When Matthew, our oldest son, was a mere 24 hours old, my husband, Craig, found me sobbing in the hospital rocking chair. I was holding my new born baby boy and crying my heart out. Just literal gut heaves ... it wasn’t a pretty sight. Craig came into the room and rushed to my side, “Honey! What’s wrong?! Is something wrong with the baby?”
“No,” I replied through gulping sobs, “Someday ... I’m going to have to give him to another girl!”
And so it began ... the dread that someday Matthew ... and then Christopher ... and finally Jordan would no longer belong to me. I was their first love and ached to stay in that place of prominence. Someday, I mournfully realized, another woman would take first place in their hearts. I would be relegated to the back seat. Good ole’ what’s her name.
The years of learning how to tie shoelaces, shooting baskets in the driveway and family game nights quickly passed by and we sent our boys off to college. I knew that as they began this new season in life, a new season in my life had begun as well. It was only a matter of time and I was a goner. Finished. Washed-up.
Matthew called during the first semester of his Junior year in college and told us that he wanted to invite a girl to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s with us. Her name was Emily. As this blonde girl from Minnesota walked into our front door, she also walked into my heart. I immediately knew that I could love her like she was my own. She played games with the younger kids, fixed the little girls’ hair and helped like a champ in the kitchen. Yep ... she was a keeper.
Christopher brought home “just a friend” during one of his Christmas breaks as well. Liz joined 2 or 3 other college friends at our home and even though Chris didn’t see it yet ... I loved this girl! She had sparkle and compassion. She was obviously head over heels in love with our son and we thoroughly approved. The night that Chris proposed to Liz at Rockefeller Center beside the Christmas tree by singing her an original song was a night of joy and dreams coming true for the entire family.
And then ... my youngest son left me! He, too, went to college thousands of miles away from home and fell in love with the girl of my dreams for him. Allie’s zest for life and commitment to be a prayer warrior wiggled its way into my heart and I couldn’t love her more if I tried. Jordan needs Allie like the flowers need the rain and the earth must revolve around the sun. She is his perfect match. Head to toe. Heart to heart.
What was I so worried about? Why did I think that gaining a daughter-in-law meant losing a son? What it really meant was enlarging our family - and I love big families! What it really meant was the opportunity of seeing my sons so gloriously in love and so completely fulfilled.
Each one is a gift and yet so different ... Emily, Liz and Allie. The girls that I prayed for from the days that my boys made their grand entrance onto planet earth are the girls that God chose for each beloved son.
“Emily ... my prayer for you is that you will find daily joy in the smiles of your children and the strength of your husband. I pray that God would reveal Himself to you in miracles big and small. I pray that you would know that God is enough in each season of life and that He would give you the capacity to love like He loves. Thank you for loving Matt. I love you dearly.”
“Liz ... my prayer for you is that you would allow God to use you to the maximum! I pray that you would feel the compassion of His heart and be a vessel for His love on planet earth at this time in history. I pray that Jesus would fill you with wisdom, with discernment and with the joy of His presence. I pray that His Word would come alive to you. Thank you for loving Chris. I love you dearly.”
“Allie ... my prayer for you is that time spent on your knees would be the most productive moments of your life. I pray that God would enlarge your capacity to hear His voice and to obey His leading. I pray that your desire to go to the mission field would be fulfilled in His time. I pray that you would be a missionary at home, at school, at work and in the neighborhood. Thank you for loving Jordan. I love you dearly.”
If I could tell that young mom in the hospital rocking chair anything that I have learned in giving my boys to “the other woman”, I would tell her that life is sweeter and richer because of the girls that God brought their way. I would tell her that when you embrace the girl that your son chooses that it brings no pain but the fulfillment of a dream and the answer to a prayer.
I would tell that young mom in the hospital rocking chair to get a grip ... God is extraordinarily good in all seasons of life. We don’t raise our sons to keep them locked up - we raise them to give them as a gift to the world and as a gift to the girl of God’s making and choosing.
Well done, God. Well done.