By Brenda Yoder
While girls need equipping to be real in an artificial world, so do moms as we model, train, and be an example for our daughters. Your daughters pick up more that you think they would from your life.
Here are 5 thieves that steal God’s plan for raising girls in an artificial world.
- Lack of authenticity. In order for your daughter to be equipped for a culture that promotes inauthenticity, she needs to see what being real looks like from you. How do you interact and present yourself in your adult world? Does your daughter see you present yourself one way in front of one and another way in front of other groups? How do you present yourself among peers?
- Women and girls naturally compare themselves to others, but this isn’t God’s plan of us. The spirit of comparison comes from the enemy and does damage to ourselves and the body of sisterhood. Does your daughter see or hear you compare yourself with other women? When you model contentment instead of comparison, it gives strength to your daughter to do the same.
- Seeking other’s approval before God. This is probably the hardest strategy in personal growth among women. We tend to look to others for approval instead of God. This struggle isn’t just a teen problem, but a problem for women of all ages. How are you doing in this area? Are you modeling how to please God above others?
- The most subtle mistake women make in being real is compromise. You compromise God’s truth for the world’s values “just a little,” but enough that non-believers, they find you’re not much different that they are. Compromising gives power to peer pressure and doesn’t rely on the God’s power in real life. Girls need to see how God really delivers in our struggles to fit in, rather than in theory.
- Lack of intimacy with God. Being comfortable in your own skin starts and ends with intimacy with God. When you fully embrace who you are in Him, you exhibit a confidence and authenticity of how He’s made you that’s transparent in every environment.
Mama, as you grow in these ways, living them before your daughter, you’ll give her a quiet strength to be real and accepting of who she is so she can be real for a lifetime.
What are your struggles in these areas? How can we pray for you?
Broken and Beautiful: Brenda has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a BA in Education. As a Parent, Counselor and Educator her ministry is helping moms and daughters navigate the tough stuff of life. Have a question for Brenda? Email her at [email protected]
That flippant comment you said right there? The one that came out of your mouth so quickly and really without another thought after you said it?
Your daughter heard it, took it in, analyzed it over and over in her mind and after that, late at night when you thought she was already asleep, she was deciding if it made her feel worthy or unlovable.
Your words matter.
Whether they are said as a compliment when she is getting ready for school and you tell her she looks cute even thought she is wearing the same sweat style pants she has worn every day this week or whether they are used to discipline her when you take away her phone because she got a D on her last French quiz.
What we draw into our ears become the beliefs that we take into our hearts.
As women we know this about ourselves. It is how God created us, but yet there are sometimes when I forget and I will say something to my daughter and later she will tell me what she heard me say and it is oh.so.different.
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
So before you speak,
For every word, that God may grant you wisdom and the tone to convey the wonder and blessing that you feel for your daughter even if it is word of discipline.
Prayer for our daughters is one of the single most ways to raise them for Him.
Your words to God about her matter.
Look into your daughter’s eyes when you talk. Hear her heart when she says, “Can you help me with homework?” and try to realize it may just be, “Can you sit by me and be close?”
Your words matter even if they are kept to yourself and you sit in sweet silence.
Give her the grace of forgiveness – the same beautiful grace that was given to us while we were still sinners form Jesus. Cherish this time and look on each time you get to speak together as a gift.
I pray as mothers and fathers, raising these teen girls, we might bring sweetness to our daughters’ lives even when we have to tell her it is her turn to take out the dog!
By Kim Chaffin
In November, while in New Zealand, I toured a place of geothermal activity known as Hells Gate. There were warning signs everywhere telling people to stay on the trails. To step off them, you would be stepping onto unstable ground; it’s a molten substance that could burn you to death.
Two of the features that stood out to me were called Devil’s Cauldron and Sodom and Gomorrah. Stepping off the path and dangling a toe into Sodom and Gomorrah or Devil’s Cauldron would cause excruciating pain and leave your toe badly burned. The hazards were very clear to anyone who was in the park.
While in the park, it got me to thinking about what happens when we step off the path God has laid out for us. Sometimes we choose to dangle our foot, here and there, in the world which is a huge gamble. The world offers some very dark things.
Pornography is a multimillon-dollar industry that feeds prostitution and sex trafficking. Personal ads asking for explicit sexual things are a huge part of Craigslist. Sexting is not just an adult activity, it’s ugly and sinks its dangerous claws into our children. Social media sites have taken bullying to a whole new level of evil. Cyber bullying continues to rise and with it comes the deaths of those who cannot take the pain of what is done to them.
As parents, we need to talk to our kids about the risks of what is out there. We need to give them the tools to stay on the path. Prayer for our children is huge but it can’t be all we do. We need to talk openly with them about the dangers of the internet. We need to talk with them about sex. It may be embarrassing but if we don’t talk to them, someone else is going to.
When we don’t keep communication open and give our children the important tools of prayer and scripture along with a relationship with Jesus, we are like a parent who sets their toddler on the path at Hells Gate and lets them run wherever they want with no guidance. Your toddler could be burned alive right in front of you if they fell into Devil’s Cauldron, Sodom and Gomorrah, or one of the other pools along the path.
