My husband and I have been blessed with a daughter, and she is one of the most beautiful and precious gifts we have. Upon learning we were having her, my husband instantly went into protection mode.
I was excited and went into shopping mode, purchasing her beautiful outfits, blankets, and other material items. Almost sixteen years later, I have drastically grown from that foolish young lady. I’ve learned much about myself as a parent and a woman in raising my daughter.
In the early years, my failure to exhibit a positive attitude or deal with adversity in a constructive manner encouraged her inherent aggressiveness. Through the ordeals she faced, with my husband and myself standing guard, I learned her aggressive nature was okay. We simply needed to teach her to embrace who she was and be confident in herself. I would come to learn my husband was right about how to accomplish this. Because children are impressionable, I needed to be cautious in my attitudes and decisions. As my husband states, “We’re role models, whether we like it or not.”
Valuable lessons along the way not only taught me the importance of being a strong woman, but also how to prepare her to become a strong woman. Instilling confidence in her at an early age has taught her how to define her voice and express herself with clarity.
Women are emotional creatures. Without knowing and being true to you, your emotions can have you all over the place, causing you to become self-destructive and destructive to those around you. Discussing how we feel about situations and handling them maturely enable our daughters to identify their emotions. They learn to handle them in an optimistic manner, realizing their emotions are no one else’s responsibility except their own.
Teach them that when they become overwhelmed, to take it to God in prayer. Honoring Him as their head, giving thanks for the blessings He gives, and making her heart known to Him allow Him to pour peace into her (Philippians 4:6-7). This peace brings stability to her emotions, producing deep-seated emotional health.
Empowering your daughter to fight her own battles is not always easy. Our natural instinct causes us to protect them as much as possible from life’s hurts and pains. We want to retaliate at the third-grade bully who called her out her name, or her best friend who turned on her, or the young man that broke her heart. Yet, sometimes we have to take a step back and curb that mother-bear instinct. This is the only way she learns to deal with her feelings. To strengthen her, we must encourage her to find solutions to her own problems. This, too, builds her confidence in her ability and talents.
Her everyday reality will prepare her to deal with life's pressure. One of my husband’s favorite sayings is “Perfection is a metaphor.” It’s allowed us to understand that we will always make mistakes, but we don’t have to rake ourselves over the coals. Instead, we work to improve. When our young ladies become enamored with the trappings of this world, they become lost, seeking to be perfect. This search for perfection leads to depression, anxiety, missed opportunities, or even addiction. We must equip them against such susceptibility.
Teaching them to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness first, they shall be supplied with their needs (Matthew 6:33). Building a relationship with the Lord is essential to their survival and growth into strong women. She will learn first to trust Him and understand His will for her life. She will measure her life’s expectations according to His will and His Word, rather than that of the world. Finally, as she loves Him, she will begin to delight herself in Him, and all those things her heart desires she shall receive (Proverbs 37:4). No longer will it be necessary to strive for “perfection.”
Building on her faith and relationship with God enables her to discover her true beauty, which is not only her faith and trust in the Lord, but her good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Humility and service to God will equip her to be a strong woman, one whose worth is far more precious than jewels (Proverbs 31:10). As she matures in the Lord, her strength will become evident, and she will soon learn that charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30).
Her strength lies within Him.
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