I have four lovely daughters. They are all grown now and love the Lord with all their hearts. That's not because I was a perfect mother because I made tons of mistakes. God was very gracious to cover my inadequacy with His grace.
However, I do want to share some of the things I purposed in my heart to do in raising my God's Girls. I think it will minister to you if you find yourself raising daughters.
Did you ever stop to think about why God created women?
Well, I do. I notice that men and women are different. Not just physically, but emotionally, intellectually, and socially.
Women reflect God's image in a unique way.
In some ways, all people reflect the image of God, but in a unique way, women were created to reflect God as Creator and Sustainer of Life. Just think about it. Our bodies are created to nourish a separate life right inside our bodies! When we give birth, we are able to sustain little babies with breast-milk right from our bodies! It's amazing! I mean, can a man have life grow right inside him or feed a baby from his body? What a privilege it is to be women!
However, I believe that the physical just represents who we are in the other areas. Emotionally and practically, we bring forth life wherever we go. We nurture our own children and everyone else around us! We add beauty and fragrance to the lives of those who know us!
The essence of femininity is to bring forth life and nurture the life of everyone around us.
The Gift of a Daughter
A daughter is a heritage, a reward.
What a blessing to have a baby girl!
I was so upset when China only allowed her citizens to have one child. If they got pregnant again, they had to kill the unborn baby. Another thing that broke my heart was that most Chinese couples only wanted sons. Do they not understand biology? I wondered.
Years later I read The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. That book helped me to understand Chinese culture. You see, if a family got a girl, she grew up and left her household to go be part of her husband's and his father's household. So, the Chinese parents felt like they were just raising a daughter for a few years for another family.
I am so grateful it's not like that in our culture. Daughters are so good at valuing family ties into their old age. There is an old saying I learned as a girl: 'A son is a son til he takes a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for the rest of her life.' Now, I'm not saying all sons abandon the family, but I am surrounded by daughters who are so kind and loyal to their parents and siblings. They inspire me!
All that to say this: When you give birth to or adopt a daughter, you are beginning a lifetime relationship. There is a lifetime of love ahead for you!
What God Esteems
When we have our new baby girl, our first response is to dedicate our babies to the Lord, to remember that our children belong to Him first So, in raising God's Girls, if we have given them to the Lord, we need to find out what God esteems in women.
What does God Esteem in Women?
To find out what God wants to see bloom in our daughters, we look at Scripture. Some of my favorite passages on womanhood are Titus 2:3-5, I Peter 3:1-6, and Proverbs 31. These passages talk about character traits like kindness, self-control, love, goodness, industriousness, creativity, nurturing, and submission. We learn in I Peter 3 that beauty comes from putting our hope in God! How beautiful it is when a woman fears the Lord.
There are some great role models for us in Scripture. Mary who surrendered to the Lord's will even when it could mean public disgrace. Ruth whose loyalty to and hard work for Naomi won the hearts of Israel, especially Boaz. Hannah took her needs to the Lord in an emotional prayer. Esther risked her life to bring freedom for her people. Sarah traveled her whole life, living in tents to fulfill the purpose of God. Martha opened her home to Jesus and His followers. Lydia served others with abandon. Priscilla taught the Word of God with precision. All of these women are examples for us!
Of course, there are definitely some women we don't want to emulate like Jezebel and Gomer.
What is God's Plan for Our Daughter's Lives?
We want to raise our daughters to be godly women who are loving, kind, wise, hard working, and nurturing, but we also want to raise them for the unique call of God on their lives.
I'm not sure that God reveals His unique plan for each daughter, though He may reveal some aspects. With Scripture as our toolbox, we give our daughters a well-rounded education that prepare them to minister in the Kingdom of God, be wife and mother (or equip others if God calls them to be single), knowledge, understanding wisdom, and a variety of specialized skills that God can use for His glory.
When we see a gifting, we can cultivate that gifting. Rose loved music and telling stories. I encouraged her in this gifting to learn the guitar, take piano lessons, and take singing lessons. I also created a songwriting course for her when she showed interest in songwriting. She is a worship leader now and has written some beautiful songs her congregation sings. She also loved to tell stories. She ended up majoring in communications and is working as a magazine editor until she has babies.
Julianna excelled at leadership and loved math, as well as singing. I let her lead and organize. If we were heading off to a field trip, I put her in charge even though she wasn't the oldest. She holds a management position in the accounting area of a large corporation today. She is also a deaconess in her church overseeing other women, and sings on the worship team.
