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by Charnele Gadie

Parenthood, we’ve heard it time and time before: it is one of the most rewarding yet difficult jobs in the world! For me, the most difficult thing about parenting is the enormous mirror that is held up on a daily basis. It reveals hidden sinful areas that I would have never known existed. Seeing these ugly parts of me sometimes makes me ashamed and brings feelings of defeat. However, I am learning to accept that I am a great sinner in desperate need of God’s grace.

Jesus tells us plainly in his word, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Thus, I now know better and instead of running from God I run to the feet of Jesus. He has shown me that He is our High Priest who understands our weaknesses because He was tempted in every way but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

God is my Heavenly Father and an amazing teacher. So many times, when I see my child as a problem (if so-and-so would only get their act together!) I am pointed at the sin in myself. I am a germ freak and also a clean freak (you would doubt this if you were to walk into my home at the moment) but, as we all know, kids are the opposite of clean. It frustrates me so much when my kids make a mess, especially right after I’ve cleaned. However, the Lord revealed to me the big mess we made in sinning against Him. Yet, instead of getting frustrated and angry with us, He showed us grace and gave of Himself to clean us up.

When I am annoyed that my kids want my undivided attention at every given moment of every second of every day, God gently reminds me of how they are the perfect example of how we should be with Him. When I am exhausted from parenting and feel like I don’t have much more to give, I am reminded that I need to abide in my Heavenly Father’s love. It is only then that I am able to see the BIG PICTURE and realize that God is walking with me every step of the way and that He is my strength.

When I preach the Gospel to myself daily, I can see clearly the great and awesome responsibility God has given me in these eternal souls. In the Gospel we are told that God loves us not because of anything we have done but in spite of everything we have done. Remembering and mediating on truth daily helps me to center all I do in Christ, which in turn helps my love not to grow cold. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us and sent his Son as payment for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11)

So many times, when I am teaching my children right from wrong, I feel my very own words piercing my own heart. At that moment, I realize my children are not the only ones being parented but I myself am also being parented by my Heavenly Father. This compels me more and more to be in his image so my kids can see the awesome God mommy serves and seek to serve the one and only, true, and living God themselves.

Treat Yo Self

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by Erica Choi

One of the best comedies that Patrick and I have binge-watched is Parks and Recreation. On the show, Donna and Tom name one day of each year as, “Treat Yo Self Day”. It’s a day when all bets are off when it comes to getting and doing things for themselves. Whether it’s buying new clothes or fine leather goods, spending money at the spa, or getting bottomless mimosas, their mantra on this day is simply, “Treat Yo Self”; and they treat themselves lavishly. It’s hilarious and fun. Sometimes the same phrase crosses my mind when I decide to grab four donut holes instead of three on my way into church.

But strangely, a lot of us associate this kind of frivolous behavior and thinking with something that I’ve found to actually be vastly important as a parent: self-care.

Self-care is often seen as this selfish, luxurious spoiling of ourselves by satisfying whatever cravings we want. We picture ourselves with cucumbers over our eyes as we get a massage, or doing yoga on a retreat in the mountains – and we could sigh wistfully over these kinds of thoughts all day long – but the self-care that I found myself needing after becoming a mother ran so much deeper.

My soul was in need of care. We now had this tiny human who needed us every moment of her life, and I was surprised by how instantly my cares, my thoughts, and all of my energy started pouring into her. This is obviously not a bad thing! This is caring for a child, and it’s the greatest honor and responsibility in the world. But it didn’t take long for me to feel pangs of loneliness and an exhaustion that went far beyond just the physical. I was pouring into her without having any nourishment for my own life and that could only last for so long.

Whether you’re a new parent like me, or someone with years and years of experience, we all know the feeling of caring abundantly for someone else. Allow me to share three reasons why it’s important to know the feeling of caring abundantly for yourself as well.

Reason One: God Cares For You

Just because you now have a son or daughter doesn’t mean you ever stop being a son or daughter of God. Let your first act of self-care be sitting in his presence just as you are. You will never feel more nourished than when you’re allowing the One who knows all your needs to fill you with his joy. Let these words resonate with you:

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

Care for yourself by allowing God to show his care for you.

Reason Two: Jesus Called Us To Care For Ourselves

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How often do we read that and feel convicted about how we treat others? But there are two different people receiving love in this command: your neighbor and yourself. It doesn’t say, “Love your neighbor and belittle, neglect, or forget yourself.” Jesus calls us to love and value ourselves and then to care for others in the same way.

