Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: twins


For years I struggled to sing the worship song Blessed be Your name by Matt Redman. I’ve discovered I’m not alone in this. It takes the words that Job, a man in the Bible, said to his wife when they had just received the horrific news that all of their children had been killed in a freak accident. Job’s famous words were: ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’

On the terrible Friday afternoon when I lost our tiny twins, I was unable to face what was happening. It was too final. This was our only chance, barring a miracle, of having a baby of our own. I was unable to deal with the deep pain of loss, shattered dreams, and the finality of it. There was an unacknowledged sense of this particular pain never ending. Babies were delightful creatures that other people conceived. But not us.

And so for several years, I was unable to sing Matt Redman’s song without tears. Maybe for others they were just pleasant, biblical lyrics. For me they spoke of heartrending reality. God had given my life-long dream of twins and a few days later had taken it away.

But God is good. He really is. People say time is a great healer. Maybe. I’ve found God to be the best healer. He saw the grief I’d buried and the reality I’d felt unable to face and, when the time was right, He gently brought it to the surface. Together we turned and looked at the pain head-on so that He could bring emotional healing and wholeness.

I don’t know why He hasn’t given us children. I don’t know why He gave and took away. But I do know that He is good and trustworthy and loving and utterly faithful. The Bible says God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called by Him. I can question and scream and cry but I’ll probably never know why. Certainly not this side of the grave. But I hang on to the fact that God is good. Because He truly is.

Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.

I’m dedicating this post to our beautiful twins Two and Three, to my sister Gina, and to all little ones who have slipped away in the womb or been born asleep or whose lives have been far too short.

Loved and Secure

I gazed at the television screen in awe. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Everyone else in the surgical theatre – and there were a few – was tuned out as I drank in the beautiful sight of our two-day old twins.

The surgeon was talking, nurses and technicians bustling about getting everything prepped, Adi snapping away at the screen with our non-digital camera.

Long before I was ready to stop gazing, the screen was switched off and I was arranged on the edge of the operating table, legs akimbo, for our babies to be transferred back to me.

ZygoteI’d been unprepared for the rise of strong maternal feelings that exploded inside me when I called the hospital the day before to find out whether my eggs had ‘taken’. As soon as the lab technician assured me that both had taken and were dividing well, a lioness inside me lifted her head and roared.

I was a mother, and I would do anything to protect my kids. If it had been allowed, I would have spent the next twenty four hours in the lab gazing at those two tiny, fragile lives in the petri dish. They were mine and woe betide anyone who dared to be careless around them.

I loved our tiny twins, who we nicknamed Two and Three, from the second I knew they were conceived. I still love them and can’t wait for the day I will finally meet them face to face and wrap my arms around them for a lifetime of missed hugs.

It hit me this morning that God feels the same way about me.

Except He loved me long before I was conceived. In fact, He loved me so much before I existed that He made sure my parents met so I could be conceived.

He loves me. Just as I couldn’t tear away my eyes from my little ones, He gazes at me with love and delight. He sits beside me and counts every hair of my head. He watches over me when I sleep and is with me in every activity.

I am loved. And so are you.

Read the full story.


Almost seventeen years ago, Adi and I entered a covenant of marriage. We made each other promises in our wedding vows that we would stick together through tough patches and good times. We’ve certainly had some moments together….

Redundancy followed by six years of Adi self-contracting meant times of being quite well off followed by very lean months when food got more and more boring.

Being told we were physically unable to have a baby of our own, going through a failed IVF cycle and losing our tiny twins. That was tough.

My being ill for more than a year with cerebellar ataxia and ME/chronic fatigue.

Then there are the little things that annoy. For instance, I like the air con blowing warm air on my feet in winter in the car. Adi prefers it blowing on his face.

Yes, there have been times when thoughts of divorce have crossed our minds. We’d hardly be human if they hadn’t. But we don’t entertain those thoughts. We made promises and are committed to keeping them. That brings each of us a deep sense of security. We know that neither one of us is going to walk out of this marriage lightly. We work at spending time together, listening to one another, talking things through and just enjoying each other’s company. It doesn’t just happen and it would be easy to drift apart – Adi to his computer, me to my books.

Marriage is meant to be a picture of our relationship with God. He has made a covenant with us that if we trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection, He will be our God and we will be His people. This means He is utterly committed to us. We have to work at our relationship with God, making sure we spend quality time regularly with Him, and growing in our love for Him. But He is crazy about us and delights in being with and knowing us. God will never walk away from a relationship with us. This covenant is binding and will last for ever.


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