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Illustration by Anne Berry

ENVIRONMENT

FAMILY FOOD TIME p. 4

GAME TIME p. 6

STORYTELLING p. 78

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

PRAYER p. 15

identity
BLESSING p. 17 M O N T H L Y

I belong to God, and He loves me!

A FAMILY RESOURCE
VOL. 3, ISSUE 3

this Resource
Editors Note

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

For years Ive had this quote sitting on my desk at work. Mertons 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 ita life in an identity based on the One who gave His life for mine. I recognize our identities arent just made up of our strengths and virtues; theyre also made up of our shortcomings and weaknesses, experiences and wrong turns. At times Ive searched for guidance everywhere except from Godpastors, teachers, parentsall 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.

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

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 childrens ministry leaders. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

How 1 to 2 Use 3

Its 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 familys natural rhythm. Its usually best to build this time around a meal! 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. Dont 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.

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.
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 Gods truth. 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 Gods 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.
ELEMENTARY
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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

PRES/KINDER

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

2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

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 youve 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!
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.

Thumbprint Cookies
Prep Time: 15 min.

( Makes 2 dozen)

Cook Time:1215 min.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature 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. Place the cookie balls on parchment-lined cookie


sheets, 2" apart. Next, make an impression in the center of each cookie with your thumb.

6. Bake for 1215 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.

Conversation Starters

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 waywhat do you want to be?
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 didnt have that special talent, how do you think God would describe you?
HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

by Joel Stanton

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.

It is important for our children to identify themselves, first and foremost, as chosen children of the Most High God. All of their other
talents and blessingsdespite being gifts from Goddo not define them as people. This month, get your kids talking by asking them: What special talent has God given you? Go around

Give the Holy Spirit space to work in your children, and fight the urge to tell them they are Gods 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.

WHAT SPECIAL TALENT HAS GOD GIVEN YOU?

IF YOU DIDNT HAVE THAT SPECIAL TALENT, HOW DO YOU THINK GOD WOULD DESCRIBE YOU?

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

by Debbie Guinn

GAME TIME
Identify Me
Family game times can create lasting memories for you and your children, and theyre fun! You might be surprised by what you learn about each other while gathered around a game board.
Playing games with your children doesnt 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.
HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Older Kids

2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

Younger Kids

EAR, EAR, WHAT DO YOU HEAR?

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.
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

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

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

by Michelle Anthony

STORYTELLING
Identity Awakened
Excerpt from Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Todays 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.
HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

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 drivers 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! 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 wasnt missing us. With that cue, my

or she would have made better decisions, I thought.

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 Gods standards and His Word. I didnt want to preach at herI was curious what she thought that person looked like. As I drove home I considered resigning from my position at the churchand 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. 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 daughters room, and taped to the door, I found [her essay].

husband headed straight to the house. What he found was more than we could have imagined.
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 neighborsall painted a picture of what had transpired in the 12 hours before my husbands 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 didnt 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 doora 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, Im 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 didnt 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, isnt 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,

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

2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

Storytelling Continued
I was overwhelmed. I had no idea that all of the things my husband and I had written on my daughters 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. She had made a mistakea big oneand many more would follow. But ultimately, she We all suffer from forgotten identity at times. I know I have! Its 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. 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 lakeand 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. Im not smart enough to come up with something like that! I didnt 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
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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.

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 doesnt 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 issimply by spending time with Him.

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

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

She e began th year hool next scowing sense with a grened identity of awakntinues to be that coed until this shap ay. d

by Lauren Francis

CREATE

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: Supplies:
HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

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. Dont worry if some of the words are repeated; just take time to contemplate the words that describe Gods 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. 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.)

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

When youre 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, theyll be reminded of who God is and, in turn, who they are as His children! (Note: If you dont 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 GODS TRUTH.

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

by Matt Barnes

GODS 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 theyve been created to do.
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 didnt highlight these things to boast, but to show his weakness. He couldnt

have persevered through these things on his own. He understood he needed to surrender completely to and depend upon God.
Paul is a great example of someone who used his gifts, abilities, and talents in a humble manner to further Gods 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. 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.

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Next time youre at your local bookstore, check out the size of the self-help section! The great thing is, as Christ followers, we dont 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.

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

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes,

(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 were tempted to embrace. Fortunately, Gods 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

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

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Gods Word Continued


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

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

Read Ephesians 1:314 together as a family.

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 dont understand. Take the time to explain any words or concepts that arent clear to them. After youve read through the passage once, talk about how its so full of words and ideas that help us understand who we are as Christians.

shares bits of who she is, write the words on a page. When youre done, you should have a
single page with words describing the members of your family.
HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Ephesians 1:314 is full of words and ideas that help us understand who we are as Christians.

Look at the words on the page, and talk about the fact that these words dont 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 dont describe who we are. Similarly, some of them may explain our insecurities or struggles, but these also dont define us.

Read Ephesians 1:314 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

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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.

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

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 weve worshipped God over the course of human history is through music.
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
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 I can dance I can clap I can sit down, stand up, spin around I can laugh I can sit down Stand up Spin around Everybody laugh now!
2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

VERSE

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 youve picked your movements, gather in an open space in your home and start the song.

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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.

CHORUS

BRIDGE

We are His, and He loves us!

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

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! 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. 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.

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 To be found in You To be known as Yours This is all I want It's all I'm living for Now an heir to this And to nothing less Than Your kingdom come Than Your righteousness 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.
BRIDGE VERSE 2 CHORUS

Found

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WORSHIP IS A RESPONSE TO GODS 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.

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

by Jennifer Cho Salaff

TRADITIONS

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.
HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

Who our children become in terms of what they do is important, especially to the world. But what about their true identitythe 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. Its 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 Christs identity into your childrens lives. Find a way to keep a record of
how you see each childs 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 theyre invited to be a part of Gods 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 youd 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.

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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 youre 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 youre 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 childs drawings, etc.).

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

by Janet Lee

PRAYER

Be Still and Know


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

Be still, and know that I am God. Be still, and know that I am. Be still, and know. Be still. Be.
We enter Gods 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 Hes created us to be. Its important 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.

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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.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY

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, its just my husband and me. Were 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 joband these things can only add to the identity crisis.

Date Your e Spous

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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 thats 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 offerswhether thats as a mother of a strongwilled three year old or grown children. My marriage to

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 eternityin your ultimate marriage union!

2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

by Michelle Anthony

BLESSING
BLESS

Dont Mess with Me


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 childs 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 Christs own blood and are sealed throughout all eternity by Gods 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 GODS PROTECTION, JOY, AND WISDOM OVER THEM.

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My name is (insert childs 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 Christs own blood, and I am sealed throughout all eternity by Gods Holy Spirit. Dont mess with me!

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2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

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2012 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | IDENTITY