I tend to cringe a little when I see my girls running inside with flowers for Mommy. I mean, half of them are weeds, but I can’t tell them that! And the other half are flowers I planted in my garden bed, and hoped would stay there! But my friend blew my mind last Sunday with a view I’d never even considered before; how those scrawny little water-starved flowers are actually an opportunity like you wouldn’t believe. With her permission (thanks Annie!), I’m going to pass it along to all ya’ll. Because it’s so worth it.
But here’s some back story for you: On my local mom blog in Wenatchee, WA, I recently shared some thoughts about having three girls, and how I have had to process the disappointment about not having sons. I mean, once upon a time, I was convinced that sons were God’s plan for me, and I was shocked at each ultrasound – times three – when I learned I was having a girl. I know. It’s terrible of me.
Hey, my perspective has really matured since then. I’m so thankful to have children at all! And I’m only 34, so I may not even be finished yet. I now know having sons was my plan for me; I was terrified to raise girls. But Jesus saw fit to nudge me face to face with my fears, like the blessed Lord that He is. After all, perfect love drives out fear. I now take heart in the fact that only God knows what my family is going to look like. I’ve left all that in his hands.
I have observed, however, that “Everyman” doesn’t see it that way. There’s still an assumption that “Everymom” will have 2.5 children, which will include girls AND boys. When people – any people – see me out and about with my gaggle of girls, holding hands like a daisy chain, and the little one on my hip, they tend to coo a little. But they also say things like: “Is the baby a girl too?” and, “All girls?” and, “Are you going to try for a boy?” These are loaded questions that I have come to loathe. I am never prepared. I usually smile, drop all eye contact, and make a strange sound in my throat. I know there is a part of me, a part I don’t know how to let my daughters see, that still wants to have sons. If I drop my guard and open my mouth, I might really mess things up for them. My daughters’ innocent, listening ears may hear a message that makes them feel a little less loved, because let’s face it– my husband and I still have a boy name ready and waiting, and we still want to give it a go.
A great friend (thanks, Magi!) responded to my post with the advice that I rehearse and become ready with the line, “We’d love to give them a brother.” That way the comment is about my girls and focused on sibling love. Keeps me out of it. I’ve been trying that one out, and it does feel a lot better to have something planned out, ready on my lips, to say. It usually ends the conversation, which is what I want.
So back to last weekend. Annie and I were hanging out in the back yard, chatting about love and life and kids, when this whole blog post came up. She has two sons, two daughters, and a plethora of frank and wise words just ready on her lips (lucky her!). Annie told me that since I have three daughters, I can pretty much bank on having sons one day. It took me a second to realize what she was talking about. She went on to tell me it’s not too early to start praying for them now, because they’ll be my daughter’s husbands soon enough. (Mind blown!)
She’s already started doing it. Like the kegel sticker on my water bottle that’s supposed to remind me to “ya-know” whenever I look at it, she’s found a way to remember to pray. Only it’s way more effective, and doesn’t involve embarrassing neon stickers! Annie lifts up her future child-in-law every time one of her kids brings her a flower. Now that they know she does this, she gets a lot more flowers, which speaks volumes to the effectiveness of her prayers. She is already helping to cultivate within them the joyful hope and expectation for a love worth waiting and praying for. And they will grow up knowing that she can’t wait to add children to her fold. She will support them as they make their adult decisions, and already dearly loves each future Love.
Mind blown again!
To add another layer of wow to it all, my husband reminded me that he asked his mom to pray for his wife when he was a very little boy, too. It completely softens my heart toward my mother-in-law to consider how she embraced her son’s hope and future like that. I like to think that their bedtime prayers for me – his unknown wife – covered and protected me numerous times as I grew up.
Annie and I discussed how important it is for a child-in-law, that they be loved and accepted, just like biological children. They need prayer and support, guidance and protection. They have parents who need bucket-loads of prayer and support if they’re going to do things right by their child, just as we do.
When I consider the gravity of praying for my daughters’ husbands, my breath catches in my chest for a moment. There are so many challenges each young man may face that could affect the way that he will love her. Porn. Abuse. Drugs. Loss. Failure. Pain. In fact, these common problems will most certainly touch him somehow. I need to plead to Jesus for good things to come his way, too. Trust. Protection. Friendship. Mentors. Discipleship. Wisdom. Faith. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Salvation. I know this is no simple prayer I offer up as I blow the feathery white clouds off the wishing puff my three year old just reverently placed in-between my fingers. This is spiritual warfare! And when the heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous woman is put into action and made effective by God, it is dynamic and carries tremendous power (James 5:16).
I’m about to cheerfully put a whole lot of half-dead flowers in little mason jars all over my house! How about you? Mind blown too?!