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Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  947 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Explore the spiritual dynamics of parenting, and why caring for children is such an effective discipline in shaping our souls and forming the character of Christ within us.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 27th 2004 by Zondervan
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This book was lent to me by an acquaintance who said that the premise is all about how much parents suffer when they raise children and how that suffering makes said parents more Christ-like than non-parents. My reaction was a mix of "Um, I don't have kids? Why are you pushing this book on me?" and "Wow, if this book is about how all Christians must have kids in order to attain spiritual maturity, then no thanks." (Since I completely disagree with the view that many Christian circles hold in whi ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the course of my life I've read a lot of books on marriage and parenting and how to get a perfect life in 10 easy steps. This is not one of those books and I loved it. Each chapter left me with hope, not a list of do's and don'ts. I must admit that I cried through each chapter, some out of laughter, some were tears of release and remembering. This book takes you from those early days of sleepless nights with a newborn to letting your kids go. Everything is looked at from the perspective of ...more
Camille K.
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Mothers and fathers, when you give your tiny infant a bath, you are washing God's baby. When you minister to that youngster, can you imagine God smiling down at you? When you fix that hungry six-year-old a peanut butter sandwich, you are feeding one of God's children. Listen carefully -- you may hear God laughing in pleasure. When you hug an adolescent whom other have teased mercilessly at school, you are comforting God's teenager. Are those God's tears dampening your shoulder?" (221).
Jonas Perez
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional book. The writing is clear and colloquial, and the information is priceless. The caveat, personally, is all examples--it was excessive to me--though some might actually appreciate them. For me, it felt like work trying to find substantial material. But when I found it, it was deep, rich, and worth the wait.
Debs Taylor
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Maybe reading Sacred marriage first took a little of the shine off this book for me, in that Thomas has a similar theme running through both books - God uses marriage and parenting to form our character, and draw us closer to him. However, there was enough new insights in this book to rate it highly. I think the one that challenged me most, was to enjoy my kids, and be thankful for who they are, rather than critiquing them for what they should be. Definitely brings a different perspective on par ...more
Keren Threlfall
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reading
Overall, I found this a helpful book. Unlike many parenting books in its field, it discusses the way that God uses parenting changes us as parents, rather than placing an emphasis on how it is a parents duty to change their children. A lot of thought provoking material, but nothing extrememly profound.

What I take major issue with in this book is the author’s writing parenting into Christ on the cross. (My husband refers to this as "hijacking the redemptive story.") Thomas is certainly not the fi
Becky Giovagnoni
This is the second book I've read by Gary Thomas, and just like the first one, it was FANTASTIC. His approach to parenting is refreshing and new - that it's not about what we should do and how we shape our kids but about how having kids allows God to shape us.

Contrary to other parenting books I've read, I was able to fully connect with every single chapter and found great value in his consistent reminder that my focus should be on what God is doing in me through my kids.
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have a child, ever intend to have a child or have ever been a child...this book is for you. LOVED it!!! Literally, I laughed, I cried, but most importantly, the Lord used it to deepen my understanding of how much He loves me and therefore I am called to love my child and all His other children.
Kelsey Mckenzie
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a new parent, this gave me a new perspective on parenting. That parenting is not just for the kids, but that God also uses it to make us more like Christ. It was both challenging and comforting.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-faves
One of my all time favorites! This is not a guide to parenting, it's more about how God transforms us into His image through parenting our children.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
In this book, I was hoping to find some sacred space in this journey called parenthood. I was hoping to find support for the natural inclination that I have, that parenthood might be one of the holiest, life-changing journeys I embark on. Instead, what I found - only making it as far as chapter 2, is a politicized critique of parents who may have more trouble setting limits. I was so disappointed. The content of the book could have appealed to liberals and conservatives alike without the very di ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a new mother, I needed a good book to read about how to be a better, more dedicated parent, to give my son a good understanding of life. I love how this book focuses on raising gods child, or in other words recognizing the gift that a child is from our heavenly father. When I get frustrated as much of my shortcomings as at the times I cannot soothe my little guy in the way he needs in that moment, I am amazed at the thought of a perfect, all-encompassing love, which our Heavenly F ...more
This book takes a look into the challenging, rewarding, life changing, expensive undertaking we know as “parenting.” Instead of “Self-Help” direction, it advises parents to look, listen, yield and submit to what God is saying and doing through the dynamics between parent and child. God established parent/child relationships for His good purpose; He works in individuals through all aspects of life, so why wouldn’t He use our most intimate connections to bear the greatest impact.
“The truth is, we
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-life
Intense...even as a parent of teens I learned so much.
Mandy J. Hoffman

Gary Thomas has written a thought provoking book that goes beyond the how-to's of parenting to the deeper issues of how parenting shapes us spiritually. I appreciated his open and honest sharing from his own life as he presented his ideas of how parenting is not just a responsibility but rather an opportunity for great spiritual growth.

I set this book down with a renewed hope toward the big, small, and daily challenges that come with being a parent as I gained a clearer focus on the t
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last chapter was almost my undoing...
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a parenting book, per se, but a must read.

Helped me to understand how my the parent-child relationship (and the love therein) with my children mirrors the Parent-child relationship with God.

