Ash Wednesday admits the dark into an otherwise well-lit space. We dim the lights—no, we shut them off. And in their place, we light candles, but around the candles’ contained glow is shadow. That shadow alters familiar faces, draws us near to one another in a ring around our pastor and around the table that ordinarily holds the bread and the wine. Today that table holds candles, a cross, and a small dish of ashes.Read More
“. . . and [Jacob] loved Rachel more than Leah. . . .” (Genesis 29:30). You’ve likely heard the story told before. Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, had fallen in love with a woman named Rachel. So love struck was he that Jacob agreed to work seven years for Rachel’s father, Laban, in order to marry her.Read More
Very rarely does anyone willingly embrace pain. We love the short cut and the easy way. We’re smart enough to plan ahead. But the more I read the Bible, and the more I read authors who help me to read the Bible differently, I see pain laced in-between so many of the narratives.Read More
It’s been said that kids are sponges, and the fact of the matter is that everything around us is teaching our children something. The words said when we think they aren’t listening, the music we play in the car, the TV shows our kids watch, and the books we read are all preaching some sort of message. The world is full of messages, and while some are outright good or bad, others are subtle lies disguised in half-truths. That’s why I’m so grateful for material that points our kids to God.
It wasn’t that long ago that I received a few books by Erin Weidemann called Bible Belles. If you haven’t heard of it, Bible Belles is a series all about nine-year-old Rooney Cruz and her adventures meeting various women (or superheroes) of the Bible. Each story opens with a child-relatable struggle involving Rooney.
In Hannah: The Belle of Prayer, Rooney is made fun of by a group of girls for not having fashionable clothes. An angel pops up and takes Rooney back into the past, showing her scenes from Hannah’s life. Rooney witnesses Hannah’s struggles and sees that her go-to tactic is to pray. By the end of the story, Rooney learns that Hannah could turn to God in prayer, and she could too. Rooney receives a bell, her own superpower—in this instance, the bell of prayer—that she can keep forever and ever. This is only one storyline out of the series, but the goal for all the books is the same: to connect our daughters to women of the Bible and show that they have everything they need in God to work through the struggles they may face.
It is important to note, to younger kids especially, that this is a series incorporating fiction with truth. A six- or nine-year-old may have no problem discerning that she doesn’t need a physical bell or superpower to pray with God, so I made sure I explained that to my three-year-old. If anything, this opens further opportunity to share the Gospel with our kids. We can explain that like Rooney or Mommy or Daddy, they too can have a relationship with the Lord. We can walk them through all that the Gospel entails and explain that when we get saved, it is the Holy Spirit that enables us with patience or bravery, like the bells Rooney receives in her adventures.
I love the idea of my daughter viewing Esther or Hannah as a superhero rather than popular movie princesses. I also really appreciated that particular storyline, as I was made fun of as a young child. In fact, I liked it so much that I read it to my six-year-old boy, so he would understand he has access to prayer in times of hardship just the same as Rooney. Rooney’s struggles, paralleled with the Bible-story examples, reinforce to kids that the Bible is relevant today.
These glimpses of God-fearing women will hopefully spur our little ones to look further into other men and women of virtue. As we do that with them, we can share the understanding that these characters are meant to point us to Christ—our ultimate superhero. Our family has enjoyed these books and I think yours will too!
Cultivating friendship takes work. When my husband and I moved to a new city two years ago, I felt lost in the pursuit of friendship. Throughout college and the years post-graduation, the relationships I’ve invested in and prioritized have dramatically shifted. Given the phase of life, women my age have babies. They go to grad school. They take jobs and move away. Friendships inevitably change, because we change.Read More
Kids sports teams are a guaranteed source of humor. From lanky six-year-olds in baseball pants and cleats to round three-year-old bellies aimlessly running around the soccer field, sports teams for little ones are always colorful experiences.Read More
It’s the New Year and I’m having to put aside the strong desire that always accompanies this time of year to organize closets, purge toys and old clothes, and paint a few rooms. It’s particularly tempting to me this year as we are anticipating the arrival of our third child in our new (to us) home.Read More
When we tell the Christmas story, we often begin like this: “Once, there was a girl named Mary.” Or “Once upon a time in a manger.” Even the gospels open with things that happened here on earth—the birth of John, the words of Isaiah, or the genealogy of Jesus’ family. Only the gospel of John backs all the way up and starts the Christmas story right at the very beginning.Read More
The lights are up. The halls are decked. Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha is back. And once last week I ate fudge for dinner. All this can mean only one thing, the holidays are here! And with them comes the quintessential question of the season . . . Have you been good this year?Read More