I have always been a sort of a free spirit. I have always done my own thing. This only got worse when I was a teenager. One of the hardest things for me to do was submit to my parents rules.
I had three brothers that had moved out of the house before I was in middle school. By the time I had reached high school, my parents knew every trick in the book. My curfew was 10 pm even when I was a senior. I spent many nights pleading with my parents to let me stay out late, their answer was always no. They called all of my friend’s parents before I was allowed to spend the night at a friend’s house. I could not have boys anywhere close to my bedroom, even if I had other friends with me. They never left me to spend the night alone in our house – if they had to go out of town, I had to go to a trusted friend’s home. After high school football games I had to stop by the house to check in with my parents to get their permission on my next plans for the night.
One night, I had a boy pick me up from the house on a week night. I had just started being interested in this boy and wanted to hang out with him. I had cried to my parents to let me hang out with him for just 2 hours. He picked me up and we began to drive out of our neighborhood. About 5 minutes later, my father was calling my cell phone. When I answered, he had told me he had been following us in the car and he would like me to come home. His reasoning was he didn’t like the way the boy was driving.
I used to think my parents were so strict and mean. I used to think I was getting left out of important social events. I spent many nights crying in my room and throwing myself a pity party.
It wasn’t until many years later that I learned my parents protected me from so much. If I had only submitted to them, and not fought back, my high school years would have been far less burdened.
My parents protected me from getting kicked off the cheerleading team after most of my teammates got caught drinking one night. Because of my parent’s strict rules, I wasn’t with my friends that night. My parents protected my purity by never allowing me to have a boy in my room. My parent’s protected my health by setting my curfew at 10 pm every night.
The boy that my dad didn’t want me riding in the car with, he was caught a few weeks later with drugs in his car. I had no idea he was into that when he picked me up from my house that night.
My resistance to my parents is so much like our resistance to the Lord. Often we think God’s rule book (the Bible) is just strict pointless rules. (It is so much easier to gossip than not to gossip.) When in reality, God loves us and He is protecting us from so much.
I love this verse in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 “Bu the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
What would you relationship with your parents look like if you stopped fighting them on their rules? What would you relationship with your Heavenly Father look like if you stopped fighting him on His rules?
My challenge and prayer for you girls this week is to allow yourself to feel protected by whatever rules are in place in your life and home. Stop seeing rules as prevent and start seeing them as protecting.
Written by: Brittany
As I sat staring across the table, tears streamed down my friend face. Her anxiety was crippling her and the burden she bore streamed down her light skin. We had sat there for about two hours talking about the struggle she was currently facing. She looked at me and sighed “I just don’t know how to choose.” Her dilemma was that she had to pick between spending Christmas with her mom or her dad. The issue was that her dad if she did not spend Christmas with him he would be all alone. Whereas her mom would at least have her boyfriend’s family’s house to go too. “It’s been two years! You would think it would be easier” she said. My friend paused and more tears streamed down her face. The burden I saw her facing was she wanted to please both parents but one would not be happy regardless of what she chose. Divorce really sucks. Families are torn apart and hearts become broken.
Divorce is not something that people who get married plan on doing. Sometimes divorce can bring temporary relief to the situation at hand. But as the years pass the demands of the children who are in the middle get larger and heavier for them to bear, it can sometimes take a toll. Sometimes in divorce the children are caught in the middle. They have to hear one parent dis the other parent, this too can be a heavy burden.
As followers of Christ we are called to live a life above reproach. We are called to lay our burdens down. Being a daughter who bears the burden of divorce you can not take on the responsibility, emotions, pain, etc of your parents. You have to give the situation of divorce over to the Lord.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Rest. God will give you rest. Know that divorce was a decision that your parents made and now for the rest of your life you are affected by that decision. But instead of making the divorce, ramifications of the divorce, and the struggle of balancing both parents an overwhelming burden REST in knowing God is with you. God will help you get through the hurt, the disappointment and the pain of the divorce.
But also know that it is normal to have emotions of frustration, anger, disappointment,and even heartbreak of the situation of divorce. Each year will bring it's own challenge with divorce from holidays, to graduation, to wedding and grand kids one day. But know that even though the times will sometimes have tension and frustration you are not alone.
Isaiah 41:10: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Also, do not let your parent’s decision about their relationship make you believe you can not have a successful one. I know this is a struggle for many girls who have seen the pain divorce brings. Don’t let Satan let you buy into the lie that your relationship will be the same like your parents. Instead know that God is with you. Trust in him your future, your future relationship and know that he will be with you when that exciting time comes of spending forever with someone. I pray sweet girl, that you find Rest and comfort in our Savior Jesus and that you know that you are NOT ALONE! GOD IS WITH YOU.
