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January 2024 Epic Families Blog

January 2024 Epic Families Blog


My family has been looking through old photographs this month, searching for pictures of my teenage years for an upcoming project. The exercise has sparked stories and laughter, not to mention a bit of bemused chagrin for the 80’s outfits, hairstyles, and fading prints. “What am I wearing?? Good grief, how did my parents let me leave the house?” (My daughters insist that 80s styles are back in – or at least were last year – but I just cannot bring myself to go there again…) But as my husband and I have shared bits and pieces of our past lives with our daughters, we are seeing with clearer eyes how God has drawn us away from the shakiness of adopting the world’s values, toward the solid ground of being people of faith that  live IN the world but not OF the world.

As we contend for excellence in our parenting assignment, we pray for God to redeem our failures and foibles that create threads of tremors through our relationships. We seek to develop an unshakable faith that is winsome to our children so that they too can discover and experience the comfort and security of building their lives on the rock of faith that is Jesus.

I wait quietly before God,

    for my victory comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

    my fortress where I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2 NLT

So how does one parent a child with unshakable faith? It’s the question of the ages…a practice that is more art than science, and continues to be developed and honed by the most intentional of parents. Our advice: Lead with LOVE. Ask God for GUIDANCE. Invest in COMMUNITY. Play the LONG GAME. Trust in God’s SPIRIT interceding for you.

Love doesn’t equal frequently giving your child their preferred outcome. Loving children requires establishing healthy boundaries. Children need to know that their family is orienting their lives around Jesus, not people. Love is hard. It’s a verb, and when you act in love on your own, without asking God’s help in loving, it requires great effort to overcome selfishness. But with God, all things are possible – even LOVE that is selfless.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. 1 John 4:7-12 NLT

Friends, if we believe this as truth, our soul should be thrilled with the opportunity to give back to God with the gifts He has given us! Our children should tangibly see and hear that we return God’s love with our best efforts. This is how people learn – by example. How do we show them?

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8 NLT

What’s exciting is that each family’s example is different! What a fabulous, gorgeous tapestry of believers God has woven together in the church community! Community is a great place to invest and model good works for your children. But don’t be fooled into thinking that all it takes is one instance of modeling. This is a LOOOOOOOONG GAME of demonstrating God’s love. Kids are smart. They see what you are giving lip service to, but not acting on with dedication. So ask God’s guidance to determine how your family is going to serve Him – then DO IT steadily, with joy, and your kids will see you are dependable, fun-loving, and consistent in what you say.

Getting tired playing that long game? Feel like nobody appreciates all your toil in parenting? Wanting a little more influence? I hear you! God does too, and His Spirit can intercede for you when you don’t even have words. Remember that your influence, with God’s grace, is massive, no matter the size of your audience. To unpack that concept more, listen to Ben Pilgreen’s Bring It Out Podcast with Shauna from Dec 2023. Let God’s Spirit spur you to stay on course and not grow weary in this essential assignment!

Will all this effort develop an unshakable faith in your children? That outcome is determined by your child and God. Certainly your efforts create a good environment for your child’s faith to take root. However, by your dedication to parenting through God’s love, YOU will develop an unshakable faith, which is a delightful result.

Finally, fast-forward several years and imagine for a moment what a conversation over childhood photos with your adult son or daughter might look like. Far beyond the funny comments regarding fashion fads or quirky hairstyles, a family who has developed a robust faith in God will share stories of gratefulness over the unshakable love of Jesus and the fullness of God’s grace. 

Grace and peace,


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