Growing up, I always imaged that I would have both sons and daughters. Even during the years of having children, I always pictured a daughter. I had two sons who have turned out to be remarkable men that share many of my personality traits. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends on whom you ask. Some of these traits I always imagined would reside in a daughter. I love my sons and wouldn’t trade them for anything but there was always an idea that I was missing out by not having a daughter. I came to the realization as they were growing up, that a decision I made at the age of sixteen probably cost me the daughter of my dreams. Rather than dwell on what could have been, I put the idea away, shrugging that it wasn’t in God’s plan for my life simply because of the decision I had made. Perhaps (in my mind) it was a fit price to pay for the life I failed to cherish. Forgiveness is a hard gift to bestow upon one’s self.

I had an epiphany the other day that stopped me short in my tracks. God truly does see the desire of our hearts and while I lost the ability to have children years ago, He did give me daughters. Not in the biological sense but in those young women who have become part of my life either in the short term or the long term. The nieces I’ve had the joy of interacting with and sharing a home with, the young women who have been part of my life through school, the female friends of my sons, and even down to some of my own friends. In my role as a student mentor, I have learned that mentoring isn’t just about helping students with composition and essay papers. I have learned that sometimes to be a friend, is to walk in the shoes of a mother. I have learned that, though a young woman may have a mother, many times their issues are too big for just one set of shoulders.

Over the years, I have found that being a mother is in the listening to their stories and relaying some of the wisdom I have learned through walking that path myself years before. Sometimes their stories bring tears to the mother’s heart in me and I feel compelled to respond and commiserate. I think back over the years and realize that many of the tears that have wet my shoulders, have come out of the eyes of my daughters.

Sometimes God answers our prayers in ways we never imagine. Sometimes he restores things to us that have been taken away by others or removed from our own choices. Sometimes we pray so hard for what we feel the answer is, that we fail to see His answer is right in front of us.

Avie Layne 2012