Jessica Wolstenholm spent the year diving into Bible stories that help teach kids about tough topics like strength, faith, and encouragement. See her posts below and find Biblical illustrations to help navigate life lessons with your children.
I’m slowly getting over the fact that my daughter is in kindergarten and already dealing with a “mean girl” by focusing my energy on intentionally teaching her how NOT to be one and how to love one. Though I’m surprised and honestly annoyed that we are facing this issue, I am thankful the interaction is encouraging us to make love the theme in our conversations of faith.
“Mommy, I’m strong and courageous!” he shouts with fists clenched, muscles flexed and feet ready for battle. We’ve taught our two year old this declaration, which represents the name we so purposefully gave him. Our Joshua will be a man of strength if we have anything to do with it. Our boy will be courageous because, with God’s help, we’ll show him the way.
In the past three years, my husband and I have both lost our moms. Walking through illness and asking God for healing that we know He may or may not bring is hard with children who are watching and learning about faith. The beauty of childlike faith is that in their innocence they find it easy to believe. Most children have not experienced the reality of deep disappointment that often shakes the faith of the rest of us. So how do we share faith with our children when we ourselves have had our faith tested?
The beauty of encouragement is that as we encourage our kids, we can teach them to be an encourager to others. As we build their hearts up with words, we can show them how to do the same for others. Encouragement should always be a stream of positive words and actions that flow into and out of our lives. Encouragement can be a powerful example of God’s work in our lives.
The Bible is full of examples of beautiful relationships that were built on love and loyalty, not ambition and convenience. I want to overcome the current state of our culture and return back to the root of relationships I was taught as a child. I want for my kids what I experienced years ago – hours of carefree fellowship and connection based on the common ground of faith.
Ok, I’m being truly vulnerable here – letting you in on one of my biggest weaknesses as a mom. I’m so impatient and this struggle affects how I lead and guide my children. Thank God for his amazing grace that covers my kids and me as we muddle through.
One of the best ways we can teach our children anything is through modeling. I suppose it’s a good thing I do a stellar job modeling the need for forgiveness. And I’m learning the balance that gives them boundaries while teaching them about the grace that is available when they make mistakes, modeling their opportunity to receive forgiveness.
The Bible is full of stories of healing. It can be confusing to teach your children about miracle healing when we see lack of (earthly) healing all around us. We will never understand the mystery of why God sometimes heals and sometimes doesn’t heal in modern days when throughout the Bible we read of healing after healing. I believe, back then, God was establishing his authority and Jesus was establishing his deity. Healing was one way Jesus exemplified the power of God within him. Now, he is establishing the kingdom and I believe he wants us to focus on eternity. When we teach our children to have eternal perspective early on, they will learn to trust in God’s goodness even when he does not heal here on earth.
The world is full of so much noise that makes it hard to know what’s right anymore. Passionate people on all sides of the table have countless opportunities to share their beliefs through books, blogs, television shows and church pulpits. All of the loud chatter often leads to confusion. But God has given us a wealth of wisdom in the Bible. We need to rise above the noise and dig into his Word to find answers for this complicated life we are living. And as we seek his answers to the questions in our own lives, we can guide our children to do the same.
In the midst of stress, disappointment, sadness or great joy, the Lord deserves the pleasure of our gratitude. When we truly understand the magnitude of our blessed lives, we can turn our complaints into thanksgiving.
I am trying to honestly share the struggle for true joy with my children and invite them into the process of joy. Joy is more than happiness in the moment. Joy is the deep and abiding presence of contentment, peace and pleasure. It’s what I want most for us this holiday season and the whole year through.
Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. After 15 years in the music and publishing industries, Jessica came home to be with her two small children. Although the transition from the corporate world to the playground has been an adjustment, she is learning every day to access the grace available to us through Christ as she navigates the full time job of motherhood. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey to Motherhood and The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey Through Baby’s First Year. Jessica lives in Nolensville, TN with her husband, Dave and two miracle babies, Hope (6) and Joshua (3).