long to be fulfilled with the gift of children. Katie delivers at every level, always with Christ, never too much, and with Melissa DeGroot offering prayers along the way.”
ARTHUR A. JUST, JR., PH.D.
CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
PROFESSOR OF EXEGETICAL THEOLOGY AND DIRECTOR OF DEACONESS STUDIES
“As a writer as well as a patient who has struggled with secondary infertility, I wore two hats while reading Katie’s book. The writer in me relished the lyrical, honest prose. The patient in me nodded inwardly with each new chapter, ‘Yes, yes, that is exactly where I’ve been, what I’ve felt.’ But beyond the excellent writing and the truth of the infertile experience is a hope that can only spring from Christian faith. Yes, Katie is honest about her experiences with infertility, but even more importantly, she is a voice of faith in a dry desert of despair. Even while Katie wrestled with this painful subject, Christ’s cheering presence shone through. Infertility is a lonely road to travel, but with Katie’s encouraging and hopeful words, sisters in Christ will know the true blessing of fellowship.”
“I don’t know Katie, but I feel as if she knows me and the thousands of other women whose hearts have been broken by the loss of a dream. He Remembers the Barren is precisely what every church library needs to have and what every pastor should read if he wants to be able to counsel members who are going through the pain of not being able to conceive or of having repeated miscarriages.”
WIFE AND MOTHER
“He Remembers the Barren distinguishes itself from other books because it reminds the readers that we are God’s children, first and foremost, and that we each have a unique vocation, one that may or may not include motherhood. Through words and emotions, Katie paints clear pictures of the realities of barrenness, the effects on spouses, the loss of childbearing, and the peace that only God can provide. This book is a great comfort to hurting women and those who love them.”
WIFE AND MOTHER
“In He Remembers the Barren, Katie has shone the light of the Gospel into the confusing and shame-ridden world of infertility, where it is so very desperately needed. She has articulated the perplexing feelings and experiences of so many women that those blessed with healthy fertility rarely comprehend, much less address faithfully and Christologically. Katie identifies the very painful struggles of barren women and, rather than giving into the temptation to wallow in self-pity, brings the sweet comfort that only Christ and Him crucified can deliver.”
“He Remembers the Barren is helpful for not only those who are barren but for those who suffer, period. The author brings comfort to all of us through the appropriate use of God’s Word which is the ultimate healing source, giving the reader peace and urging all of us to continue to learn and grow together in Christ, our Savior.”