Reason Three: Even Jesus Demonstrated Self-Care

Because He humbled Himself by coming in human flesh, Jesus had need for self-care. He pulled away to spend time alone with the Father and recharge. He surrounded Himself with friends who did life with Him and encouraged Him. He had to stop to sleep, eat, drink, and pray. He knew that in order to be effective He had to meet certain human needs first. If Jesus needed self-care, we are not above needing it either.

So, what does this look like in real life? The answer will be different for everyone. For me, it has looked like asking my husband or in-laws for a few hours at a time to go to a coffee shop so I can read or spend time with the Lord. It looked like joining a women’s soccer league; returning to a sport that once gave me deep friendships and a lot of happiness. It meant finding a counselor to work through emotions and experiences for which I desired spiritual insight. (I had put this off for years. It wasn’t until I felt the deepest need for self-care I had ever felt that I finally pursued it. And it’s been such a source of healing and sitting in truth!)

What are the things that draw you closer to Jesus? What are some of your God-created talents, passions, or desires that you could pursue? Who are people you could surround yourself with that will lift you up, and come alongside you, in caring for yourself? What is one thing you could do to love yourself as you love your neighbor, your children, and your spouse?

My encouragement to you is to “Treat Yo Self” in some rich, God-glorifying, and loving ways. Try it and you’ll see that you are a beloved child of the Father!

Fighting for the Light

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by Megan Johnson

It’s time to start discipleship groups again at the church. This church, that was birthed with blood, sweat, and tears out of our living room. This church, that was birthed out of my and Ryan’s discipleship groups. God be praised!

Being in a group of women in a discipling relationship (meaning even though I’m the leader they disciple me too) has been transformative beyond words. And it’s how Jesus called us to live and walk.

I love the groups I’ve had over the years, and I want to share about something that happened as we lived life together this past season.

We re-named our group “Fight Club”!

Because we, together, were fighting the powers of darkness, and sin, and shame, and hiddenness.

We, together, were standing in the Light.

We, together, were praying for and building up one another.

We, together, were fighting for the Light to shine and go forth into the deepest crevices of our hearts and minds, and in others too.

We, together, were speaking the truth of Scripture into one another’s hearts, minds, and stories even when it didn’t “feel good” in the moment.

We fought.

We have scars.

We are healed and we are healing.

It’s good.

It’s a good that isn’t a surface level good. A goodness that transcends the pain, and difficulty, and mystery. Good birthed out of something hard …the best kind of good!

I do love my Fight Club – because of my D-group, I am enabled to fight alongside others better, even those people who are not in my group. In fact, because of our longing to love and live for Jesus, and be loved by Jesus well, I get to invite others into the brokenness and mess, and beauty, of being a disciple wherever I go and with whoever I encounter – be it my four-year old, someone who isn’t yet a believer, or a good friend.

It frees me to trust more.

It frees me to be broken more.

Because, really, brokenness and repentance lead to revival.

The messy leads to the beautiful.

The brokenness lets God’s treasure shine through – for we have this treasure in jars of clay (2 Cor. 4:7) .

I love this quote from Roy Hession in the book, The Calvary Road (Get and read it now if you haven’t. It is a gem. Also, his first wife’s name was Revel which is … ah-mazing.)

“Sin always involves us in being unreal, pretending, duplicity, window dressing, excusing ourselves and blaming others – and we can do all that as much by our silence as by saying or doing something. While we are in that condition of darkness, we cannot have true fellowship with our brother either – for we are not real with him, and no one can have fellowship with an unreal person. The only basis for real fellowship with God and man is to live out in the open with both. ‘But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another’ … Love will flow from one to another, when each is prepared to be known as the repentant sinner he is at the cross of Jesus. When the barriers are down and the masks are off, God has a chance of making us really one.”

At the foot of the cross, the barriers are broken, the chains are removed, and the masks are taken off. We are each known as a loved and repentant sinner. And we fight, together, with our brothers and sisters.

As we confess our sins to each other, and as we get honest about where we really are, others are freed to do the same, and we begin to fight the darkness together. (James 5:16, 1 John 1:7)

It’s not easy, but it’s essential to abiding in Christ. We are united to Him as believers, but we can know deeper communion with Him, and part of that involves community. Our sanctification is a community endeavor. Our sanctification is discipleship.

