Across Pacific Magazine

Heaven Help Me Raise These Children!

By Janey L. DeMeo

Heaven Help Me
... book cover

MURRIETA, CA (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.

This 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 here:  Feel free to contact me for more details:

Janey 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:

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