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God Thought, and Thought, and Thought
Some hope in an age of dysphoria.
When I was growing up, Mom would tell me sometimes:
“God thought, and thought, and thought, and he made you a boy.”
This is a beautiful thought to me. It used to conjure up images of God sitting carefully, deep in thought, deciding with unhurried precision whether my mother’s second child should be a boy or a girl. As I grew, so did my theology, and I no longer think that the moment of my divinely bestowed gender identity looked like the famous Thinking Man sculpture. But that’s not the point. I understand now what Mom was saying. The body that grew inside my mother was given to me, on purpose, by a Creator who decided to give it. It’s the opposite of a fluke, incompatible with impulse. God doesn’t think fast and slow; everything he does has an incomprehensible eternity’s worth of intention. God thought, and thought, and thought, and he made me a boy.
I wonder if this short thought might be a blessing in your own life and in the life of your home. We live in an era of near-unprecedented despair over the meaning of a life. Gender dysphoria is illness, and in the parched search for something to tell us what we are, many in our age have clutched at an illness to bestow some kind of direction to their lives. What Mom gave me those years ago was an antidote to despair. Unpack it:
The doctors didn’t, and don’t, decide who I am. Not even my parents engineered my maleness. This most elemental part of my embodied self was shaped where no one else could reach except God. God was there when I was conceived, aware of me in a way that no one else in the universe could possibly have been. God saw me when no technology could. God knit me when there was nothing the human eye could see to be knit. God saw, and God cared. God still sees, and God still cares, and God will see and will care, even after my embodied self lies in darkness the way it began.
Thought, and Thought, and Thought
Are you impulsive? I am. Impulsive people have lots of fun, but they also buy things and make decisions they regret. God is not impulsive. Nor is he conflicted, like a person who overthinks every decision and can’t move forward. God didn’t hit the “boy” button in my mother’s womb by accident. Nor was it (in his mind) a 51-49 photo finish. My mother conceived a boy because the Creator who created that boy knew he wanted a boy. It was more intentional than an Executive Order, more thought out than a billionaire’s estate planning. God saw what being a boy would mean for me: the struggles, the challenges, the temptations, the failures. He saw everything about my lifespan of being a boy as clearly as I see my own fingers now. He knew the kind of boy I would be. He wanted that. He thought, and thought, and thought.
And Made Me
Hundreds of millions of people pour into art museums all over the world every year. Why? To see pieces. But why those pieces? Because those pieces were created by masters. To know that something in front of you was created by a Van Gogh, a Rembrandt, a Monet, evokes wonder and awe. You’ve seen the image a thousand times on Google, but standing a few feet away from the Mona Lisa is different, because this came directly from the hand of a great creator. I don’t think we meditate as often as we should at the wonder of our being knit together by God. It didn’t have to be happen, as far as we’re concerned. None of us choose to be fearfully and wonderfully made, rather than sprawl out of the mud like an Uruk-Hai. God made me. He did it, no one else. He thought, and he made, because he wanted to, and I am his forever even more than the Starry Night is forever Van Gogh’s.
It’s good to be a boy! It’s good to think like a boy, reason like a boy, learn like a boy and compete like a boy and love like a boy. When God thought and made me a boy, he gave me a gift: the gift of a male body, and a male brain, and male feelings. These aren’t obstacles to overcome; they are gifts to be sanctified. Can they sin? Absolutely. There have been many times where I wish my particular impulses were different, or that I didn’t have to worry about the things I worry about. This is not a sign of a mistake. It’s the sign of imperfection, of a body that is waiting to be glorified, not emasculated. Boyish life is a good life. It comes with suffering. A good life is not one without suffering, as anybody who has twisted their knee while sliding into home plate can tell you. A good life is not one without embarassments, or frustrations. A good life is one given to me by a good Maker. He knows me. He made me. Because he wanted to.
God thought, and thought, and thought, and he made me a boy. He thought, and thought, and thought, and he made you a boy or girl. I hope you’ll sit for a moment and let the beauty and the hope of this idea take root in your soul.