Grounded in Grace: Helping Kids Build Their Identity in Christ

Jonathan Holmes
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Grounded in Grace gives parents a guide to understanding how a child's identity is formed in today's world and why it leads to insecurity and confusion.

Children and teens face a tremendous amount of pressure from their peers and culture to find their identity in their activities, feelings, or performance. This modern way of looking at identity can be challenging to navigate for parents who grew up with a traditional view of identity rooted in predetermined roles. What if they could help their children and teenagers find their identity in something that never went away and never changed based on their ability or performance—an identity grounded in God's grace?

Jonathan Holmes explores the five core areas of identity struggles most common to teens: sports, academics, moralism, sexual orientation, and gender confusion. He provides parents with a biblical foundation to work from and practical tools to help their teen find their identity based on who God says they are.

  • Encourages parents to play a crucial role in guiding their children through the challenges of identity formation, encouraging a reliance on a stable, God-given identity rather than conforming to external or internal pressures.
  • Helps parents to engage in gospel-centered conversations with their children and teens, using reflection questions for self-examination.
  • Readers will be guided in helping children and teens build their secure identity on the gospel of grace.


Jonathan Holmes, MA, is the Founder and Executive Director of Fieldstone Counseling. He previously served for fifteen years on the pastoral teams of Parkside Church and Parkside Green. He is the author of several books, including Counsel for Couples, Rescue Skills, and Rescue Plan. Jonathan serves as a visiting faculty member and on the board of trustees for CCEF (Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation), as well as an instructor at Westminster Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Jennifer, have four daughters.

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"Parents are always prone to raise their children in a way that prepares them for life in the world as it used to be, not for life in the world as it now is. This book is especially important in that it equips parents to help their children through the temptations and challenges they are certain to face in this day and in this world. Parents and their children are sure to benefit from it."
Tim Challies, Author of Seasons of Sorrow

"This book will help you talk to your children about critical matters in a way that doesn't end in either eye-rolling or anger."
Edward T. Welch, Faculty and counselor, The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF)
Sheri Welch, Bible teacher

"What a timely and powerful resource! Identity is at the root of many of the pain points kids and teens are experiencing. This is a super practical book that will equip every parent with the foundations of how to instill a healthy identity in Christ."
Juli Slattery, President, Authentic Intimacy; author of Rethinking Sexuality; psychologist

"Every parent and child feels like the time in which they're living and the difficulties they're facing are unique. And while that may seem to be more true today than it was when I was raising my kids, the unchanging gospel continues to offer both parents and children their only hope: they are welcomed, known, and most importantly, loved. Grounded in Grace will help you and your child remember the only truth strong enough to shape and tether their identity to hope. I highly recommend it."
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Author of Give Them Grace: Leading Your Kids to Joy and Freedom through Gospel-Centered Parenting

"As a mother, I see my children living in a world where culture and performance-based expectations pressure them to define their identities. In Grounded in Grace, Jonathan Holmes shares biblical principles and practical ways to have conversations with our children that will help them flourish by embracing their identity in Christ. Parents, your children need you to read this book!"
Darby Strickland, CCEF Counselor and Faculty

"Many voices threaten to shape and reinform our children's identity—influences like culture, family, society, media and peers. Yet only one influence really matters. Young people are born with identity and individuality, and the Lord is the source of both. Jonathan rightly challenges and encourages us to consider the ways we allow all the wrong influences to shape our kids and shows us how pointing them back to the Lord liberates them to truly be who they were created to be."
Julie Lowe, Counselor; speaker; author of Safeguards: Shielding Our Homes and Equipping Our Kids

"Every adolescent is asking the question: Who am I? There may be no more important issue facing parents in our day than how we help our children discover the biblical answer to that question. I'm urging parents I know who have teenagers and preteens to read Grounded in Grace by Jonathan Holmes."
Bob Lepine, Pastor, Redeemer Community Church, Little Rock AR; author of Build A Stronger Marriage; longtime cohost, FamilyLife Today

"There is no more pressing topic in our day than the question of personal identity, especially for young people and children. It's never been more important to know who you are, yet it's never been more difficult. Jonathan Holmes's book, Grounded in Grace, is a wonderful blend of biblical insight and practical wisdom on this most personal subject. A gift for parents in our confusing age."
Brian S. Rosner, Principal, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia; author of How to Find Yourself: Why Looking Inward is Not the Answer

"The genius of this book is twofold: first, it takes the complicated (and vitally important) topic of identity and makes it understandable; second, it equips parents to engage with their children in ways that are real, and honest and above all biblically faithful. Parents who read this book will listen better, ask questions better, and speak with greater love."
Steve Midgley, Executive Director, Biblical Counselling UK

"As a counselor, I am keenly aware that parents feel unprepared to navigate conversations on the topic of identity formation. Grounded in Grace offers vital direction amidst today's confusion. Each page offers biblical truth and compassionate wisdom to guide families through the maze of insecurities and influences children face. It is a resource I recommend without hesitation."
Eliza Huie, Director of Counseling, McLean Bible Church, Vienna, VA

"Jonathan nails it. Helping our kids understand gospel identity is getting increasingly complicated in our world. The reader will not only be more prepared as a parent but better equipped as a Christian. Jonathan helpfully leads the reader to build a firm foundation of truth, giving courage to faithfully parent as we all learn and grow. This book gives me confidence in Christ as a mom."
Rebekah Hannah, Director of Kids and Families, Redeemer LSQ; President & CEO, Anchored Hope Virtual Counseling

