“How We Became Intentional Parents”

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Episode Summary

The Tolpins had to navigate in creating a new legacy; tune in to get practical insights as they share their unique parenting history.

There is power in stories; this episode may be one of the most helpful ever! It’s full of practical insights and a behind-the-scenes look at when and how Isaac and Angie went against the grain with a fresh, intentional, and biblical approach to equipping their children starting 23 years ago to be ready for today and the future world they will be launching into.

Main Points From This Episode:

  • They define intentional and speak to intentional parenting
  • They share a little of their backgrounds and how God prompted them to create a new legacy
  • Get a behind-the-scenes look at their thought process in approaching parenting 
  • Be encouraged by many marriage tips
  • Learn the difference between reproductive thinking that most people naturally do and the kind of productive thinking that’s rare.
  • If you run your hand with the grain of wood it’s nice and smooth and safe, but with parenting that doesn’t usually lead to fruitfulness. When you run your hand against the grain you may get some splinters but it’s more fruitful. So what do you want; short-term ease and comfort and sacrifice for future fruitfulness, or discomfort and future fruitfulness?

Scriptures From This Episode:

– John 12:24 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

– Colossians 3:2 – “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Hey everyone, such an important episode. We go into the real raw background of how we became intentional parents.

We’re answering questions like, Were you always intentional? Did you always have the same beliefs and convictions? What was your background?

So fun. So we hope you get a lot out of it. And I would say the last ten minutes is pretty powerful. Oh yeah. Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom.

And Isaac from Resolute Man Together pursuing the mission to impact 10 million families and their legacies for the Kingdom of God.

We’ve been married for 23 years and are seeing the fruit from raising our nine children Biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children, as too many from Christian families are walking away from their faith by the age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way.

We’re praising the Lord that ministry continues to expand and impact more legacies. We couldn’t do this without you. Whether you pray for us, give us five star reviews or share on.

Social or even if you purchase courses and merch, or join the Be Courageous app community, enjoy the coffee or support financially. We’re so thankful you are a big part of the 10 million legacies movement.

If you want access to all the episodes, show notes and other biblically based resources. Go to be courageous ministry.org.

Join us as we start another important conversation about effective parenting in a fallen world. Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast. Today we’re talking about our background on parenting and homeschooling.

We get a lot of questions just online through emails and different things. And so we thought we’d do this little mini series to to let you guys get to know us and our background a little better. So last week we talked about what our church history was, and this week we’re getting more personal on the topic of parenting and homeschooling just so you guys can know where we’re coming from.

We just felt like, Wow, it’s been over four years, over almost 250 episodes approaching that and just week in and week out. And you know, we don’t always give a concise background on who we are and what we’ve done and how we’ve gotten here. And I think some of the most powerful lessons can be from hearing people’s stories. Yeah.

Also, we think it’s really important, at least this is for our own personal conviction that we know where people are coming from, that we’ve learned from, and that, you know, as far as just listening to things and whether it be a podcast or a sermon and stuff like that and and we want to be completely transparent and open with you guys because we do believe that that’s important, that, you know, like what is the fruit in someone’s life if you’re listening to them on a certain topic, right? Like being able to see how people interact in their marriage and if they’re actually strong and they’re both believing in the Lord, and before you’re going to them asking for marriage advice, right? And so we just want to be walking what we do ourselves and modeling for you guys by also helping you in doing that since you’re listening to the podcast.

So yeah, so good. And so we’re going to be talking about intentional parenting. Were you always intentional parents? How did you learn how to be biblically minded, intentional parents and homeschooling? What’s the story on that? You know, you have nine children and how did that all unfold? Oh, and.

I’m sure that there’s so many questions that are probably like in people’s minds, too. Maybe if they haven’t listened to all 250 episodes or whatever. Right. And so one question I get a lot, which we’re not going to go deep into, is did you always think you’d have a big family? Right? Like you mentioned, nine kids. And so we actually have done a podcast on our ideas on having lots of kids and things like that. You can go find out by listening to the podcast why? Why couples don’t want to have any more babies. That was actually a really popular popular episode in Season one, and we share a little bit of our story in that specific podcast episode on that topic.

But absolutely. So I think it’s good just to do a quick review on our own backgrounds, perhaps as we go into, you know, we’re joining in marriage. God had brought us together and so forth and we have different backgrounds. And you know, I think that your experience, your different experiences and while those help shape you, what’s amazing is when you become a believer, you are a new creation. I just preached on this and I think Second Corinthians, but it’s you’re completely new and you don’t have to hold on to anything that you’ve learned from the past and you can hold on to the things that are good. We have a choice. And through the Holy Spirit in us, we can follow the Spirit’s convictions to lay aside things that maybe aren’t good for our own families in the future, and then grab on to the things that are good. And so I just want to encourage you that none of us are in any kind of bondage to an inferior path. We can all choose what’s absolutely best for our families at any moment. And if you have a hang up or some issue going on and maybe it’s a, you know, a challenge that you’ve inherited from your growing up. And so we want to release that. I think it’s so important, too. Speaking of parenting, is to completely forgive your parents, no matter how good or not as good, no matter the situation you come from.

