Guest Post

Listening to Our Kids Is Important


I had the privilege to write a guest post for Jessie Mattis on the importance of listening to our kids. We sure tell our kids a lot, but what about taking the time to listen to them? Everyone just wants to be heard, and our kids are no exception. Please go to the link to read Listening to Our Kids Is Important – How to Listen Well.

Guest Post

Raising Empowered Kids

sweet kids

Please welcome fellow author and blogger Jessie Mattis. She is a homeschool mom of three and has a passion for encouraging kids to pursue God. This passion shows up in her Middle Grade Christian book Power Up. I read this wonderful book last year and I highly recommend it. Jessie is currently working on a historical fiction novel. I can’t wait to read it.

We connected as authors and Christians, now I call her friend. I have joked that we should do a book tour together. I can dream. Maybe one day. Jessie blessed us with a fantastic article on practical ways we can lead our kids to follow God. Enjoy this wonderful encouragement. Thank you Jessie!


Sometimes, it seems, kids don’t get the credit they deserve. As parents and caregivers, we don’t always understand the capabilities and potential of our children, bubbling under the surface, just waiting for guidance and encouragement to rise to the occasion. 

Did you know that 70% of Christians chose to follow Jesus when they were between the ages of four and fourteen? Seventy percent! That means the ages of 4-14 are pretty crucial for our kiddos.

Not that we need more pressure as parents. Parenting is hard and we’re doing our best, right? But even as busy as we are, I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more important than leading our kids to Jesus while they’re young. 

Kids who follow Jesus are not only capable, but empowered through the Holy Spirit. Like adults, they can:

  • Speak to God
  • Hear from God
  • Pray for others
  • Use the gifts and leading of the Spirit in various ways

It’s incredible to see kids living boldly in this empowerment. When my youngest daughter was just a toddler, she had (and still has) deep compassion for those around her. If one of her big siblings hurt themselves (which was all.the.time.), it wasn’t uncommon for her to reach her chubby little hand out and pray a simple, Dear God, please help my brother/sister feel better. 

Of course there are no guarantees, and every child has free will (hello daughter of mine who just gave all her dolls ‘baths’ in a bowl and ended up with soaked carpet…oops), but there are a couple simple things we can do to inspire our kids while they’re still fairly moldable. (And thankfully there are bucketloads of grace for those whose kids are older now, and still plenty of time and opportunity for us to model Jesus for them!) 

Let’s explore three basic ways we can lead our kids closer to the living God.

1. Model what walking with God looks like. Children do as they’re shown, not always as they’re told. Unfortunately, lots of churches, parents, and teachers are doing far more telling than showing. Focusing solely on Bible stories and facts (which are incredibly important, don’t get me wrong) misses a big piece of the puzzle. Relationship.

Kids need both—to learn about God, and to be shown how to live alongside an active God. Understandably, this type of teaching doesn’t always come naturally to adults. We’re all at different places on our spiritual journey, but what our kids need most is to see us living as if we believe God is not only real, but also truly good, and involved.

Obviously we can’t lead someone down a path we’ve never traveled. If you follow God but find it difficult to believe he’s truly good and involved in our daily lives, it may be time to explore your understanding of who God is, so that you’ll be able to effectively lead your child toward him.

2. Surround them with Godly community. Good or bad, kids pick up the habits of those around them. Be aware of who they’re surrounded by. Be intentional to involve them in Christian groups, classes, or events. If they’re still young enough, guide them toward Godly friends. Being proactive about their community while they’re young will have lifelong payoffs.

3. Pray. Sometimes prayer is seen as a last resort, but that should be the furthest thing from the truth. Pray for your children and those around the world to meet, know, and experience God. Pray that the Holy Spirit fills them with his presence and power, so that they can live boldly for him every day. Don’t doubt that your prayers have power. God can’t wait to hear from you.

No matter how long a parent has been following God or how well they feel they’re modeling Jesus for their kids, supplementation can be a game-changer, too. Do you remember reading any certain book during your grade-school years that left a mark on you? I do. One in particular stuck with me and inspired me. I want that for my kids, and for yours. Books have a way of encouraging us on levels parents and teachers can’t reach.

That said, I want to quickly recommend a book for anyone age eight and up. Power Up is a novel that demonstrates to children that following God and listening to the Holy Spirit aren’t just for adults—these things are accessible to everyone, regardless of age, and it’s an adventure, not a bore! Power Up shows kids what it looks like to be filled with hope and to live a naturally supernatural life empowered by the Holy Spirit. This book might just be one of the next right steps for you or your child in coming into a fuller understanding of God’s power and goodness. That was my prayer as I wrote it and remains so today.

Show the kids in your life there’s more to following God than showing up for church on Sundays. There’s a living, breathing God who wants to show us his goodness and empower us to dish out his love and encouragement to the world around us. Don’t let those fertile years between ages four and fourteen slip away, and don’t forget how capable and hungry for spiritual truths our kids are. Be intentional. And don’t forget to rest in the grace and comfort of our awesome God in the process. 

