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GAME TIME p. 6

identity

I belong to God, and He loves me! N T H L

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

BLESSING p. 17

Y

PRAYER p. 15

ENVIRONMENT

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STORYTELLING p. 7–8

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FAMILY FOOD TIME p. 4

Illustration by Anne Berry

A FAMILY RESOURCE VOL. 3, ISSUE 3


How 1 to 2 Use 3

It’s as easy as 1 … 2 … 3 … Start by deciding on a day and time that works well for your entire family. It can be an evening, afternoon, or morning. Just commit to building this time into your family’s natural rhythm. It’s usually best to build this time around a meal!

this Resource

Remember to HAVE FUN! Strive to make each gathering unique to your own family as you enjoy spending time with God and each other.

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Editor’s Note For years I’ve had this quote sitting on my desk at work. Merton’s words remind me I want to be identified by Jesus. I want Jesus’ life and love to compel me to be all He created me to be. I know a deeper and truer life waits for me to acknowledge it—a life in an identity based on the One who gave His life for mine. I recognize our identities aren’t just made up of our strengths and virtues; they’re also made up of our shortcomings and weaknesses, experiences and wrong turns. At times I’ve searched for guidance everywhere except from God—pastors, teachers, parents—all with great intentions that sometimes derail me from listening from a deeper place. Helping our children embrace who God is and who they are in Him is one of the most important roles we have as parents. This issue of HomeFront Monthly is filled with ideas and activities we hope will be a springboard for these important conversations to begin.

DEBBIE GUINN | EDITOR the Tru Team | Costa Mesa, CA

© 2011 David C. Cook. TruResources are developed in partnership with ROCKHARBOR Church and a national network of family and children’s ministry leaders. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Look through the HomeFront Monthly and see what stands out. Choose one or two experiences you would like to incorporate into your family times this week. Don’t feel burdened to complete all the activities at once, but carefully select which ones will fit your family best. Each issue provides more than enough experiences to last you throughout the month.

“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail; ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” —Thomas Merton


ENVIRONMENT

IDENTITY

This environment highlights who we are in Christ. In Ephesians 1, we read that we have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, sealed, and given an inheritance in Christ. This conviction allows children to stand firm against the counter-identities the world will offer to bring them destruction.

We have to affirm the Christlikeness we see in our children as they strive to stand firm against counteridentities. In a world that finds identity in shallow and fleeting things, the truth of our identity in Christ is the only thing that can offer true meaning and purpose.

VERSE OF THE MONTH Memorizing Scripture can be an incredible practice to engage in as a family. But words in and of themselves will not necessarily transform us; it is God’s Spirit in these words that transforms. We come to know God more when we are willing to open our hearts and receive His Holy Spirit through the words we memorize. Have fun with these verses and think of creative ways to invite your family to open up to God as they commit these verses to memory. GRADES 1-8

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1 MICHELLE ANTHONY FAMILY MINISTRY ARCHITECT the Tru Team | Costa Mesa, CA

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Culture is constantly feeding our families the lie of false identities. School, friends, TV, magazines, music, and so much more are continually telling our children that who they are is not good enough, that they need to be someone different. As we attempt to spiritually raise our families and redeem what the world has taken, it is essential to be rooted in God’s truth.

PRE-KINDER/KINDER

“God chose us to belong to Christ [Jesus] before the world was created.” Ephesians 1:4 (NIrV)

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by Tori Funkhouser

FAMILY FOOD TIME Recipe

Every home with children is filled with fingerprints. This month, play a game of “Detective” with your family by encouraging each family member to find and identify fingerprints around your home. Once you’ve discovered a fingerprint, solve the mystery by having your family members turn over their hands and look at their fingerprints under a bright light or a magnifying glass. Ask them to notice the swirls, dips, and turns on their fingertips. How are they different from or similar to others’ fingerprints? Remind your children that God gave a unique fingerprint to every person He created!