Have them right.

Or didn’t have parents. You have to forgive that and forgive them. There are no perfect parents and we’re all trying hard to do our best and so forth with the resources we have. But I think that that is a wonderful first step to be able to even cut off the maybe not so good things and not bring those forward.

It’s interesting because our past can really either hinder us or help equip us for what we’re going to be doing in the future. Right. It’s the same with anything like any experiences or skills you try to learn, like how you learn them or even the indoctrination from which you learn it can either hinder you or help you. Right? And our perspective has always been, even in the hard things that we’ve walked through, that we would be learning the lesson. And so I know that over the years, in those imperfect parenting moments or in those times where maybe we feel like we are stuck in or tempted by a generational sin that maybe we promised ourselves we would never do. Right. Because I know that I’ve even had that where it was like I, I promised myself when I was pregnant with our first. I’m never going. X, Y, Z. Right. And of course, like down the road of parenting, you start to have more grace and compassion for your own parents, too, because you realize the struggles that you walk through are human struggles, and it’s the same with them and that we all fall, right? And so, like, I think that there is a huge sanctifying process that we all go through that helps us to have grace and compassion and even understanding for our own upbringing, our own parents as we’re parenting.

Right. Like I’m sure you would agree with that. But that being said, regardless, like even in those moments, we all have a choice on what we’re going to do with what our actions were or what our thoughts were or like. We have a choice to redeem things along with the Holy Spirit, right? And that’s where our when we’ve been made new in Christ, we look through even our sin through a totally different paradigm where we start to go, Oh, okay, how can I turn this to be a good thing? And like going to our child and apologizing, for example, right? Like when you do sin against them or you make a mistake or you, let’s just say accuse them of doing something that maybe a different kid did. Right. And you don’t believe them. I’ve done that before. And so, like in those moments, being able to go to your child and say, I’m sorry and pursue reconciliation is so powerful for them to see that, you know, you’re not perfect and to see the intentionality in you pursuing that friendship with them and and making things right is so important.

So, hey, you know, I just, uh, you know, was approaching my I was in my senior year of college about to graduate, and I was a new believer. That’s its own radical, awesome story, but a new believer. And really, my life changed rather instantly. I know everybody has their own journey and story, but really, God got a hold of me and just changed my desires of my heart towards him and not towards things of the world pretty radically. And so that was amazing. I was so on fire for the Lord. And prior to that and after that as well, I was passionate about learning about leadership. I had never really been a leader growing up and I was so enamored with the concept of being able to have a positive influence on other people. And so I was also building a business that I ended up doing for about 17 years, but it was a perfect avenue for me to practice what I was learning. And so not only was I learning it, but I was putting it to practice all the time. And so I was just voracious about how can I be a better leader? How can I grow in this area? And I really think that for me, had a big impact on how I looked at everything.

I was a new believer. I think there were some benefits for me in that in that I had fresh eyes. There was no Christian system that I’d grown up in. And I’m not saying that this is a better thing or anything like that, but for me, I had some fresh eyes and so I was able to look at everything that was happening and what happens with children’s in churches and the different things and just kind of be able to look at that. And then I was also voraciously learning leadership and voraciously learning about the Bible. So it was all kind of happening at once and my business was starting to take off. At the same time, I was very busy, but when it came to parenting, I inside felt like I don’t know anything about that because it’s all fresh for me. I can’t think of a lot of the things from my past that, um, you know, were intentional parenting, although love my parents and appreciate them and so forth. But you know, just a different background. Um.

And I think too, when you were looking at the different choices that we were going to make, just so you guys kind of know our story. When we got married, Isaac had been a believer for about a year and we got pregnant four months after we got married. And so we had Kelsey like literally just before our first anniversary. So we were like tossed into the throes of parenting really early. If you’ve read my book, Redeeming Childbirth, you know, my personal story of struggling with morning sickness. Hg And how hard that that was actually the first really big trial. I would say that Isaac and I went through more me but obviously he was affected by that because I had a really hard time functioning. And of course there was some depression that went along with that as well because I was like trying to figure it all out. But during that time it actually slowed me down to such a slow pace where I was laying down all the time, feeling sick, where that was a boot camp of God, teaching me what it meant to lay down my life. Like literally, I’m laying down on the sofa feeling sick, what it meant to lay down my life for my kids and. It was a very refining time. Remember thinking through all these different topics of parenting. What kind of education are we going to give them? All these different things. We’re constantly bombarding me, and I remember I didn’t get overwhelmed by that.