Written by: Rebeccah
A daughter's desire to please her mother is matched only by her desire to be separate from her." - Stasi Eldredge, Captivating
This quote may sound cruel to you. You may love your mother intensely and plan on living next door to her your whole life. Or you may have a pretty good relationship but wish for a little distance. Or maybe you don't want anything to do with her, if she's even around.
But I think something we can all agree on is that the yearning for the approval of our mothers (and fathers) is something incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to escape. Even now, as a mother myself, I am constantly wondering what she thinks even though I know she has lavished me time and again with kind words denoting her love for and pride in me. In this sense, I am truly blessed.
Why then, do I prepare for a critique when changing my son's diaper in her presence? Or blush when she notices my makeup isn't blended properly? Is she demanding perfection of me? Or... am I imposing my own insecurities on her innocent commentaries?
I have come to find the latter is true. My mother has been remarkably encouraging and loving to me my entire life. But she has also been honest. And at times critical, wishing to help me become the best version of me I can be. I won't pretend she's NEVER EVER said something that hurt me. I've let a few snide remarks slip myself that I'm none too proud of. But I do know that the hurt either of us inflicted on the other was unintentional. So I constantly remind myself when she offers advice or expresses an opinion that her words are not an attack on me or the ability to play well my roles as a daughter, wife, or mother. That she is and always will be "just trying to help."
So why do we as daughters get defensive?
The things mothers often forget or fail to see is that a daughter's identity is (at least in the early years when we live under the same roof), largely dependent on mom's stamp of approval. Even the most doting mother may make a seemingly harmless remark regarding a daughter's choice only to be met by tears or a turned up nose.
"You're wearing THAT skirt AGAIN?" my mom once said to me when I descended the stairs in my favorite denim skirt for probably the third time that week.
We all have that piece of clothing we feel like a million bucks in. But in that moment, I looked down at my favorite fashion staple and found my cheeks aflame. I shrugged and said nonchalantly something along the lines of, "Oh, yeah... I guess I have been wearing this a lot lately." The piece got hung back in my closet and I soon went on the hunt for a new denim skirt that my mom might like better. My old skirt never saw the light of day again. And I never did find its replacement.
Did my mother intend to make me feel ashamed? Of course not. She is one of the most kindhearted people that exists in this world. Yet with all the affection she poured over me in my "identity building" years, it's scenes like this one that many daughters remember clearly - because the teen age is exactly that - a time for "identity building" where so many of us are caught between wanting to be "just like mom" and independent enough to never admit it. And this vulnerability makes our skin a little thin, a little more bruisable.
A favorite book of mine on identity explains that one of our greatest desires as daughters is to be told by our parents that we are beautiful, that we are enjoyed, that we are enough. If that need is not met, our lives turn into a cycle of seeking approval while trying to rise above the need for it and ultimately attempting to get the need met elsewhere. For some daughters, this leads to a destructive, promiscuous path. For others, it leads to shyness and incessant masquerades. But no matter what, it most certainly leads to the number 1 joy-kill among women - insecurity. And all the while, the devil rejoices because women have been scaring the pants off of him since the Garden of Eden (remember that bit about the Savior of all mankind coming through a WOMAN? Yeah, he didn't like that too much. He's been trying to bring us down ever since).
The reality I have come to find in these past 6 years since living outside my parents' covering is that no parent is perfect - but every good parent does their best - and even in those hard moments where they unintentionally made me feel uneasy about myself, they loved me. Wow, did they love me. And THAT is golden.
So what to do about those parental "wounds" you're carrying around? Let me offer some suggestions based on my road to recovery...
1) Recognize where your true identity comes from. Even the best parents can unknowingly inflict wounds on their children whether by the things they say / do or forget to say / do. Our Heavenly Father is the perfect parent and able to tell us who we truly are.
2) Recognize within your "wounds" the lies the devil has twisted out of proportion and kick them to the curb. No matter what comments or critiques you've been tallying up over the years, you need to remember you are beautiful and you are good enough!
3) Recognize opportunities for healing. If you are comfortable enough in your relationship to reveal your wounds (past or current) to your parents, do so in a respectful, connection-honoring way. When I told my mom the denim skirt story, she remembered with surprise that her mother had done the same thing to her when she was younger. It is important to remember our mothers were also once young daughters fighting to grasp their unique identities and gain their parents' approval - and sometimes they still are.
4) Recognize the need to forgive. Whether you're able to cry (and laugh) over your wounds with your mother like I did or are unable to share them at this time, whether they were inflicted intentionally or unintentionally, you need to let them go. In the words of Corrie ten Boom, "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you." By forgiving your parents, you also restore them to a standard of goodness and can no longer hold their actions or inaction against them (which isn't a nice thing to do in the first place!).
