Our daughters Grace and Mary are now 20-somethings. When they were very young I told them -- more than once -- that there was nothing they could do to make me stop loving them. I said, "You can say and do things I disagree with, I can get hurt feelings or fret over your safety and well-being, but you're my daughters and my love runs deep." It still holds true today.
By the grace of God both of them are passionate...about many things...but most importantly they are on-fire with their love for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus saves, and He chose them to come into His kingdom as His children. Even my dysfunctional attempts-- at times-- mothering has not robbed them of their passion for God and for abundant life! Whew! I am so thankful! My godly hubby Don had a lot to do with that, too.
Grace, Me, Don, Mary Celebrating Grace's Birthday, 2009
I've also told the girls that I wished they could see themselves as I see them. I always get tears when I say this. Because as their mom I know they boldly stand against injustice, are deeply compassionate, have God-given creative gifts, talents and amazing abilities that they know are to be used for God's glory. I also know their frailties, weaknesses, and I adore them and pray for them daily! I'm praising God for the driving force of the Holy Spirit in them to shine Christ's light with their very lives.
(I had trouble getting pregnant and also had a heartbreaking miscarriage between my pregnancies with Grace and Mary. That's why I praise God every day I get to be their mom. He heard our prayers!)
I tell them the truth that I love them for who they are not what they do.
I also know the world bombards women, especially young women, with the following kind of lies: "Your outward appearance needs to be perfect so you will have value. Do whatever it takes to make yourself flawless! Then you'll be a winner. Then people will love you and approve of you!" Yuck. Lies all lies.
"Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). Whose approval are we seeking, Sisters? Is it the affirmation of the Creator of the Universe who loves His children unconditionally and eternally -- or are we blindly craving the fleeting, idolatrous fancies and lies of the world?
Whenever I learn something new from my prayer time with God -- cool stuff that is powerful and encouraging -- I'll either call, email or text them to share with them. I want them equipped to continue to shine Christ's light and to continue to stand against the darkness of this world. You know, like the countless magazine covers today that imitate pornography and can easily tempt young women to hate their appearance and become anorexic and/or bulimic!
Oh, how I wish all of God's daughters could see themselves the way God sees them! He rejoices over His daughters (and sons) with singing! Yes, SINGING! Wow. "The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Yep. there it is. TRUTH. It's in Zephaniah 3:17. You matter to God. That settles it.
However, when I would complement Grace and Mary about anything, they'd say, "Oh, you have to say that because you're my mom." Hahahaha! What? I was sincere. But that would be their response! Sometimes there might also be a rolling of the eyes when they said it.
So my response is always the same, "What? You think I'm lying to you? That I'm flattering you? First of all flattery is sin. It's manipulation. I'm telling you the truth! You really ARE amazing!"
I think that's how it is with us and God. He tells us He loves us and takes great delight in us. But even as His children sometimes we won't believe Him.
With love and blessings to you,