Thumbprint Cookies Prep Time: 15 min.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

This month, share your unique identity with this fun thumbprint cookie recipe. While you create the cookies, give each person a job. For older kids, have them measure out the ingredients. For younger kids, help them mix the ingredients. Brainstorm together what toppings you want to roll your cookie in. Allow each family member to choose different toppings to add to the uniqueness of his cookie.

( Makes 2 dozen)

Cook Time:12–15 min.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature • ½ cup sugar • 2 eggs yolks • 1 tsp. vanilla extract • 2 cups flour • pinch of salt • toppings (to roll cookies in): powdered sugar, brown sugar, granulated sugar, sprinkles, chopped nuts, sesame seeds, coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, etc.

Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Combine the butter and sugar and blend in mixer on high speed for about three minutes or until fluffy.

3. Separate the eggs and add the egg yolks and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture. Add the flour and salt, mixing until just blended.

4. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into 1" balls, then roll in your favorite topping.

5. P  lace the cookie balls on parchment-lined cookie sheets, 2" apart. Next, make an impression in the center of each cookie with your thumb.

6. B  ake for 12–15 minutes or until slightly firm. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

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In our society, you are what you do. From a young age, we are asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I find it so interesting that we phrase it this way—what do you want to be?

It took years before I was able to draw the distinction between my passions and my identity. Admittedly, I still have a tough time with it. I only wish I could have understood the difference from a young age, because my overall outlook on life would have been drastically transformed by this distinction.

the table and have everyone answer. Be sure to answer yourself, too. Then, to help demonstrate the difference between their core identity and the ways in which they are blessed, ask them: “If you didn’t have that special talent, how do you think God would describe you?”

It is important for our children to identify themselves, first and foremost, as chosen children of the Most High God. All of their other

Give the Holy Spirit space to work in your children, and fight the urge to tell them they are God’s children. When the question comes back to you, however, begin to explain to them how you yourself are a child of God, and allow the conversation to flow naturally from there as the Holy Spirit guides the way.

talents and blessings—despite being gifts from God—do not define them as people. This month, get your kids talking by asking them: “What special talent has God given you?” Go around

“WHAT SPECIAL TALENT HAS GOD GIVEN YOU?”

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

“IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THAT SPECIAL TALENT, HOW DO YOU THINK GOD WOULD DESCRIBE YOU?”

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

by Joel Stanton

Conversation Starters

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by Debbie Guinn

GAME TIME Identify Me

Family game times can create lasting memories for you and your children, and they’re fun! You might be surprised by what you learn about each other while gathered around a game board.

WHO SAYS THIS?

Using a newspaper, magazines, or the Internet, choose pictures of items that make familiar sounds (e.g., animals, police car, TV, stereo). Get creative and choose at least four items for each member of your family.

Gather together as a family and on 3" x 5" cards write down familiar phrases each family member says. For instance, Mom might always say, “I love you to the moon!” Or one of the kids may always say, “That’s sweet!”

Adhere each picture to a 3" x 5" card and place all the cards facedown in a stack. Let the youngest person start. Instruct her to pick a card, turn it over, and have everyone say together, “Ear, ear, what do you hear?” Then have the person who just picked the card make the sound associated with the item pictured on it (e.g., “Oink, oink” for a pig). The first person

Write at least four phrases for each family member (without giving any clues). Place the cards facedown in a stack.

to identify what makes that sound will draw the next card. Play several rounds, and mix up the cards between rounds.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

Begin with the oldest person in the family, and have him draw a card. Then have him read the phrase on the card aloud (e.g., “Has anyone seen my keys?”) The first person to identify “Who says this?” will draw the next card. Play several rounds, and mix up the cards between rounds.

Older Kids

Younger Kids

EAR, EAR, WHAT DO YOU HEAR?

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Playing games with your children doesn’t take a lot of planning or preparation and contributes to a happy, healthy family life. There are lots of fun family games that include creating, matching, and identifying characters: Guess Who™, Memory Match™, and Mr. Potato Head™ are just a few.

