Developing a secure, confident identity is not easy for women today, and I suspect it never has been easy through the ages. The challenge for parents with their daughters is affirming God-created female traits apart from social norms or stereotypical roles. Our concept and understanding of God’s intentions is often clouded by our culture, our experiences, and by our selfishness.
Before the fall, in the Garden of Eden, both Adam and Eve were commanded to do three things: 1) subdue and rule the earth; 2) get married; and 3) reproduce godly offspring. God intended for both man and woman to cooperate in obeying all three of these commands. But clearly our biological differences from creation indicate differences in the application of His commands.
After the Garden of Eden, God gave clear instructions regarding men and women in marriage and in the church, wisdom for how to relate to one another as fellow believers.
With the age of marriage increasing every year, (the average age for women is now 27) our daughters must know how to live on their own if they don’t get married young or ever and relate with wisdom to men whether married or unmarried.
This is heady theological stuff, but I strongly believe all women, especially moms, need to be budding theologians because so much of what moms do daily is communicate God’s values and His truth to her children in everyday life. So how does this little look-see back at the Garden shape your daughter?
Here are three ways you can affirm your daughter’s femininity.
1. Affirm her female inspired instincts as she expresses herself and her interests in her growing up years. If she loves dolls and playing house, affirm that. If she’s more interested in playing fast pitch softball, affirm that. Her interests are early indicators of both what she loves and what strengths reside in her.
Remember, Eve was made to lead and rule cooperatively with Adam. That quality did not disappear after sin, but was changed by sin into something that has be misused and misunderstood. Girls can exercise rulership/leadership responsibilities in the spheres God gives them.
One of our granddaughters has been playing soccer for years and is very good at it. She also has an amazing love for children and has spent a week every summer with her twin cousins, who are almost six years younger and live in another state. Gabby plays with them, loves on them, does crafts with them, and they all three sleep together every night of the week. Her parents invest in helping her do what she does best, both loving others and competing in soccer. We all look forward to watching the plans God has for this wonderful going-on-fourteen-year-old.
2. Recognize that your daughters were “fashioned” by God, not made, which is a distinctive of women that was not accidental. Every word of God is inspired, which includes this word indicating God created a special beauty in women, the pinnacle of His creation, setting her apart from men.
Not all women love beauty, just as not all men love hunting. But there is a generally greater inclination toward this quality. So rather than fear your daughter will be too focused on her outward beauty, ask God to give you wisdom and balance as you help her appreciate how God made her and wired her. At the same time teach, guide, and nurture a heart of beauty, which will last after external beauty fades.
It’s okay to tell your daughter she is beautiful as long as that isn’t the only quality you compliment. It’s not just her looks that are beautiful but her acts of love, service, compassion, generosity, and more. Name deeds of kindness and love as a beautiful thing too. So don’t react or parent her out of fear, but get your signals and cues from God and His values.
3. Compliment and emphasize her creational gifting. Women were fashioned with the ability to create life, grow that life for nine months, nurse and feed that child, and continue to nurture life in that little person for years and years. While men can and do have a part in creating new life and in encouraging life in their spheres of influence at work, church, and home, their nurturing responsibility is much more supportive to the primary life giving work of women.
It is an amazing privilege and cooperative partnership with God Himself to create new little people who will fill the earth. Likely your daughter will display hints of this desire to create and nurture life as she grows up and these are to be complimented by moms and dads. She needs to hear her God-given instincts are good, valuable, and worth developing.
Your daughter is growing up in an age of unparalleled opportunities for females. She will have advantages even above some men in her lifetime. Keep her grounded in the qualities that God values.
And remember the differences God made in us as men and women were meant to function cooperatively, in harmony, not in isolation from one another as male and female. There is a responsiveness, men to women and women to men, that is important in becoming all He meant for us to be. God made us to need one another for thousands of reasons, many we will never know. Teach your daughters and sons to celebrate and enjoy both their equality in the image of God and their God-given differences as male and female.
And last, your marriage is always a model for your children. What they see over the years in your relationship is crucial and foundational for their future should God call them to marriage too.
So ask God for the wisdom only He can give to properly encourage your daughter’s ultimate development into the woman He desires her to be. Knowing God’s intentions, His design is the key to raising healthy, beautiful young women who can change the world in their generation.