I just remember thinking, Wow, parenthood. Like I want to be the best parent I can possibly be. Like my the fact that I was sacrificing so much, just I think it further made me love our baby even more, you know? And I remember thinking to myself, like, then of course, we didn’t have plans for how many kids we were going to have and we were just taking them one at a time. But in that, in that time, I just wanted to be the best and give my best and be with her all the time, as much time as possible. And that was like the first I really believe. Like for me, that was the first call that I felt really strongly where I knew that God was calling me to do this thing and lay aside all of the dreams that I had had about working in a church or doing missionary work or or all these other things. And and I, I was still forming like what I believed about parenthood at the time. No one had spoken powerfully into my life or there was no book or or message that being a mom, you are doing the great commission. That was not something that was there was no social media, you guys. This was 23 years ago. And so like thinking about that and realizing when I was pregnant with our oldest, like there wasn’t a ton of influence actually because there was no Internet, there was I mean, there was AOL dial up, right? And so no flip phones, no cell phones, that kind of stuff.

And so it really, truly was. What did you experience and what books are you going to go try to find and read and you know, where you go to church? Are there, Titus, two women in your life that you can learn from? And honestly, back then I remember thinking to myself, I have to find a Titus two woman that I can learn from because I’m so sick that every time I pick up a book I feel like I’m going to I just don’t have the energy to do that. And I also felt really overwhelmed by not knowing what books were going to be beneficial for me to read because there were so many on the topic of parenting and I knew I wanted to be a Christian intentional parent. And I think that having older women in my Bible study, that I could even just say, Hey, what were your favorite books on parenting to get into that circle of like finding out what are the good Christian books on parenting? And that really became like the first, I would say 6 to 10 years. I really invested a lot in reading good, wholesome books. I was reading a lot of Elisabeth, Elliot, Elisabeth, George.

And I so appreciated that because she was such a good conduit for me of the knowledge she was learning and, you know, bringing that to me. And I would go in and out of receptiveness. I would say, you know, early on I was so tired sometimes because working really hard, building something, providing all new experiences. But but I always wanted to learn and was a voracious learner and so was Angie. And so I think that that if there’s a tip so far, that would be a very important tip is to not just look and follow, but to be a voracious learner, because then it causes you to question to see where something might be inferior to what might be best. And we naturally just go along a lot of times, especially as new parents and so forth. And you don’t necessarily just want to do that unless you’re in an amazing community already, very biblical and so forth. But, you know, normal Christian parenting largely is not working. Right. And you’ve heard us say this before, but just look around. Just look around at the.

Fruit that you see in kids in your church. Even We are supposed to judge within the church. And so, like be wise and and recognize like, okay, do I want my kids to grow up to be like this? Or I wonder how that mom has handled these issues? I think that one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of moms guys probably make this mistake, too. I don’t know, Isaac, you could speak to that. But just assuming that that when families look like they’ve got it all together, that they don’t have any problems, like that assumption that, oh, everything’s perfect there and they would never understand this dilemma or this issue that I’m trying to figure out and I’m trying to gain wisdom on. That would be embarrassing to ask them because they’ve probably never dealt with. I think that’s just a lie from the enemy. Because the truth is, is regardless of the successes that you may be seeing, the fruit in families that are, you know, five years, ten years, 15 years down the road from you, the truth is, is that those are intentional parents who literally when things got hard, because I guarantee you they did at some point, they dug their feet in. They got intentional, they embraced, they engaged, they got involved in the situation, whether that was learning new things or just talking to their kids.

Yeah, I remember a few books that just come to mind because I know I’m going to get. The question is what are the good books for guys? And I’m not saying necessarily these are perfect for you guys out there, but they were perfect for me at the time that I read them. Tender Warriors. Stu Weber If you listen to the last episode, I realized that he had a church 30 minutes from us, a big church, and that’s where we ended up going for quite some time in the beginning. But that was a great book and it was great to see such a masculine, godly man with a biblical approach to being a man. And that was so helpful to me of not really having those examples in my life. And so I think that that was a pivotal book. Right in the beginning. It was really good. We had some good premarital counseling too, which I think was really good. Also, Um, Point Man by Steve Farrar, I believe is the name, and that was a really good book. I was in a men’s group that was going through that book together that was about two years into marriage, I believe, and that’s right around when I found I asked an older gentleman to be my mentor, if you remember a previous episode, and then down the road a little bit further. Uh, Spiritual Leadership by Henry Blackaby was such a good book because I understood that I’m supposed to be the spiritual leader, but to actually know what that looks like and actually learn that I’ve been learning all these leadership books from all these different bestselling authors about leadership, but here’s here’s such a rock solid, uh, Christian one, like spiritual leadership, the first thing a leader should do is get on their knees and pray for their people.

And I took that to my business, obviously, but I also took it to my family. And I think sometimes, guys, we just take things to our business and then we don’t bring it to our family. What about all these wonderful things? Are the things that maybe your work is paying you to go learn training on and all these things. Take those principles and apply it to your family. Most importantly, because you are a leader of your family. And I think that is another thing I didn’t I don’t think I ever separated that. It was like I definitely spent a lot more time working in the beginning. And some of that I regret a little bit. But you know what? I did bring those principles back to the family. I want to take a moment and give you something for free if you haven’t got it already is the date night one sheet. It is a beautiful document you can download that will have some key questions on it for your date night to just get in alignment about what’s most important for your family. No matter what time of year, it’s always important to recalibrate. You can get that by going to courageous Parenting.com and subscribing to our mailing list. Also, you can get all of our show notes and everything at Courageous Parenting.com. And I also just want to share real quick about the Parenting Mentor program. So many families are being transformed by going through this. It’s the six week self-paced program with live engagement from us and even direct interaction. So if you want to join us, here’s a little bit more about it. You can find out more at Courageous Parenting.com.

