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Helping Your Children Put Their Trust in Christ

Your calling as a parent is to model a faith that is authentic and strong.
By Barbara Rainey

In troubled times, one of the biggest challenges parents face is knowing how to transfer their faith to their children. Because we have learned how challenging life can be, we want our kids to know how to depend on Christ as their Rock, whether it's on the battlefield of the school playground or on a real battlefield one day across the globe. But how?

Several years ago I read a story about a family who lived a comfortable, peaceful life in a happy community. Unexpected national events in their country changed everything for this mom and dad and their two daughters, 11 and 8.

In the months leading up to the beginning of World War I, life changed dramatically for Elizabeth, 11, and her Armenian family living in Turkey, the land of their ancestors. Raised by parents who followed Christ and taught the truths of Scripture, Elizabeth's world began to implode in April 1915 when her father was arrested and beaten by Turkish soldiers, who accused him of crimes he did not commit.

He was offered sanctuary if he renounced Christ and gave allegiance to Mohammad, but he refused. After he was arrested a second time, Elizabeth searched for him and found him badly beaten. On her knees, with her face near his, she heard him say, "Never give up Christ no matter how much suffering might come. Christ died for us. We can be as brave in His name."

That was the last time Elizabeth saw her father. She fled with her mother and sister to another city, where they found work as servants.

‘My own time has come'

Elizabeth's employers began to pressure her to deny Christ, but her mother told her, "Remember your father's example." Then her mother admitted, "My own time for facing that question has come. I was told today that all Armenian adults must acknowledge Mohammed or be exiled." She began crying and continued, "I cannot give up Christ no matter how much you girls will need me. I cannot give Him up. I know that He will watch over you both."

The next day her mother was taken away, along with hundreds of other Armenians. Elizabeth and her sister were now orphans.

Can you imagine the pain that Elizabeth's parents felt when they talked to her for the last time? They desperately wanted to protect her and her sister, to keep them from suffering. But they knew they could not renounce their Savior. So they did the very best thing they could do—they put their daughters in the hands of Jesus. By faith.

God rescued the two girls and kept them safe through the end of the war, and they immigrated to the United States.

Could I trust God?

When I first read this story, all of my children were safely in my nest. I wondered if I had the faith to act as these parents did. Could I trust God to take care of my children if He took me or both Dennis and me to heaven? Did I believe His sovereignty and goodness would be unchanging if He allowed them to go through something harmful or painful?

What most of us face today is nothing like the instability in Turkey a hundred years ago. But the answer is still the same. Jesus Christ is still on His throne, and He can still be trusted to take care of us—no matter what that looks like. That's what we need to teach our children so they can put their faith in Christ and trust Him in everything.

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Jesus Christ is still on His throne, and He can still be trusted to take care of us.

If our kids are anxious and fearful, they're probably picking it up from us. And if we want them to be full of faith, they need to pick that up from us, too.

So that's the question for moms and dads. Do you really believe God is big enough?

Followers of Christ today stand on the same Rock that believers have trusted for over 2,000 years. No matter what is happening in the world, that Rock is Jesus Christ.

Teaching your children

So how do you pass this truth on to your children, so they will rely on this same solid foundation as they grow into adulthood?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 was a consistent source of guidance for Dennis and me as we raised our children. It begins with a statement that Jesus later identified as the "greatest commandment": "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." This is what you need to teach your children, and it should be a way of life—not something you restrict to Sunday school or family devotions.

God's Word should be "on your heart"—something that is so central to your existence that you can't help but talk about it to your children. In the daily circumstances of life, you will find many opportunities to tell your children about God, about His Son Jesus Christ, and about what He did for us.

Point them to Christ

As they grow older, initiate conversations with your children as they encounter the normal troubles kids face in life—difficulties at school, with friends, with unfair adults, with bullies. These are great times to point them to Christ and teach them how to trust God. They will encounter trouble, and if you don't teach them how to handle it, you're setting them up for great disappointment.

Give your kids permission to articulate what they're feeling and experiencing. The family needs to be a safe place to express their fears and disappointments. Those are great moments for you to love them, affirm them, and help them make wise choices. And in times of cultural instability, you can act as a "spiritual commentator" of sorts—talking through current issues and helping them see a biblical perspective.

I think that's our calling as parents, to model a faith that is authentic and strong and rooted in the Rock, and that's what our children will notice. We have to remember to model that in what we say and what we do, because our kids are paying attention.

In a time of turmoil and instability, Helping Your Children Put Their Trust in ChristFamilyLife is offering several resources to help you remain UNSHAKEN. A new devotional, "UnShaken: Searching for Stability in a Troubled World," offers biblical advice to encourage you to focus on God as your foundation. Listen to Dennis and Barbara Rainey in in their FamilyLife Today® series, "UnShaken: He Is the Stability of Our Times." Also, a new resource from Ever Thine Home® gives you the opportunity to remind yourself and your friends and family that Jesus is our stability (see photo at right).

Copyright © 2016 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author: Barbara Rainey

Barbara Rainey is a wife, mother of six adult children (plus three sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law), and "Mimi" to nineteen grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1971. She and her husband, Dennis, whom she married in 1972, are co-founders of FamilyLife, a ministry of Cru that is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Barbara has published articles on family-related topics and is the author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and When Christmas Came.  She speaks at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences and is a frequent guest on FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated, daily radio program.  She and Dennis are the coauthors of several books, including Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, Starting Your Marriage Right, Moments Together for Couples, The New Building Your Mate's Self-Esteem, Parenting Today's Adolescent, Rekindling the Romance, and Moments with You. She co-authored A Mother's Legacy with her daughter, Ashley Rainey Escue and joined Dennis and their children Rebecca and Samuel on the book So You're About To Be A Teenager. Barbara has also co-authored Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest, with close friend Susan Yates, and A Symphony in the Dark, written with her daughter, Rebecca Rainey Mutz. And Barbara has written a series focusing on character traits for families, including the titles Growing Together in Gratitude, Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Forgiveness, and Growing Together in Truth.

Having faithfully served alongside Dennis for more than 30 years, both in ministry and at home, Barbara has recently launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home™.  This new line of products, including Christ centered ornaments for Christmas, teaching tools for Lent and Easter, and beautiful additions for your home for thanksgiving and year round makes it easy to express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful.  Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:9, ESV)

You can read more about Barbara's work at

Find Barbara online on:
Twitter @BarbaraRainey and Facebook



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