Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls

Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls

by Gary L. Thomas

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Overview

Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls by Gary L. Thomas

Parenting is a school for spiritual formation, says author Gary Thomas, and our children are our teachers. The journey of caring for, rearing, training, and loving our children profoundly alters us forever…even when the journey is sometimes a rough one.

Sacred Parenting is unlike any other parenting book on the market. This is not a “how-to” book that teaches readers the ways to discipline their kids or help them achieve their full potential. Instead of a discussion about how parents change their children, Sacred Parenting turns the tables and demonstrates how God uses children to change their parents.

Stepping beyond the overly-tilled soil of method books, parents can learn a whole new side of parenting. They’ll be encouraged by stories that tell how other parents handled the challenges and difficulties of being a parent – and how their children transformed their relationship with God.

The lessons the author writes about are timeless. But in this edition, Thomas adds in some additional insights and stories that he’s learned and lived over the past fifteen years of his own parenting. Gary has found that the lessons have remained much the same but there are new applications for the readers in this generation who are just now coming to his book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310341857
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 08/29/2017
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 190,986
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Gary Thomas is a writer-in-residence who also serves on the teaching team at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and the author of eighteen books, including the bestselling Sacred Marriage, that have sold more than a million copies worldwide and have been translated into a dozen languages. He and his wife, Lisa, have been married for thirty years.

Read an Excerpt

Sacred Parenting Copyright 2004 by Gary L. Thomas Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Thomas, Gary (Gary Lee) Sacred parenting : how raising children shapes our souls / Gary L. Thomas— 1st ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-310-24734-9 1. Parenting—Religious aspects—Christianity 2. Parents—Religious life. I. Title. BV4526.3.T46 2004 248.8'45—dc22 2003020213
This edition printed on acid-free paper.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Interior design by Michelle Espinoza Printed in the United States of America
04 05 06 07 08 09 /. DC/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
'If it was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called labor'. Anonymous
'It is in families we are broken and it is in families that we are healed'. Carl Whittaker
'Dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God'. 2 Corinthians 7:1
Papa God One day, when our daughter Kelsey was two years old, she started pointing at every family member's chair around the table. I was gone at the time. 'Mommy,' she began, 'Allison, Graham, Kelsey . . .' She then pointed to my empty seat and said, 'God.'
'That's not God, Kelsey,' Lisa, my wife, said. 'That's Papa.'
'Jesus,' Kelsey replied with a smile.
Three days later, all of us were together in a hotel room when Kelsey did it again. She started pointing to everybody and announcing his or her name. When she got to me, she said, 'Jesus.'
'I'm not Jesus, Kelsey,' I said. 'I'm Papa.'
'You're Papa God,' Kelsey replied.
I was flabbergasted and earnestly tried to talk it out with her, but you parents know what a two-year-old is like. By the time I had made my point, Kelsey had found something vastly more interesting than theology—her little toe, and how it could be made to wiggle in all directions.
To me, this is one of the greatest ironies of parenting. I think about how big I seemed to my kids when I was just in my twenties, and how little I knew. Now, a bit more experienced in my forties, it's almost laughable how much smaller I seem to my children! Graham knows he could take me in a math test (though as I write this, thankfully, he still hasn't beaten me in a round of golf), and there's no chance either one of my daughters would mistake me for deity.
But these early episodes of mistaken identity truly opened my eyes as a young parent. The more time I spent with my kids as they became toddlers, and then preteens, and then teens, the more open they seemed to God's presence in their lives. The less time I spent with them, the less they seemed to pray. The observation both sobered and humbled me; somehow, in their minds, I helped shape their passion and hunger for God.
I soon discovered that my own passion and hunger for God seemed just as directly related to my duties as a parent. I've been at this business of parenting for less than two decades, but I think it's fair to say I have been stretched more in these past sixteen years— spiritually, emotionally, and relationally—than perhaps in all the previous years combined.
Why does parenting offer such a potent pathway to personal growth and reflection? The process of raising children requires skills that God alone possesses, and we are decidedly not God. As much as our kids may even call us 'Papa God,' parenting regularly reminds us of our absolute humanity. We do not love perfectly, as God loves. Our ability to relate, to understand, and to build intimacy comes up short in a way that God's does not.
While I count raising children as one of the most profoundly meaningful and rewarding things I've ever done, it also has humbled me, frustrated me, and at times completely confounded me. I could never write a book about how to raise a toddler or a teen, because in many ways I still don't have a clue! If you thought this book would give you five steps to help your daughter succeed in school or ten steps to prepare your son for adolescence, you're in for a big disappointment. Instead, it approaches a much different territory—how God uses these children to shape us, spiritually speaking.
I knew the rules had changed just a few weeks after the birth of our oldest daughter. We were driving south to Oregon when we stopped at a restaurant to get a bite to eat. At one time in my life, my favorite food on earth was a Dairy Queen Blizzard. I just knew that the creator of this fine confection had to be a Christian, because I thought it would take nothing less than the Holy Spirit's inspiration to come up with anything that tasted as good as an M and M Blizzard.
We ordered our burgers and fries, and I had my Blizzard. We took it outside on a sunny day, and at exactly that moment our daughter had her once-every-three-day diaper blowout. Our firstborn, as a baby, liked to 'save it up.' She preferred to wait until we were on our way to church, had just sat down for dinner, had just given her a bath, or some other convenient moment before she expunged the previous seventy-two hours' worth of digestive effort.
I remember the helpless feeling. Cold fries don't taste very good, and melted Blizzards lose a lot—yet I knew I had a good ten to fifteen minutes' worth of work ahead of me. Because this baby did it all at once, changing her meant not just a new diaper but a veritable bath and a full change of clothing. And we were on the road.
'Don't just stand there,' Lisa said. 'Help me!'
'But—' I looked at my fries, already wilting with a shelf life of about ten minutes. I stared forlornly at my Blizzard, teasing my tongue with its promise, yet already looking as though it were about to start boiling in the hot sun. I put the food bag on top of the car and went to work.
Life had changed, indeed. It may sound like a small sacrifice to you—and even now, as I look back a decade and a half later, it seems insubstantial—but it marked a major turning point for this thentwenty- five-year-old. I was learning to put someone else's needs ahead of my own. Little did I know that I had just begun the spiritually transformative journey called parenting.
My wife and I have benefited greatly from books and seminars that teach us how to shape our children, but along the way we've realized that our children also have molded us. Parenting is a twoway street! Our kids have taught us how to sacrifice (chapter 12) and how to handle guilt (chapter 3); they've schooled us in the art of listening and forced us to our knees in prayer (chapter 4); they've shown us how to laugh (chapter 5), how to grieve (chapter 9), and how to live courageously (chapter 6); they've helped us face our inadequacy, need, and reliance on One who is greater than we are (chapter 13). The experience of parenting comprises one of the most influential aspects of spiritual formation I've ever known.
Tiny Teachers This idea that God can use children to teach us, that we have an opportunity to gain spiritual insight from those we are called to raise and teach, comes from our Lord himself, who in this regard was something of a revolutionary.
In the first century, children enjoyed little esteem and virtually no respect. While families appreciated their own children, society merely tolerated them.