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by Michelle Anthony

STORYTELLING Identity Awakened

Excerpt from Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families by Michelle Anthony.

At 16, my daughter had a strong desire to stay home alone overnight. She wanted to brave it out and build the confidence needed to make her own dinner, lock down the house, take care of the pets, and victoriously awake with the house still standing. It felt like a challenge to her. Of course we had our reservations, but when an overnight retreat, not far away, arose … we decided to give her a chance at it. She had her driver’s license if there was an emergency, we had friends nearby, and my son was at a sleepover. We told her she could invite over her two best friends, lock the doors, and watch movies. Sounded like a good plan, right? Wrong!

or she would have made better decisions,” I thought.

The next morning we received a phone call from our daughter wondering when we would be coming home. Hmmmmm. This was our independent daughter. Certainly she wasn’t missing us. With that cue, my

As I drove home I considered resigning from my position at the church—and as a mother. I was discouraged. What business did I have talking about parenting when clearly I had not instilled an identity of Christ in my own child? I felt like a failure.

The remains of what must have been the party of the century led a trail from our front yard to the front door. Inside were three girls shaking with fear and regret. The trash, the stench, the glares from neighbors—all painted a picture of what had transpired in the 12 hours before my husband’s arrival. The girls began to cry. The tale unfolded: Three teenage girls had simply invited a few friends, who invited a few friends, who invited a few friends … and so on. As the list grew, so did the lack of morality. By the time the house was full (and then some), my daughter didn’t recognize but a few of the faces. It had gotten so far out of control that she was scared. Just then there was a knock at the door—a friendly visit from the local police department … My husband called me on my way home to prepare me, and so I asked him to put my daughter on the phone. She cried, “I’m sorry, Mommy,” a thousand times. I prayed as she lamented on the other end. I really wanted to be a spiritual parent in this. I didn’t want to simply punish her (although I had some great ones flowing through my mind). I wanted to redeem this moment for her ultimate good. After all, isn’t that how God parents us? The first (and only) thing that came to my mind was that my daughter had forgotten who she was. “Certainly she must not be aware of her true identity,

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

husband headed straight to the house. What he found was more than we could have imagined.

So I told her that I wanted her to write an essay. I wanted her to entitle it “A 16-year-old Christian Girl.” I told her to describe what that person looked like according to God’s standards and His Word. I didn’t want to preach at her—I was curious what she thought that person looked like.

When I walked into the house, I was greeted by the stark reality of all that had taken place in our absence. We assessed the damage and the stolen property. We pieced together what had happened and how it had spun out of control. We talked to neighbors. We prayed for wisdom. Then I walked upstairs to my daughter’s room, and taped to the door, I found [her essay].

“The first (and only) thing that came to my mind was that my daughter had forgotten who she was.”

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Storytelling Continued … I was overwhelmed. I had no idea that all of the things my husband and I had written on my daughter’s heart, for so many years, had actually taken root. She knew them. She desired them. She understood deep spiritual truths that only God could have revealed to her. She could define her identity after all.

knew who she was created to be and the God who had created her—and this was quite different from what I had envisioned during my drive home. Obviously there

“ She e began tohl year o next scohw sense g n i r with a gkened identity of awaontinues to be that c ed until this shap ay.” d

would be course correction and natural consequences, but my heart was filled with joy, because I knew that the work of knowing her identity was deep in her heart. If she knew who she was but was not acting on it, then she had simply forgotten.

