Recently, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends about daughters and the common challenges that parents of girls often encounter. As I’ve been considering all of these discussions, four specific thoughts have surfaced about the truths my daughters need communicated to them as they continue to grow.
She needs to know God’s forgiveness.
My daughter needs to hear the hope of the gospel, that Jesus makes her clean and redeems all that is sinful and broken in her. When I’m correcting her and calling her to repentance, she needs to hear that God’s posture toward her is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4). As she learns to recognize sin in her own life, she needs to be reminded to fall on the grace of God and receive his forgiveness (1 John 1:9-2:1).
She needs assurance that Jesus isn’t asking her to carry the weight of her own sin. She needs to know that God is currently at work and sanctifying her, making her more like her Savior (Romans 8:28-39), and that he promises to finish the work he began in her life (Philippians 1:6).
As she grows, she needs to have confidence that I will not shame her publicly for her sin, talk about her struggles behind her back, speak about her like she isn’t in the room, or criticize her to others. She needs to know for sure that I’m not going to cloak gossip in the thin cover of “asking for advice” or “sharing my struggles” with a friend.
She needs to know that my hope is in Christ alone.
My daughter needs to hear me speak to her about my personal dependence on God’s grace, and that my hope is found in Christ alone. She needs to hear me ask for forgiveness from God and from her, and I need to be specific in my repentance. She needs a humble mom who confesses as publicly as she sinned.
She also needs to witness me receive God’s forgiveness with joy, not moping or wallowing in shame or embarrassment. I want to show her what it looks like to walk in freedom and reconciliation with God.
She needs to know that I like who she is.
My daughter needs to know that she’s not too much. She’s not an imposition on me, or an inconvenience, nor is she a difficulty. There are things that she will do that will be challenging to correct, but she is not a challenge. I want to assure her that I’m not ever going to turn her away when she comes to me with a need or concern.
I look forward to the way life will look as she grows through her teen years and we get closer to being friends. With that in mind, I want to foster a culture of life-giving words in our home so that my daughter is confident that her personality isn’t something I’m going to mock or belittle. She needs to rest secure in knowing I believe the person that God uniquely crafted her to be is truly a gift.
She needs to know that God loves her and is pleased with her.
My daughter needs to hear that God isn’t holding her at arm’s length, or that he simply tolerates her. She needs to be reminded of all the Scriptural evidence and declarations of God’s love and mercy. She needs me to sing Jesus Loves Me now, in her formative years, so she knows deep down in her heart that it’s true, “for the Bible tells me so.” She needs assurance that she is in Christ, and that his promises are true for her.
God’s promises are not simply for the girls who look like they have it all together on the outside, so I need to impart to my daughter that picture-perfect isn’t what God has called her to; he’s called her to holiness. She needs to walk in the living hope he’s saved her to (1 Peter 1:3), assured that God is after her undivided heart, devoted to him, and serving him out of love and thanksgiving. She needs to know that she doesn’t have to strive to earn his love because he calls her his chosen one, holy and beloved (Colossians 3:12).
We serve a gracious God.
As I write all this out, I’m tempted to feel overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility as a mother, and as extensive as this list seems, I know this is really just the tip of the iceberg of each individual daughter’s needs. I don’t parent alone, though, and the God who has called me to teach my children his ways (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) has also provided a Savior who saves me and keeps me.
I’m certain that as hard as I will try to be faithful as a mom, I will regularly fail to communicate everything I need to impart to my daughters. But this is the place I want to start, trusting God to be gracious to each of us.