Click Here to Listen to Episode 52, Your Child's Sacred Struggle - Questioning God, Finding Grace, Part 2. An honest story of brokenness, redemption, hope, and beautiful scars along with SPECIFIC ACTION STEPS for INTENTIONAL PARENTS - steps for the role you play in your child's sacred journey to make their faith their own.
What's so sacred about struggling? We don't realize it is sacred until later. Later we see all the ways that God weaves together our mistakes and poor choices, our moments of doubt and brokenness, followed by Him redeeming us from the pit, and it is that redemption that turns our scars into something beautiful. And then, then we see that the time of struggling was just as sacred as the time of redemption. This week you hear the rest of the story that we began last week - the story of God making our scars beautiful.
Featured in this podcast mini-series are three original songs written and performed by our guest, Victoria Dahilig, a Christian youth and ministry director. These songs are the story of her sacred journey back to God after a time of running from and questioning Him. You heard the first song in the collection at the end of part 1, Running from God, Finding Grace, episode 51.
This week, in Part 2, which we're calling Your Child's Sacred Struggle: Questioning God, Finding Grace, you'll hear two more songs.
She wrote all of these songs as her journey unfolded. They're like a poetic play-by-play from inside the heart of a teenager in the midst of her sacred struggle of making her faith her own. God gave her these songs to help her process what she was experiencing which, in turn, helped her to restore back to Him.
At some point in every life, it becomes time for the sacred struggle of making your faith your own. For some of our children, there's not much struggle, but for many teens or even adults, it can include a time of brokenness, feeling alone in the darkness, unsettled or uncertain. The first song you hear this week, entitled "Whisper," was written and recorded in the midst of her struggling 12 years ago, thus you hear a teenage voice performing. The other two songs were recordings made in my studio but were written and originally recorded in 2009.
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God.
Quotes from this episode:
“I was in a place of despair and hopelessness and I felt so unworthy of his grace at that point. God began to show me the gospel and His grace like never before. He was showing me that He redeems all kinds of people. There are so many people who feel unworthy of His grace, but he pursues us and shows us that His grace is bigger than that and that it covers all of it. This song is God’s response to us –to the broken, to the needy, to the people most undeserving of grace, which is all of us. We are all equal in being undeserving of His grace. But God’s response to that brokenness is to offer grace and faithfulness and steadfast love. The first song, Welcome Me, was a raw desperate prayer of a broken person and this second song is God’s response to the broken." - podcast guest Victoria Dahilig, Christian Youth and Ministry Director
"If our relationship isn’t strong with our children, if they can’t come to us about anything, if they don’t feel that we are approachable, that we will be reasonable, that even if we disagree with them that we’ll be honoring in our perspective of them, if we don’t do these things, they simply won’t allow us to walk with them spiritually.In an act of self-preservation, our child will protect their heart from us as they will reserve that vulnerable place for the people who hear them and see them and listen to them." - val harrison, the Practically Speaking MOM
"How we help our younger children discover God is a very different parenting plan from when our teens and adult children wrestle with their faith. "Who is God?" and "Who am I in relationship to Him?" are critical questions. As intentional parents, we can't have a "one size fits all ages" approach to this heart issue. We need to handle it differently at different stages of life."
val harrison, the Practically Speaking MOM
"He is pursuing every one of your children just as he has pursued mine. He designed them, created them. Who they are reflects His glory and their story can be the story of His love. The real point of this two-week theme is HOPE for those in despair to say that God has not abandoned you. He is there working on your behalf, pursuing you and rescuing you IF you choose to be rescued. He is faithful and does not walk a way from us but He is also respectful and honoring and doesn’t force you to love Him back. My hope is that this series will motivate you to be more intentional in your child’s spiritual journey, that it will encourage you if you are lost in a dense forest of despair yourself or if you know that someone you love is there, this can give you direction in how to pray for them and how to understand where they’re at as you get a better view of their struggle, and then I pray that this is also a motivation to re-evaluate your family’s life, what spiritual journey you are fostering in your children, being willing to adjust course and re-make your priorities to make room for your child’s vitally important walk with God."
val harrison, the Practically Speaking MOM
What is our part as parents in helping our children along their journey of making their faith their own?
I want to give you five action steps that apply to all of the ages and then the last three action steps are specific to older children, closer to the teen years or later.
1. Pray and pray some more. Recognize that the warrior stance for our children happens on our knees before the One who loves them even more than we do but who also knows them better than we do. We want to intercede for them but we also want God’s direction to us. We need Him to lead us. Prayer also gives us His perspective, His vantage point – it’s a much less stress, less worried, more balanced, big picture view and it is the most hopeful view of all. Don’t skip the prayer step In fact, this step one of prayer is key to step #2
2. Role Model a healthy relationship with God. Let your children see you pray, seek, read. Then as they get a little older, begin to share with them how you are currently wrestling with God yourself.
