Book Review: The Shaping of a Christian Family

 I have felt so blessed in the last few months with God bringing to my hands some incredible books to help lay a foundation of what it looks like for our family to continue to grow in obedience to God’s will for our lives; especially in means of raising our children. I feel like every book I have read recently is just incredible and I would recommend it to everyone at this stage in life. The wisdom from these authors is so valuable and what I love the most about it is that it comes straight from God. Nothing I have read has been a quick-step or formula based or psychologist tested book or anything like that but rather it is how these authors have lived out what God’s Word has said from the beginning.

 This book by Elisabeth Elliot is actually a biography of how her parents raised her and her 5 siblings in a Christ-centered home that began with Elliot’s grandparents. It is a friendly and light-hearted book that combines stories from their childhood that will make you laugh and smile as well as very deep and thought provoking lessons learned from their parents teaching and example of how to live in obedience to God. It starts with Elliot’s mother and a little bit from her childhood and goes all the way through Elliot’s parents deaths and the marriages of each one of the children. I found myself saddened at the end as though I knew her family and her parents and could grieve over the passing of her parents (which happened around the 1980’s).

 The portrayal of her family fosters my ever increasing desire to raise Godly children and to be a Godly wife and mother. I see the things she remembers about her mother and her family and the lessons she learned and it creates in me such a longing for Amelia and Joshua to have the same things to say about us. What a heritage and blessing to leave a Godly legacy! We are so unequipped but at the same time in Christ we have EVERYTHING we need to faithfully live out our roles as His teachers to our children. Please, please read this book… it will help you refocus the direction of your family towards God. Here are some of my favorite pieces from the book (this is significantly reduced as similar to this book review here where I pretty much outlined the entire book it was so good!).

 Training must come before teaching. Before parents can train their children properly, they must first discipline themselves. p.xii

 God’s way of speaking to you and of getting at you will be through His Word. Dwell in it, therefore. Begin each day with a portion of it. Pray for grace to see when He is speaking to you, and for grace to adjust yourself to what He thus shows you. p.46

 A Christian who is saturated with the Word,… is likely to have a calm, wholesome outlook on life; to be kept steady in the path of God’s will in either joy or sorrow, wealth or poverty; he is likely to be a pleasant companion, not voluble in aimless talk; and he will not be overly disturbed by world conditions. p.56

 The husband was to be the head of the home,the wife in glad subjection to the office he was assigned. I doubt that this matter ever arose for discussion between them [Elliot’s parents]. It did not need to. They knew this was the way things were meant to be, the Scriptures spelled it out clearly, and they accepted it without question. p.74

 A mother is a chalice, the vessel without which no human being has ever been born… What an unspeakable privilege – a vessel divinely prepared for the Master’s use. p.98

 When we give the first part of the day to Bible reading and prayer, we get our own hearts into tune with God and we can then work more smoothly and efficiently. It is like the tuning of an instrument before the symphony that there may be no discord. p.102

 They did not think it a good thing to explain all of their reasons and actions to us when we were small… [in order for] the child to accept what God says without explanation. He must learn to trust the person, to believe the word, and to let the matter rest there, even when reasons are hidden. p.115

 Mother’s steadfast insistence on obedience was not for her personal victory over a “strong” will, but rather to strengthen her small son’s will to enable him to will against himself… to do the thing he ought to do before doing the thing he wanted to do. How many adults have remained willful, selfish, and immature because they were denied this essential lesson in childhood. p.115

 The keeping of these rules was our early training in that renunciation and death to self which will never be easy for any of us so long as we live in this mortal body, yet that very renunciation is the route to freedom and fulfilment. The obedient child is the happiest child. Rules and the consequences of infringing them instilled in us a healthy fear, not only of our parents but of authority in general. p.125

 A spanking is not child abuse. It is a deliberate measure of pain, delivered calmly, lovingly, and with self-control, on a loved child in order to deliver him from self-will and ultimate self-destruction. p.134

 Idleness is the devil’s best friend. It is the surest way to give him an opportunity of doing us harm. An idle mind is like an open door, and if Satan does not enter in himself by it, it is certain he will throw in something to raise bad thoughts in our souls. p.160 (From The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle)

 Let us “redeem the time.” Desultory working, fitful planning, irregular reading, ill-assorted hours, perfunctory or unpunctual execution of business, hurry and bustle, loitering and unreadiness, – these, and such like, are the things which take our the whole pith and power from life, which hinder holiness, and which eat like a canker into our moral being. p.161

 A simple gesture like passing the butter plate to someone else before helping oneself is the outward expression, small and unobtrusive but deeply telling, of the sacrificial principle, “My life for yours.” When there are only a few muffins left, the one who passes up the second helping lives out the words “in humility consider others better than yourselves.” p.171

 Reading List 2012


One thought on “Book Review: The Shaping of a Christian Family

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Hints on Child Training | Every Opportunity

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