Thursday, May 20, 2010

A love story, for kids

A couple years ago, I bought this Bible for my son at Coscto. He was too young to be read something like this, but not too young to be jealous of his big sister for having her own Bible. I chose this one mainly for its simplicity, but the illustrations were really what sold me. And since my little guy was so little, it basically sat on his shelf. Tonight, I was the chooser of the story, and I thought, "Hmm. There's that Bible. Maybe we should be - I don't know - READING it together once in a while!" (Sometimes I am truly a rock star of a mother, and other times I am so lame.)

OK back to the Bible. It's super amazing! Within ten minutes, I had tried to conceal the lump in my throat at least once. Because it is different from the many Bibles we've owned. It communicates that it is more than a compilation of stories, like most Bibles for children are. It is a Story. A Love Story. And it spells out its premise on the cover: Every story whispers his name.

Read this excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Jesus Storybook Bible, entitled "The Story and the Song":

No, the Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne - everything - to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is - it's true.

There are lots of stores in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle - the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

And this is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the Child who would one day - but wait. Our Story starts where all good stories start. Right at the very beginning...

The next chapter is a summary of Genesis, chapters 1 and 2. And so on. In chapter format, like a Story. Each part of the Bible is being woven into the greater Story of the history of mankind, God's tremendous vision, and greater love. (I'm thinking every person should read a Bible like this - simple and beautiful and tracking with the bottom line of life the entire time; we'd get a broad brush understanding of many things most of us simply do not understand. Right? Isn't that appealing?)

Chapter three was really getting me. It's a summary of Genesis 3, including Adam and Eve, the snake, and the Fall. Read how this Bible relates a story with which we are way too familiar, and hence way too comfortable:

The snake's words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like poison. Does God love me? Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn't know anymore...

And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God's children: "God doesn't love me..."

And a terrible pain came into God's heart. His children hadn't just broken the one rule; they had broken God's heart. They had broken their wonderful relationship with him. And now he knew everything else would break. God's creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong...

Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been the end.

But not in this Story.

God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan - a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear form their eyes.

You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him - lost children yearning for their home.

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!"

And he would. One day, God himself would come.

I can't say I didn't feel like the child who was listening to the story. I had a little warm body on either side of me, but I was perhaps the most enthralled. I guess it's because I've lived some of that adventure. I've been the damsel in some of those rescues, I've believed some of those lies, and I've felt the brokenness and the yearning and the embrace at being found again. God knows I love a good drama, and so I shouldn't be surprised to find myself cast in one.

What part of the Story are you in right now? Are you looking around you, sensing your role and grasping how incredibly irreplaceable you are? There is no understudy for your place in the Story or mine. Part of my role is the critical responsibility of opening the eyes of my children to this great Story. I need to teach them who's directing this world, and why they are so important to Him. Not just that they are important to God. But why. There's a big difference, and their hearts will need to know why someday soon. I certainly don't have all the answers to their questions. But we are openly and honestly seeking to know God better, as a family. Our stories are linked in that way, and I pray that one day, God will be able to say that each of our stories whispered his name.


  1. wow. i kinda want to read that! not for my kids, but for me! sounds like a good one.

  2. That's our favorite Bible , too. My girls love it!!

    And a while back, you mentioned you were making a rainbow cake for your daughter's birthday.... I was reading on my iTouch which doesn't allow pop-ups, so I couldn't comment then, but wanted to tell you... I am having a "rainbow party" complete with rainbow cake for my daughter's bday this Sunday.

    I think we are living parallel lives... :)

    Love reading your blog!
    Someday I'll get back to posting on mine... ;)
    Jenn (McMullen) Hughes

  3. Jenn, that is so crazy about the rainbow party! My daugter's party is in about 3 hrs!! Email me at and we can chat more. I don't think I have your email!!

  4. Awesome Leslie!! Thanks for the recommendation! McKennon is ready to transition to a "group of Bibles". I wanted to give him a selection that we can choose from i.e. story format and Junior Bible.