More Encouragement for Moms
Philippians 4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.”

I would love to know the age of your kids.
(Please post a comment to let us know). My oldest turns fourteen in May and my youngest just turned eleven. I have noticed that passing my faith to my children seemed so much easier when they were younger. They were like little sponges, usually eager to learn Bible verses and other things I tried to teach them. Well, not so much anymore. Now I'm the sponge who is listening to all the wisdom I can get from other Christ-loving parents who have special insights into the hearts of teens. One thing I am learning is that it's not so much what I say, but how I live that influences their faith most.

Today, Suzie Eller is back to pick up from where we left off yesterday.
She surveyed hundreds of teens for her book, "Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parents Needs to Know, " and this week she's telling us what they said about how parents can hinder or help their faith. Here is what she wrote:

Your teen will hear a thousand messages about faith in their lifetime, most of them from people who don’t believe. So what we show our children about faith becomes even more vital.

But what are we teaching them? I talked with hundreds of teens and they said there are four things that parents do that can make faith difficult to comprehend. Yesterday, I shared two common mistakes, and today I have two more:

Mistake #3—Hypocrisy
Christianity is not an easy choice for teens. What does your teen see in you that will help him make that choice? Hypocrisy is imposing double standards. You have to do this, but it’s okay for me. It’s putting on a church face, but having a different face at home. This was the number one reason that teens said they turned away from faith. Their view of God was complex. What is real? What is not?

Mistake #4—Fail to Support Them In Their Faith
A few years ago a teen stood outside the church. She had been gone for several weeks and had not responded to phone calls. She put my hand on her stomach. Pregnant! I wanted to cry. Several weeks earlier we had a powerful youth service. It went longer than usual. Parents waited outside while the teens prayed. I watched this teen. She was on the outskirts, but I could see the longing. As she walked toward the altar, her parent burst through the door and took her by the arm. She was angry because she had to wait in the car.

It was inconvenient. She did have to wait too long. But I wonder what the teen lost that night.

If you deliver your teen to a youth event or have been asked to pull out one more dollar for a youth activity, you are investing in your teen’s spiritual life. Right now, there are parents who are on their knees crying out to God for their unsaved teens. If your teen is running toward God, take a moment and thank God—and then run with him.

T. Suzanne (Suzie) Eller is a Proverbs 31 speaker, youth culture and parenting columnist, and author of books including Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parents Needs to Know. Visit Susie's blog or Suzie's blog for teens.

Thank you so much Suzie for sharing your wisdom with us. I can't wait to read your book! If any of you have questions or thoughts for Suzie, please post them in a comment below or stop by her blog today.

Tomorrow I'll be traveling with my girlfriends to Texas for our Girls Night/Day Out with KSBJ on Thursday. I would treasure your prayers for safe travel and for everything leading up to the event, and for me to not be nervous but completely consumed by God's grace and overflowing with HIM! Before I leave, I'll be sharing my story of learning how to pass on my faith to my kids when they were younger. Although I said it was easier when they were younger, I didn't mean it was easy. But there was a day in March 1999 that God gave me a whole new perspective and sense of purpose as a mom. It changed my life and our family as God showed us how to make Him part of our everyday lives.

See ya tomorrow!

Copyright 2009, Renee Swope - All rights reserved.

Today's Mom Give-Aways

Proverbs 31 Ministries is giving a copy of Suzie's book, Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parents Needs to Know .

D6 is giving away one of the conference speakers' resources - Angela Thomas' best-seller "My Single Mom Life". (A great book for all moms, single or married. From overcoming mommy guilt, loneliness, setting healthy boundaries to living the amazing life God has for you and your kids, Angela covers it all. I am reading it and loving it!)

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win and I'd love to know your kids ages and your city/state or country.

PS. Be sure to sign up soon for the D6Conference! Early registration ends February 2nd.


Blogger Susan said...

Hello! Great food for thought again this morning. I have 2 girls and 1 boy: ages 16, 13 and 11 (12 in March). We live in Lancaster County, PA. Thanks!


My baby boys are 8 & 5. Seems like yesterday they were in the toddler category. I can't believe they grow so fast.
Paula G <><

Anonymous Margaret said...

