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Helping Children Grieve

This morning in Bible class, a little boy needed a bandaid. Something simple to fix with just a quick trip to the first aid kit. But something more than healing an owie occurred.

accident-skinned-kneeHe was hurt and in his hurt he needed help. He needed to know he was going to be taken care of. He needed to know that the pain was not going to last forever.

While his grief was not over anything major like the loss of a pet or loved one, the root of those feelings are the same. Grief.

Deep sorrow over an owie cannot be compared with the lasting pain of losing a parent or sibling but how we address them are the same. Reassurance. Care. Presence. These cost us nothing but go a long way towards helping children walk through a process of finding healing from their wounds – both emotional and physical.


Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family – Week 2 Response


Do I have to answer these questions? As I read this week’s chapter, I was somewhat dreading the questions at the end of the chapter. I knew they would require a raw authenticity that is uncomfortable. In looking at the parenting style overviews from this chapter, I see myself (dys)functioning to varying degrees in each one – in different ways.

Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family 2Michelle Anthony provides a glimpse into the next six chapters with an overview of each dysfunctional parenting style. Included are quotes you might hear from someone that parents with that particular style. Her frank assessment of each style might leave you feeling as if it were a bit harsh but the conclusions she draws about how a child raised that way could end up are not too difficult to agree with.

If you have been keeping up with the readings each week, I encourage you to chime in with your answers in the comment section below. It’s not too late to go back and complete week 1 and if you need an overview of what this book club is all about, click here!

  1. Which dysfunction best describes how you were parented?
  2. How has that dysfunction shaped the person and parent you are today?
  3. What potential flaws in your character or in the way you interact with others need healing from this dysfunction?
  4. In what ways has God redeemed that dysfunction? In what ways can He use its manifestations in your life for good?
  5. What dysfunctions do you see yourself repeating in your role as a parent? In what ways are you compensating for your parents’ dysfunction by swinging the pendulum the other way?
  6. How will you submit these things to God, your Father, today?

Anthony, Michelle (2015-01-01). Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles (pp. 31-32). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

Josh’s Answers

  1. This question and number 5 might be the most difficult ones to answer. The good news in response to this question is that I have watched as God has been redeeming my parents’ parenting styles and I know they recognize some of the dysfunction in how they raised me. That being said, I was parented with a combination of the “Criticizing” and the “Absentee” parenting styles. Neither one neatly describes either of my parents but there was a fair amount of criticism as well as times when I wish my parents were more present. Thank goodness that my parents know a God that doesn’t give up on them and have allowed Him to continue working in their life to redeem and reconcile.
  2. The way these flaws have shown up in my own life are through approval seeking. I think I reacted as a young child through a need to gain approval by “being good.” I was motivated by knowing I had acted rightly and would be praised for doing a good job. I see this in my own parenting in that I want to be (and be seen as) a good dad. I get approval when I feel I am doing a good job as a father.
  3. The approval seeking shows up in my ability to overwork. My tendency to escape into my tasks (absenteeism) and to look on what others are doing, especially my children, and place expectations (criticizing) that are too high are the two main flaws which need healing.
  4. When I get into my “critical mode” I feel a deep conviction over how I may be crushing the spirits of my little girls. He calls into check just how important it is that things be done my way. When I get so involved in my work that family time suffers, he calls me back to center (sometimes not so gently) and gives me the chance to refocus on what is lasting.
  5. As Michelle Anthony describes in the chapter, grown children can adopt the style of their parenting or they can reject it and choose it’s opposite. I do find myself having both of these tendencies at times. Again, I don’t feel that I fall neatly into one category. As she quoted parents from each of these dysfunction genres, sadly, I heard my voice. The pendulum does swing back the opposite way though and I feel this is God’s way of bringing balance to my life as as way of redeeming things. When I respond without criticism or press into my family instead of withdrawing from them, he is redeeming these qualities.
  6. I think the act of submitting these to Father happens with every decision. I have to ask him to catch me quickly when I fall back into these traps. When I’m not in the moment, my prayer is that he would prepare my heart to reject those dysfunctional parenting styles and when I’m in the moment, criticizing or being tempted to withdraw, to remind me that he has something better planned. This is where the decision to surrender is both most difficult and most rewarding.


So, anyone else want to take a risk? How would you answer these questions in response to Chapter Two from Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family?

Imperfect Godliness

I have been so blessed to share about the ups and downs of marriage alongside some men who deeply love the Lord lately. One thing has become clear through this journey. Many men fear that their imperfections in marriage or parenting disqualify them from being considered “godly.”

If faith is important to a man, his wife pays him the biggest compliment when she tells him he is godly despite his imperfections. This single affirmation communicates to him that despite his – often hurtful – actions he remains “enough.”

shame_13The deceptive anthem that inhibits men from living fully from their hearts says, “You have little to offer your family spiritually unless you get it all together.” For some men, the fear of being seen as hypocritical for trying to impart faith in their home while at the same time having a temper, being prideful, lusting after a woman, or giving into workaholism shackles them to a lie of never-ending shame.

Men, it’s not your love for God or your blameless behavior or your perfect job, wife, house, or kids that makes you worthy. Jesus committed his life to you before you committed yours to him. He did it knowing the heart in which he would choose to live would inevitably feel the weight of the shame for which he died. There in the place where you experience the most shame is the location where he chose to take up residence.

Live from a heart that has been set free by the presence of a resurrected Lord who is not ashamed of what he finds tucked away, hidden from the rest of the world.

You are enough for him.
Your heart is good enough.


Creating A Spiritual Legacy

Nobody wants to think about leaving a legacy, but we do it every day with every single decision we make. Here is a sermon in which I share a story of Jesus and what we can see about intentionally creating a spiritual legacy for everyone we influence.


Loving What Jesus Loves

Last week I shared a post about how my daughter has been impacted by our sponsorship of a little boy with compassion international. The children who are sponsored through compassion receive education, medical assistance, food and clean water, and most importantly a Bible in their own language. One of the things I love about Compassion is that they are not simply interested in meeting physical needs. Jesus made it clear that he loves children and the poor. What Jesus loves, we should love. What breaks Jesus’ heart should break ours as well. Choosing to sponsor a child with Compassion is not just about sending money so other people can “deal with” the problem of child poverty around the world. It’s about sharing in the mission of Jesus Christ – His love for the poor.

Here is what you can do.

  1. Go to this page. Pray for the child pictured, that they would know the Lord and receive a sponsor…then click to the next child and do the same. Continue doing this as you have time available. They need your prayers!
  2. Consider sponsoring a child. There are many ways to love what Jesus loves, this is one of them!

Blessings as you partner with God and strive to love what Jesus loves!


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