Yesterday a girl friend of mine came over to chit chat. After I laid the kids down for their nap we were able to have adult talk without having to S-P-E-L-L every word out. You know what I’m talking about. My friend brought up the most current controversial topic. In an exasperated voice she commented, “I am so tired of people talking about gender neutral bathrooms.” I agreed as we of course continued to talk about it. I commented, “I think it’s crazy how parents will let their little kids attempt to change genders. When I was little I totally would’ve chosen to be a boy.” My friend’s eyes bugged-out, “Really?” I realize with a wardrobe consisting of mainly pink and purple my appearance would never lead you to believe that. Maybe all the feminine colors are an overcompensation for those childhood thoughts? Nah! I just think they’re pretty. My friend waited for an explanation.
First, you need to know that I have some freaking awesome parents! They love me enough to put up with all my oddities (although it is to them that I credit most of my quirks). They shared their love of Christ with me and their actions were rooted out of love. But. No matter how super fabulous a parent is Satan will try to twist a parent’s well-meaning comment/action for the destruction of that child. One of the destructive lies that Satan fed me was that life would be better as a boy.
I remember vividly the first time the thought occurred to me that I wish I was born a boy. I was six and my two older brothers were 9 and 11. The brothers and the neighborhood boys were running around the front yard spraying each other with the water hose. It was a hot summer day, sweat-dripping-off-your-arms type of hot. I stood watching them from the other side of the yard. They all had their shirts off. I wouldn’t be so icky sticky hot if I could just take my shirt off. But at six-years-old I knew it was not socially acceptable. I considered doing it anyway, but I knew it would not be worth the ridicule I would receive from the boys.
The second time I remember thinking I wish I had been born a boy I was 9-ish. I was waiting in the car with my mom for the brothers to finish their karate lessons. My brothers proudly showed off their new stripes on their karate belts. I wished I knew karate so I could defend myself. Being the youngest it would seem that I would need it the most. I asked my mom why I wasn’t in karate. She said she hadn’t thought about and now it was too late because the class had already begun. The same feeling occurred when my brothers competed in luge. They raced down an icy tunnel at super fast speeds. It looked exhilarating! I asked my mom why I couldn’t do luge. “It’s too dangerous,” she explained. . . so either she loved me more or somehow being a girl made me fragile.
My mom signed me up for an all girl’s softball team. It was hot. So hot. I swear the jerseys were made out of wool or at least some thick, itchy form of polyester. Our team was named after the garbage company who sponsored us and our jerseys matched the color of their logo. Brown. To this day I refuse to wear brown. Okay, so this really isn’t that tragic, right? I enjoyed hitting a ball around during practice; it was the games that were boring. I rather sit on the bench than melt in the sun. Maybe that’s where my 3-year-old daughter gets it from. A half hour in the sun and her skin is all blotchy red. If only I could’ve had that Big League Chew it all would’ve been worth it. Oh, and maybe those Fun Dip sugar sticks. I know this is get’n greedy but throw in that candy that made noise when you ate it, Pop Rocks. A 90’s child’s dream come true!
Like an unexpected fowl softball to the uterus, puberty hit at age twelve. Every month I curled up in the fetal position in pain. This hurts! God why did You make me a girl? If I was a boy I wound’t be in pain right now. It was around this age that I walked into my dad’s home office and asked him, “Are you glad I was born a girl.” I wish I could say he took me in his arms and reassuringly said, “I’m so glad you were born a girl and I’m so glad that you are my daughter!” He is a man of honesty, and he felt that the right thing to do was to be 100% honest so he said, “Your mother wanted a little girl, so I’m glad she got what she wanted.” I walked out of the office. I knew I should’ve been born a boy. Edit: Out of respect for my parents I requested that they read this for approval (or disapproval) before posting it. My Dad’s recollection of that day was that he was glad to have another child (me) no matter my gender. :End Edit
As teenagers every year my dad took the boys on a fishing trip to Canada. Since I was a girl I didn’t get an invite. It wasn’t until I was twenty that I wondered if it had ever occurred to my dad to invite me, so I asked him. The look on his face ya’ll, like a fish on a hook, it had never crossed his mind. I’m so proud of him though- he immediately contacted his fishing buddy and planned a trip for us and his friend and his friend’s daughter. My dad had listened to me and included me. I felt so loved! Even though I hate long car rides . . . and fish, we had a great time. As always, Satan tried his darnedest to ruin a good thing. We stayed for a week, and can you guess what week of the month that was for me? Yeah. I was finally doing something I hadn’t been able to do before because I was a girl and now I was struggling to enjoy it because I was a GIRL. The Devil is a Liar!
Growing up a girl had its perks. It meant I got a lot more time with my mom. Mom shared her love of shopping and dolls with me. At first I had no interest in dolls, but eventually I succumbed and even as an adult I still like dolls. Shh, it’s weird, right? I don’t have them displayed in the house or anything. My husband says they’re creepy. They hide in the closets like little stowaways. If you open a closet door don’t be alarmed if there are little beady eyes staring back at you.
