Parenting Teens and the Ministry of Silence

It’s official. I am a parent of an eighteen-year-old—a legal adult. I can’t deny it anymore. Not that I don’t feel it in the air whenever we are together. It is a general rejecting of my parenting that I sense. I can feel her trying to relate to me as an equal. Her ears don’t hear.

How does one parent an eighteen-year-old? The only answer I can give with certainty is…very carefully. Parenting at this point is a dance of lavish love from a distance, fervent prayer without ceasing, and strategic, intentional silence.

I remember one warm afternoon when I was in my early twenties. I was home for the summer at my dad’s house. I stepped out into the warmth of the day, reveling in the sweet kiss of the sun. My stepmom wanted to go for a walk with me. She shared something she regretted from her past in an attempt to save me from making the same mistake. However, I was young and stupid.

I often wonder, Can anyone be young and NOT stupid? I think it would be an anomaly.

Needless to say, I didn’t heed her advice and continued whatever it was I was doing. I’ll never forget that conversation, however. How kind it was of her to pour her heart out to me so that I might benefit. As she saw me continue down the wrong path, I can now relate to how she must have felt. My ears wouldn’t hear.

As a parent, how does one watch from the sidelines helplessly as their child heads toward disaster? It must be desperately heartbreaking. I am grateful that my kids are generally good kids. As of yet, figuratively speaking, they have’t barreled into a wall at ninety miles an hour, or caused a train wreck.

My daughters are basically good kids and I adore them. However, being a lover of Jesus Christ causes me to want more for them. I desperately want them to know the love of their Heavenly Father. I want them to feel cherished, because they are daughters of the King. I want them to know without a doubt they are worth dying for.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19

However, for a time, I have to watch my daughter find her own way. I have to stand by and watch her potentially be of the world, not just in it. Often, I have to be silent, and I dare not judge. I have to let her walk her path. I have to let her write her own story. Maybe she is not ready to give God the reigns in their life.

The amount of times during the day when she is home that I have to silence myself is countless. It takes a great deal of will-power, but mostly the Holy Spirit to be able to do this. I have to let go and trust God, trust prayer, and trust how God has used me in her life these last eighteen years. Yikes. That’s asking a lot.

I am praying for discernment like never before. I pray that God gives me wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent. I pray the only words that come out of my mouth are His words. I pray that God would make me better than I am, more patient, and more loving.

When my stepmom took me for a walk that day so many years ago, she was depositing into my love tank. Regardless of whether or not I heeded her advice, I remember the love. That sticks with me. Love usually does.

Loving our teenagers well, even in times that require silence, is the key. Even if my daughter doesn’t listen to me, if I can love her well, then I have done my job. Teaching and instructing are an important part of parenting, but they can’t even compare to the loving.


Get Kim’s new book…

Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids

I’ve seen it in your eyes. Christian parents have been watching their teens turn away from the faith for decades, and you fear your kids will do the same. It is never too late to tip the scales in favor of your kids developing a personal, passionate, and permanent faith in Jesus Christ.

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Putting up the Mirror so We Can Pass on Our faith

The following in an excerpt from Kim’s upcoming book, Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids.


I was twenty seven and clueless when I had my firstborn. I was actually amazed they let me leave the hospital with my daughter, Emily. How could they let ME walk out of here with a baby? Are they crazy?

Through the years, my husband and I fumbled around going this way and that, doing the best that we could as young parents. We were tossed to and fro by well-intentioned advice and made many mistakes.

We were typical American, Christian parents. Purposefully or not, we mirrored things in our parenting that we observed from our parents, the media, the culture, our community, the Internet and our church. All of which seemed like a sufficient group of resources.

But were they sufficient? Did they point us in the right direction?

I can tell you what my husband and I, and the affluent community where we lived, were focusing on in regards to raising our children.

We believed things like . . . . .

  • Our kids’ self esteem is so important, they must never feel bad
  • Education is most important in our kids’ lives
  • We must always say ‘yes’ to our kids to produce a positive environment
  • Kids’ happiness should be the focus of parenting
  • We need to teach our kids to love themselves
  • Our kids should have everything that they want 

You might get lucky and raise a good kid with this set of values. He or she might do well in school and seem well adjusted and happy. Or, he or she may end up entitled, self-centered, or at the very least, worldly.

75% of young adults raised in a Christian home leave the church after they leave the home. Think about that—on average, three out of every four kids attending your youth group won’t be attending any church a few years from now.
~www.crossexamine.org

Though the numbers may vary slightly from one study to the next, they all come to the same conclusion—we are losing our kids.

