Child Proof: Parenting by Faith Not Formula

Julie Lowe
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As a freedom-over-formula parenting book for moms, dads, and caregivers of all ages, Child Proof provides biblical insight and encouragement for readers who want to parent by faith. As an experienced counselor of children and families and an adoptive and foster mom applying the CCEF model of biblical change, Julie Lowe uses Scripture and biblical wisdom to teach caregivers how to know their children and specifically love them with the love of Christ.

Every family is unique, which is why Child Proof explores the need for parents to cultivate personal and intimate care for their children as modeled in God's individual, personal, and fatherly care to his children. This child-rearing book lays a foundation of parenting by faith and progresses by teaching readers how they can know their own kids well and raise them accordingly. By discussing particular issues moms and dads might have in family life, Lowe demonstrates how formulas aren't the answer, and parenting with biblical wisdom is best for a proactive rather than reactive approach to parenting.

Through Lowe's personal and professional experience, moms, dads, and caregivers, as well as those helping parents—pastors, counselors, youth workers, and churches—will discover gospel-centered application rather than formulas for the ideal family, equipping guardians to be experts at knowing their own children so they can know Scripture and live it out personally in their homes.

By establishing a mind-set rather than a model or a step-by-step "how to" approach to parenting, Child Proof empowers readers to come up with their own blueprint for their families through a biblical framework.


Julie Lowe, MA, is a faculty member at CCEF and a licensed professional counselor with nearly twenty years of counseling experience. Julie is also a registered play therapist and has developed a play therapy office at CCEF to better serve families, teens, and children. Julie is the author of Child Proof and Building Bridges, as well as the minibook Helping Your Anxious Child. Julie and her husband, Greg, have six children and serve as foster and adoptive parents.

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"Parents often want 'six steps to raising good kids,' but God instead gives a vision for how to love well and wisely, humbly and faithfully, amid all the ups and downs. Julie understands that parenting is not like computer programming or car mechanics—parenting is ministry."
David Powlison, Executive Director, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF); author

"Combine Julie's years of experience working with children, along with her personal parenting journey, and you have in your hands a grand-slam book that is deeply practical and biblically rich! Each page brings hope and courage to embrace uniqueness rather than uniformity in the parenting process."
Eliza Huie, Biblical Counselor and Executive Director for Life Counseling Center Ministries; author of Raising Kids in a Screen-Saturated World

"Join Julie as she lays a biblical foundation for parenting, and then benefit from her experience as she helps you navigate a number of challenging situations with grace and wisdom. I couldn't wait to share this content with my wife and family!"
Jonathan D. Holmes, Pastor of Counseling, Parkside Church; executive director, Fieldstone Counseling

"No matter how you approach it, parenting is a complex undertaking. We think that formulas will make it easier, but they either bog us down with their demands or lead to discouragement when they fail to deliver. In Child Proof, Julie Lowe helps us rethink parenting so that in faith, we can love our children personally and minister God's wisdom to their unique needs."
Brian Liechty, Pastor for Care & Counseling, Bethlehem Baptist Church North Campus

"When you have prayed for your kids, sought to lovingly encourage them with Jesus, and things are still a mess, Julie comes along at just the right moment with creative suggestions that give fresh direction."
Ed Welch, Faculty and Counselor, CCEF; author of A Small Book about a Big Problem

"Julie's home is a 'story.' That's her word. It's what God has been writing in her, her husband, and their six kids. Each chapter of their parenting story emerges in the chapters of Child Proof to show other imperfect parents how Christ, by faith, is sufficient for their story with their unique children. Child Proof is biblically principled, realistically wise, immediately applicable, and filled with hope."
Rick Horne, Author of Get Outta My Face! How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel and Get Offa My Case! Godly Parenting of an Angry Teen

"Simplistic and cookie-cutter approaches to parenting overpromise and underdeliver. Julie Lowe offers a parenting pathway that is far wiser and richer. She shows that loving our children is a multifaceted venture of faith-filled dependence on God, patient and careful study of our children, and creative application of biblical wisdom to the particularities of each child's life."
Michael R. Emlet, Faculty and Counselor, CCEF; author of CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet and Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses & Medications

