Friday, October 23, 2015

An Interview with Katie Faris about "Loving My Children"

Katie, thanks for being willing to answer some questions about yourself and your new book Loving My Children.

1.  Tell us about yourself and your family. Who is Katie Faris and how did you come to write this book?

I’m an ordinary mom who prays that my extraordinary God will help me love and nurture the four small souls entrusted to my care! My husband, Scott, and I have been married for ten years, and we have one daughter and three sons, ages 2 ½ to 9 years old.

God put the idea for Loving My Children on my heart when I was in the thick of everyday motherhood. Even though I knew the Gospel, I was struggling to apply it to my own heart in the midst of sibling conflicts, unplanned potty breaks and trying to get out the door on time.
I didn’t need more head knowledge—I needed to apply what I’d already been taught in God’s word and from older, wiser women. This book is my attempt to synthesize what I’ve seen and heard from Scripture and more experienced moms about motherhood and then put it into practice.

Even though the first draft only took three months to write, it’s taken me five years to publish this book. I like to joke that it’s my doctoral thesis on motherhood! In that time, Loving My Children has been shared twice in a Titus 2 format at our church with older women teaching younger women and then leading small groups for discussion and prayer.

2.  What is the central message of Loving My Children? What are you hoping that readers come away thinking, believing, feeling, and doing?

Great question, Matt. In Titus 2, Paul says that older women in the church are supposed to teach the younger women to love their children, thus the title, Loving My Children. Essentially, I unpack what it means to love my children biblically, arguing that the very “best way we can love our children is by passing on the Gospel to them” (p. 22).

I hope readers walk away encouraged. Our culture tells us that “If we love our children, (fill in the blank)”—we’ll take them to Disney World, feed them all organic foods or educate them a certain way. When we embrace biblical love for our children, we’re set free from false definitions of love. I want moms to experience increased faith that God has a Gospel purpose and plan for them and their children, that he is with them each moment of their mothering journey and that there is great value to their work.

3.  What was the hardest thing to write about and the happiest thing to write about in Loving My Children?

Chapter 3 is “The Best Gift I Can Give My Children,” and in it I suggest that loving my husband and portraying the Gospel in our marriage is the best gift I can give my children. I’d say this was the hardest chapter to write because I kept thinking of the brokenness of our culture in general, and my single mom friends in particular. Because we live in a sin-diseased world, I believe it’s even more crucial that we teach our children about biblical roles, point them to marriages that reflect the Gospel and offer them a vision for God’s design for marriage. I tried to do this as truthfully but as sensitively as I could, speaking directly to single moms at the end of the chapter.

The happiest thing to write about…hmmm…probably my tribute to my mom in the last chapter. While the Lord has blessed me with many Titus 2 friends, my mom stands out among the rest. While she’d be the first to confess her weaknesses, they only serve to highlight God’s faithfulness and mercy. That’s why it’s a joy to honor her. She lives out the truths in Loving My Children so beautifully!

4.  What surprised you the most about writing Loving My Children?

Once upon a time before children, I journaled regularly. When I wrote this book, the Lord helped me process thoughts and remember stories that otherwise might have been lost. I’m really grateful for that.

Also, three years after the initial draft of this book was written and had been taught at our church, three of our four children were diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Truths like God’s sovereignty in motherhood that I’d written about were tested in a new way, and I was so grateful for how God used the study and writing of this book to prepare my heart to love my children sacrificially in a new arena.

5.   In chapter 5 you ask the question, "What Does Doctrine Have to Do with Being a Mom?" How would you answer that question in a nutshell?

I’ll quote my book: “Good doctrine has everything to do with earthy, everyday motherhood! Doctrine is about living the life God intends for us, the way he intends it” (p. 60). To put it another way, doctrine is taking biblical truths about God, his Word, his world and even our own hearts and letting them guide our thinking, decisions and behavior.

In Loving My Children, I chose to focus on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and some of its amazing implications when applied to motherhood, namely (1) God chose me to be the mother of my children and (2) God chose my children for me in particular. Why? You can find the answer in my book.

6.   What word of encouragement would you want to leave any moms of young children who are reading this interview?

If you are feeling weary, don’t give up. Instead, lift your eyes off the playroom floor and look to Jesus—he loves you and your children (better than you ever could!). He knows, sees, values and will reward your labors of love for your little ones.

And, the Gospel really is enough. It’s enough for you and for your children. Sometimes that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Our confidence in parenting our children isn’t based on our performance as moms, but it’s based on what Christ is able to do in us and in them and, more importantly, what he’s already accomplished on the cross.

Thank you, Katie, for taking the time to answer these questions, but even more for writing this excellent book for Christian moms to know what it means to love their children well.

I encourage folks to buy a copy for themselves or a mom they love.

And I also encourage people to check out Faris Press' Facebook page about Loving My Children, especially for the beautiful sharable posters they've created to illustrate the lessons in the book.

Katie has also created a FREE study guide with discussion questions available for downloading on the Faris Press website. Check it out!