Steve, I realized that we were getting too comfortable with the world’s vision of how to raise our.

Children, but Angie and Isaac have done in creating this is literally phenomenal.

This program provided awesome scripture based teachings and just some really great practical applications.

This class has just really rocked my world.

It has given me the vision for not just the different things that we might focus on as parents who are trying to raise our kids biblically, like how our kids are behaving or what we’re doing with discipline, but also the things of the heart.

We now have a game plan to how we want to raise our children. We have so many answers to the questions that have been in our mind.

It’s not just these hypothetical situations or it’s not just this. Here’s what I think you should do. It’s let me show you where in Scripture this is.

Do your legacy a favor and yourself a favor and just do it.

One of the best things that we’ve done this year, one of the best investments we’ve made this year, and I could not recommend it more.

We’re no longer fearing dark days ahead, but we’re so excited to raise lights to be leaders for the next generation.

Yeah, and it’s interesting because I remember you were talking about the nights when you were tired, but there were many more nights when I would be reading a book in bed and Isaac would be reading a leadership book in bed, and then we would discuss what we were learning and teaching each other. And I remember so many times where Isaac would be reading these books on leadership, whether it was spiritual leadership or even just leadership books that you read some from John Maxwell way back in the day and him sharing different principles. And I remember me going, Well, that applies to what I’m doing in the home with the kids. And then we’d talk about it and it was so powerful. And I think that that actually just that concept of like recognizing that God had ordained us to be the leaders of our kids and stepping into that role intentionally as being. The leaders was really it was not taught by anyone, not by anyone in the church or any of the churches that we went to. And for the first, like five years. Right. And then it became like as we started getting more into homeschooling once our daughter was a little bit older, was 4 or 5 years old. And we went to our first homeschool conference. Then we started to realize that there were other intentional parents that were believing that they were called to be intentional in their parenting as well. And that was something that was definitely preached and taught on. And there were books written on it, and we were kind of like, Whoa, there are other people like us, right? We’ll talk about that in a second.

But I remember in our earliest days, just us from a Christian worldview, reading books on Isaac, reading books on leadership, and then him sharing some things with me. There were times where, like, I was like addicted to what he would share with me and I’d be like, Hey, while you’re at work, can I read that book too? And then I would read some of his leadership books just because I loved it so much. And it really for me, as a mom, totally. I did feel alone many times regarding parenting because I think we were doing things so differently than the majority of people that were in our like circles, you know? And but at the time when you’re in the midst of doing it, you don’t recognize that why you’re doing the things you’re doing is because of what you’re reading and like what you’re excited about and that you get up in the morning, excited to parent or excited to do the next, you know, whatever it is that you want to do with your kids. And I think that truly like learning and being on mission, just you in general, getting up and getting into the word and being excited to read the Bible and being excited as a mom like that is a totally different paradigm than someone who’s just rolling out of bed and in the grind, if you will, of the daily. And so and you know, there have been seasons in my life where there definitely been those as well.

And so I think we get a lot of our hang ups, too, because there’s a lack of accountability in our life. And I’m so thankful that early on we had accountability, mutual accountability to each other. We had talked about devices right in the beginning. We had open access to each other’s devices at all time. Back then, I think it was a computer. I had a laptop and we had a house computer and I had a phone. But it was, you know, obviously the iPhone didn’t come out for a long time later with the screen. But, you know, so we had but email open access to emails, text messages, all of that stuff. I think that we were doing a good job of putting barriers up to the enemy, getting in and infiltrating, because when you feel guilty, it’s hard to be purposeful. When you have, you know, purposeful disobedience to God, it’s hard to be obedient in other areas and in intentional with your parents. And you can feel that little bit of hypocrite inside you. And I, we understood that. And we’re we’re like, no, we’re going to leave a new legacy. And she really had this passion about leaving a legacy. We were always trying to get that domain name actually, because it was so important to her. And I was all along, you know, the same vision, obviously. And I would I would talk about it a little differently, but same thing. And it’s so important. It’s a multi generational legacy. So I guess the question is that we’re answering is, have you always been an intentional parent? And I would say yes, by God’s grace. Thank you, Lord, for prompting us and for our eyes to be open and receptive. And even if you haven’t always been an intentional parent, it’s never too late. No.