"How can we parent with wisdom and grace in a rapidly changing world that offers increased parenting challenges and parenting formulas that may seem right but which fail to deliver? With vulnerability and experience, Julie Lowe offers practical, biblically sound guidance on how to parent faithfully—recognizing that God can and will work in us and through us as we face parenting challenges, fears, and difficulties. In a day and age marked by the collapse of parenting, Julie will help you to pause, ponder, and regroup in ways that will better equip you to parent to the glory of God."
Walt Mueller, President, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding

"I wish this book had been available when I was raising my kids! No formulas. No 'ideal families.' But hope and help for real parents, real children, real conversations, real life, with a real God. It presents a high call to love our kids with Jesus's sacrificial, personalized love and the freedom to let go of trying to manipulate the results. I hope every current and prospective parent will read this book!"
Elizabeth W. D. Groves, Lecturer in Biblical Hebrew, Westminster Seminary; author of Grief Undone: A Journey with God and Cancer

"In this social media age we are programmed to look for 'five steps to this' and 'three reasons for that.' Sometimes this approach can be helpful but it's often too simplistic to address complex issues such as family life and parenting. Formulas can be even more exasperating when they ignore the individual aptitudes, personalities, and needs of our children. What is most impressive about this book is that it resists the pressure to come up with formulas for parenting, and instead, provides biblically grounded tools and practical wisdom to help the reader with one of the greatest challenges anyone has to face: being a parent."
Timothy Witmer, Emeritus Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary; author of The Shepherd Leader at Home

"For anyone who has secretly suspected that the typical parenting formulas can't cope with the complexity of your family life, this book will be a revelation. With her typical warmth, wit, and biblically rich wisdom, Julie has blown the roof off my tightly held, false parenting expectations. Instead, with realism and honesty, she points the way to parenting by faith in the Lord who is present even in the most complex of family moments. I have never read a parenting book that left me more hopeful."
Ste Casey, Course tutor and speaker, Biblical Counselling UK; pastor, Speke Baptist Church, Liverpool, UK

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6 Reviews

  • 5
    Revealing God's love

    Posted by Mary An on 04 23 2022

    So Many times, I cried as I was reading this book. Right! Julie Lowe is not sharing formula but the core of parenting , which is His love through Christ. We do all Jesus role to each other. As parents do so, I believe that God also bless into the heart redeeming how much He loves His children ( we are all His children ) . Thank you so much for sharing the Love of God through this wonderful book.

