Recently I came across a reel on instagram from a mother who claimed she'd made a mistake. The reel gives this story:
The mom had recently taken her daughter (about 3 or 4 years old)—we'll call her Susie—to the store. While they were there the child found, and fell in love with, a sparkly dress. Mom tells Susie that they cannot buy this dress because her daddy wouldn't think it was an appropriate dress. Susie was sad, but she returned the dress and went on with her day.
They went home, and the mother couldn’t stop thinking about it. She felt terrible for depriving Susie of the dress she loved. She went into the living room and told Susie she is sorry and asked if she'd like to buy the dress still.
Susie shakes her head and says, "No, I don't want it, daddy wouldn’t like it."
The mother is shocked by this. How could she have raised a daughter who cared about her father's opinion?
She profusely apologized to Susie again and told her she made a mistake. It didn’t matter what her father thought, she should be able to wear whatever she felt beautiful in.
She immediately took her daughter back to the store and bought the dress for her.
I don't know about you, but my heart melted a little to hear that a three year old’s natural response to this situation was to want her father's approval. Then my heart broke to hear a mother tell her daughter that her father‘s opinion did not matter.
This simple reel—fully supported in likes and comments—made me think of a few myths we tend to live and raise our children by.
Myth #1: We don't require the approval of our fathers—nor should we take his instruction.
There is nothing more natural than a daughter who craves the attention and approval of her father. How could we not? We were made in the image of God and our earthly father is supposed to be an example of this great love. Our souls recognize this. We want our dad's to be strong spiritual leaders who love us unconditionally.
A good father points his daughter to Christ and shows her that his love cannot compare to that of our Heavenly Father.
This leads us to the calling of the daughter...
Daughters (and sons) and called to do three things:
Honor their father and mother.
Obey their parents.
Hear their father's instruction and not to forsake their mother's teaching.
In this mom's story, she is (a) teaching her child to dishonor to her father and (b) she is encouraging her child to ignore her father's instruction, which is disobedience.
Mama's, whether we like it or not, God has placed your husband as the leader of the family. This does not make you less worthy or valued, but you do have a different role. In fact, we have the privilege of teaching and reinforcing what God says and how our husband’s lead our families.
We get to be Hearth Guards. Missionaries on the frontlines of our home. Warriors for truth and hope in a world full of death and destruction. We get to teach our children what it looks like to love the Lord and submit to our husbands.
This mom had the opportunity to say, "I don't know if your daddy would like that dress, but I'll take a picture of it and we can ask him what he thinks. If he's okay with it, we'll get it."
Instead she undermines him by teaching her daughter that his instruction isn’t valuable.
We must teach our children that it is always better to seek the approval of the Lord even when it means saying no to something you so desperately want. To feel beautiful will be a fleeting moment, but a respecting and loving relationship with your father has a long lasting value.
Myth #2: We should wear whatever we feel beautiful in.
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but feelings will only take you so far. Despite what the culture says, we struggle to be confident in our own skin.
The amount of women who have had plastic surgery, put themselves through horrendous diets, and the 483 billion dollars spent on beauty products across the globe in 2020 proves beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder.
No matter who you are, how skinny you are, or how strong you are it is never enough.
I always feel like I could loose one more pound. Having a baby only made it worse for me. Coming to terms with size of belly, hips, and thighs have occupied my thoughts more than I'd like to admit.
We were not all gifted with perfectly sculpted bodies with all the right curves in all the right places, that bounce back immediately after birth. However, we can usually think of someone who does.
For me, that perfect bodied person is my sister (isn't it always), she has perfect legs, rock hard abs, and she rarely has to worry about cleavage falling out.
But, a few months ago, I went to take a photo of her and she checked the photo to make sure she didn't look fat. My point is, no one sees themselves as having the perfect body.
We all have many thoughts and feelings about ourselves—most of which are insecurities— however, the Bible tells us the heart is deceitful above all else.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling beautiful. I love to put a dress on and give my hair a pretty updo. However, we cannot put our identity in it because in the end feeling beautiful is no where near as important as our character and our heart attitude in the eyes of God.
Instead of telling ourselves and raising our children to feel and look beautiful, speak God's truth.
I think Peter say it best:
"Your beauty...should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:1-7)
Myth #3: It's good to raise "strong and independent" daughters.
Okay, hear me out. I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to be strong and independent. However, God says we should be dependent on Him. Our strength does not come from ourselves. It comes from Him.
As moms and wives we think we have to do it all, and we must do it perfectly. Our culture says we are weak if we don't. In response we turn down help and we don't ask for what we need. We end up anxious, depressed, and striving for perfection we will never reach.
Psalm 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
I have yet to find a verse in the Bible that says, "You can do this on your own. You go girl."
As Christian Mamas we must raise our children with hope reminding them to surrender and depend on the Lord.
So Mama, build your home...
Not on your feelings.
Not on the feelings of a three year old.
Not on the humanistic values of our culture.
Build it on the foundation of Christ.
Psalm 143:8 says, "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."