A long time ago I used to read them stories. Sometimes I can still get away with it, but it's so rare now I don't even try.
At one point in time the stories had meaning, they weren't just for entertainment. We had these Veggietales story books that were parodies of contemporary movies. For example Star Wars was Frog Wars and was based on the Exodus. Then there was Field of Dreams renamed Field of Beans and was based on Elijah calling down fire for the sacrifice. I loved these books. Although I will admit if I was super tired I might have turned two pages at once.
We also had a Veggietales Bible storybook. In it was the story of Daniel and the lion's den. One day when the kids were refusing to nap and I was beyond staying awake myself, I was reading this to them in my bed. One sentence spoke so clearly to me that I started to cry. The angel said to Daniel, "Don't be afraid. God is with you."
We don't have those books anymore. We blessed someone else with them that had little ones a few years ago. And while it would have been crazy to hold on to them forever, the memories still remain with me.
It never occurred to me at the time that those days wouldn't last forever. There were moments I thought they'd never end. When you feel like you don't have a minute to think a coherent thought it's easy to wish whatever is preventing it away. Now, with an almost 12 year old and a 13 year old, I'd give my right arm to go back and do it over.
But this post isn't about regrets. This is about stories. Stories told by a parents that love their children and want them to take something away from it to learn, grow, and share.
Every morning when I open my Bible I read something that inevitably makes me realize something about God, myself, or the world, that He wants to use to help me navigate through my day, my life, or to encourage someone else. It never crossed my mind that this is a grown up version of storytime. Time with just the two of us, Him sharing His heart with what He wants to use to protect mine. And the most incredible part, is that no matter who He is with, even if the story is the same, it's customized and tailor made for the one listening. His word never returns void, always accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it, and that purpose is as different and unique as the one it was given to.
As a 42 year old mom, I can look back and see things from a much clearer perspective. It also gives me a small glimpse as to how God must see me and the time we spend together. It's taken me a long time to not want to rush through my mornings with my heavenly Father, and I'm not saying that days still don't come when I'm more focused on what needs done than just being with Him, but they are fewer than they were. And I am thankful that this is a storytime that I can never outgrow.
Father, thank You for the memories I can hold on to of when my kids were little and for helping me to understand that as Your daughter, how I see them, is how You see me. Keep me close to You, knowing that it will always be in Your presence that I'm made whole, complete, and well. Amen.