Bring it on!

Surely I Am With You Always

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by Anne Bridges

My husband just returned from an 11 day work trip. Maybe it’s just me, but when my spouse is gone, my worst side seems to come out with my children. It’s so easy for me to try to blame my kids for my actions. If they would listen better, if they wouldn’t fight with each other, if they would just appreciate the fun things we do…the list goes on. Then I decide it’s time to double down and be overly strict. Truthfully, I end up setting unrealistic expectations for their behavior thinking it will “fix” them. As I see how they act, all too frequently, I am smacked in the face with my hypocrisy. How can I expect them to react appropriately to circumstances when the model they see is one who fails over and over?

We were reading “The Garden, the Curtain, and the the Cross” for bedtime earlier this week and we came to the part about Jesus’ crucifixion and it said:

“On the cross, Jesus took our sin. All the bad things we do, and all the sad things they cause- Jesus took them all from us. And when He did, something amazing, astonishing, astounding happened…the curtain tore!”

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. -John 19:30

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need that simple reminder, written so that a child can understand, that I can’t do this on my own. I can’t “fix” them. I will fail, lose my temper, react out of anger or any number of other things, but I can go to Jesus every time without fear of condemnation. I can repent. I can ask for forgiveness. I can’t pray too much for my children. I can point my kids to the cross and we can move forward.

Always Be Talking About Jesus

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by Brandon Dean

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Ask my girls, (they are both fine, young, millennial women now, trying to discover God’s plan and purpose for their lives) and they will tell you that growing up it was rare that they could watch a television show, a movie, or have a book read to them without Daddy hitting pause and leading them in some kind of discussion about how it all relates back to Jesus. I just couldn’t help myself – the world today seems bound and determined to preach false truth to my kids, and I was not content to just sit idly by and let their voices be louder than mine.

This began with a defining moment in my life as a parent. My oldest was struggling in fourth grade, and despite all our best efforts (and even some of our worst) our ordinarily bright and obedient daughter just could not improve. I felt like a failure. I worried about her future. I was embarrassed. One day, when it seemed there was no hope left that she wasn’t going to fail, I lamented to my pastor about the whole situation. It felt like a confession! Like a dirty secret was coming to light. But he told me something that stayed with me for the rest of my life. “I know Halle, and she loves Jesus and is so kind. Is it more important to you that she is a good student or that she follows Christ and has good character?”

In that moment, I realized that my priorities as a parent were all backwards. Turning to Scripture, I found nothing about raising independent people. Instead I discovered the concept of interdependence within the body of Christ. There was nothing about getting into a good college or finding the perfect career. Instead there was learning to discern and follow the calling and the will of God. Strangely, there was nothing about perfect behavior – except for several clear statements that it wasn’t possible. There was only reliance upon the perfect righteousness of our Savior and a life characterized by repentance and ongoing sanctification.

A great burden was lifted off my shoulders that afternoon. I realized for the first time that I could not control every (or really any) aspect of my children’s lives. Like all human beings, they were going to struggle; they were going to be great at some things and not-so-great at others. My role as a father was not to somehow maintain perfection, but to keep pointing them to Jesus in the midst of whatever the circumstances, and to help them form the disciplines that would lead to obedience in their Christian walk. From that day forward, I just tried to put Deuteronomy 6 into action; I began having an ongoing conversation with my kids – everything was a lesson about Jesus.

Everything turned out okay, but not everything turned out perfectly, at least not by the world’s standards. By some standards, I did a great job: Neither of my girls make a living taking their clothes off, neither do drugs, and they both go to church. But by other standards, I’m a complete flop: Neither has a successful career, neither went to college, one is in therapy, and the other still lives with me. (I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself if I’m even qualified to be writing an article giving parenting advice.) But here’s the thing: we continue to have that conversation about Jesus to this day (sometimes they are the ones starting them) and by the grace of God, they both love Jesus. The reality is, they grew up to be wonderful people that I love being around.

My prayer for you, young parents, is that you will find the rest that comes with laying down the worldly standards of success as a parent. It’s okay to have goals, but don’t forget your primary role: always be talking about Jesus.

Sowing Seeds and Treasures

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by Megan Johnson

I can’t save my kids.

I can’t change their hearts.

