He Remembers the Barren

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Katie Schuermann is a lovely woman, a pious Lutheran, a faithful wife. She’s funny. She’s smart. She’s talented.

She’s a daughter, a sister, a godmother, a friend.

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She also happens to bear a particularly difficult cross, a cross that she’s written about in her newly-released book He Remembers the Barren, a book that tackles how Lutherans understand barrenness, marriage, children, and families in a world broken by sin.

Katie, and contributor Rebecca Mayes, offered their stories and thoughts on barrenness at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, speaking to a chapter of a pro-life association, seminarians, and the public.

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Katie’s writing (and presentation) is frank. It is honest. It is familiar and vulnerable. It causes the reader to consider the weight of the Law and to rejoice in the sweet salve of the Gospel.

It touches on infertility, IVF, the pill. It discusses marriage, adoption, foster care. And it points again and again to Christ, to the way in which He cares for His children, to the good plan and good purpose He has willed for each life.

Dcs. Melissa DeGroot assisted in compiling collects, hymns, and readings to accompany each chapter, turning the reader to the Author and Creator of life, to the One to whom barren women say in faith, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

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I’m humbled to have been asked to review the book. I thought then, upon reading it, and still believe now, after hearing Katie speak, that the Church has much to offer these women who suffer in such a unique way.

Pastors ought to read a copy of the book; deaconesses too. Barren couples will find comfort in knowing they are not alone; their friends and family will begin to understand the depth of the emotion experienced by those who cannot bear children of their own.

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Order a copy. Read it. Learn how to speak to your barren friends. Rejoice in Christ’s faithfulness. Remember that we walk by faith, not by sight, and that the Lord works all things—even barrenness—for good.

“In He Remembers the Barren, Katie Schuermann tackles the difficult subject of childlessness, a topic upon which society—and even times, the church—has remained largely silent. Joining the pious ranks of women such as Hannah, who mourned her barrenness before the Lord, Katie answer 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 comfort 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 in the church as well as sound Scripture to comfort and encourage.”

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