When I got married at 19, I was blessed to carry very little baggage with me into our new life. But, if I was going to receive the gift of fatherhood in this new life, there was a piece of baggage I would need to leave behind. Embarrassingly, as hard as this is to admit, knowing that I couldn’t choose the gender of my child kept me from choosing to have children for a couple years. I carried around this lie with me- “I am not capable of raising a girl.” Why did I have this ridiculous baggage, and where did I pick it up?
Did I believe that girls were not worthy or less valuable as many cultures believe today?
Did I believe that my daughter would be too fragile for me to handle? Did I believe that I wouldn’t be able to relate to her as a man? What was the driving force behind my fear? The precious nature of a daughter.
I already had a deep love for my hypothetical daughter, and that terrified me. I didn’t want to see her get hurt, fail, or break my heart. I knew that she would leave me defenseless because she would hold the keys to my heart. My biggest fear wasn’t that she would be too fragile to handle me. My biggest fear was that my deep love for her would make me too fragile for her. My biggest fear was grounded in selfishness. Like I said, embarrassing.
Did this fear ever go away before we chose to have kids? It didn’t, but I chose to trust God, knowing that if He would bring a little girl into my life, He knew better than me. Ever since the day that the doctor told us, “You’re having a girl,” my heart has belonged to my precious baby girl. Am I more vulnerable because she is in my life? Yes, but what I have learned in the past 10 years as a dad to both a girl and a boy, is that the gender of your child does not make you immune to heartbreak. When you open your heart, home, and life to children you are vulnerable. As one friend told me, “If your heart doesn’t break as a parent, then you are doing it wrong.” Children make you vulnerable because they are valuable. Your deep love for them makes you an easy target. Children bring heartache, but they also bring great joy. Children are unexpected gifts in unexpected ways!
Today people in the world are obsessed with gender. Should certain genders be allowed to live? Can I choose my gender? Can we use human gene editing to create customized offspring? Which gender is stronger? Does gender mean anything? Why is one gender marginalized? We are not going to answer these questions today but before we go any further, can we please make the choice to celebrate the unique beauty of each gender. I believe we should be champions of celebrating the Creator’s diversity in His Creation. I am so embarrassed by the fear and misconceptions I had about raising a daughter.
I could spend all day explaining to you all the ways she has changed my life for the better. Her femininity has breathed fresh air into our home. From the day she was born, she has been a comforter. She feels deeply about everything and for everyone. She loves to express herself through color, dance, song, hugs, kisses, dresses, and art to name a few. She has brought so much joy to our life! My creative daughter is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received from my infinitely Creative Father!
I am so thankful that I didn’t get to choose much about my children. It still amazes me that we got to name them! If the doctor would have handed me a quiz with two columns to customize my children: mom or dad, they would have had mom’s eyes, nose, ears, hair, personality….actually, they would have been carbon copies of her. But if I had had the choice to choose who they were going to be, then they wouldn’t be who they are today. That would have been a tragedy because I really love who my kids are! My kids are such unique individuals who hold an unbelievably special spot in their my heart. I am so humbled to be their dad! I did not get to choose my kids, but I am eternally grateful that I was chosen to be their dad. Thank you Jesus for your abundant grace in my fears! Reader, you can’t know what your future holds, but you can know the one who holds your future. Trust that He knows better than you do!