Carrie’s life was transformed when she was diagnosed with a crippling autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Fear, hopelessness, and depression grabbed hold of her heart as she faced a lifetime of diability. Despite horrible pain and severe physical limitations, Carrie found hope in Jesus Christ. Now in remission, she can walk and participate fully in life again. With this newfound physical freedom Carrie responded to God’s call on her life. In 2009, she founded Comfort & Compassion Ministry to share Christ’s hope to hurting women. One year later God miraculously opened doors for Carrie to host U2HaveHope, a national radio program which shares compelling stories of hardship and faith. An award winning author, Carrie is devoted to reaching women with the good news of Christ.
You definitely don’t want to do what I did.
I thought I was fully prepared for our family devotional night: Bible and lesson plan-check; television off – check; kids – check. However, in hind sight, I can see now the whole thing was doomed.
Rookie Mistake #1: I put all three children, ages eleven, nine, and six, in the same room. But wait, isn’t that the family part of family devotional night? I thought so too, but I quickly learned my error.
Rookie Mistake #2: Not only was there typical sibling discord about seating arrangements and whose foot was touching whose body, but there was also a vast disparity in reading abilities and comprehension. The older children, bored after quickly writing the Bible verse in their notebook, fidgeted and fussed while I helped the youngest with spelling. It only got worse.
Rookie Mistake #3: I thought my daughters would appreciate the wisdom and insight of their big brother. I’ve never been more wrong. Whenever I asked a question, he smugly blurted out the answer. No one else had a chance to respond. The night ended with the girls in tears, my son chastised, and a personal vow never to repeat that drama.
Now, after much trial and error, I’ve devised a plan that works for my family. In coordinating your own devotional night, maybe I can save you a lot of frustration. Here are a few suggestions:
Family Bible Study Tips
1. Keep it Age Appropriate: My six year old enjoys reading a comic book style Bible. She practices reading and sees God’s Word picture format. For my nine year old daughter, I found a topical Bible study on friendships. It comes complete with magazine-style quizzes, sample prayers, an Bible verses revealing Jesus as her True Friend.
2. Keep it Interesting: Use computers to your advantage. I challenge my eleven year old son to study Scripture on reputable websites. After we read the verse, he writes it in his notebook and then we discuss. It’s simple, but appealing to a pre-teen. These sites have been a great hit with our family: bible.org and blueletterbible.org.
3. Keep it Personal: Family Bible study doesn’t necessarily mean group time. From now on, my motto is One Parent, One Child. Each morning before school, my son and I read Scripture and pray together. But, that technique doesn’t work for my daughters. They enjoy time alone with me at bedtime, when we read a Bible verse, pray, and talk about their day.
I’ve learned a lot since that aspirin-inducing event – my kids have, too. It’s not just reading the Bible that counts, but discovering how God created each child to learn, know, and love Him. Kids aren’t interested in busy work, but they jump at the chance to spend quality time with Mom or Dad.
What devo time style works best for your family? Do your tweens or older/younger children have a favorite study?
Although we have yet to meet face-to-face, I feel I’ve known Carrie forever. Right off the bat, I found her Biblical insights and encouraging spirit through adversity to be authentic and fresh. And since Carrie is an award winning author and a radio host, I’m clearly not the only one who respects her smarts! Through it all, she parents with love and grace by living these qualities, not just talking about them. Thank you, Carrie, for walking the walk and joining our tween parenting series!