This, at first, strikes fear in me … but then, relief. As it settles down and I think upon the promises of God, my sin nature, my limits, and his omnipotence; I remember that I cannot produce lasting change. But, I know the One who can. And I carry my children to Him in prayer and in conversation, day by day. I can’t change their hearts; which is a relief, because honestly, if it were all up to me, I would either become too all important or I would sink into a pit of despair. And probably both within the same hour.

But what I can do is sow generously.

In Mark 4:26-27 Jesus says that the farmer works hard scattering seed on the ground, and as he sleeps and rises night and day, the seed sprouts and grows, and he knows not how. But when the harvest comes, he is ready then too. He works, he waits, he trusts.

I can sow in prayer. I can sow in discipline and consistency. I can sow in laughter, and giggles, and fun messes. I can sow in scripture and catechism memory. I can sow in one more hug and kiss at bedtime. I can sow in repenting often to them, in front of them, and to my husband. I can sow in receiving new morning mercies for each day for these kids God has given me.

The Accuser of the Brethren will accuse me. He will remind me how I didn’t read an extra story last night; and induce guilt. He will remind me that I’m just not enough for my kids – not doing enough, not repenting enough, not fun enough – and on it goes. And yet, how often do I take on his voice in my mind? How often do I agree with the Accuser of the Saints, and accuse myself; being pushed by fear and shame rather than led by love?

I was with a group of parents recently and the conversation turned with a downward and guilty tone (as it often can) to “I should have done more of ____” or “I guess I should be doing ____ better.” And my mind started shouting, “No! Stop! This doesn’t sound like Jesus, this sounds like Satan!” So, I bravely said so.

Do we need to repent often? Absolutely. Do we need to teach our kids the Word and be consistent in discipline? Yes. Do we need help from parents who are farther along than us and make changes as our kids grow and as we learn too? Of course.

But here the question is: Are we being led by love into true self-reflection and genuine repentance, or guilted into trying to do better in and of ourselves, not trusting that God will use all things for our good (and our kids’ good) and his glory? No, all things are not good; we do mess up! But God is good. And He wastes nothing – not even our mistakes or sin. He is fully and completely good and powerful beyond comparison.

And so, we keep speaking the truth as we read the Bible to, and with, them. We keep pointing them to the truth, in our conversations. We keep abiding in the Word of God ourselves, that we may know and speak the truth to ourselves and to our kids.

As we do, we plant seeds and we know not when they will produce a harvest; and so God sanctifies us in our waiting and active trusting. We bury treasures of gospel truths, and scripture memory, and catechisms because when the Spirit awakens them to the truth, our children will have a treasure trove of his word stored up within them in their minds.

Sow generously with your life; bury treasure within your kids’ minds; pray, trust, and wait for the Spirit of God to open their hearts and minds and continue the work He’s beginning in them – through you – his chosen vessel to work in these kiddos that He has graciously given to YOU.

May He lead you in love as you abide in Him.

The Issue of Control

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by Hilary Cronon

“When I have kids, they’ll never act like that in the grocery store.”

“I’ll never bottle feed my newborn.”

“My kid will never eat a Happy Meal.”

“My kid will never watch television, except for select BBC documentaries that are pre-approved by my spouse or me.”

“My kid will never drink underage.”

“My kid will never live with their boyfriend/girlfriend.”

As a teenager or young adult, did you ever think about how you were definitely going to raise your kids? If that younger version of you were to see your parenting now, what would they think?

How much is really within our control?

Our family is in something of a state of upheaval right now. My husband just started a new job. We’re in the process of trying to sell our house. Once we do, we have no idea where we’re actually going to live. The kids and I have been temporarily staying with my parents (six hours away) while my husband spends every minute after work organizing; all in a vain attempt to get our house clean long enough to get it photographed. I catch myself, more often than ever, snapping at my kids, or berating my parents for not following my instructions about them to the letter, or just grinding my teeth. I stress out constantly. I find myself apologizing to my two-year-old every single day for losing my cool with him because he’s behaving like a perfectly normal two year old does.

If I’m honest with myself, all of my issues with sin stem from the prideful illusion that I am in control over any aspect of my life. Recently, my discipleship group studied James chapter 4. At the end, James discusses the pitfalls of boasting about tomorrow:

Now listen, you who say, ‘today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there’… you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.

