Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Parenting by Faith and Freedom
Parenting by faith instead of formula starts with
establishing a mindset rather than a model
In a social media-driven world, parents are faced with temptations to compare their own families to images and descriptions of the “ideal” family. Parenting books are quick to provide formulas and a “one-size-fits-all” approach to parenting choices, but each family has its own story—and God is writing it.
Child Proof: Parenting by Faith Not Formula (New Growth Press/September 24, 2018) by Julie Lowe challenges parents to rely on wisdom and Scripture to get to know the needs of their own home and to uniquely and wisely apply biblical principles to their own family lives. Just as God models individual, personal, and fatherly care to each of his children, Lowe encourages parents to do the same for their children through biblical wisdom, love, self-sacrifice, and commitment to godliness.
As an experienced counselor of children and families (with seventeen years of experience helping families apply the CCEF model of biblical change) and an adoptive and foster mom, Lowe knows there is something far better than a recipe for success: a Christ-centered, relational wisdom that equips parents to know, love, and shepherd their families. “In my own parenting experience, I was challenged to think outside of the box,” says Lowe. “The formulas my husband and I attempted to follow just didn’t fit with our family. We realized being godly was more important than following a specific recipe for success. Even without a typical formula, we discovered we could learn to parent in a godly way.”
Through her counseling work, Lowe has seen similar patterns in other parents, particularly parents relying too much on parenting techniques guaranteeing “good children.” According to Lowe, they were failing because they were missing out on really knowing their child individually—their needs, strengths, weaknesses, and struggles—and weren’t focused on making wise, biblical choices in how they responded to them. Lowe notes that parenting formulas are common issues in the church. “I hope the book helps churches to stop trying to fit everyone into boxes we create. I hope it gives people freedom to live outside the box, yet still in godly and wise ways.”
Because every family is unique with differing needs, Child Proof helps readers prayerfully consider what loving their children looks like today. What does wisdom look like today? Life morphs and develops over time, in different stages, through various seasons. Formulas cannot adapt to the changes, but wisdom can guide in every situation.
Lowe demonstrates what this might look like by addressing “hot parenting topics,” including parenting the difficult child, parenting with disabilities, responding when a child breaks your heart, the alternative to micromanaging, how to deal with technology, and more. She views each parenting issue or struggle through a gospel lens, demonstrating how God cares about the specifics of our lives, and how living out of a love for the Lord shapes a new parenting mindset. “Hopefully, this book will help restore Christ to the center of each family, allowing wisdom to guide how they establish their homes.”
Applying biblical wisdom requires an intimate knowledge of your children (their personalities, history, and life together), which is why Lowe asks parents to become experts on their kids and come up with their own blueprint. Doing so will help them make gospel-centered parenting choices based on what love specifically looks like for their children. Working toward understanding their children—especially when they make poor choices—will help parents love their kids wisely. Her goal for Child Proof is to be one piece of the puzzle to help shape how people think, not a standard of how to do parenting.
Julie Lowe is a faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). She holds an MA in counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary. She is a licensed professional counselor with more than eighteen years of counseling experience. Lowe is also a registered play therapist and has developed a play therapy office at CCEF to better serve families, teens, and children.
Julie and her husband, Greg, have six children and serve as foster and adoptive parents.
New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and kids Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about Child Proof and other releases from New Growth Press, visit www.newgrowthpress.com.