It happened only a few hours after my first son was born. That’s when I realized something was going on and my future would never be the same. I was holding my newborn son, freshly swaddled in a blue-and-pink striped hospital blanket; my fingers traced the lines of his face while I whispered words of love and safety to him. He turned his face upward and fixated his eyes on mine. They were—and still are—a deep, deep blue.
But something happened in this moment; it was something I had no way of anticipating, something from which I have never recovered. As I sat there gazing into his eyes, completely and utterly in love, I realized that it would not always be this way. Someday, he would love someone else more than he loved me. Someday, he would leave me for another woman.
Perhaps you didn’t think these thoughts when you held your son for the first time. (My husband tells me I’m “special” that way.) And maybe, you haven’t ever really considered the fact that your son will one day love another woman more than he loves you, but I have. And it terrifies me.
So, I’m learning to pray, not only for my sons, but for the women my sons will one day love. I pray for the women they are becoming. I pray that God will prepare a special girl for my 7 year old who knows how to bolster his fragile confidence and loves to cuddle. I pray that God will give my 4 year old a wife who laughs at his jokes and loves his deep chocolate brown eyes. But more than this, I pray that my future daughters-in-law will be women who have a sense of themselves. I pray that they will know that their value and worth comes from God, not a man or a career or a child. I pray that they will be women who need Jesus—not my sons—to be complete.
One of the most common struggles that I see among women our age—okay, one of my most common struggles—is that we look to things other than God for our identity and wholeness. This is why we judge each other so easily. We center our identity on our parenting style, our body size, or our professional accomplishments; and when they are threatened, we feel threatened. When someone challenges them, we feel challenged. And we turn into small, fearful women who succumb to all kinds of sin in order to protect the things that give us our worth.
This can even happen in our marriages. When we position our husband’s love and affirmation as the source of our identity, we will do anything to protect it–even if it backfires and ends up harming him in the process. But when God becomes the source of our wholeness, when His identity becomes the source of our identity, we become women who can love our husbands freely and completely. We become…
>Women who have such a strong sense of God’s love that we do not need to whine and pout when we feel needy.
>Women who have such a deep understanding of God’s generosity that we can respond with joy even when money gets tight.
>Women who so trust in God’s providence that we do not have to manipulate or control our husbands when we disagree with their choices.
>Women who have so experienced God’s grace that we are able to be gracious when even when our husbands disappoint us.
And so, this is what I pray for the women my sons will someday love: Make them women who live fully and completely in God. Make them women full of grace and kindness and wisdom because they know the source of grace and kindness and wisdom, Jesus Christ himself. If, dear Lord, my sons must someday leave me for other women, let them be these kinds of women. And just so they’ll know what this kind of woman looks like, Lord, make me this kind of woman today.
Hannah Anderson is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image (Moody, April 2014). She lives with her husband and three children in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. You can connect with her at her blog sometimesalight.com on Twitter@sometimesalight.