Table of Contents

Contents


1. Papa God............................................................................................11
2. The Hardest Hurt of All.............................................................................23
3. The Gold behind the Guilt...........................................................................37
4. Seizing Heaven......................................................................................55
5. Joy!................................................................................................71
6. Vicious Vulnerability...............................................................................89
7. Burning Love........................................................................................103
8. The Glory behind the Grime..........................................................................121
9. Walking on the Wild Side of Parenting: The Gift of Extremely Demanding Children.....................137
10. A Very Boring Chapter in the Bible (That Can Change Your Life Forever).............................153
11. Xerox R Us.........................................................................................167
12. Sacrifice..........................................................................................179
13. Leaving............................................................................................199
Epilogue: Receive Your Reward..........................................................................219
Notes..................................................................................................225

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Sacred Parenting 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will absolutely transform who you are as a parent and a person or at least the way you approach your 'job' as a parent! As a Christian mom, this book challenged me on so many levels. It has set me on a course to not only be a better parent, but to see my role as a mom as not only eternally important in pointing my kids to authentic relationship with Christ, but also in shaping ME to be more like him so that I can be effective in that endeavor! I cannot recommend this book highly enough for every Bible-believing parent!
Mom_of_two_in_Georgia More than 1 year ago
This book forced me to think about what God wants for my children instead of what I want for my children. It also helped me understand some of what God wants to change about me through parenting. It's not an easy read, but a great point of view that I had never considered before.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Great book very encouraging
JenniferWise More than 1 year ago
By far the best parenting book I have ever read, and I have read plenty of them! Not a "how to" book on raising kids. It is an extremely encouraging book on the benefits raising kids bring to your walk with God. Every time I read this book, I feel spiritually uplifted and so much better equipped for the journey. This book really helps you realize that you are not alone and that the myth of the perfect family is really just a myth. I plan to buy a copy for every family member for Christmas this year!
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NorskNook More than 1 year ago
We decided to do this book as a group study this year. I kind of wished that I had gotten the real book version instead of the ebook, but oh well. The book itself it wonderful, refreshing, encouraging and definitely a different look at what parenting really is. Highly recommended read for parents of children 0-12 years old.
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