Topic: Parenting


Six Ways to Prepare Young Christians for Dating

Three months ago I went on my first date. I planned my outfit days in advance. My mom took pictures of me. My stomach was a knot of nervous (and excited) anticipation. My date and I had been friends for a while and we both liked each other, so it […]

youth sports

Give Your Kids Something Better Than Youth Sports

You’re a good mom. You’re a good dad. You want what’s best for your kids. You sacrifice to provide for them. You forego vacations and skimp on retirement savings to give them good gifts. In the affluent West in 2018, those good gifts often take the form of youth sports. […]


Why Your Children Need to Understand that They’re Image Bearers

“Lord, help me see my girls the way you see them.” This is a normal prayer for me. I say it nearly every day, sometimes multiple times a day. It’s often answered as the Lord helps me soften my responses and tailor my discipline. However, recently this prayer was answered […]


To Parents Whose Kids Have Abandoned the Faith

One of the heaviest burdens a believing parent can bear comes when a son or daughter abandons the faith they once professed.   It happens. And when it does, you may find yourself wondering where you went wrong. Did we fail in our teaching? Did we fail in our example? […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (June 8, 2018)

Have You Left Your First Love? (Greg Morse, Desiring God) But the haunting question God asked his spiritually callous people shoots down all my excuses, “What wrong did you find in me that you went far from me?” (see Jeremiah 2:5). When we find ourselves far from God, he is never […]


How to Intentionally Communicate the Gospel to Your Kids

Some say it’s not the quantity of time with your kids that matters, but the quality. God calls parents to be intentional about the quality of time we spend with our kids, with every bit of quantity we have. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 11, 2018)

Pastor, Don’t Avoid Uncomfortable Topics (Brett McCracken, The Gospel Coalition) …the whole counsel of God—revealed to us in his Word—is challenging to preach. But preach it we must. Otherwise, we as pastors have the blood of our congregations on our hands (Acts 20:26). Does the New Testament Misquote the Old Testament? (Peter Krol, Knowable […]

The Exposing Power of Mother’s Day

Flowers. Jewelry. Breakfast in bed. A trip to the nail salon. A sentimental card. Dinner out. Many of us have some sort of idea of how we would like to be celebrated on Mother’s Day. We spend most of our days wiping noses, changing poopy diapers, rising at our middle-of-the-night […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 23, 2018)

God, Why Won’t You Fulfill Our Desire For Children? (Michael McAfee, The Gospel Coalition) He isn’t good because of the good he does, but because of who he is. As Psalm 107:1 declares, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.” “I Never Made a Sacrifice”: The Call and Question of David Livingstone (John […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 9, 2018)

Three Ways to Disciple Our Children in an Age of Confusion (Jenna Fleming, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention) The lifelong “when you sit in your house, walk by the way, lie down, and rise” diligent teaching of faithful parents to their children is the call […]


God Never Slumbers or Sleeps

I recently came across a tweet by Matt Smethurst, Managing Editor of The Gospel Coalition, quoting Mary Crowley: “Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Crowley’s words are based on Psalm 121:3-4. The psalmist writes,“He […]


Expecting Perfection or Explaining Grace?

“You expect perfection.” My mom’s well-timed words stung, but I knew she was right. I stood on the brink of “losing it” with my oldest daughter at the local fast food joint. I was struggling to maintain a calm exterior. Inside I was screaming. My mom’s words melt deeper into […]


An Open Letter to Parents of Students

Dear Parents, School is almost here, and your students likely have mixed emotions. There’s some anticipation for rhythm and routine, but beneath the surface are layers of fear and uncertainty. School is a precious privilege, but it can also be filled with struggles and pressures that weigh heavily on a […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (August 30, 2017)

From the Flooded Grounds of Houston (J. A. Medders, The Gospel Coalition) When I hear more rain on my back patio, my heart aches. Our city is sinking. I shake my head in disbelief as rain and sirens blare around us. As I tell my kids to wear their helmets during […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (August 10, 2017)

Three Surprising Ways Bible Reading with My Kids Has Changed Me (Jon Nielson, Tim Challies) There are plenty of distractions and reasons why reading the Bible with my three young kids is hard. But I’m convinced that the best thing I can do for my children is expose them to the […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 6 with Paul David Tripp

If all our children needed was a set of rules…Jesus would’ve never had to come. (Paul David Tripp) Unlocking the Bible continues to release weekly episodes of Readers and Writers with Colin Smith, a podcast recorded live at The Gospel Coalition’s 2017 National Conference. Our next guest is Paul David Tripp, […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (June 15, 2017)

Ecclesiastes And The Postmodern Teenager: 4 Ways To Resist Casual Faith (Mike McGarry, Rooted Ministry) As Christians, we intellectually know that we do need God to make sense of our world and our daily life, but so often in day-to-day living we lose sight of the miraculous. Take Up Thy Swords: A […]


10 Things Your Children and Grandchildren Need To Know About You

What do your children and grandchildren know about you? I don’t mean where you were born, and what school you went to, interesting though that might be. What do they know about what God has been doing in your life and what he is doing right now? Some years ago, […]


An Open Letter to My Daughter on Mother’s Day

To my youngest daughter, for Mother’s Day, Have I ever told you that I consider Mother’s Day a celebration of you more than me? When your older sister was made for heaven, and not for earth—taken there, graciously, before she was even born—I knew how dear to me were all […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 11, 2017)