Not having had grown up with a father figure, it was very difficult for me to understand how to love God as "The" Father....seeing as how I had no knowledge of what a daughter/father was like. I still don't, but in reading this book, I think it's the closest I'm ever going to get.

It flips the role of t
Really appreciated the overall theme of this book. As the book jacket will tell you, it's not a "how-to" parenting book, but instead focuses on the idea that God uses the very act of parenting to encourage our own spiritual growth. Not a completely new concept for me, but really affirmed the fact that yes, parenting is tough, and that's a good thing in some ways because the struggle itself can lead me closer to God if I let it.

It got a little repetitive at times, and some of the stories were a
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! If there was a parenting book that I would recommend to every parent THIS IS THE ONE!!!! Its not a how to book, there are no 'do this' or 'don't do that' but somehow this book spoke more to me about my role as a parent and what the important things I need to focus on than all the other parenting books I've read put together (and I've read a lot!). This book is so Christ centred! Every aspect of parenting has got this one focus in mind and as a parent of a very difficult child it was refresh ...more
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only thing preventing me from giving this book five stars is that I felt it became a little repetitive. I don't like parenting how-to books. As a woman pregnant with my first child I feel overwhelmed enough without trying to cram processes and three-step methods into my head. Not to mention the fact that I believe in trusting my instincts and learning from the community of people around me. This book is not a how-to manual; it's a why-to manual. The author's message is to allow parenting to ...more
Joy Longcop
This is the best book on parenting I have ever read! I shed tears of sadness, joy, thanksgiving and anticipation in many parts of the book. Very encouraging and inspiring because I can fully relate to what the author is saying and he shows his readers another way of looking at the different experiences in parenting. Sacred Parenting How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls by Gary L. Thomas
Colleen Woodcock
This book is so good! It is about allowing your children to teach you to be more Christ like. We never really know who we are until we face trials and children bring many trials to life, feelings of anger, selfishness surface, feelings you never knew you could possess and this can make you change. Seeing your children mirror your behavior can cause you to become an almost different person after the journey. It is about God's using your children to sanctify you to Christ. Very well written and ea ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book on parenting... which was focused much differently than most parenting books I've read. Thomas sought to teach about how the act of parenting can form us spiritually. If you are looking for a 'how-to' parent book... this isn't for you: However, if you are looking for a deeply reflective, moving look at how God can use the act of parenting to change us in just about every way possible... you've come to the right place. Well written book! I'll be coming back to this one again, I'm s ...more
Lynne Tan
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the perspective that this book gave. Often we think about what we can do for our kid, forgetting what they truly need to be done. We often forget that children also have a life of their own and they need to walk out their lives. Our role as Godly parents is to guide them along the right Godly path so our children can eventually fulfill that Godly purpose. It is not until we learn about ourselves and walk righteously ourselves that we are able to fulfill this role. Very thought provoking ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received this book as a gift after my son was born, and I really enjoyed it. I learned how God uses our children to teach us, rather than us teaching our children. I never considered that before reading this book, but it is so true. It is not a typical "how to" parenting book, but it is just what I need on the days when I have no patience. I am reminded that God has given my this little boy because he trusts me to raise His child. There is no greater responsibility in life. The message was an im ...more
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated the way that this book didn't sugar coat parenting and the experiences related to being a parent. It was very validating for me and turned out to be one of the best parenting books that I've read. I liked the no nonsense approach. However it is important to note that it is VERY bible based and makes a lot of Christian references. If that kind of thing makes you uncomfortable, stay away.
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
I thought this book was fantastic- good reminders about where my focus should be as a parent- and how God uses parenting to shape us- YES HE DOES!! :)
I just bought this book yesterday- because I know that I will want to read it again and again in the years to come.
This book has helped me to maintain a focus (in parenting) on what gives glory and honor to God- who God calls me to be as a parent and how to parent according to God's Word.

Highly recommend to all parents.
Parenting is not easy, but it is one of God's ways of sanctifying us. The challenges of dying to self and serving someone else keep us humble and depending on Him to enable us to do the task. Thomas addresses the various ways that parenting helps us see "it's not about me", helping us to look beyond life's superficialities to the more meaningful elements. Great book to inspire and encourage thoughtful parents. Not for those looking for a three-step plan to obedient offspring!
We were given this book when our first child was born. Thomas challenges us to be aware of how the trials and joys of raising children bless us with pictures into our relationship with God. This is gained by experiencing God as parent, modeling God to our children, modeling repentence and our walk with God to our children, developing empathy for them in their struggles, etc.

An excellent work.
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. All about the different ways in which God uses parenting to form us spiritually - very profound, helpful, sparked great conversations with my wife. It's not a how-to book, but it is helping me be a better daddy all the same (so it's how-to in a round about way). Highly recommended!
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Gary Thomas’ writing and speaking focuses on bringing people closer to Christ and closer to others. He is the author of 18 books that have been translated into a dozen languages. These books include A Lifelong Love, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, but Why?, Sacred Pathways, and the ...more
More about Gary L. Thomas...
“if you remove the cross from Christianity, all that remains is some wise moral teaching not terribly different from any other religion.” 1 likes
“When God does not supply our motivation, we tend to major in the minors and minor in the majors.” 1 likes
More quotes…