Help Me Raise These Children!
By Janey L. DeMeo
(ANS) -- Raising
children in atheistic France was a challenge. It didn’t matter that I
was a pastor’s wife and women’s Bible teacher, mothering daunted me.
Yet I wanted to be the best mother possible. It was this sense of
insufficiency that catapulted my quest; a sort of treasure hunt for
golden nugget formulas to help me raise my children for Christ. But
parenting methods, I soon discovered, leave us limp. They can’t promise
results because children are unpredictable and each one unique. And so
my search transcended methods…I had to reach higher – Heavenward.
Heaven Help Me
... book cover
launched my reading frenzy. I began avidly reading all the Christian
parenting books I could find. While I gleaned much from them, still
some questions remained unanswered; it seemed that essential issues
were being overlooked. For one thing, since I intended to bring my
children up to know God, I soon realized that raising kids puts you on
the frontline of battle. Yet, nobody seemed to be addressing spiritual
warfare in parenting.
Then there was guilt. What was I supposed to do when I fell short as a
Mom? Although I knew all about grace, thoughts of failing my children
trailed feelings of culpability. Guilt will cripple us unless we learn
to get up off the failure floor and go forward. And since many
weaknesses are latently linked to our DNA, I wanted to understand how
to surmount genetics setbacks in parenting—which led me to study harder.
Some books I read seemed to emphasize methodology and behavior control.
I was convinced children need discipline, but my experience with
underprivileged children led me to conclude that child training is far
more complex than formulas. Having my own kids confirmed this. Like us,
children need mercy beyond methods in order to taste the Lord’s
goodness and be drawn to Him. I had so much to learn—and while I was
learning, God called me to teach others.
I began teaching Christian parenting classes. Meanwhile, nurturing my
own children, I could not ignore the compelling and continuing call on
my heart—to help suffering children. I’d already been exercising this
ministry for a while, but the compassion increased and I was
constrained to pray increasingly for orphans and needy children of the
world. Naturally, I shared this burden with my children. (They later
visited Africa and India as well as joining me to visit underprivileged
children in France). Thus, another aspect was added to my picture of
parenting. God didn’t want us to just raise cozy “Christian” families;
rather He wants us to train them to minister to the needy—even as
children. I taught this to the ladies, and the same philosophy caught
on in our Christian Day School.
I was then asked to write a parenting book -- a sort of manual. This
request was the catalyst to my writing Heaven Help Me Raise These
Children! And the first person to read it was Dr. Spiros Zodhiates who
was the Graduation orator for our Theological Institute.
The book was first self-published in English in 1995, then in French by
Vida (then under Zondervan). I’m now delighted to present a revamped
version in workbook format published by CarePoint Ministries who
specialize in reaching people’s needs through hands-on tools. This new
format engages parents to implement what they learn and works both for
individuals and for small groups. Heaven Help Me… can be ordered online
Feel free to contact me for more details:
DeMeo (M.A., Missions) is a pastor’s wife and mother of two now-grown
children. She studied biblical parenting to better equip her in
counseling parents in France (where she and her husband were
missionaries for 22 years), in America, other parts of Europe, Asia and
Africa where she taught women’s seminars. Janey is the founder and
president of Orphans First, a non-profit child sponsorship organization
for suffering children around the world with orphanages and street
children ministries in many countries: www.orphansfirst.org.