Margy Tripp

9 posts

The Parent’s Calling — It’s Not Too Late, Part 3

Verses 20 – 25 of Deuteronomy 6 are a godly apologetic for the choices parents have made to honor God’s law when children ask questions such as: “Why do we always have to go to church?” or “Why is our family different from other families?” We are not different because of social status, money, poverty, heritage, education, skills, intelligence, or opportunities. We are different because of who God is and what God has done! When we appeal to any of the above descriptors to motivate our children to know God or walk in his ways, or to explain why we are different from the culture around us, we are either appealing to pride or avarice to reason with them. Deuteronomy […]

Parents and Instruction — It’s Not Too Late, Part 2

Deuteronomy 6 is wonderfully descriptive of the parenting role. Verses 6–9 frame the daily instruction parents are to give their children in God’s ways. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6–9, NIV) Notice that the parents’ role is that of instruction. The instruction is heartfelt. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. […]

God’s Spirit Brings Life — It’s Not Too Late, Part 1

Why are we tempted to feel like “it’s too late”? Perhaps it is your child’s age—he is a teen now or even an adult. Perhaps it is the degree of brokenness in your relationship—it feels like there is no hope for reconciliation. Perhaps it is the sense you have of your child’s rejection of spiritual things, and even rejection of God or the Christian faith. Here is important truth for you to consider as those thoughts crowd your mind and heart. It is always God’s work of grace that subdues rebellious hearts. That’s what happened to you and me. It is God’s Spirit who brings us, and our children, to repentance and faith—not our works or our children’s works. Ephesians […]

Introducing “It’s Not Too Late” by Margy Tripp

The pain of prodigal sons or daughters is often felt the most keenly by parents who fully invested themselves in intentional parenting. We have spoken with many heartbroken parents who are confused and even a little disappointed in God. “We did everything we were taught to do. We were always in church; if the doors were open, our family was there. Family worship was a daily priority. We sacrificed to provide a Christian education. Our son won prizes for Scripture memorization. He never gave us any trouble. He even went on mission trips with young people from church. But in college everything changed. He never did get connected to a good church. He started hanging out with young people who […]

Slow Down and Listen

Foolish responses without listening will make your children disinterested in speaking with you. They will take their conversations somewhere else where they can be heard. If your children are saying “You never listen to me,” it is because they feel you never listen to them. Slow down and listen. There is a perceptive insight in Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” There is more depth in your children than you might imagine. Drawing those deep waters out requires patience and great skill. It also requires being sensitive to the right moment. There are times when children are talkative and times when you cannot pry anything from them […]

Discipline: Communication and Prayer

Dialogue One of the most destructive aspects of ungodly discipline and correction is the lack of godly dialogue. God has wonderfully provided all the apparatus for meaningful communication with one another. Yet the most life shaping opportunities parents have in their children’s lives are often one-sided. Monologue is not godly communication. Long speeches that try to strong-arm our children with arguments, threats, warnings, and predictions will not change their hearts. It will harden their hearts. All of our conversation with our children should afford them an opportunity to respond—not as peers, but as children interacting with the direction and instruction of parents. We should encourage children to respectfully respond in conversation to help us understand how they are feeling, thinking, […]

From the Archives: Keeping the Gospel Central

Shaming your children is hypocritical. That, of course, is where you will always end up when you are trying to manipulate behavior. If, however, you deal with the heart, you will no longer be hypocritically distanced from your child. You can stand in solidarity with him and his struggles with selfishness. You can put your arm around him and say, “I understand what you are experiencing. I understand selfishness. I have my own struggles with being selfish.” Please note: You are not excusing selfishness as okay since you are selfish too. Rather, you are simply identifying with this common struggle with sin. Not only do you understand the struggle, you know where to go with your struggles with selfishness. You […]

Love for God is the Foundation for Parenting

Our love for God is the foundation for anything we have to say. We cannot impress our children with the fame of God’s name if we are not impressed with him ourselves. If the truths about God’s sovereign power and incredible mercy have melted our hearts and produced a profound love for God, we will impress our children with his awesome glory. If God’s Word is dear to us, it will be important to our children. We must be dazzled by God. We cannot give away what we don’t have. Psalm 34 is an excellent commentary on this point. “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Ps. 34:8). Here is […]

Your Children, Scripture, and Everyday Life

Apply Scripture to Everyday Life Children need instruction to apply Scripture to issues of authority, obedience, conflict resolution, and God-given roles in relationships. Everyday life affords scores of opportunities to connect Scripture to life—from lost book-bags to broken friendships and poor test grades. Scores of training opportunities evaporate without notice as we hurry through our days thinking that devotional time with our children is enough. Our responses to the circumstances and crises of everyday life make our theology real. Bible stories glow with illustrations of children whose knowledge of Scripture translated into obedient, bold action. David’s words to Saul sound naïve and childish in the face of the Philistine army and the terrifying threats of Goliath, “Let no one lose […]