As my kids have begun learning to read, and as their understanding and ability to communicate has started to really grow, I've thought often about how important it is that they learn to think for themselves. I, like any parent, want to teach them to make good choices not because I... and the threat of consequence are in sight... but because they know right and wrong, and they are willing to act on it. My kids have always LOVED the Bible and have genuine relationships having seen the reality of God in their own lives and I'm so grateful for that! We spend time together every day reading the Bible, praying, and trying to discuss why we make the decisions that we do... and stopping to thank God for the affects. But as they've gotten older and I feel that they need more, I've stopped to think ... as I find myself doing at least 110 times per day... what would my mom do? :) Yesterday as we were snowed in together I pulled out my Bible to have my own time in the word and asked if they'd like to join me. They literally all yelled YES!!! And went running off for their own Bibles... and it made me so happy. :)
Hannah can only read just a little bit, but she is a sponge like nothing I've seen before. She repeats the details of Bible stories in entirety and loves nothing better than to tell you a story and what she loves about God. Just ask her. You'll be so glad you did! She said she was going to "read" about Adam and Eve... and to my surprise found Genesis right away and a few pictures... and was thoroughly enraptured on her end of the table.
For Christmas this year we gave Sam a Veggie Tales Bible. He LOVES it. He of course can't quite read yet, but the book has comic portions as seen below for many stories, and also has the entirety of the Bible in the NIV version. He sat quietly "reading" through the comics of the Bible stories.
Jacob reads very well, and was thrilled to sit by me with his highlighter. He looked up exactly what he wanted to on his own and asked me every few minutes what I was reading about.
There is a reason I am sharing this with you.
And I hope you'll be encouraged.
I did not tell the kids what to read... they found their own passages and really dug in.
After, they were eager to "share" what they were reading and what they could learn about God. Jacob asked me to go first.
I had been reading in Psalms about trusting God. The Psalmist in that particular passage was in flat out agony without hope in sight. So he said "And so I will remember what I have seen the Lord do, and I will be still. I will go forth in victory because the Lord IS God." I was so encouraged by that passage... and the reminder that we can act on what we already KNOW ... even if we don't know the details of our situation in front of us.
Next was Jacob. He said he decided to read about Peter walking on the water... and he thought it was so cool that Jesus is so trustworthy. That the water would have been really scary, but Peter knew he could trust Jesus.
Hannah said that she had read about creation and she "just cant BELIEVE that God can make something from NOTHING and we can't do that... and He's big enough to do ANYTHING... and that all of the creation shows us that... and thats one reason why Peter knew he could trust Jesus!!"
Then we asked Sammy. He said he read about David and Goliath. I asked him what he learned. He said: "You can only kill a giant with a rock..... ???"
Just then big brother piped in and said that the story was about David facing his fears and... trusting God.
Then we all read together from the Storybook Bible... the next story in line. It was about Abraham and Isaac... the first few lines going straight into the trustworthiness of God.
Did you catch that? God taught a mommy, and a 5, 6, and 7 year old all the same thing... at the same time. The kids were AMAZED and excited... and have talked alot about different ways they can show God that they trust Him... so that they can see more of who He is.
And I am so thankful.
I have seen more of Him too. I have seen that He's willing to teach my little children, and that He's got us all on a path together. No, there's no magic equation... no I don't expect us to learn the same thing every day. In fact I'm quite sure that we won't. But we'll learn. And we have each other to learn with.
And we're following GOD. He lets us, and He loves us. And I'm excited to KNOW that the God in the Bible, the God who helped a little boy defeat a giant, the God who let Peter walk on water ... is their God too. And I know that they can see great things if they follow Him. It's amazing that we can always sing a NEW SONG to the SAME GOD. David had things to praise God for, so did Peter, so do Jacob, Hannah, and Sam. And so do I... and always will. Because I remember... and I'm trusting for more every day... and because He did it just today as he taught me and my children. Isn't He too wonderful for words?
My favorite part: We know God is trustworthy... because we've seen Him work. I love the Bible.. not because "it's a good thing to read"... or because its "full of nice and helpful thoughts". I love it because I KNOW THERE IS A GOD. And I'm quite sure that I'm not Him. He's more than proven Himself to be true. And yes, He does lead and He does share. Nothing in His word can't withstand your walking on it. NOTHING. And that is why I long for my children to take it as their own. I want them to think it through... I want them to experience it... and I want them to live it. I pray that my children will be "water-walkers" and "giant-slayers"... because there IS a God. And He loves us. He loves my little hot chocolate drinking children enough to assure them that He loves them and wants to teach them. Don't need to worry about the things that might come up requiring trust... because we KNOW... we can trust Him. :)