🤍Tell them what you’re praying about,
🤍what He is showing you,
🤍what he’s pricking your heart about and causing you to see an ugly part of yourself that you’re seeking God’s help to overcome.
For my kids lately I've been sharing with them about my struggle in seeking to be more patient and being quick to listen and slow to become angry.
***Don’t share with them deep struggles just yet unless God specifically prompts you to. They are not your spouse and they should not have to carry the deepest burdens of your story just yet. Wait, that stage of life is coming and is something I elaborate on in the podcast.
3. Parent like our Heavenly Father parents us – and as I’ve told you before, He is the perfect blend of high standards while also being approachable and gentle-hearted – what I refer to as Mercy Seat Parenting (click here to listen to episode # for more on Mercy Seat Parenting).
Does it sound impossible to maintain both high standards, clear boundaries, and be gentle at the same time? Well, it is impossible in our own strength. We must rely on God and allow Him to mold us little by little and more and more into His image as we work daily to peel off another layer of self and live by His spirit. God describes this in John 15 when He says “Remain in me and I will remain in you, apart from me you can do nothing."
4. As far as it depends on you, maintain a close relationship with your child - This is one of the main themes of my ministry and I teach something about the parent child relationship in nearly 100% of our podcasts. Never settle for a mediocre relationship with your child. Always keep striving for it to get deeper, richer, and more powerful in strengthening the bond. Even if you have a prodigal, you can keep PRAYING and PLANTING SEEDS for their return. Do what you can, Do everything you can. Remove anything that may be standing in the way of their relationship with God. Don't allow your pride or stubbornness, or your doubt that they'll change, to affect the efforts you put in to healing your relationship or maintaining its health. The more we align our heart to God's heart, the more our parent/child relationship begins to heal.
5. Be a Content Manager of Your Home – what beliefs are entering your home – beliefs about God, beliefs about self, the value of life, the value of truth, inspiration & hope; Internet, social media, music, tv, music, news…
Philippians 4:8 says “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
If I hadn’t determined that our home was going to be a safe haven from the world’s perspectives, then when Tori was in despair she would have been consumed with music that fit her mood and she would have gravitated toward content that was dark and hopeless and that would have fed the darkness instead of the light. This is a difficult thing to accomplish in our media-driven society, but you are not obligated to be just like the world and to bring the world into your home. You have been entrusted with these souls that are under your care and they will grow best, thrive best, go through struggles best if you home is a CONTENT HAVEN.
These first five Action Steps for Parents to foster the growth of spiritual health in your children, are applicable to all ages. On the podcast I share three addition key action steps for parents that are specific to the older child.
Click Here to Listen to Episode 52 to hear the last three Action Steps. The final three steps, steps 6-8, are reserved for parenting older children, teens, and young adult children, especially those who are struggling in their relationship with God.
Note: How can we parents help our children as they take the sacred journey of making their faith their own? What role do we play in this process?
During this episode, I talk about the roles that the parent plays, that God plays, that our child plays in our child's journey to making their faith their own. I hope you'll listen to the podcast to hear details about each of these roles. I do hope you will listen to the episode as there is far more in it than can fit in this blog post. This episode will leave a lasting imprint on your soul.
"Welcome" written and performed by Victoria Dahilig, Copyright 2009
"Whisper" written and performed by Victoria Dahilg. Copyright 2009
"Be Still" written and performed by Victoria Dahilig. Copyright 2009
A note from Victoria about the final song, Be Still, in this week's episode...
"Be Still"was born out of a few years-long journey back to God. I was 15 or 16 years old and at a crucial point in my spiritual formation. Struggling between simply living out “my parent’s faith” and making my faith and belief in God my own, I had been in a battle between the knowledge in my head and the feelings in my heart. I was doubting the goodness of God.
This battle culminated in a struggle with depression, loneliness, anger and fear – God gripped my heart, drove me to my knees and drew me back to Him through the light of others and the truth of His word.
As I searched Scripture, I re-discovered, or perhaps discovered for the first time, a loving Father who is attentive to every need and deep, heart-cry of His children and yet, sits in sovereign control of the Universe. A God who was not far from me, nor angry with me or disappointed in me but one who was close, constant and welcoming with open arms. A Father who is for me. A Father who is for my good and for His glory.
As my soul finally began to find rest in the character and promises of God, this song was my response. Inspired by God’s own Words found in Psalm 46, Exodus 14:14, Isaiah 31:17 and Zephaniah 3:17, this was my heart singing in the assurance and confidence I had found in my place of belonging and safety in the arms of a good Father. God had taught me to simply be still and to know, beyond doubt, in the depths of my heart, that He is still God.
My hope is that as other’s hear the words of this song, that no matter what storms may be raging in their life, they can take a moment to trust again and simply rest in the assurance that God is still God." Victoria Dahilig, 2020
More episodes featuring Tori (Victoria)
A Girl's Self-worth : Peers, Drama, Boys Boundaries Principles for Complex Topics part 2