Raising Girls of Courage

By Dannah Gresh

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By Dannah Gresh, Founder of True Girl

I saw something I cannot unsee.

Maybe you saw it too? It was security camera footage of an eighteen-year-old woman. A video of her—tossing her baby into a garbage dumpster. Callously. 

My heart recoiled that night. It was just too much. 

Mind you, my heart was weighed down by more than just that video. It was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. That same week, I’d endured…well, so many other sad, dark, evil things. On one talk show program I watched that week, some parents were brave enough to show up and say, “our kids are confused!”

The question in my head was: how do Christians parent through all of this?

We’re living in a post-Christian world. Today I want to show you a biblical example who encourages me as I parent and grandparent in a world that is hostile to truth. 

Let’s talk about Jochebed!

Just in case you don’t recognize that name, let’s go back to a pretty hostile time in world history. Pharaoh declared that all the boys born to Israeli slave women should be murdered. 

Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile.”

Exodus 1:22

This man wanted all the baby boys just tossed into the river. Callously.

Here’s where we meet Jochebed on the pages of scripture, though we don’t know her name just yet. She and her husband are expecting a baby. I imagine she prayed, “God, please let it be a girl!!!” It wasn’t. She has a baby boy. She—like many of us today—was in a situation where she had to decide to obey the edict or live counter culturally and obey God. 

She chose well. She lived righteously. And the payoff was big. Jochebed is an unseen and most-often unnamed lynchpin in the deliverance of God’s chosen people. She was the mother of Moses AND Aaron AND Miriam—the three siblings who God used to lead Israel out of enslavement. She and her husband Amran are commended in the Bible’s hall of faith. 

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

Hebrews 11:23

Now—at this moment in history, we need parents whose faith is like Jochebed and her husband. We need men and women who are not afraid of worldly edicts. We need mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers who train their children to stand strong and live courageously. Like Moses and Aaron and Miriam.

In 2021, I wrote a Bible study for my sweet tween True Girls. It’s titled Miriam: Becoming A Girl of Courage. As I studied her life for your daughters, I came across lessons for my own heart as a woman. I want to share two of the  lessons I’ve been learning from the life of Miriam. And I just have to start with a lesson from her mom.

Long before Aaron, Moses, and Miriam were leaders. Jochebed had to hide her baby boy, Moses, from the Pharaoh who wanted to destroy him. She wove a basket, made sure it was water tight, and placed her baby in the Nile River. Then—get this—she asked her tween daughter to babysit that basket, thus inviting her to be a part of a very risky and courageous plan. 

Life Lesson #1 from Miriam (and her mom): Invite Your Daughter To Live Courageously!

Jochebed was not about to turn her children over to the enemy!!! Nor did she run from the enemy. She did not cower in fear. 

Exodus 2 is where we are first introduced to Miriam though her name is not recorded just yet. Many Bible scholars believe that she was somewhere between the ages of 7-12. (Just the ages of my True Girls.) She was young. We first meet her just after Jochebed has slipped baby Moses into that basket and put it into the Nile River. Then, the Bible records this:

“... his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him.”
Exodus 2:4

OK, let’s really think about this! Jochebed wasn’t just risking one baby when she put him in a basket on the Nile River. (Have you ever considered that she hid Moses in the very place intended to be his grave?) Jochebed was also risking her sweet daughter’s life when she invited her to courageously stand guard! But in faith, Jochebed used the evil rule of man as a teaching tool. She taught her daughter the fear of the Lord! She taught Miriam to stand up courageously. 

Is that what we do in this post-Christian culture? Do we use the evil in our world as an opportunity to invite our daughters to stand up courageously? 

I’m afraid that our go-to as moms is often one of two things.

  1. We over-protect—We’d never be the mom who let Miriam stand by that deep, murky water let alone guard a baby with a bounty on its head. I confess, I’ve been the mom who —when one of my girls is being tested or challenged— fixedI fix the thing! I often over-protected my girls.
  2.  We over-direct—If we did let our girl stand guard at the Nile, we’d unquestionably be there to make good and sure she did it right. Again, God forgive me, I look back and wish that when we did the simple things—the making of the brownies or the decorating of the Christmas cards—that I had been a lot less controlling. I was quick to over-direct.

I’m afraid we often function somewhere between full-on “helicopter mom” and a Christian version of “tiger mom.” Is that how we produce mature, adult believers in a post-Christian culture? A culture, let me remind you, where so many young adult believers are walking away from the faith?

Now, there’s wisdom to be applied. Discernment. Checking in with the Holy Spirit for direction but being “safe” is not always the highest priority. Being obedient is. I guess I just want to challenge: are we checking in with God when we parent?

My sense is that if we check in with God’s Spirit, we’ll be more like Jochebed. We’ll raise courageous daughters. We must invite them to run into the work the Lord has for them in this world. If that sounds scary, here’s a sweet benefit to consider: courageously living by faith, overrides fear.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

As you—and your daughter—seek the Lord, press into what He has for you at this time in this world and, you will be delivered of your fears. Courageously living by faith, overrides fear. It also produces Christian adults who live REAL Christianity out. Rebecca McGlaughlin, author of Confronting Christianty, has said: “The best way I can prepare my children for life as an adult-Christian, is to equip them for life as a child-Christian.” 

I like that. 

There’s no junior salvation or age of readiness for the Great Commission. If your daughter knows Christ, she’s called to serve Him. Today. Now. Courageously.

So, what’s happening in your daughter’s post-Christian world? Could it be that the hostility she’s facing is actually an opportunity for her to live like a real Christian. Boldly. Faithfully. Courageously.

Let me go back to where I started—at the dumpster where that 18-year-old tossed her baby boy, proving that mothers do toss their babies. Well, seeing the footage of that incident reminded me of “expositio.” That’s what they called the ancient practice of abandoning unwanted newborn babies. It was a common occurrence in Greece. And in Rome.

Where did they abandon these babies? On the steps of an orphanage? At the county police station? No. The ancient Greeks and Romans disposed of babies in the trash heaps on the edges of towns.

But 2,000 years ago Christians were known for something in that PRE-Christian culture. It was something that seemed odd to the rest of their world. They watched the trash heaps! They quietly rescued babies, taking them in to be part of their families. Or finding someone who could.

And this took great courage. You see, others watched those heaps too…for babies that could one day be slaves. Discarded children were a currency of sorts. But the courageous believers were there standing guard for the little ones who’d been tossed aside. Callously.

And today many Christians are still a part of that quiet rescue. It was the same kind of rescue the Jochebed invited Miriam to participate in. Why? Because they’re courageous.

Are you raising a daughter who will stand in those ranks? 

Are you raising courage?

Ready to go deeper into the life of courage? You can find incredible resources to help your daughter live courageously for Christ by visiting mytruegirl.com.



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