As I was cultivating their gifts, I had no idea where all of it was heading. I just took one step and a step, instilling confidence by affirming and respecting them. God opened doors for them and I'm so grateful that I cultivated their gifts.
Our culture is certainly imparting vision about womanhood that includes feminism, abortion, leaving babies to work, and a rejection of biblical values.
So as we impart a vision for godly womanhood, we are going against the grain. Everyone loves kindness and hard work, so that is easy to attach value to, but here are some areas that the world is violently against: purity, modesty, submission, and respect for male leadership.
Purity goes beyond saving our virginity for marriage. Purity is all about living a holy life for Jesus. We reject evil of all kinds, including greed, gluttony, and sexual immorality. We embrace innocence, righteousness, and pure living. You see, the world is promoting sexual perversion and pornography to our daughters, but we must stand strong against those things. We must show our daughters how beautiful holiness is and how lovely purity is.
Modesty is about the heart, not the hemline. It is recognizing that some parts of our body are private and for the marriage bed only. That includes many parts of our body that are exposed all around us. Propriety is wearing the right clothing for the right occasion (like not wearing a ballgown to the beach) and modesty is about choosing clothing that will honor Jesus. It is also about walking and talking in a way that is poised, confident, and dignified. Modesty is not moving our hips seductively or wearing so much make-up, it looks like our face might avalanche. A modest woman draws attention to Jesus and others, while a woman without modesty draws attention to herself.
Submission is not a dirty word. God calls everyone to submit to authority. Wives submit to husbands, but husbands submit to the Lord. Children submit to mothers, but mothers submit to the Lord. Employees submit to a boss's authority and an army officer submits to his general. Jesus has ultimate authority. It is easier for our daughters to submit to His authority if she has learned to submit to her mother and father's authority. In fact, she will often submit to the Lord the same way she submits to earthy authority.
Obedience is outward and submission is in the heart. You can outwardly obey your parents, but have rebellion in your heart. We learn in I Peter 3 that we are able to submit to authorities on earth because we trust God to take care of us and work through authority. It is a blessing for a daughter to see her mother put her hope in God and submit to her husband.
When I talk about submission, I am not talking about allowing people in authority to physically or sexually abuse you. Get away from that situation fast! We cannot sin against God even if authority is wanting us, too. If a father tries to force a daughter to have an abortion, she would have to disobey him to obey the Lord.
Respect is life-giving to a man. When a woman respects her husband, he is able to soar, to walk in all that God has for him. I am sorry to say that there are many men I know that are not worthy of respect. They do things that are evil and are harsh to those entrusted to their care. We need to pray for these men that God would set them free and raise up a generation of men that are honorable, that protect the weak, obey the Lord, and love people purely.
With that said, no one is perfect, so respect is always a challenge. I think respect is often imparted. If I respect my husband, my daughters will too. If I respect my pastor, my daughters will too. You get the picture. I have to examine my heart.
So, I try to dig deeply until I find something to respect about someone. God always shows me something I can be grateful for and ways to honor the person. I hope others will try to find things about me to respect, too.
My parents taught me to respect an office. When I was in school, I respected the office of teacher and principle. So even if someone is hard to look up to, we still respect the position of authority that person is in. We interact with those in authority in a way that is kind and demonstrates respect.
I like to give my daughters heroines, both married and single. Here are some of my favorite heroines!
Susannah Wesley was the 25th and youngest child in her family and she grew up to have 11 children. Talk about big families! Still, she made time every day to pray and read God's Word. When she prayed, she lifted up her out skirts (women wore many layers of petticoats back then) to have privacy when she prayed. She taught all her kids to read on their sixth birthday. Amazing! It took me 2 years to teach each of my children to read!
Edith Schaeffer was a skilled seamstress, cook, baker, and artist. She brought all her gifts to the Lord who called her to use her gifts as a homemaker and pastor's wife. She did so with flair and poise. She and her husband served as missionaries in Switzerland where they led many young people to Jesus and a firm foundation in the faith. Later in life, she wrote many books on homemaking, theology, and the arts.
Amy Carmichael grew up desperately wanting God to make her brown eyes blue, but He never did. Years later, as a missionary in India, those brown eyes allowed her to sneak into Hindu temples and rescue the young child who were victims of sex trafficking. She was Momma, or Amma, to hundreds of rescued children.
Gladys Awlward traveled to China in faith that God would use her to proclaim Christ and His Gospel. She spread the Gospel, helped to end the barbaric practice of foot-binding, and led a large group of children to safety during the China-Japanese War before World War II.
