“I was BORED of having boys when we lived in Oklahoma!”
“Mom, Ezra said I can’t marry Renee when we grow up! Is that true?”
“Let me hold ‘Nee!”
“Renee is a cutie-wootie.”
Imagine these adoring statements being said in the endearing voices belonging to four little boys, and you’re picturing what I am blessed to hear on a daily basis.
When my husband and I learned we were expecting our fifth child, we had a house full of boys. It was all we had ever known, and truthfully we loved it. Yes, our house was loud, at times rough and maybe even crazy, but we had no complaints. Life was sometimes challenging, as any life is, but we had been blessed with boys who we pray will someday be as fierce for God as they are at playing pirates.
From before we even had our first baby, we always prayed for the salvation of our children and that they would love and serve God faithfully. We’ve put the building of our house in God’s hands and trusted His will to give us what we need. (The truth is even if we hadn’t made a conscious decision to do so, His will would’ve been what we need anyway. Isn’t it funny how we think we can plan every little thing sometimes?)
Each pregnancy and child has had its unique set of circumstances with challenges specific to that child. At least for me, my children have shown me how inadequate I am for the task ahead more than any other thing God has given me. The biggest challenges with our fifth (so far–she’s only ten months, so there’s a lot of time for this to change) have been from external situations that have coincided with her beginnings. She, however, has been (again, not surprisingly, because God’s in charge) exactly what our family has needed.
Continue to rest in God’s more-than-capable hands.
My first reaction on learning that we were having a girl was joy. That joy was replaced by uncertainty and a little fear within about twenty minutes. “What are we going to do with a girl? We don’t know anything about girls, and the boys are pretty straightforward…not always easy to deal with, but at least we know what we’re dealing with. This is completely new territory. Is she going to provide more drama than we know what to do with?” And so on and so forth. A little bit more time completely took care of those emotions and I was back to excitement and anticipation.
Fast forward a few months…there were a couple moments of complications, but God delivered our almost ten-pound baby girl safely. And we, her parents, as well as her four older brothers have adored her from day one. Before she came, I was praying that she might be the catalyst for the boys to start actually understanding some concepts (such as gentleness) which to that time had seemed to escape them completely, no matter how many times we admonished. I don’t know why it is so much easier for them to grasp when they have a little sister, but miraculously it is. Hallelujah! (Don’t worry, they are still 100% boys, but we have the beginnings.) Renee’s brothers are far more interested in holding her and taking care of her than they ever were any of their younger brothers as babies.
We would have loved another boy with all our hearts as well. Having a girl has been new and fun, but all babies are delightful. However, for our family, God gave us a girl–and not just any girl–but the one with the exactly right combination of personality and sweetness and toughness to handle four older brothers (and two imperfect parents). We’re still in what might be called the first chapter of her life, and I’m excited to see how her unique fit to our family will become more and more evident as each day passes.
Her name reflects the prayer we have had from the very beginning for her and all the children God gives us. Renee Gloria… “glorious rebirth.” And although her salvation story as well as the love and service she will have for God will look different than that of each of her brothers, my husband and I will continue to rest those details in God’s more-than-capable hands.
Written by Audrey Beth Roland. This article was published in the Summer 2017 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. She and her husband Daniel currently live in Colorado Springs, CO with their now six children.