As we gave my daughter her list of consequences, we also told her to pack her bags. No, we were not sending her away to live with her long-lost aunt (but I confess that I did linger long enough so that she had to consider what might happen next!). Rather, I was taking her on a trip to the mountains. What? To most onlookers this appeared to be a reward, not a consequence. But I knew that she had forgotten who she was and that she needed to spend some time with me. Just the two of us. I prayed God would help her remember by being alone with me away from the distractions of her life. We swam, we sat on surfboards on the lake and talked for hours, we shopped, I read to her, we ate breakfast by the lake—and slowly, I saw “my daughter” emerge again. She was beginning to remember. We came home, and she was refreshed and stronger. She began the next school year with a growing sense of awakened identity that continues to be shaped until this day … God helped me to be a spiritual parent that day. I’m not smart enough to come up with something like that! I didn’t know what was deepest inside of her that needed to be healed … or what needed to be done to heal it. Taking away her cell phone or

her car can feel like good consequences, but in this case, God wanted to teach her something about Himself. She commented that now when

she fails, she doesn’t feel the need to hide or run from God. She knows that she can draw close to Him so that she can remember who she is—simply by spending time with Him.

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

She had made a mistake—a big one—and many more would follow. But ultimately, she

We all suffer from forgotten identity at times. I know I have! It’s a case of spiritual amnesia, and its effects can be debilitating. I knew this was a critical time in her life, and so I continued to ask God what I needed to do next. He was the only one who knew how to parent this child in this situation. What I did next may seem strange, but I knew almost instantly that I needed to do it.

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He Is … So I Am As Christians, our identity is no longer rooted in what we are, but rather who we are as Christ-followers made in His image. This month, read Psalm 145 to rediscover who God is as you encourage your children to establish their identity in Him. Directions:

Have each member of the family make a list of all the ways she can describe God. For example, some words could be “loving, holy, mighty, healer” or “holy, Savior, King, Father.” Don’t worry if some of the words are repeated; just take time to contemplate the words that describe God’s identity. Then make a second list of things that describe our identity in light of who God is. Some words could be “restored, forgiven, healed, redeemed.”

Supplies:

1. COMPUTER 2. PAPER AND PENS 3. TWO-PHOTO FRAMES (OPTIONAL)

Once each family member finishes, gather all the lists and visit www.wordle.net, a fun website that lets you generate “word clouds” using text you provide. (The “clouds” give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.)

When you’re finished making your word clouds, print them and display them in your home. You can even frame them side by side, and label the frame “He Is … So I Am.” Every time your family looks at these word clouds, they’ll be reminded of who God is and, in turn, who they are as His children! (Note: If you don’t have access to the Internet, feel free to create your own “word clouds” using paper, pens, markers, or other art supplies. Make sure the words that are repeated on each list are displayed more prominently.)

CREATE IS A TIME TO ENGAGE YOUR FAMILY IN A COLLABORATIVE RESPONSE TO HEARING GOD’S TRUTH.

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

by Lauren Francis

CREATE

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by Matt Barnes

GOD’S WORD A New Identity

Figuring out who we are seems like a lifelong journey. In fact, there are whole industries dedicated to helping people figure out who they are and what they’ve been created to do.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

as Paul gives an extensive list of all the things he endured for the sake of Christ: beatings, shipwrecks, bandits, hunger, and thirst, to name a few. But in chapter 12, Paul lets it be known he didn’t highlight these things to boast, but to show his weakness. He couldn’t

have persevered through these things on his own. He understood he needed to surrender completely to and depend upon God.

Next time you’re at your local bookstore, check out the size of the “self-help” section! The great thing is, as Christ followers, we don’t have to spend our lives wrestling with the question of who we are. Jesus offers us an identity far greater than anything we could imagine for ourselves. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes,

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

God entrusted Paul with much. Because of this, Paul left a powerful legacy that points us to the knowledge that our Lord is a God who gives His people the responsibility to show others who He is and the strength to follow through with the task.

(2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul is saying that when we meet Jesus, He offers us a new identity that defines everything about us. It refocuses us. It transforms us. It makes us a “new creation.”

Many Christians have heard this, but they may not live in the reality of it. The world can easily overwhelm us with false identities we’re tempted to embrace. Fortunately, God’s Word provides abundant reminders of who we are in Him and encourages us in our new identity. When Jesus told Paul on the road to Damascus that he would suffer for Jesus’ name, Paul had no idea at the time what that might actually entail. In 2 Corinthians 11, we find out some of what that ultimately meant

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

Paul is a great example of someone who used his gifts, abilities, and talents in a humble manner to further God’s kingdom. He relied on God to get him through every trial in His life. His life was an incredible testament to the transforming and empowering Spirit of God.

