Monday, August 27, 2012

From "In the beginning" all the way through "Amen."

Every night we read from a Children's Bible. There are so many that are favorites of mine the kids:

The Jesus Storybook Bible

My First Read and Learn Bible

The Big Picture Bible

First Bible Stories

And Lauren's favorite as of late, that we read every. single. night.

The Toddlers Bible (Thank you Aimee! It's so cheesy and she loves it so much)

What I've discovered in reading from children's Bibles the last couple years, is that it's like reading the stories for the very first time. I hear them in new ways. I see them with new eyes. I ask new questions and wonder new thoughts.

I watch in awe when Samuel becomes obsessed with Lazarus in his burial clothes and the 'why' questions are endless. I am profoundly amazed when Lauren wants to read repeatedly about the burning bush and she knows it's Moses that God is talking to. 
 

Yet I wonder how much my kids understand from the pages of these stories. And I wonder if they think these stories are the same as Curious George and Clifford and Little Red Riding Hood or Jack and the Beanstalk.

Are these just tall tales about big boats and kings and miracles?

Do they think that Abraham and Joseph and Peter and Jesus are all just characters in a very long book?

Do they understand that Noah and Moses and Enoch and Hannah and Jonathan and Aaron and Miriam and Timothy are not just our friends and cousins, but they are people who walked on this earth and whose stories are told in the B-I-B-L-E?


So here's what I've decided:

1. I will faithfully, daily, read S
cripture to them. I might read a verse or two from my Bible. I may read from a children's Bible or devotional book. Sometimes I read from a toddler Bible with just 20 words summarizing a story. But if we are to live according to Scripture, and know the truth of God's Word, then they need to hear Scripture from a young age. However....

2. I can't take responsibility for their comprehension of the material. Their understanding of Scripture is up the Lord working in their hearts and not because of anything I do.

3. I will pray for Scripture to permeate their hearts and lives. Here's specifically what I pray out loud, at night, when I put them to bed:

  • That they would understand and believe the Word of God is living and active.
  • That they would hide God's Word in their heart.
  • That the Gospel would cause transformation in their hearts and lives - because no one and nothing can bring about transformation like the Word of God. 
  • That they would know that they know that they know that the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever. And ever. And ever. 
  • That they would long for nothing more than to know God through His Word. 
  • That God's Word would be a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path. 
  • That God would give them teachable hearts to learn through the pages of Scripture.
  • I thank God for the stories given to us that we can learn from and be encouraged by. I thank God for the lives shared with us through the pages of Scripture because they have so much to teach us. 
  • I pray most of all that this broken, lazy, spiritually complacent mama would be covered by the grace of Jesus so that her children fall madly in love with Him even when she fails them daily.
4. I will do my best to create an atmosphere where my children can question and doubt and wonder about the things of God. Together we can search for answers and together we can find promises to claim and truth to believe. So when Samuel asks me 'What does God look like?" and 'When are we going to Heaven?", I can engage in real conversations with him. And tell him that no, Jesus does not look like dad, even though dad just told you he is handsome and looks just like Jesus did.

5. I will be honest with my kids about my struggles with Scripture. That I don't understand it all. I take verses out of context. I don't read it every day. Sometimes I don't crack my Bible open for weeks and instead waste time reading ridiculous fiction novels and watching Netflix marathons. And I don't know the order of all the books and I've never read through the Bible and there are plenty of things that confuse me. 

6. I will spend my whole life telling them no other words have ever been written or will ever be written that compare to the story that starts with, "In the beginning" and ends with "Amen." I will do my best to impress on my children that Scripture is not a list of rules to follow or things that they need to do to be good. Rather it's a true story about what's already been done and the only thing they need to do is believe it with their whole heart and give thanks to God.

7. While I am fully supportive of imaginative play and reenacting the Christmas story with baby Jesus, there is a limit to what I will tolerate. Only one person can use spit to heal a blind man...and it's not you Samuel, so don't ever spit in your sister's face and cover her eyes with mud again. 

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