“Mommy!! Can I read my book?”
Whenever I hear my little guy yell this, I know exactly what book he is talking about. There are a lot of things he likes about this book. He likes the pictures. He likes the stories. He likes that there is a flap to lift up on each page (because, come on, you guys, who doesn’t like that?). But what he really likes is that his name is in every. single. story. And it’s not just his name, but it is his name spoken by God – a letter written just to him from God.
The book Little Love Letters from God, written by Glenys Nellist, does something many children’s Bible stories fail to do – it puts children right in the middle of The Story. For those who have read my blog before, you know I really believe that the stories of the Bible find their greatest impact when they are told in the context of the larger story, the metanarrative of Scripture (read more about that here).
Why? Because understanding that these moments and events don’t stand alone but are part of a bigger picture gives them meaning and let’s us know that our story has a place in that bigger picture too.
Helping kids connect the God who created them, loves them, redeems them, and shares eternity with them to the oft-heard stories of the Bible like Creation, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath and Baby Jesus teaches them that these stories are more than that; they are means of grace to reveal to us the greatness and goodness of our God.
In Little Love Letters from God, Glenys drives this home by not just sharing the story, but then including a “letter” from God after each one that is personalized to the child (you fill their name in the blank) and affirms who God is to them based on the story they just read.
Children get a chance to not just hear the story, but to hear from the God of the story.
For example, after Jonah’s story, we read this “letter” from God:
Dear ___________, Wherever you are, I will listen to you too! Love always, God.
And after reading about the feeding of the 5,000, we open this “letter”:
Dear _____________, Whenever you are kind like that little boy that makes Jesus smile. With Lots of Love, God
My son lights up every time he lifts the flap and I read his letter from God. Hearing the Bible stories in this way makes them become much more than just stories. It becomes a way for him to know this God who is talking right to him. We can never read just one story. Every single time we have to read the whole book…every story, every letter. And he’s gotten to the point where each time I read him the letter, he cheerfully shouts out “God!” at the end.
When it comes to engaging toddlers with the Bible, letting them hear their name as if spoken by God, can be an amazing tool. I know a lot of parents who struggle finding books for this age group so I am glad to be able to share about this one. (The author has also written a book for younger elementary-aged kids called Love Letters from God as well; similar concept only written for older children.)
If you’d like to own this book, the publisher is giving one away to one of my readers. If you are chosen, you will receive a copy of Little Love Letters from God sent to your home.
To be entered in our drawing, follow this link and scroll to the form at the bottom of the page. In the comment section please write “Little Love Letters” and make sure we have a way to contact you for mailing information.
Winner will be chosen on February 29, 2016.
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- And much more!
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, Seedbed, and ChildrensMinistryBlog.com.