Helping Your Daughter Deal with Mean Girls

To say I wasn’t too popular in middle or most of high school would probably be an understatement. I was one of those late-blooming, nose-in-a-book, still doll-playing-at-fourteen kind of girls. At age twelve, I excitedly took my illustrated children’s Bible and headed off to church youth group. Unfortunately, a place where love and acceptance should abound was instead a place full of cliques and cattiness. Despite my (admittedly awkward) efforts to be friendly, I don’t remember many girls reaching out or even saying “hi”.

Week after week, I came home and cried. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I fit in? Why wouldn’t the other girls talk to me?

Eventually, by God’s grace, two things happened: I matured and my family moved. In the new town, people were welcoming and friendly. I belonged, finally. When I went off to college, I had no difficulty socially, and am blessed now with many lovely women who I consider dear friends. But those middle and early high school years were very difficult.

I thought I was alone in this, until I started talking to other women about their experiences. I discovered that far from being unusual, this kind of behavior among teenage girls is almost the norm. Most women I’ve talked to either experienced this kind of treatment or were the perpetrators of it themselves.

mean girls

I have a daughter now, and one of my greatest fears is getting her through those tumultuous, insecure, awkward middle and high school years with her sense of confidence intact. I would love to protect her from every mean girl, every unkind word, and every sting of rejection possible. However, I recognize not only the impossibility of that, but also the lack of wisdom in doing so.

My parents didn’t protect me from the mean girls, but they did equip me to deal with them in ways that allowed me to come through the experience more confident and compassionate than when I began. There were a few things that they did which I plan to do with my own daughter:

1. They lavished me with affection and acceptance at home. I knew that no matter how rough the world was out there, at home I would be treated with love. I know this is a blog for moms, but I believe my dad’s affirmation and affection were especially vital in helping me remain confident.

2. They didn’t offer superficial advice to help me fit in better. My mom didn’t take me on a shopping spree for more fashionable clothes, try to help me develop more trendy interests, or do anything else to make me more like the popular girls. Instead, she and my dad encouraged me to be myself and seek friends who would love me as I was. This was vital in preserving my self-worth as a unique child of God rather than someone who needed to change to be more likable.

3. They didn’t let me see myself as a victim. Although it was easy to feel sorry for myself, my parents frequently reminded me that I could use these difficult experiences to develop my character and become more compassionate towards others who might also be lonely or rejected. They encouraged me with stories of great heroes of the faith who were able to accomplish much by not following the crowd and reminded me that even Christ Himself suffered rejection.

While I would never want to go back to that period of my life, I also wouldn’t change the experience for anything. God used it to help me become confident in the woman He designed me to be and to grow in compassion for those who are rejected. If your daughter is dealing with mean girls, there is hope. This too shall pass, and you can help her grow in grace through it.

Blessings,

Aubrie

The Bravery of Motherhood

Mother and child - happy time

Nobody told me how brave I would have to be.

There were the two pink lines, and then the loss of a little life, and a grieving process for a baby we never knew. And then there was the waiting, and two more pink lines, and then nine months of holding my breath for fear of loss again. There was the fear of giving birth, and then the actual giving birth which was more terrible and wonderful than I could have imagined.

And then I thought I’d be able to relax. But the old fears were replaced by new ones. What about SIDS? Was she growing normally? Was that fever too high? Why wasn’t she crawling yet? With each new milestone reached and each old fear assuaged, a new dread filled its place.

I’m beginning to think the worry never ends. I thought my mom was overreacting when she cried as I boarded a plane bound for nine months in Africa when I was just seventeen years old. Now? My heart races at the thought of my own girl doing the same someday. I can envision the fear of letting her drive a car, go to college, get married. I wish I could hold onto her, keep her close, protect her from everything forever.

But the fact remains that I can’t.

When we think of bravery, we often consider heroes like military men and women, missionaries to far-off places, or law enforcement officers, but we seldom think of moms. Do we stop to consider the temerity required every day to get up and raise children in a world chock-full of frightening possibilities?

When I was growing up, I heard my peers say things like, “I don’t just want to be a mom someday. I want to do something exciting, something that really matters.” I might have even said something like that myself. But now I know the truth.

There is nothing more thrilling or terrifying than motherhood. And there are few vocations more important than raising up children for God’s kingdom.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.

Christian mothers must be brave. The rest of the world may choose to hang on tightly to their children, idolizing them and falling apart when anything goes wrong with them. But Christian mothers must love God more than their children. They must believe that He can be trusted with the little ones He made. They must have the courage to trust God through long nights of infant sickness, days of potty training and terrible twos, moments of childhood heartache, seasons of teenage rebellion, and the inevitable day when their little ones leave the nest. Christian mothers must have the courage to face these days knowing that whether the outcome is desired or not, God’s gracious and loving character remains the same.

The Christian mother says to her child, “I love you, but I love God more, and I trust Him with your life and my own.”