The saying, “What goes around comes around,” must be true because my daughter isn’t big into dolls either (just the mini-figurine dolls). However she is very much into fashion and anything sparklie. For example, I tried to put pajama shorts on her the other day and her face looked distraught. I asked what was wrong. She said she wanted a nightgown. I grabbed a nightgown. Her face became even more downtrodden. Again, I asked her what was wrong. The nightgown wasn’t “twirly” enough. Good heavens! I did NOT teach her this. Some girls like dolls, some girls like climbing trees, some girls (like me) like climbing trees with their dolls. It doesn’t matter if my daughter does or doesn’t like dolls, but I do make sure she knows how happy I am that she is a girl and that she is my girl.
I tell my boys the same thing about them being boys. I know that not everything in life will be fair but as their parent I’m going to try. My oldest son went through a stage of wearing princess dress-up clothes. Whenever his big sister put on a princess dress he wanted one too. I did not freak out but I did go out and get him a fireman outfit. When I paint my daughter’s fingernails my son asks me to paint his nails too. I told him usually only girls paint their nails. “I want to be a girl,” he said. No, he doesn’t want to be a girl. He wants the fun of picking out a color and to feel loved by mommy giving him attention. He picked out a color and I painted a smiley-face on his hand. Now when he and his dad are having special time at the “man store” (any hardware store) I do something special with Amelia like paint her nails. Last week when it was my son’s turn on the potty he asked for toilet paper. I explained that only girls have to wipe after they pee. “I want to be a girl,” he said. No, he wants the fun of ripping toilet paper off of the roll and feeling like a big kid. He can have some stink’n toilet paper!
Out of my brokenness I do not want to make being a girl look so inviting that my boys desire to be girls. They do not have to fit in the typical gender roles. My son is the tender-heart of the family. He is more cuddly and is more nurturing to baby dolls than his sister ever was. Amelia is the dare-devil of the family. At the age of two she was riding her bike down hills and jumping off of diving boards. I wouldn’t be surprised if I look out the window this Summer to see her and my husband building a skate park in the backyard. I want them to be who God created them to be. I want them to be confident in knowing that God has great plans for them in how He designed them.
I was not always confident in God’s choice of making me a girl. Along with my mom’s love for dolls and shopping she also shared her fears with me. I’m not sure where this specific fear originated from but now as a parent I know how legitimate it is. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18 (The U.S. Department of Justice). It’s a parents job to protect and educate their children against sexual abuse, but at some point a parent has to give that fear to God. I appreciate my mother educating me on the dangers of sexual abuse but perhaps telling me if I went after dark that I’d get raped was probably not the best way of going about it. I heard it enough times that it seemed inevitable. I remember thinking I wished it would just hurry up and happen so that I could get on with my life. Thank God it never did.
Now it’s my turn to protect my kids. I realized a long time ago that it was not safe to send my kids into a public bathroom alone. I never did figure a cut off age, but now with gender neutral bathrooms becoming a thing sexual abuse is bound to be more common. A decade a go I might’ve agreed with the common current belief that anyone can be whoever they want to be, but now as a mother allowing men into girl’s bathroom is just a common sense safety issue. Transgenders aren’t the main concern; it’s the fact that anyone can go in any bathroom.
As far as my own gender journey has gone even as an adult I was not thrilled with the role God had put me in as a woman. With fairness being a main concern perhaps you can imagine the frustration I felt at hearing sermons on being a submissive wife. If being a Christian wife means being submissive than I choose celibacy, was my thought. I decided to compromise with God by marrying the easiest going man I could find. When talking about “A” and “B” personalities my mom commented that my fiancé (now husband) was so easy-going that he was more like a “C-” personality. I thought I’d be able to get away with all sorts of shenanigans. My husband said he thought he was marrying a feminist; he was. It took me by surprise when just shortly after marriage I had thoughts of wanting my husband to lead. All of a sudden making all the decisions became a burden that I wasn’t even supposed to carry. It was a tug-of-war those first couple years. Deep down I wanted him to lead (especially spiritually!) but he was unsure how and I certainly wasn’t cheering him on.
Now five years into marriage, after putting full trust into God’s intention for a family, I can honestly say my husband is leading and I’m GLAD of it. I’m not gonna lie though- I still love the quote from the movie War Room, “Submission is ducking so God can hit your husband,” If you haven’t seen that movie yet you need to get your hands on it. It’s heavily anointed. As a grown woman I have found not only contentment but also enjoyment out of being who God created me to be. I can hear Shania Twain’s voice singing, “Man I Feel Like a Woman,” (just take the confidence of the song and ignore the rest). The moral of the story is- if I were to have tried to change my gender it would’ve been a direct act of disobedience to God. It would be telling Him that I have better plans for my life than He does. God knew what He was doing when He created us male and female. Being a Christian means trusting in His plan even when we don’t feel like it.
“When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them.” Genesis 5:1-2
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Dear God, Thank you for choosing my gender for me. Give me peace in knowing that You have plans for my future that relate to how You designed me. Help me to teach my children to honor You in the gender that You created them.