Today’s post is going to get a little personal.
I need to share why I’m so passionate about this topic. I don’t want my daughters to make the same mistakes I did. I want to give the glory to God for saving me from my poor choices. When I talk about discipling our daughters, it’s because I know firsthand that it does matter.
Discipling our Daughters: Why It Matters
By the time I was 16, I had become anorexic.
I was not overweight at the time, but being immersed in the culture and public school convinced me that I was, or at least that I had to avoid becoming “less than perfect.” I fought that battle against an eating disorder for several years until I became so thin that I suffered heart palpitations and frequently blacked out. At age 18, I weighed less than my 13-year-old daughter does now and she is within a healthy weight range. I’m only 5’3″ so weighing 80 pounds didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Now when I see pictures of myself from those times, I can’t believe how thin I really was. It is only by the grace of God that I survived. (I was diagnosed with thyroid disease at age 21 and have had a continuing battle with chronic autoimmune diseases since then and my metabolism has never recovered, but that’s a story for another day.) Those feelings of wanting to starve myself and feeling dissatisfied with my body image have never completely gone away, but I know they aren’t speaking truth to me now. Jesus is the source of truth in my life now.
The irony? I was the smart one, the honor student, the goody two-shoes.
I was always the designated driver for my friends, who often had drinking parties despite being well underage. Drugs were available if you wanted them. Drugs and alcohol held no temptations for me, thank the Lord. I simply was not interested and had no trouble saying no. I was always afraid of getting kicked out of National Honor Society. As a perfectionistic, only-child overachiever, eating — or in this case not eating — felt like something I could control, unlike drugs and alcohol which caused a loss of control.
Even good girls can fall prey to negative influences.
By the time I was 18, I was a card-carrying member of NOW and I believed the lies. You know the ones I mean, like having the illusion of choice. Those kinds of choices devalue everyone, they don’t uplift and free women. Again, by the grace of God, I was spared many destructive choices. I met my husband when I was only 17 and we got married when I was 20. I was not a “player.”
I went to church on Sundays and youth group outings. Jesus was part of my life as far back as I could remember. But somehow I missed the heart of the message.
I thought religion was about rules and doing the right thing. I didn’t understand the grace of God. I knew Jesus was my Savior, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed to be saved from. After all, I wasn’t a bad girl. I didn’t steal or act promiscuously or do drugs or any of those things. I didn’t know He wanted a personal relationship with me. “Relationships” were things you had with guys who thought you were cute.
I let the world tell me my value, or lack thereof, because I didn’t know that God cared about me on a personal level.
At some point, those conflicting messages between the world and the truth of the Bible clash and a decision must be made. We all have the free will to make that choice. When I started really reading the Bible for myself, when I reached a place of depression and discouragement, and when I sought a reason for why things happened as they did, I turned to Christ. I found my answers in Him.
This is why I want to be intentional with my daughters.
I want them to know that the Bible has the answers to any questions they might have. The word of God is reliable and applicable to everyday situations. I want them to look to Jesus as a good friend, a trusted companion, and as someone Who loves them more than we can know right now. Someone Who forgives them when they stumble, comforts them when they cry, and has a great plan for their lives. The world will tell them they are objects to be used, that looks are the most important thing, that women are second class citizens. I want to counter that with the power of Christ so that they never doubt they are loved and cherished. It is the only hope we have in a dark world. Lord willing, it will prevent them from making desperate and foolish decisions.
This is why intentionally discipling our daughters matters.
I’m not going to assume that they “get it” just because we go to church or they attend youth group or even because we pray together. It requires conversations with them and knowing their hearts and who they are as individuals. It doesn’t “just happen” if we’re “lucky.” Like any other relationship in life, it requires effort.
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