Thanks so much for reading, and I would love to connect with you before you go! Just head over to where you can find my blog, connect through social media, and download a free printable of my top ten favorite inspirational quotes! Or shoot me an email at Thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon!

power up cover with award seal

Authors, Uncategorized

Q & A with Author Jessie Mattis

power up cover with award seal

I am so excited to introduce author Jessie Mattis to you! Power Up is her debut Middle Grade novel. She wrote Power Up to teach kids about the Holy Spirit. It’s a topic that can seem intimidating, or even a bit mysterious to so many Christians. We easily talk about God and Jesus, but what about the Holy Spirit who lives in every Believer?

I had the pleasure of reading Power Up and thoroughly enjoyed it. You will go on a journey of discovering the Holy Spirit through eleven-year-old Lexi. I found Lexi relatable and honest. You will be drawn in to the story and sweet family. It’s a wonderful book for kids and adults. I was encouraged in my faith. Jessie did a fantastic job explaining the Holy Spirit, and that God wants to use kids too. The Holy Spirit is for every Christian, regardless of age.

Jessie is a kind, humble, loving person. If you met her, you would want to hang out with her. She’s the kind of person you’d want to chat with over a cup of coffee. Her kindness, and warmth pour out of the pages of Power Up. How refreshing to have a family friendly book with such a delightful, faith-affirming message.

Thanks for stopping by, and please enjoy my interview with author Jessie Mattis.

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Jessie Mattis and I am a Jesus-loving, homeschooling mother of three, a wife, daughter, sister, friend…and now a writer. I grew up between cornfields in Potomac, Illinois, graduated from Greenville College with a BA in Social Work, and worked in child welfare for a couple years before becoming a stay-at-home mom (my real dream job).

Since college, I’ve been a ministry volunteer in church on some level, often working with kids. In 2013, my family and I joined a small team of people and helped plant Rolling Hills Vineyard Church in Valparaiso, IN, which was a wonderful, difficult, life-changing experience.

What are you passionate about?

I have always had a heart for kids, and now that I have three of my own, I more clearly see the urgency in exposing them to the truths of the Christian faith at a young age.

I am passionate about raising my kids to love Jesus and reaching others for Him. Sharing the truth that they are loved by Him no matter what, even when life doesn’t make sense, is one of my main goals. Tons of people struggle with their faith as they grow, but if they can grasp this fact (God’s love and goodness) at a young age, it could save them from a lifetime of doubts and uncertainty.

What is your book, Power Up, about?

Power Up is the story of an eleven-year-old girl named Lexi who thinks she’s already learned all there is to know about God, until a new kids’ church teacher comes and shares some new ideas about the Holy Spirit. Through school struggles and a family crisis, Lexi must decide for herself if God is truly good and if this Holy Spirit stuff is for real.

Why did you write Power Up?

I decided to write this book when I was searching for something similar for my own children and couldn’t find it. I want all kids to learn and be comfortable with the Holy Spirit and the various ways he moves and guides us, but I’ve noticed that oftentimes adults don’t expect enough out of children. Kids are far more capable than we sometimes think, and most are perfectly able to think through matters of faith at this age (8 and up). Power Up is my way of telling kids “I believe in you, and know you are capable of actively hearing from and following God no matter your age.”

I felt that getting the story into the hands of “church-kids” might inspire them to view their faith in a new light, activating the Holy Spirit power that was inside them all along, whether they knew it or not. And for children who are already familiar with the activity of the Holy Spirit, I wanted to encourage them in their walks, helping them realize they’re not alone and aren’t “weirdos” or however else they may feel at times. For not-yet-Christians, the book also covers the basics of Christianity, woven into the story line, so they can come away from reading the book with a sense of what Christianity is all about.

Why were you the right person to write it?

Being active in kids’ church for years, in a similar environment that the story takes place, has given me a heart for reaching kids in this way. Seeing children explore and embrace their own faith inspires me, and I want it for my own kids as well as every other child. Right now my kids are ages 11, 9, and 7, so I’m right in the thick of the middle grade parenting years. This gives me an advantage in writing for children because I’m able to get inside their heads and understand their thoughts and struggles a little more readily than some.

How is Power Up different than other books in its genre?

Power Up is certainly more “teachy” than most in this genre, which may sound negative, but I don’t believe this is the case. It is a book intended for an audience of middle-graders who are taking their faith seriously and want to dive deeper. While my goal was definitely to keep it entertaining and relatable, there is certainly a lesson to be learned. It is a book that I can imagine Christian parents and children’s church teachers giving to their children/students, or even reading aloud and discussing as a family.

What do you hope people will gain from reading your book?

My hope is that children and adults alike will read Power Up and find the hum-drum normalcy of their current faith challenged. As they read, they will encounter new ideas and ways of living their faith out loud, and my prayer is that they’ll apply these lessons to their own lives, coming away with a more active, powerful, solid walk with God and a new understanding of who the Holy Spirit is. I want children to know it doesn’t matter how old they are—the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to guide, speak, and walk with them throughout their entire lives.

Power Up is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

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