Imagine strolling along a country road on a cool evening with your daughter. The sun warms your back and a brook zigzags along beside you. Your conversation is easy and you both wear contented smiles.
Now imagine the two of you are on the same road, but it’s noon. You can smell the manure being spread on the field nearby, and the flies are driving you crazy. Sweat crawls down your back. To top it off, your daughter has been complaining the whole way, and you regret that you ever walked out the front door.
Walks—even walks along the same road—can be very different.
In Deuteronomy 11:19, parents are told to “teach them [God’s words] to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Sometimes obeying that commandment is a joy for us moms, like a pleasant evening stroll. But sometimes “walking by the way” can feel like pure drudgery, and we find ourselves in a slow, miserable plod.
We never thought we’d say that, did we? When our daughter was a pink little bundle that smelled like baby powder, we knew we could never get enough of her. When she was twirling around in her tutu at three, we couldn’t wait to have the deep talks that would come in future years. When she was learning to read, we knew she would love the Bible and be hungry for the wisdom we would pour into her life.
“There is so much potential here!” we thought.
And we were right. There was, and is! But as years pass, and both we and our daughters mature a bit, we learn that they aren’t always hungry for our “wisdom.” They have inclinations that may rub against ours. Every conversation we have or walk we take won’t translate into a heartwarming social media post. Sometimes we don’t know what to say. Sometimes she doesn’t open up. Sometimes we’re just plain tired.
We begin to wonder if there is any wisdom in us to pour, or even drip, into the life of that girl we love. Just as she’s starting to blossom and make sense of the world, we moms can start to back off. She has her own friends now, after all, and we don’t want to drive her away by seeming too eager.
These thoughts are familiar to many of us. But since when are we to allow our feelings to dictate our actions? Deuteronomy tells us to talk with our daughters quite frequently about the things of the Lord. We don’t need to be profound, well-spoken, or naturally wise; instead, we need to faithfully remind our daughters of the truths laid out in God’s Word. And what good news we have to share! But when in the world do we find the time? Scripture even tells us that.
When you are sitting in your house
Home is the perfect place to invest in godly conversation with our daughters, but it’s also the perfect place to turn into a magazine-reading couch potato or a perfectionistic clean freak. In either case, we’re too tired, or driven, to recognize the opportunity before us.
Fortunately, God loves to help the tired and the driven, as well as all the other kinds of moms he has made. He helps us look outside ourselves and speak the truths that our daughters so desperately need to hear. Simple questions can be a good way to start:
- “How was your conversation at lunch today? I know you mentioned that some awkward topics have been coming up. How is it going?”
- “Did I show you the great verse I found in my Bible reading this morning?”
- “What do you think that commercial was trying to tell us?”
- “Can I ask you a question about something you said earlier today?”
Sometimes our questions will lead to meaningful talks, and sometimes they will fall flat. As we obey God and initiate conversation, we can trust him to bring the fruit.
When you are walking by the way
When do you walk with your daughter? When you’re shopping? Exercising? Doing errands? Are you in the car a lot? (After all, that’s our modern day version of walking.)
In all these situations, we’re side by side and looking ahead. Sometimes girls find it easier to chat when their mothers’ eyes aren’t boring into their souls! Take advantage of the opportunity by drawing her out. Love her. Care about her world. Share your own mistakes. Look for ways to pepper your conversation with encouragement and grace and truth.
When you lie down
There’s a vulnerability that comes when we lie down in bed. It happens to all of us. We may be big and strong, or productive and successful, or cool and popular during the day, but all of us—even the most important—lie down like tired babies at the end of the day.
Let’s not prematurely stop tucking in our girls at night. There’s no biblical “tuck in” command, but lower light, weary bodies, and cozy blankets can provide a nice environment for an end of day chat.
“Anything you’re thinking about tonight?”
Whether our question yields an answer or not, we can follow up by praying aloud, reading a devotional or scripture passage that glorifies Christ, or reminding her how much God loves her. These moments are ones we will never regret.
When you rise
In the morning, the whole day stretches before us. For our daughters that may usher in a whole host of questions: “Who will like me? Who will reject me? How will I do on the test? Who am I? And what in the world am I going to wear?”
What better time to love our daughters by helping them in practical ways while reminding them of the truths of God?
- This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30
- Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20
- But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
There are many more like them. God’s truth has everything to do with their day, and what a privilege to be the voice of that truth. So don’t slow down, moms. Don’t back off. Your girl needs you more than ever. No matter what the road looks like today, she’s not meant to walk it alone.
Trish Donohue is a wife and mom who writes from her kitchen table in West Chester, PA. Donohue currently leads the women’s ministry at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, where her husband, Jim, serves as pastor. A desire to disciple her two daughters paired with a love for writing motivated the writing of her first book, Between Us Girls.
Visit Trish’s blog at www.reminding-myself.com.