Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tell Me The Story Again

My first memory of Sunday School must have been around age three. You’re going to think I’m making it up, but the truth of the matter is, the first visual I have was sitting in a circle with other kids my age, watching a kind woman put a piece of felt on a board.

Felt on a board. My first impression of Jesus.

I don’t remember understanding a lick of what this well-intentioned Sunday School teacher said, but I did want to touch the felt.

That was a little church in Bellingham. I don’t have any other memories from that, but I have seen home videos of me dressed up for the Christmas service, singing Jesus songs with a bunch of other kids, up on stage. The home video clearly shows me playing with the boy next to me, who was jumping on the risers, and so I jumped, and then a teacher came to settle us down.

The next memory I have of church came around age 8, when I was in another Sunday School. Because my family did not attend church regularly, my attendance was hit-or-miss. Our neighbor was the one who offered to drive me, and I went because I liked her kids and I liked her family. But once her blue van pulled into the Church parking lot, I felt nervous. We sang songs that I didn’t know, and I sat at a circle table full of kids I didn’t know, listening to a woman talk about verses I didn’t know and didn’t understand. Some kids remembered their Bibles. I did not. Some kids remembered their offering money. I did not. I felt stupid and alone.

I remember thinking my eight-year-old thoughts about God, wondering why He chose to reveal Himself to some people and not to others. How come other 8 year olds knew their Bible verses, and seemed to nod when the teacher spoke? Why did those same kids have more "Awana bucks" than I did to buy candy on Wednesday nights? What was I doing wrong?


Now that I am a mother, raising a daughter who is almost of the age where I had my first felt-board memory, I find myself asking God how to introduce Him to Olivia. My hope is that perhaps I can save her from some of those lonely, confused feelings I dealt with as a child when I thought about God.

My main concern is this: How do I differentiate between the stories I tell Olivia about God and Jesus along with stories of Cinderella, Snow White and the Tooth Fairy? How can I help my child grasp that one is fairy tale and the other is absolute Truth? At what age do children understand these things? And if its as early as three, like it was for me, then we are fast approaching that birthday for my daughter and I’m asking God for direction. My prayer sounds like this: “Jesus, how can I introduce You best to her?” When I hear Him whisper back, I hear “model My love.”


So, as I consider these things (both here on this blog and alone in my thoughts) I wanted to introduce a Childrens Bible that I’ve heard about from a few different women. Its called The Jesus Storybook Bible and what I like about it is that its not “cutesy.” In other words, there is no felt-board involved. Just clear text that is faithful to the Bible, yet able to capture the attention of children. So far, I’m really enjoying reading it with Olivia at night. Granted, we've only just begun. But this beginning feels good.

And you don’t think I’d tell you about this Bible without giving a few away, do you? Of course not. I have five brand-new Deluxe Edition copies right here at my desk, thanks to Sally Lloyd-Jones, who is a wonderful childrens author and weaves her faith into all her books.

Simply leave a comment (with your contact information) and if you’re one of the five winners, I’ll get a hold of you. I’d love if you’d share in the comments section ways that you are sharing your faith with your children.


hsumama said...

Hi Sarah. I've been reading Tilden that very bible (an older version) since he was a wee one. We've made it through 3x so far (Curious George is currently trumping Jesus before bedtime, however) and I like it better than the other version we have.

In fact, Tilden recognizes the book by its spine and will often ask for his Bible. Now if only their was a board book version...

Isaac Dakota said...

Our little guy is just 3 weeks older than Olivia so we have been wrestling with the same thoughts recently. We try to model Christ through us but sometimes it just doesn't feel like enough and like I should be doing more. I have been attending a Bible study that has a preschool child component and that has been a great springboard to talking about Jesus and reading from the Bible at home. Will we ever feel like we do enough?

I have heard great things about this version of the Bible as well!
Kim (placeyourbetz@hotmail.com)

Becki said...

we have always read bible stories to both our sons, Solomon(6) & Moses(2), now that solomon is old enough to read he's been reading his own NIV bible we've showed him that the red letters are the words of jesus. it's a wonderful thing to listen to. we also pray with our boys at bedtime and we end with a big "amen" and high fives! ah, family time


Anonymous said...

Today the adoption of our two youngest children was official.
We plan to raise Lucas(5) and Ellie(1)and our other children to know Jesus and to model him everyday.
I haven't seen this Bible before, it sounds great. Bible stories and prayer time equal great family time.

Melody said...

Oooo.....I've been wanting to get this Bible for my kids!

Right now we have an old kiddy devotional that was mine when I was little. It's a bit over their heads, but we've seemed to misplace all the little toddler bible story books we used to have. Of course, we sing bible songs, and pray with them as well.


Jodi said...

We have a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old and we also read bible stories at bedtime. We pray a lot around our kids too and sometimes I'll hear my 3.5 year old saying simple prayers to Jesus in another room and it fills my heart with pride! We've also found that using puppets is effective--we use them when we teach the 2's and 3's class at church--it definitely keeps the kids' attention for a longer amount of time. :)


The Hunter Family said...

