Advancing Grace: Helping Families Leave a Heritage of Grace
Family Matters educates, encourages and equips families to evaluate their past and find fresh hope in the future.
Like many parents, Steve and Jill Ressler grew up in homes of origin that were imperfect. Both of them can list many things for which they’re grateful; things they’d like to pass on to their children. At the same time, they've come to realize that everything is not worthy of passing along to the next generation. Through the lens of God’s grace, they've deciphered the things from their past that reflect God’s gracious heart and they’re working hard to ensure that it is those things they embed in the hearts of their five daughters.
Steve recognizes that from his Great Depression era grandmother, by way of his father, he’s inherited a fear of failure—even catastrophe. While this has driven Steve to achieve great things, he also knows that if he’s not careful, he might pass along a heritage that doesn't breed a sense of security within his step-daughters’ hearts. In Steve’s own words…
We want the kids to make up their minds that they have a secure love—that they can fail or succeed and we’re still going to love them. God’s still going to love them! We want them to become people of mature faith, who can handle what life throws them with courage and poise. We so want that for our kids.
Jill recognizes as she grew up, she worked overtime to please her family. She took it upon herself to maintain her family’s “Country Club” image in the face of some real dysfunction. Doing so was one way Jill could gain affirmation and praise – something that was hard to come by as a young woman. Jill shared that, “Love in my family was extremely conditional – it was a thing to be earned.” As an adult, Jill has come to enjoy great freedom in Christ and she had this to say…
By the time I was raising 5 daughters, grace was transforming my life. I could offer grace more fully to my daughters as I experienced grace myself. I could walk away from toxic messages and a role in my family that I could choose not to maintain any longer. I could walk away from old patterns and experience freedom in Christ.
Through Family Matters, Steve and Jill have learned to identify and meet each of their daughters’ three driving inner needs. One of the most profound lessons has been the discovery of their daughters’ (and their own) need for A Secure Love! A love that doesn't have to be earned! A love that doesn't teeter precariously in the balance of life’s uncertainty! By learning to meet this need, Steve and Jill have sought to connect their daughters’ hearts to Christ.
It was through resources like the Grace Based Parenting book and conference that they've learned these invaluable lessons and have been blessed to see several of their daughters surrender their lives to Christ.
Out of her desire to share the good news of God’s grace with others, Jill has become an Ambassador for Family Matters. Jill’s passion is for mentoring young moms. She’s experienced many joys and hardships in her role as wife and mother. When Jill’s first marriage ended, being on her own with three daughters gave her a new appreciation for single moms. Upon meeting and marrying Steve, she came to appreciate the joys and challenges of forming a blended family. And with the birth of Anabel, their precious daughter with Down Syndrome, Jill’s heart was opened to the wonderful blessing of raising a special needs child. Through it all, God’s grace has sustained her. The message of Grace Based Relationships has given Steve and Jill great confidence to face the challenges of parenting. It’s helped them appreciate the families they came from, as well as the family they now enjoy together. It has drawn them both into closer fellowship with Christ and helped them establish a heritage of grace that will last through the generations!