Is there no manual for parenting? Well, there is and there isn’t. Among the many books on Christian parenting, only one is essential. The Bible is the best parenting book there is, because it was written by the first parent that ever was. It sounds like a cliché, but it is absolutely true. It doesn’t contain every possible question or scenario we might encounter in parenting. But, is it sufficient? You betcha!

Why?

Because the key to being a good parent is primarily determined by who you are, not what you do.

It’s who you are that shapes your kids. In fact, it’s challenging to point to a Sticky Faith factor that is more significant than you.
~ Dr. Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark, Sticky Faith


If we are to make a dent in the problem of young people leaving the faith, we must be willing to look in the mirror. We, as Christian parents are the first step in the equation of our kids’ faith.

Our character, attitudes, behaviors and lifestyle reflect the status of our faith. Is it alive? Do we live what we believe. Or, is it dead?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.   James 2:17

Our kids will know if our faith is real, or if it isn’t.

Teenagers Young Team Together Cheerful Concept

I want my kids to leave my house as disciples of Christ . . . . not just Christians.  Disciples not only believe, they are students of Christ and they follow Him. Making disciples starts in our homes with our kids. And we have to parent differently if we are going to raise up a generation of disciples.


Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids

I’ve seen it in your eyes. Christian parents have been watching their teens turn away from the faith for decades, and you fear your kids will do the same. It is never too late to tip the scales in favor of your kids developing a personal, passionate, and permanent faith in Jesus Christ.

$12.00

Pouring into Our Kids in 2018: Game On

God wasn’t our number one for most of our marriage. If you would have asked my husband and I, we would have said that He was. But He wasn’t. We were very much striving for the American Dream.

We were raising our daughters to be good people because we were good people. Wasn’t that what we were supposed to be doing? Wasn’t that enough?

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We taught them to say please and thank you. We taught them to be nice and polite and do what they’re told. We took them to church on Sundays to learn about God. We taught them the importance of a good education and how to be successful in American culture.

As my kids grew up, I started to think about what I really wanted them to be when they left our house.

Happy? Confident? Intelligent? Driven?

To a certain degree, yes, those things are useful. But, they are secondary values. As I pondered these things I began to question the values on which I had been so focused.

I realized that if I want my kids to have a lasting faith and a heart for God, then I needed to shoot for more than raising our kids to be good people.

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When I found myself with teenagers, my thinking started to shift from the day to day issues with my kids, to the adults they would become. As my mind flashed forward, what I saw gave me pause.

My mind didn’t flash to them as hobos living on the street and begging for food. My mind didn’t flash to my daughters being porn stars or drug addicts. My mind flashed to their faith and character.

Who would they become? Would they continue to follow Christ as young adults?

What greater focus could there be this coming year than the spiritual lives of our kids? I challenge you to commit to being intentional about3D cover passing on a personal faith in Christ to your kids this year. Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids will empower you in this noble endeavor.

We go to church, you may say. Isn’t that enough? According to numerous studies, it isn’t.

Did you know somewhere between 60-75% of our kids leave the church when they leave home?

Did you know 85% of youth from Christian homes who attend public schools do not embrace a Christian worldview? (The Last Christian Generation, Josh McDowell, p.14)

2018 is here, and many of us have made New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight, exercising, and reading the Bible are all noble goals. However, We have the rest of our lives to improve ourselves. How much time do we have left with our kids?

Do you see your kids wrestling with spiritual issues? Are you a regular part of their journey toward discovering the truth? Have you done everything you could this past year to build up faith in Christ in your children? If not, what better resolution could there be?

It’s a new year and anything is possible. You have a clean slate.

Game on.

Man, I saw a lot of the mistakes that I made early on and I see a lot of the things I’m doing well now, and the difference this book would have made for me 28 years ago…I actually had a hard time putting this one down!  —Jim

In this book, you will learn…

  • why a majority of kids leave the church after they leave home
  • why churched kids’ lifestyles often aren’t consistent with their religion
  • the reality of what kids will encounter in college
  • which things actually cause faith to stick to kids
  • how to encourage your kids to depend on God
  • 3 ways to nurture your kids so they will be open to the gospel
  • 5 questions all teenagers must answer as they move into adulthood
  • 11 mistakes Christian parents make that lead kids away from faith in Christ

Pouring in comes out in the next couple months. Pre-order your copy for just $12 today!