This book keeps sounding better and better! When we sit and think of how our most effective way to witness to our teens is by our actions it sure makes you think back over some pretty big mistakes. Hopefully I will learn from them and not make the same ones over and over.
Loving this segment on teens!
Margaret, NC

Blogger Donna L said...

Thank you for more wonderful words of wisdom. And thank you so much for reminding us that we are investing in our teen lives through the activities, trips, camps and services. My wonderful husband and I have 3 children (girl - age 18, boy - age 15 (almost 16), girl - age 14). We live in Pottsville, AR and I am so thankful that God has laid these messages on your heart and the hearts of your fellow bloggers.

Anonymous Margaret said...

Forgot to include the age of my children, I have two girls and a boy in the middle they are 20,18and 16.
Margaret, NC

Blogger gunningfam05 said...

Thank you again for sharing.

Even though this is for teens. it can be applied to kids of all ages...

My kids are: Nathan-5, Gabriella:4 and Lucas:2.
Our kids are so aware of things.. esp my 5/4 yr old.
I defiently have to be careful about my actions .. beacuse they are at the age of acting what they see. If I am not in a good mood.. it gets repeated through their attitudes in how they speak to me.
Then I have to correct it... and realize that I have to watch how I react.
and also.. how they view God now will stay with them as they get older. I struggle sometimes in the how of teaching them the right way.
But they are so eager to read and learn and I want to use that...
Please pray for us.. that we can lead them in the right way.. so that they will want Him in their lives.. and want to live for Him.

Chrissy Gunning
Littleton, NH

Anonymous Sharon said...

I enjoyed the thoughts yesterday and today. I can see how these things influence teens, looking back over the life of my older kids. My oldest is 30, my youngest 14. In between are 25, 24, and 21. I'm praying I don't make the mistakes with the youngest that I made with the oldest. With God's help, I don't think I will.


Blogger Deanna said...

My oldest is 17. It seems like yesterday....I'm so blessed that she loves Jesus. My boys are 9 and 8. Thank you for doing this series.


Blogger Laya said...

Hello! I have 2 boys 19,17 and 2 girls 15,10. I look forward to reading your blog daily. I must tell you that with my older son, he is away at school now, he is finding his way to the Lord in a much more personal way than when he was at home. I feel he is nurturing his relationship with HIM and enjoys sharing what he is discovering on his own. This makes him more receptive when I wish to share my insights with him. My 17 yr old is actually taking the Wendy Pope challenge with me, he has his own copy of the Chronological Bible. I can def see that the example we live is what speaks loudest to our childern. For as they grow older they are def more aware of what we do than what we say.
West Virginia

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder of the impact our actions have on our kids. It seems that I find myself nagging more than teaching most of the time. I have a teenage son in the home, turns 15 tomorrow and an 18yr old daughter in college. I'm humbled today and reminded that I have to be diligent in praying for them.

tammy, tx

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suzie's "mistakes" touched me. I often find myself in a hurry - hurry to get somewhere, hurry to get home. I certainly don't want to be in a hurry when my children need me to help them build their foundation of their faith.

Thank you again Renee for this series. (I also haven't had the chance to thank you for the Girls' Day Out tickets! My daughter and I are looking forward to it!)

My children are 12 (daughter) and 10 (son).

Lori J
Dallas, Texas

Blogger HL0517 said...

what an uplifting message and I have one boy age 2

Anonymous Mom2Navybrats said...

thank you so much for the wisdom that you shared with all of us who are just trying to get it right. My children are 9 and 11; so we're not in those teen years yet, but it's right on my apron strings.

I struggled with my 11 year old about 6 months ago because he did not want to go to youth group. He said it was the same stuff he's already heard and he knew it so he didn't need to hear it again. He's also active in every seasonal sport; so I compared youth group to practicing for soccer, basketball, or baseball. You've done it before, but you continue on because it makes you better. The coach even tells you the same thing at every practice but you still listen and on different days, different points will click with you and help you improve. Youth group is just like that. The more you go, the more you improve as a Christian and that's even more important that being able to play a sport well. Hey, I think I had a D6 moment. :)

Blogger Stacey said...

