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 third post in a 3-part series.
As we worked through waiting on the Lord and trusting him to add to our family again, the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray very specifically. And I saw the Lord answer in kind. I asked the Lord to open and fill my womb again, in due time (I prayed this many times in the 15 months we waited on the Lord, never once feeling the Lord’s displeasure with me praying it, but rather, feeling encouraged to pray it as often as my heart was compelled to — casting my cares on the Lord, reaffirming my trust in his perfect will, asking in faith, etc.).
I asked him to keep me from being ruled by the calendar (counting days in my cycle, fretting over “missed opportunities to conceive,” counting the days since Parker died (how long before my womb was filled again). God answered my prayers and helped me not be enslaved to the calendar (this was an ongoing area of prayer and surrender as it was a daily battle to not over-think it, in all the areas I mentioned).
And ultimately, he corrected me and helped me to see how I was struggling to let him have his way. He revealed my tendency to place an expectation on him to work in a certain amount of time. When things weren’t happening in my preferred timeframe, my heart would grow heavy and restless. The Lord gently called me, over and over, to rest and wait and trust him. And I asked him to bless our marriage and make us fruitful in every way. I asked the Lord to strengthen and comfort me and Bobby in and through our marriage, and not allow us to be consumed with the “efforts” of conceiving.
I know the enemy was at work taunting and harassing me and Bobby in this regard, but the Lord was good to help us rest in him and his work in our family. He kept us from being bitter or placing blame on each other (for any reason), and He truly has made us fruitful in every way and made our union sweeter than ever.
Finally, as we approached Parker’s first birthday last October, my sadness had grown very deep and I knew the Lord was calling me to let him have this burden. So, I asked a leader at our church to pray with me to be healed of my grief. I needed to experience everything I had up to that point in the mourning process, but I knew I was not to be ruled by this sadness or defined by the loss. I knew I could trust the Lord to heal my heart, make it whole, and prepare me for embracing new life.
And he did just that. I began to experience greater joy than I’ve previously known (and I don’t think that’s even half of what God has in store for me!), more delight in the goodness of the Lord, growing joy in trusting him and waiting on him. And at one point, I remember being overwhelmed like a little child beaming with delightful anticipation of what my Father was about to give me. I remember hearing him say to me, “You have no idea just what good things are in store … I’ve already done it!”
It’s hard to explain, but it’s a work that continues to grow deep inside my soul. I read somewhere that suffering stretches your soul and allows you to experience both greater sorrow and greater joy than you otherwise would. I’ve found this to be very true, and I count it a blessing.
I hope what I’ve shared is helpful to you! I trust the Word and Spirit of God to comfort and counsel you as you journey through suffering. I am eagerly anticipating all the ways God will encourage and instruct your heart as He carries you in His arms every day.