Elisabeth Eliot went to the mission field as a single woman, married and had a child, and lost her husband to death at the hands of those they were trying to reach. Refusing to become bitter, she moved in with the tribe that killed her husband and shared the Gospel with them. She forgave and loved deeply. In her later years, she challenged young people to live wholeheartedly for Jesus.
Hands-on learning is a must to raise God's Girls. After all, more is caught than taught. We learn to serve Christ by serving Him and hearing Truth, especially the Gospel.
Bible studies and Scripture memorization are key to understanding who God is and what He requires of us all. But more importantly, the Bible changes us from the inside out. Before our daughters are saved, it softens their hearts to receive Christ and be born again. After they are saved, it helps them to grow up in their salvation. If we are faithful to memorize Scripture, God will bring it to mind at the right time.
Mentoring begins for all parents at birth. We teach our child to live a certain way by the way we live, our values, and what we commend in and require of our children. When my daughters reach high school, I mentor them in a more strategic way by meeting with them regularly for times in the Word and prayer. Sometimes mentoring is more casual--conversations on the way to work out at the YMCA, but always involves me being purposeful in trying to build a close relationship and help them grow closer to Jesus.
Character/Life Skills courses are part of a our homeschooling curriculum. I created these courses to prepare my daughters (there are some for my son, too) for life. I had them read books that had ministered to me as a young woman and young mother like Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer, Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Eliot, and If Teacups Could Talk by Emily Barnes. They girls read living books, memorized Scripture, met with me for mentoring, wrote essays, created little booklets (like Scripture books), created videos, and did tons of hands-on assignment to prepare them for single years, marriage, ministry, and motherhood.
One hands-on assignment that bore good fruit was Mother's Helper Days where my girls would go help a young mother. It took away the romantic view of having babies, giving them a realistic introduction to what a young mom's day is like. When my girls were studying Motherhood, they would serve as a mother's help on a regular basis.
I already mentioned Scripture Books. Our family tradition started when I made little Scripture books for my children. I would use those old-fashioned magnetic photo albums. On each page, I would place a Scripture and match a picture to it that I found in a magazine. While I created these little books that my children loved, by the way, I found myself meditating day and night on the passages I included in the book. Wow! It was such a spiritual blessing for me. So, I decided to use that as a homeschool assignment in my character/life skills courses for my teens in high school. They loved making them for young friends and made adorable booklets, many of them created on the computer and printed in color. Good-bye magnetic photo albums; hello technology age.
Witnessing, mentoring, leading, supporting, and teaching are all opportunities for our daughters to grow in the Lord and learn to minister effectively in the local church. Church is such a great place to develop life and ministry skills. Girls grow up participating in Bible studies and ministry, eventually learning to lead a Bible study and lead a ministry team. All my girls have mentored at least one younger girl before they graduate from high school. I lead the way in cheering people on and my girls have all picked that up, too.
Wholesome friendships far surpass flirting with boys and gossiping with girls. Young women who treat everyone with kindness and respect gain admiration from people of all ages. I teach my daughters to be friendly because friendly people develop friendships. Honest and loving communication is another life skill that is caught so I have to examine myself. Am I communicating truth and love to others in a clear understandable way? That will help in building relationships. It is important for young women to treat ALL the people in their life with kindness and respect. If they grow up treating siblings harshly, they will treat their own husbands the same way one day. So often, people dump on those closest to them, but that does not make for a happy home life now or in the future.
When it comes to guys, I teach my daughters to wait until they are ready to marry to build a romantic relationship. That way, they have not given their heart away in pieces. I think their friendships with guys are better preparation for marriage than dating any way!
Classic Books take us back to a time where God's call to virtuous womanhood was valued by society and esteemed by authors. Ladies are treated with respect. They are protected. Men and women are honorable. Those who are not honorable are considered "bad guys." I hate the anti-hero of today's literature because it causes people to root for immoral people, rather than those who reject what is evil and cling to what is good. For a look at books my girls read, find the "Authors Girls Love" Reading List here.
I hope I have challenged and inspired you to raise God's Girls! Don't forget that God doesn't call you to anything without supplying everything you need to get the job done. Keep your eyes on Him and ask for help at all times. His eyes of love are always watching over you.
Until Next Time, Happy Homeschooling,
Resources: God's Girls Bible Studies
Resources: God's Girls 1-Credit High School Courses