I thought I was going to have all boys.
My interests trended toward Legos, GI Joe, computer games, and airplanes and not so much to princesses, Disney movies, ballet, and ponies. So, it made sense that God, sensing my aptitude for being a boys’ mom, would give me sons.
Fully prepared to head out on a blue shopping spree following the ultrasound for my first pregnancy, I was shocked . . . stunned . . . surprised speechless when the doctor announced he was pretty sure my son was actually a daughter.
It’s got nothing to do with wanting a boy in the traditional sense—that somehow it’s our duty in life as women to birth sons and have male offspring and all that.
Instead, I cried because I felt so much more pressure knowing I’d have a daughter. I had assumed that my husband would be primarily responsible for teaching him how to pee in the potty and for having “the talk” around puberty.
More than any of that, my husband would be responsible for modeling Godly manhood and I could be the really cool, supportive, fun mom who showed my boys what to choose in a wife.
(Moms of boys can insert laughter here, knowing it isn’t at all as easy as I’d envisioned. What can I say—I’d never had a child of any kind before! I was a foolish innocent.)
Having a girl meant I would be fully in charge of the potty and I’d likely be the one explaining the birds and the bees.
Oh, and I’d have to live like the woman of God, the wife, the mom, the friend . . . that I wanted them to become. Plus, I’d have to be on my best behavior all the time because kids pretty much don’t blink and miss stuff.
No pressure or anything, right?
Thinking it was a fluke, I went to the ultrasound for my second pregnancy awaiting the announcement of a boy.
I was surprised, but I wasn’t disappointed. By the time I had my third baby, I wasn’t really sure I’d know what to do with a boy if I had one! Over time I’ve grown to love having a house full of girls and have learned a million lessons as a result.
Like the fact that an affinity for pink, purple, princesses and ponies isn’t as environmental as I thought. Without any help from me, my oldest daughter became the princess of all princesses and the ballerina of all ballerinas.
Like how to style my daughter’s hair into a fishtail braid.
Like how to help daughters live with emotional balance and become strong women who aren’t abrasive and compassionate women who aren’t pushovers.
Well, to be honest, I’m still learning that last one.
It’s still overwhelming at times and I feel unfit many days. Never having played “hairstylist” as a child, I have no idea how to fix up my daughters’ long tresses. I kind of fumble around with nail painting and wouldn’t know how to behave in a nail salon if I ever grew brave enough to enter one. I’m no fashion expert and zero help with their ballet lessons. I still hate shopping.
Still, even when I get it wrong and stumble through life as a girls’ mom, I’ve learned to love pink and purple, rock the dress-up games, clap big at their ballet performances, and snuggle them close at least once a day to tell them how I think they’re so beautiful outside, but more importantly inside where it really counts.
In her book, MOMumental, Jennifer Grant shared a lesson she’d been taught by a college professor: Prefer the given.
Originally used by the author, Charles Williams, the phrase means “choosing to appreciate what we have instead of being dissatisfied with the grace and other gifts God gives us” (Grant p. 11).
Now, I haven’t been fond of everything my kindergartener has picked up from her friends at school, but one day at dinner she repeated something a boy in her class said, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”
That I loved.
Isn’t it the same lesson I’ve been learning over time and the same one Jennifer Grant was teaching in her book?
It’s the lesson of contentment, preferring this life God has given me over any childhood fantasy or pre-childbearing delusion.
It’s preferring the here and now instead of being trapped by the past, obsessed with worry over the future, or determined to rush past the beauty of this moment in an effort to move on to something “better.”
We all make a million plans that never turn out the way we expect, we dream of what life will be like and then sometimes sit in speechless shock when it doesn’t work out that way.
Paul’s life certainly didn’t end up the way he ever expected. Yet, it was Paul who wrote, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6) and Paul again who wrote “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
For those of us who’ve ever struggled with knowing God’s will, Paul tells us what it is—be thankful for what God has given you, all the time, even if it isn’t what you wanted or planned. Give thanks and trust that God knows what He’s doing.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King