“Pray for your Daughter”

Six years ago, my wife and I were weary from a two-year battle with infertility. A battle that left us resting on our own strength to start a family. A battle we were losing. The Enemy was ever-present, firing a barrage of attacks in an attempt to destroy our marriage. We were sinking and we were afraid.

The world told us to give up. Like a boxer, battered from round upon round of relentless beatings, we contemplated throwing in the towel on our marriage. I’m sure some people would have encouraged us while others gossiped, but we would have missed out on the beauty of redemption.

I stand here today as proof that God shows up when we choose the difficult path. Instead of laying our marriage on the altar, we laid down our agendas instead. We quit fighting with each other and with God. We chose surrender over selfishness and we trusted that God had a plan.

We believed that faith and love promised something more than fear and entitlement could offer.

A few weeks later, after the doctor said, “I’m just not sure that you’ll be able to conceive a child,” we found out that my wife was pregnant.

Pray for Your Daughter

As the dust settled and as our hearts began to prepare for parenthood, I was awakened from a deep sleep and felt a presence by my bedside. In the stillness, I heard an audible voice say, “Pray for your daughter.”

I was scared to share those words with my wife. I didn’t want to create an expectation, nor did I want her to think that I was a crazy person who felt like they heard from God. I told her anyway.

A few months later, we learned that we were expecting a son. We were thrilled, but at the same time, I was puzzled.

“I thought you said daughter,” I asked.

He reminded me, “Love is patient, Matt.”

When our son was eight months old, my wife came out of the bathroom one morning holding a pregnancy test. “Babe, I’m pregnant,” she said in disbelief.

Well not only was this not the daughter I had prayed for, it was identical twin boys.

“I thought you said a daughter,” I asked once more.

He reminded me, “Love is kind, Matt.”

Six years of hindsight affords me the perspective to see what was really going on. God knew that I needed patience, so He taught me how to wait. He also knew that I needed kindness. Three sons under the age of two constantly left me on empty, relying on God to grant me the patience and kindness I needed to be their father.

In May of 2015, my wife called me at my office and said, “Are you sitting down?”

My heart beat wildly in my chest as I felt the affirmation of a prayer I had uttered six years earlier.

She didn’t even have to tell me that she was pregnant, I already knew.

Love Never Fails

The consummate miracle of life began as the tiniest of cells multiplied inside my wife’s womb. We had a gender reveal party with our family to discover the gender. My scream of joy was so loud that it terrified my three-year-old twins to the point of tears. (Watch the video)

This was our daughter.

And then, I wept. I wept because I felt the overwhelming sense of God’s presence in the story of my life. A story that echoes His faithfulness beyond my limited comprehension.

Then, He reminded me, “Love never fails.”

My daughter, Sara James Ham

My daughter, Sara James Ham

Perfect Love

I hesitated to write this article for fear of boasting in my story. But I chose to write this article to boast in God. I chose to write this article because I hope you would believe that God is writing a story in your life too. And, I chose to write this story because I want you to keep praying.

Maybe you’re at the point when you feel like giving up. Maybe restoration feels unrealistic. Please don’t give up. God isn’t finished yet. The marriage may have ended, the prayer for a naturally conceived child may be unanswered, the regret of past decisions may be heavy, but those stories aren’t over.

The real tragedy occurs when you choose to quit living your story.

There is a word in the Greek language that means perfect, complete, whole.

That word is teleios.

In the New Testament, John, an Apostle of Jesus, uses it alongside the word agape, which means love.

“Perfect love casts out fear.” – 1 John 4:18

This my road to fatherhood—perfect love.

When the fear of never being able to have a family and the fear of losing my marriage were finally replaced by a deep love for God, I began to see clearly. Perfect love, God’s love, is the only thing strong enough to remove fear.

Wherever these words find you today, I pray that you would know the power of perfect love. And wherever you are, I urge you to keep living your story.

Listen to the gentle whisper of the Father as He draws you close and be fearless because you are loved.

Be loved. Be changed. Live whole.

MH

 

Listen to this post on my podcast

 

If you find yourself longing to learn more about God or cultivate a habit of praying, I invite you to join the RICH Life Challenge, a free, 7-day devotional that I have created. You can sign up below:

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  • Jill Barlow

    MATT!!!! This was so for me. I have been through so many changes in my life these last two years. I started my blog two years ago as well. I have felt like giving up, even just today. THANK YOU for always following God’s nudge to write. God bless you!

    • Jill, thank YOU for your continued encouragement.

  • You have me weeping. One day, your daughter will read this and she will weep because a father’s love is so strong, so empowering, so beautiful, and so edifying.

    • Yes, the Father’s love in strong. I have to remind myself of that when I feel weak.

  • ShalomSeeker

    Shared. {thank you}

  • ShalomSeeker

    Shared. {thank you for sharing}

  • Rebecca Rayfield

    So beautiful, Matt! Shared!

  • I enjoyed this post quite a bit, Matt. You touch on a lot of different things, and one of the most intriguing (and this wasn’t the main point, but it struck me nonetheless) is the idea of God speaking to us. Then it becomes a matter of discerning if it’s God communicating to us, and then being obedient to what we feel God is leading us to do. I also love the idea of praying for your children. What a powerful way to lead them by example.

    • We pray with our boys often and try to pray for them as well. I think it’s the most powerful thing we can teach our children.

  • Birdietells

    Beautiful

  • Jennille Spellman

    Beautiful! I,too, have found that writing helps me to process what God’s is telling me. Thank you for this encouraging post. I will definitely share!

  • Stephanie Yousefnejad

    It was not by chance that I decided to read your post this morning. I only wished I had read it before applying make up.

    • Stephanie, I’m not a big believer in chance 😉

      Glad you stopped by.

  • And such a blessed daughter she is. Thanks for your beautiful words, Matt!

  • Wendy Samuels

    Thank you for reminding me that love is patient and kind. Thank you for the gentle reminder that God has a plan for us.

    • He does, Wendy. Glad you’re here.

  • Stan Stinson

    Thanks for sharing your story Matt. What a refreshing story about life with all of the disturbing news about those who do not value life. Keep “writing afraid”. That is where the most effective writing comes from.

    • Writing afraid. I like that, Stan. Donald Miller said that the greatest enemy in a story is the greatest fear within the writer.

  • Bruce Pagano

    Dude, I love this. We have a similar story about our daughter. It wasn’t 6 years, but waiting 2 1/2 years for a promise like that to be fulfilled still seems like an eternity. Thanks for this.

    • Thanks so much, Bruce. How many kids do you have?

      • Bruce Pagano

        We have 4. When we got married I brought 2 sons &. my wife brought 1 son. So we were super boy heavy. We wanted a girl and in Novemeber God answered that prayer. The boys are 18, 16 & 7.

  • Excited for you and your family as you take this journey. I pray you enjoy each and every step.

    • We are, Anne. I hope you are doing well. How is Olivia? Praying for you guys.

      • Thanks for the prayers Matt. Olivia is eight months old today! Sent you a video of her playing with daddy, my son.

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