To the childless on Mother’s Day (Chelsea Patterson, The ERLC) As a childless woman, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of what I don’t have, and what I long for. Seven Things Church Members Should Say to Guests (Thom S. Rainer, LifeWay Pastors) Today, I am looking at a very basic […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (May 4, 2017)

Stop Photobombing Jesus (Garrett Kell, The Gospel Coalition) Are you frustrated or discouraged when God “overlooks” you? Those are good times to re-evaluate why you follow Jesus. Satan Wields Ignorance of the Word as a Weapon (Kelly Needham, True Woman) Ignorance of the whole of God’s Word makes us easy targets in the […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 29, 2017)

Helping Kids Handle Conflict (Eric Davis, The Cripplegate) A child’s greatest need is not insulation from mean kids, but salvation from their sin; not to meet nicer kids, but to meet Christ. Through faith alone in Jesus Christ, this greatest need will be met. Three Promises for Those Who Are Hurting […]

teach your children

How to Teach Your Children to Suffer Well

As painful as it is to endure suffering as parents, it’s even more painful to watch our children suffer. All four of my children have suffered immensely from the physical, emotional, and neurological pain of Lyme disease. They’ve watched our family go from financially comfortable to unemployed. They frequently feel […]

kids suffering

Three Ways to Help Your Kids Through Suffering

Trials and suffering can be anywhere from stretching to downright devastating. But most people would agree that as painful as it is to endure suffering ourselves, it’s even more painful to watch our children suffer. Whether it’s a bully at school, a friend who hurts their feelings, the loss of […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (January 11, 2017)

7 Ways Smartphones Can Enhance Your Spiritual Life (Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition) Christians must therefore think critically about how smartphones affect us…Yet in watching out for the pitfalls of technology we should not overlook the ways that smartphones can be useful for spiritual formation. We Read the Bible Together…You Can, […]

Seven Good Books for Kids (and Their Grown-Ups)

It’s a great day for Christian children’s literature. Theologically sound authors are joining forces with incredible illustrators to create books for kids with the truth, stimulation, and whimsy necessary to reach a child’s heart and mind. Part of my wonderful job is to find the best ones. Here are seven […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (November 30, 2016)

How Can Expository Sermons Avoid Being Wooden and Uncreative? (Colin Smith, The Gospel Coalition) There is a kind of preaching that reflects the disciples’ spirit: dutiful, disciplined, and faithful, but also wooden, joyless, and predictable. What we need is more preaching that reflects the spirit of Mary. Walking with our children […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (November 16, 2016)

Walking with Our Children through Suffering (Sarah Walton, Set Apart) What do we do when suffering strikes in our kid’s lives? How do we prepare our children for a world that involves disappointment, pain, and loss? 3 Motivations to Hate Sin (Erik Raymond, The Gospel Coalition) Until sin is actually hated […]

Bible study

Why Busy Parents Need Bible Study

I used to love studying my Bible. I would wake up in the morning, grab my first cup of coffee, and settle into uninterrupted time reading my Bible. I loved it. Whether I was preparing for a full day of work at the office, a Saturday with my husband or […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (September 21, 2016)

4 Questions Parents Should Ask of Extracurricular Activities (Cameron Cole, The Gospel Coalition) Is it wrong to play on Sunday? Are we offering a poor Christian witness if we miss games and practices for religious events? Is the grandparent’s anniversary party more important than the playoff soccer game? Is the Bible […]

Parents and Children, Be Motivated by the Gospel

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12) God had miraculously brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt at the time when Israel received the Ten Commandments. God was setting them apart as […]

Mother's Day

This Mother’s Day, Don’t Worry

Once a mother always a mother. When I was planning the series Ultimate Questions for the congregation of The Orchard some time ago, I wondered which of Jesus’ questions might be most appropriate for Mother’s Day. So I showed a list of Christ’s questions to a few mothers in the congregation, […]

The Pressures of 21st Century Parenting

From the first time I became a parent eight-and-a-half years ago, with three more little ones to follow, one thing has remained the same: There is immense pressure to keep up with the unrealistic and often unhealthy expectations that we, as parents, put on ourselves and feel from others. Some of […]

prayers for the new school year

Four Prayers for the New School Year

Our youngest left for college a few weeks ago. For the first time, my husband and I have no one to wake for school, help with homework, or share the car keys. I’m not sure when ABCs became SATs—overnight, it seems. Too quickly, we moved from Play-Doh, training wheels, and […]

hope for parents

Hope for Parents in the Middle of July

It is now the middle of July, and the kids have been home long enough to spend unstructured, valuable time with you, take part in educational or sporting activities, relax a little, help around the house, and read. Perhaps you’ve taken family vacations, and a great time was had by all. […]

Fathers, Exercise the Leadership God Has Trusted to You

The description of David as “a man after God’s heart” was used first by Samuel when he told Saul that his kingdom would not continue. “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart,” he said (1 Samuel 13:14). That is what God did when he raised up […]

No Perfect Fathers (or Mothers)

My father was not a fan of Father’s Day. He appreciated grateful children as much as any father does. However, he didn’t want our family to spend money on gifts he considered frivolous: ties he didn’t need, books he wouldn’t read, and doodads he couldn’t use. One gift he received, […]

10 Keys for Effective Parenting

I devoured a bunch of parenting books back in my child-rearing days, and they all left me feeling somewhat inadequate. They influenced me positively, I’m sure, but when reading chapter after chapter of solid techniques and creative ideas, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I had missed the perfect parenting train. I was running behind trying […]