When our kids were growing up Steve told them lots of stories about growing up in Africa, being chased by elephants, swinging on vines across rivers and playing with monkeys. Some of the stories were about his adventures but some of his stories were about God’s adventures; sending rain in answer to his grandmother’s prayers, thousands coming to Christ, babies rescued and lives changed. Our kids and now our grandkids sit spell bound by Steve’s stories.
As John Piper says, “Human beings are story-shaped creatures.” God has created us to learn through stories. Think about it, the Bible is God’s story.
When God parted the waters for Joshua and all the people had crossed into the promise land, God instructed Joshua that 12 leaders were to take stones from the middle of the river and when their children would later ask them what the stones meant, they were to tell their children the story of God miraculously parting the waters. (Joshua (4:1-7) I think there’s a powerful principle in this passage for those of us with kids or grandkids.
Showcase God’s Power with Your Story
Many parents I know are reluctant to tell their kids the “messy” parts of their story for fear their kids will copy their mistakes. I think this is a mistake. Telling the story of how God redeemed your mess is powerful. Steve and I found that our kids responded much more positively to authenticity. The bottom line is that as parents we’re broken and we need God to fix our mess.
When you share your stories, both your victories and your failures you give your kids a wonderful gift – a living example of how God works in a life. You build their faith. They get to see first hand how God’s grace redeems a life.
I have a challenge for you today. Try telling your kids or grandkids a story from your life. Maybe it’s the story of a time you failed and how God redeemed that failure. Maybe it’s the story of a time when you felt unloved but then God came close with His love. Maybe it’s the story of a time when you desperately needed a miracle and God came through. By doing so, you’ll be passing on God’s faithfulness to the next generation.
I’d love to hear from you. Grandparents, have you shared stories of God’s faithfulness in your love with your grandkids? Parents, how has authentically sharing your story impacted your kids?