Recently I’ve corresponded with new acquaintances who have buried their stillborn children and who are seeking comfort and counsel from the Lord. He has used these opportunities to remind me of His faithfulness in answering my and Bobby’s many prayers for help as we mourned the stillbirth of our own son, Parker. The following words will highlight what I’ve shared with these ladies — what God has taught us and how He explicitly helped us (and continues to help us) in our grieving and hopeful waiting. This is the second post in a 3-part series.
The Lord did a great work in my heart, mind and body as He called me to praise him time and again in the face of fear, acknowledging and celebrating what he had promised. Psalm 56 says,
“WHEN I am afraid, I put my trust in You. I praise God for what He has promised so why should I be afraid?”
Fear is real. That doesn’t mean we must submit to it and are ruled by it. It means that when we are afraid, we put our trust in the Lord. I did experience fear after Parker was born and as we submitted to the Lord’s will in participating in His creative work, trusting him to add more children to our family, even as I preached the gospel to myself daily and kept God’s Word before me.
The Lord was faithful to keep me from being ruled by this fear (fear of not being able to conceive, fear of never having children from my own womb that I can love and know here, fear of miscarrying once I’d conceived, fear of not finding a heartbeat at that first appointment with baby #2, fear of being a terrible mother, fear of suffering another stillbirth … so many different fears that the enemy employed to crush me). Almighty God delivered me from all my fears. But I had to acknowledge them and pour out my heart to Him who is my Refuge.
We were told at our six-week postpartum appointment that we shouldn’t try to conceive again until a year had passed after Parker’s death. I was very upset by this because I didn’t think that God wanted us to wait before we started trying to conceive again. I didn’t feel that God was calling us to try and prevent any pregnancies or that He was saying to us, “This is up to you. This is in your hands.”
No, he was saying, “This is MY work and I will have MY way! You can be sure that I will do all I have purposed to do in you and your family.” That was an encouraging word for me! But it also proved a huge challenge for my faith as days, months and even a year passed (15 months total) before we conceived again. The Lord was calling us to wait in hope for him to do whatever he had purposed to do for his good pleasure.
I found myself wrestling many days to submit to this waiting, but crying out to the Lord and asking for help and strength in the waiting. And he was faithful to answer! He helped me time and again. He changed my heart and helped me submit. He taught me that, contrary to what others would say to me, I didn’t deserve to have more children because my son had died. No, children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127).
He is the one who settles the barren woman in her home as the happy mother of children (Psalm 113). And He is the one who takes away my clothes of mourning and clothes me with joy, that I might sing His praises and not be silent! (Psalm 30) And He is God of the womb. He is God of each birthday and God of the tomb.
He is God of MY womb, and until I submitted entirely to this reality (not just acknowledging it as a truth, but actually yielding to it with unclenched fists), until I recognized that I had no control but that God had all control, I struggled to rest and wait.
But the Lord helped me even in this. He defended me against my enemies who were too strong for me. He surrounded me with songs of victory. He gave me joy (Psalm 9). He rescued me daily from the battles that I waged in grief, in waiting, in trusting. And even now, He continues to teach me to trust him as I wait in hope for him to bring forth our daughter in due time. He’s calling me to trust him and celebrate our daughter’s life even now rather than holding my breath until she’s breathing and crying in our arms.
It is good to wait on the Lord. Be encouraged as you wait. God will do all he has purposed to do in and through your family. He will do all he has purposed to do in and through your grieving your child’s death and in the waiting for him to add to your family again. He delights in your desire to do his will! And He will do it.