Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Jennifer Slattery: Drawing Nearer to Our Children's Hearts Through Creation Walks

This week, More Reason To Write welcomes Jennifer Slattery as she talks about the command of intentional parenting and introduces us to her upcoming novel, Beyond I Do. Jennifer writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. You can find it HERE. Jennifer also blogs at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud


Drawing Nearer To Our Children's Hearts Through Creation Walks

I’m not a fan of parenting horror stories. My what-if brain doesn’t need any help. What I need to hear, rather, is not what can or has gone wrong but rather, what I can do to parent well.  

Though I know there’s no guarantees when it comes to children, I’ve learned every story goes haywire when left on its own. But one that’s crafted with love, patience, consistency, and truth? Now those are the kind of stories memories are made of. 

If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with Deuteronomy 6:6-9:

“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” (NLT).

This passage is more than a command. It’s an invitation to draw near to our children on a heart-to-heart level as we share the deepest part of who we are—our faith. It is an invitation to connect, to explore, and to rest in our relationship in the hands of our Father.

When our daughter was young, we spent hours strolling through the neighborhood, hand in hand, crunching fallen leaves, and picking flowers. Everything enchanted her and evoked innumerable questions.

As she explored God’s creation, I used the opportunity to introduce her to the Creator. We talked about the different colors before us. I told her of God’s love displayed in each chirping robin and fragrant flower. Her eyes would light up with childlike wonder, and her gaze would drift to the sky.
She’s sixteen now, and while many of her peers are pulling away from their parents, she and I continue to enjoy long, leisurely strolls. They’re cherished times between her and I. Times where she unveils her heart and shares some of her deepest dreams and fears. And like when she was a toddler, it isn’t long before our conversation turns spiritual. For us, talking about God comes naturally. It’s part of our relationship’s DNA.

Fourteen years ago, I had no idea what a beautiful tradition our creation walks would start. Not only have these special moments strengthened her faith; they’ve melded our hearts together as well.

Beyond I Do:
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancĂ© or tear them apart? Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, Ainsley falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Beyond I Do is available for preorder at a 26% off discount. Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.