  • 5
    An Excellent Christ-Centered Guide to Parenting

    Posted by Zack Ford on 03 26 2019

    Parenting is hard work. Sleepless nights, tears rolling at the dinner table because of a new food introduced, discipline for disobedience, positive encouragement and training, teaching new things. The list could go on and on. But anyone who is a parent knows that parenting is hard work. What oftentimes makes it even harder is the unending opinions out there about the right way or the secret formula to parenting, the silver bullet, the magical program. Poll ten different parents and you’ll likely get ten different opinions about the “right” formula for parenting. It can all be a little overwhelming, daunting, and even discouraging. If you are such a parent that has been overwhelmed or discouraged by the endless opinions about “the” formula for successful parenting, let me encourage you by introducing you to an excellent new book — Child Proof: Parenting By Faith Not Formula by Julie Lowe. In the book’s introduction, Julie summarizes well the basic premise of the book: “The answer we need as parents is not a formula for our families. I believe we should be looking at something far more challenging. Instead of providing a parenting recipe, God calls parents to think biblically, wisely, and carefully about what love looks like in their unique family. This calling requires an absolute dependence on godly wisdom, on spiritual discernment regarding my family, and on personal holiness to be what my family needs me to be. The goal is a home centered on Christ. This is not a formula I submit myself to, but neither is it a license to do whatever seems right in my own eyes. Far from it! Rather, it means a commitment to understanding Scripture’s principles of godly relationships and the call and responsibility to lead a home” (13). The book is separated into two main sections. In the first section, Julie focuses on the foundations for parenting by faith. In these 6 chapters, the reader is introduced to this idea of parenting by faith versus parenting by formula, what it means to be a Christ-centered parent, what it means to adopt plans and formulas to the unique needs of your family, and so forth. These six chapters are really the “meat” of the book. In these chapters, as the book suggests, you will not find some “new” formula that promises to be the silver bullet to be better than all the other parenting plans out there. Rather, what you will find is a look at what it means for us as parents to center everything we do on Christ and the biblical principles and wisdom found in God’s perfect, inerrant, and sufficient Word. How those principles are applied to each individual family will look very different and be very unique because, let’s face it, no two families are exactly alike. Parents are different. Children are different. Circumstances are different. And God knows this. Therefore, while we operate within a firm commitment to understand Scripture’s principles of godly relationships and how to lead a home, there is a ton of freedom in how those things are carried out in each individual, unique family. One thing that I love about the chapters in this first part of the book is that each chapter concludes with “Reflection Questions.” These questions would be excellent for a husband and wife to work through and think through together, as well as a small group or Bible Study to go through when studying this topic of Christ-Centered Parenting. The second part of the book is more of a practical field guide in what this sort of parenting by faith would look like in nine different common scenarios and situations. Those 9 chapters are as follows: 1. Parenting a Difficult Child 2. Parenting an Anxious Child 3. Parenting a Child with Disabilities 4. When Your Child Says, “I Don’t Know” 5. When Your Child Says, “I Am Bored” 6. When Your Child Isn’t Thankful 7. The Importance of Role Playing and Practice 8. Technology and Your Child 9. When Your Child Beaks Your Heart In each of these chapters, the reader is given a whole host of excellent, biblical advice and counsel to be considered and applied to their unique child and their unique family. For example, in chapters 8, “Parenting an Anxious Child,” Julie gives some biblical reasons for why children struggle with anxiety, a look at what message they need to hear from God’s Word, concluding with 13 ways that parents can give their child comfort if they’re struggling with anxiety. Things like, “You are not alone” (Psalm 23:4), “You have value” (1 Peter 2:9), “There is help” (Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 4:15-16), and “What you are going through is temporary” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Conclusion Parenting is hard work. But it is hard work that is immeasurably rewarding and valuable. Whether you are a new parent, a parent with elementary school kids, a parent with teenagers, or not even a parent yet but thinking forward to that day, you will be greatly helped by this new book by Julie Lowe. It is filled with practical wisdom, godly examples, and most importantly a Christ-centered focus. As David Powlison excellently says in the book’s forward, “Julie Lowe gets the premise right. She gives you a way of coming at the whole adventure of being a parent. Yes, she offers some good ideas along the way, some very good ideas. But more than that, she will invite you to live in a way that opens the door to loving a child in the ways this particular child needs to be love” (x). I would strongly encourage any parent, grandparent, or couple thinking about becoming a parent to grab a copy of this book and be strengthened, challenged, encouraged, and equipped to parent by faith, not formula, in a Christ-Centered way that is tailored to the individual needs of your unique children and your particular family. In accordance with FTC regulations I would like to thank New Growth Press for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • 5
    A Relationship Builder for Parenting