Pouring In, Tipping the Scales in Favor of a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in Your Kids

I’ve seen it in your eyes. Christian parents have been watching their teens turn away from the faith for decades, and you fear your kids will do the same. It is never too late to tip the scales in favor of your kids developing a personal, passionate, and permanent faith in Jesus Christ.

$12.00

 

 

 

The Nature of Truth and Why It Matters to the Faith of Our Kids

No other religion emphasizes the importance of truth like Christianity. God in His infinite wisdom knows the high value of truth and does not hold back from us. Truth holds power and truth is necessary. And as sons and daughter of God, truth is our right.


As I’m wrapping up my manuscript and preparing it for publication, I thought I would post one more excerpt. This is from “Chapter 14: Apologetics and Worldviews” of my upcoming book, Pouring In, Inspiring a Personal, Passionate, and Permanent Faith in the Next Generation. (Greg Schrock also contributed to this chapter)


What do our kids need to know to be able to give a reasoned defense for their faith? They need to be able to answer these five questions.

  1. What is truth?
  2. Why do I believe God exists?
  3. Why do I believe Jesus is the Son of God?
  4. Why do I believe the Bible is true?
  5. How does being a Christian affect my life?

 

What is Truth?

Frank Turek and Norman L. Geisler in their book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, claim that “truth is a casualty of our popular culture. And when truth goes, the authority of the gospel is undermined.”[1]

According to dictionary.com, truth is the true or actual state of a matter, or, a proven or verified principle or statement. If truth is proven and verified, it is absolute, not relative.

Think about it: if truth is relative, why should our kids go to school? If they can just decide their own truth, than what is the point of learning math, science, or history? Without objective, absolute, truth, nothing they learn in school is relevant to anyone except the person teaching it.

Our entire civilization is run by the objective truth of numbers. We count on numbers for finances, temperature, speed, time, grades, taxes, etc. If we didn’t agree on a set of objective truths about numbers, our society could not function.

Truth, by its very nature is exclusive. If something is true, it means that contradictory statements are necessarily false. Nobody doubts this when it comes to the hard sciences; people believe that the statement “gravity exists” is objectively true, and that the statement “gravity does not exist” is objectively false. But, when it comes to religion and worldviews, people have no problem saying “Christianity may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.”

However, truth is objective, meaning, it is attached to the object, and it is therefore unchanging. What people are claiming today is that truth is subjective, meaning, it is attached to the subject. They claim for each individual person, or subject, there may be a different truth.

For example, take the sentence “Doug caught the red ball.” In this sentence, Doug is the subject, and the ball is the object. There is an inherent truth about the ball—the ball is red. It makes no difference what Doug, the subject of the sentence, believes the color of the ball to be. Doug might sincerely believe the ball is blue, but that does not change the fact that the ball is red. The subject’s beliefs are irrelevant to objective truths.

Religion is perceived as something that helps one get through life; and if that indeed is its purpose, then of course each person will have their own religious beliefs that are useful to them. It can be likened to a therapy session; in order to help a patient, the counselor tailors the session to the subject they are counseling.

It is this misperception of religion that has led so many people to believe in the relative truth of religious worldviews, rather than in absolute truth. One of the most critical lessons we need to teach our kids is that absolute truth can be applied to religion as much as it is applied to chemistry, economics, and mathematics.

Religion is not a matter of opinion, convenience, or utility. It is an objective reality of the universe. There is one set of facts about God that is objectively true. Any view of God that doesn’t correspond to these truths is necessarily false.

There is one view of attaining salvation that is objectively true; all other views are false. There is one view of the spiritual world that is objectively true. There is one view of our eternal destiny that is objectively true. All views contrary to these truths are as false as the statement two plus two equals five.

To illustrate, consider common statements that we hear in our culture, and replace key terms with words of a different subject matter. Consider the following statement that I mentioned earlier:

How can you believe that Christianity is the only right way? How close-minded and intolerant!

Now let’s replace Christianity with, say, geography.

How can you believe that seventy-one percent of the earth is covered in water? How close-minded and intolerant!

Let’s try mathematics.

How can you believe that eleven, seventeen, and twenty-nine are prime numbers? How close-minded and intolerant!

Let’s try biology.

How can you believe that the heart pumps blood? How close-minded and intolerant!

These statements suddenly sound so absurd! When you accept that religious truths are just as objective as these other sciences, you realize there must be one true worldview. If there is one objectively true worldview, then all contrary worldviews must be false.

Determining which worldview is true is a different matter.