In fact, your kids even seeing the stark difference between the before and after can be what is their saving grace? It can be the testimony in their life that they remember, and they never will turn away from the Lord because of it. Right? Like, I know that there are so many times where, like in my parenting, I’ve had to just stop for a second and go, you know, what do my kids are they taking for granted that they’re raised in our home like? And it’s not a prideful place of, Oh my kids are so lucky. They have us as parents. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is I think a lot of Christian kids, kids raised in homes where their parents love Jesus, It’s easy to take a lot of things for granted. It just is right. And and you may even they I think this is part of the problem with normal, if you will, Christian parenting not working, in a sense, is that we as parents need to talk to our kids about how Jesus has changed our lives, literally give them practical examples of the everyday and go, Hey guys, you know what? If it wasn’t for Jesus, I would be so cranky or I’d be like this or I used to be like that, but because of Jesus, I’m now like this or I’m trying to be like this.

That speaks volumes to our kids for them to recognize what the differences are of like what their life would be like if mom and dad weren’t following Jesus versus them following Jesus like, whoa. And and I think that that right there just being. Intentional about pointing those things out to your kids every now and again like that grounds your children into having an appreciation for God and what he’s done in their family legacy. Truly not that there’s perfection, but that there’s like progress and there is forgiveness and there’s grace and there’s compassion. And and those things don’t exist in the same kind of way in a non-Christian home. Like kids need to understand that, that that’s why divorce rates are crazy out the roof. Right. Is because those two individuals don’t know how to reconcile. They don’t know how to have grace, compassion, forgiveness in the same kind of sense that a Christian, a truly Christian couple would have. Right. And then, of course, there’s all the other aspects of marriage that we could go into. But that’s not what today is about.

And so we had that, a mutual accountability. We also we had these wonderful mentors that we asked to mentor us, a wonderful woman, great older gentleman that, you know, I met with every week or so for about 12 years. You know, really, really a great thing. You might have heard that. And so I think another thing that’s really, I think, interesting about our background is that I wasn’t around children younger, younger than me growing up, and I never really viewed myself as a kid person, if you know what I mean. Like naturally prone to being around kids and raising kids and that kind of thing and never really and never really thought of myself that way. Like when you think about your identity. And I thought that was interesting also. What’s your take on that?

Well, it’s that is interesting because that is a question that I’ve gotten a lot or just even a statement that a lot of moms will say like, oh, you have nine kids. They usually say in conjunction with how many kids we have right now. I don’t really get it very often, but when we had four, people would be like, Whoa, you have four kids? I could never have that many, right? Like, you must be really good with kids or have you always been a kid person or did you want to be a teacher or like people make these assumptions. There’s so many stereotype types, right? And the funniest part about all of that, you guys, I’ve shared this in previous podcasts, but I never actually even thought I was going to get married, let alone be a mom Like I when I was a really little girl. Of course, I dreamed of having babies and I loved playing house and having baby dolls and things like that. But then once I was in my teenage years, you know, I still probably had that kind of a dream. But once I was like 15, 16 years old, I kind of was like, Nope, I’m going to be celibate. I’m going to be a missionary. And I was on mission when I went to college to not date somebody, not get involved, be focused on the Lord and be fully sufficient with him.

And and so that like for me then to find myself married and with a child like God did a huge work in my life during that time. And it was through older women in my church that spoke truth to me and just rebuked me. Really, Angie, you don’t understand what marriage, what ministry marriage is and like really going that that is a mission field and like to two together can make so much more exponential impact. And just her saying that about marriage alone she wasn’t even talking about children but I remember like a few years like, well, not even a few years, but when I was pregnant with Kelsey, thinking about what what she had told me and going, Wow. So think of even more exponential impact when you have children and that like when I’m pregnant, I literally am pregnant with my first trying to figure out how to have a baby. There’s no Christian resources except like one book on pregnancy at the time. And I read it like four times and I’m just doing my best to be as intentional as possible and to be as prepared for motherhood as possible is really very sweet, very cute. When I look back on it, I was so focused on it. But the point is, is I wasn’t a kid person either.

So one of the things that’s interesting is I think back is I was I you know, I don’t get fearful about those things. Meaning I think I’ve always had a perspective since I’ve been a believer that God’s powerful. So therefore I don’t need to be I can rely on his strength and I don’t need to know how things are going to turn out. I don’t need to know how I’m going to figure it out. I just know that God’s going to help me. And I think that just bottom line, faith has helped me to not get heady about kids and instead and just enjoy it and delight and be excited. I was so excited for our first and I was so excited for our second. And you know, in between there’s always the wrestling of whether to have more. When we had our first few kids, that’s another episode maybe. But but the when the children are growing in the mother’s womb, it’s incredible. And then they’re born and it’s like, wow, look at God’s little human that he’s trusting me with. And I’m not fearful about that because. Because he’s going to help me. I think that I’ve always had that. And so I kind of keep rolling with God, meaning I’m rolling forward and purposefully, but I’m not worried about how it’s going to work out. And I think that has just boded so well for all kinds of things.