    Posted by Theron St. John on 11 22 2018

    "Try this new technique. Read this latest book." When it comes to parenting, there appears to be no shortage of advice shared. Yet, for those who are in the midst of raising children, the assessment is not all of these techniques and books apply well into their parenting. Some of the instruction passed on gives the impression that if parents simply follow this technique or apply the information in that book, their children will respond accordingly. In other words, it is parenting by formula. The problem is parenting by formula is not parenting done best. That is because there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Parenting done best requires parents to know their children well and apply what they know with biblical wisdom. It is this wisdom Julie Lowe imparts her new book Child Proof: Parenting By Faith, Not Formula. The What and How of Parenting By Faith Drawing from her experiences as a counselor and relating with her life as a parent, Mrs. Lowe spends the first half of the book laying the foundation of what parenting by faith is before she devotes the latter half of the book to show how this biblical truth works out with different types of and circumstances with children (such as parenting a difficult child, an anxious child, or a child with disabilities). Along the way, she equips parents by posing reflection questions and listing out some helpful thoughts and biblical considerations. Encourage and Equip Child Proof encourages parents to trust God in their parenting and equips them with getting to know their child. The two themes of depending upon God in faith and getting to know your child personally run throughout the book. Rather than giving a step-by-step process of parenting, which would be formula-like, this book shares biblical wisdom by providing guidance on how parenting can help shape the child with a biblical worldview. The author also reveals how attempting to parent by formula can actually hinder parenting by faith. Neither parents nor technique experts have all the answers and parenting by faith acknowledges that as well as the need for guidance from God, our Heavenly Father. This book has a wealth of wisdom but what may be one of the most encouraging and unique contributions of this book is it emphasizes the individuality of the child, that each child is not a carbon copy of the other. This means that if you raise children in the admonition of the Lord and yet one goes astray while the other does not, that is not necessarily a reflection on the parenting. The book informs parents the goal of parenting is not in success as others see it but in faithfulness to what God has said. The book repeatedly tells parents children are moral responders and while parents can influence their children, the child is the one who bears responsibility for how they respond in life and to their parents. A Relationship Builder In the end, Child Proof: Parenting by Faith, Not Formula by Julie Lowe is a relationship builder for parents to trust the Lord and to know their child. This book is for the parent who knows they cannot raise children on their own but are dependent upon the Lord. If you are (or know) a parent who wants to know your child better than the latest parenting technique, then get to know how to do so by getting your copy of Child Proof. As you replace parenting by formula with parenting by faith, you will grow as a parent, leaning on the Lord and learning how to best parent your child. I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 5
    Excellent book helping us to parent in faith

    Posted by Wendy on 11 18 2018

    Many parents seek a one-size-fits-all solution. We want simple answers to complicated problems and we want them to work every time. Yet each family is different, each child is different, each circumstance is different. Our personalities vary, our temperaments differ. Each parent has their own sins, gifts and tendencies, and each child has their own sins, gifts and tendencies. We fool ourselves into thinking there could be the same solution for every problem. Thankfully Julie Lowe has come to the same realization and shared it with us in her book Child Proof. She starts by freeing parents from the trap of thinking there is only one right way to parent, and in fact what God calls us to is not a formula but faith. We are called to love God and love our children and that will impact the way we parent more than any structure, routine, guideline or expectation. We need to parent centering on Christ – cultivating his character and love in our family life, becoming an expert on our family and parenting according to their needs. We need discerning discipline and to prioritise building bridges to our children, strengthening our relationship with them. The final section: Parenting by Faith Applied, deals with particular situations, including parenting a difficult child, an anxious child, when you child says “I don’t know” and the importance of role playing and practicing situations with them. The real benefit of this book will be seen in how you choose to apply it. You could read it, think, “that’s great” and move on to the next book of wisdom that is released. Or, you could stop, work through her instructive questions and suggestions at the end of each chapter, and in God’s grace and wisdom, consider how to parent your children by faith in God and his good plans, despite our sins and weaknesses. (I received an eBook in exchange for an honest review)