In the face of adversity, heartbreak, loss, and joy alike, the Christian mom bravely believes Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you,” and she is not moved.

Blessings,

Aubrie Drayer

Encouraging the New Mom in Your Life

young old handHaving been a mom for over two years now (if you count my pregnancy!), I’m beginning to feel a bit less like a new mom. There are still plenty of days where I have no clue what I’m doing, and every day finds me on my knees begging God for wisdom and grace as I raise a little person, but I’m starting to feel a little more confident in this role. Looking back on the last two years, I am amazed at how the Lord has stretched and grown me through motherhood.

Even though I may feel much more confident in motherhood, I still need the wisdom and help of other Christian women who are further along in their walk with God and their job as moms. It is overwhelming to think of the responsibility God has given mothers. Along with our husbands, we are charged with the task of raising our children up to be faithful servants of God. Additionally, we’re responsible for their physical needs. It’s no small task.

In many cultures, women live with or very near their mothers and older female relatives. They have plenty of seasoned women who can come alongside them to counsel and help them transition into motherhood. In our Western society, many of us don’t live in the same town as our mothers, much less next door! It can be very difficult for a new mom to handle all the changes that have suddenly occurred in her life without that kind of help.

Thankfully, the Body of Christ is designed to function as a family, even when our own families are far away. Titus 2:3-5 commands, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior… They are to teach what is good,  and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

The model set forth in the Scriptures is that older, more mature Christians are to mentor and disciple younger ones. Experienced Christian moms should come alongside younger ones to disciple them in their role.

Maybe you’re a seasoned mom. Maybe your children are older, even out of the house, and you want to fulfill this role, but you don’t know how.

Let me first tell you that the younger moms I know would love to have you step into this role. We would love to have your wisdom and advice. Many of us are craving it, in fact. So don’t be afraid to step up.

If you know a young mom, start by asking if she’d like to come over for lunch. Offer to babysit her children. Encourage her if you see her living out the Gospel faithfully in her home. Admonish her gently with Scripture if she’s not. Be willing to walk with her in her new vocation. Pray for her. Set a good example of godly motherhood for her in your own life.

And fellow young moms, let’s seek out this kind of mentoring. Our independent, prideful, I-can-do-it-myself-and-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks culture has conditioned us to be defensive when others try to help us, but the Bible teaches us that we need one another to grow and become the women that God has designed us to be.

Blessings,

Aubrie Drayer

What the Master Gardener Knows {parenting with patience}

This year, I made a tentative foray into the world of gardening. By this I mean that I purchased a dozen vegetable plants and put them in pots on the sunniest side of my house. Ever since my fascination with Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was eight years old, I’ve been enchanted by the idea of working the soil to produce fruit. This year, I decided to begin.

Every morning, I head out to the side of my house to water my plants. I carefully examine their leaves for the lush tomatoes, shiny peppers, and smooth squash that I hope to find. And every morning, I go into my house disappointed. Nothing.

As a novice gardener, it’s easy to get discouraged. Where is the fruit (or vegetables, as it were)? What am I doing wrong?

My husband, who grew up spending his summers at his grandmother’s house working in her garden, smiles and shakes his head. “It’s too soon,” he tells me. “They’ll grow.” I know he’s right, but I get impatient. I can almost taste those sweet, juicy tomatoes. I want them now.

Sometimes I parent the same way I garden. I get up in the morning, eager to see the fruit of my labor, the fruit of love and training and correction and quality time and prayer, but my child is much the same as she was yesterday. And more frustratingly, I am much the same as I was yesterday. What am I doing wrong?

hands working

The beloved passage reminds us, “For everything there is a season…a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.” (Eccl. 3:1-2) We know it, but we get impatient. We want to see our little ones make good decisions, be responsible, love the Lord, be wise, act obediently. We want our home to always be a place of peace and joy. We want to be content, and we want our children to do the same.

We see growth in ourselves and in them, but we wish it was faster and bigger. We are novice gardeners as we tend to the little souls the Lord has entrusted to us. We plant the seeds and we pour the water, but the results are not immediate and we become dispirited. We want to give up.

Mercifully, God is the experienced Gardener. He knows that growth does not happen overnight. It is a slow, steady, sometimes painstaking process. It involves faithful watering and sunshine, but also getting dirty and plucking up weeds. There is a harvest to be reaped, but only once the sowing and growing have been completed.

As mothers, we are blessed with the task of nurturing the little people in our homes. We are to teach, to love, to discipline, to correct, and to guide them as they grow up into the fruitful vines we pray the Lord will make them to be. But we must be patient as we do so, because our Gardener is patient with us. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

If He can be patient in His task, oughtn’t we to do the same? For as Galatians 6:9 exhorts us, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

So let’s persevere in the long, dirty, fruitful work that is motherhood.

Blessings,

Aubrie

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...