Do you have spiritual direction in your living? Do you allocate time weekly to have devotional moments with God….even casually? What about as a family or with your children? How can you, as a parent, have devotional time with your child/children that is meaningful? And if you haven’t started a family yet, I’d like to encourage you to commit more to a couple’s devotional time so you can build the foundation of what this direction looks like.
If you want to teach and pass on scripture and faithfulness then you also must be making time for scripture and faith. Are you fighting for this time? To be honest, I’ve struggled with this. I haven’t wielded the example of devotion that I want my kids to have, and of course I’ve had a million excuses. I’ve decided it is time to change from ambiguous intention to pragmatic direction.
So what does that look like and how do I start?
This past week, I had a MOPS, Mother’s of PreSchoolers, meeting lead by Sam Holm, pastor at a local church in Dallas, TX. He talked about this very subject and presented some great ideas. The first take-away from Sam’s message is my theme for this post “Direction not intention determines the destination.” I have always had great intention of having a daily “kumbaya” sit down family devotional time, but that moment constantly slips by and doesn’t happen. The problem is that I haven’t been structured in setting up a way to make that direction happen. For recommended books, this post contains some affiliate links.
My Set-up to Take Direction:
Direction #1: Make the commitment for direction!
Direction #2: I’ve chosen three books, #1,#8,#9, from below to purchase and begin reading with my boys.
Direction #3: Start with a small commitment of three weekly readings, two with my boys, one with the whole family after dinner, in order to incorporate devotional time, and mark these days on my calendar. That’s why I especially love the 10-minute devotional book; it makes my initial commitment to direction not so overwhelming.
Direction #4: I’ve also committed to a change for my married devotional time, but that will come in another post.
Final Direction #5: Once books are received, start trying to find the right time and way to sit with my boys and have devotional time. I’m going to start with bedtime reading and sitting in the playroom with them for a reading break. The speaker for MOPS also gave a few starter ideas for making devotional time fun giving his own example of having a hot-chocolate-sit-down or a turn-off –the-lights-read-via-lantern camp-out read. What ideas can you add to this? I’m still trying to think of some for me to try out!
The following books were recommended by the speaker, Sam Holm, and via word of mouth from other moms close to me and bible study groups that I attend.
Book #1 (Age range 2-5 yrs of age)
Read Aloud Bible Stories: Volume 1
Book #2 (Age range 2-5 yrs of age)
Read Aloud Bible Stories: Volume 2
Other volumes for this book: Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5 all for the age range of preschool up.
The volume books listed above are Bible storybooks written and illustrated just for kids. They are award-winning series, such as the Gold Medallion winner & C.S. Lewis Honor Book, with volumes drawing both from the old and new testament and are followed with simple application questions to help guide the adult reading and child listening, in understanding and for applying onto their present day life. The author of the books, Ella K. Lindvall, is a mother, and taught primary school in the US and internationally.
Book #4 (Age range 4-8 but book reviews showed many happy parents saying 3+ yrs of age)
The Rhyme Bible Storybook
Book #5 (2-5yrs of age)
The Jesus Storybook Bible
The is a best-selling book on Amazon. Author Sally Lloyd-Jones does a fantastic job of showing the bible not as book of rules or heroes but as a true story of God and how he loves his children. Also via word of mouth, I’ve heard great reviews of this book. However, some amazon reviews, noted that details in the book were made up and not actually in the bible. This has left me a bit conflicted regarding whether I should purchase this book. I like the idea of a softened storybook bible (especially some aspects of the Old Testament), but I want all details accurate as possible not exaggerated just to be honey-sweetened.
I do think it is nice that The Jesus Storybook Bible has a deluxe addition that comes with read-along CDs because I love read-along CD/book sets and so do my boys.
Book #6 (6-8 yrs of age; older children)
Adventure Bible for Early Readers, NIrV
Via word of mouth, I’ve heard ravings over this Bible for children
Book #7 (3+)
Read to Me Bible for Kids
Another wonderful book recommended by many via word of mouth. This book is popular in being verse by verse the actual bible and not just a story book but written in language appropriate for a preschooler and older children to understand.
Book #8 (3rs-teenage+)
The Gospel Story Bible
Book #9 (3rs-teenage+)
Old Story New: Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God
Book #10 (3rs-teenage+)
Long Story Short: Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God
I really liked the reviews for these books (#8-#10), all written by Marty Machowski, which is why I purchased book #8 and #9. Reviews for these books noted that they are theologically-rich, engaging, advanced vocabulary level, and much more. I like that The Gospel Story Bible has discussion questions following reads, to solidify ideas. And I love the idea of having ten minute devotionals to help keep me committed in my goal without feeling overwhelmed with losing the focus of my young kids or feeling overburdened with commit vs time.
I don’t want to be celebrating my child’s tenth birthday and realize that I always had the right faithful intention but never went in that actual direction. Do you have a destination in mind? Do you currently have family devotional time and or ideas for making that happen that you can share as a WiseMommy?