I mean, yeah, especially being the leader of our family because I tend to be more prone to be the one that is like wanting the details, wanting to have control, worrying about the what ifs and those kinds of things. And I think that my personality definitely that would be like my tendency or my pitfall, my temptation to sin. But being married to someone who that is their strong suit is to trust God, is to just enjoy the moment really led me a lot in those early years, especially of just like, you know, we’re going to get through this with the Lord, let the Lord’s will be done. And that was always kind of like our heart was the Lord’s will, not my will, the Lord’s will. And I know that, like for myself, even just becoming a mom or just even getting married, like that whole process for me was clearly me surrendering what I thought was the Lord’s will. But it was really my will for the Lord, submitting even that my will for the Lord to God to be able to walk in something that seems more uncomfortable, that was not on my radar, and that was me choosing marriage and choosing family. And I think that when you put yourself in that position where you literally lay down your cross again over and over again, right? We do that when we get saved. And then we have to do it all throughout our life. And then you do it all throughout your parenting. Every time you have a child, every time you get to a new crossroad in parenting, if you will, or a new dilemma or a new lifestyle choice, you have to lay down your life again over and over again. Well, it goes.

Best that goes right with this scripture that we had prepared. John 1224 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Okay, That’s I hope you caught that right. So the seed has to die first in order for it to bear more fruit and replicate. Wow. Yeah, that is so powerful. So I think some seeds, some parents don’t die first and then they’re not multiplying and fruitfulness. So really, what does that mean? Our will has to be surrendered completely to the Lord. And when it is, when we completely die into the Lord, we’re completely sold out for Christ and His will on our family and his will on our life. That he that we can actually hear him better, that we actually can have confidence and walk in confidence, trusting the Lord without knowing everything first. I think that is so important, guys. We don’t need to know exactly how we’re going to provide for a growing family. We need to trust the Lord and work hard and be open and close to God so we can hear his promptings. And when it’s time to take another step forward in our career or our business or shift gears or whatever the case may be, or make an adjustments or more fruitfulness happens. That’s all God prompting us, right? Because we’re leaning into the Lord and trusting him and stepping out in faithfulness even before we have it figured out. Wow. I really would have messed a lot of things up if I had to figure it all out first.

Oh, yeah. If we didn’t move forward in having kids until we thought we were prepared, we would have never had kids because there’s really truly, like, walking through that door is part of the boot camp. You know, when I think about the word intentional, I think it’s important that we talk about what intentional means for a second. We looked up the Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition of it. The first word is it’s an adjective intended. Okay. Designed, which I think is just so beautiful. Did God design you to be a parent? Yes, he did. Right. So this brings a whole new meaning to the word intentional, intended, designed, done with design or purpose, not accidental. And so imagine. So we talk a lot about proactive parenting versus reactive parenting. We have some blog posts on this. We’ve talked about this in podcasts. We definitely go into it in depth in parenting mentor program. And the truth is there is a massive difference between the parent that is proactive. A proactive parent is a purposeful one, is one who is being intentional, who is looking ahead and diving in to the situation and engaging and giving guidance and leadership that is proactive. Right? Like you’re you’re setting expectations beforehand so that when a situation happens, you’re not reacting to it. You’ve already somewhat been proactive in preparing for it. It would be like doing a fire drill, right? And so if there’s an emergency of a certain kind, your family knows how to handle things, knows what to do.

Everybody has a job. And you can be confident that that’s going to go well. That would be being proactive. Reactive is when a fire happens. Everybody’s running around freaking out because no one knows what to do and all they know is a fire is bad. And so as an intentional parent, we want to try our best to be walking in reality of what’s happening in the culture in the world, in our homes and our children’s hearts, in our own heart and in engaging like I think of Activate, right? Like it’s like when you think of even just those superhero movies that are out there, right? Let’s like, let’s activate, let’s go, you know, And that should be the parents role is that we wake up in the morning, we’re like, okay, activate. We need to bring leadership. We need to be intentional. What do we need to guide our kids in today? And the truth is, is it’s not just about that day. It’s also about five years ahead. It’s about ten years ahead and making decisions now so that those years go easier. And that’s just that’s part of business planning, I think, You know, Isaac mentioned that the first 17 years that we were married, he was well, not 17 years that we were married. You were working for them before we were married, but for a long time of our marriage, he was building a business.

And so there was a lot of creativity that could go into that and decision making. And we loved to dream together and visioneer together. And he would bring his ideas and go, Hey, are you into this? And because this is going to take your support too, or I’m going to have to work harder during this season and we would like decide together, are we going to move forward with this goal? What is that going to look like? How can the kids be involved? And it was fun. Yeah, it was really fun to dream. But this is the thing. We also did that for parenting and like what are our goals for our parenting? You know, when I think of intentional parenting, the very first thing that comes to my mind that we have always done, and it was inspired by New Year’s resolutions, although we’re not New Year’s resolution people at the beginning of the year reevaluating the last season and going, what initiatives do we need to instill in our kids? What are the potential issues that are character qualities that we need to focus on? Is there a word that we need to teach our kids and really focus on and hone in? Like, is it generosity? Is it what is it? Right?

