Powerful Truth Gives Direction to our Children

The story of Jacob's ladder shows the power of God's truth to give direction.Lessons from the life of Jacob.

With mistakes fresh in his past and the stolen blessing of his father in his pocket, a young man makes his way through the wilderness. He runs from the wrath of his brother, and each step takes him farther from home. Every mile brings him closer to the unknowns of the future. He is on his way and in the midst of his journey.

A certain place.

Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.”–Genesis 28:10-11

This young man, Jacob, comes to a certain place that has been marked on the calendar of God for a life-changing encounter.

Grasping for what belonged to a brother, does he wear the weight of guilt like a coat? This one who takes what he wants, does he wonder if he has what it takes?

Partway between yesterday and tomorrow, between past and future Jacob squints into the setting sun as the day closes. He is alone. More alone than he has ever been.

  • Alone—brothers divided.
  • Alone—parents left behind.
  • Alone with his plotting and striving.

Under a thick black sky, he lays his head on a rock, with the grit of the trail clinging to his skin. It is another reminder that he has left the comforts and security of home far behind.

What thoughts drift through his mind as he sinks into a heavy sleep? Is he thinking of his sins and mistakes? Does he wonder what tomorrow will bring? Is he homesick, regretting his actions?

When God reveals himself truth gains power in our children's lives.

When God becomes real.

Jacob has grown up hearing the stories and promises of the God of his fathers. Again and again, the history has been retold by light of the evening fire. Yet though he knows the stories, they have not become truth to him yet. God is still impersonal, shrouded in the mist of someone else’s experience.

I have a son, a young man who stands at the brink of adulthood, the future opening before him as he takes his college diploma in his hand. My daughters stand right behind him as they all prepare for adulthood. Maybe that is why this familiar story touches my heart with a fresh urgency.

How did this time come so quickly? Seems like only a few years ago that I held his tiny, perfect body close to my heart for the first time. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago he was tearing into the house with roller blades on his feet and braces on his teeth?

The rites of childhood and the passage of adolescence have come and gone. He stands tall and strong, with a heart full of dreams for the future. He also carries the uncertainty of knowing for sure what he wants to do, what direction he is headed.

He stands in an uncertain place.

Strategic truth gives direction.

As a parent, I pray that all of our children will come to a certain place marked by God for revelation and transformation. A pivotal place for truth to become experience that molds a life with the hand of God.

Yes that certain place is a time ripe with the presence of God intervening in a life to give direction and purpose.

Are you praying for God’s certain place for someone in your life?

Sometimes God speaks too deeply to the heart to be contained in a single blog post. Here are the other posts that continue this story:

God’s Powerful Dreams for Our Children Give Direction

Powerful Prayers for God’s Direction for Our Children

Get a free download of the graphics from this post and a beautiful printable list of verses to pray for your children when you subscribe to receive my emails.

New Beginnings: Praying Through the Milestones in Our Kids’ Lives

I always feel awkward about asking folks to share my work, but if this series would encourage someone you know, please pass it along.

Today I’m linking with the community of bloggers in these lovely places: #RaRaLinkUp, Testimony Tuesday, Three Word Wednesday, #TellHisStory, and Coffee for Your Heart.


  1. Ginger, you are a gifted writer. Your point about how Jacob knew the stories of God, yet they weren’t personal to him yet is such a strong reminder to me as a parent that I need to be praying about my son’s certain place with the Lord. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ginger Harrington

      I think this point hits home with every Christian parent. How thankful I am that God has even better plans than we can dream for our children. The grace of God that reaches us right where we are fills me with such joy! Thanks so much for visiting today, Julie!

  2. Ginger, I hear ya. Prayers for your son. ((Hug))
    A couple of my boys are at similar crossroads in their lives. It’s a tricky spot to navigate. Thankful that their God is a good God, and knows their steps long before they take them. Thanks for sharing this sweet post today. 🙂

    • Ginger Harrington

      Prayers for all our young people. I focused on my son because of the milestone he just passed and because I was writing about Jacob. I found such a powerful reminder of God’s hand at work, that I wanted to share this encouragement with other parents. I remember when I graduated from college, the world gets very big very quickly. Thanks for joining us today!

  3. I think the uncertainty my boys have unnverves me more than anything – I keep trusting that God knows the plan – He is not surprised! Some days it is a tug of war for me – the faith in the midst of the day! Standing in faith with you that God’s got this!

    • Ginger Harrington

      As parents, we need these bedrock truths and examples of God’s loving hand in the lives of individuals to help us stand strong in faith. I can be so tempting to worry and fret about the many challenges and decisions our kids make over a life time. God’s promises settle my heart. I’m so glad we could connect in the place today. I love the fabulous photos on your blog!

  4. Ginger, this encourages me so much as I just got my son settled in at college and left him there last week! He has grown up in the church, and I have a strong sense that college will be a time when he chooses his faith for himself. (or not, but I’m praying he will!)

    Sharing this on Twitter!

    • Ginger Harrington

      We’ve taken two to college and have one more. This is the faith part of letting go in our parenting. Isn’t it comforting to know that though we release our children, God never leaves them! Praying for your son as he adjust to the pressures, freedom, excitement, and temptation of college life.

  5. I love how we always end up next to each other over at Kristin’s place. I loved this post today because my greatest fear of having kids in our pastor family home has been that they will get so used to hearing of God that He becomes common place or simply an addition of us. I pray constantly for my kids to see with their own eyes God at work in their lives. That their faith will be fresh and individual. I see signs of it but then other times I have freak out moments and wonder.

    • Ginger Harrington

      Most of the time I write my blog posts from my quiet times, and God always expands what he began in my journal. This was such a post of the heart and I’m so honored that it speaks to many others with young adults that they pray for. Blessings and I’m praying for your kids as well.

  6. Ginger, the timing of this blog for me was a “God thing.” As Jenna prepares for her DTS and the last one goes out on her own, the enemy of our souls has been diligent. Everything about what you wrote, seems to pertain to me – “for such a time as this….”

    • Ginger Harrington

      How wonderful to hear from you sweet Friend! Our girl is doing DTS now and loving it. Our youngest is a senior. I’m so very glad that God ministered to your heart through these words. Hugs to your and your family. And eat some sushi for me!

  7. I’ve read so many good posts regarding children this week as part of the #ThreeWordWednesday link up. I love when God ties together different messages. Thanks for being part of that.

    • I’m sure many of thinking of kids with the school year starting! This is my youngest child’s senior year–how did that happen?! Thanks for visiting today.

  8. please join in me prayer my son is at cross roads in his life he passed to join university but doesn’t want to eart my food anymore he is very reserved he doesn’t want to engage in our life pleased pray with me for him

    • Ginger Harrington

      Nantale, I know you are very concerned about your son! I am joining you in prayer for him. “Father, please guard and guide this young man as he spreads his wings. Remind him of the love and support of his family and lead him in your ways. Give his mother encouragement, faith, patience, and wisdom to know how to proceed from this challenging place in their relationship. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

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