A few weeks ago, after church, a friend wanted to tell me something Emma, my 5-year-old, said. She thought it was cute.
Said friend, “I asked Emma today what she knew about Jesus.”
Said friend, “she said, ‘nothing, my mom doesn’t read the Bible to me.”
Not funny. Not cute. Not totally true. Not totally false.
We live a very Jesus centered life. We talk about God ALL the time. We sing songs about Jesus and usually have praise music playing from someone’s phone. We learn Bible verses and recite them pretty much every day. We have a family devotion time. We pray together. We pray over the kids every night. I have a solid rhythm in my life, that I very rarely miss, which invovles spending time in God’s word.
But I have honestly not been reading the Bible one on one to my 5-year-old daughter.
And that changed that very night.
After online church, I picked up a children’s Bible and invited my daughter into my lap. We opened that bad boy and started to read about Jesus. And while this whole story could have sent me spiraling out of control into the pit of “I am the worst mom ever”, I didn’t let it… instead, I have decided to receive it as a wakeup call that I need to be reading to my daughter, every day. I need an individualized plan with each of my children to help walk them closer to their own relationship with Jesus.
Since that night, I have not missed a night reading to my two youngest children.
Just the other night, as I was reading, making all the silly noises and voices, fighting to keep their attention, I caught my baby boy (he’s 2 and a half) just staring at ME.
It felt like he was memorizing my eyes, my lips, my nose, the way I would adjust my face to make the most impact with the story…and it made my heart leap.
It also made me think about how we, God’s children, gaze upon the goodness of Him. And how He, the author and "reader" of our story fights to keep our attention.
Sometimes we are distracted by other things going on around us, like my children who need to be listening to the story. As hard as they try to listen, there are others talking and they become distracted and listen to the chaos instead of the story. Sometimes we listen to the distractions instead of keeping our eyes and hearts listening to the story. Sometimes the story feels boring and we try to fill our minds with what we think to be entertaining, taking our eyes off of the Reader.
Sometimes the story can feel scary and we want to disengage. That is the time that we need to look to the Author for comfort. Maybe, just maybe the hard that He is writing into our story is the exact storyline that will cause our eyes and hearts to turn back to His voice.
Just like Levi looked to me, and my heart soared with love and compassion; the Father wants us to take these moments to gaze upon His goodness. Memorize His ways, His voice, His heart; to look to Him to understand His heart. And in His goodness, He will meet you. The hard He is allowing will be used for good.
2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”. What a beautiful promise to cling tightly to as we are constantly overwhelmed by the powers of our own flesh. Most of the time, I have a hard time believing in my own abilities as a wife, mother, and disciple, but the Jesus who lives in me will never struggle or fail.
Take heart today and turn your eyes to the Author of your story. Make the changes that you feel He is calling you to make. Be a learner. Be a listener. But also know that He who lives in you is greater than you; and He promises that He will make all things work for GOOD to those who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).
Our stories are still be written...who better to gaze upon than the Author?