"Mom, you are as pretty as a flower. I want to be just like you when I grow up."- Ava, age 9
As sweet and endearing as this note I received from daughter is, the reality that she is watching me and studying my responses, actions, and attitudes is a bit intimidating and slightly frightening.
A mother’s heart is caught, not taught. Although it is important to teach little girls and train them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). There is a principle between mothers and daughters that is caught, rather than taught.
It then becomes my responsibility, not only to train these sweet ones, but to live my life in a way worthy of replication. Just as one of the primary roles of raising sons is for a mother to be a gatekeeper (see Raising Boys), with raising girls, a mother becomes more of a garden keeper.
What is a garden keeper? One who makes sure the proper things are being grown and nurtured in a little girl's heart! A garden keeper ensures that good mindsets and attitudes are cultivated and bad mindsets that could keep them from reaching their full potential are weeded out. However, my responsibility becomes to first tend to the weeds in my own life and make sure the proper fruit is growing and then guide and nurture the growth of these little girls!
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
My oldest daughter and I were driving in the car to go shopping and she expressed to me that she was afraid with all of the events happening in the world. Out of my spirit, I got mad! Not at her, but mad that she was afraid. I said, “You are not made for fear, you are a daughter destined to do great things- at this appointed moment in time!”
My mother was awesome! I caught her beautiful heart in so many wonderful ways! The women in my family are strong and witty. They've survived many hardships and trials. There are also areas that I've had to make sure weren't caught from the generations of women before me. One of the things the women in my family have dealt with was fear and anxiety. This is an attribute I had to decide not to allow transfer into my life.
I got angry that the spirit of fear and anxiety was trying to get on my daughter! God has not fashioned us for fear; His plans are too great for any of us to be crippled by anxiety!
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7
As mothers, we are responsible for what we allow to pass down to our daughters. When we ask Holy Spirit to help us, He shows us the things in our own hearts that we need to deal with so that they won't have to. I want my girls to be women that can laugh at the days to come--with joy and expectancy rather than being crippled by fear! We need to keep the weeds of fear and anxiety from taking root in their young hearts!
Taking responsibility for your own life will ensure that you are passing the right things down to your children. Raising daughters has compelled me to make sure I live a life worthy for them to catch!
Maybe you didn’t have a good relationship with your mother, or maybe you feel like you've failed at raising girls. It’s never too late to start anew!
Holy Spirit is a great teacher! He will show you the areas in your life that need weeding and will produce good fruit in the soil of your heart. These are the things that your daughter will plant deep inside of her heart and spirit. The things that she will remember as she says," Mommy, I want to be just like you when I grow up!" Maybe you're not perfect, but you can be an overcomer! Break out of the old cycles and strongholds that cause you to stumble even if you inherited them from a long line of women in your family!
You have a responsibility for your own life and legacy! You are the garden keeper- you control what you allow to grow in these precious hearts!
Grow them well!