As a little girl, I have vivid memories of library trips. Down the street, into the library, up the stairs and around the corner to... augh! The kid section. Dr. Suess covers, and Island of the Blue Dolphin posters smiled at me as I took it all in. I went there probably once a week. To this room full of books. Oversized books. Picture books. Hand-sized books. Mystery. Adventure. Fiction. Non-fiction. Rows of Laura Ingalls Wilder stories stared back at my wide, eager eyes.
It was largely due to having two parents that teach, where my love of reading and books was born. But teaching can only take one so far. As soon as I could read, I was hooked. I couldn't get enough. It was my childhood candy addiction. Pages and pages to be scoured, imagined, dreamed of, and re-read. To this day, two of my all-time favorite childhood books remain James and the Giant Peach and The Secret Garden. Not only because of the worlds I escaped to as the stories were read, but mostly because the particular copies I owned were worn, with faded covers, and uneven page edges. It felt like it had been read by other children, hundreds of years earlier, and therefore, it made my specific copy that much more adventurous and sacred.
So thank you, library, for awakening one of my deepest loves~ reading. Thank you for holding Sylvester and the Magic Pebble on your shelf. And Shel Silverstein. Phantom Tolbooth and Nancy Drew. And yes, even the popular Babysitter's Club escape reads. You didn't simply carry pages, and bindings, and words in that special room, with the children's book-cover posters on the wall, you stirred imagination and passion for what could be found inside the bindings of each cover.
As an adult, I probably have have 4-7 books on my night-stand at any given time. Some that I read faithfully every day, and others I browse when I'm letting my clay face mask dry. Some to benefit me spiritually, as a leader, as a wife, as a parent, and others that are purely for escape or charm.
In honor of my love for reading and in dedication to that quaint childhood library room, I will be doing regular book reviews. If you share a love for pages, and bindings, and words, I'll do my best to review a current read, and whether or not you should waste your time or money on it!
Without further adieu, I'll highlight just one of the books sitting on my night-stand. It's one of my favorites because it is not the typical book I would reach for, nor is it an easy read. It requires much thought, chewing on words and phrases, pondering what is being conveyed, then soaking it in prayer and verbally exhaling it out of my everyday actions. It's a parenting book, and it has rocked my world!
Spiritual Parenting, by Michelle Anthony.
Only having read to Chapter 4 thus far, this book has completely taken the little parenting puzzle I know, or have attempted in my three measly years as a mom, shaken it in a huge jar, dumped it upside- down, and forced me to pick up the pieces and create an entirely new puzzle. A parenting puzzle designed only for Tanner and Ty, with the center being God's grace, and surrounding that center, Bryan and I holding hands, heads bowed.
In a nutshell, I have learned this: Christian parenting is not a list of do's and don'ts...
Don't have sex until you are married.
Do read your bible every night.
Do be obedient always.
Don't question God.
Do listen to your parents. Yadda yadda yadda. Yes, those are all good things. But they are not the best!
Do's and don'ts can mistakenly attempt to teach children to be perfect.
Instead, Spiritual Parenting encourages each parent to authentically live out lives that love Jesus, offer grace, show daily forgiveness, healthy communication, and provide a protective home to ask questions and think. Our role as Christian parents is not to raise Christian robots, but to be real, and show who Jesus is in our actions and words. This, our children will watch, and notice, and learn from.
This, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts. Is the book saying that we sit back and pray that the Holy Spirit saves our kids, and we can just fast-forward through the bible stories? No! But it does encourage us to really think about how we present Jesus in our homes to our kids... do they only hear about Jesus on Sundays at Sunday School, and the five minutes after, when we ask them what they learned as we walk to the car? Or is it a daily, lived out, real testimony of our faith?
There's a snippet, and I'm only getting started. I love it! I recommend it. The book makes me want to intentionally live out Jesus to my children. Every. Day. And then invite them into the bigger story, their own story, of Christianity.
I hope you enjoy it. If you grab a copy, please let me know what you think. Everyone has differing opinions, and I delight in hearing them all :)
Happy reading. Happy page-turning and cover holding. Happy ...