Tim Challies
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January 8, 2024

So many parents are familiar with the agony of losing a child they never truly got to know, yet loved with their whole heart. Writing specifically for mothers who have become members of a club that no one wants to join, Jackie Gibson’s message to them is this: You are still a mother.

Jackie and Jonny Gibson know the pain of losing a child. When their daughter was just a week away from reaching her due date, Jackie began to realize that little Leila was moving less than she had before. Though she called the hospital, she was told to stay home and rest. By the next morning she was certain something was wrong and, sadly, was soon told, “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.” “My heart cracked open,” she writes, “and a terrible grief spread through my whole body. I didn’t make a sound, but the tears increased and I started to shake. Jonny wept loudly, crying out ’No! No! No! It cannot be!’ But it was.”

This was the beginning of a time of deep grief and now, seven years later, Gibson has directed that grief into a sweet book meant to offer encouragement to mothers who have experienced the same sorrow. “This book is the story of the death of my daughter Leila. I’m sure as you read there will be parts that feel familiar, details that you recognize in your story, the ‘What? You too?’ moments. There will also be parts that are different from yours. As I have heard my husband say many times, ‘Each person’s valley is each person’s valley.’ But there is one character who is the same in all our stories. It is the God who made our precious children, and who called them home. This story is about him, and how he is always good, even in the darkness.”

And in the pages of this book she shows just how good God is even—or perhaps especially—in the darkness of loss. She begins by telling her own story and then turns to a series of brief chapters that celebrate the character of God, that express confidence in the acts of God, and that share the good news that God gives us through the gospel. She tells how God comforted her in her sorrow and how he taught her to trust him more. She tells of her confidence that her daughter is waiting for her in heaven. She tells of her joy in knowing that God is as active in times of pain as in times of joy. She offers hope—hope that will minister to other broken-hearted mothers.

You Are Still a Mother is a brief book but one that is full of godly wisdom and helpful insights. Weaving together Scripture, poetry, quotes, and her own insights, Gibson has written a book that is sure to bless and comfort mothers who know the pain of a stillbirth or the grief of a miscarriage. It would be hard to recommend it too highly.

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Tim Challies

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