Probably once a year I feel extremely convicted to write about a topic that I would rather keep to myself. Part of it is because I’m anxious about how you will receive the post and the other half is because I’m embarrassed or ashamed of my thoughts.

It’s been about a month now that this topic has been prickling my brain. I think it’s time I bite the bullet and just write.

So here goes.

I played with Barbie dolls up until I was in sixth grade.

MAN! It’s good to admit that out loud to you! I’ve been carrying that for a while.

Oh, and it wasn’t just one or two Barbies. I had 63. Yes, Peaches-N-Cream was my favorite. Thank you for asking. And yes, each one had a name. You can stop judging me now.

I loved my Barbies. I remember the day that I decided it was time they were packed away. A friend had turned her nose up at the fact that I still played with dolls and I made the decision right then and there to move on. To this moment, the Barbies are still at the top of my childhood closet because I couldn’t stand the thought of them going in a box in the attic. It just seemed more humane to keep them where I could see them. And where they could breathe.

I also remember the day that I saw my Cowboy Ken out in my old room. Mama used him as a prop for Vacation Bible School. She glued cotton to his face and made him a tunic. My beloved doll had been morphed into Joseph with an amazing technicolor dream coat. The sight of the glue that undoubtedly scarred Cowboy Ken’s face for life literally brought tears to my eyes.

That was two years ago.

Crying over a defaced Barbie at the age of 35 clearly proves that I’m an emotional person. This is not new information to anyone who loves me and probably most of you who only know me through my ramblings on this website. But those tears over Cowboy Ken surprised me. Why was I so upset? Truth be told, I had TWO Cowboy Ken dolls and if anyone played with them, Joseph could be the crazy twin brother that only comes around during family reunions every other year. What was my deal?

Then it hit me. The tears were more than a reaction to the multiple uses of Gorilla Glue. The tears came from a place of mourning. I was mourning the dream that I would one day have a little girl of my own to carry on my legacy of playing countless hours with Barbie, stretching her imagination and molding her creative mind.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. With my experience upbringing Barbie’s extensive family, I think I’d be pretty good at it.

Most of us have dreams when we are in our formative years. We think about what life will be like and we plan to make those dreams come true. My dream always involved falling in love, getting married and having a family. At 37, that dream has yet to come true.

I’m like any normal single girl my age. I work hard to remind myself that God’s timing is perfect and I am extremely blessed. I truly believe that statement, but there are days when I feel that something is missing because there is this ache that just won’t go away. Typically, those rare days come when I’m bored and decide to check social media.

Just weeks ago, I found myself weighted down with the heaviness of wishing for a life that wasn’t mine. After mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I became bombarded by a steady stream of status updates that I would love nothing more than to write on my own page.

Jennifer is pregnant!
Julie had her baby! It’s a boy!
Gus is potty training!
Jack won a medal for swim team!
Benjamin lost a tooth!
Mattie said Mama for the first time and we caught it on video!

Closing out Facebook is easy. Reciting Romans 8:24-24 is easy: “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it…patiently.”

Yeah. That patient part at the end? Not so easy for me.

Within minutes of bumming my own self out because I wasn’t fulfilling my self-proclaimed purpose in life of being a parent, I received a powerful email from my friend Sara that included this photo:

JD 1

That’s Sara. She traveled to Rwanda for a teacher training session with Africa New Life this summer. That little darling with the Superman t-shirt is JD. He’s my sponsor kid.

Wow. He’s my kid.

Don’t you love when God shows up in your life in a rather GINORMOUS way to remind you that He’s got this and you should just calm down with the pity party? I had big dreams in my life, but not in my wildest would I have never imagined that I would be helping raise a 12-year-old African boy. It’s extremely humbling, exciting and I can’t wait to see the type of man he grows up to be. I can imagine the status updates…

JD is in school now!
JD celebrated his birthday with a new pair of shoes from my Dad!
JD is the coolest kid because of his Superman t-shirt. I wonder if he knows who that is?
JD is learning ENGLISH! I can’t wait to hear his first words.

JD just said my name. And I cried.

JD from Lincee Ray on Vimeo.

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August 3, 2013 9:31 pm

absolutely beautiful, in every sense of the word.

August 3, 2013 9:38 pm

Lincee, I am with you. I got divorced at 30, about the time I was ready to start a family, but God knows it wasn’t mean to be. He is on wife #3 and I can’t imagine subjecting my kids to that. I’m 46 now, still praying that God will end the ceaseless ache of wanting to fall in love with the right man and have a family (hopefully he has kids because I can’t imagine motherhood at the mid-century mark, but if it’s God’s will…) I put it in perspective as well. I have nephews and a niece that… Read more »

Tanya T.
Tanya T.
August 3, 2013 9:40 pm

Blessed indeed.

August 3, 2013 9:43 pm

Lincee, thank you for reminding me that its not my will but His will! We mere humans who most if the time forget the power of God and that we are blessed only by the grace that He provides. I still pray that the one will find you because he will be the blessed one!

August 3, 2013 9:45 pm

Well now I am crying!

Thank you so much for sharing. It means so much to hear a bit from your heart. The Lord used your words to encourage and humble me.

August 3, 2013 9:46 pm

I love this. Every stinking word. I’m so glad I discovered you. If you wrote a book, I’d buy it. Just sayin’

I don’t think I would continue to read I.H.G.B if you weren’t who you are. I can read every post knowing you share my faith and sense of humor (and, as it turns out, sentimental heart)

August 3, 2013 9:49 pm

Amen, sister!

Tonight at church I wanted to start cussing when the music leader who was praying mentioned putting God first in our marriages, and raising our kids…and then threw in “pursing God in our singleness” as almost a side note.

I often feel like a second class citizen being 30 and single in a southern baptist church, so thank you for that perspective; I needed to hear that tonight.

August 3, 2013 9:51 pm

Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal and very lovely “Perspective.”
Never, ever give up on you Faith and your dreams. <3

August 3, 2013 9:52 pm

I think it’s really brave of you to write this and share in public thoughts that I bet many have in private. I’m a veteran from the infertility wars and now proud mama to two children through adoption–not an easy route to say the least. But, blessed though we may be, I will never, ever forget that ache. I hope that you keep finding people and experiences that lift you.

August 3, 2013 9:54 pm

You normally make me laugh. But this time I cried!! Thank you for sharing! You have an awesome heart!

August 3, 2013 9:55 pm

Lincee, You are a blessing to so many people. Thank you for blogging about something that we all need to hear. So often we lose our focus when we widen our lens beyond its capabilities. My own interpretations of what I think I see (or what I believe I should have or do) in my life leave me feeling super depressed and low. Your words remind me whose perspective I need to hold – that of God’s. It is amazing how healing this “view” is for me! Oh, and Peaches & Cream was my favorite too. Her dress was so… Read more »

August 3, 2013 9:58 pm

I think that was a great blog. I really do like facebook because I have a younger sister in Maine (along with a couple of other out of states relatives) and it is a great way to keep in touch and share pics of my grandbabies, but I sure didn’t post a picture or update status when my younger son got a BAC and busted for possession last year. In other words trust me, things are not always as perfect in the lives of your facebook friends as they may seem. Also, my very best friend tried forever to have… Read more »

August 3, 2013 9:58 pm

My Rwandan boy is lying on the floor of my apartment studying for the ACT. He is also marvelous and more than I would have had the audacity to imagine at 24.

xoxo Shannon (Bill’s daughter)

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