Having not grown up in the church, I can’t really say what a child’s relationship with God should look like.
On one end of the spectrum, there are kids that may go to church each week, but not remember much more than “Jesus loves me”. On the other end of the spectrum, there are children like Colton Burpo who have experienced heaven first hand and, by his own admission, met Jesus face to face (if you haven’t read Heaven is for Real, you really must).
I dare say my kids fall somewhere in the middle of that scale.
But as hard of a time as I might have figuring out where they are in their relationship with God, I’ve learned they have an equally hard time putting it into words.
Case in point: a few months ago, I asked my 11 year old daughter a (seemingly) simple question at breakfast, “How would you describe your relationship with God?”
Now keep in mind, my daughter chose to get baptized just six months prior, so this shouldn’t have been a startling question, but her emotions behind her answer revealed more than even her words.
“I don’t know…I mean, I believe in God, but I don’t really know why. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about Him.”
Not wanting to start too deep of a conversation over oatmeal before walking out the door, I didn’t prod too much further. But over the next few weeks I began asking some more pointed questions:
– Who do you know God to be? Who do you imagine God to be?
– What do you learn about God at church?
– Do you like to read your Bible?
– Do you see God as a constant companion?
As you can imagine, this brought up a lot of questions we never even thought about discussing with our kids. If I’m going to be completely honest, they are questions I’ve had trouble answering at times.
On a sidenote, it also caused us to question our church more. While we would always have a brief discussion on our way home from church each week about what they learned or discussed, we never really dug much deeper than that. We’d basically drop our kids off for an hour while we were in service and assumed they were getting the spiritual nourishment they needed.
Just as an hour of church each week isn’t enough for us as parents to develop a relationship with God, neither is it for our kids.
So what do we do about it?
We keep the conversation going.
But it’s not enough for our kids to hear about God from us; they need to hear from God himself. The only way for that to happen is for our kids to read God’s Word.
Easier said than done, right?
Let’s face it, the Bible can be pretty intimidating. I’ve seen a lot of kids’ Bibles come out in the past decade, and many of them are sitting on our bookshelf right now. While a pretty cover can draw our kid in initially, it doesn’t guarantee holding our kids’ interest.
But I’ve finally found a Bible that not only speaks to my kids in a new way, but makes me want to use it too (and I’ve had the same Bible for 15 years): The Color Code Bible
As a fan of multi-colored Sharpies and highlighters to help me organize my reading, the Color Code Bible is a step ahead of even what I could have dreamed up to help me understand the Bible.
It breaks down the Bible in such an easy to understand way and addresses even the most essential questions we all have when it comes to our faith.
The Color Code Bible even addresses the very question my daughter asked me, “Why should we read the Bible?”
You can see in the image below the heart of what makes the Color Code Bible so unique and effective:
There are even several different Bible reading plans laid out, from a 365 day play to a plan to read through the Gospels in 90 days.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here is what my (now) twelve year old daughter had to say about the Color Code Bible:
“If your child doesn’t want to read the Bible or doesn’t have any interest, it’s a fun Bible to get them more involved. It also helps you understand and if you just want them to look up verses, then you can look at the index in the front that has inspiration. The color coding also helps find topics more easily. I don’t like Bibles that are blank and white and this one has nifty colors. It makes me want to read it more – it’s kind of cool and smart what they did. It makes it easier to find everything and makes God’s Word pop!”
So whether you’re looking for a way to re-engage your kids in God’s Word or help them engage for the first time, I highly recommend giving the Color Code Bible a look. But even more important, start by asking yourself some of the questions above. Perhaps then you might be able to help your kids answer them for themselves.
What conversations or resources have you turned to when your children started questioning their faith?