The Lifegiving Parent Experience: A 10-Week Journey of Parenting for Life

The Lifegiving Parent Experience: A 10-Week Journey of Parenting for Life

by Sally Clarkson, Clay Clarkson


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This companion resource to The Lifegiving Parent is intended for use as a Bible study and discussion guide in conjunction with the core book. Each chapter begins with a “Lifegiving Parent Moment” narrative with probing questions, then moves into a study of relevant scriptures and discussion of the lifegiving parent principle, and concludes with prayer suggestions. The book and guide together make a great 10-week study of how to become a lifegiving parent for your children.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496422798
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 640,989
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt




Thus says the Lord, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls."

Jeremiah 6:16, Nasb

From The Lifegiving Parent, chapter 1

Only you — parents alive in Christ because of the Holy Spirit within you — have the ability and the power of the Spirit to make your home a Christian home. Engagement with Christian culture does not define a Christian home; engagement with the living Christ does. That understanding is a necessary first step on the path to becoming a lifegiving parent.

Thoughts on "Someone's Got to Give"

Though contemporary culture is changing life all around us, it doesn't have to change us, and it can't change what has always been true about God — including the foundational biblical truths about His design for family. We believe God lives within us, by His Spirit and within our homes, through our faith and trust. Even as winds of culture howl around our children, our fundamental responsibility is to give them the life of God that we have found in Him. That is what we call lifegiving parenting. This week's study is about our responsibility to give our children the life of the living God in our homes and families.

Talking through L.I.F.E. Together

Listen to a Story



Josh and Molly McPherson married in their respectably late twenties and started their family soon after. They've both already turned a hard corner on forty, and they're feeling the burn of a too-often too-busy life. They're firmly planted in "the house that Josh built," which they christened early on simply as McPherson Manor. They built a large house not knowing how many children God would give them, so with four under their roof now, they're all settled and comfortable with the life they've created.

Josh McPherson is one of the good guys — a decent man who loves his wife and kids and works hard to make a good life for them. Josh struggles to balance work and family, but he never gives up, and he meets with other men to stay accountable to his priorities as a husband and father. Even though he's never been to Scotland, he loves his Scottish heritage and often claims, with a bad brogue, "Aye, I hae some Scottish bluid in me," suggesting it makes him a better man. Whether that's true or not, he's capable, confident, honest, and loyal — just the kind of contractor you'd want to work with to build your home. His gray-tinged dark hair and easy smile perfectly match his genial nature. Josh custom builds one house at a time so he can be available to its future family. As he says, "I'm not just a house builder; I'm a home creator."

Molly is the warm relational core of the McPherson clan. Her classy-casual naturalness in look and dress softens her fiercely loving and protective demeanor. She can be found alone with tea or engaging a child in one of the many cozy nooks, bay window seats, and comfy corners she insisted Josh include in their house plans. Molly has blogged for the past five years at Molly in the Middle about the joys and challenges of being a midlife wife and mother. She writes personal and helpful stories about her home and community life, as well as inspirational insights from Scripture, but it's the vulnerable posts about her failings and weaknesses that always get the most likes and shares. She's also an amateur still life photographer and longs to write a book about the home, but she's still chasing the elusive publishing contract. Until that happens, she's content just sharing her life and photography on the blog and working on a book for herself and her friends.

Molly and Josh both are feeling the reality check of the soon-to-arrive end of childhood for Gracie, their firstborn. Molly is more than ready to be the fun mom of a teen girl, but it will be uncharted waters. The sweetly innocent Gracie is everything they could have wanted for a first McPherson child. But now at twelve years old, she will soon leave childhood behind to become the first family teenager, and the signs of that impending change are beginning to find expression in her thoughts and emotions. Still waters run deep in the introverted Gracie, and she is leaning into young adulthood with both anticipation and quiet trepidation.

The nine-year-old twins, David and Amy, are almost as easy as having just one middle child. They get along reasonably well, enjoy each other most of the time, and generally don't rock the boat. They're at that fascinating age when they can express real, albeit immature and sometimes challenging, opinions and feelings. Six-year-old Tyler James, or T. J., as he prefers to be called, is in full boyhood mode — active and verbal with a never-satisfied curiosity. He's their official hands-on handful, a delightful and fun-loving but sometimes boat-rocking child.

It's been a busy summer and fall for everyone — a large custom home for Josh; ongoing work on a book of stories, recipes, and photographs for Molly; summer and school activities and friends for the kids. It just seems there's been no stopping place for anyone. No time to be a family and spend time with each other, make memories, or hear from God. Josh and Molly both knew it was time to make some changes, so they asked his parents to watch the kids while they got away for the weekend at a lodge in the mountains nearby. They needed undistracted time just to talk about where they were in life — about their marriage, their hopes and dreams, what their children needed from them, and their relationships with God.

Being away together gave them relaxed, unhurried time to unpack all the things they had not discussed in recent months. As they talked about raising their children, they both felt convicted by the Spirit that they could do better. They knew that the window of childhood was brief, and they needed to be intentional as Christian parents. Over the weekend they prayed for each of their children, but more than anything else they prayed for themselves. They asked God to help them become the kind of lifegiving parents they wanted to be. They asked for more of His life in them to give to their children.

Just for Fun: How is the McPherson family like your family? How is your family different? How would you describe your children? What are some of their strengths and weaknesses?