Which worldview is true? Maybe it is Atheism, which believes there is no God. Maybe it is Hinduism, which believes there are three hundred thirty million gods. Maybe it is Mormonism, which believes that we can become gods. Maybe it is Christianity, which believes that there is a Trinitarian God.

Each person must answer this question, through further study, for themselves to determine which religion is actually true. But first, we need to establish that there are objective truths in religion.

I believe the Bible is the absolute, objective, truth. But don’t take my word for it. Study and discover for yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.

God gave us His Word, so we would know the truth and would not be deceived. Without the existence of objective truth, the Christian faith has no power. Truth is foundational to our faith.

“Two-thirds of Americans now deny there’s any such thing as truth.”[2]—Lee Strobel, The Case For Faith

Our kids must leave our homes with the keen ability to identify and defend truth. Establishing that truth is not relative or subjective, but rather, objective and absolute, is essential to our kids’ faith.

[1] Frank Turek, Norman L. Geisler, I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), 8.

[2] Lee Strobel, The Case For Faith, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 146.

Passing On Our Faith: The Danger Of Complacency

I was recently talking with a good friend of mine. I wanted to get her thoughts on the issue of passing on our faith to our children. She is a great mom, which is evident if you look at her kids. Not only is she a great mom, but she is a single parent. I have great admiration for people who parent alone, yet still parent well. Parenting is hard enough without having to do it alone.

She comes from a long line of faithful people in her family. Her parents raised her to value her faith. But more importantly, to live her faith. They raised her to treasure scripture and to spend a lot of time on her knees. The legacy passed from generation to generation in her family was a legacy of a strong and active faith.

A couple years ago I was doing a Beth Moore Bible study. The topic of the study had to do with breaking strongholds. One particular section was talking about family legacies and how to break free from them; family legacies that included things like abuse, rage, alcoholism, and unforgiveness.

We were asked to think about what our family legacy was.

Although my family history included some brokenness and dysfunction, it did not include abuse, or problems with drugs/alcohol, or anything quite so extreme. The legacy that my family passed down from generation to generation was a legacy of complacency. Basic faith may have been passed down through the generations in my family, but not a radical surrender to a living God.

Although, not as obviously destructive as some of these other strongholds, complacency is a detestable thing.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16

Satan has many tools in his toolbox. Obviously, he is pleased with the abuse, neglect and dysfunction of so many families across the country. However, maybe even more dangerous are the tools that we don’t see or recognize. The ones that lurk just under our radar. Ones like complacency.

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.   Ephesians 5:14

I very much desire to pass on a radical, deep, surrendered faith in Christ to my kids, but have felt woefully unequipped in the past. I had the legacy of complacency in my family of origin. I wasn’t mentored, or encouraged to be a disciple, and I certainly wasn’t shown how to pass on a legacy of passionate faith to my children.

Many of us were not brought up in a passionately faithful family.

Is it possible to change a family legacy? Is it possible for people with my family history to raise kids who radically and passionately seek Christ?

With Christ, there is always hope. With Christ, anything is possible.

There are two aspects of passing on our faith to our kids that we need to address. First, what are we speaking into our kids’ lives? And second, what they are hearing and perceiving?

The following is a student quote from David Kinnaman’s book, You Lost Me.

I want you to be someone I want to grow up to be like. I want you to step up and live by the Bible’s standards. I want you to be inexplicably generous, unbelievably faithful, Untitled design (28)and radically committed. I want you to be a noticeably better person than my humanist teacher, than my atheist doctor, than my Hindu next-door neighbor. I want you to sell all you have and give it to the poor. I want you to not worry about your health like you’re afraid of dying. I want you to live like you actually believe in the God you preach about. I don’t want you to be like me; I want you to be like Jesus. That’s when I’ll start listening.  -Emma Smith

Doesn’t this quote just say it all? How does such simple truth evade us? She is telling us the very way in which we get our youth to listen to us. And not just listen, we want them to hear the truth.

Will we listen? Will we respond? Will we choose to be. . . .

  • radically committed to Christ?
  • radically generous?
  • radically faithful?
  • radically committed?
  • unconsumed with the worries of this world?

In short, we must be like Jesus if we want to pass on our faith to our kids.

Complacency in our faith is a dangerous thing. We must fight it, if for no other reason than the spiritual fate of our children. And in Christ, we have the power to change our family legacy to one that passionately follows Christ.


This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Pouring In, Instilling A Personal, Passionate, And Permanent Faith In The Next Generation due to come out this fall.