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We can’t control our children, and we don’t decide the outcome of their lives. But we can be diligent and intentional in how we raise them. Having a clear direction will help move us forward in the process of guiding our daughters to become the women that God sees “precious in His sight.” These are my thoughts. These are the goals I have for my daughter, and they could translate to our sons as well:
1. To know God in heart: A daily experience of the Lord in prayer
God works powerfully in the steady, consistent rhythms of prayer. The more time we spend with God, the more our minds and hearts align with His. Our hearts must be in the grip of God’s hands if we want renewal. God has made the process simple: come to Him. Of all the disciplines I desire for my daughter, none is more important than her daily experience of the Lord in prayer.
2. To know God in truth: A fierce reader of the Scriptures
The Scriptures tell us the truth about the world we live in. They tell us the truth about God, why we are here, who we are, and why it matters. They give us the keys to understanding life’s genuine purpose. They expose lies and direct our decisions. Through the Scriptures, we understand our sin and our need for grace. If there is one skill I will pass to my daughter, she will be a fierce reader of the Scriptures.
3. To know true beauty: A reflection of God’s image
Little girls love to dress up. I love it. But for my daughter to clothe herself with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, this, in God’s sight, is precious and beautiful. From God’s perspective, beauty is clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. I want her to know that her life is a reflection of God’s image, and to be beautiful is to reflect Him.
4. To know true grit: A partner as God’s image
When God creates humanity in His image, He gives them a vocation to “rule” the earth and subdue it. This is work-language. Work is valued by God and expected of us. It is a good and godly aspect of our lives, and it matters deeply to God. Therefore, it matters that we train our children to labor as God’s image-bearers and reflect His character, purpose, and will through our work. We are partners with Him, bringing His will on earth through the work He gives us.
5. To know genuine joy: A servant of others
There is great satisfaction and joy in serving others. Our purpose as God’s image is manifested in real time when we give our time and energy to the poor. By “poor,” I don’t only mean an exclusive term of economic deficiency, but I have in mind also those who are pushed out into the margins of society. Some of us are rich in material assets while poor in spirit. But still our hearts become full in the moments we serve others. I can’t wait for my daughter to experience the joy in being a servant of others.
6. To know healthy humility: A servant of God
From infancy, we are treated like a god. All reality is centered on us. The idea that we are not God and that we are meant to serve God must take shape at some point. Making my daughter’s life all about her would destroy her. Those with a sense of healthy humility don’t think of themselves as a god. Instead, they think of themselves as servants of God. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
7. To know life’s purpose: A passion for success
Success is defined in many ways. The tragedy of so many is not that they are successful, but they are successful in life’s wrong aspects. We want our children to focus and give their energy toward life elements with the most significant meaning and value, not things that will eventually fade. Ultimately, the only thing that lasts forever is Jesus and his church. If her passion for Christ steers her vision for success then she will obtain authentic, sustainable victory. True success is being a servant of Jesus.
8. To know her sin: A hopeless offender
I want my daughter to understand that she is a sinful person who deserves God’s judgment. Highlighting our sinfulness heightens the need for a Savior and illuminates God’s goodness. To taste that the Savior is good, we must first taste the bitterness of our sin. Of course, I’ll demonstrate my faults to her through my own sin. But I will ask forgiveness from her and use this as a model of how we ask God for his, and show how we all need to be forgiven.
9. To know God’s grace: A hopeful endeavor
The journey of following Jesus is an exciting one. It ends well and I want my daughter to know that. I want her to dance straight into the future in the safety of God’s love and providence- to have joy all the way to the end knowing that she is experiencing God’s grace and that nothing can bring her down, not even death itself. There is hope in our journey of faith. It surely ends “happily ever after.”
10. To watch me be who I want her to be
Most importantly, I want my daughter to see me be an example of a godly man and a true follower of Jesus. I want to show her the character of Christ by how I live and treat her and how I treat others. I want her to see what I value. Parenting is more “caught than taught,” and I intend to capitalize on this as much as I am able. Because what she sees me do, she will do. She repeats my every move. Now, all of a sudden, my biggest goal for her is me! It’s my prayer that she will follow me as I follow Jesus.
Maybe I’m naïve.
I’m an idealist, sure. Will I be disappointed when things don’t turn out the way I expect? No. Nothing turns out as expected. But that won’t stop me from doing everything I can to ensure that my daughter grows up to be a godly, life-giving woman of faith and beauty, a woman passionately pursuing success according to God’s will.
I will see my daughter again even after I am gone, Lord willing. Not even death can separate those who are in Christ. Words are inadequate to describe my eagerness for the day my daughter becomes my sister in the faith. Of all the goals I have for my daughter, none compares to welcoming her as my sister in Christ.