Last Updated on March 18, 2024

“Courage may be easy to define, but it usually comes into our lives through hard choices. When facing an unpredictable situation, the decision must be made: to do the right thing or the easy thing, to sacrifice for others or be selfish, to act in faith or give in to our feelings.” ~Barbara Rainey

The above is a quote from the introduction to Barbara’s Growing Together in Courage devotional. I recently went through this devotional with my children ages 5 and 7 and I think all of us were inspired to look beyond our present circumstances.

How many times in my life have I chosen to do the easy thing, the selfish thing, the thing dictated by my feelings? Ouch! More than I would like to admit. I just might have been inspired (and convicted!) by the stories a little more than my children.

So many things are uncertain in our life… in everyone’s life really. We aren’t unique in the uncertainty of life. But I get a new chance everyday to model courage and faith for my children. To share with them my story and the stories of others in ways that they can relate to and understand is truly a blessing.

To have gotten a daily reminder that I need to be modeling the choice to be courageous  in an intentional way all week long is an even greater blessing to me. Because I get busy… and I forget that I am not merely raising a child. I am raising a man and a woman… someone’s husband, someone’s wife, quite possibly the parents of my grand-children.

Next week marks the beginning of November and to prepare our hearts for Advent and Christmas we’ll focus on Gratitude all month long… both myself and my children. To be grateful in ALL of my circumstances will be a challenge for me. I am grateful, but I often find myself looking forward to the next thing much more often than I am content with where we are right now. Now some might call that anticipation (I have some very happy things to look forward to).

But if I’m honest with myself its really discontent with where I am right now in the course of my life. So as a family we’ll be going through Growing Together in Gratitude and keeping Blessing Journals to record all the little things that really are gifts from God in the midst of the everyday. If I truly want to model and instill these character traits in my children, I need to make sure I’m growing them within myself too.

In honor of the latest addition to this devotional series, we are delighted to be giving away a set of all three devotionals (Growing Together in Courage, Growing Together in Gratitude, and Growing Together in Truth)  to one of our readers. Simply leave a comment and tell us what character trait(s) you hope to instill in your child and we’ll randomly choose one comment to receive all three devotionals.

For more, you can listen to Barbara’s intervews on FamilyLife Today right here!

Stories: A Teaching Tool for Truth

Stories: A Teaching Tool for Truth
Stories, like Jesus’ parables, can illustrate truth like nothing else. Barbara Rainey talks about her latest resource for families, Growing Together in Truth, a compilation of seven stories designed to teach children of all ages how to live out God’s truth.

Truth Leads to Courage

Truth Leads to Courage
What is truth? Pontius Pilate asked that question, and it’s still being asked today. Barbara Rainey talks about Growing Together in Truth, part of a series of books designed to teach character qualities through stories.

Truth Guides the Way

Truth Guides the Way
Standing for truth isn’t popular, but necessary. Barbara Rainey talks about her latest project, Growing Together in Truth, a book comprised of seven true stories about people holding fast to God’s truth. She tells the story of Karen Loritts, a girl in the Philadelphia projects who banked her life on the Word of God, and Martin Luther, a young man who bargained with God and ended up revolutionizing the Church.

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  1. Sarah Zblewski says:

    I want my children to have a close relationship to Jesus Christ. That is the one and only I want to make sure they have… the rest will fall into place as we teach and God works in their lives.

  2. Sarah Zblewski says:

    Liked on Facebook

  3. Sarah Zblewski says:

    Answered the question

  4. In our world of entitlement, it is so important to me that my children have grateful hearts. I want them to remember that everything comes from God and to acknowledge Him. I want them to realize that life is not about them but about God and gratitude has so much to do with that.

  5. I have been praying traits over my kids since they were small. For my oldest I want his faith to be courageous, which it is. He witnesses without fear to anyone who comes his way at middle school. For my daughter I pray for truth, honesty and courage. For my youngest son, I continually pray for gentleness and self control. Being a mom is tough and God is our partner in this if we only turn to Him for guidance.

  6. I would like for my children to learn all three traits. Especially, since I have struggled with all three in the past.

  7. Tiffany Hays says:

    Out of the three character traits courage, gratitude and truth, I would most desire to instill in my children a love for truth. A love for truth, embracing truth like a life line, is a starting point for all over character traits to grow. As we grow in truth, we will grow in understanding who we are, who God is and the life-purpose God has created us for. In walking in truth, we can walk courageous knowing that God is ever by our side, promising to never leave or forsake us. In loving truth, we can live a life of gratitude, over flowing from the knowledge that we are indeed blessed. Even during trials and times of testing, we can find contentment knowing that God will bring us through whatever He has brought us to. Wisdom and knowledge begin with reverencing the Lord God. As we grow in a close relationship with Him, we will take on His character traits: courage, gratitude, compassion…. And it all begins with Truth.

  8. All of the above I pray will be instilled in my children!

  9. How fortunate your children are to have you lead them through a month of focusing on gratitude, and cementing those thoughts with writings in a Blessings Journal.

