BLOG––Encouraged by Faith

Fortune Cookie Teaching Moments

Posted by Kelly Dean on


After picking up Chinese takeout recently, our kids were reading their fortunes. I don't remember exactly what Evan's fortune said, but it had to do with success (as fortune cookies often do). He asked us, "What is success?" What followed felt like a Spirit-led conversation, unplanned but just the encouragement I needed.

We tried to define success in words Evan would understand. "It is setting a goal and accomplishing it," we explained. "It is doing what you set out to do. Some people see success as making a lot of money and having a lot of stuff. What do you think Daddy and I see as success?"

Gracie piped up from the backseat, “Being baptized and following God and being good to people.”

I felt a rush of mom guilt leaving me. In that moment I thought, "We must be doing something right." Now, in my humanness, I really wanted to call this a mic-drop moment. Peace out, mom guilt! I'm doing it right! But that still quiet voice said, "Get back up to the mic and keep singing!"

In my recent study of Romans, I have been learning how our human bent is toward sin. This is obvious to any parent who must teach (and pray) the selfishness out of their children. If we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that selfishness can take root in us, too—if we let it. Pride can lead us down a path that puts us first instead of God and others. This is why God's plan to rescue us and attribute his righteousness to us through Jesus Christ is so important. 

For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous. Romans 5:19 

I didn't ask Gracie why she came to this conclusion. I hope it's because we are setting a good example for her in our service to God and our neighbors. But I imagine it has more to do with the fact that we do not allow her to believe that what we do for the sake of the world is easy.

Gracie knows that serving God and being consistently selfless, giving, kind and considerate requires effort. When she fails in that work, we speak God's grace into her life. And when we fail in our work, we accept God's grace into ours. When we commit to God through our belief in Jesus, our calling becomes that of one who is free to live under the reign of a life in Christ, rather than one who is a slave to sin.

I pray that we all stand firm with the Holy Spirit to help us fight sin.
When sin takes hold, I pray that we lean on God's grace to cover those times. I pray that we learn from our mistakes and move on. 

This is what I really want my children and everyone I know to understand! I cannot drop the microphone just yet. I have to keep singing! For the sake of the world.

Some of the Dean family's favorite activities together include taking trips, going to the Children's Museum, movie nights and making cutout sugar cookies. What are your family's favorite activities? How do you work topics of faith into daily conversations with your children?

Kelly Dean is a native Texan and mother of three who captures the joys and trials of parenting on her personal blog, Only Gracie Knows. She finds that the best way to lead her children in their own faith is to be constantly growing in her own. 

An active member of North Central since 2007, Kelly has taught Bible classes for many ages. In an era when people are bombarded by social media, Kelly strives to build real-life connections and be a welcoming person who makes everyone feel included. To that end, she and her husband Matt lead North Central's Small Group Ministry and are hosts to a small group in their home.

Matt and Kelly were introduced on an Aggies for Christ mission trip when Kelly was a student at Texas A & M, where she graduated with a degree in nutrition. They were married a year after they met. One of Kelly's keys to a happy marriage is being an open book––while making sure Matt never has to read her mind. Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:4––a blueprint for finding peace and joy in the midst of any situation.











to leave comment