Dear Mom of that Strong-Willed Daughter,
I understand what you’re going through. I have a four year old spitfire of a daughter. When she gets an idea into her head, boy-howdy, there is no stopping her from trying to follow through with it!
From climbing counters in search of cookies to walking out the church doors in search of a cat she saw wandering around, Gracie prefers asking forgiveness to asking permission.
And when she doesn’t want to do something? That’s a battle, too. Eating vegetables. Making her bed. Picking up her toys. None of those things are high priorities for her.
Yet as her mom, I must train her to be obedient, even when she doesn’t want to be.
On some days it’s exhausting, isn’t it?
On some days it might even seem hopeless.
But it’s not.
You see, I also have a seventeen year old spitfire of a daughter. She was also a challenging preschooler…and grade-schooler, and junior higher.
But now she’s a year away from high school graduation, and I can see the fruit of all that early training. The tears. The prayers.
This summer Hannah will be heading on a missions trip to the Czech Republic with her high school group. She is following hard after God, considering a career in missions.
And yes, I’m pretty proud of her.
In my seventeen years of raising strong willed daughters, I’ve learned a few things.
1. We Moms Have an Important Job to Do
Let’s face it, a large part of the job of training children falls to us moms, especially if we’re stay at home moms. We spend the most time with our daughters. And the most important thing we can do for our daughters is to teach them to love the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 says,
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
The best way to teach our daughters about the Lord, about how to be godly women, is to show them.
A woman who loves the Lord with all her heart is one who talks about Him frequently in her home – a woman who gives credit to God when good things happen and who cries out to him when she’s overwhelmed.
If that’s the kind of woman I want my daughter to be someday, that’s the kind of woman I need to be now.The kind of woman I want my daughter to be, is the kind of woman I need to be now. @LynnaeMcCoy Click To Tweet
2. We Moms Don’t Have to be Perfect
No woman can love God perfectly all the time. We’re sinners.
We can’t mother our daughters perfectly either. And we don’t have to.
I don’t know how many times I’ve beaten myself up about mistakes I’ve made in my parenting. But the truth is, God already knew I’d be an imperfect mom when he blessed me with my children.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says,
…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness. What a reassuring thought when we’re overwhelmed in parenting!
Our job is to love God and be the best moms we can be. God will cover our imperfections. Isn’t that a freeing thought?
3. The Future Lies in God’s Hands
The best, and sometimes scariest, news is that we are not responsible for the future of our daughters. Yes, we need to make sure they know about Jesus. Yes, we need to show them what it looks like to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength.
But ultimately our daughters will need to choose for themselves whether to live for Christ. They will need to experience for themselves God’s strength made perfect in their weakness.
All we can do is give them a good foundation and then pray that God penetrates their hearts.
John 14:6 says,
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.
Jesus is the only way to salvation. We can teach our daughters all about salvation, but ultimately they must make their own choice. We can’t force it.
Realizing that I am not responsible for my daughters’ futures takes a huge weight off my shoulders. Yes, the control freak in me rebels against that thought, but God is far more capable than I am. He can certainly handle these strong willed daughters of mine. And he can handle your strong willed daughters, too.
Now that my oldest is seventeen, I am seeing how God is using her strong will. She is living for Him, imperfectly, but in the best way she is capable. And now that she’s not rebelling against authority, she uses that will to buck against peer pressure.
It is a delight to see that will being used to stand for Christ.
I try to remember that as my four year old tells me once again why she doesn’t have to go to bed when I tell her to. One day, God willing, her little will shall be used for God’s glory. Until then, I’ll be the best mom I can be. Are you with me?
Lynnae McCoy is a Christian, wife, mom, and blogger. She loves to write about living in a way that glorifies Christ, not matter where God has you at the moment. When she’s not attending band concerts, soccer games, or swimming lessons with her kids, she loves to relax with a good book. Lynnae blogs at LynnaeMcCoy.com.