11 November 2008

Hephzibah

Christianity has many virtues in addition to the salvation business, and a particularly nice one is the license it gives to delight in one's daughters. Scripture speaks of daughters with touching tenderness: the beauty of Job's daughters is such that we must have their names as well, the treasured lamb of the poor man in Nathan's parable was "like a daughter to him," and every heart aches for desperate Jairus.

This world's prince subverts human society by whispering words of scorn toward the work and worth of women in the ears of men and women alike. Who could forget how O-Lan despised her baby girl as "only a slave" in The Good Earth? Also imprinted on my memory is an interview I heard of a man of some other culture who sneered that educating a daughter is like feeding a neighbor's livestock. To have all her work and suffering in bringing a child into the world rejected--rejected because her child is what she herself is--would surely destroy a woman's spirit.

It meant so much to me that my husband didn't grumble in disappointment about wanting a boy when we learned that our first child was a girl, and some of my most precious memories are of how dearly and completely he loved her when she was born. I've seen women laugh it off when their husbands gripe about a preponderance of female offspring (even in the presence of said offspring), but it would crush me.

For all the difficulty I have in carrying out the duties of motherhood, there can be no shame or second class citizenship in that office, for God does not allow it. The daughters of Eve inherit the honor she received from her husband when he named her for her wondrous giving of life. Only the father of lies can turn that name and work into a derision. I marvel that my sweet little girls will someday, as God allows and provides, find in themselves the strange strength of body and will maternity requires.

It is wonderful to be free to rejoice wholeheartedly upon hearing the words, "It's a girl!"

12 comments:

The Rev. BT Ball said...

My sister delivered her 4th girl child a couple weeks ago. One member of the congregation here asked me if they were going to "try for the boy". I said perhaps the Lord will be gracious and give them another girl.

I was awakened out of slumber this AM by the eldest saying, "Daddy, you are my sweetheart." Do boys do anything like that?

BB, joyous father of girls only

Joy said...

Apropos, Rebekah. ;-)

While our salvation was purchased by the blood of a man, God is first and foremost Creator. And it is women (who start out as sweet little precious bundles of princess) to whom he ultimately extended that partnership. What a marvelous, mysterious miracle to have held His hand for these 9+ months!

JG, joyous mother of girls only (till He has other plans!)

Pr. H. R. said...

Joy,

And let's not forget that the Man who purchased the life of the world with His blood got that flesh and blood from a woman alone. . .

+HRC

MooreMama said...

Rebekah, you have just become one of my favorite bloggers. :)

I am the blessed mother of a baby girl. I am the eldest of 4 sisters, one of which is also mother to a daughter. My mother, maternal grandmother, and maternal great-grandmother did not have brothers. My husband, on the other hand, has a similar paternal line of boys. It was a big question (before we found out we were having a daughter) whether the maternal line or the paternal line would win out.

We saw a long time friend of my dad's in the grocery store not long before Callie was born and he wondered whether she was a boy or girl. Upon hearing the answer, his response was "Of course! What made me think that your family would produce any boys? Y'all just marry them in!"

As for my husband, big and burly as he is, the little girl that we created together will never want for anything that it is within his power to give.

How Blessed are we to live in a place and time that we, with our daughters, can be proud to be girls!

Joy said...

Rebekah,

Where'd you find your man? I need a clone for my friend whose biological clock is ticking, and another for my atheist friend, and 3 more in 25-30 years for my 3 beauty queens.

Mooremama, I love to see big burly men holding tiny girls. It makes me think of how secure we are in God's hands.

Group hug, everyone....

Liz said...

Back before my folks met, my dad joked with his sisters that his goal in life was to surround himself with beautiful women. So, he had three daughters and now has a granddaughter.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I pray someday that God will give us boys so that we can train them to be strong husbands and fathers for the next generation.

However, as the mother of two girls, I am so grateful for them, and will train them to value motherhood and procreation as God's highest calling for women!

Rebekah said...

Rev BTB, your godson's brother is a Dad man through and through, but he does insist that I am his Valentine. :)

Joy, in the wilds of Nebraska. Who knew?

MooreMama, aw! Thanks. :)

Reb. Mary said...

From someone who still sometimes wonders darkly why God bothered bestowing brains on our half of humanity: Thank You, Thank You, for this post. Please remind me of it in two minutes when I forget again.

From someone upon whom God has seen fit to bestow only boys (Thus Far), it's great to know that so many of you are raising such a nice crop of prospective brides :) We'll try to produce gentlemen that are worthy of them...but you know, it's up to the brides to put the finishing touches on the civilizing process...

MooreMama said...

Hey, I am super grateful for the job that my MIL did raising her boys. It would have so easy for them to turn out to be drug-addled alcoholics shooting out streetlights and mistreating women. Instead, she raised respectful, polite, appreciative Christian men that leave the toilet seats down. :)

Gauntlets said...

:)

As one who generally dislikes the fairer sex I've found the preponderance of girls in my passel to be a bit disturbing. I can't help but adore them, but I wonder what sort of phone conversations they will have about me when they're grown. ;)

All said, I value what the Church teaches about Mary, as the reverence I feel toward her helps me along.

My husband, on the other hand, likes these girls just fine, in no small part due to their adoration of him. :)

And I think about O-Lan a lot. An awful lot these days.

Rebekah said...

Gauntlets, all this blogging and still you're going to be a grump? Sheesh!

MooreMama, I think often of my future daughters-in-law, DV, when attempting to civilize my man-cubs.

RM, I've got a big old long one for you in the works on the first topic you mention. I'm sure it will solve all your problems, ha ha ha ha ha.

Anon, thank you for your contribution of non-neurotic mothers to humanity. ;)

Liz, nice! :D