Jesus offers us an identity far greater than anything we could imagine for ourselves.

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God’s Word Continued … HEAR IT

DO IT

One of the clearest pictures of who we are in Christ can be found in the first chapter of Ephesians.

As a family, let each person take turns sharing things that define him, either in his own eyes or in the eyes of his peers—“brother/sister,” “soccer player,” “artist,” etc. These can be positive things or things they struggle with. As each person

This passage is full of big words kids may not be familiar with, so it might be helpful to tell your kids to stop you if you say a word they don’t understand. Take the time to explain any words or concepts that aren’t clear to them. After you’ve read through the passage once, talk about how it’s so full of words and ideas that help us understand who we are as Christians.

Ephesians 1:3–14 is full of words and ideas that help us understand who we are as Christians.

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

shares bits of who she is, write the words on a page. When you’re done, you should have a single page with words describing the members of your family. Look at the words on the page, and talk about the fact that these words don’t define who we are when we know Christ. Some of them may explain what we do (“soccer player”) or relationships we have (“brother/sister”), but they don’t describe who we are. Similarly, some of them may explain our insecurities or struggles, but these also don’t define us.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Read Ephesians 1:3–14 together as a family.

Read Ephesians 1:3–14 again with your family. This time, have each family member make a list of the words or ideas Paul says define our identity in Christ. Look for words and ideas such as “chosen,” “redeemed,” “adopted,” “forgiven,” etc. Be sure to talk about what each of these words mean to you. Take a black marker, and, over the first set of words, write words and ideas about your identity in Christ that you found in Ephesians 1. Claim your

new identities as chosen children of God by praying together and thanking God for all the ways He has redefined you and made you into new creations.

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by Kit Rae

WORSHIP

Chosen Child of God God loves us, and we are His. He created each of us in His own image for a unique purpose. This great truth can inspire us to respond in worship. One of the many ways we’ve worshipped God over the course of human history is through music.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Psalm 13:6 reads, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” And Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us, “[There is] a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Have you ever considered singing and dancing together as a family? This month, check out the options in this issue for ways to engage your family in this form of worship.

For Younger Children

Grab your Songs from the Playhouse TruWorship CD or visit iTunes and download the song “Child of God.” This song has been specifically written in the environment of IDENTITY with this phrase in mind: “We are His, and He loves us!”

Child of God VERSE

I am a (I am a) I am a (I am a) I am a chosen child of God I am a (I am a) I am a (I am a) I am a chosen child of God CHORUS



I can dance I can clap I can sit down, stand up, spin around I can laugh BRIDGE

I can sit down Stand up Spin around Everybody laugh now! © 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

Start by asking your kids for ways they can worship God. Listen as they share, and encourage all answers. Talk about all of their exciting and creative answers. Tell them you have a song that lists many different ways we can worship God. Read the lyrics together, and, as a family, decide on hand motions or dance moves to help express different parts of the song. Once you’ve picked your movements, gather in an open space in your home and start the song.

Turn It Up Loud! Encourage your children to sing along with the music, and, as a family, act out the lyrics of the song according to what you planned. Enjoy worshipping God together as a family. Optional: As your kids begin to engage by singing, clapping, and dancing before the Lord, consider recording a video of this moment. This beautiful time of worship can serve as in incredible keepsake and be a fun way to document your HomeFront nights over the years.

“We are His, and He loves us!”

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Worship Continued …

For Older Children Grab your Radio the World TruWorship CD or visit iTunes and download the song “Found.” This song has been specifically written in the environment of IDENTITY with this phrase in mind, “We are His, and He loves us!”

After you hear the song, ask, “Is there a word or phrase that seemed to stand out to you most? Why do you think that word or phrase came to mind?” Close your time together by praying for each member of your family in light of what she just shared. Pray she will experience what it means to be known by God or follow God more closely. Allow this time of worship with your older children to be a safe place where they can share openly and receive prayer, no matter the stage of their relationship with God.

