The Importance of Mother-Daughter Relationships
I’m 20, and my mom is one of my best friends. She’s my safe space, my closest counselor, and my biggest supporter. And it’s been like this for as long as I can remember.
Somehow my relationship with my mom didn’t just survive my teen years; it flourished during them. My teen years are what formed the bond we have now.
But how did that happen?
When people ask me, “How do you have strong faith at such a young age?” my answer is always, “God’s work through my parents’ discipleship.”
The Start of One-on-One Discipleship
All my life, my parents have been intentional about cultivating family discipleship. We did family worship each night. My brother and I were homeschooled, and my parents were diligent about worldview training.
But when I was 12, they became intentional about one-on-one discipleship, and I believe it was this that contributed so significantly to building a relationship with my mom.
As a teenager, I didn’t need a mom who let me do whatever I wanted, who tried to be my best friend by being cool, casual, indulgent, and non-disciplinary. Instead, I needed an authority figure who disciplined me when necessary, but who also taught me, advised me, prayed for me, listened to me, invested in me, learned about my interests, made time and space for my problems, and loved me; I needed someone to disciple me. And that’s my mom.
Benefits of One-on-One Discipleship
Moms who have never done this kind of discipleship might wonder what its true benefits are—especially because this task seems daunting. Is the hard work of discipleship worth it? From my own life, here are just five benefits of discipleship:
A stronger relationship.
When I was 12, I began meeting with my mom once a week to talk about what was going on in my life, and this continued every week of my teen years. We talked about what I needed prayer for, where I was struggling, how my personal spiritual disciplines were going, what boys I liked, how I felt about school, what my dreams were, what I was learning in God’s Word, what made me happy, what made me sad, and absolutely anything else I wanted to talk about.
But discipleship wasn't isolated to that once-a-week appointment. It happened in the car on the way to drama class, at the mall as we shopped for clothes, in her bedroom as we watched movies, at the table as we did school work, every day. These times brought us closer together in a powerful way as we grew to know each other on a deep level, through both our spiritual moments and our silly ones.
A clearer vision of biblical womanhood.
My mom didn’t just teach by example, she took the time to patiently instruct me on what a godly woman is, especially through reading books together. Over the years we read books like Girl Talk by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre, Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh, The True Woman by Susan Hunt, Girls Gone Wise by Mary Kassian, and Damsels in Distress by Martha Peace.
These books led to countless conversations about what it means to be a godly woman for each unique stage of life, through pre-teen struggles and questions on through my teen years.
A more discerning mind.
My mom’s discipleship encouraged me to think critically. Almost every week she’d ask me if there was anything I disagreed with in the book we were reading. We also talked through conflicts I had with friends. We talked through world events and how to make sense of pain and violence. We talked through movies, music, and culture. Through it all, she showed me how to engage with the world around me, think for myself, and make wise decisions.
A greater hatred for sin.
Whenever my mom confronted me about sin, she was quick to point out that her confrontation was rooted in love, not frustration. She brought this up because my sin displeased God and fractured relationships, and my mom loved me too much to let it go.
Some of my most vivid memories of our meetings are when my mom confessed her sin to me and asked for forgiveness. She has a tremendous love for reconciliation. Neither of us is perfect; we failed miserably during my teen years (just like we will fail during my twenties), but we continue to pursue holiness.
A confidence in the faith.
When people ask me, “How do you have strong faith at such a young age?” my answer is always, “God’s work through my parents’ discipleship.” My mom worked hard to give me the tools I needed to thrive as a Christian. She equipped me to face life confidently, utterly assured of my identity in Christ. Discipleship gave me a mentor, friend, teacher, and mom who walks with me through life and gives me a bigger passion to glorify God.
The Gift of Discipleship
Moms, the greatest thing you can give your daughter is discipleship. Give her your full heart, a discerning mind, a kind mouth, and open ears. She needs you to invest in her for her good and for the kingdom’s purpose.
Moms, the greatest thing you can give your daughter is yourself.
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