Anyone whose heard my stories knows my long-standing desire for a daughter.  Our four amazing sons have been a gift beyond measure, but a blond little girl has always been part of the dream.

I was sharing in Africa (we just got home this morning), how struggles with infertility remain a mystery in my life. Why wouldn’t God answer this prayer?  Why can’t I get a breakthrough in this area?

“But in the meantime,” I told the nearly 5,000 students, “I’ll be your mom if you’ll be my kids,” which prompted an eruption of cheers and applause, to my surprise.

Then the notes and emails started pouring in….

“Lynette, both my parents died of HIV, I’ve been feeling cheated lately, I loved what you shared.”

“My Mom died when I was 10, my Dad did his best but it’s not the same as having a Mom.”

“Lynette, can we be your sons?” (two young men pulling on my arm as I walked on stage the next day.)

And then I understood.  Mysteries in life open us up to new possibilities.  They come in surprise packages.  Gifts we would not choose perhaps, but later we’d never trade.

All this reminds me of a favorite verse I’ve quoted for years…

“Sing, barren woman,
    you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
    you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.    Isaiah 54:1

So we choose to accept, trust, not grow bitter, but open our hearts to be used, and then filled.  I’ve been saying a lot lately, Lord, I know you promise my cup will overflow, I just don’t know what you’re going to fill it with.

I may not be able to be the complete package of a parent, but for this generation, maybe even small things like prayers, presence, and a look in the eye that says, “I believe in you,” can go a long way.

Thankful for surprise gifts….Lord, help me not miss even one.

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