I’ve heard it said that God responds to our prayers in one of three ways: Yes, Not now, or, I have something better in mind.
This past Spring, my prayer was for a girl. We were trying for a baby, and I would repeat the request like a mantra: Please send me a healthy girl, please send me a healthy girl, a healthy girl, a healthy girl…
(Listen, I’ve got nothing against boys. I have three of them. But I was ready for a child who wouldn’t turn my toilet into a crime scene, and whom I could dress up in all the sequins I could handle. I thought it might also be nice to name her after my mother.)
When I got pregnant, I prayed even harder: Please, all I want is a healthy girl.
Then I miscarried, and I was devastated. The loss itself was traumatic, and with it went the dream of my healthy girl, because it wasn’t likely we’d be trying again.
I guess God didn’t have the answer I wanted.
About a week after I lost the baby, my 15-year-old stepdaughter sat me down and said, “I want to come live with you and Totty (Dad).”
We both knew this was complicated. She had lived with her mother her entire life, coming to us only every other weekend. To live here, she would have to leave her mom, her sister, and her friends in New York, start at a new school, and readjust to life in the suburbs – not to mention the day-to-day chaos of her three little brothers. But I could see she was serious.
“Okay,” I said. “Then we’ll make it happen.”
What followed was a summer-long series of phone calls, emails, texts, visits, school interviews, paperwork, and tense waiting. My girl had to take care of herself in a way I never would have had the cojones to do at 15. But it paid off; this week, she arrived at our house with a single black suitcase, and moved in.
And it occurred to me, as I hugged her, that God had answered my prayer.
I had gotten my healthy girl.