Raising Radiant Daughters | Part II

Posted on: November 14, 2012 Written by
Raising Radiant Daughters | Part II
      Photography by: KGP from iStock    

Part II: Telling the Truth

“You are the God who sees me.” (Gen. 16:13)

Radiance. Isn’t that what we long to see when we look in the faces of our daughters? We want to see the celebration of heart that happens when a girl knows to the core of her being that she is “in the image of God.” We want her to know that when God created her, He cupped her tenderly in His hands and laughed over her in delight.

As our daughters grow up in Islamic cultures, how can we proactively offset the negative input…the comments, the stares, the frequent small abuses that teach untruthful messages about women?  I believe we can only do it by conscientiously seeking every possible means of reaffirming the Truth. We must effectively communicate to our daughters that they are of value, that their accomplishments are significant, that God loves them dearly.

Why is this such a difficult thing to do in practice? In the crush of ministry responsibilities, in the pressure of trying to make culturally­sensitive lifestyle choices, in the crazy, unpredictable patterns of our lives overseas, why is it so hard to take the time to see, and hear, and touch, and love our daughters? Where are we to find the resources to replenish in them what gets so terribly depleted by the negative messages they absorb? How can we reach through and fill the hearts of our daughters with good?

I wonder if part of our difficulty lies in the tension we feel between living “incarnationally” within the culture, while at the same time resisting its ungodly Islamic view of women. To what extent are we to follow the cultural norms, and at what point should we take a stand against them? If we take a stand against them, should we do it only verbally, or should we do it by making lifestyle changes with regard to how we raise our daughters?

Somehow Jesus handled these hard issues so well. He was able to reach straight through cultural barriers and speak to women soul to soul. And He didn’t just do it with words. And He didn’t just do it in all the socially acceptable ways. In a sense, the Jesus we follow into these Islamic cultures is unpredictable and upsetting. He doesn’t always stick to the rules. He goes to radical lengths to become incarnate and to fully identify with those He comes to save. And then, having done that, He promptly breaks the cultural norms, sits down beside a well and engages a Samaritan woman in personal conversation. Or He allows a harlot to touch His feet with her tears. He shocks and alienates people… and then goes out searching for them one lost sheep at a time.

What would this same Jesus do in our position in an Islamic context? How does He want His women to live there? What truths would He want us to know as we seek to raise the daughters He has given us?

I believe those truths would include the following:

1. The Truth About Local Attitudes Towards Women and Sexuality

2. God’s Truth Modeled in Positive Intimate Relationships

3. The Truth About Our Daughters’ Created Identities

 

© 2012 Women of the Harvest.

Question to Consider: What truths have you found helpful as you seek to raise the children God has given you?

 



About the author

Raising Radiant Daughters was first published in our print magazine in 2003. We receive frequent requests to republish this article. In honor of our 15th Anniversary, we are republished Part I last month and Part II this month.

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  • These are really challenging questions — and not just when raising daughters in a Muslim context (but how much more intense in those situations!). I guess we all struggle — or should — with finding the “Jesus line” between cultural sensitivity and living out an often counter-cultural faith in Christ. In all the countries where we live and work… and perhaps most of all in our home countries.

    I really like the list at the end, of truths to communicate as we seek to raise radiant daughters. My daughter just turned 12; seems a good time to review this list and make opportunities to reinforce these truths again.

  • Patty A.

    This is an excellent article for all missionary parents. The truths presented about living in an M context are also true about raising children in a traditional African setting. Theses are things that parents of boys and girls must actively address in whatever their cultural setting is. Thank you for putting words into thoughts I have long held!