WORSHIP IS A RESPONSE TO GOD’S GOODNESS AND HOLINESS. WE OFTEN THINK OF WORSHIP AS SINGING, BUT WE CAN WORSHIP GOD IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS: PRAYER, SILENCE, ART, DANCE, GIVING, SHARING, AND THANKSGIVING —JUST TO NAME A FEW. MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR FAMILY WORSHIP TIME, BUT PREPARE YOURSELF TO HOLD THESE PLANS LOOSELY IF THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS YOU IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

Found

This is worth my life This is worth my days This is worth a price I could never pay So I run to You Leaving all behind Wholly in pursuit Of what now is mine CHORUS

To be found in You To be known as Yours This is all I want It's all I'm living for VERSE 2

Now an heir to this And to nothing less Than Your kingdom come Than Your righteousness BRIDGE

All I want is You All I want is You All I want is You It's You I'm living for All we need is You All we need is You All we need is You It's You we're living for.

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Before you play the song, read these lyrics a few times together as a family. Allow the words to sink in, taking time to reflect on each piece of the song. Then listen to it together.

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Dear Son, Dear Daughter As parents, we see our children forming identities at a very early age. The best part is having a front-row seat as their uniqueness unfolds. The extroverted infant might be the class comedian at his school one day. A budding musician could be the next Yo-Yo Ma. The star athlete in high school may be on his way to becoming a legendary NFL quarterback. Who our children become in terms of what they “do” is important, especially to the world. But what about their true identity—the identity that comes from knowing who they are in Christ? As sons and daughters of the most high King, our children have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, sealed, and given an inheritance in Christ. It’s easy to forget this (even for us parents) when the world points our kids in the opposite direction.

This month, consider starting a new tradition to help you speak Christ’s identity into your children’s lives. Find a way to keep a record of how you see each child’s true identity unfolding. For example, you could start a journal, create an email account, or write short notes and keep them in a shoebox. On these notes, written from parent to child, you can share the fact that they’re invited to be a part of God’s grand narrative of life, love, and redemption.

A TRADITION IS THE HANDING DOWN OF STATEMENTS, BELIEFS, LEGENDS, OR CUSTOMS FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. WHAT TRADITIONS ARE IN PLACE FOR YOUR FAMILY? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO PASS DOWN TO THE NEXT GENERATION? IT IS ALWAYS FUN TO CREATE NEW TRADITIONS WITH EACH GENERATION. Write as often as you’d like. Make the entries short or long (some might be just a sentence, others an essay). Reflect on a Scripture verse, write about something memorable that happened that day between you and your children, record milestones, or write down prayers and blessings.

This can be something your children will be able to refer to later in life, when they hit an “identity” crisis. It can be something to remind your kids to stand firm against the destructive counter-identities the world will offer. If you’re setting up an email account for your child, remember to copy yourself and/ or print out a copy, just in case something happens to your computer or the email account.

Tips:

If you’re starting a journal or keepsake box, in addition to writing to your child, you could keep memorable items (such as a pressed flower, a program from a Christmas play, your child’s drawings, etc.).

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

by Jennifer Cho Salaff

TRADITIONS

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by Janet Lee

PRAYER

Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God. Be still, and know that I am. Be still, and know. Be still. Be. We enter God’s presence with our heads and hearts full of the noise of the world. That makes it hard for us to engage with Him in an authentic way and to hear from Him about who He’s created us to be. It’s important

to still our hearts before God (and to teach our children to do the same), acknowledge who He is, and remember who we are. Here is a simple exercise to help you with that. Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” As you begin prayer time with your family, sit quietly

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

for a minute before starting to pray. Choose a family member to lead the prayer, and slowly repeat this verse out loud together. Say each phrase several times before moving on to the next. Let the truth of those words sink into your soul. Let God be God, and you can discover your true self in His presence.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

When we’re with God, we discover our true identity. And prayer is a primary way of being with God. It’s a two-way street, but sometimes we make it one-way. We run into God’s throne room and fling our requests at the King of Kings, barely pausing to acknowledge Him.

