What To Do When God Says, “No”

“You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” -Psalm 145
Beyond late, I tossed the baby doll into my purse and rushed out the door. This tiny doll, left at our house by the daughter of a friend, needed to be returned to its owner. It wasn’t until later in the coffee line, shoving the baby doll aside as I dug for my wallet, that it hit me. It took my breath away.
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There it was– a reminder of my grief and sorrow, a reminder of good desires that God had chosen not to fulfill. When I begged, and He said, “no.”
Images of tea parties, ballet recitals, daddy-daughter dates, barbies, bows, pink flashed in my mind. If I stood longer, I would see us sharing a bowl of ice cream while we talked about the “mean girls” at school. I’d be holding her crying on my shoulder over of the boy who didn’t invite her to prom. I would be there celebrating when a man asked her to marry him, helping her into her white dress, holding her hand as she had her first baby, praying over her as she learned how to navigate motherhood.
The sting was as strong as it had been over a year prior when I learned I would never have a baby girl of my own. My desire to raise a daughter would never be more than a desire unfulfilled. And there I found myself– waiting in line for coffee, holding my breath, keeping at bay the breakdown that threatened to overwhelm me.
Friends, please hear me say this: I am a boy mom through and through. I wear it as a badge of honor because every thread of my being loves the three precious boys who have been entrusted to me.
It seems sinful to share grief over the daughter I’ll never have when God opened his hands and gave in abundance the children that are mine. But I’m learning to accept that the sorrow I feel doesn’t take away the love and gratitude I have for the good things God has given me. My heart can ache and be filled with gratitude simultaneously; the two are not mutually exclusive. Nor is this grief complaining. It’s acknowledging a hurt and allowing myself to experience it, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. When I accept the reality of my sorrow and allow myself to feel the pain, I can use it to move forward, closer to knowing God and myself a little better.
“Listening to the pain of loss and heartbreak can wake us up to who we are, where we come from, and what matters most. But only if we open ourselves up to them.”
-Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways
As I continue to process the pain, I hear the words of Isaiah 64 resounding in my ears: “I am the potter and you are the clay.
There is solace in this verse when I stop hearing God say harshly, “I do what I want, and you will deal with it” and instead whisper, “I am the Lord your God, and I care for you. I’ve created all things in this universe, and I know what is good because I am the only author of good. What I’m making of you is good. Trust that my hands are gentle as they mold. Not a hammer to chip away stone, but delicate, slow, intentional hands on moldable clay. Let me define who you are and provide what is good for you because I am the only one who knows your story. And I am the only one who can offer you true, lasting, goodness.”
I must lay down the “good” desires of my heart at the feet of Jesus with open arms, trusting that he will fill open arms with what he deems best. He is the true desire of my heart and all fulfillment will be found in Him.