6 thoughts on “A Prayer for My Daughter”
Hi Barbara, I always looked forward to the “Ever Thine Home” articles and loved the way the authors put God first in their lives. However, I am very distressed by this article. You state that, “Eve was made to lead and rule cooperatively with Adam. That quality did not disappear after sin…” This is not Scriptural. God made Adam “in Our image” (Genesis 1:26a) and gave him dominion over all the earth. ” [I]n the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27b).
God did not make Woman to lead and rule cooperatively with Adam, even before sin entered the world. Eve was created from Adam as a help-meet for him. After the Fall, God decrees to Eve that, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16c).
In I Corinthians 11:3, Paul states: “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” This basic principle is seen throughout the Bible.
I am concerned that you are promoting the radical feminist agenda, which seeks to destroy God’s natural order by denigrating and disparaging men, while promoting women to take over the male role. I was blessed with a strong, godly father and husband. We need strong men leading our homes and churches, but they cannot do so if girls are taught that they can take over the role of men.
I lost my husband of 45 years last Easter. Our marriage was far from perfect, but I was happiest when I was under subjection to him and willingly allowed him to lead our family–a very difficult job. He was our protector and provider and, like so many men before him, would have gladly given his life to save his wife and children. Girls, you need to prepare yourselves to seek such a young man, and you will be blessed, as I was.
Please do not promote this radical feminist agenda that is destroying our society.
Thank you, Barbara.
Thank you for writing. This topic of this post is an issue theologians have discussed for centuries and I imagine God in heaven looking at us saying, “You only know and understand a tiny bit of what I meant and intended.” So knowing no one person or even a group of the wisest people on earth understands what God intended before the Fall and after the Fall, I will offer a few thoughts.
First my statement that God made Eve to rule with Adam before the Fall comes from Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man (the Hebrew word means human being or mankind, not just the male species) in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion (rule) over the fish of the sea, birds of the air and the livestock and over all the earth…” The plural pronoun, them, indicated some kind of co-regency.
Second, I fully embrace the Bible’s teaching on submission and following my husband’s lead and always will. It is what we practice in our marriage. But my husband doesn’t make all decisions. Most decisions are make cooperatively, in partnership. I fully explain how this works in our marriage in my book, Letters to My Daughters, The Art of Being a Wife.
Third, I don’t embrace the radical feminist agenda. I believe women can and do lead in many ways in the spheres of influence God places them in. I trust His sovereign leading that His plan for each of us is unique. There are many women who desire marriage but are not married. A single female friend of mine worked for decades in a Christian publishing company and made many leadership decisions in her job. She was married a few years ago for the first time at age 49. Another friend, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, leads the ministry, Revive Our Hearts, and therefore makes many leadership decisions and still does, but she has always led with the advice and wisdom of both her board and the men with whom she worked. Now she is married and she seeks her husband’s advice, counsel and wisdom for her ministry.
I hope this helps.
What about the verses in Timothy that say a woman should not rule over a man? Are we just ignoring that part? Also, Nancy did not rule over men and she wasn’t even a co-leader. She was/is a leader for many women and God used her mightily as a single woman in that role as well. I’m curious if she knows she’s being used as an example here and if she supports it too. You didn’t address the second part of her comment about men being the “head” and what exactly that means in Hebrew as well. If marriage is an example of Christ and the Church then how could a woman be the “head” when God’s word doesn’t support that. We are fighting the wrong battle when we are trying to take away the man’s role as the “head.” Yes, men should never, ever abuse their power and I believe that is worth fighting for but changing the meaning of scripture to support removing men from leadership (as the head) isn’t a Godly approach to address the direction our society is going right now. Please don’t join in on this, so many people respect you as a woman of the Word of God. This is why we all need to be pulling out our own bibles and praying for wisdom from God to interpret his heart in all of it. We shouldn’t be reading books and other people’s interpretations more than we are reading the Bible. I would like to hear more about your position on this topic and I don’t want to assume I know your intentions.
Beautiful post. Just beautiful. Somehow it’s encouraging to imagine every generation has had its own unique struggles instilling God’s brand of femininity into the next generation, but it makes sense. It’s also encouraging to hear it’s wise to build on the interests our daughters have, even if we don’t understand the point. Thanks for your ministry! God bless!
This is so nice. Thank you