By Natalie, Editress of Visionary Womanhood
I Don’t Measure Up
I grew up in a first generation Christian home. My folks got saved when I was in grade school. Growing up, I always thought that I had to be brave, like Daniel. Have faith, like Abraham. Be surrendered, like Mary. Be meek, like Moses.
Then God would love me.
I grew up never quite sure that I was loved. You see, I couldn’t be all those things. I was a miserable failure. I wasn’t anything special, like those guys. I lived in a boring time of history (heh heh). I was a nobody from nowhere land: Minnesota. What would God see in me? Yet, I longed for Him to notice and love me.
I read that David was the “apple of God’s eye” and wanted desperately to be like that. David. You know—that adulteress murderer with lots of wives—whose children grew up rebellious? Yeah—that guy.
It took many years before I made the head-to-heart connection that God loved me even while I was still a sinner (and still am!) God sent Christ to take my place even though I deserved nothing. If that isn’t love, what is?
My Children Don’t Measure Up
I’ve really wanted my kids to grow up having that Truth as part of the fabric of who they are. The following verses have been one of my most frequent prayers for them.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
We’ve gone through a good share of children’s Bibles over the last 19 years. I’ve always loved The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Voss. I shy away from story Bibles that have cartoon characters. We used to have one where the characters were so goofy looking – it made the Bible seem like a silly book. I had to throw that one away.
Jesus Measures Up!
I don’t know how I stumbled on The Jesus Storybook Bible, and maybe everyone else already knows about it, but I thought I’d tell you my impressions in case you’ve never seen this. It does have drawings of Bible characters, but they are sweet and realistic. (I love Jago’s illustrations. He illustrates several other books by Sally-Lloyd Jones.)
The first time we sat down to read this Bible – we all had chills as we finished each chapter (we read 3-4 that first night). I’m serious. I was reading to my three little girls (ages 5, 7, and 9), and you could hear the quiet, deep breaths as every child grasped the profound truth of each story.
You see, Jesus was there.
He was there when the earth was made. He was there when Adam and Eve sinned. He was there when Noah and his family saw that rainbow for the first time. He was there because God loves us. Here’s an excerpt:
And there, in the clouds—just where the storm meets the sun—was a beautiful bow made of light.
It was a new beginning in God’s world.
It wasn’t long before everything went wrong again, but God wasn’t surprised. He knew this would happen. That’s why, before the beginning of time, He had another plan—a better plan. A plan not to destroy the world, but to rescue it—a plan to one day send His own son, the Rescuer.
God’s strong anger against hate and sadness and death would come down once more—but not on His people, or His world. No, God’s war bow was not pointing down at His people.
It was pointing up, into the heart of Heaven.
All of history is God’s love story with us, and it should give us chills.