Sep 15, 2011

Little Women


When I was pregnant with Annika, I really wanted a boy.

I've always liked boys.  I've never gotten into the color pink, or princesses, or the prissy stuff that I thought was necessary for raising a girl.  But God gave me sweet Annika and now I hardly can imagine doing it any differently. Turns out I actually like raising girls.  Its something I'm even kind of passionate about.

When I couldn't sleep last night, I laid in bed thinking about it again.  Why do I like it?  Whats so special about raising girls?  And the more I thought through it, the more I began to form clear thoughts about what inspires me so deeply about having a child.  Any child.

See, the thing is, I'm not just raising a little girl - I'm raising a future woman.


Annika will only be a child for a short time, and my job as her mother is to teach her, train her, into womanhood.

The switch in perspective is huge.  For me, it sheds light on my purpose as a Christian mother: to raise her into a wise, strong, stable, gentle, kind, and worthy woman.

Right now she is a little girl, and I will teach her her ABC's and 123's and about bugs and bedtime stories and all the things that little girls are supposed to learn. I will teach her "girly" things like painting her nails and looking for fairies in the yard.  But, ultimately, I am raising a woman and that requires so much more than just general education and tea parties on the side.  In all of the girly things we do together, there is a womanly purpose that I should always be speaking to. 

It made me wonder why we don't usually think of parenting this way.  

In most any process, we define our purpose by the end goal.


If you had walked into my kitchen day before yesterday and said "what are you doing here?" I would have told you that I was baking bread.  I would not have said, "I'm making a wet, sticky mass of flavorless dough."  Because, though that may have been what I was currently in the process of creating, that's not the way we think or talk about long-term processes.

We focus on what will eventually be born out of our efforts.


So, when I am in the midst of chaos and frustration and want to emotionally shut myself off from Annika (it happens) and go through the motions of our routines on auto-pilot until I can crash into bed, I want to remember that she is not just a child.  She is a growing woman, and she is learning everything about being a woman from me.

She is watching me to see what it means to be a patient and joyful mother.  She is watching me to see what it means to be a loving and gentle wife.  A kind friend.  The fruits of my spirit are lessons for her in womanhood. (Which is probably why so many girls, no matter how hard they may not want to be, end up realizing they are so much like their mothers.)

And, likewise, when I treat her as a growing woman instead of a little girl, I believe its something she can sense and totally delights in.  When she even vaguely catches onto the understanding that she is really and truly growing up into a woman, it brings a new weight into her education, her personal development, even her discipline. When Annika recently made the connection that eating her dinners is actually making her grow taller, when she saw that new line on her growth chart and sensed our sincere pride in it, she dedicated herself to eating dinner like never before!

What I don't mean is that we should act like our children are simply miniature adults and expect them to behave as men and women.  I'm definitely not suggesting that we minimize the wonderfulness and uniqueness of childhood.

Just like with baking bread, there is value in every part of the process.  The ingredients, the mix, the knead, the rise, the bake... each stage requires certain types of skill and knowledge from the bread maker.  I can't slap a wet piece of buttered dough on a plate and hope that, if I treat it enough like bread, it will eventually look and taste like bread.

Children need their childhood.  I personally believe that a woman's life will be sweetened by a girlhood that she cherishes, and men are made stronger by a rich, stable boyhood.  But, childhood is a part of the process of growing into men and women.

The responsibility is, of course, huge for any parent.  I'm not even 30 yet, how am I supposed to know enough about being a wise and worthy woman to teach someone else how to do it?

And, honestly, I can't.  I struggle every day with trying to better myself as a wife, mother and friend.  I certainly don't have it figured out.  But still.... there's beauty in that.

There's beauty in the fact that I am raising Annika and God the Father is still raising me.


I am passing fresh truths into her little hands, still raw and real from my own Father's teaching and discipline in my own life.

As a Christian mother, I am still learning how to be a daughter, so I know just what it means to be constantly learning, constantly forgiven, constantly blessed.  

Spiritually, in so many ways, I am still such a child.  But, praise God that he treats me as the woman I am meant to be.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Britney!

    -Jeska

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  2. So good brit! You could publish this! Really. And praise God for giving you the gift of seeing these connections and being able to write them well!

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  3. Saw this on Amanda Flores' facebook, and this is so encouraging and humbling. I'm about to have a baby girl any day now, so I definitely needed to read this! Totally puts life in perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Love this, Brit. You should know that you (and Lindsay) hold such a special place in my heart from our first year @ OBU. I especially love seeing what a wonderful wife, mom and woman you've come to be! I know, it sounds like the musings of an old lady, haha, sorry! :)

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