Have you ever desired something so deeply, and then doubted that God desired to answer your prayer?
I grew up with an older brother, and loved every minute of it. Loved being the “baby girl” of the family, loved having a protective brother who was big and strong and incredibly annoying sometimes, one I would boss around as if I were in charge, only to be put firmly in my place with a good noogie or a kidnapped baby doll being held for ransom, followed by a hug and adventure in the backyard. It was the life I was given, and it was the best. Even as a young girl I knew that someday, when I had my own kids, I wanted to have a boy first, a big brother for all of the other siblings who would follow. And so I prayed for that, for years and years and years, always hoping that a boy would come first.
Fast forward to June 24th, 2016, as I am sitting in my bathroom at 3am staring at a surprisingly positive pregnancy test (an unplanned, but very much wanted surprise). As I sat there taking in the full meaning of those two pink lines, my immediate fear was that this baby would be a girl. Not because I have anything against girls (I am one, after all, and quite enjoy it. Girls are amazing.), but because the dream of a boy first was rooted so deeply in my soul and I feared the Lord would choose to teach me contentment and surrender through giving us a daughter first.
Over the next few weeks as I processed my fear and worked through it with the Lord, I realized that at the core my trouble was a disbelief that God wanted to answer my prayer. I had fallen into the lie of thinking that in every situation of my life God wanted me to struggle, to grow me in faith through giving me the exact opposite of what my heart desired, surrendering my own will to His and finding contentment in Him.
The truth is, God does often choose to work in that way, and He has many times in my own life over the past decade or so. There are times and seasons when we grow more fully by learning to trust God’s goodness and character in His “no” responses – surrendering our own heart’s desires to His. The problem lies in beginning to think that is the only way He works, which is what I had begun to do. A father who only says no is not a good father, and neither is one who only says yes.
For all of July, August and September, I consciously worked to give up my desire for a little boy first, convinced that because having a boy first meant so much to me, it would of course be a girl, still doubting the Lord’s desire to answer my prayer. Although I still wanted a boy, I convinced myself it was a girl so I would not be disappointed when the gender was revealed. So, when September 21st came and I laid on the table with the ultrasound wand on my womb, I fully expected and was prepared to hear “It’s a Girl!!”.
I was not in any way expecting to see clearly with my own eyes – no words spoken – that this baby is most definitely a BOY. 100% a boy, not even a question. My immediate response was shock, disbelieving it could be true. I wanted a boy so deeply, how could it not be a girl??
Oh, me of little faith.
Over this past month I have been reminded that God is a Good Father, who desires to give good gifts to His children. Just like with any earthly father, sometimes “good” is in saying no, knowing that it is for the best of the child. Other times, “good” is in a joyful yes, delighting to watch as a heart’s desire is fulfilled.
I am realizing that this season of life for me is one in which the Lord is choosing to grow me through answering many, many prayers with a joyful and resounding YES. I am also realizing that having walked through seasons of experiencing God’s goodness through his “no” answers is making this season richer, more beautiful and special than if I had only experienced his yeses.
We are not meant to live in a world where we get everything we want. A gentle and loving “no” is a precious gift, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. What a loving and generous God we serve, a good Father and faithful Friend in every season of life. Although Christian and I would have rejoiced and been thankful had our baby been a girl, we rejoice and are thankful and humbled for this boy, our son.