• Slider 2

Forming Habits of Faith

Habits of Faith

Ask any of my children about their enduring memories of childhood, and one of them is bound to mention family devotions. They still chuckle about the Alpha and Omega day, when I drew an overview of Scripture on a chalkboard and told my ten-, eight-, and six-year old children that God was the beginning and end of all things and their lives were part of his story. “Will you live by faith?” I passionately asked, and was met by their wide-eyed nods.

To this day, twenty years later, they remember that devotional morning. They remember the rhythm of faith and prayer that set our days as a family.

They also recall the way that faith became real when they saw God actually answer our prayers. One particular morning stands out in all of our memories. The first years of Whole Heart Ministries were years that required great faith from us. We moved to the middle of nowhere, Texas, lived with my mother-in-law, and began to outline and write the messages we wanted to give to parents.

But it was all very much by faith, and there came a time early on when Clay and I realized that we would run out of money by the next month. I remember that morning clearly; the bright Texas day and my children laughing and fussing, squrming in their breakfast chairs.

We didn’t tell the kids everything, of course, but we wanted them to be part of this life ofaith, to take part as a family in trusting God. So when we came to prayer at the end of our devotions, we told them simply that we needed to see God provide for our family. Would they pray that, too?

Their little faces grew very solemn (though this did not in the least stop their squirming). They squeezed their eyes shut where they sat at the table and each of them prayed in their high voices that God would give us what we needed.

Clay went straight to his office after breakfast, and the kids and I finished the dishes and gathered everyone to start the day. But before we could begin, Clay was back with news of an amazing discovery. On picking up the morning mail, he found a magazine notice for a paticular lawsuit. He quickly realized that he had an interest in the suit and, upon calling the firm, discovered that this was the last day to put in his claim.

The amount paid would provide for our family for the next few months. When we told the kids, their eyes were wide with wonder at the fact that God had answered their prayers.

“Mom,” said Sarah, “God really heard us, and it worked.”

The most important gift you can give your child is to help them begin a walk of faith with the God of the universe. From the moment your children arrive in your home, you are teaching them how to see the world, what to consider important, what to seek, what to love.

As a mother, you have the opportunity to form your home and family life in such a way that God’s reality comes alive to your children each day.

We live in a busy, pragmatic society driven by performance and activity. In the realm of parenting, this is a particular influence as we moms feel the pressure to provide the best education, the best lessons, and the best meals. We want our kids to have character, we want them to clean their rooms, and we want them never to be lonely and to have all the music lessons and activities that they want.

But the thing your child needs most in the world is a heart that knows the love of his or her Creator.

The greatest gift you can give your kids, a gift they will carry with them into each relationship and situation of their lives, is a heart deeply centered on loving God and a life formed by the habits of faith.

10 Gifts of Wisdom Cover


The Illusive Balanced Life: Seeking Peace Instead!

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. Albert Einstein Pondering how to slow down life, how to find peace amidst busy days has been something I have been evaluating lately. Knowing that Joel and Joy, home temporarily, will be gone to a new life in the fall, Sarah will be married, and Nathan will still be far away in New York, makes me want to enjoy every moment of every day, to cherish my days while they are home. But it requires me to choose to live in peace one day at a time. Peace of mind comes from a heart attitude that says, "God is in control. I can rest at this moment, leave the stresses in His hands, live into His promise of peace, even though ... Keep Reading

Engaging in Heart and Soul Training: A New Podcast

C.S. Lewis' desk in his office at the Kiln's, where I stayed recently--the place he wrote! “If you think of this world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for training and correction and it's not so bad.” C.S. Lewis "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence. But we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle Music wafts all around our home in the evenings lately. Joel and Joy are recording an album and producing original songs. Yet, listening to them now ... Keep Reading

The Rhythm of Celebration in Our Own Life Giving Home

Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. Henri Nouwen Celebrating life and the beauty of close friendship started in the early years of our lives as we began to idealize the ways we wanted to live. As I gaze back over the decades of my life, I can see so many experiences that have shaped my view of the world. But none has had quite the effect on me as living with Clay as a young couple in Vienna, Austria. Our ... Keep Reading

Rest is to be Found in the Love of God

"I feel like God is so disappointed in me," my friend whispered between sobs. "No matter how hard I try or how much I give, it never feels like it's enough, and I don't know what to do." At thirty-two years old, she found herself empty and worn out. After serving for many years as a counselor to troubled teens, she married a pastor of college students and opened her home to hundreds of youth who were looking for answers to life's questions. Then, in five years she had two girls and one boy and little sleep. The guilt and inadequacy that had been bubbling in her heart for many years was finally boiling to the surface. She'd grown up in a wealthy home, where the expectations for her and ... Keep Reading