A couple months ago, my wife wrote a great post about sharing our stories with our kids. She wrote of how important it is to be honest and open with our kids about what God is doing in our lives, the blessings and the trials. I know I’m biased, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever read on the subject. You should read it, if you haven’t yet. And if you have read it, read it again.
Sunday afternoon, we were blessed to get a glimpse of some of the fruit of “story sharing” in the life of our youngest daughter. Late in the day, Amanda and I were sitting together talking through our emotions in this season, sharing our hearts with each other. A few minutes in, Hannah appeared with her copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible and her little journal. She stood there for a few minutes, politely waiting for us to finish our current line of thought, and then says, “Look at what God showed me.”
Do I have to even attempt to say what that does to the heart of a dad? Of a mom?
First of all, if you haven’t picked up a copy of this wonderful little book, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, you need to. The book tells the story, THE story of the Bible, the story of Jesus found in all the stories, beginning to end. Even if you don’t have kids, get one! If you’ve been a Christian for your whole life and think you have arrived, definitely get one and find the joy of a child as you discover that, truly, “every story whispers His name.”
She showed me what she was reading: the story of David, the shepherd-king. It contains a paraphrase of Psalm 23, that oh-so-familiar psalm of God’s loving care for His kids, His sheep. She flipped the page over and pointed to a few lines:
“He is getting wonderful things ready for me, especially for me, everything I ever dreamed of! He fills my heart so full of happiness I can’t hold it inside. Wherever I go I know God’s Never Stopping Never Giving Up Unbreaking Always and Forever Love Will go, too!”
She looked at us both and said, “I think God’s getting us ready to do something big!”
She then showed me how she wrote these lines down in her little journal.
At this point, and I think I can speak for Amanda here, it got a bit dusty in there! It’s not just the fact that this kid is an old soul and sweet enough to rot your teeth, or that she has a heart that has always been tender toward the things of God, or that she is genuinely kind and loving. Those things are what make her who she is, and we see them in her and rejoice in them.
What got us was watching our daughter seeking God’s will in His Word, on her level, on her own. We saw her reading the story of the Good Shepherd and then relating it to how God cares for her, how He loves her, how He’s working in her life, too. This wasn’t just a kid along for the ride on her parent’s story…this was a kid seeking to know God’s part for her.
Is there anything better than watching your child’s faith bloom?
For me, as a husband and a father, there’s another part of it, too. I see the faithful fulfillment of prayers my wife and I pray for our kids, that they would know Jesus and seek after Him on their own. I see the fruit of Amanda pouring into these kids every day, giving of herself through home school, loving them on good days and on the days they’re not-so-lovable, and above all, trying to show them God’s love.
My daughter didn’t get that prayer journal idea from thin air…she saw her momma writing in hers, every day. She didn’t wake up and think, “Oh, I need to read the Bible.” She saw her momma reading her own Bible, seeking God’s will, often times through tears, every day. She heard her momma sharing her story, our story, every day. And she saw her momma continually returning to the hope of God’s “Never Stopping Never Giving Up Unbreaking Always and Forever Love” in Jesus.
For me, it was a beautiful reminder of something the Holy Spirit showed me last year, just as we were getting going on this journey. He made it clear that this move, this change, was not just about a job or a location. It was about what He was doing in my kids, and would do in their kids one day.
“This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18
He’s working in these kids, just like He’s working in us. He’s drawing them to Himself through circumstances, speaking to them in their trial, just like He is doing to Amanda and me. I don’t know the plan He has for their lives beyond the fact that He wants them to know Him, to know His love for them, and to share that love with those who don’t know.
And that’s enough.
So in our frail, broken way, we’re trying to show them He’s in control, He’s good, and He loves us and them. We’re trying to show them that for all our feeble attempts to figure all this out, all our failures and doubts, in the end, only Jesus matters. Only what Jesus asks matters.
And you know what? They pick up on more than you think.
Know what else? Your kids do, too.
So what are we showing them?