• What would you talk about on a weekend getaway with your spouse? What hopes and dreams would you share? What plans would you make as parents for your family and children?

Interact with the Word


Matthew 7:24-27 | Building on a firm foundation

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

Word Notes: On a hill in the rolling countryside of northern Israel, surrounded by His disciples and a large crowd of followers, Jesus preaches His Sermon on the Mount. He talks about the law, what it means to be His disciple, and how the inbreaking Kingdom of God will change everything. At the end of His sermon, He describes two kinds of people based on how they respond to His teaching.

1. Each of the persons Jesus describes "listens to" (literally, "hears") what He is teaching, but only the one who "follows" (literally, "does") His teaching is called "wise." How can we make sure as parents that we are not the foolish listeners of Jesus who hear but don't obey? How do we make sure we're the wise doers?

2. In what ways have you found, especially in your parenting, that Jesus' teaching is like a "solid rock"? What kinds of rains, floods, and winds have come against your house that might have negatively affected your parenting, but didn't because you listened to Jesus and were wise?

3. If you're brave enough to share (you're among friends!), describe a way you once tried to build part of your parenting house on sand and suffered consequences. Remember that doing a foolish thing does not make you a foolish person. How can we protect ourselves from foolish parenting choices in the future?

Jeremiah 6:16 | Choosing the proven path

This is what the Lord says: "Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, 'No, that's not the road we want!'"

Word Notes: Jeremiah is God's prophet to the remaining two tribes in Judah. Four hundred years earlier, when Israel's twelve tribes were united and strong, David asked, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3, NASB). Though Jeremiah is prophesying that God's judgment and destruction are soon to come from Babylon, he still provides a positive answer to David's question.

1. What are the crossroads you find yourself at as a parent in today's culture? When you take the time to stop and look around, what sorts of choices and temptations are you faced with that could keep you from giving your child God's life?

2. What is the "old, godly way" (or "ancient paths," NASB) that Jeremiah says we should walk in? How might that be an answer to David's question about foundations? Who are we supposed to "ask" about that way, and what would it mean to "walk in it" as a parent today?

3. What does it mean to find rest for your soul? As a parent, in what specific and practical ways would you find rest by traveling that path? Why would a parent choose not to travel that path in today's world? Would any of those reasons tempt you not to?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 | Old words good for all of God's families

Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Word Notes: Israel is a nation with a law, looking at last into the land promised to Abraham by God five hundred years earlier. Before they cross the Jordan River and go into the land, Moses reads the law and gives the people of Israel the words that will define their identity and purpose for millennia to come. It's called the Shema ("hear"), a call to be a unified nation of faithful families following the one true God.

1. Moses is addressing his command to the families of Israel. As a parent, how do you help your family love God completely, with all their hearts, souls, and strength? Are there ways that you see your family not loving God? How is loving God about feeling or doing?

2. Moses told the parents of Israel they must be committed to God's commands so they could give those commands to their children. Describe how parents might try to teach their children's hearts truths of God that they do not first fully understand. How are you diligent to continually teach God's truth to your children?

3. Moses' words about places and times combine to create a Hebrew parallelism that means the Israelites were to teach God's truth everywhere and all the time — in other words, there was no place or time where it shouldn't be happening. How can you, as a parent, do that today? How can your life and home reflect God's truth for your children?

Focus on Parenting



If lifegiving parenting is about giving our children real life in God so they can be fully alive in Him, then ... someone's got to give. That transfer of the life of God to our children does not happen just by good intent or by accident. It happens for one reason only — because we decide that we are the people who've got to give. Not another person, group, or church; not an organization, resource, or influence ... just us. We are the lifegivers. We are the ones who will give the life of God to our children.


As Moses suggests in the Shema, you need to prepare your own heart to be a lifegiving parent so that you will have life to give to your children. Write down ways that you can become the lifegiving parent God wants you to be — things to add to your life or take away, habits to begin or break, skills to learn, decisions to make. Remember, you must have God's life to give God's life to your children. As a group, share and compare your ideas for becoming a lifegiving parent.

Engage with God


Share prayer requests related to the concepts you've discussed this week. Then move into a time of group prayer, letting these prompts direct you:

* Lord, give us hearts to do whatever is necessary to give our children Your life.

* Strengthen us to choose to build our houses upon the rock of Your words and wisdom.

* Direct our steps onto the "old, godly way" where we will find a strong foundation.

* Help us to impress Your truth on our hearts so we can impress it on our children's hearts.

* Discipline us to teach our children diligently — everywhere, all the time, and in every way.


Excerpted from "The Life Giving Parent Experience"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Clay Clarkson and Sally Clarkson.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction, vii,
WEEK 1: Someone's Got to Give, 3,
WEEK 2: Numbering Your Child's Days, 15,
WEEK 3: Nurturing Your Child's Spirit, 27,
WEEK 4: Guarding Your Child's Heart, 39,
WEEK 5: Renewing Your Child's Mind, 51,
WEEK 6: Strengthening Your Child's Faith, 63,
WEEK 7: Shaping Your Child's Will, 75,
WEEK 8: Cultivating Your Child's Character, 87,
WEEK 9: Forming Your Child's Imagination, 99,
WEEK 10: One Life to Give, 113,
Meeting as a Lifegiving Parents Group, 127,
Knowing the Lifegiving God, 129,
About the Authors, 131,
Clarkson Family Books and Resources, 133,

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