Well, it’s the principle. It’s a business principle too, which is audit. What’s happening? How do you grow your business? Will you audit what’s happening? You fix the things that are not going as well and you double down. Things that are going as well. And you have a recalibrated vision, you get everybody on board and you move forward into a much better growing year. And that’s the same for family. It’s just unbelievable how they intermix. It’s like, and so we shouldn’t compartmentalize our lives, man. We got to lead in both realms. Well, and they help each other actually.

It’s actually really powerful. Like now I’m like thinking of all these other things that we’ve done that have been really powerful for our family and intentional, but it’s also instilled in our children this leadership quality, this ability to look ahead and to to for them to pick things. What do we need to really work on? What do we need to study, right? Like what are our temptations to sin? What are the scriptures we’re going to study? Like you literally utilize this concept in every area of your life and what a benefit to be able to teach your children that for the rest of their life they’ll literally lose it, use it in every area of their life and I know that for us that’s been a huge game changer as far as being intentional parents and really digging in with our kids. And they enjoy it. They love those family culture meetings that we do where we’re like also holding them accountable to the goals that they.

Which reminds me, I need to I took pictures of all their goals. And, you know, we’re.

Six months.

In six of the year and it’s time to look at everything and do it, recalibrate and see accomplishments already and all those kinds of things. So so, hey, you know, I think this episode, we thought we were going to talk about two topics we’re just going to finish up here on parenting and we’ll do another one on, you know, all the questions about homeschooling. But yes, I think that this has been so good. You know, it really is about leaving a new legacy. And and, you know, as we had challenges and as we had new things we’d never experienced before with raising children. And by the way, your oldest couple are always paving the way with that for you, right? They’re always, you know, okay, there’s something new to learn here because they’re a new age or older and you’re learning it for the first time. And so I just think that what a beautiful experience it was to to really the marriage has to be so rock solid. And you have to your communication has to be so good. And I’m really thankful for that, that we could talk about anything that we would do date nights as often as we possibly could. There were seasons where it was harder without the right sitter and things like that, but we were trying to and we could do date night ends. We read a marriage book together out loud. Took a really long time. Sometimes we’d only read like a half a page or a paragraph and talk and talk about it and which book isn’t really what matters. So you don’t need to ask us that. I think what matters is that we were talking out loud about biblical principles and about marriage. Yeah, I think that is what was effective.

Well, and I think that that’s what people find so effective about going through the Parenting Mentor program, too, because Isaac and I really throw ourselves under the bus in a sense of like bringing up those hard topics that maybe you’ve wanted to talk to your spouse about, but you don’t have the guts to bring it up because you think it’s going to start a fight or you think you’re not in alignment. And so you’re avoiding that conversation and we bring those things up, which stirs up conversation for you guys to be able to objectively talk about it and go, okay, this is an issue that we need to talk about. Isaac and Angie, you’re bringing this up and and I think that that for us was huge. Like, I can barely remember some of the titles of the books that we read 20 over 20 years ago. But I do want to say something about reading books. I know that there were many times where I would read something and I would disagree with it even on parenting, right? Like and I remember like trying to discern, is this my flesh that is fighting biblical truth because it’s going to require harder work for me or I don’t want to do this or I this, this is just so exhausting or overwhelming or I feel alone in this.

I don’t see other parents doing this or whatever it is. Maybe you’ve read a book and you’ve struggled with this. I think that it’s really important that those are the times, those are the topics, Those are the things that you need to take to your spouse. You guys need to discuss it. You need to make a decision together and be in alignment because you’re going to need that support to follow through if it’s a biblical truth that you’re not to sway in, and if it’s something that’s more of an open handed issue, that maybe is one of those things that it works for some doesn’t work for others. The disputable issues, if you will, those are the things that, again, you need to discuss and decide like, okay, where are we going to land as a couple on this specific topic or specific type of consequence, Right. And you need to be in alignment and you move forward not caring about what the world thinks, but only caring about what God has called you to and that you and your spouse are in alignment on that. And that’s super, super important.

I want to teach you guys something that’s so powerful. I learned this in a business book, but there’s reproductive thinking and there’s productive thinking as described in this book. And reproductive thinking is taking what exists. Making it a little bit better and a little bit better. A lot of times that’s referred to as the Toyota Way because that company has been really good actually, at taking something that was really foundationally solid and incrementally improving it over time. However, what if the foundation isn’t solid anymore because the world changes? I’m not talking about biblical truth. That always stays the same. But what about a principle or a practice that Christians do with their kids or have their kids in certain programs or whatever it is? What if? What if everything has changed around it and we’re just doing and we’re incrementally better? Well, I pick them up every day. Well, I go to this meeting that.

I’m volunteering or I’m volunteering.

