Monthly Archives: July 2015

Elle’s Blessing

writing a blessing1

As I’ve shared before, my husband and I have written blessings for each of our daughters to share with them on their Baptism days. These blessings are so special to us, and I want to share them here as an example in case anyone is looking to do the same thing.

Here is the blessing for our firstborn, Elle:

“Elle, our sweet little girl,

As we think about the life you have ahead of you, we aren’t sure what Jesus’ plan is for your life… how many days it will last or what those days will hold. But we do know Jesus will be with you for every moment of it.

In the days to come, we promise to do our best to pray for you and to show you what it means to follow Him. As we welcome you into Jesus’ family today, here are some specific things we hope and pray for you:

First, we pray you are a woman of faith. We want you to understand what it means that Jesus died and rose again for you. Elle, you are named after a woman in the Bible whose heart was opened when she heard the good news of Jesus. We pray that like her, you will believe and follow Him. [You might remember that Elle isn’t our daughter’s real name… so she really is named after a woman in the Bible!]

Next, Elle, we hope you will not only believe but will take action and apply Jesus’ teaching to your life. We hope the Holy Spirit will work in your life for His glory. We hope your life will display purity, wisdom, humility, honesty, integrity, patience, unconditional love, and sacrifice, and that your life will inspire others to follow Him.

Third, we pray you will have a heart for Jesus’ world and all the people in it. We hope your life is characterized by compassion and generosity for others. We want you to be a giver and have a servant’s heart.

Fourth, we hope our family will be a place where you learn to follow Jesus, and that one day, you will teach your own family to follow Him. We promise to make our home a place where Jesus is honored through our actions, our prayers, our involvement in church, and our time together focused on Jesus and His Word.

Finally, Elle, you already have such a sweet, quiet temperament. We pray you will remain kind and tenderhearted and will be a sweet friend and encourager to the people in your life.

Lord God, we lift up all of these hopes and prayers to You, asking that You would bless and keep Elle in Your care now and always. Amen.”

For more information about writing a blessing, check out this post on 6 Ways to Introduce Jesus to Even the Youngest Baby, and scroll to number six.

**Have you ever written or spoken a blessing over your children? How did you do it?

Favorite Resources for Teaching Babies to Follow Jesus

Today I’m excited to share a few of my favorite resources that I’ve used with our babies to help them know and love Jesus.

Jesus Storybook Bible – I love this Bible! I can’t say enough good things about it. So many children’s Bibles miss out on the heart of Scripture. This kids’ Bible points to Jesus in every story from Genesis to Revelation, and it’s beautifully written. It’s a delight to read over and over again!

My husband, Jay, read it to each of our daughters even while they were still in the womb, and we brought it to the hospital to read to them there when they was born… that’s how much we love it!

The stories are a little long to read in one sitting, so sometimes we just read a page or two at a time.

PraiseBaby CDs – We used to play a CD as Elle fell asleep, and PraiseBaby was my favorite (there are several different CDs in the “series.” We ended up hearing the CD through her video monitor once she was asleep, and the songs are sweet without being super annoying.

God Gave Us You – Someone gave us this book as a baby shower gift for Elle, and I love reading it to her! It uses a polar bear cub and mom to share the way God gives kids as gifts to their parents… it has a very sweet message!

I Couldn’t Love You More – Elle received this for her baptism from good friends. It has a sweet, simple message… “I couldn’t love you more, but somebody does – Jesus.” It’s based on a song by Sanctus Real, I think, though I don’t know the song.

Lamb stuffed animal/rattle – This was another baptism gift, and it’s a fun toy. We keep it in a backpack that we take to church with us (see below), so it’s a special toy for just once a week. It reminds us both that Jesus is the lamb who takes away the sins of the world, and that we are sheep and He is our shepherd… “I am Jesus’ little lamb.”

God Loves Me More Than That – another great kids’ book that we enjoy reading with Elle and Ava.

Backpack to take to church – for Christmas a few years ago, my parents gave Elle this “owl” backpack. We filled it with her lamb, a cloth “Noah’s Ark” storybook she can suck on, a blanket, and a little board book, and started using it on Sundays when we go to church. When we remember to bring it, it’s nice to have a bag of toys that Elle hasn’t already played with all week long… plus, in case we forgot to put some new toys in the diaper bag, we can just grab this backpack on the way out – it hangs on a hook in her room. In the future, I hope we’ll continue to have a special bag for Sundays with a Bible for her, plus eventually, some paper and markers for drawing a picture of the message of the sermon, or eventually, taking notes!

