Today I welcome Harriet Connor, Aussie author of “Big Picture Parents: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life” (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017) to Thinking of God. I hope you are as encouraged as I am through learning a little more about her and her pursuit of God. Make sure you check out my review of “Big Picture Parents: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life” and grab yourself a copy from The Wandering Bookseller.
- Hi Harriet. Thank you for joining us at Thinking of God. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi there. Thanks so much for having me! I grew up in Sydney, but now live on the Central Coast of NSW with my husband (an Anglican minister), and our three sons, who are 7, 5, and 2. My husband and I met while we were studying at Sydney Missionary & Bible College.
- How do you spend time pursuing God in your day to day?
When I have a moment to myself, I find it really tempting to busy myself with jobs around the house, rather than sitting down to read the Bible and pray. But when I do sit down to hear from God, and bring my life before him in prayer, I never regret it.
As a mother of young children, I need to keep stepping back to see God’s big picture; otherwise, I end up getting blown off course by all the noise and chaos of day-to-day life.
- You have recently released “Big Picture Parents: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life”, a book designed to give Christian parents a big picture of what the Bible has to say about parenting. This book also aims to equip them with the understanding to see how the Bible can provide a framework for our parenting journey. Why do you see this is important?
As modern parents, we are so busy trying to keep up with all the parenting “shoulds and shouldn’ts” that we don’t often take the time to consider the bigger questions, like: What is the purpose of parenthood? How can we cope with our human limitations? What does it mean to parent as “children” of God?
The Bible can help us to answer these questions. Its timeless truths also provide the perfect antidote to the extremes and excesses that plague much of modern parenting.
- Can you share with us a little about your parenting journey?
Five years ago, I was the least likely candidate for writing a book about parenting! My parenting was driven by strong feelings of guilt, fear, and confusion about my role. On top of that, my husband and I never seemed to agree on what to do. I was sick of “Dr Google’s” conflicting advice and craving the kind of old-fashioned advice that my grandmothers give.
So I turned to the ancient wisdom of the Bible. Doing that has given me clarity and confidence as a parent, not because I am suddenly getting everything right, but because I have a biblical framework for deciding what really matters, and what doesn’t.
- How does God impact you on a moment-by-moment, day-by-day basis in your parenting and other relationships?
God’s Word has shaped our family’s ideals – the kind of people we are striving to be at home and in the wider community. But God also provides what we need when we fall short of those ideals – Jesus offers us grace and forgiveness, and God’s Spirit empowers us to say sorry and try again tomorrow.
- Why is a big picture of the Bible important for anyone to have, whether they are single, parenting or retired?
Knowing the Bible’s big picture – the overarching story that ties it all together – helps us to put individual verses and chapters into context. It is helpful to consider how the passage we are reading fits within the story of Creation, the Fall, the First Covenant, the Cross, and the coming New Creation.
- What is your favourite Bible verse and why?
That’s a hard one! My two favourite chapters are Romans 8 and Isaiah 40. They remind me that, even as adults, we can still run to God like children, and find his forgiveness, comfort, and guidance. God, the only perfect Father, is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28). Like a shepherd, he carries the little lambs close to his heart, but he also “gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11).
Grab your copy of Harriet’s book “Big Picture Parents: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life” (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017) from The Wandering Bookseller.