A few years ago I realized something that kind of shook me up for a while: my daughters don’t tell me everything.
When I became a mom, one of my deepest desires was to cultivate close relationships with each of my children, so, naturally, I assumed we’d be best friends, telling each other everything. We’d have openness and clear communication and we’d share secrets with each other. It would be great!
But that’s not exactly what happened.
My girls grew up, as kids do. They formed friendships and ideas and an identity apart from me. And sometimes, I learned, they needed to talk things through with someone other than me.
Oh, don’t get me wrong—we talk all the time. Our home is full of lively conversation when all three of my girls are at home. We laugh. We debate. We talk about all sorts of things.
But we don’t talk about everything. And that’s as it should be.
Moms, here’s a shocker: your daughters don’t tell you everything either. As much as you might like to think they do, they don’t. There are just some things that they may not be prepared to talk to you about yet or there are some things they need to work out themselves, through prayer or with a trusted friend.
This can make us feel out of the loop, less close to, or even resentful of our daughters. But it doesn’t have to. Ultimately, our job is to love our daughters well, rather than feel like we have to know every detail of what they are thinking every minute of the day.
As our daughters grow toward adulthood, how can we best love them, even when the lines of communication may not be what we’d like them to be?
In Psalm 37:23-24, I see four ways that God loves his children and that we, as moms, can love our daughters into adulthood.
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.” (NLT)
1. Direct her steps. Scripture tells us that the Lord directs the steps of the godly. We too can be available to offer wisdom to our daughters when they ask for it. As our daughters get older, especially into their teenage years, they may not ask for our advice as often. You may even find that your daughter shuns your advice. Don’t worry. Don’t shut down the lines of communication. And certainly don’t try to shove your words of advice down her throat. Pray for wisdom to know when to speak and when to simply listen.
2. Delight in her. Just as the Lord delights in every detail of our lives (don’t you just love that?!), tell your daughter what you love and appreciate about her. Use your words to encourage her and to tell her how you see God working in her life. You may not know every detail, but you can tell her what you see and encourage her toward godliness.
3. Be available. I love the picture that is painted here—yes, we stumble sometimes, but the Lord is right there to hold our hand. That’s called guidance. As our daughters grow toward adulthood, they will stumble. They may not even share some of their struggles with us; but moms, our daughters still need us to be available to hold their hand when those hard days come. This takes our time. It takes paying attention. It takes listening.
4. Entrust her to the Lord. Here’s the thing, mama. You can’t be there every minute of every day. You can’t know what your daughter is thinking all the time. And you cannot be the Holy Spirit for your girl as she grows up and makes decisions for herself. But you can trust that God loves your daughter—he delights in her! He holds her close, and He will watch over her. One way to really love your growing-up daughter is to trust God by letting go of the reigns bit by bit.
There are days when I don’t come to God with everything that’s on my heart. But even on those days, I’m so glad that God patiently directs me, delights in me, and upholds me. As our girls grow up, we can be an example of the loving kindness of the Lord when we offer our wisdom when asked, when we encourage our daughters, and when we are available when they need us to lift them up.