She dresses with strength and nobility, and she smiles at the future.
To me, this is one of the most inspiring scriptures describing God’s vision for women:
- Having strength means having great determination, self-control and good judgement; being able to withstand great pressure and hardship; not easily disturbed.
- Nobility means showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals
- Smiling at the future – being filled with vision and purpose for your life and how you will contribute to the world around her.
One thing that is very important to us in the BACC Y-ministry is helping young women develop these characteristics, because we know teenagers are surrounded by very different and sometimes destructive messages from the world around them, like:
- No one really likes you
- You are too fat
- You’ll only be happy if you have a boyfriend
- You will have friends if you go along with what everyone else is doing
Unfortunately, in working with teenagers for the last six years, I’ve seen many girls live by and believe these messages. As a result they often become insecure, lonely, and start finding unhealthy ways to get the confidence they need. This can include things like:
- under- or overeating
- crossing lines in dating relationships
- engaging in self-harm behaviors
- under- and overachieving in school
Fortunately, parents can help. Here are some things we offer in the Y-ministry to help parents raise a powerful girl:
1. Encouraging teens to pursue a passion
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.
Proverbs 29:18 (Message translation)
Girls need to see and believe that God has a great vision and purpose for their lives. Each year we have Y-Women’s Day events where middle school, teen and college-aged girls come together for inspiration and vision about how their lives can make a difference in the world around them. All summer long we also encourage teens to take on leadership positions at middle school and teen camps and also in internships throughout the church.
We also encourage every teen to see how their strengths and their weaknesses can make a difference for other people. In a recent blog post from Sue Scheff, guest writer Alia Haley writes, “When a daughter is brought up in a positive way and encouraged to pursue a goal in life, there is every chance that she will do so.”
We believe this is true in the Y-ministry as well; when teenagers make destructive choices it is often because they need more vision. We work to help every teen and their families see a bigger purpose for their lives.
2. Women’s leadership and role models
These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
As the scripture teaches, women can best help other women grow in loving, living wisely, and doing good. In the Y-ministry we have parents and families who have been through nearly every situation possible, and moms can learn from other moms how to help their families through the teen years.
Teenagers also need young women role models, and so every teenager has a y-partner they can talk to and learn from, no matter what they are going through in school, life or their relationship with God.
3. Learning to value what God values, instead of what the world teaches
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1 Peter 3:3-4
In the Y-ministry we also believe in teaching girls to value what the world values. Through personal Bible studies and small group devotionals we want to help girls build a personal relationship with God and confidence that will last throughout their lives.
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