Keeping all of you in my prayers. I know you will have a great conference and lives will be changed for eternity. I have three children, four if you count the baby in heaven. Kayla is 16 and will be 17 in May. Christopher is 4, will be five in September and Kaitlyn is 3, will be 4 in November. I was told by doctors I would never have any more children after Kayla. If you new the lifestyle I lived, I should have been pregnant a hundred times...but for some reason, the gracious Lord showed mercy and grace. After five years of sobriety, I met my husband, got married, conceived on our honeymoon and the rest is history!

Blogger Nikki said...

Hey, Mom2Navybrats!
What a great comparison! My children are 5, 4, 2, and 10 months so it will be awhile before I could use that example but what an awesome way to explain the importance of youth group to children who play/enjoy sports!!! I'll have to write that one down. That was totally a D6 moment--Good for you!
Thanks again Renee for the blog. Even though I don't have teens yet, I think that will be a very challenging time in our household and I have enjoyed the parenting advice on leading teens in their faith. It's always good to be prepared before you get to those challenging teenage years!

Anonymous Miriam said...

Thanks for your cautionary advice. It reminds me to not be too authoritarian but more grace-filled in raising my children. As the youngest in my family of origin, I witnessed how my sisters, once passionate for God, departed from church activities altogether when too much "control" and not enough gentle grace was applied during their teen years. In contrast, I experienced more acceptance, freedom to make mistakes, and emotional support once I became a teen. I hope not to be too legalistic and controlling, but I recognize that this is part of my family experience I need to guard against.
My children are Eliana (5), Benjamin (3) and Naomi (1). We have recently discovered some great devotional/family time resources (We have yet to begin a family night). Devotions for Girls/Boys: God and Me by Lynn Marie-Ittner Klammer (Legacy Press). There are devotional books for boys/girls--two books each for ages 2-5; ages 6-9; ages 10-12 and another book called The Christian Girl's Guide to Being Your Best. The 2-5 age books have a daily theme, Bible verse, story with questions, prayer and activity (sometimes a craft).
We also have enjoyed learning Bible verses with materials from Scripture Memory Fellowship International (St. Louis, MO). They have a series of memory books from toddlers through adults. Preschool books include the ABC Memory Book and Bible Forget-Me-Nots. They include free "reward" materials with shipment.
The National Center for Biblical Parenting ( has resources for family time activities. We haven't used these materials yet, but they look good--Family Time Activities for Preschoolers (Wiggles, Giggles, and Popcorn; Bubbles, Balloons, and Chocolate). These are basically activities like science experiments, art activities, and games utilized to teach Biblical truths. I notice they sell 3 other books of activities for all ages and one for teens called Tried and True. Kirk Weaver is the author. These seem like helpful D6 materials.
Has anyone else discovered valuable materials/family traditions that develop faith in their family? We're a young family and always interested in new posibilities.

Blogger Chaos Cottage said...

Praying for your safe travel. Have fun in Texas! My dd is 9, soon to be 10 years old. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Thanks for all you do,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What great insights! The book sounds amazing. My girls are 8 and 5 and I am anxious to read your post tomorrow too. I get up each day with the intent that "today will be the day" that I start sharing my faith more with my girls and doing devotions or something. But then night falls and I have failed once again to start.

I can see the point about our actions not matching our words really applying at all ages.

Safe travels tomorrow and have a wonderful conference



Blogger Casey S. said...

I'll pray for your safe travel and know that you'll be wonderful up on stage. I wish I wasn't so darn far away in Idaho, oh well. Someday I'll have to plan a trip out for one of these great conferences. Thanks for the post.
I have an 18 year old son, Nathan and a 9 year old son Logan.

Blogger Lara said...

Wow. I wish these things had been around when I was a teenager. I'm the 3rd of 4 girls who grew up in church, but I really really struggled through high school and college. My daughter is now almost 7 and my son is 4. I hope to see their faith become their own and for them to grow into a great man and woman of God!

Blogger Kathy said...

I have two daughters; ages 6 and 10 1/2.

We live just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Anonymous Leigh Fant said...

Thank you! I have three children: 5, 3, and 1.
Leigh Fant

Blogger Wendi said...

My kids see me doing Bible studies all the time and reading the Bible, but do they see me living the Bible?
son -13
daughter 4.5

Anonymous Kimberly said...