Well, what if what if that extra influence isn’t enough anymore? And and so but you’re just in you’re a reproductive parent thinker. Okay? And so what what is productive thinking is thinking anew is having what I would call clear thinking. It’s suppressing my experience for a second and getting my journal out, praying to God to reveal things to me and actually thinking, is this the best thing? Oh, wait a minute. It’s the best thing because it makes my life easier. No, no, no. Push out your comfort. Push out what you’ve learned and bring in biblical truth. Bring in the Holy Spirit and praying to to God and the Holy Spirit convicting you have a journal open and start writing. It’s hard and it’s good and and do some productive thinking about your problem, your situation. Or maybe it’s not a problem yet, but you’re being proactive and you’re like, Is this really the best? Well, everybody around me is doing it. Push that out. Don’t let that influence you. That is one of the worst things that could influence you. We have found going against the grain is good. By the way, when you on a piece of wood, when you go against the grain, it’s rougher. When you go with the grain. Nice and smooth. A lot of people like to go with the grain because it’s nice and smooth. You don’t get any splinters, you just your hand is on it and it’s just, oh, so nice, baby. Smooth, right. Okay. And then but you know, we a lot of times in that process of being productive thinkers versus just reproductive is we’ve gone against the grain and yes, we’ve gotten splinters, but it’s yielded more fruit.

So what do you want? Do you want easy, less fruit? Hard More fruit? Wow. Well, this is talking about our children. This is talking about future legacies. It’s talking about people coming to know the Lord because you did well with your children and they go out and evangelize the gospel and spread the gospel in and within whatever they do. And so I think that that is so important. We want to think anew. I’ll give you a business example, because I know a lot of guys listen to this, too. And I’m sure the women would care about it just as much. But when Apple launched the iPhone, a lot of people were upset because it didn’t have buttons. That’s kind of funny now, but BlackBerry was the most savvy business phone that exists, and it had a little screen and had lots of buttons. And people memorize, especially business people, the buttons where they can just go, right. And I remember the complaints when the iPhone came out. But, you know, Steve Jobs and I’m not like saying listen to Steve Jobs by any stretch of the imagination. Right. Not a believer. But but he did say something that was interesting. He said, I’m giving people what they don’t even know they want. And in a business sense, I thought that was interesting. There’s some serious thinking that went into that of not just paying attention to what people want, but paying attention to what people will want if I make it for them that they never even seen. And I thought that was interesting because when it came out, it was a smashing success.

Everybody tried to copy it and still does to today. So the thing is, is that reproductive thinking sometimes is falling flat. That’s why normal Christian parenting largely isn’t working. We actually have to think anew and we have to do it together and we have to exercise our minds. God gave us our minds not just to go along, to get along, not just to do the same old, same old, but to actually think about things and do this. And by the way, this isn’t a new phenomenon that there’s danger to children by putting them in these different things in the normal kid systems. Right? Whatever you think that is, that 23 years ago we saw danger. Yeah. When we had our first child, we started thinking about these things and looking around influences and and looking at all of these things and like, wow. And how much time we get with them versus if we do make these other decisions that are normal and Christians and everybody’s doing and we’re just like, Wait just a minute, do that. It doesn’t have to be this way. There can be good fruit. There doesn’t have to be terrible twos. There doesn’t have to be challenges in the middle school years. There doesn’t have to be falling away in the teenage years. And that doesn’t have to be fake Christianity while they’re living with you. And then they launch and they’re not believers anymore. Now. We can’t save our children. That’s God’s doing. But God gave us the authority and the position of influence to evangelize and disciple and raise up the next generation for him. So let’s do that.

Now, that’s so awesome, Isaac. You just shared some phenomenal exercises that people can do and some real courageous parenting challenges. So I just want to wrap up today’s podcast. We’re going to talk about our background in homeschooling and next week’s podcast. You guys come join us for that. We’re going to talk about, you know, were you homeschooled? Did you want to homeschool? What were your fears? How did you learn to homeschool? We’re going to answer all those questions next week, which is going to be super fun. But here’s this week’s courageous parenting challenge. If you will audit your family, especially right now, as we’ve been talking about this summer family revival and trying to really encourage families to be intentional with the summer time that you have with your kids, it’s rare and you and your husband go on a fun date night or have a date night in and dream sync audit where your family culture is at. What do you want for your family? What do you want for your legacy? What character qualities do you want to instill or refine or focus on you guys? There is so much opportunity this summer and we just want to encourage you guys to do that. And if you need help with that, join us for the next Courageous Parenting Mentor program. You can do it as a couple or you can do it as a small group. If you’ve been part of a home group and you’re not really meeting a lot during the summer, we have a small group option. And if you are a pastor or you’re close to a pastor, tell them about the Summer Family revival option, which is doing the Parenting Mentor program in your congregation so you can be walking in like minded biblical community. Join us if you have any questions, email us at.

Isaac at Courageous Parenting.com. Be courageous ministry.org is the site where everything is. We so appreciate your support, encouragement, prayers and listening today.

See you next time. Hey, thanks for listening and being a part of the 10 Million Legacies movement. Go to be courageous ministry org for more biblically based resources. Ways to switch where you spend your money that support the mission and information about the incredible be courageous app community for believers.

Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program.

Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video session with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible self-paced program. We cover everything from tending to their hearts, handling obedience to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private group and the Be Courageous app, live webcasts and direct access to us.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentor program, secure your spot now at be courageous ministries.org. That’s be courageous ministry.org.


Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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