Prayer connects our overwhelming anxiety to God’s overcoming power. That’s why I want to give you “7 Morning and Evening Prayers to Get You Through This Week,” a free resource I put together just for you! Click to get your copy today.


Connecting our Kids with God’s Truth

April 7, 2016

As a mom of five, my greatest desire has always been to connect the hearts of my kids with the reality of God’s Truth. But sometimes it’s just plain challenging. Can I get an amen? That’s why my friend Courtney DeFeo is guest posting today – to show us a practical way to get our kids into God’s Word so God’s Word can get into them.

I have to be honest, some of my parenting decisions are made with the wrong motive. I just want my kids to make me look good on some days. Isn’t that sad?  I do care what other people think and say. I do care how my children behave, because it reflects on their mother dearest. I’ve also recognized this is a dangerous pattern for parenting and quite defeating if you try it for long.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of biblical virtues. You can find me writing, ranting or speaking about the topic on any given day. I LOVE watching virtues like generosity and service and responsibility come to life in my kids. And in the core of my heart, I have the right motives for these virtues. I want them to know Jesus personally and discover the fruit of following Him. However, it’s so easy to get caught up in focusing on these virtuous things so that our kids behave like good little Christian kids.

What happens though when a real life issue creeps up into their life? Will they know the motions to the song and the definitions in their head? But stand frozen in fear because their heart has never engaged personally with God? 

Let me illustrate…

My daughter Ella is 9 years old and she has been biting her nails for a while. We have tried every tactic to get this habit to stop. And, I’m not really proud of all the tactics we used, from bribing to demanding she stop. We were getting concerned and frustrated.

One day, Ella decided she really was tired of hurting and was embarrassed by her fingers. She wanted our help to stop. Although we had tried so many things, I could tell her heart was in a different place.

We pulled out this self-control virtue card and talked about the idea of self-control.

It hit me – here was that tension! I really wanted Ella to stop because her short nails reflected on me as a parent. And I am so glad God nudged me to see a bigger lesson was at play. I could get visibly frustrated with her and just make her memorize this self-control card. Or, I could encourage her that she could do it. Because she loves Jesus and he lives in her, she has the fruit of the Spirit – and one of those is self-control.

I reminded her of the definition: Showing restraint even when desires are strong.

I reminded her of a key verse we’ve discussed many times: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

I reminded her what she was doing was hard but not impossible and that I was cheering for her.

I reminded her that Jesus does care about struggles like this.

We did offer an incentive and we put some gloves on at night, but the difference was my attitude with my girl. I was her chief encourager, not her most frustrated coach. And her attitude went from “I can’t” to “I can.”

We didn’t talk about it much more, but something clicked in Ella. And I do think God cares about our struggles – even biting nails. And she did it.

I’m so so thankful God used this little (but huge) moment to remind Ella that He is alive in her and working. That self-control is something she will need in her life for many years to come. And the next time she needs restraint? She can look back on this time. When she called on her Savior and together they won.

Lord, I want the heart of my kids. I want them to know You. Please guide my days to show them You are real. Help me to let go of looking like a great mom. Let me be more concerned with my children and their hearts than any outside appearance or performance.

This story is exactly why I created the Virtue Memory Cards. My heart’s desire is that families will grow closer to God and experience Him. I would never want a family to pick them up and use them to look good or score points. They were designed to impact the heart.

You can help your child begin to tie everyday character qualities to Scripture verses by getting your Virtue Memory Cards today! Click here for more information.

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  1. Mj

    Wonderful idea, and timely reminder! I think it’s a well-intended mom behavior. My now-grown sons have heard me say many times that no one blames kids for what their parents do, but what kids do does reflect on the parents. That’s just the unfortunate, knee jerk reality. Recommending these cards to everyone!

    • Courtney

      Thanks MJ! Good to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  2. Julie

    Where can I get those scripture cards the article was about teaching our kids about God. She used nail biting as an example. Thank you so much.

  3. Becki Cecil

    I do not see a link to order the virtue memory cards. How can I get them?

  4. Lorie

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts today…as a Mom of four grown children, I see their adult struggles. This message reminds me that we are all children of God. Just like I am concerned and care about my children’s struggles…HE does the same with us all. No struggles are too small for Him….we just have to share those struggles with Him and let Him work…❤️

    • Courtney

      Thank you for your kind encouragement, Lorie!

  5. Donna

    Cannot find where to click to ordercards

  6. Ann Migliore

    Thanks Lysa, for having your friend share about parenting. That story about her daughter was so sweet. My children are grown, and I remember how pliable my youngsters used to be. Precious!

  7. Kathy

    Oh Lysa, you speak such truth. You’re not afraid to be transparent and honest and not shy about wiring what we have felt at one time or another if we were completely honest. Where were you when I was raising my kids…oh wait you were probably growing up too…wow, sure wish it wasn’t too late. Thank you for being such a wonderful example of real people who need Jesus who aren’t perfect just forgiven. God richly continue to bless you and your family.

  8. Cindy Magee

    WOW! Visiting this website bc my mom and sis are reading Made to Crave. This post is so timely. Today I was reading about selfcontrol and my youngest’s preschool class started memorizing Joshua 1:9 this past week! 🙂

    • Courtney

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Cindy! Keep up the great work.

  9. Megan

    I always love to hear wisdom, insight and inspiring vulnerability from Courtney DeFeo!! Thanks for hosting her on your site. 🙂

    • Courtney

      Thanks sweet Megan!

  10. Holly

    I was just about to make some cards for my boy’s and then I read this. I struggle with how my children make look and have for the last 4 years since my youngest has been in school. This is what I needed in this moment. Thank you for letting God speak through you! Thank you for the cards!

  11. Scott Carpenter

    I wanted to share a story about my son from this week. There are so many people who are truly afraid of the prospects of this election season. My 17 year old son sneaked out of the house the other night at one in the morning, drove down the road, and recorded this song. Given what many 17 year olds are sneaking out of their houses to do at 1:00 A.M… I am a blessed man! I hope his song encourages you.

  12. Lyndsey Brown

    I just love you to pieces Lysa. You spoke at Church of the King in Mandeville not to long ago and I really enjoy your transparency. I am going through a custody battle and hope you can pray for my son and I.

  13. PA

    I definitely understand the concern that a child knows the words and motions but not embraced them at a heart level. I was that child and am now a struggling adult, My parents did much right. He is real and good, but the choice is ours.

  14. Sorrell Sabido

    I love your page. Your content is real and from the heart which means a lot to us out here, who are looking for some guidens.

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Lysa TerKeurst