What resources do you enjoy using to help your little one follow Jesus?

You Can Do It! Encouragement for Your Faith Building Journey

you can do it

Faith building is daunting. Teaching children about Jesus seems scary, especially with Scriptures like Matthew 18:6 ringing in our ears… “If anyone causes one of these little ones… to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the seas.” Yikes!!

Faith building takes time… and energy… and makes us feel awkward… and unsure of ourselves… and so we sometimes think, “I just can’t do it. Why bother?”

The enemy certainly wants us to believe that we can’t do it. When it comes to passing faith in Christ down to a new generation of children, he wants us to be discouraged. He wants us to give up.

He whispers lies like…

  • You don’t have the time.
  • You don’t know enough.
  • Your own background is full of sin. How can you possibly pass on a positive faith legacy to someone else?
  • You’re not very good with children. Remember how awkward you feel around them?
  • Your own faith is a little unsteady. Sometimes you have doubts. You might cause more harm than good… better not try.
  • Just leave it up to the Sunday school teachers and pastors at church… they know way more than you.
  • You always think about reading the Bible to your kids, but you never actually do… why bother? Just give up. You’ll never have the time!
  • You can’t do it.

It is so easy to let those falsehoods creep into our attitudes and our actions.

IMG_8493

But we have One on our side who nullifies those lies! Christ tells us the Truth:

  • Let Me make time in your day for faith-building.
  • You don’t need to know “enough.” I am enough. Tell what you do know. Tell about your personal experiences. Read straight from your Bible.
  • Your own sin background is the very vessel that shows My grace and forgiveness. If you were perfect, how could I demonstrate My forgiveness?
  • You don’t need to be “good” with children. Far more important than feeling “cool” is showing a genuine heart of love and care for the young person in your life.
  • I don’t ask for a perfect faith. Your authenticity and admission of your own questions gives room for young people to feel free to discover their own personal faith in Me.
  • The Sunday school teachers and pastors get an hour a week with your child. Maybe two. You have much more time with them each week, in his own home environment. Your example and conversation is far more important.
  • Don’t be discouraged over your past failures to pass faith down. Live in the present moment and consider what you can do today to build faith in a young person.

No Judgment, Only Grace: My Hopes for This Blog

As I dream about the possibilities for this “Faith Passed Down” blog space, one of my biggest hopes is that this would be a place where you experience grace, not judgment, regarding your faith-building efforts.

grace not judgment

I fear presenting myself as a faith-building expert. As I share ideas, offer a bit of expertise from my youth ministry background, or explain how we do things in our home, I don’t want to make it seem like you are not good enough. I don’t want to set an unattainable bar to strive for, nor do I want it to seem like I have it all together.

I struggle with being able to convey that though I am sharing tips and want to inspire, I am not some faith-building master who perfectly lines up my children to pray and sing hymns each morning before our hour-long family Bible study at bedtime.

I do NOT have it all together. I’ll sheepishly admit my daughter was 2 and a half before I ever told her about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Can you believe that?

Sure, we have some kids’ Bibles that we read every once and awhile, and sure, we’re faithful in bringing her to church… but I had never sat down and talked with her about the very crux of our Christian faith until just a few months ago when we celebrated Easter. I found myself stumbling over the words to talk about Jesus with a two year-old… and wondered how I had wasted the previous two years without talking over this most essential part of Scripture.

IMG_8478

I want you to know that a primary motivation for starting this blog is my own accountability and growth. I was feeling like I devote a whole lot of time, effort, and mental energy to many things throughout my day – cooking, cleaning, teaching the ABCs, watching the latest episode of the Amazing Race, checking out my facebook news feed – and very little time to thinking about my children’s faith. I hope this is a way to personally devote more time and mental energy to growing in the area of family faith-building.

As you read ideas or interact with others in the comments, please do so with the lens of “grace.” Please don’t walk away from here trying to do it all, or thinking everyone else has their act together more than you do. I’ll try to keep things real here, and I hope you’ll do the same.

Let’s join together in gracefully sharing ideas and focusing on passing faith down to the young people in our lives!