Was it from You, Lord, what came to my mind on Saturday night, then out of my mouth on Sunday morning? Almost prophetic even? I don't know. It didn't feel that strong at the time, but what happened later...
I was thinking..."we're going to have a baby in the house, well, what should it be?" (Actually they are going to have the baby, and in another month or two they will move out of my house...yes, yes, but that is beside the point). Boy? or Girl? What should it be? And then I thought. It should be a girl--that they might raise her different, and show this world--this society, their families--by the way they treat her, that girls are valuable, girls are precious. And that she, by the way she lives as a result of being properly loved and valued, might show a new way.
It was a good idea, I thought, so I told the mom the next morning (Sunday). After the telling, I back-tracked. I had no real certainty that it "should" or "would" be a girl. So I also said, "and if it's a boy, you must teach him, and not agree to the things the family will say" ...that he is valuable and your family is somehow better because he is a boy. (I'm always telling people what they should do, aren't I?)
I had no idea that she would think about it all day, that it would stir up something inside, raising awareness. Later that day she brought it up. "Both of us, are probably so much more affected than we know." Her mother tells her how she had hoped each one--she and her sisters--would be a boy, but they weren't. Her mom now, and his family, all hoping it's a boy.
And even apart from their own families, what happens all around in society all the time...the girls thrown away, given away, or just clearly treated as less than valuable.
Yes, my friends, you are probably much more affected by this than you realize. And...I know my thinking is affected sometimes too... (scares me really!)
As the father and I were waiting outside the delivery room (Monday night, Tuesday morning)...he told me his wife had shared these insights with him (can't remember if that was before or after we knew). We could see and were so thankful at God's provision in him getting back to town before the delivery. I could see he wanted the child God wanted to give--he was excited for a boy or a girl. Just 4 hours after he arrived back in town they were checking into the hospital, and around 2.5 hours after that, she arrived.
Beautiful, gorgeous, perfectly formed little girl. The first child I know of in this area to be born with both parents committed to raising her in His ways. What a privilege to hear her first cry, to be there as her parents got to meet her. And we talked more about how girls are valued far less. There I am...loving holding the baby, more and more amazed, "look at her little mouth, her tiny nose". The mom says, "Seeing you so excited about her emphasizes for me me she really is precious".
The phrase that keeps going through my head now: she will be mighty in the land.
Oh God, take this child and her parents--they are so willing to be shaped and changed--do something new, show the value of life, the value of babies, the value of girls. And...change things here LORD. The current reality is too painful, too sad.
Precious baby girl. Her name is translated Grace pours down. (Name chosen before birth...would also have been the name if she had been a boy.)
In just a few hours the relatives will come. What will they say? What will they think? Perhaps there will be many expressions of disappointment. I hope not. May they all receive her as joy and blessing. Open their eyes LORD, do something new.
(Later I discovered "their children will be mighty in the land" is from Ps. 112:2...it speaks more about her parents than her, and guides my prayers for all of them.)