I was tidying up the kitchen yesterday morning after the children left for school. I found this paper sitting on the kitchen table, with Jewel's pink Precious Moments Bible open next to it. I had seen her copying something down while I was making lunches, doing breakfast dishes and packing backpacks. But I hadn't really seen what she doing.
And now, staring down at the verses she had copied onto this piece of notebook paper, my throat began to choke up.
I remembered saying casually to Jewel a couple days earlier: "Why don't you read the Bible for a few minutes?" She had been spinning idly on my desk chair, waiting for her brother to finish getting ready for school.
"OK," she said. I opened her Bible to Psalm 119 and she began reading. A few moments later, it was time for the mad-dash to school.
The next morning, she'd voluntarily fetched her Bible, some paper, a pen and begun copying the verses she'd read the day before.
I didn't tell her to do this. Bible-reading is not a mandatory part of the morning routine. We don't have formal prayers or regimented devotional times.
However, The Mateo and I both enjoy reading our Bibles. The children often come into our room in the morning and see The Mateo on his knees, praying and reading Scripture. We tend to incorporate the Word into everyday situations without setting aside rigid "Bible Study" times. It's just part of us, y'know?
I have always wanted my children's faith to be voluntary, spontaneous, the welling up of unabashed joy in a loving God. Bible stories, talks about God, Scripture memorization have never been a chore, a task or rule around here!
I will be storing away this little scrap of my daughter's faith as a reminder that I don't ever have to force or mandate faith in my children. All I have to do is be in love with Him.
We love Him because He first loved us.