I’ve taken the last ten days or so away from Thinking Kids to work on several important book projects. I’m so pleased to tell you that for certain I have a new book publishing November 1st from Fortress Press. When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther is the story of life of Martin Luther the Reformer for young adults — it’s also a great read for middle grade students. I can hardly wait to tell you more about it and the fun plans I have for you that coordinate with the book. I also hope to fill you in on another exciting book I have headed to publication, but I’m going to need to tell you about that one in a week or two!
Technically, we’re on Chapter eight of the book today and tomorrow. Chapter eight is all about praying for our kids, so I’m inviting you to join me in a prayer challenge the entire month of July. It’s simple — we commit to praying for our kids every day this month. I’ve made a simple printable for you based on the chapter and the prayers of Paul for God’s people. You can grab it right after the discussion of chapter eight, a few paragraphs from now. Sound good? Don’t forget to comment and let us know if you’re joining the challenge to pray for your kids!….
I’m going to be really honest; I took issue with a number of points in this chapter. However, it was a good reminder for me in some areas, so I’m just going to talk about how it impacted me. Because honestly, we can discuss the finer points of media, sleepovers, and friendships until we’re all exhausted, but those are ultimately decisions and boundaries each family must pray over and decide upon themselves.
We homeschool our two youngest children. Our oldest two have been grown and on their own for a number of years now. I often see homeschoolers stereotyped as people who want to shelter their kids from sin. In a way, that’s a gross mischaracterization of our goal in discipling our kids at home. We do live in a sinful world, and we are certainly commanded to flee from sin.
2 Timothy 2:22 says:
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
However, sin doesn’t just exist “in the world”. No, sin is in our hearts, crouching at our door. Our goal in raising our kids is to immerse them in God’s Word, to train them to do battle with sin on a daily basis, and then to go forth and disciple others in turn. However, boundaries are good things, given to us for our protection. We don’t need to attempt to earn grace by following the Law to understand that we want to stay close to the Lord’s heart on matters of behavior; not because we seek to earn our salvation, but because we seek to be progressively sanctified.
In the rest of the same paragraph to Timothy, Paul speaks to our behavior as those who would point people to Christ (as I think this chapter sought to speak to as well):
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. ~ 2 Timothy 2:23-26 ESV
I think it’s wise to progressively equip our kids to function and witness in the world. I did appreciate the question approach to each situation that the authors introduced.
How do you make decisions on media, friendships, and activities in your family?
Chapter Eight ~ Go and Tell Your Father
I struggled a little with this chapter as well. Fitzpatrick and Thompson seem to be taking for granted the idea that parents don’t pray because they regard God as critical, and present the idea that we should pray because God “loves to hear our voice” (page 133). I agree that we will desire to spend time with the Lord as we understand His grace. But I relate better to the reality that we have the extraordinary privilege of addressing the King of the Universe directly. What is more, He has adopted us as co-heirs with Christ if we do, indeed, belong to Him. How marvelous is that?
I really appreciated the reminder that rather than giving parenting advice, it is wise for me to first ask a friend about her prayer life in regards to her children. After all, it is God who changes hearts.
I also liked the fact that the authors went through Paul’s letters and addressed some of the things he regularly prayed for in regard to his “spiritual children”. I’ve put together a prayer calendar for you based on Paul’s prayers. You can print it out for any month you like, but I want to especially challenge you to commit to praying for your children this month. You can use the calendar to remind you of things you may like to pray for your kids and to remind yourself to pray daily.
Will you join our month-long prayer challenge? If so, grab the printable (just click on the link right below this), and comment below!
Chapter Nine ~ Weak Parents and Their Strong Savior
…being a successful parent and raising successful kids is the only paradigm we seem to be willing to accept. But what if we’re measuring success in the wrong way? Could it be that our perception of success isn’t God’s plan for our family? …Is there room in your parenting paradigm for weakness and failure if weakness and failure glorify God? (Give Them Grace, pgs 148-149, emphasis theirs)
I loved this chapter. I love that the authors call attention to Paul’s ministry. Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, poor, imprisoned, hungry…and so much more. Ultimately, Paul was martyred. False teachers at the church at Corinth in particular maligned Paul’s ministry because he was not blessed with health and wealth, which the teachers taught was a sign of God’s favor.
Friends, sometimes God’s grace manifests itself differently than we envision it will. His ways are not our ways. He allows us pain and suffering as a part of our sanctification and for His glory. I don’t always understand that, but I believe His written Word, and I find that concept in the Scriptures consistently. In fact, it’s a truth I meditate on quite often. I have terrible, terrible asthma. It influences absolutely everything I do. Everything. And yet, the Lord has used that thorn in my flesh to grow my faith and my dependence on Him, to grow my character, to sanctify me and the members of my family, and to glorify Himself. I don’t always see how that works, but He promises it in His Word and I believe Him. (Romans 5:1-5, as an example) His grace is sufficient for me. I believe He does the same within our families. Sometimes our suffering through parenting brings Him glory. I trust Him — do you?
Do you need to recommit to trusting that God’s grace is sufficient for you and your family?
What do you think about chapters seven through nine? Comment below, or join the discussion at the Family Discipleship Community with admins from six blogs committed to family discipleship (in no particular order): Me (surprise!), Tauna from Proverbial Homemaker, Amanda – owner of Kids in the Word, Ticia from Adventures in Mommydom, Anne Marie of Future Flying Saucers, and Joyice from Raising Boys Homeschool.
I look forward to continuing the discussion in our last post next week, friends.
Check out Sound Words ~ A theology program based on the Westminster Catechism from Proverbial Homemaker!
You can find Give Them Grace at:
Christian Book: Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus
Other parenting books reviewed on Thinking Kids
- You, Your Family, and the Internet by David Clark
- Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young
- Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. and Sherry Harney
- Engaging Today’s Prodigal by Carol Barnier
- Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson
- Your Child’s Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen
- Parenting Against the Tide: A Handbook for 21st Century Parenting by Ann Benton
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.