"Rapid changes in today's cultural landscape present many challenges for parents who aim to raise kids who know and love Jesus. I hope every parent in my church gets a copy of Grounded in Grace to be equipped for teaching and training their kids in some of the most pressing and significant topics that kids and teenagers are facing today!"
Kyle Hoffsmith, Pastor of Family Ministry, Old North Church; board member, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding; podcast host, The Word in Youth Ministry

"This informative and practical resource empowers parents to engage in compassionate conversations with their kids about identity. Our culture asserts that our value and purpose can be found outside of God's good design. Through relatable stories and thought-provoking questions, Holmes tackles this lie by communicating truth and by pointing to a gospel-centered identity with grace as its foundation. I urge all parents and church leaders to read Grounded in Grace. The time is now to have this discussion with our children."
Shauna Van Dyke, Founder & Biblical Counselor, Truth Renewed Ministries; strategic advisor, the Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC)

"As a mother of three, I appreciate the practical counsel and conversation prompts offered in this book. Not only does Jonathan identify common challenges to our children's identity formation, but he shows how the gospel of grace gives kids eternal clarity amidst their temporal confusion."
Christine Chappell, Author of Midnight Mercies; host, Hope + Help Podcast; certified biblical counselor

"There may be no more important topic Christian parents can focus on right now than their kids' identity formation. The stakes are high on this one. Grounded in Grace covers this topic thoroughly, biblically, and practically. I highly recommend every parent reads this book!"
Monica Swanson, Author; podcast host

"Parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done. It requires a daily dependence on the Spirit to give clarity and wisdom to the many challenges my kids face. But God also gives us wise counselors to guide us on this journey of modern parenthood. In Grounded in Grace, Jonathan Holmes looks at our modern identity crisis among teens and provides clear, biblical, and practical wisdom to the most common identity problems kids face today. Full of research, biblical truth, concrete examples, and the wisdom of a fellow parent, this book is one I will give to my friends (and come back to again)."
Courtney Reissig, Author of Teach Me to Feel: Worshiping Through the Psalms in Every Season of Life

"Grounded in Grace provides meaningful insights into today's teen identity challenges. It is a timely resource that equips parents to biblically shape and actively participate in their children's formation with joyful confidence and hope."
Joe Keller, Council Member, Biblical Counseling Coalition
Heidi Keller, Primary School Educator

"With front-row knowledge of the identity struggles of young people today, Jonathan Holmes provides parents with a biblical foundation and the practical help needed to engage adolescents in grace-filled, heart-level conversations about identity and worth. And for the parents uncertain on how to approach false identities linked to gender and sexuality, I am especially grateful for this book."
Kristen Hatton, Counselor; author of Parenting Ahead

"Grounded in Grace is one of the most-needed books of our generation. Every parent would benefit from the wisdom that this book brings to the hot-button topic of identity. The beauty is that these words won't leave you feeling more burdened as a parent. Instead you will be encouraged by the assurance of God's sufficient grace as we navigate these complex issues."
Jeff and Sarah Walton, Authors of Together Through the Storm

"The question of identity is fundamental to the human condition and is critically poignant in the modern age. In Grounded in Grace, Jonathan Holmes offers a relevant biblical perspective. The joy and freedom of identity in Christ can be found throughout these marvelously practical and profoundly helpful pages. This book is essential reading for parents, educators, coaches, and youth ministry leaders. It reminds us how to stay grounded in grace as we disciple kids."
Matt Koons, Associate Head of School, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy
Sara Koons, Kids and Students Director, Christ Community Chapel

"This generation is having an identity crisis like we've not seen before. Jonathan Holmes provides a roadmap for parents to guide their children through a myriad of challenges and ultimately to find their identity in Christ. We highly recommend this book for parents, youth workers, teachers, or anyone providing guidance to a younger generation."
Bob Butts, Chief Operating Officer, Truth for Life
Heidi Butts, Assistant to Head of School, Heritage Classical Academy

"Raising the next generation is a weighty privilege. Jonathan Holmes pinpoints identity formation as the overarching theme that should shape our approach to child rearing. Scripture answers the question: Who am I? differently than the broader culture. This book will equip you to subvert untrue identity narratives and ever-shifting cultural paradigms about sexuality with gospel truths that each of us was created to know and live out of."
Jenny Solomon, Cofounder, Solomon SoulCare; author of Reclaim Your Marriage: Grace for Wives Who Have Been Hurt by Pornography

"This book provided clear and concise breakdowns of different areas of children's lives and how to support and disciple them through whatever comes their way. With my background as an athlete through my college years, I found the athletics chapter to be highly relatable—it provides great ways to support and disciple the young ones in our lives through the highs and lows sports and life can bring."
Annie Roshak, NCAA Division II Elite Eight Most Outstanding Player and all-tournament team

"Grounded in Grace was a balm to many of my parental fears—where are my kids finding their true identity and how do I guide them to God's truth? Holmes's tactic is sincere and clear as he writes from a professional counseling and parenting perspective. This book is an invitation to see our identity in Jesus as ongoing work—as we find our identity in God's grace, we can walk alongside our kids to help them see they are children of God."
Bailey T. Hurley, Author of Together is a Beautiful Place

"Grounded In Grace is an invaluable resource for parents, as well as youth pastors and Christian educators navigating the complexities of discipling children in today's rapidly changing society. Drawing from his wisdom as a biblical counselor, Jonathan Holmes equips readers with practical steps for helping their children root their identity in Christ alone. This book will be a source of strength for you as you parent."
Lia Ross, Christian book reviewer, @liarossreads

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