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For Your Weekend: Invest in the Most Important Relationship Your Daughter Will Ever Have

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
December 16, 2023

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read John 1:6–8,19–28

“Everybody is going to think we’re like the Duggars.” This was the response of one of my kids when I shared that I was pregnant with our seventh child. Concern over what people would think about us felt like the least of my worries. My greatest fear was that there wouldn’t be enough of me to do all that was needed. I wanted to be attentive to each of my children’s needs, to tend to the little details that mattered but could just as easily be ignored, and to be available anytime a mother’s love would make a big difference. Most of all, I wanted to lead each one to a personal relationship with the Lord. I was already finding these things hard with six kids. How was I ever going to do it with seven? The question that went through my head over and over was this: Am I enough? With all my heart, I really wanted to be, but my awareness of all the ways in which I failed felt paralyzing.

The Lord was in the process of teaching me a lesson that John the Baptist modeled throughout his life. He features right away in this weekend’s gospel reading: “A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light” (John 1:6–8). 

Here’s an interesting fact about the way John the Baptist is described in the Gospel of John. Every single reference to him is a reference of depreciation.[1] There’s an explanation for this. Everyone was taking notice of John the Baptist because his voice was a prophetic one, and for the previous 400 years, the voice of prophecy had been silent. People were utterly fascinated by this locust-eating, animal skins-wearing man of boldness. But in many cases, this adulation led to people giving him a higher place than he was meant to have. 

All sorts of people came out into the wilderness to try to figure out who he was. Was he the Christ? Elijah? The prophet? No to all. 

He said, “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:23–27).

“Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23). Where would the Lord Jesus be walking? It wouldn’t be on a paved sidewalk or a concrete highway. The roads of Palestine that Jesus walked on were just tracks of dirt. Because of this, when a king was going to visit a province or a conqueror was going to travel through his new domains, people were sent before him to smooth out the roads and put them in order. John the Baptist was putting himself in the place of one of those workers, saying: “‘I am nobody; I am only a voice telling you to get ready for the coming of the King, for he is on the way.’ John was what every true preacher and teacher ought to be—only a voice, a pointer to the King. The last thing that he wanted anyone to do was to look at him; he wanted people to forget him and see only the King.”[2]

As I think about the road that lies between our children and the King of kings, I see a lot of potholes. I know you do, too. And it’s easy to feel utterly unequipped to do anything about it. But what if that is our job as moms? It’s not our job to make our kids love Jesus. That’s impossible because love can’t be forced. But are there ways in which we can tempt our kids to love Him? I believe there are, and when we do this, we are following the example of John the Baptist, “making straight the way of the Lord.”

Helping you all to do this very thing has been my one persistent obsession for the past seven years. I have studied this next generation, and I’ve spent countless hours with them, listening, learning, and discovering the ways in which their hearts get unlocked and open up to God. And I want to share these things with you.

This is why I have developed a new curriculum for high school girls called Sisters of Strength. It’s going to be available to you this spring, and there will be a book the girls can read themselves, a curriculum you can lead one-on-one or with a group of girls, and an accompanying journal. It is all tested and approved by the seventy girls at our local Catholic high school (the OG Sisters of Strength).

But that’s not all. And I REALLY hope moms of girls in high school and college are still reading. And I hope you’ll share this blog post with any mom you know with girls that age.

I want to not just offer you these materials, I want to give you a once-in-a-lifetime, in-person opportunity to transform your relationship with your daughter and introduce her to Jesus in a way that she has never experienced before. I’m being joined by an incredible team: Heather Khym, Father Dave Pivonka, Debbie Herbeck, Rachel Herbeck, and Sarah Kroger. Together, we are welcoming mothers and daughters to the Sisters of Strength Gathering on April 5-7, 2024, at the Lansdowne Resort in northern Virginia.

I know there are barriers to coming to something like this. I know it costs money to go to this event, and I know how expensive school, sports, and all the things are. I get it. I also think there is absolutely no better place to invest your money. This is an investment in the most important relationship your daughter will ever have. The same cannot be said for time with her lacrosse coach, no matter how lovely he or she may be.

I know you all are busy. Too busy! Maybe you’re thinking, “It sounds like a nice idea…I can see it’s valuable…” but you’ve already got commitments at that time. I understand. But I am going to challenge you on that. What is it that is on your schedule? And let me ask this question, respectfully but earnestly, is what is on your schedule more important than your relationship with your daughter or her relationship with the Lord?

Isn’t this the sort of experience that you wish you had had when you were your daughter’s age? What would have been different in your life if your mother and Jesus had impacted you in such a way that everything changed—that your identity became rooted in something other than your achievements, relationships, or looks? What might have been different if you had discovered at such an early age that you had a God-given purpose, that you were here for a reason? What if you had found God earlier? What might be different today?

We have all made mistakes, and sometimes that makes us feel disqualified from speaking into our daughter’s lives. If that is where you are today, kick that garbage thought to the curb. There is no one like you in your daughter’s life. No one more qualified, no one more concerned, no one better equipped than you to point her to the King of kings.

That’s all I’m asking. Just point to Him. And tell your daughter to get ready for a wonderful weekend together. Is she dragging her heels? Tell her this is the only thing you want for Christmas. Because time with her is the greatest gift.

With you on the journey,
Lisa

Food for thought or journaling…

What is a way in which you have seen God’s goodness today? Is there anyone you can share that with and, in doing so, point toward Jesus?

Dear Lord, help me to reject the self-talk that says I am disqualified to witness because of my past mistakes. Grant me the humility to remember it’s not about me. Grant me the courage to point to You, Your beauty and goodness. Amen.

[1] William Barclay, The Gospel of John, Vol. 1 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017), 58.
[2] Ibid, 92.

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