If you want to find out what we are having, scroll to the bottom of this post and you’ll find out. Before that, though, I want to share what God was doing in me before Jana and I found out.
We found out, in August that Jana was pregnant with our fourth child. We were ecstatic, and we thought the timing was perfect since we had just been given a new minivan. Jana and I had always wanted a big family, and we had landed on having four kids for most of our marriage.
When Jana and I talked about preference with baby #4, we always gave the same caveat of wanting a healthy baby. Even then, whatever happened we would be joyful. Both Jana and I have come to know a number of families with special needs children. These children are fantastic, full of life, love and joy. The families are gracious, and some of them have been inspiring to me as I watch them, from afar, love and care for their children with special needs.
I wasn’t fearful or worried of what might happen. There was a sense of peace.
The peace was not only with that, but also with having a girl. A number of people had told us we needed to have a girl to “balance out the boys” or to “complete the parenthood experience”. I have always fought back against these (sometimes) ignorant remarks.
In the past I had been a bit fearful of having a girl because of the world we live in. Girls are not respected in our culture. They are viewed as objects. They are targeted for violence.* I envisioned myself being an over-protective dad that wouldn’t be able to sleep soundly for the next quarter century.
*Yes, I also know abuse and violence happens to boys, but the amount of times it happens toward girls are sickening. 1 in 6 women has been a victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. With men, the number is 1 in 33.
When Jana and I found out we were pregnant with baby #4, this fear started to creep back in. It was ridiculous, but I worried.
I can’t recall what the catalyst was, but I believe I was reading a post that discussed some of the stats of women when it comes to abuse and human trafficking. At the Online Campus, we did an event about human trafficking in October. Being hit with these types of statistics always breaks my heart. I wondered again if I could be a dad to a girl in this world. And then God started to challenge me on the idea.
“If not you, then who?”
Conviction. In this culture, it is difficult to raise a girl. But if I’m not willing to do so, who will then? I know the standards God would want me to have for raising a girl, so why run from that? There are a number of dads who are doing a substandard job of raising girls, letting their girls grow up without boundaries and putting them in situations where they will be taken advantage of. I sensed the challenge to counter that as a dad.
I saw it as a challenge to my fear as well, and I told God I’d embrace being a father of a girl. My fear dissipated, and I saw myself on a mission.
I shared a bit of this with Jana, and was fully convinced we were going to have a girl. I had an idea for a name, which Jana liked thankfully! I started to daydream what it might be like to have a girl. I wondered how the boys would be as older brothers to her.
The experiences with raising a girl would be completely new since we had three boys. It also meant new clothes and toys, but I was excited for it.
As Jana and I drove to the appointment today, I started to wonder what would happen if we had a boy. Jana knew I thought we were having a girl, but what if I was wrong? I thought, “God told me we were going to have a girl,” but I was corrected by God.
“Did I tell you that?”
I silently drove to the appointment and realized God never told me explicitly what we were going to have. He only asked, “If not you, then who?” Would I embrace and accept being a father of a daughter? The answer was an unequivocal yes. My hope was for that to happen. But, what if…
What if we were going to have a boy? What was the point of the past few months? Did I miss what God was telling me?
All these thoughts happened within a few minutes.
Jana got situated for the ultrasound, and I sat there quietly. I was pondering what I had been expecting with what I had been thinking about on the drive. All the ultrasound images, which look like a type of Rorschach test, were a blur. Then came the news of what the baby is, a boy.
I was surprised when we found out baby #3 was a boy, but I was shocked when we found out baby #4 was a boy. I didn’t want to be disappointed, and I don’t think I was initially. Think being the key word there.
In the aftermath, Jana had a checkup with one of the midwives. The nurse tending to us asked what we were having, and Jana told her a boy. She responded, “Another boy!” Now, this term was meant as one of happiness for us, but Jana had told me she didn’t want our boy to be labeled “another”.
The nurse followed it up with this gem. “You wouldn’t know what to do with a girl would you?”
Again, she’s making conversation and trying to be nice. I get that. In my mind I’m still processing that we’re not going to have a daughter and I’m thinking, “You know what I’d do if we had a girl? I’d f—–‘ raise a daughter, that’s what I’d f—–‘ do! Mind your own da– business. F— off!”* I don’t say this, thankfully, and instead look down and stare at my iPhone.** I keep thinking, praying and listening.***
*Yes, I’m a pastor.
**God bless nurses who have to deal with patients/spouses who are usually dealing with a roller coaster of emotions.
***I would repent of these thoughts on the drive home.
I was trying to figure out why God would challenge me to take up the mantle of being a father of a daughter, but then give us another son. I don’t know. I may not know for awhile. I may never know.
Perhaps it was to root out unnecessary fear, which happened. Perhaps it was to encourage a friend who found out he was having another girl, when he wanted a son, and I was able to share with him what God was doing in me. Perhaps it was a test to see how I’d respond, and I responded with yearning for a daughter. Who knows.
We told the boys, and they were happy. Of course, they wanted to get back to playing with LEGO bricks. Priorities, you know.
“If not you, then who?”
It isn’t me, but that’s okay. We have a healthy, baby boy on the way. He will be precious to us. He isn’t just “another” boy. He is our boy. He is our fourth son. God saw fit to give us a boy. I trust God. He has a mission marked out for him. He has a mission marked out for all our boys, individually and corporately.
I’m happy. I’m at peace. I can’t wait to hold him.
Baby boy #4 arrives early spring 2013.