Raising Daughters

I do not consider myself a great parent.  Unfortunately parenting does not come with an instruction manual. Most parenting is learning as you go. For that reason alone, I frequently make mistakes as a dad. By the time you add to the mix different personalities, genders, emotions, life circumstances, sin, and the complexity of leading and loving another individual, you realize quickly there is no such thing as a perfect parent.

I have also discovered parenting girls is completely different than raising boys. I grew up in a home with all brothers. My father is an only child so he has no sisters. My mom was raised with two brothers and no sisters. My older brother has only sons.  My daughter Kayleigh was the first girl in the Hudson family for 2 generations. Needless to say, raising daughters was not in the genes when my girls came along.

Every season of a child's life is different. They evolve as a person. They grow. Their personalities are shaped. Life experiences mold them. Raising a toddler looks entirely different than parenting a teenager.  Bottom line: this parenting gig is NOT easy.

I have two beautiful, fun, and intelligent daughters. For a few years now, we have been trying to navigate the "dating" waters.  When should they be allowed to start? Should they be allowed to start? {My vote is no} What does it look like? What are the expectations?  What is dating?  What does a God-honoring dating relationship even look like?  My head hurts just typing out these questions!

As the one and only God-appointed father of these two precious treasures, my natural instinct is to protect them at all costs.  I have been through enough life and its consequences to want to guard them from unnecessary heartache and hurt.  I want them to be valued. I want them to be cherished. I want them to be honored and respected. I want them to be treated like the princesses they are in my heart.

And yet, they are young ladies. My Kayleigh is 18 and in college! My Ragan is about to turn 16! I am not sure how and when this transition happened but here it is.  And I am not always sure how to handle it.  We talk. We cry. We laugh. We yell. We get frustrated. We say mean things. We pray together. We ask for forgiveness and forgive. We get angry.  We hug tightly. We love deeply. And through it all, we try and live out with each other the grace that has been lavished upon us by our Heavenly Father.

If I am completely honest, I don't always "get" my daughters. I don't get their emotions. I don't always understand their feelings. I don't always want them to grow up.  For crying out loud, I don't even get why they would want to date any stupid boy ... sorry - there's that protective dad thing. 

And they don't completely "get" me. Truthfully they will never understand the depth of my love for them until they hold their own babies.  They do not grasp the uncertainty that resides in my heart as I try and parent them in such a complicated and depraved world.  They do not comprehend the concern inside their daddy that something or someone is going to steal their most prized possession, their heart, and then trample it.

I pray regularly for God to provide preventative grace in the lives of my girls. I am thankful beyond words for the redemptive grace of Jesus that heals and restores our brokenness. But I beg God for the grace of Jesus to intervene in the lives of my girls before the brokenness occurs.  I pray His grace protects them from unnecessary hurt and sinful choices knowing that if they make choices that leave them wounded that His same grace will be there to make them whole again. But grace is not just about from what Jesus redeems us but also grace is about from what He protects us.

I LOVE being a parent. It is one of the greatest privileges of life. I love each of my children as deeply as humanly possible.  And in the end, I know they know it. I know they know that their daddy wants what is absolutely best for them.  And as they continue this transition from teenagers to young ladies, I know that they know that their daddy is a person who needs the gospel of grace.  I have been given much grace in my two girls and so I seek to be a person who extends grace to them when they blow it and asks for grace from them when I blow it. And in the end, I think that is what being a parent is all about - it is about broken people resting in the grace of an unbroken Redeemer who enables healthy relationships in the middle of the complexities of real life.

The gospel is a way of life that impacts how I parent.

And then there's my son...

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