Our families have dealt with an incredible amount of uncertainty, fear, trouble, concern, anxiety…. I could go on, but you get the picture. Jesus tells us (it’s red, so Jesus said) in Big John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So how can we help littles and their bigs build those ‘peace muscles’ and live like Jesus is overcoming the world? Our world?
I don’t want my kids to just read John 16:33 from their Bibles, but also read it in the lives of people like Nate Saint, Corrie Ten-Boom, Brother Andrew, Susanna Wesley, Billy Graham, Amy Carmichael, C.S. Lewis, and Katie Davis and even the saints of their own church family
Children learn best to love Jesus when they spend time with people who love Jesus. It’s also been my experience that children can learn best to courageously follow the Lord and learn what Jesus’ peace looks like by reading about and meeting real people who have lived out their faith in war, in famine, in thirst, in different countries, in times of uncertainty, fear, trouble, concern, anxiety… Again, you get the picture.
Summer is the perfect time for reading about the missionaries and giants of our faith history. I’ve curated a list of biographies of missionaries and courageous disciples of Jesus of every reading level which are developmentally appropriate for elementary-aged students. Students will read about many people who followed Jesus, maybe traveled the world, lived in very difficult times, or who started an orphanage, the Salvation Army, or taught a teacher to share the good news of Jesus.
This touches close to my heart as our daughter served in Senegal, Africa providing medical care to children orphaned, abandoned, harmed, and sick at a local compound during the almost five months between earning her pre-nursing degree and attending nursing school. Uncertainty was all around, but as she says, “When God is the only one who speaks your language, you talk a lot!”
The next step is to get together to chat about who we’re reading about so we can share the stories and give testimony. I contacted several saints of our local church and asked if they’d host a Saints Book Club Chat on their front porch, back porch, or front lawn. Every one said, “YES!” and will join us in reading about a saint of the faith, as well. These local church saints have their own stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness when they’ve been uncertain, anxious, and fearful. I can’t wait to hear!
These intergenerational opportunities to tell stories and share testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness when life is hard, challenging, and victorious will help our kids along their way in uncertain times. It’ll help me along my way. Could it help you along your way?
Last Sunday I set out my own personal library for the students to explore and check out. Even our youth interns and several parents checked out books. I can’t wait to see what God will do this summer in the hearts and minds of His disciples because of the stories of those who have gone before us.
How can you get the stories of Jesus’ overcoming the world into your world? I received a text from Mom of the young lady above later that afternoon which read: “You gave S a book this morning, haven’t seen her face since.”