Thanks for the great wisdom today! I have three boys ages 5 1/2, 3 1/2 and 20 months.


Anonymous Lisa V said...

I'm a mom of a 2 1/2 yr old boy.

Thank you. Please enter me in today's giveaway.

OpenID Lehrerin said...

They are ALWAYS watching, aren't they? My daughter repeats and mimics everything she sees. I often watch her do something and know that it came from me, and sometimes I have to cringe - I didn't realize that I used that particular tone or sounded that, and I remember that these forgotten moments for me are teaching her big things.

My daugher is almost 4 and my son is 1 1/2. We're in Roxboro, NC.

Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Great wisdom shared today!

I have a 15-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl. We live in Central Texas.

Blogger Kim said...

Hi Renee,

I have been "out of the loop" with life issues. I haven't read through all of your posts on D6 but what I have read has excited me. I have 3 sons ages 19, 16, & 14...yes pray for me :)

Christlike example is HUGE at these ages. They will talk about leaders in the church that "turn them off" and it is because of how they act outside of church...not the same as on a Sunday morning. They are watching our every move! oooohhh the pressure.

We are especially struggling with the "too old for youth group" age...our oldest commutes to school so he is sometimes the only one in his Sunday School class on a sunday morning...I am thankful for faithful teachers who he is connected to. It seems that is such a crucial time for christian connections and he just isn't not experiencing them right now. New life stages bring new challenges.

This books sounds GREAT!


Blogger tiredmom said...

Thanks for the helpful words. My daughters are almost 13 and almost 9 (and as you know the 'almost' is important) and my son is 6. My oldest has not expressed faith in Christ and has lots of questions. I believe that parenting is our most important mission work. Thanks for the encouragement.


Blogger Just me~ Bobbie Jo said...

Good topic! My kids are 16 & 14 (girls) and then my son who is 12!

Blogger Pam said...

I have 2 boys: 2 1/2 and 15 months

Blogger Luanne said...

Thanks again for your post! 3 kids--19,16,15! We live in Wisconsin--where this winter has been too cold!!!


Blogger Kim said...

you are so they get older they have to find their own way. you just have to believe that you have them on the right path.

2 daughters 22 & 18

Kim, SW Ohio

Blogger Joanie Butler said...

Great advice and information again today. Will be praying for the event this weekend!

My son's are at both ends of the spectrum, one 27 (and a Dad himself), the other 4 (and a big challenge in my life, but also a HUGE blessing!).

Blogger Happy Four said...

Renee, God has blessed me with two sons. They are almost 6 and almost 4. I appreciate the insight today...especially the story of the mother who was waiting and decided not to wait a minute longer. May we all be patient with what God is doing in the lives of our children. My little men teach me so much about the incredible growth still needed in me...Praise God for them.

Praying for your flight and time in Houston. May God be glorifed and you and Lysa have a few laughs along the way :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My girls are 6 and 10 and we live just outside of Atlanta, GA.

Blogger Joyful said...

One son, approaching 17 years of age. So appreciating all the wisdom you are sharing here.

Praying for you as you travel tomorrow and will be on my knees, 11:30am and 7:30pm Thursday. Can't wait to hear how God answers!

Love, prayers and hugs,

Anonymous Mitzi said...

I am the proud mom of 15 year old triplets...2 boys and 1 girl. I would LOVE to read another book on raising teens - I need all the help I can get! I just made the move to finally be a stay-at-home mom. I have always said they will need me more as teens than they did as toddlers!!!


Anonymous kimann said...

As I read about the face we put on for others and the face we wear at home, I was convicted again. I have been hearing God whisper this to me for weeks. My oldest just said to me on Monday, why are you being so nice to us today? We had a day off school and a new friend came over. I realized the truth in his almost 10 year old words. I am so thankful that God doesn't give up on me.

Anonymous CESOTTA said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, how things do change once they get older! My son is 14 and daughter 10. I totally agree it was so much easier when they were young. I feel so lost now about how to relate to my son. He is so "closed up" about everything. I wonder if this is normal. I long to make connections with him but he shuts me out most of the time. I am relying on God's grace to be the parent he calls me to be! I would love to read your book.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have three boys - 9, 11, and 13. We're in Knoxville, TN.