James 4:13a & 15

It’s not exactly the part of the Bible you see folks sharing on social media. Making plans is human. We desire worldly comfort. We crave stability; whether in the form of relationships, health, financial security, or finding a permanent home. We want to feel like we’re doing the very best we can as parents; whether that means restricting junk food or finding space in the budget to make room for extra academic help.

But any control we feel that we have over our lives is an illusion. A mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. None of us is promised tomorrow. To someone who is not yet a believer, that must be an immensely frightening thought. To those of us who trust in God, it can be immensely freeing. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus promises that if we seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, he will meet our needs.

If I were to show my current self to the know-it-all I once was, I’m not quite sure what she would think. Very few of the hopes and dreams I had as a teenager ever came to pass. But what I have been given is so much richer and more meaningful than anything I ever could have imagined. In this, I suspect God must view me -his daughter – the way I often view my children. He knows what’s best for me. Why do I constantly struggle against it? As I butt heads with my two-year-old, trying to get him to take his antibiotics or keep him from running out into the street, I can’t help but think about how much more frustrating it is for my perfect heavenly Father to parent me. “If only my kids would listen,” we lament, “I could save them so much heartache. Don’t they realize we only want what’s best for them?”

In Matthew 7, Jesus reminds us that though we know how to give good gifts to our children, our heavenly Father knows so much better. Never am I more at rest than when I give myself permission to stop worrying, to stop wasting precious days with my family fretting over things that I can’t control. More now than ever before, I have begun to witness the beauty in surrendering every part of my life to God’s will.

It’s okay when my kids eat nothing but french fries two meals in a row.

It’s okay that my toddler acts like a toddler most of the time.

It’s okay that I don’t know right at this moment where I’ll be living a few months down the road.

I must relax. God is in control.

It’s Not That We Are Different, It’s That We Are Set Apart

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by Sarah May

There is beauty and difficulty in every stage of parenting. When we have littles, the beauty of the new life (that grows and develops so quickly) is balanced with exhaustion, and sometimes loneliness, as we work to meet their basic needs, love them well, and, on some days, just keep them alive. As they grow and become taller versions of who they once were, the beauty comes in seeing their talents, minds, and hearts grow and mature. The difficulty comes in helping them process all their emotions as they begin to understand the world better and try to see their place in it; all while praying we don’t screw them up too much.

I don’t know what it is about the sun going down, but, like the exhibits in Night at the Museum, that is when my oldest comes alive. Or at least when his questions do. There’s something about the end of the day drawing near (and the list of responsibilities accomplished) that gives his mind permission to begin thinking in overtime; or maybe, to finally concentrate on the thoughts that have been swimming around.

My first internal reaction to a particular conversation was, “I’m so sorry that part of my DNA crept into your precious soul.” However, the next reaction was, “we need to make sure he knows that his likes, his dislikes, his desires, his differences, (all of it), make him the exact being God needed in this world.”

The conversation, which stemmed from innocent comments from brothers and a friend about video games, sent this boy’s brain into a flurry of self-doubt. Why don’t I like video games as much as others? If I like them at all, will I get addicted? Is it ok to still like Legos, both building with them and playing with them? Why do I seem different? What is wrong with me?

There was much thankfulness that this time it was still about innocent subjects, but that will not always be the case. The foundation has been built with Legos, but as time goes by, different topics will initiate similar conversations. How do I know this? Because they still do in my life; and I’d bet the same is true for you. This scenario is not limited to tweenagers; it’s a struggle for us all. We look around, compare ourselves to others, and think, “I’m different, why is that? What is wrong with me?” But, like the lesson we learn when we accidentally open our phone camera in selfie-mode, the angle from which we view ourselves makes a huge difference.

You see, when we, or our children, come to the conclusion as above (that there is something wrong with us) it is because we are asking the wrong questions. Our job as parents is to guide our kids to stop looking around at the world and comparing themselves to others, and to instead look up and direct their questions to the One who created them. So, instead of, “I’m different, why is that? What is wrong with me?” we want to teach them to look from another angle and ask, “I’m different, why is that? What does God want for me?”

You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.

Deuteronomy 14:2

Because of Christ, we are set apart, holy, and with that comes the knowledge that, as Paul says in Galatians 1:15, “God, who had set me apart before I was even born, and who called me by his grace, is pleased.”

