Bringing Up Spiritual Kids in a Non-Spiritual World

Ernest: Jackie, we are foremost interested in knowing how you came to be a spiritual person?

Jackie: My answer can only be explained in the context of the miracle of being born again, through whole-heartedly embracing the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord. Why do I say MIRACLE? Considering the context of my painfully dysfunctional family, to find hope in Jesus was a miracle for me as a 16 year old teen. I am the oldest of 7 children who were all sexually abused by our father (he is deceased). In response to the soul wounding pain of sexual abuse, my siblings and I turned to sex, drugs and alcohol to anesthetize the pain within�At 16years old a group of young people invited me to a youth meeting. At that meeting, a older teen showed me verses from the Bible that expressed that God wanted a personal relationship with me and He provided the means for this intimacy through the death of Jesus Christ, on my behalf. I responded most enthusiastically to this good news and on April 15th 1967, I embraced Jesus Christ with my heart, soul and mind.

When I shared this wonderful hope with my siblings, they scoffed at me and so did my parents. Their mocking only drove me deeper into wanting to understand the Bible from beginning to end-so I could better respond to their many challenges. I am grateful for the mocking because it actually forced me to be a passionate student of truth!

The sex, drugs and alcohol used by my siblings led to such destructive outcomes for their lives. What is so sad about using sex, drugs and alcohol to anesthetize pain, it also allows the person to NEVER GROW UP. Part of maturity is embracing the pain and injustice of life. In fact, suffering helps to escort a young person out of adolescence and into maturity. Much of the addiction that controls so many Americans is fueled by fear. Grown ups that are fearful of leaving adolescence, consequently remaining emotional immature!

Two of my siblings committed suicide in response to years of attempting to run from their soul deadening heart wound of sexual abuse.

Considering the context of my upbringing�yes, my spiritual life is a miracle. I have spent the last 39 years studying the Bible and it is an ENCOURAGEMENT MANUEL.

Ernest: What inspired you to write The Mentoring Mom?

Jackie: Having been raised in a very dysfunctional home, I so desired to break the cycle and the mold that I grew up with as a child. This book is the summation of the best things I learned in order to raise children to make a difference in the world. This book is FULL of practical tips and applications that a mother-regardless of her perceived shortcomings, will be cheered on as an effective mentor.

Women thrive when principles are inextricably linked to practical applications-in this book, presented in the form of specific steps to take as well as by personal stories; the propensity to relate to another woman’s narrative will aid women to define and address their children’s unique needs. Furthermore, they will grow in confidence as they are inspired to commit themselves to specific steps for this mentoring process and as they see the fruits of this endeavor.

The majority of mothers are living breathlessly, frantically focusing on the externals of their children’s lives in their grooming, scholastics, sports and other achievements. Their hope is that they are doing the best for their children, yet they often lack confidence in evaluating goals and priorities for the most significant aspect of their children’s lives, their internal and life-long soul care. Many mothers often feel isolated and desire connections to be affirmed in their experiences and encouraged unto further clarity and action. Some women can be as inclined to find this encouragement from a book as they are from joining a group or, at times, even discussing with other women; while for others, such reading is their best catalyst for discussion and support.

Ernest: Was it easy for you to bring up kids in the image of Christ in modern American Society?

Jackie: Honestly, modern American society is not that unique. The world may view the U.S. as this most pagan place to raise any child. My husband has been traveling all over the world for 17 years�taking young people on mission trips. Everywhere they have traveled outside the U.S., they encountered young people who were facing tremendous opposition to their faith. I think that ANYONE living on Planet earth will discover that to live for Christ is a spiritual battle in the truest sense of the word.
I don’t believe there is any town, any city, any country, any state any nation that has an easier context to raise children for Christ inâÂ?¦WHY??? Because everyone of these places have PEOPLE living there and PEOPLE are always in opposition to anyone that embraces the person of Jesus Christ and wants to make a difference in proportion to the hope they find in Him. That opposition is not only faced in the U.S. but wherever people live on this planet.

Ernest: What cause or causes do you see that hinder the love of others through Jesus in our society today?

Jackie: I think the NUMBER ONE cause for hindering effectively loving of other people on this earth is SELF-ENTHRALLED LIVING. Now, I must admit, that the U.S. has been a sad demonstration of the “ME-CULTURE.” I think that people are not as loving as Jesus would have them be, because they are so self-absorbed that they do not have time for a loving act of kindness. I think selfishness aborts love!

Ernest: Do you think your kids as special in responding to your teachings or do you consider all kids capable of being brought up like yours?

Jackie: Mr. Dempsey, I want you to know that both of my children have embraced Jesus wholeheartedly, but they have both had to wrestle with suffering and injustice and discover that God is trustworthy in the most unimaginable situations. As my daughter so brilliantly said to her grad professor (she and her husband are in Seminary getting a Masters in Ethics)âÂ?¦Jessi said, “When my uncle killed himself, four years after my aunt had killed herself-I watched my parents throw themselves into God’s arms and hold on for all they had. And I decided that if my parents could trust God through such tragedy than I will throw myself at Him and hang on with all that I had.”

Mr. Dempsey�I was a teen from a dysfunctional home, yet the very principles that I wrote in The Mentoring Mom were the foundational truths that I was taught as a young person�so whether a teen hears the truth from a parent or a youth leader or even a teacher at school�all teens have hungry hearts and wise are the adults that look for key opportunities to deposit nuggets of truth into their souls.

Ernest: What role does a father play in the spiritual upbringing of his children?

