Let’s be real … homeschooling is not a cure for all that ails our families. Life is still messy. In fact, sometimes all that one-on-one time can really magnify shortcomings in our relationships with our children as well as with our spouses.
Some of the most heartbreaking consulting calls I get are those from parents who have lost hope for their marriages or their relationships with their kids. I listen; I cry; I share thoughts; I pray with them—but ultimately, God alone is the healer of hearts and restorer of relationships.
I was recently reminded of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37. You may remember the story: God took Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry, disjointed bones. He instructed Ezekiel to speak His Word to the bones, and they became not just rattling bones, but flesh-covered skeletons. Then God breathed life into the bones and they rose up – restored – as a living, mighty army!
Maybe you (or someone you know) have a child who seems to have lost her way, or a spouse whose heart has grown cold. Perhaps you are afraid you began too late to train your children or to appreciate your marriage. The relationship appears to be a “valley of dry bones.” Or maybe it’s just a hard season right now in your parenting journey or another relationship.
I want to encourage you: God is the author of life and restoration—the God of hope.
May you know His hope today. **
Hugs to you,
We Pray for You
You may know that my “day job” is as an educational consultant for HSLDA. Did you know that the HSLDA staff gathers twice a week to pray for you? While protecting your rights as a homeschooling parent is the primary mission of our organization, the heart of our staff is to serve your family.
And remember: You Aren’t In This Alone
Resources for Healthy Relationships
I asked some friends and colleagues to recommend resources they have found helpful in growing healthy relationships—here are some of their suggestions.* (Some links are affiliate links; if you purchase through the link, your price stays the same and I may make a few cents on each item.)
The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman—great for parents and siblings!
The Biology of Behavior by Dianne Craft
Cherish the First Six Weeks by Helen Moon—on mothering
Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch (This book is also great for caregivers, friends, and family members of those who struggle with depression.)
Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic—on mothering
The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman (Also available: Five Love Languages of Children, Teens, etc.)
The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional by Dr. Gary Chapman
For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn (Considered to be a great complement to Love and Respect by Eggerichs)
Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship by Israel Wayne
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick—on parenting
The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children by Lou Priolo & John MacArthur (There is also one specifically for teens)
Hedges (Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It) by Jerry Jenkins, Tim LaHaye, & John Perrodin
How People Change by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp
HSLDA also offers some suggestions for those seeking counseling: Looking for a Counselor?
I’m Outnumbered! (One Mom’s Lessons in the Lively Art of Raising Boys) by Laura Lee Groves
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst
Life Outside the Frame by Rebekah McBride (a short reminder to avoid the comparison trap)
Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God by Paul David Tripp
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Also: The Language of Love and Respect: Cracking the Communication Code by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Love and Respect in the Family (The Respect Parents Desire; The Love Children Need) by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic—on mothering
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray
My Beloved and My Friend (How to Be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses) by Hal and Melanie Young
Parenting on Purpose by Jason Free
Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Jim Fay and Foster Cline
Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande and Tom Raabe
Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin
Prodigals and Those Who Love Them by Ruth Bell Graham—For those with teens who may be walking away
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp
The Respect Dare by Nina Roesner
Rosemond.com (anything by John Rosemond)
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes … in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller – In this practical book from the National Center for Biblical Parenting, the authors give practical suggestions for teaching our children not only to obey, but to honor others, targeting the heart issues behind behavioral challenges.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp—on parenting
Tell God How You Feel: Helping Children with Hard Emotions by Christina Fox
Tender Warrior by Stu Weber—for husbands/men
Therapy & Theology – This podcast series by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries https://proverbs31.org/listen/podcast/full-podcast/2019/03/19/therapy-theology-why-therapy-theology
War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles by Paul David Tripp
What a Daughter Needs from her Dad by Dr. Michael Farris
What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul David Tripp
When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Edward T. Welch
And literally as I was publishing this post–pressing the button–this article hit my mailbox: To the Wife in Over Her Head. It was a good read.
*Note: As with any book or resource recommendations, some materials on the list may not be written from your family’s worldview or may include resource suggestions inconsistent with your worldview so, as always, you are encouraged to use discernment in selecting materials appropriate for your family’s needs.
** If you would like to know more about a relationship with the God who gives me peace and joy, and to whom I turn for wisdom and guidance that I so desperately need….drop me a line.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16, ESV Bible)
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
Some links are affiliate links. For more about affiliate links, see my disclosure policy.
Some content is adapted from a newsletter by this author, previously published at www.HSLDA.org.