When that baby of yours, no matter how big they get, looks at you with those questioning eyes (that come when they are deep in thought about who they are), let them know this: It can be hard and confusing when something we do seems different, when something we think seems different, or if the way we look seems different. But, if we are in Christ, if his Spirit is living in us, then it’s not that we are ‘different’, it’s that we are ‘set apart’. “You are his own special treasure, created for a unique purpose, and you are exactly what He needed in this world.” We might not see it now – we might not fully understand it now – but we can begin to trust it now. Trust in what was created for us before the creation of the world, and trust that when we are his, He is pleased.

The Best Parents are Mistake Makers

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by Diane Dierks

As a therapist, so-called parenting expert, mother, and grandmother, I am the first to admit that I have made a lot of mistakes. Despite them, God granted me favor in that I have two wonderful adult children and two amazing grandchildren. Thank goodness for Romans 5:2-5 that tells us there is hope through suffering (I assume even when it’s caused by our own mistakes) because it builds character. In that regard, I have obtained a boatload of character over the years!

I often get asked interesting questions by parents who are fearful they will make innocent, unpardonable, irreversible mistakes that will ruin their kids’ lives for good. My short answer is typically to tell them that, by virtue of the fact they are even asking the question, I suspect their kids are probably going to be fine. Parents who worry about this kind of thing usually don’t have kids I worry about.

The longer answer has to do with the character built by our mistakes; I don’t think children benefit from parents who pretend they have never made one. Those parents often quote the Bible, expect their children to memorize Scripture, create strict standards of behavior and morals, but have trouble modeling these things in their own lives. There’s nothing wrong with the former, but kids are so very perceptive and intuitive; they know when it’s not personal to us. They know when our concern is more about our own image than with their souls; they can feel it in their spirit. Of course, we don’t want to admit a lifetime of mistakes to our children in detail (for fear we will give them permission to make the same ones we did!) but we can be Christ to them in so many beautiful ways – including sharing what we’ve learned from our own mistakes.

How do we do that exactly? There is great value in following Colossians 3:12-14:

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you and above all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

This is how we live the gospel every day. It’s what Jesus did for us, and continues to do for us, every day. If we parents lived this Scripture – truly lived it (in our marriages, in our parenting, in our assessment of world news, in our treatment of God’s people and others, and if this was all we did for our children) – our kids would learn how to be good partners, good friends, good citizens, and ultimately good parents. Even if we have a difficult past, a difficult spouse, a difficult life – this Scripture can be a guide to raising awesome kids – on our own or with a partner.

We know, from years of research, what creates positive wellbeing for children in childhood and beyond. It’s two-fold:

Having at least one parent/guardian who is stable, consistent, dependable, and predictable; and

Having the opportunity to be children; without worry about adult cares and responsibilities.

This doesn’t require perfection; it requires sacrificial love – the Christ-like kind that we are so very blessed to possess through the saving grace of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Acts 2:38-39).

So, let’s not worry about being perfect. Let’s just be the best imitator of Jesus to our kids we can be and let Him do the rest.

Curriculum at Home

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by Sherry Edwards & Megan Johnson

We love getting into the Word with your children at New City Kids, but we know that you are your kids’ primary discipleship leaders. Here are some great ideas for getting your kids in the Word using the Sunday curriculum as a resource throughout the week.


  • We start our morning working through the Take Home sheets. Each child can work independently on most of it because the curriculum is well written for their age. If they need help, we work together. I then read over what they answered so that we can discuss anything that is confusing.
  • I try to find some real life applications to the questions they are answering.
  • I write the Bible verses on our white board and have the kids practice writing them.


  • I leave the Take Home pages in a basket on the kitchen table so we see them often and talk about them during dinner time.
  • My big kids read the Take Home sheet to my younger kids at dinner time.
  • We find the story from their lesson in our children’s Bible and read it together.
  • We focus a lot on the catechism questions. My big and little kids can all participate in this. We use the First Catechism book (with the shorter catechism questions) and work on questions 2-3 nights a week. Sometimes prizes are given if the kids memorize 50 or more.
  • We work on the Scripture memory as a family. I hang the posters up that are given in the Midtown classroom so they see the whole passage to work on.
  • The Skyscraper class and Aviators class Take Home sheets are great for teaching kids to have a quiet time. We use it 2-3 days a week for quiet time. It teaches them to use their Bible!