Focus resources helped this woman reach her children and her community
Manon first heard about Focus on the Family Canada when she saw copies of the Focus on the Family magazine at her church in Quebec. “I’m a real fan of the work of Focus on the Family and it’s a blessing for me and my family,” she says. She then got the free subscription so she could get the magazine at home, keeping all the copies so she could share them with others later. Little did she know how she and her family would quickly become avid fans of the ministry’s content.
Manon then began following Focus on Facebook, both the French page and English page. “Lots of times, I shared articles with people to encourage them,” she says. “My boys (15 and 17) also discovered the Plugged In website and we frequently use it before we watch a movie. So many times before that, we had to stop a movie before the end and it was frustrating.” Her 13-year-old daughter took advantage of a free offer for Adventures in Odyssey during the COVID lockdown. She also wanted something to read in English, and Manon saw an ad for Brio magazine and surprised her daughter with a subscription. “I was very happy to discover Brio,” Manon says. “It’s a wonderful magazine with topics and sharing that we don’t usually find. It’s rare in English and almost nonexistent in French. We’re very blessed to have found it.”
While Manon is thankful for the breadth of resources available, she emphasizes how these resources have helped her connect with her children. When she read the article “Four lies that fuel anxiety and depression in teens” she thought, What a great way to explain the importance of thoughts to our children! She then took personal time with each of them to talk about it. “We don’t have specific problems with anxiety, but I think everyone needs to be aware of the thoughts that assail us and to be able to ‘take every thought captive to obey Christ’ as it says in 2 Corinthians.” Manon realizes children often believe they’re the only ones who think the way they do or have troubling thoughts that make them feel inferior or worthless. But she also knows those beliefs are false. “Everyone has to struggle with that,” she says. “I think being aware that this is not the truth and to control our thoughts is very important and it’s a gift to be able to understand that at a young age.”
Since these conversations with her children, Manon recalls many instances when she would hear one of them thinking something that is not true. “We asked to the one concerned, ‘Is that the truth or is it your interior monologue?’ It helps us to think the truth.”
A year after Manon discovered this article, she was in charge of her church’s Sunday school program and explored ways to still have Sunday school during the pandemic in a way that would comply with COVID restrictions. They decided to do presentations with songs, lesson and sketch. “When I thought about the sketch, I thought that we could use [this] article. There were situations like the examples that you gave in the article. The concept was that at some point, we would ‘pause’ the sketch and every actor froze except the one who was thinking. He went to a spot and we could hear what he was thinking. It shows to the kids and the parents that our thoughts could be fake.” She then had the idea to pass along the article to every family, which she did.
Manon lives a very full life as a financial counsellor, a deputy city councillor and a substitute mayor. In the past, she felt she didn’t have time to get involved in her church. Now she’s thankful for resources like this article which she can use to engage her children. “When I became a mother, it became very clear that I have to be intentional in the education of my children,” she says. “I can build my house or tear it down like it says in Proverbs 14. But I had a lot of personal projects and it was difficult to manage everything. My schedule used to be very busy, but I said to Jesus, ‘Okay, I’ll try, and we’ll see. I believe that your work is worthier than my work.’” She slowly started to take on tasks at her church, and it always worked out. “The more I accepted to serve, the better it went! God willing, I have lots of other projects to come! I learned that when we let God use us, he does it!”
Like the article about depression and anxiety, Manon hopes to see Focus continue to provide these helpful resources as they’ve become even more relevant since the pandemic. “The world offers so many wrong ideas. As Christians, it’s important to have a safe place to reach for help. It’s important to talk about every problem and to lead people towards God and his word. The only way to rule our lives and to be useful and happy is to use the truth of the word of God. This is where you find the only truth, where you find shelter and where you find support. Also, talk to someone wise and close to God about your feelings. Just to express them, it helps to test them and know if they are true or not.”
As a bilingual person, Manon is especially thankful for Focus Famille, the French branch of Focus on the Family. “I’m happy that you offer French material too and thank you for that,” she says. “By your ministry, I found an article for me, for my children and to share with others! It also blesses me when I receive your letter every year and you ask me if your team can pray for me. It’s encouraging to know that your team prays for the user of your product. Your ministry helps me in my own ministry with children as it helps me also with my own family.”
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