living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!

The Lord gave and He hath taken away



Job 1:21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

I want to share a very personal testimony and hope it will be a blessing.  I know of many who have lost children in recent days by miscarriage or stillbirth and these families are always close to my heart. I have a great burden for those going through the pain of losing a child because I have gone through it myself.  Here is my story  – the very abbreviated version.

We had our first child, Brittney, in 1998.  She was born with minor complications and I had a c-section. She was and is beautiful and healthy!

I got pregnant a year later but I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks along.  I then got pregnant again the next year and had another miscarriage at the same stage of pregnancy.  I was very sad after the second miscarriage and I really had a tough time.  I wanted a lot of children and I was questioning God.  After many months, I finally learned that I needed to put my total faith and trust in God and his plan for our family.

It took a couple of years and then I got pregnant again in 2003.  I went to my doctor and he told me that my pregnancy was very weak and he felt that the possibility of miscarrying was very high.  The pregnancy hormone in my blood was not where it needed to be at 8 weeks along.  We went home and prayed.  I begged God to let this baby live and for it to be a baby boy.  I remember telling God that I would not ask for any more kids if this one lived (I don’t suggest that and I’m not sure why I did that).  I went to the doctor a few days later and he couldn’t believe how much stronger my blood count was!  I didn’t need for them to tell me that I was having a boy when they did the ultrasound.  I knew that God answered all of my prayer!   I had no more problems and Nathaniel was born on Sept. 19, 2003.

We were content.  God had given us a boy and a girl.  Deep down I was always wanting more children, but we just left it up to the Lord.  I was surprised and delighted when I got pregnant again in 2006.  I had an ultrasound at 10 weeks along and I was told everything looked good.  I figured that I was past the 8 week mark so everything would be fine.

We joined the Wings Bearing Precious Seed ministry when I was about 2o weeks along.  We moved to Tennessee to be part of that ministry and we started traveling on deputation.

At 27 weeks, I went to my new doctor and she told me that I was measuring a little big.  Our family was heading out to our first missions Conference the next day, so the doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound the day I was due back.

We drove 9 hours to Canton, Ohio.  I started to feel bad the first night of the conference.I  just attributed it to being so busy.  By the second night, I felt miserable.  I went to bed after the services and woke up at midnight soaking wet.  I realized my water broke.

We called my doctor and they told me to go the nearest hospital.  We found the hospital and they tried to stop the labor.  The ultrasound technician said something was wrong but that they need a specialist to come in.  As I was waiting there alone, God gave me peace in my heart.   I knew that the baby was not going to live.

The specialist came and he didn’t have answers.  All the doctors came together and decided to deliver our baby boy by c-section.  I was awake and I never heard him cry.  The death certificate said he lived for 10 minutes but I did not see him alive.  They tried to do everything they could.  He had a rare chromosomal abnormality (similar to dwarfism).

We held him and I knew he was with the Lord.  We named him, Canton (after the city we were in).  My husband said “He CAN’T stay but must go ON”) so the name was perfect.  God knows what He’s doing and I still believe I can trust Him.  I don’t know why he has allowed me to have more kids in Heaven than on earth, but I know He knows what is best.

Some things I have learned through this:

  • Have a daily walk with the Lord, regardless how I feel –  I may not always feel like praying or reading my Bible but it is God who gives me strength to face difficulties.  (Palm 27:14, 46:1-2, 55:2, Proverbs 3:5-6, Mathew 11:28)
  • It’s ok to cry – God hears and cares when we are hurting. (Psalm 32:7, 37:24,  73:26)
  • My children are a gift from God and I need to enjoy every minute I have with them.
  • Everyone grieves differently and I need to help my kids know how to deal with grief –  My son Nathaniel often wants to get Canton’s box out and look at his things and his picture.  I do this regardless of how I feel about it because it helps him.  Brittney doesn’t like us to talk much – only when she wants to. I have been able to teach my kids a lot about trusting God through this.
  • God has allowed me to try to comfort others who are going through the same thing.
  • I shouldn’t compare myself to others- it’s so easy to look around at other women who have had several children with no difficulties and compare myself to them.  God has different plans for different families.
  • Heaven is sweet – Heaven has become more real to me.  I thank God for saving me.  I thank God that he sent his Son to die on the cross for my sins.  He knows what it is like to lose a child. I thank Him that my children are waiting for me in heaven.


How can you help if a friend or loved one has had a miscarriage or stillbirth?  Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Just be there –  You may not know what to say or do but just showing you care goes a long way.  My sister-n-law came and stayed with me a few days and she was such a blessing.  My good friend, Lisa, drove many hours to be with me because she had lost a baby a few years prior.  She was a blessing.
  • Cook a meal – church ladies often get together to prepare a meal or two when someone has a baby.  It’s a good idea when someone looses a baby, too.  They have gone through physical pain, as well as emotional.
  • Remember – My husband has a sister, Debbie, who has been such a blessing to me.  She is single and never has had kids.  She calls me every Nov. 14th to tell me that she’s thinking of me.  I don’t expect her to, she just always remembers. Several years ago, she bought me three little angel Christmas ornaments with each of the babies’ names.  We look forward to putting the angels on the tree every Christmas.
  • Be courteous – if it is someone in your church and she normally works in the nursery, relieve her of her duty for awhile.  I had a very difficult time with holding newborn babies for a long time.
  • Pray – let her know you are praying.  Ask God to give her comfort and peace.

I hope this helps someone.  May God bless you and your family!

Pro 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Dema Johnson


5 thoughts on “The Lord gave and He hath taken away

  1. Dema,
    This is a wonderful and helpful post. Thank you for sharing your heart! Love you and look forward to meeting your heavenly children!

  2. I still remember your testimony at our church. Such a blessing. Pryaing for you and your sweet family.

  3. Hi Mrs. Johnson,
    You were at our church a couple years back for our Missions Conference (Freedom Baptist in Auburn New York). I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed this post. I happend to see it through a friend and at first didn’t realize it was you. I lost my first baby almost 5 years ago. I was told the baby had died at 8 weeks but I didn’t actually miscarry until 13 weeks. It was a very hard time for me and still is when I think on it. This post was very helpful to me even after almost 5 years. Heaven is a sweeter place knowing we have a precious baby waiting for us. Thank you for writing this, I will be taking the tips at the end and sharing them whenever the Lord allows me.

  4. It’s amazing how losing children is not as rare as we may think, although always painful. Thank you for sharing this experience. I have two babies in Heaven as well, and I’m glad to read how the Lord helped you. I’m glad you included ways to help ladies who are going through this. People never know how to handle it. 🙂

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