I have been wondering how to teach the same thing you are talking about to my almost 2 year old son. Thank you for your thoughts! I love to hear what you have to say on the air!

Lyndsay said...

I have two boys...Owen is almost 3 and Jack is 17 months. We pray at every meal and Owen is now starting to want to pray with us. We talk about Jesus and how he's always there if we need to talk and that he loves us. Owen has already said that he loves Jesus. After bath or shower time I snuggle the boys in their towels and we sing Jesus Loves Me. We read children Bibles too...not so much though because they are still a little to over their head yet. I think it is all about being an example of God's love and granting grace and showing your child how God is with us sometimes. We've already started using grace on occasions to show Owen that sometimes you won't get in trouble when you do something wrong, but not always. :)

New Bridge MOPS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sabrena said...

It's so hard to know what your child is going to grasp and what will be too much, but there are moments when you know that you are doing your best and God shows his face in their actions and comments.

Like our oldest son, Connor at 5, telling us over breakfast that we should name our new son on the way "Jesus," "so that it's easier for everyone to talk to him." Or when my husband is putting our 2nd son, Dawsyn,(who was to be named Jesus, per brother) to bed and they're saying prayers and afterward he whispers to daddy "God trusts you daddy," and tears fill our eyes.

Those are the moments you know, that if you aren't doing EVERYTHING right, you must be doing SOMETHING right.

Your blog is such a blessing to follow. I have been for a long time. Keep being a light for some many Sarah!


Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah: My one is nearly 12 and since she was very small, I've prayed over her and kissed her 3 times (father-son-holy spirit). Stories every night before bed.

jodi_96 said...

Thank you for the recommendation (and it'd be great to win one). I'm due in a couple of months and am trying to slowly collect a few wonderful books for the beginning of her bookshelf. I can't wait to hear more stories of Olivia asking you about Jesus and sharing her ideas as well!


Rachel said...

Hey, I have that exact same felt board memory of Sunday School! Lol! Good times! Anyway, I have a two year old daughter who has just begun her journey of going to Sunday School. It was so cute the other day, out of the blue she just started saying "GOD, GOD." It really touched me to realize that her little two year old mind is already thinking about God and who he is. I took the opportunity to begin introducing concepts to her about Jesus and how he loves us. I know that she is young, but she is already showing an interest in the Lord and that thrills my heart!


Maggie said...

Hi Sarah,

My son and I just recently started attending church and he loves it.
Thanks for always being so positive on the radio, I love listening to your show.


Maggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcus said...

Hi Sarah! This devotional sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us. We have a couple of children's devotionals, both a bit dated and advanced, that we've read with our kids (5 and 7), but I most enjoy those moments when we're cuddled together in bed and talking about the day. As they share good things from their day or problems and fears, i use the opportunity to tell them how we can share those with Jesus and then they pray/talk to the Lord.
~ Marcus (marcus_mary@yahoo.com)

Sarah said...

Hey Sarah - I actually don't have children yet. But I am an Aunt of 3 fabulous little ones. The oldest, Marc-Andre, just turned 3 in September. He is the smartest little man I've ever seen. The next, Luc, is 2...and is already the jock of the group. And the youngest, Autumn, is 1. She's definitely a girly girl (which is fantastic because her mom is very much a tomboy. ha!)
I've been praying for them since the days my sister told me she was pregnant. We pray for their salvation, that God will surround them with people who can help show them His love. Even though I'm not their parent, it weighs heavily on my heart.
I'm with you...not a big fan of the super cheesy kids Bibles that seem to be more geared to telling stories instead of relaying Truth. So thank you for this recommendation! I will definitely look into it. :)
-Sarah (me4yahweh@yahoo.com)

AK said...

WOW! I know this is way late, don't get on her very much. But the model my love....WOW! That is what I have been praying to God every morning!!!!! I am a yeller, and I am impatient with my children! AHHHH! This was just nice to read as it confirmed what I have been praying to our Gracious Heavenly Father, who picks me back up EVERY time I fall. Thanks for sharing. And just in case your still doing this my email:

patti crooks said...

I would love to bless a family at my church with this! It looks fabulous. Patti Crooks pjc5748@aol.com

noell said...

I have a 2 year old, Olivia, that really enjoys carrying around my Utmost for His Highest devotional. She actually enjoys me reading it to her too! She calls it the Jesus book. I love it! Even at 2, she can sing Jesus Loves Me all the way through...it melts my heart!
Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

So wonderful! I have been meaning to pick this Bible up for my nephews. Our church recommended it as well! My two darling nephews (ages 2 and 3) lost their daddy & grandpa (my brother and dad) in a tragic airplane crash a year ago. I have been wrestling with the best way to help them with losing the two most important men in their lives and encourage a relationship with our heavenly father. They will both tell you "oh papa and daddy are in heaven with Jesus" but what does that really mean to them at this age? How can I help foster that understanding? I am in prayer on this topic consistantly and I think that this Bible is a great place to start! Thank you for re-reminding me that I NEED to pick one up! ...it would be fun to win one :)
Teresa Savage
I am your friend on facebook too :)