I wanted a son. The minute Meghan told me that she was pregnant in December of 2009 there was no doubt about it—I wanted a boy. In fact, I want a son so bad that I decreed on that wintery night that we were to have twin boys! But God had a different plan in the mystery of his providence; instead, we learned on April 21, 2010 at 2:14pm that we were to have one daughter.
Don’t get me wrong, girls are great—I married one, and she is the most beautiful among women! But there is something innate in every father that yearns for a son, an heir, so that he can wrestle and throw a football or baseball and do manly things like hunt or fish, use power tools, and rebuild engines.
When we left the doctor’s office that spring afternoon I was crushed, I wasn’t getting the son I wanted. Sinfully, I wasn’t grateful—at least not as grateful as I should be, considering that pregnancy and the gift of life is not something one is entitled to (Gen 11:30; 1Sam 1:5; Luke 1:7). But, again in the mystery of God’s providence, over the next several weeks and months the Holy One began to do a work on my sin-filled heart that I will never recover from.
As we approached the end of Meghan’s work responsibilities outside of our home for money, I became increasingly aware of and overwhelmed by the duty now required of me—providing for another person by the sweat of my brow and the strength of my back all without the help of a son. Yet, much to my amazement I found that this required role enhanced my love for Meghan, it gave me a new resolve as I went to work each day; 1Timothy 5:8 had a new meaning; I didn’t want to be the one who denied the faith by not providing for my wife. The Lord used the fear of failure to sanctify me; he used the fear of failure to bring me to my knees in dependent prayer as I requested blessing in my commission-based job.
The birth of Abigail on September 1, 2010 further augmented this increased desire to work for my family, especially when I considered that I now had two women to fight for, to provide for, to work for, and to protect from a plethora of possible dangers lurking around in our sin-filled world. Again, 1Timothy 5:8 gained a deeper meaning for me—Abigail needs food and clothing and I must provide. Once more I was driven to my knees in prayer asking that God would “give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny [him] and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of God” (Prov 30:8-9). And once again God has met every need, in spite of me and to teach me that He will never leave me nor forsake me as long as I lean on his Christ who knows all my needs before I ask to have them met (Matt 6:25-34).
The providential letdown of not getting the son I felt entitled to resulted in a divine shove toward devotion, a greater love for my bride and daughter, and a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be the man of my home—I will never leave these women, I will die for them if I have too (I will give my life so that they don’t have to and so that they may be sanctified).
Late into the evening on Christmas day 2010 I walked around my apartment, Abigail was snoring in her crib and Meghan was snoring in our bed. They were both warm and well fed; they both have stolen my heart and I love them second only to Christ Jesus. For the first time I realized that night that I am indeed a rich man.
Men, whoever you are, fight for your homes; if you’re single prepare now to do so one day. If you have a wife and only daughters show them Christ by laying down all your dreams so that theirs might be fulfilled; if you have sons teach them the glory of being spent for the sake of your family. Husbands, love your wives more than yourself so that she might be sanctified; wash her with the Word by leading in family devotion and by leading her to church (Eph 5:26). Fathers, children are a blessing (Psalm 127), enjoy them while they’re young—I’m learning and seeing that they grow so very fast. And heed the words of John Angell James:
Recollect what a solemn thing it is to be a parent, and what a weighty responsibility attaches to those who have the immortal souls of their children committed to their care!