Two of them were off of my wishlist. (Hooray!)
One of them was not. My initial reaction (in my head only, I promise!), was "Bummer! Why would he get me a book I didn't ask for. I've never even heard of this book!"
But then I read the back cover and it peaked my curiosity. So much so, that I quickly forgot about my other 2 new books and started reading it.
It was called Together: Growing Appetites for God. The idea? Read through the entire Bible with your children. She started when her oldest was four and the youngest was less than a year.
I mentioned yesterday about how I had a desire to invite my kids into what getting to know the Lord looked like. I was just intrigued enough to want to see how this lady did it. I wondered if she was a drill sergeant or if her children were awake while she read. I imagined mine swinging from light fixtures and talking over me if I attempted such a feat. I read her short book in less than a week and I was so glad I did.
Carrie lays out her family's approach as they tackled ONE chapter per day, Mon.-Fri.
It only takes 8 YEARS to accomplish this goal at this pace. No biggie. :)
I was fascinated that she even still wanted to attempt it after she found that out. I had all kinds of objections arise in my mind as I read the length of time it would take. And what about those hard passages? Would they even get it? Isn't a children's Bible a much better route? Isn't understanding the goal here? Goodness, 8 years! My kids will look, act, think nothing like they do now. There's no way they'd remember what we read at the beginning.
But as I read, Carrie pointed out: A relationship with God is not about accomplishing this goal of reading through the Bible so we can check it off the list. It's about getting to know him.
Well, yeah. I know but still...
I was encouraged as I read Carrie's very real stories about what the experience was like for her and her children. My favorite story is one she tells of her son balancing on a soccer ball while holding onto the edge of the table while she read. She doesn't give you a picture of 4 children neatly dressed, sitting orderly with their hands folded in their lap while she read piously from God's Word. She talks about stopping several times to replenish empty breakfast plates, address pressing questions like, "Are we going to take a nap today?" and deal with catastrophic cries for help like, "Sticky! I'm sticky!" during the morning's chapter.
But she also tells encouraging stories of how she saw her children's lives transformed by God over the course of their journey through the Bible. They weren't bored out of their minds. She tells stories of how they would spontaneously act out the morning's reading. Or how they would feel conviction over a passage they read. Or how God would bring just the right chapter into their lives on just the right day.
The journey only ended up taking her family 5 years and now this veteran, Scripture-reading mom is on her 3rd time through the Bible with her children!
So, I did it. Two weeks ago I opened my Bible to Genesis 1 at lunch time. I told the boys we were going to read one chapter of the Bible every day. We prayed that God would help us understand what we read and that he would change our hearts as we learned more about him. Here's some of the highlights from our reading so far:
-The first Friday, we went through Genesis chapter 5 (which is a genealogy from Adam to Noah). The following verses is a pattern that repeats itself 9 times with the different members of Noah's lineage.
When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Althogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died. (Gen. 5:3-5)About 2/3 of the way through the list Silas grabbed his ears. I looked up and he said, "I have 2 ears." Confused, I said, "Yep. You sure do!" and, attributing it to the randomness of a 2 year old, continued to read. As I began to read the next section, it struck me as I read... he was hearing a number and then the word EARS, not YEARS. Adam lived 130 EARS.... 800 EARS and 930 EARS. Silas was simply informing me that he had two of them. I might have had to pause for a little fit of hysterical giggling before I finished our chapter. :)
-When I finished reading our chapter one day last week, Silas started crying and screamed, "I want to wead more Jesus!" It was... ummm... sweet?
-We've been reading Monday-Friday as Carrie suggests. On Saturday when we sat down to have our lunch Isaac said, "Oh no! We forgot to read our chapter!"
As we've read each day, I've also been making a conscious effort to read contemplatively and realize that it's okay for me to get something out of this too. Of course I want my boys to learn what the Word says, but it's an excellent way for me to pause in the middle of the day and refocus my thoughts on the Lord as well. And since I start reading while their bellies are grumbling and their plates are full of food, they've been exceptionally quiet while we read. :)
Does this sound like something you'd like to try with your kids? There's so much more encouragement from Carrie's book and I recommend investing in it if you would like a better glimpse at the practical details of this idea as well as some great encouragement as you begin. You can find out more by checking out her website, An Everyday Mama, or "liking" her on facebook! As I mentioned yesterday, Carrie has generously donated 2 copies of Together: Growing Appetites for God to 2 of you! Just enter the giveaway below before Midnight on Wednesday, June 6 and we'll announce the winner sometime on Thursday, June 7.
I'm excited to continue on this journey with my boys. I'll check back in with you in eight years! ;)
(And P.S... If you're wondering if I've written off children's Bibles or something, I have not. We still have plenty that we love and will continue to use.)