As this pregnancy has progressed (I'm now almost 18 weeks along), I've left a few people with tilted heads as I explain my thoughts about motherhood and God's sovereignty. You see, for lots of reasons, I've thought a lot about how I would react if something went wrong. And while I can't be sure until I am in that situation, I know that God is sovereign.
Here is how that is playing out in my mind during my third pregnancy (and where the tilted head might come in)...
Because our family already has 2 daughters, many people have assumed that we are hoping for a boy. This question is mildly irritating when I think about what it implies about Mary (not having been a boy, she isn't good enough, so we are trying again to get that boy that eluded us during the last pregnancy), but I generally overlook it and let the inquisitor know that we truly don't have a preference, that God will give us a son or a daughter as He sees fit.
And until recently, I would have added, "I'll be happy so long as the baby is healthy."
Then, one day early in this pregnancy, as I started to say this out loud, I was stopped in my tracks. All of a sudden, I didn't feel right declaring that I'd "be happy so long as the baby is healthy."
What was I really saying about my God when I declared the gender didn't make a difference in my satisfaction with God, but that the baby's health did?
Go ahead. Tilt your heads. Most people do that at this point in the story. The first time I asked myself this question, I tilted my head too.
If I believe that God is sovereign over the gender of my child, how can I also not believe that He is sovereign over the health of my child? If he is sovereign over one thing, then He is sovereign over all things. I can't pick and choose what I will accept from God. He's an all or nothing kind of God.
Does this mean that I am hoping for a child who has disabilities or health problems? Heck no. Too many times, I have seen friends walk the halls of hospitals, cry over medication choices that aren't working, and give up any leisure time so they can care for their ill child. I'm far too selfish and lazy to make a choice to give myself over to that life on purpose. (As an aside, I do know some families that are specifically called to invite "special needs" children into their family, and they obey because God has given them a special measure of grace and patience for these children and their doctors. Yes, I'm talking about you Dorothy.)
Generally speaking, have you ever heard of the mother of a child with any type of disability who wishes their child hadn't been born at all? Yes, their road is hard, but every one I've ever met will declare, that, through the doctor's appointments, therapies, and surgeries, their child is still a blessing to them, that their child is worthy of all the love and affection a parent would lavish on any healthy child.
To their credit, I have some very good friends who "got it" as soon as I explained where I was coming from. And then, I felt as if I was on the right track when I met the mother of a baby who doesn't have tomorrow promised to him (none of us really do, but his medical condition makes it more obvious to his family). I hesitated to share my thoughts with her because I was afraid of diminishing the pain that she has experienced as she walked through this valley.
But, after I was done explaining the above, she affirmed that not only did she think I was right, but that people didn't realize it was painful to her to hear them say, "so long as the baby is healthy." In her eyes, it diminishes the value of her son to the world.
Ultimately, I want to be content in all circumstances and I want my words to accurately reflect what I believe about God's sovereignty and His role in my happiness.
For that reason, I declare that God is sovereign over both
the gender and the health of my children.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Even if you disagree with me or think my logic is flawed. But especially if you have walked the path of an unhealthy child.
PS - My declaration about God's sovereignty doesn't make it true, it is simply a declaration of truth.