As a mom of 5 kids I have learned that I still have tons to learn. But along this path of motherhood some of my greatest lessons have been taught to me by the very children I try to teach. Lately, I’ve been thinking particularly about my daughters. One thing that all women have in common, regardless of their other roles, is that we are all daughters. And many of us are also daughters of God. There’s a few things I’m noticing about my own daughters that parallel some things about us who are daughters of God. What can we observe about them that helps us in our relationship with our own Heavenly Father?
My daughters are all very different.
One is musical. One is athletic. One is artistic. One is a pet whisperer. They all have different abilities, interests, skills, hobbies and desires for the future. And I give each of them different things because they need them to do the things they are good at. My musical one doesn’t need a floor mat, but her sister does. And my athletic one does not need a guitar, but her sister does.
Have you ever seen a Christian sister get something from God and wonder why He gave it to her instead of you?
God wants to give you good gifts, but he knows what you truly need. Sometimes His gifts are pleasant and sometimes they are challenging, but He always gives us what we need to develop the potential in us to accomplish the purpose He has given to us. I have an autistic daughter who is challenged in so many ways. She will never live independently, and our lives are not easy. But I’m a better person because of her. She is God’s gift to me.
What has God given you? Don’t worry about the gift He has given someone else. Just focus on what you have. As daughters of God we can get so caught up in the comparison game. What does she have? What can she do? She is a better wife or mom than me. Her hips aren’t as wide as mine. She has better hair and my feet are too big to wear cute shoes like that. And her husband has a great job and her kids are so well behaved. I wish my house was like hers. We drive ourselves insane comparing. You would think it was the 11th commandment as often as we do it.
Stop! God made us all different and He gives us different gifts physically, financially and spiritually. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that we are all part of one body but we have different roles. We are all different. Don’t spend your time trying to be someone or something you are not. Just be the unique you that God made you to be.
God has given you what you need to fulfill the role that you have. If you think you need something else, then ask. James 4 tells us we don’t have because we don’t ask. My daughters don’t worry about their needs. When they come to me and say I need money for a field trip or poster board for a project or more socks, I give them what they need. They just have to ask. They don’t worry about where it’s coming from or if…it’s just a matter of when. We don’t have to worry about our needs either.
Matthew 7:11 – “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those ask them.”
He gives us what we need and it is always good.
What else can I tell you about my daughters? They can be messy!
Oh my goodness, these girls of mine can make a mess. My youngest 2 especially. I’ll walk into their room sometimes and it is like a herd of cattle trampled through the place.
“What happened here?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? Well, you better get to cleaning up.”
“I don’t know how.”
“You didn’t seem to have any trouble knowing how to make this mess.”
“Will you PLEASSSSSE help me, mom? Please?”
That youngest of mine makes the face. I think they’ve worn me down. Before you know it I’m on my hands and knees helping them clean up the mess.
Girls, have you ever just made a mess of things? I mean, you look around and think, I don’t know how this happened. And I have no idea how to fix it. I need some help.
I’m so thankful for Daddy God who helps us clean up the messes that we make, the messes we fall into or trip over. Listen, God has been cleaning up our messes from the beginning of time. He even went so far as to send Jesus to die for us. That’s how big of a mess we were in. So, it doesn’t matter what kind of mess you have. He can clean it up. Your mind can be a mess, your health can be a mess, your family or job or relationships can be a mess. And you may not have a clue how you got to where you are, but He specializes in redemption. He can redeem anything.
Another thing about daughters…They need discipline.
Daughters need to be instructed, shaped and molded. They don’t just come to us knowing how to live life. They must be taught. And sometimes the discipline is gentle teaching and instruction. Sometimes it is a bit more forceful and sometimes it comes down to punishment for disobedience.
If my daughters won’t obey me, then they won’t obey God and that is a miserable life.
God has to discipline us too. He gives us instruction through His word and godly teachers. He sometimes has to be a bit more forceful with us when we are going our own way or remove ourselves from the instruction and teaching available to us. Sometimes He even goes so far as to punish us for our disobedience.
Hebrews 12:6 – For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as His child.
He disciplines us because he loves us and we belong to Him. We are His. I’m not in the habit of randomly disciplining other people’s kids. I just discipline mine. Because they are mine, they belong to me, they represent our family and I don’t want them to grow up to be selfish, unkind or criminals. I want them to have something to offer society and be able to go out and raise their own families one day. If they are going to be good adults then they must be disciplined as children. That’s how they learn.