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by Michelle Anthony

MARRIAGE Identity Crisis

A well-meaning friend once told me to go out on a date with my husband but not talk about the kids. I remember thinking that would be difficult since my life was consumed with the children. And, of course, discussing their well-being came naturally to me and my husband. But looking back, I can also understand that my friend wanted me to have an identity as a wife, not just a mother. HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Now I find myself reflecting back on the years of parenting my children into adulthood. So often my children took priority over my marriage because of sheer urgency. Now, 23 years later, it’s just my husband and me. We’re about to embark on the next part of our journey together.

Many marriages go through an “identity crisis” during the child-raising years. A husband and wife start off in love. They want to build a life together and share their love by creating a family. Soon, the demands of schedules, finances, workload, and the pressures of child rearing rob a couple of simpler times once spent in loving conversation and embrace. Questions such as “Who are we?” and “Who have we become?” are normal in the context of marriage while raising a family. Then add complexities such as blended families, chronic illness, or loss of a job—and these things can only add to the identity crisis.

Date Your e Spous

If we define ourselves by our outward circumstances, whether positive or negative, we risk not seeing our marriage as the union God intended it to be. No matter how much I enjoy being a mother to my children, whether that’s in their joys and successes, or dealing with difficult behaviors or illnesses, motherhood does not define me in the way that my union with my husband does. While society may reduce marriage to a contract or a tax benefit, God upholds our union together as a vow before Him that reflects His love and commitment to us. Jesus described Himself as our bridegroom, and we are His bride. His promise to us is sealed in the gift of His Holy Spirit as a down payment that He will return one day and bring us into a relationship with Him forever. My identity is secure in knowing I am more than what today offers—whether that’s as a mother of a strongwilled three year old or grown children. My marriage to

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

my husband and my future union with my Savior both give me strength to rest in His love in every circumstance.

This month, I encourage you to go on a date with your spouse. I also encourage you to talk about your children and pray together for them. Finish your evening by talking about your marriage: Where is it? How is it fulfilling? What areas need some attention? Consider what life will look like when the kids are gone one day. Then consider what life will look like when you are with Jesus in eternity—in your ultimate marriage union!

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Don’t Mess with Me BLESS This month, as you put your children to bed, hold their hands in yours, palms up as if waiting to receive a blessing. Then read the following statement over them:

“ Your name is (your child’s name). You are the chosen and adopted (daughter/ son) of the most high King. You are heir to an eternal inheritance waiting for you in heaven. You have been bought and completely paid for by the perfect sacrifice of Christ’s own blood and are sealed throughout all eternity by God’s Holy Spirit.” Repeat this a second time. This time, have your children say it with you, personalizing it with their names. Lead the blessing line by line. This time, encourage your kids to lift their arms and turn their palms facing outward toward the sky.

A BLESSING CAN BE A PRAYER OF COMMISSION, A BIBLE PASSAGE, OR WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT. BLESSINGS CAN ALSO BE SPOKEN OVER CHILDREN FOR THE PURPOSE OF DECLARING GOD’S PROTECTION, JOY, AND WISDOM OVER THEM.

“ My name is (insert child’s name). I am the chosen and adopted (daughter/ son) of the most high King. I am heir to an eternal inheritance waiting for me in heaven. I have been bought and completely paid for by the perfect sacrifice of Christ’s own blood, and I am sealed throughout all eternity by God’s Holy Spirit. Don’t mess with me!”

HomeFront Weekly: Don’t forget to grab your HomeFront Weekly: A resource to get parents and kids talking about God’s Word together.

© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

by Michelle Anthony

BLESSING

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What’s Happening in Your

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

FAITH COMMUNITY?

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© 2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HomeFront - November 2012  

HomeFront Monthly - A Family Resource

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