    Although our daughters are in their twenties (and we did not become Christians until their late teens), we worked and still continue to remind them to give grace, love and forgiveness. As they grow older and become married and have children, these traits will serve them well.

  10. I hope to instill in my son gratitude, honesty, compassion, and above all else, a continued love for Jesus Christ.

  11. I liked you on Facebook 🙂

  12. This sounds like great devotionals. I really want all of my kids to grow in Christ and I learn the most when I learn with them.

  13. I answered the question.

  14. I liked you on facebook.

  15. Melinda T says:

    I like momlifetoday on fb.

  16. Melinda T says:

    I hope to instill in my children gratitude. I would like them to appreciate who they are and for them to be humble and grateful for what they have and I don't mean material things.

  17. My hearts desire is to instill all of these character traits in both of my children.

  18. I liked MomLife on facebook.

  19. All three character traits are good. Last week we finished reading through the book of John and learning more about giving glory to God.

  20. I hope to instill intimate passionate relationships with Christ into each of my children. Nothing is more important than that. If they are rich or poor, old or young, fat or thin….THIS is the one thing that will get them through it all and help them keep VICTORY! 🙂
    I liked you on FB as well as answered the question and I am about to go blog. 🙂 Would LOVE to win those books!

  21. Heather E. says:

    I am working on self-control with my 3 year old. This would be GREAT for my family as I missed learning many character traits I want my children to have. Thank you!

  22. Heather E. says:

    I "Like" you on facebook!

  23. truth & dependence on God are 2 things I want my sons to understand. for me too, but also I ahve been very convicted about what I have read of late being content in this moment, this chapter of where I am. I need to not be in such a hury to get to the next thing… whatever that is 🙂

  24. I would love to win these books!

    I hope to instill faithfulness in my children, that they would live their lives being faithful to the Lord and loving others in His name.

  25. I would love the devotionals. I am always trying to encourage gratitude, something that I think we all need more of.

  26. I hope that they will depend on God for everything.

  27. Rachel Bond says:

    Besides my children learning and trusting God whole-heatedly, I want them to learn honesty and kindness.

  28. I want to instill in my children all godly traits. I want them to always remember God is here, God is in charge and He has a plan & to trust in Him.

  29. I have been on the lookout for great devotionals that will help me teach my kids the deep rooted truths that will set them free to be just who God desires them to be. These sound like super great tools to do just that! Keep up the great work!

  30. I want to instill faithfulness to Christ, gratitude, and courage in our children.

  31. Tammy Terrell says:

    We have four children, 20, and out on his own, 16 daughter, 10 daughter, 9 son; We would like to reinforce character quilties of all these Growing together in Courage, Gratitude,and Truth. These are all important one I feel is real important is Gratitude because it can really show who we are on the inside and have to die to self. Would really like to receive these books . Thank you , Tammy Terrell

  32. I hope to find an effective way to instill telling the truth to my younger son and daughter. My oldest does not struggle with it?? Why??

  33. How can I choose just one?! It is imperitive that they know and seek truth in all their journey. Without gratefulness that journey will be tedious and hard, and life will have little joy. Without courage the journey will be cut short and their life storehouse full of fear. I desire greatly that each trait will have equal space in my children’s hearts and minds.
    But if I had to choose just one…. truth. Jesus is Truth. That will take care of the other ones if they know that One well.

  34. I hope to instill gratitude in my kids – so much of what we have is ignored when we focus on what we want.

  35. dana monhollon says:

    Answered the question.

  36. dana monhollon says:

    Gratitude. We work on it all the time with my 2 and 4 year olds. They are already learning the art of thankfulness.

  37. Right now I see a need to teach my sons gratitude. We are practicing every night as we close our day we give thanks as a family. My oldest is starting to get it and come up with his own ideas without prompting.

  38. In addition to courage, gratitude, and love of truth and commitment to truth, my husband and I add:
    joy, self-control, faithfulness, generosity, purity, loyalty, obedience to the Lord, selflessness, graciousness, discipline, mercy, steadfastness, perseverance…and more!

  39. I would like to (and am trying my best to) instil a lifestyle of gratitude to my 2 children. We have so much to be thankful for in this life God has given us!

  40. I have desperately been praying that my children grasp all 3, and live in fear that I've waited too long to teach them. Please God, let their hearts be open!

  41. I want my son to grow up to be a man of integrity. Integrity before God, family, and everyone else.

  42. I want to install all 3 traits in my kids, but do especially want them to have hearts full of gratitude.

  43. Answered the question.

  44. For sure I want my children to see in my life how cool Jesus is. If that is won then, they will need strong Bible skills and prayer daily.

  45. Hannah S. says:

    I would like to instill courage in my children because that's the one that's hardest for me. 🙂

  46. Hannah S. says:

    I like MomLife on fb.

  47. Difficult to choose one! Probably gratitude, because it recognizes the truth of the situation and emphasizes courage rather than fear.

  48. This looks excellent, and those are some of the character traits we're trying to work on right now.

  49. I answered the question.

  50. We're working on Gratitude! (also Humility)

  51. Gratitude, faithfulness, and honesty.