Blogger eliza said...

My husband and I have 3 young boys. Our oldest, my step-son, is 9-1/2, lives with his mom. our others are almost 6, and just 4.
we live in South Texas.

Blogger beblessed said...

You words are so encouraging. I have 4 kids, ages 9, 10, 11, and recently 13! We are so blessed!
My youngest has Down Syndrome and many special needs. We have a full family and pursue Christ with grateful hearts! Thanks for spurring me on, my heart is bigger than my follow-through, so the application portion is especially important for me!
Be Blessed!

Blogger Loraine said...

I have a 20 year old that is acting like a teen sometimes. He was a straight A student, but falls short and fails often because of bad habits. He had to come home from university about a year ago because of some of them. Now he wants to go to Australia to study and I'm very nervous of him falling into his old ways. He needs God in the worst way, but he's so stubborn! Our 23 year old is exactly opposite in every way!!
I live in B.C. Canada.

Anonymous Tina, CA said...

Thank you for the great inspiring stories of everyday life with children! I have three children and one angel in heaven. A boy 22, and two daughters 16 & 12. What a journey everyday, I thank God for the strength and wisdom to carry on.

Important stuff for me here-thank you. We are a blended family with 6 girls ages 18-16-15-14-12-9!!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Anonymous Anonymous said...

THere is always encouraging and useful devotions here at Proverbs 31 ministries. God uses you to speak to the heart of the matter in many areas of our lives. My children are 19 boy, 16 boy, 14 boy and 11 girl and they are modeling now what we modeled for them early on. Sometimes the things we want to see like the christian behaviors and ideas and sometime the struggles that life presents to them. We have to hold fast to the "truths in God's word". Our children are bombarded with sex, drugs,alcohol and violence at every turn and yes,even good christian children. They need to have the scripture to cling to just as we do as a parent. Jesus is our constant and ever hope. We(as parents) cannot be there every minute but the voice of the Holy Spirit can and that is where we want to lead them. Sometimes they will go willingly other times kidding and screaming but the word will not return void! My husband and I tried to remembered even in our failures tomorrow is a new day and God's mercies are there.
Thank you all for your ministry.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a guy, but I am a Mom and a Dad. My wife was killed three + years ago. My children are 18, 6, and 4.
You're right, as they get older, it's harder to help them make those correct, Godly decisions. My little ones are learning how to pray and find God's will. My eldest is a freshman in college and has been feeling the call to the ministry. So we pray together and frequently. I understand about wanting to just quit. I hit my knees daily just ready to stop being a single Dad/Mom.

Aynor, SC

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the ispiration this morning. I became a single mom after my husband left our daughters and I for another woman and family. The grief in my heart was so hard to handle that I found myself taking out so much on my beautiful daughters. Even if I was not taking my pain out on them intentionally, I was even when I didn't enjoy them or be the absolute best mom that GOd wanted me to be. It was so overwhelming that I didn't know where to start to take on the role of father and mother. I truly believe that God gave me these little girls because he knew the choices my husband would make and I can lead them to be wonderful women of God someday. I came to the same place you did and it was all God. I felt the pain slowly go away and I woke up anticipating on what a great day I would have with my kids. My daughters are 5 and 2 1/2 and though I can't protect them from the pain that their parents have caused them, they know where to turn when their hurting. My daughter savannah who is five has watched me cry and hurt over all that has gone on our home, but she has also watched me fall to me knees asking GOd to comfort us and meet our needs and HE HAS done so much more than that. The best thing I have ever done for my daughters is fall show them that faith steps in where worry ends and to show them the real pain this world has to offer and the true peace and joy that God provide. The day I fell to my knees and had new perspective was last year. Their father and I were not communicating very well and I got very upset. Savannah asked me to pull over the car and with tears falling from her face like a waterfall asked if we could pray together. That was the day that I recieved my new perspective on being a great mother with the help of my Father.
I am still learning the ins and outs of graceful single parenting but we are achieving and succeeding in our lives together. There is always more to learn and there will always be times that I is on those days that God sends your messages to my inbox so thank you again!!

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