In the spring of 2015 Faith Formation Ministries launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the revision of the God Loves Me storybooks. Apart from raising funds, the goal of the campaign was to get the books — loved and used in churches and in preschools for over 16 years — into the home of every family with young children. Why? Because the primary place faith is nurtured is in the home and the God Loves Me storybooks are an amazing faith nurturing tool.
Many of the donors who funded that revision were grandparents who wanted to support and encourage the faith formation of their grandchildren. Since the release of the books last October, those grandparents have been sharing with us heartwarming stories of the impact the books are having on their grandchildren and those around them. If you’d like your heart warmed today, read on.
Making Connections. When one grandma asked her three year old granddaughter to help set the table she expected her to arrange the placemats, plates and cups on the table. What she didn’t expect — and what made her eyes well up with tears — was what happened after the table was set. The little girl picked up the family Bible, cradled it in her hands and carefully walked it over to the table. As she set the Bible on the dinner table, the grandma heard her say the words that begin every God Loves Me storybook, “This is God’s book, the Bible. It’s for Grandma and Grandpa and Mommy and Daddy. It’s for me too!”
Sharing the Story. Another grandma wrote to tell me that she had purchased two sets of books — one to keep at her house and one for her 2 ½ year old grandson to have at home. Her grandson looks forward to having one read to him each day at naptime and again at bedtime. He’s learned that the last page of each book includes a prayer and so when they get to the end of the story he folds his little hands into the hands of whomever is reading the book. One night when his other grandparents were visiting he asked if they would bring him to bed. After tucking him in, he requested his God Loves Me bedtime story. Although these grandparents aren’t believers, they obliged. At the end of the story, the grandson folded his hands into those of his grandpa and grandma and led them in prayer.
Leading Devotions. And here’s one of my own. At our extended family dinner last Christmas, my mom asked two of her grandchildren if they would lead the family in our opening and closing devotions. Steph, age 27, opened the meal in prayer. Emma, age 2, led the closing devotions. With the help of her dad, Emma read Jesus is Born! The Story of Christmas (book #24) and then--after making sure we all had folded our hands and closed our eyes--tucked her hands into those of her father as he read the concluding, “Dear God, thank you for sending baby Jesus. We’re glad you love us so much. Amen.”
What these grandparents expected when they provided their children and grandchildren with a wonderful version of God’s story was that the faith of their grandchildren would be nurtured. What they didn’t expect was how their faith would be nurtured in return. Faith formation is like that.Keep the stories coming!