This is a guest post by Jaquelle Crowe.
Every mother wants a strong relationship with their daughter. Or at least, I think they do. I actually don’t know for certain since I’m not a mother. I’m a daughter who just graduated from her teens last year. What I do know is that my mother wanted a strong relationship with me, and she worked and prayed persistently to get it.
As I look back on my teen years, I loved hanging out with mom. I loved learning from her. I even took her correction pretty well because she exposed my sin truthfully yet tenderly. I loved praying with her, baking with her, going on adventures with her, and reading books with her. What’s more: I still do.
So what’s so special about my mom? It actually isn’t anything particularly special at all. It’s merely two things: she prioritized her relationship with her kids and she relied on the grace of God. She (and my dad) loved us deeply and were willing to intentionally invest the time to build lifelong relationships with us. As I consider my teen years, I’m mindful of five things my mom did to build this relationship with me.
1. She started young.
From the time that I was a baby, my parents discipled me. They made sure I knew the gospel. We did family worship every night at home, we invested in a local church, and we memorized scripture. At bedtime, my mom would often read me a story, and then we’d pray together.
When I turned 12, my mom and I started meeting once a week to go deeper—to talk about my life, spiritual disciplines, struggles, worries, fears, goals, relationships, and what I needed prayer for. Before boys or body struggles or managing money or college or career confusion was on the scene, my mom was building trust and communication with me. She was patiently teaching me how to make decisions, how to understand God’s word, how to view the world, and how to deal with sin. This built an inviolable intimacy that laid the foundation of our relationship.
2. She prayed for (and with) me.
The most impactful parts of these weekly meetings are when my mom prayed for me. She is one of the best prayer warriors I know. If she tells you she’ll pray for you, it’s not an empty platitude that slips from her mind moments later. She will pray for you. She prays for me every day—and not for vague and general sentiments but for my specific needs. Like everyone, she’s struggled with seasons of busyness or distraction and her prayer life hasn’t always thrived, but she’s worked as hard as she can to find time to pray for her kids.
Throughout my teen years at our weekly meetings, she also prayed with me. I’d listen to her come before the throne of grace on my behalf and pray about the things we talked about. It didn’t take her an enormous amount of work or time, but it’s one of the things I’m most grateful for—hearing my mom pray for me.
3. She risked vulnerability.
As I got older and I opened up more and more to my mom about my hurts, desires, and sin, she opened up to me. She communicated with me about her own struggles and flaws. She asked forgiveness for her sin. And she asked me to pray for her needs. She invited risk and vulnerability into our relationship, which in turn gave me the freedom and confidence to be open with her. What ultimately motivated my mom was humility. She was not a domineering authority; she was a gentle servant leader.
4. She learned with me.
One thing that makes her a tremendous leader is her love of learning. My mom is a voracious reader, she takes classes and courses just for fun, and she loves conferences. And she invited me into this love of learning along with her. Back when we started meeting, we read books together every week. We’d read a chapter or two and then discuss it. Over the years, we read dozens of books together—on topics ranging from biblical womanhood to theology to classic literature.
My mom’s love of learning has looked different depending on her season of life—e.g., as a mom of toddlers vs. a mom of teens. But she’s never wanted to stagnate; she wants to grow.
5. She had fun with me.
And she’s helped me grow over the years as she’s studied with me, taught me, and read books with me. But she’s also helped me grow through play, rest, and fun. In fact, one of the most crucial elements to our relationship is that my mom had fun with me. She made games out of road trips. She spun stories out of math problems. She’d take me out of school for surprise trips. She’d make shopping into a whole experience. She’d watch movies with me. It doesn’t sound particularly spiritual, but it’s had a radical impact on me. In doing those things, my mom cultivated a happy home. She strengthened our relationship and reflected God’s goodness, generosity, and joy.
Gospel Grace for Moms
I wish you could meet my mom. To me, she is special. But she’d be quick to tell you she’s not. She hates talking about herself. Instead, she’d tell you her flaws—her frustration, her impatience, her inadequacy, her pride, her fear. She’d say she’s far from a spiritual giant and that raising godly kids wasn’t about her.
“It just took intentionality,” she’d tell you. “But most of all, the grace of God.”
For both my mom and you, there is gospel grace to meet you at every turn. No mom is “mom enough.” Every mom needs infinite grace to forgive her sins, to work through her mistakes, and to point her and her kids to Jesus. Remember: he is the savior of your family, not you.