The Lord has closed my womb. He opened it. He filled it. He emptied it. And then he closed it. The Lord has kept me from having children. He enabled me to conceive a son two years ago. Then he took my son to be with him 10 months later. And since then, he has kept me from having children.

This reality, rather than disturbing me, actually comforts me.

illus-29When my son, Parker, was stillborn, God in his mercy helped me glimpse the all-out spiritual war that would ensue in the next season of grieving the loss of my son while waiting to have more children. I didn't know exactly what it would look like, but I knew it was going to be real and exhausting.

And it is. I knew that only with the help and mercy of the Lord would I survive.

And he has kept me alive! I have endured the lying assaults of my enemy daily: God took your son because you didn't deserve him. . . . You weren't qualified to be a mother and you still aren't, so God hasn't given you more children. . . . God is a liar, he can't be trusted, he shouldn't be praised, and he doesn't care about your desire to have children. He's withholding them from you because he isn't good. He doesn't really love you. And every other imaginable lie about my identity and God's character.

My sister in Scripture, Hannah, knew this warfare too. The biblical account of her story in 1 Samuel 1-2 explicitly reveals, "The LORD had closed her womb." It also says that "her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb." Hannah's rival was her husband's second wife who "had children." And the yearly taunting filled Hannah with bitter anguish and discouragement. I know this taunting and the resulting anguish and discouragement all too well. And just like Hannah, I have poured out my grieving heart to the Lord.

Time and again I have cried to the Lord to deliver me from my foe. Lord, shut the mouth of my enemy! I've had my fill of contempt! I've pleaded with God for more children, if it is his will, and I've pleaded for strength and grace to endure the warfare in the waiting. Lord, just like you remembered Hannah, would you remember me in your love and settle me in my home as a joyful mother of children? Would you give me an answer for my enemies? Above all, help me to desire you, my Maker and Husband, worth far more than many children or any other desire—you are most worthy of my adoration. At all times, help me to worship and hope in you alone.

After months of prayer, it was Hannah's story in 1 Samuel that God used to comfort me. Although I had read it many times before, I saw as if for the first time that God—not the accuser—had closed Hannah's womb. He did it for his glorious purpose, and he did it for Hannah's good.

I face a vanquished foe! He isn't in control of my womb or my destiny. No, the Creator of heaven and earth is the God of conception, God of the womb, God of each birthday, and God of the tomb.

And this is why my rival taunts me month after month. He doesn't do it because God is not in control, but because God is in control. My adversary wants me to believe that God is not working out his purposes for my life. But God, who does not lie, has promised to work everything together for my good (Romans 8:28).

The Lord, in his perfect wisdom and unfailing love, has closed my womb, and he alone can open it. God alone rules my womb—more than that, all of my life. I belong to him who has redeemed my life from the pit, delivered me from all my fears, saved me with the perfect blood of his Son, and given me an enduring inheritance in heaven. I have all I need.

Kristen Gilles is a worship leader at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. She is married to Sojourn communications director Bobby Gilles. Together they write about worship and songwriting at mysonginthenight.com.

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