We are God’s kids. He’s our parent and we’ve got a long way to go before we reach maturity. He loves us way too much and cares about our potential and role in the Kingdom to leave us on our own. He wants us to be successful. He wants us to be mature and know peace and strength and purpose. So he disciplines us. You know that hard thing in your life right now. Maybe it’s God’s way of molding you into a vessel that He can use for a greater purpose. Don’t waste the struggle or the hurt with your anger or your bitterness or by disconnecting yourself from your father. Let God use it to mature you.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that God is in Heaven mad at us all the time, just waiting for us to mess up so He can stick it to us. Psalm 30:5 says, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime!” He may discipline us in a moment, but we have His favor for our whole lives.
Daughters Bring Us Joy
My girls make me laugh. I find so much joy in them. I’m proud of them when they work hard or make good decisions. I’m love to see them succeed and I enjoy watching them have fun. Don’t you know that God looks at you like that too? We make Him laugh. He loves it when we are happy. I think He throws His head back and has a big belly laugh at some of His girls. He is crazy about you. Look at the person beside you and say, “God is crazy about you!” You bring him so much joy. I remember holding each of my girls after laboring for hours to have them. That moment…there’s nothing like it. A new life, and now to watch that life grow and mature. What joy. Listen, Jesus labored under the weight of sin and shame to give you new life. When He looks at you, He sees nothing but joy. You are clean and new and perfect in His sight. He’s proud of us when we work hard and when we choose to sacrifice or obey. He celebrates with us and sings over us. He left Heaven to come to earth to rescue you. Believe me, you bring Him joy.
Sometimes Daughters Go The Wrong Way
I recently took my 15 year old autistic daughter out for a bike ride. She has an adult tricycle and is learning to use it. She was improving so much in the parking lot that we went out on a small side road. She loved it. But I had to run along side her to keep her focused and to help her with the brakes. I had to tell her when to squeeze the breaks or she was gone.
Everything was going great and then she got to go a little too fast and got so excited by watching her surroundings that she wasn’t listening to me. She started heading toward a ditch. She’s about 4 inches taller than me and I was still running beside her trying to get her to stop. By this time I’ve got a hold on the handle bars and I’m desperate to make this bike stop because we are headed for a 3-4 foot drop off.
She’s not paying a bit of attention to me. The trees. The speed of the spinning wheels. But I know if I don’t stop her this will be bad. Really bad. So…I never let go. I just kept holding on. Calling to her to keep her on the right path and out of danger. By some miracle she stopped. But I didn’t. She stopped at the edge of a ledge, but I ran out of ground and ran right over the edge of the ditch and fell headlong into a briar patch.
She was headed the wrong way. And the way held danger. There was no way I was letting go. I took the fall so she didn’t have to.
You know God has done the same for you and me. Maybe you’ve been heading the wrong way. You’ve been distracted by your surroundings or the speed of things moving around you. God is right there with you. Calling out to you and hanging on. He took the fall for us on the cross and will never let go of you. Ever. No matter how far off the path you get.
I don’t have adult daughters, but most of my friends do. I’ve seen friends struggle through the broken hearts of a daughter that has taken a wrong path or walked away. I’ve seen them love them anyway and continue to reach out to them to call them home. I’ve also seen my friends question themselves. They begin to think they were bad parents because of the choices their children have made. I always tell them the same thing and ask them to tell it to me should I ever need to hear it about my own daughters. In the story of the Prodigal son, that dad in the story represents God. He is a perfect father. But the son still left. Sometimes kids just go the wrong way.
Sometimes we go the wrong way too and walk away from God. We can’t even say why. We’re hurt. We’re busy. We’re lonely. We’re mad. And sometimes it isn’t a huge turn and walk away, but it’s subtle. The distractions or busyness of the world just takes priority.
But just like my friends are always reaching out to their daughters to come home and they love them no matter what, God is always reaching out to us. It doesn’t matter how far away we’ve gone. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done. Our Daddy is ready for us to come home. He has been walking right beside us and He never let’s go.
Put yourself in place of this son in Luke 15:
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[b]’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
Let him love you. Let him pull you up into his arms. Rest in the safety of his embrace. Breathe. Know that he is carrying the weight of the world and you don’t have to. Stop running. Just be still. He is going to love you know matter what…so you might as well take it all and feel the extravagance of His heart for you. He’s waiting to throw a party to celebrate you. Come home. Come back to the Father. He will never stop loving you, so you might as well embrace His love for you and accept it. He is crazy about you.
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