I grew up with one younger sister and later stepsisters added to the mix. I babysat gaggles of girls. For three years through my teens, I counseled middle school girls at outdoor school. For three and a half years, I mentored elementary-aged and adolescent girls who I called and forever think of as “my girls.”
And when it came time for me to have children of my own, I so desperately wanted a daughter. And so I convinced myself the baby was a boy so I wouldn’t be too disappointed when the surprise was unveiled at birth. (Sorry, boys.)
Uttering those first words, “You’re a GIRRRRLLLLL!” filled me with such joy and elation that I thought I might float away.
While carrying my second baby, I experienced such a completely different pregnancy that I convinced myself this must be a boy. And truly that would have been a blessing, but when she was born, also a girl, I could hardly believe that my first would have a sister and that we would raise girls together.
Pregnancy number three was virtually the same story. Same boy name waiting in the wings as I prepared my heart for a boy (which I could also imagine as a wonder-filled, though TOTALLY foreign experience) and the comments of strangers (“You trying for a boy with number three, huh?”), and then…another girl!
Three utterly unique daughters born in just over six years.
And a mama filled with such gratitude.
And overwhelmed by the responsibility of being the same-sex parent to three little people who watch my every move.
And confused by the intricacies of all that makes them utterly them and all they’re trying to work out as they navigate this world that feels so often a hostile place.
Now my story may not be your story. You may have no daughters or perhaps, truthfully, never desired one. I have a friend who was so afraid of all the pitfalls of girlhood that she prayed to have sons, and now has four daughters of her own (and is an incredible mother, by the way).
Perhaps you wonder about why I’m telling you all this.
I’m so glad you asked.
Today, (in)courage — the online community that provides a space for women to come alongside one another on the journey and gives daily hope and encouragement as we walk with God — is unrolling a new session of community groups. You’ll find more than 70 small groups that meet in closed groups on Facebook for interests ranging from writing (which I’ve been a part of in the past — so good) to marriage to singleness to recovery and more. This session will run for six weeks.
I am so thrilled to be hosting Raising Daughters: Hope and (In)couragement for the Journey with my dear friend and mama of four girls, Alexandra Kuykendall. Alex is the author of The Artist’s Daughter, a frequent contributor to MOPS International and a nationally recognized women’s speaker. We both share a passion for not only girls, but for their mamas — those women raising the next generation of amazing women.
Happy Monday, friends. So grateful for you.