Redeeming My Deep Daughter Desire, Part 2

I have always wanted a daughter. To be honest, I hoped for two. I didn't have a sister growing up and I thought it would be a neat experience to be a firsthand part of a sister-dynamic. But I didn't get sisters, I got 3 boys. And I love those boys in heart-spasm, overloading-kisses, embarassing-mom kind of way. I can't even believe they are mine, and so cute and funny and endearing and wild and nuts, and I get to have them. This desire for a daughter has nothing to do with them.

I believe that my desire for a daughter is a beautiful thing. There's no shame in it. The desire to mother a little sweet pea up into womanhood isn't wrong. But I let it get really ugly.

I treasured the idea of a daughter. I loved that desire so much that when I found out I was having a third boy, and would probably never get my daughter, I got possessive about it. I decided to put it in a little closet in my heart, tucked away from the light of the Gospel. I didn't want God's sovereignty to touch it. Then I visited my desire--a lot. I sat in that windowless closet with my beloved dreams and refused God's light.

I know that God is sovereign. I know that He is good. And I know that He loves me. But I just didn't want to know those things about being daughterless. Because I thought that if let the light of the Gospel into that dark little closet, God might try to make me be ok with my loss, and I didn't want to be ok.

I was wrong about the whole closet thing though. There are no closets in our hearts. We don't get to push the Gospel out of one area and keep it everywhere else. The Holy Spirit permeates us. If we start pushing him out of one place where we don't want to be healed, we start losing his fruit everywhere else.

When I wrote that post about giving up my daughter desire for Lent, it was because I knew I HAD to do something. I had pushed the Gospel away and my heart had gotten dark. I couldn't live like that anymore, because I knew the goodness of a Gospel-drenched life.

So I gave it up, mentally kicking and screaming, but unable to resist the siren-call of the Holy Spirit any longer. Now a year later, I'm so glad God refused to leave me in that darkness.

I still long for a daughter. Honestly, there are usually tears once-a-month, occasionally a full waterfall tear-fest, but more often a few drops during worship. I'm not even a crier, but this is a deep grief for me. But now when the tears come, I'm not alone. I once scoured the internet for women who would understand me, but I was avoiding the God who searches and knows everything in me. I pushed him out when all He longed to do was swoop me into his arms and comfort my sorrow. Through the good news of the Gospel--that Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free, that can make my old pain into a new creation--my grief has a purpose. 

Now when I cry over the loss of my dream, the Holy Spirit groans before God on my behalf and Jesus intercedes at his right hand. They aren't petitioning for me to receive my daughter, but that I would receive more of God through my loss. Because a daughter doesn't give me life, Jesus already did that. Because a daughter isn't the only way God can fulfill my calling to minister to women. Because a daughter won't guarantee that I'll never feel lonely or left out. Because not having a daughter doesn't mean I won't have a best friend. Because the purpose of my life isn't motherhood. And because my desire for a daughter can still serve a purpose, even if I never get one. Not having a daughter keeps me pursuing more of God, and that is the best gift my soul can receive.

So I may always be sad, but I won't ever be alone. This grief doesn't have to be meaningless. May it serve its slow sanctification, for my good and for his glory.

"Sovereign" by Chris Tomlin

In your everlasting arms
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you

In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

Lent: Letting Go of my Daughter Desire

I know I'm way behind the 8 ball on giving something up for Lent. I want to say Lent started last week? But I don't really know, and I guess it doesn't really matter. This isn't a conventional Lent post anyway. I'm not giving up a thing or an activity to focus more on God. I'm going to give up a desire. It's a good desire; or a desire for a "good thing" anyway. It's not good anymore though, because it has gotten so strong that it is setting itself up against my desire for God. I think that's really what Lent is all about--giving up something to create a stronger focus on Jesus, and that's what this will do. I hope that until Easter I can come against this desire so strongly that after Lent is over, it won't be such a struggle anymore. That's what I'm going to pray for, but I know it won't be easy, because it's something I really, really want.

I hesitate here to even share it with you, because some of you will think I'm kind of an awful person. But I suppose those of you who think I am a terrible person probably have desires or thoughts that make you an ugly sinner like me. I'm just going to share mine and maybe some of you will find comfort in hearing it because you have experienced it yourself. It's a good desire that's gotten so strong and twisted that it has become an ugly sin: I want a daughter. If you don't know me, I've had 3 boys in 3 years. I love boys. I grew up with only brothers, and I thought it was awesome. But because I had only brothers I grew up super close with my mom, and I want that relationship with a daughter of my own. As of right now, I don't think I will get it. People often ask me if we will have more kids. Some people come out and ask if we will "try for a girl" others are more sneaky about it, but I see what they are getting at. Right now more kids is a big question mark that lends toward doubtful, but even if we did know for sure we would have another baby, I recognize after having 3 boys that another baby does not guarantee me a daughter. I know that only God grants babies. I have both struggled with minor difficulty getting pregnant and a baby who came much earlier than I expected. God has made it pretty obvious to me that I have ZERO control over what my family looks like. I could go on and on about why it is a hard desire for me to overcome, but that's not really what this post is about. It's about giving up my focus on that desire. I don't think the desire itself will ever leave me for as long as I live, but it's about staring that desire in the face and allowing it not to have control over me and my love for God anymore. So I have noticed that the desire takes over my thought process in three ways: dreaming, twinging, and sinning.

  1. Dreaming: My dreaming usually comes in the form of choosing a name for a little girl or imagining how I would decorate her nursery or thinking about how a little girl baby might really be little for a lot longer than my gigantic boy babies (but to be fair that's not necessarily true). It's just imagining what it would be like to be able to plan a life with a little girl by my side.
  2. Twinging: This is hard to explain, but it's just like someone squeezed my heart. I'm not the type of person to get depressed, but occasionally I experience this ugh pain wrapping around my heart when I see images of little girls. For example, Pottery barn kids Easter catalog with its running girls in sweet little dresses on an egg hunt or little girls lounging on white cast iron beds with little chandeliers above them. Occasionally it happens on facebook or instagram, usually when a little girl is accompanied by an older brother. Be still my heart. It even happens when my brothers send me videos of their little girls saying the cutest things in their sweet little voices (but PLEASE don't stop sending them, they are also my only way to get a little girl fix!).
  3. Sinning: The other two things can lead to sinning, but they aren't usually sin in and of themselves. These are the mean thoughts that sometimes come to mind when someone is complaining about their daughter. Or when someone mentions how disappointed they were with a child's gender even though they already have one of each. It can be utter jealousy when a friend or even someone on HGTV (to remain nameless!) describes an activity she recently did with her daughter. This can be a lot of things, but they all stem from letting the desire for a daughter rule over my desire for God.

I'll be honest, a huge part of me loves this desire so much, I can hardly give it up. But I know I have to. I know that it's time. God will hold it for me, and as scary as it is to say, not my will, but His will be done with it.

My plan: Bible. It's really always the answer, right? I am writing the following verses on a note on in my phone, and I plan to read them every time I experience a dream, a twinge, or a sin. May God use them to change my heart. Give me Jesus.

Psalm 145:16-19

You open your hand;
You satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
To all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
He also hears their cry and saves them.

Anyone else have a good desire that you need to submit to God's goodness?