It looked harmless enough.
My teenage daughter, Molly, had asked me to buy a magazine.
The cover mostly featured promises of amazing makeup tips and trendy hairstyles.
But buried in in its pages was an article downplaying the dangers of pot. Another gave advice about how girls could handle themselves in order to impress more sexually experienced boys.
The answer was, “No.”
“I just want it for the fashion, Mom! I didn’t even see those articles.”
I believed her.
But what I don’t trust is a world that makes sin and compromise look so harmless and appealing. That highlights all the short-term benefits and pleasures, but conveniently leaves out all the dangerous pitfalls and high long-term costs.
A world that doesn’t have women’s best interests at heart, only their financial interest and agenda.
During this discussion, my daughter said this: “Sometimes it seems like you are always against everything, Mom. What are you FOR?”
That question has stuck with me. She’s right. There’s so much vile stuff in our culture, so much garbage being thrown at our girls, that yes, I’m sure it does seem like I’m pretty much against everything.
Molly is almost 18. Looking back, I wish I’d been more deliberate and memorable in communicating what I am very much for when it comes to young women, and women in general. I still have time. And so do you. Here are a few things that I want my daughter to know I am all for:
Embracing our Unique Design
God made men and women are different. I always thought that was obvious, but not long ago, Time magazine made it their cover story, as if it was some kind of major epiphany. Yes, we are different, but equal in God’s sight. He places incredible value on women.
He could have sent His Son into the world in a thousand different ways, but how did He do it? Through a young woman named Mary. Who did He appear to first that Easter morning after His resurrection? A woman named Mary Magdelene.
Women bring things to the table that no man ever could — a sensitivity, a unique depth of insight, a beautiful mystique. An ability to see situations and details from a perspective that only we can.
Each gender has areas of strength and weakness. We complement each other, by His Divine design.
And, yet, our culture tells us that our femininity is a liability or limitation — instead of a powerful and unique characteristic given to us by our Creator. That we have to be like men in order to be equal and respected.
It’s a lie.
Personally, I don’t want to be like a man. I love being a woman and want to embrace all the unique gifts and characteristics God entrusted to our gender alone.
Making Choices that Give Life
Everywhere you look, the message is clear: “Freedom is being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want! It’s your body. It’s your life. Nobody should have the right to tell you how to live, including God!”
But that’s not true freedom. It’s a dangerous substitute.
True freedom can only be found in Christ. He created us and so it stands to reason that His blueprint for how we’re to live is the one we should follow. Not to restrict us, but to give us life!
His guidelines are set out of pure love — to protect us, to give us joy and peace. Doing “whatever we want” only makes us slaves to those things we think will bring freedom. Our desires, if not guided and refined by a loving and holy God, can drive us to some dark places. That’s not what true freedom looks like.
Recently, there was a great anti-smoking commercial that illustrated this principle beautifully:
True freedom? I’ll all FOR it!
Maintaining our Respect and Dignity
If we can’t be convinced to “bury” our femininity, we’re encouraged to exchange it for an exhibitionist sexuality.
This doesn’t empower women. It cheapens us.
What women are led to think is saying, “I’m powerful. I can do anything I want. I can get you to do anything I want.” actually tells the world, “Here I am. I’m not requiring anything of you. You can have all of me. Everything you see here is where my value lies.”
Anything of great value should never be acquired easily.
Every woman who God created is of great value. Women are so much more than the external package.
I’m FOR women recognizing their value — as a unique creation of God. I’m FOR women requiring a man to honor their boundaries, earn their respect and prove himself worthy of their time and affection.
I want my daughter — and all women — to embrace so much more than short-term solutions and satisfaction. Our desire for instant gratification, often ultimately leads to long-term damage, scars and regret.
So, yes, I’m for women giving up their rights — their “right” to make choices that promise life and freedom, but only bring enslavement and death. Their “right” to give themselves away too easily. Their “right” to strip themselves of their God-given feminine uniqueness.
I’m not naive. I’ve tried to educate my kids about the realities of this world. But I’m not endorsing those realities, either.
Because here’s what I’ve found to be true: When we surrender our “rights” to a loving Creator, we receive much more in return that anything we think we’re giving up.
And, daughter, I’m all FOR that.