Children love to hear family stories. They are fascinated to hear about your life as a child or stories about colorful relatives they may have never met. Even at my age (nearly as old as dirt!), I still ask my dad to retell my favorite stories from his very colorful family.
Recently, I have tried to add some of our family’s faith stories to my repertoire. One of my favorite stories is how my grandmother found the church. She was pushing my infant mother in her carriage and stopped to rest in front of the church building. Someone came out to invite her in and she became a Christian shortly thereafter. Some stories are more humorous, although I won’t retell them here for fear my parents might be reading this. (What is the statute of limitations on parental punishment anyway?)
When I try to analyze Hannah’s decision to leave Samuel at the temple, I always wonder if she thought about who would train her child as he grew. She could have been tempted to dedicate Samuel to God without leaving him at such a young age. Even though we know Eli wasn’t exactly a great parent (at least if you judge him by his children), I have to think Hannah was comforted that Eli would encourage Samuel to follow God’s ways. Perhaps she thought Eli would mentor her young son. The one time we see Samuel turning to Eli for advice as a boy, Eli tells him to listen to God. I am sure that was what Hannah wanted Eli to do for her precious son.
When my daughter was born, I decided to make sure I had some influence on the adults she might turn to for advice or counsel. From infancy, she has had several “aunties”. They are friends of mine who I know love God and won’t undermine what we are trying to teach at home. These “aunties” have all been wonderful about giving our daughter special times and attention. Most of then have probably even put on a few pounds from all of the Girl Scout cookies they have bought from her over the years.
A few years ago, I decided to walk the Avon 3-day for breast cancer. The 3-day part involves walking sixty miles over a three day period. If you are familiar with the Atlanta area, we started at Lake Lanier and ended up in Piedmont Park! The organization gives you a very useful training schedule. That ten month training period was the most intense exercise period of my life. Motivated primarily by fear, I walked from when my daughter left for school until she returned home almost every day.
I would love to say that every year, I get up almost every morning and do my strength training and an hour of cardio. The truth is that a lot of the time life gets in the way. I am gradually learning that it is okay to drop the ball once in awhile. The trick is to remember to pick it up again as soon as you can.
I have vivid memories of my third grade Sunday School class. My teacher was a sweet older woman who took scripture memory work very seriously. She would make us write long passages like John 1:1-14 in a special notebook and then take it home and memorize it. Did I mention it was in King James English? (I think I had to walk five miles in the snow to do it!)
I have to admit I probably memorized more long passages of scripture in those few months than I have at any other point in my life. However, I still feel a slight chill when someone says to turn in your Bible to John 1:1-14 or any of the other passages we had to learn.
As our daughter became older, I wanted to find a way to help her start reading the Bible independently on a regular basis. She was a strong reader, so at first I encouraged her to read Genesis in her new student Bible. I soon realized that was a mistake. As with most people, she quickly got bogged down with the “begats” and other concepts that were not stories she could follow.
After numerous trips to Christian book stores, I finally found the perfect transition “Bible” for her. The Student Discovery Bible: A Journey Through God’s Word (Thomas Nelson), pulls over one hundred stories directly from scripture. What I really liked about it, was that in the margins it provided definitions for key vocabulary words, answers to common questions, archaeological discoveries and cultural and historical notes.