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preaching to my daughter what I would preach to younger me

Posted in faith, kids

Even before we found out we were expecting, we knew that being a parent of any child is a wonderful and weighty responsibility. We both have good parents active in our lives. We have watched friends parent and disciple their kids, ranging from elementary age to adulthood.

But a fresh perspective has been planted in me, here in week 25, about having a daughter. Not only do I hope to teach, take care of, and love her well, to disciple her in the truth of Christ, I’m finding a fierce desire to speak life into our daughter as if I could speak it into 12, 16, 20 year old me.

There’s no shame or condemnation here. Only a desire for her to know in her bones and believe in her heart truth I would challenge my younger self to be more deeply rooted in if I could.

I’m such a list-maker it’s almost laughable, but here we go…

You are not God’s and He is not yours for you to walk through life timid, anxious, and insecure. Find your confident stance in Christ and praise Him with your life.

Being served and being comfortable feels like the way to happiness, but they’re actually pretty shallow. The road to joy is one of going low like Jesus did, serving and loving and giving, relying on God’s sufficiency to fill the gaps.

Fight the temptation to put around your neck the yoke of pleasing everyone. It will never happen, and it not happening isn’t your fault or your responsibility. Love all, please One.

Trying to earn love or acceptance is like being stuck on a hamster wheel. You are loved unconditionally and relentlessly by God, and everyone else’s love is a bonus. Learning to accept it thankfully will release you from the paralyzing pressure of maintaining it. It will also fuel you to freely give it away without demanding it from others.

Being right, being the best, being perceived in a particular way by your peers does not make you more worthy. It doesn’t make or break you. What makes or breaks you is your life with God and how you love others.

You are going to mess up. In big ways and small. Frequently. We know that. And our love for you won’t waver. Don’t run or hide. Don’t fret about the ongoing struggle. Confess your need for forgiveness and walk in God’s light and love.

It’s interesting. These are things that will naturally flow from me into our daughter because this is the fruit of abiding with Jesus for the years I have so far. (Clumsy, slow, sometimes messy, sometimes even resistent fruit bearing.) We are the parents she’s getting. I can’t preach something authentically I haven’t owned. And it would be challenging to ask our girl to live and love a certain way without confiding in her how I know it’s the best way (stories of my pride, my sin, God’s goodness and always-sufficient grace).

“Knowing how God saved you enables you to feel a fitting thankfulness to God. You can’t be thankful for what God did if you think you did it.” John Piper

As the years go on, through the grace of God, each of us will be growing and changing and learning. As we’re filled with more of the fullness of God, as we continue to cling to the Vine (John 15), we’ll give who we are to each other. And when she’s grown up and possibly a mom herself, she’ll hopefully have her own unique fruit to share with her kid. And so on.

What a design of God. Generations. Family. Discipleship. Community.

I’m both humbled and excited. And will shamelessly throw in that bit about the sparkly silver liquid eyeliner I wore in middle school. Yikes.