It’s hard to imagine the depth of God’s love for us. When I think of how big the universe is, with billions of stars in each of the billion galaxies, it seems insane that the God who created all that could possibly care about me as an individual. And yet, he says he does.
How can I communicate this lesson to my kids, when even when I, as a parent, can’t fathom it?
Recently I read an article somewhere (eek! I can’t remember where) that made me think about how I present God to my kids. I have always tried to emphasize God’s love and grace because I know that it is God’s kindness that brings us to repentance, and his love that makes us want to love and seek after him.
So I recently started sending my kids to sleep with this little ritual.
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I say: You’re very creative. Does God love you because you are creative?
They say: No
I say: You’re very kind. Does God love you because you are kind?
They say: No
I say: You’re very good at helping others. Does God love you because you help others?
They say: No
I ask: So why does God love you?
They’re learning to say: Because I’m His child.
I ask: Can he ever stop loving you?
They Say: No.
I ask: Why not?
They Say: Because I will always be his child.
The intent is to help kids understand the depths of God’s unconditional love and acceptance.
Related post: 4 simple ways to teach your kids about God
I was rather surprised when I did this with my middle son and I asked: “does God love you because you are obedient?” He said, “yes.” 😩
I had to do a little damage control because there’s no way I wanted him going to sleep thinking that God loves him because he’s obedient. The unfortunate opposite of that thought is that God doesn’t love him when he’s disobedient, which is absolutely not true. So we had a little chat about that.
WHY THIS RITUAL HELPS
At our deepest core, each of us longs to be truly loved, and truly known. This ritual is powerful because it hits both of our deepest needs.
The first part few lines are important because they recognize how your child is unique. Make sure to change the lines based on your own child! In this one, I recognized my child’s creativity, kindness, and servant heart. If I did this with another child, I might mention her amazing laugh, the funny things she says, and that she notices everything.
Saying phrases like this affirm our child’s uniqueness. It reminds them that they are deeply known.
The last part affirms God’s unconditional love, which is the foundation on which we can build all self-confidence. When we know we are deeply, unconditionally loved and that NOTHING can tear us from that love, we come to understand our unimaginable worth.
Our worth lies in our Belovedness. And it’s not just for our children. When I do this with adults, eyes tear up as well, because adults also have the deep need to be known and loved.
So this message is for you as well as for your child:
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39, NLT)
A PICTURE BOOK TO REMIND YOUR CHILD OF HER WORTH
In “Audrey Bunny” by Angie Smith, a stuffed bunny spends her whole life trying to cover up a little mark over her heart. She covers herself with towels and blankets when Caroline isn’t looking, deeply ashamed of being different. It’s not until the end that this little stuffed bunny realizes that Caroline chose her BECAUSE of the mark on her fur, not in spite of it.
>Related Post: How to teach kids about God’s love
Prepare to get a little choked up when you read the words Caroline speaks as she nestles Audrey Bunny close to her heart:
“I chose you Audrey, and I love you more than you could ever know.”
It’s a beautiful message for both parents and kids. There are also some good, kid-friendly and thought-provoking questions at the end, as well as a sweet activity that will help bring the message home for your kids.
They have unimaginagble worth, because they are loved. And because they can never stop being loved, they can never lose their worth.
You can find this book, “Audrey Bunny” by Angie Smith on Amazon or at your local library.
>>RELATED POST: The 10 BEST Christian picture books for your whole family!
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