Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shepherding Our Future Woman

It’s hard to believe that Hannah will be 9 later this year. In light of this, Joanna and I spent time earlier this year discussing our vision for our children, where we would like them to be over the next 10 years and what we need to do to help get them there. (This went along with our discussion on Adventure for our family.)  In 10 years, Hannah could be a freshman in college!  We discussed things like her strengths and gifts, God’s call for her as a reflection of His image, and what specific applications we can implement this year.

Strengths and Gifting. The name “Hannah” means grace. Since she was born, I have prayed that she would be a giver of grace and a blessing to others. Even in a first year of life, a mom we respect told us that Hannah would be sensitive and come to know Christ at a young age; she was right on the money. Hannah loves being at home, and is very motherly. She practically single-handedly taught Elijah to read, she loves to help take care of younger cousins and other friends, and she figured out on her own how to change Sender’s diaper. She is very creative, whether in arts and crafts, or with the colorful outfits she puts together. Like her dad, she struggles with being “wise in her own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7), and with pride and self-sufficiency. But overall, she is very compliant. She is OK at math, and mostly likes science when it involves projects. Sometimes (again, like her dad) she struggles to communicate her feelings, as she bottles it up inside her.

God’s Call. God created Hannah in His image. That is, in her femininity she has been created to reflect His nature. We at Grace Church are delving deeply into the issue of gender. From over 8 years of Men’s Roundtable, we have a solid language of what Biblical manhood is. Over the past year, leaders at Grace Church have focused more and more on honing the language of Biblical womanhood. We’re not there yet, but for the moment, we’ll use the language that Joanna and I came across years ago.
  • Embrace God’s calling. We must help her know that she was created with unique gifts that she must use to bless God’s kingdom. We feel that part of this involves nurturing the next generation, possibly through children of her own, but definitely through the local church.
  • Reject the world’s temptation for significance. We want her to know that her value must never depend on material things, which is what the culture will tell her. A focus on clothes, money, friends, and even status will never satisfy her or glorify God. We want to disciple her to pursue modesty, and to respect and respond to authority. 
  • Expect God’s reward. Above all, she must learn to trust in Christ. In life, she will experience hardships, unkindness, and even abuse. We must not aim to merely protect her from these things. Instead, we must help her to know that in all these hardships, she should rejoice, knowing that in suffering she has the privilege of identifying with Christ. Furthermore, instead of receiving temporary earthly rewards, she gets to receive eternal rewards from the One who died for her sake. Our goal is to shepherd her towards a gospel-oriented life, with her perspective centered around the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Applications.  Here are some things for Joanna and I to do this year:
  1. Explain to her the core callings and definition of a woman, and why we think they are important.
  2. Increase her responsibility around the home, so that she can acquire useful skills for life (load dishwasher, help make dinner, clean up after dinner, laundry)
  3. When she does her ROAD Map Bible study, I will start to give her less guidance
  4. Give her more opportunities to serve others, such as in our Preschool ministry, HOG Day, etc.

Thoughts or questions?

-- Joey Espinosa


  1. Thanks for posting this! This was very timely for me, as I was just listening to the Roundtable on "A Man and His Daughter". It's difficult for me to put the family planning thing into actual words. I think this will help me get started. I'm going to sit down with my wife and talk about our own daughter (and future son).

  2. Joey, I love this! I think that being purposeful in all relationships is important, but especially in parenting. I wish that my parents had had this discussion when I was young. I think it would have changed the way they parented/related to me and really benefitted me (not to mention, taking their eyes off of themselves and turning them to God, which would have had a major, tangible affect on our family's direction). I feel like the way I was raised would be viewed by the world as "good" or "normal", which just equates to "worldly" when what I needed was godly and heavenly. I'm thankful you and Joanna are so transparent, allowing us to think through and dialogue important aspects of our walk with God.