As parents we should also be horrified by what our teens can fall into if we let them run through their teen years without guidance. Press into God and give your children what they need to stay on solid ground. Keep communication open no matter how awkward the conversations may feel.
The world is beckoning our children to step off the path into Devil’s Cauldron or Sodom and Gomorrah. We need to be guiding our children to do what it says in Philippians 4:8-9.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (NLT)
Teach your children to fix their thoughts on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” When they are faced with peer pressure, we need to teach them to take it to God. If it is not something that is excellent or worthy of praise, step away from it. It is our job to teach our children to put into practice everything they have learned and received from God and from us. Our children learn from what they hear and see us doing. Be sure you are a godly example. When you teach your children to walk with God, He will be with them and help them stay on solid ground.
By Ginger Ciminello
You look down at your toddler as she happily snacks on the food you just placed on your tray. She is dependent upon you for everything. She needs you. She may cry out, “NO! I do it!” more often than you’d like, but in the end you will be the one to make sure her shoes are on the right feet.
In a flash she will become a young woman. A TEENAGER. (Shudder?) And although she will be able to place her shoes on her feet and brush her own teeth, she will still need your tender care. While teens outwardly lament the need for space and freedom, inwardly they still desire…
It’s imperative that as your child grows you continue to affirm and care for your kids with physical touch. They need a shoulder squeeze, hug, and pat on the back just as much as any of us. Be respectful of their personal space, but keep up the affection. I still kissed my parents goodnight every night when I lived at home. I treasure those moments.
“Perhaps one of the greatest needs of teenagers is a daily, loving touch, from their parents or significant others.” -Barrington H. Brennen
Words of Affirmation.
So often we think good things about our spouses and kids, but how often do we let those thoughts become words? If the majority of the words coming out of our mouths involve telling our kids what they are doing wrong, perhaps we need to hit the reset button. My mom used to put notes on the inside of my lunchbox saying that she loved me. It meant the world to me. Not to be outdone, my dad would put notes IN MY SANDWICH. It’s a special memory that my dad and I now share as adults. I’m probably going to sneak a note into his Thanksgiving plate somehow.
“A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:4, NLT
Boundaries bring freedom! Say that one over and over to yourself. Even as teens gain maturity and independence it’s still very important to give them specific boundaries. Your child needs you to be their parent more than they need you to be their friend.
“When a teenager doesn’t know what is expected in your home, he does what seems right in his own eyes – and that’s a formula for family chaos.” –Mark Gregston
When I start crying, nine times out of ten it’s because I’m tired. We recognize this easily in toddlers. “Does someone need a nap?” Sometimes setting boundaries looks like creating rest for your whole family. Is there an evening or even a whole day when you can turn technology off and just enjoy being together rather than doing together? Rest oftentimes does involve sleep, but other times we simply need to stop the tyranny of the urgent.
“God knows we are weak. He knows we are needy. He knows we can’t maintain a full throttle pace in life. He knows we need rest. Most of all, He knows we are quick to forget.” – Kevin T. East
Freedom to try… and fail.
Part of growing up includes new experiences of every kind. Knees will get skinned, bones will be broken, feelings will get hurt, and tests will be failed. Your child desperately wants and needs to know that you will love them even if they make a mistake.
Look for this one now, while they are young. We all try and hide our sin, but are your kids willing to tell you when they’ve messed up? If your kids are terrified to tell you now, chances are they will continue to hide their failures as they grow. Consistently remind your kids in your words and actions that you will love them no matter what.
“Eventually they’ve got to stand on their own two feet. God gives us their childhood (especially their teenage years) to let them practice making decisions under our roofs. Simple logic would say that if children are going to struggle and make bad choices, it’s better that they do so while they remain involved with loving parents to help them through it.” –Dr. Tim Kimmel
Don’t fear the teen years that are coming. These years are the foundations that build into the man or woman your child will become. What an opportunity you have to face each day with the grace you’ve been given.
May you have strength for the road ahead!
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9, NLT
By Susan Norris
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
February is considered the month for love. Have you ever been in love? Have you ever felt pursued?
I remember the very first time I received a note from a boy. I was in elementary school. The note was a folded piece of notebook paper with four lines written on it.
“I love you. Do you love me? Yes or no? Circle one.”
I was in the fourth grade and someone was expressing his love for me. I felt special. I felt chosen. Granted, the romance only lasted for three weeks, but in the fourth grade, three weeks feels like a lifetime.
We all want to feel special and chosen. Many people go through their entire life trying to be or do something they aren’t just to get noticed by another. In the long run their actions usually lead to heartache.
In John 15:16, Jesus tells us we didn’t choose Him, but He chose us. We didn’t have to be or do anything to get His attention or convince Him to choose us. He simply did. In fact, Romans 5:8 says,
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
While we were at our absolute worst, Christ still loved us enough to give up His very life.
You never have to go through life feeling like you are unwanted or unloved.
No matter what anyone else in this world tells you, you matter to God.
Jesus Christ loves you and He chose you. He demonstrated His love for you by setting aside His position in heaven and stepping into this world to die on the cross so He would never have to be separated from you.
Love…true love, is more than just words.
Jesus demonstrated His love for you on the cross. How will you demonstrate your love for Him today?