  • 5
    Child Proof

    Posted by ReneeK on 11 09 2018

    Parenting does not come with a handbook and even if it did it wouldn’t work. Each family is unique and each child is different. I know even with my two kids one is by adoption with special needs and one is by birth. What works for my son is not what works for my daughter. Regardless, of all the differences in my kids I want to raise my kids with God in the forefront of it all. I was drawn in from the introduction when she says, “The theme of this book-parenting by faith and wisdom, not by formula” Parenting is not easy and not one solution fits every child or parent. One chapter that spoke to me was Chapter 9: Parenting a Child with Disabilities. We worry so much about how kids are going to deal with the disability and forget that God equipped that child with the ability to deal with the situation. Our family was equipped to deal with our daughter the day we signed the dotted line to finalize the adoption. We never dreamed of her having disabilities or of the road that she has taken us down. It has drawn us closer to God and kept us on our knees praying. Chapter 11: “When Your Child Says I’m Bored” I dread those words and the author hit it right on. They want to do some mindless entertainment like the tablets or movie. She has some great advice how to not only deal with that dreaded statement but, some wise words to get ourselves involved with our kids and to teach them skills of serving others. Not only that but, what about the act of stillness. It’s okay to do nothing and it is a great time to spend with God. So much more in this chapter that I have been using in my house because of the words I read. This is a heartfelt parenting book that is realistic and practical that any parent can do. It looks at each child as an individual and not grouping all kids together. I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

  • 5
    Challenges parents to love their children well!

    Posted by Beauty in the Binding on 10 24 2018

    This is the book I've been waiting for. I've always desired to mother my children the way that God parents His children. There's no shortage of parenting advice from Christian leaders and sometimes it's conflicting. At times, I've seen Christian leaders make their way seem like it's the only God-approved way. So, in my pilgrimage to mother my children as God parents His children, I've made slow progress over the years. Reading this book was like having someone fling open heavy doors and let brilliant sunshine in. The first chapter deals extensively with parenting formulas and what we perceive as “normal.” I'm so grateful the author asserts: “Biblical principles remain universal and unchanging, [but] the way they are applied in specific ways is unique to each family's personalities, gifts, difficulties, and circumstances.” (Page 10) In my opinion, that statement is the backbone of this book. It may seem simple, but it's not. Thankfully, Child Proof offers an opportunity to learn to parent a child as is best for the child. However, that can be hard when outright or perceived criticism attacks a parent. Therefore, it is essential that a parent be convinced about his or her methods. The means of accomplishing this, per the book, is prayer. When we pray and study God's truth, the Holy Spirit can give us specific wisdom for our individual children. Once this premise is established, the rest of part one deals with topics such as Christ-centered parenting, becoming an expert on your child, discipline, and more. Part two delves into common parenting issues including: parenting a difficult (strong-willed) child, parenting a child with disabilites, when your child isn't thankful, technology and your child, and several other issues. To reiterate, the author discusses principles in Scripture and gives examples, but reminds the reader that these principles will look different in every family. The chapters I found most helpful: Chapter 5: When Rules Are Broken. – Kudos to the author for NOT telling me that I need to spank my child in order to apply discipline. This chapter is more about making sure the parent has the right mindset (we are all wandering sheep), assessing rules (instead of doling them out based on culture or advice from others), and cultivating strong character in a child. Chapter 7: Parenting a Difficult Child. – The author takes on the concept that if you raise a child a certain way, he or she will turn out “right.” And the often unspoken assumption: if your child doesn't or isn't turning out “right,” then you must be doing something wrong. This section was immensely helpful and liberating because what worked great with my first child, didn't work so great on my second. I love my second child's determined spirit, but sometimes it can be challenging. So, while Child Proof does indeed offer freedom from parenting formulas, beware: it's not a book telling you to relax and stay positive. It calls the parent to a deep, self-sacrifical love – the kind of love that Christ has for us. And sometimes, that's not easy. For me, it means tamping down my natural irritation so I can respond in love instead of anger. For others, it might mean passing up a good opportunity for yourself so you can do what is best for your child. This book was intense. Seriously, I'll need to read this a few times to truly absorb it. I found that if I stopped reading in the middle of a chapter and did not return to it until the next day, I needed to start again at the beginning of the chapter. Otherwise, there was a disconnect and I didn't glean the message as well. Child Proof: Parenting by Faith, Not Formula by Julie Lowe is a keeper for my bookshelf. As I've explained, I found it immensely helpful and I expect to read it again in the future. I do think the book could have benefited by addressing situations in which parents might not agree. My husband and I are both believers and want to parent our children well, but we still have some completely different ideas about how to parent. I imagine that blended families or single parents might also wish there was a section devoted to such situations. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this complimentary book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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