After living overseas for 3 years, missions is something I have grown passionate about. And while we often hold those who go far, far away in high esteem, I would argue that our girls are missionaries too, and that the call to go and make disciples belongs to all of us.
These daughters of ours have the unique ability to speak into culture in a way we will never be able to. They understand so much more about today’s world than we give them credit for. And the future they are looking forward to, is filled with jobs, roles and challenges that we could never dream up.
While each and every one of us share the call in Matthew 28, our girls will be able to live out their salt and light-ness to a generation that at best, confuses us and at worst, greatly concerns us. Our job in their call is to equip them for the works God has prepared for them.
Teach them to pray:
When they are littles, we often focus our prayers on the needs we see around us. We pray for grandma, for friends and for those in our small circles. And this is a good thing. Teaching them to bring everything to their Father, is a practice I wish I had started with my girls much earlier in their lives. But, if we want them to think like the little missionaries we are, then we need to teach them to pray for opportunity, openness and obedience: opportunity to share with those who do not know the gospel, openness to the gospel in those they share with and obedience on their part to actually share the gospel.
Teach them to go:
While the mom in me always wants my girls to be happy and to fit in, I know that sometimes they have to be the ones who cross social boundary lines to reach out to those no one else will reach out to. The outcasts, the loners the ones who the rest of the kids tease: those kids are the beginning to our girl’s mission fields. They are the first circle that requires our daughters to take a step of faith, and go. We have to encourage them to be brave in that step, even if it means they befriend kids who are a little rough around the edges. Obviously there is an age appropriateness to the way we do this, but to raise little missionaries, we have to raise them to be socially brave.
Teach them to listen:
One of the things I have learned over the years, is the importance of listening: listening to someone’s story, someone’s hurts and someone’s needs is the very best starting point for the gospel. When we hear people, we are able to point them to the exact places God, and the Gospel speak to their specific needs. Teaching our girls to listen, and praying for them to be empathetic listeners will help them to live out and share the gospel with love and grace.
Teach them the Word:
Without the Word, they will just be kind hearted, well intentioned moralists. If our girls don’t know the Word, and it’s place for grace and mercy in light of judgement, our girls will walk around preaching good works and a be-better lifestyle. By teaching them God’s big story, man’s desperate need and the gospel’s centrality in redeeming us to a right relationship with God, we are teaching our girls to truly be the beautiful feet that carries the good news.
You don’t have to fly 20 hours a way to be a missionary. Everyday, you are pouring into missionaries who have the ability to speak into a life and culture that you will never fully understand. Let’s be moms who celebrate that and equip them for that work.