I am so excited to begin this series! It is called Monday Mentor Moms. I will connect with a mom I admire, whose daughter is older than mine with a goal of learning from moms who on the other side of the some of the trenches. These are women who love the Lord and who have raised their daughter(s) to do the same. Sometimes the mom will write to us directly; sometimes I will chat with the mom and turn our conversation into a post. I am blessed just listening to these amazing women; I hope you are blessed reading their advice and wisdom.
I met today’s mentor mom when I was a college student in Iowa. I remember babysitting her beautiful girls when they were toddling around the house. I think her girls had the longest eyelashes I had ever seen. And if you know Wendy, what you remember about her, is her faith. It shines brightly.
Because Wendy and I live in different states, I couldn’t sit down with her for tea (oh how I wish), but she still graciously agreed to write for us. Her thoughts will span this Monday. Next Monday, Wendy will focus more on specifically on teenage daughters. If you have a chance, leave a comment as a way to thank Wendy for her time.
Raising daughters today, and godly daughters at that, is anything but easy. I have been on this journey for over 16 years. Amanda, my oldest, is 16 and a half, and Ashley will be 14 in two months. I suppose to one peering through our window, our family looks average. We live in an old 3 bedroom house in a suburb of Des Moines. We’ve moved four times over the years, have lived in both the city and small town, attend church regularly, home school, and have two dogs and three cats.
It has been such a joy watching my two daughters grow up over the years; the wonder and miracle of infancy, the discovery and delight of toddlers, the creative imaginations through young childhood, the development of reasoning minds in pre adolesance, and now -moving into independence in the teen years. Each season has kept me in constant communication with our God; thankful for all the joys, and dependent on Him for wisdom in each new challenge and trial. I wouldn’t trade one moment of mothering daughters for anything.
My girls are anything but average. Each is amazing and incredible in her own unique way. One is quiet and contemplative, artsy and perceptive, and loves intimate conversation. The other is active and adventurous, musical and athletic, and creative in her expression of love. One is reserved and analytical, the other assertive and bold. When they were younger one would cuddle up and whisper how much she loved me, the other would run outside and play for hours, but spontaneously stop, pick flowers, run them inside to me, and return to her make believe world. Both equally as sweet, both are treasured memories for a lifetime.
Each of my girls has her own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some temptations and life lessons have been common to them both, others differed due to their unique personalities. I tried to always celebrate their differences and be thankful for them. At times those differences fueled discord but most of the time they fit together like a puzzle. In spite of their differences they have always been best friends.
I prayed from the time my second daughter was born that God would bless my girls with a special friendship and anoint them with fellowship in His Spirit at an early age. Like all siblings they had their moments of squabbling, but God has over-shawdowed that with his love and grace. At 16 and 13 they still love to hang out together. They prefer each other’s company over all their friends. They confide in each other, consult and counsel each other, and can make each other laugh harder than anyone else. I continue to bathe their relationship in prayer daily.
When my girls were little I thought the way to assure success in raising up godly daughters would be easy. My list included: read the Word to them daily, pray with them daily, instill a love for God at a young age, teach them early the gospel, give them a love for worship, expose them to good sound doctrine and teaching, create safe and loving environments for them, make sure they are insulated from too much culture and worldly influences, stress pure character, be consistent in discipline, be humble and honest with my mistakes, exemplify a submissive heart and attitude towards their earthly father, give them an education from a Christian worldview, give them homemaking skills, encourage them to seek God on their own, equip them to discern right from wrong, instill a love for studying God’s Word, and lead them to God when confronted with decisions and the need for answers.
The key to this list is that I must be committed to living it out in my personal life first. As mothers, God has given us the most influential position in our girls’ lives. The temptation for us is to believe that if we can somehow create a perfect environment, free from all ungodly exposures and corruption, we will succeed in raising godly women. This is a lie. In actuality isolating them from the world and never teaching them how to deal with sin, temptation and pain will do more harm than good. This side of Heaven, life is not perfect and free from ungodly exposures. Truth is, life gets messy and complicated because we live in a fallen world. Corruption is everywhere.
From the time my girls were very young, God has allowed tremendous heartache and challenges in our lives. My girls had to deal with very grown up issues at very young ages. They grew up knowing the grief and heartache associated with addictions of loved ones. They experienced abandonment and deep emotional and relational disappointments. They experienced death of close loved ones many times. (In a period of three years between my husband’s and my families we had 7 deaths.) They have known persecution for their faith from close loved ones and “friends.” They felt the sting of betrayal from people very close to them, and they experienced parents who separated three times over the years.
I use to be fearful that living through such hard trials would produce rebellion and confusion in my daughters. But in God’s grace, it’s actually had the opposite impact. The only answer to life’s challenges is Jesus. The more our girls see us depend on Him, the more it reinforces that they need Him as well. My girls have depth of character far beyond what I did at their age. Their faith in their God is deep and real. Their compassion, mercy, and discernment blows me away. Each of them has already been blessed with a heart for ministry. While I may not have chosen to expose them to all that life threw at us at such early ages, I know our life has been sifted through the hands of a loving Father who knows what is best, and promises to use it for good in our lives. ~Wendy, firstname.lastname@example.org