Jackie: When Jesus walked on this earth, He referred to God as FATHER, there is no role on earth as significant�whether for good or bad. My father was a bad influence on his children, whereas I married a very godly man and he had a profound impact on our children. In fact, as young adults, they still seek him for wisdom. They know that their father, LIVES what he teaches. I just finished writing a new book that will be out in May, 2007 called A MAN WORTH WAITING FOR�My husband is a modern personification of the Biblical character Boaz in the book of Ruth. This character is the foundation of the book that I just wrote.

Ernest: Jackie, one thing I was personally tempted to know is how you acquired such strong writing skills as we see in The Mentoring Mom? Has it anything to do with your spiritual self?

Jackie: What you write exposes your heart and my heart has been in passionate pursuit of Jesus for 39 years. The length of time that I have lived with an intimate relationship with God through Jesus is inextricably linked to the depth of content in any of my writings. I love God and His Word more than mere words can communicate. Another key to being a good writer is writing a little something every day-I have been journaling for 39 years. Good writing flows from incessant reading also. You and I are the sum total of all that we have read. I read my Bible every day and I have been reading spiritual classics, etc. for almost 4 decades.

Ernest: How can a godly nurture as you describe in your kids be provided by non-Christian mothers? Is it possible for them?

Jackie: Because we are created in the image of a most loving God, even when we haven’t embraced Him wholeheartedly-there are glimpses of His loving creativity manifested through daily kindness of an attentive mother or father. Whenever a human being does something for someone besides themselves, it is a most loving and unselfish moment and a glimpse of the Creator-we are all “image bearers” even if some have blurred the glimpse through self-absorption.

Ernest: What age in kids is most vulnerable to go astray from the spiritual peace to carnal angst?

Jackie: A common answer is during teens-peer pressure to the max. I think that college is a most challenging time for young people. They are away from their original mentors and they are being challenged about their beliefs in ways they have never faced beforeâÂ?¦what I have observed-many young people may get detoured from their spiritual focus for a season but they ultimately return to their foundational training when the “carnal angst” becomes quit unsatisfying like sucking on sawdust!

Ernest: How do you comment on the performance of media and its influence on the healthy upbringing?

Jackie: My new book has a whole chapter on the Media and our sex saturated society. You will have to review it when it comes on in May 2007.

Ernest: What is the general response of The Mentoring Mom’s readership so far? Are you receiving hopeful feedback?

Jackie: Your review was one of the best I have receivedâÂ?¦in fact, I copied it and showed it to all my board members-I am President of Power to Grow, Inc. Our theme: “Out of something painful, something beautiful grew.” I hope to eventually have your review posted on my websiteâÂ?¦I have pasted below a copy of my other favorite reviewâÂ?¦besides yours.

I have included a review of my book that absolutely captures my intent and heart. May it encourage millions of mom to read, The Mentoring Mom.

I found the Mentoring Mom to be a highly readable, informative book. I
liked the life examples offered by the author in whom she lists specific
trials, situations and highlights from her own life experience. As both
parent and classroom teacher I am inclined to rely more heavily on those who
have been ‘in the trenches’ so to speak to those who offer suggestions about
what might work at first glance, but have nothing to substantiate the
notion. Some of the teaching we try with our own kids will work for them,
and for others. And some of the teaching we attempt, especially the ideas
that seem so good when on paper, or on the surface of our mind fizzle and
backfire. I find a writer who can mention successes and note the near misses
and total ones too, to be more credible than ones who blithely put forward
much rosy and no thorn. Mentoring kids is darn hard work.

This is a work to keep close at hand during those child rearing years. The
Mentoring Mom is a book to be turned to often as parents face the day-to-day
struggle, confusion and struggle that is so much a part of raising a family.
The writer leads the reader into understanding that raising kids is a big
job, is not an insurmountable job and is a job to be savored.

The reader is offered suggestions for letting others and God do some
leading in our own lives, an important quote I especially liked was added
“Parents of good kids take too much credit and parents of struggling kids
take too much blame” is offered. While I didn’t have the quote when my own
children were teens, the notion was well entrenched and carried me through
those years with a minimum of upset.

The Mentoring Mom will be a welcome addition to parental personal reading
list, the therapist shelf, school and public library and for all who hope to
make a positive difference in the lives of another. The Mentoring Mom is a
book to be read in entirety and then kept close at hand for study during
times of particular need or situation.

Ernest: One important question is how can a single mom like one who is widowed, divorced etc. keep her children faithful to the images of God that you wrote of?

Jackie: All the principles I wrote about in my book can be applied regardless of one’s circumstances. I believe that God is a great compensator and He honors every effort a mom makes in relation to her children. Many women I know are married but do not have supportive husbands spiritually. I encourage them to not allow their husbands to determine whether or not they are spiritual mentor. So, whether married, widowed or divorce, a woman can spiritually impact her children.

Ernest: What advice you have for kids and guardians who have failed to acquire the spirit of real family that you and your family have been enjoying?

Jackie: I am so grateful as a young teen, I learned to stand-alone for Jesus in a painful home. That stand-alone quality has allowed me to encourage women who feel alone in their noble life purpose of mentoring their children. I can also encourage teens all across America to not use their painful home life as an excuse to not pursue Jesus with all their mind, soul and spirit. Whenever I speak, so many women and girls tell me that I give them hope for their terrible living context�because of the Good that came out of Evil in my Life. (Genesis 50:20)


Thank you Jackie!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ three = 12