5) Recognize your role in the current struggle. When you've paid such close attention to your parents' criticisms and opinions, it's SO easy to live always on the defensive even well into adulthood. Know when YOU are the one placing unreasonable expectations on yourself or projecting your own insecurities on them. Be able to step back from the situation and ask, "Am I defensive because I am being attacked or because my insecurity is causing me to FEEL attacked when in fact, I am not?" A defense rooted in insecurity is fear disguised as self preservation -resulting in an identity armored with lies.
Becoming a mother has affirmed what I always have known to be true - parenting is not easy. My son is only 7 months old and I make choices every day and wonder if they are the right ones. I wonder if I will be as good a mother as my mother. I wonder if I will make the same mistakes, because I WILL make some. I wonder if I will have the same humility she had when she recognized her mistakes. And I wonder if I will be as tender and full of grace as she was when I recognized mine.
I can only hope that despite my silly moments where I feel I do not measure up, my identity will remain rooted in the love she has fought to make known to me, reflective of the Father's love - the life force behind all that I am as His child - beautiful and more than enough, a daughter in whom He is well pleased.
As you contemplate the "burden" of a daughter, give your parents some credit and remember that while we carry that burden, our parents are carrying us.
"I have heard it said that having a child is like having your heart walk around outside of your body. How a mother aches to protect her child. And yet all the while, from infancy to adulthood, a good mother is training her child to move ever more away from her, to need her less and less. Mothers love and long for their children. Their hearts ache for them, over them. A woman bleeds when she gives birth, but that is only the beginning of the bleeding. A heart enlarged by all a mother endures with and through her child's life, all a mother prays and work and hopes for on her child's behalf bleeds too." - Stasi Eldredge, Captivating
In life, when I think about the many roles I fill, I always think of these five: Christ follower, dancer, friend, sister and lastly - a daughter. Growing up, I had a wonderful family and a lot of privileged opportunities. It was not until recent years that I began assessing my role in my family and what that looked like. In our household, my parents' expectations of us were normal: obey authority, be respectful, make good choices, work hard and always do your best. These are not unreasonable requests and I did my best to meet them, sometimes better than others. However, the issue for me and my confusion of my role came when I turned these simple expectations into this false image of who I thought my parents wanted me to be. So during my high school years, I strived to be the perfect version of me to please my parents.
In my mind, the perfect version of Rebeccah was as follows: independent, respectful, straight A student, be a size 2, always wears makeup, super Christian, emotionally independent, always happy and the list goes on.
Normal Teen Rebeccah
The struggle with this is the real me is: dependent on thriving relationships, I was a B/C student, I was a size 6 at the time, I actually hated wearing makeup back in HS, I doubted if Jesus was real a lot, I enjoy being able to express my emotions to people, and I was not happy all the time (I was a teenager).
These thinking patterns followed me into my later years of college and then I piled more burdens onto myself. I felt like my family had to know I was there for them. Every single member needed to know everyday I loved them unconditionally and I would do anything for them. I then developed a sense of having to call and check in on my parents and grandparents daily. I was their fixer. That became my role as a daughter: the FIXER - if there is a problem, Perfect Rebeccah who everyone loves is coming to fix the day!
What I did not realize was that my burdens of always trying to seek approval from my parents and extended family and the other burden of always feeling like I had to fix any issue that might arise in the McCully household all came to a screeching halt when I let my family down and showed them I had been faking it and I had been trying to be someone I was not. My dad has a way of speaking to my heart in such a sweet and tender way and said, “Rebeccah, you are my daughter; there is nothing you could ever do that would make me love you less or more. I love you just the way you are. Our family does not need you to be the fixer or pretend to be this version of yourself you are not to please us; you are to strive to who God has called you to be. God is the glue of our family and He is the one that created you to be you! So give these frustrations and worries over to the Lord."
It was in that moment that I realized that my role of a daughter was simple.
The Roles of a Daughter
1. Love God with all of My Heart
Luke 10:27 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind."
2. Pray for my family
Philippians: 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
3. Trust God with my family and any obstacles my family may face
Isaiah: 40:28-31 "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
4. Be the person God has called you to be, not the version you think your parents want you to be or are trying to make you be.
Galatians: 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Now I am not sure how you feel about this topic or if you can relate to this struggle or my burdens of being a daughter. But what I do know is that we all have burdens that are related to our roles as daughters. Being a daughter is no easy task; it can be frustrating, tiring, worrisome, but it can also be fun, joyous and so rewarding. I pray that when you think about your role as a daughter, know that you have been placed in that role for a purpose and a reason. Don’t let the burdens you may bear by being a daughter overtake you and keep you from the satisfying relationship you can have with your parents. We are with our parents for only a short time, so give your burdens to Christ and let him be the center of your relationship with your parents.