This is our last study on impacting the heart in mentoring and mothering — I know there is so much more that could be said, but we will end with a list of resources (with comments from our own Elizabeth) to help you through the summer, particularly as a mother and a mentor of children. Because this is a holiday weekend, and the video is long, I’m giving you two weeks to complete it. Then, in June, we begin our summer study!
I want to close with a story about friendship and how that can impact the heart. Studies reveal we become like the five people to whom we are closest — and that is true from childhood on.
I watched both our sons go through a time of rebellion in their teens, influenced, in part, by a poor choice of friends. When Sally (our third) came along I prayed and did what I could when she was little to encourage friendships with children from strong families. When she was in elementary school a group of mothers and their daughters met for breakfast weekly before school to study and pray. How thankful we were for their friendships, for they did help one another face the rapids of immorality in high school together with strength. When they were in their last year of high school they had done a Bible study on Esther together and were impressed with this woman who took such a courageous stand, being willing to perish to rescue her people. (As Keller would point out, she was willing to risk perishing for her people, but Christ actually did perish to rescue His people.)
These girls decided they would follow Esther’s model to try to reach their public high school peers for Christ. They fasted their lunches and prayed for wisdom, as Esther had fasted for wisdom. At the end of the week they heard that Campus Crusade (now CRU) was bringing the Jesus movie to our little Nebraska city. This movie had been melting hearts all around the world.
The girls decided they would draw straws and whoever drew the shortest straw would, like Esther, go to the “king” (the principal of the high school, Dr. Kenagy) and ask if they could host a showing of the Jesus Movie in the high school auditorium on a Saturday and put up posters in the halls and flyers on the cars. Sally drew the shortest straw. They also decided that she should go and make an appointment, but not talk to Dr. Kenagy immediately, but make him wait while they continued to pray, just as Esther had made the king wait. So, Sally went to Dr. Kenagy on that Friday and asked if she could make an appointment the next Monday to talk to him. He said, “I”m free right now, Sally, sit down and tell me what is on your mind.”
She said, “I can’t tell you yet. I need to tell you on Monday.”
He raised his eyebrows in question, but then laughed.”Okay, Sally — come in first thing Monday.”
When Sally came home and told me their plan, I was filled with doubts and fears. I really doubted a public high school principal would support this, even though it was legal. And I feared for the girls’ faith. Sally read my body language and told me she thought God would work in his heart — for he was much nicer than Xerxes. I knew enough to be quiet and pray.
Yet I never anticipated what would happen next. God amazed me. That weekend Sally and Dr. Kenagy’s daughter Katie were supposed to sing in their Madrigal choir at an event in Lincoln, Ne.
Sally went to Lincoln the night before to stay with her brother and sister-in-law and to buy a prom dress. But she forgot her black madrigal dress. So she called Katie, the principal’s daughter, and her friend, and asked her if she and her dad could stop by the choir room and bring it to her. They agreed to do so.
However, the next morning it was snowing, and in their rush to get going a bit early, they forgot Sally’s dress. Sally wore her “green prom dress” instead. She said, “Everyone kept expecting me to step out and do a little solo, which I never did.”
Dr. Kenagy left three messages on our answering machine, apologizing for the embarrassment Sally was caused, and it was evident he felt so badly.
On Monday, when Sally walked into his office, he said, “Whatever you want Sally — it’s yours.”
Flyers went on the cars, posters in the hall, and a hundred students came, with many trusting Christ and then being discipled in small groups. God moved — all I had to do was stay out of the way. And the girls never forgot it — their hearts were melted by God’s grace.
A footnote to this story is that this spring I gave a retreat in Omaha where Katie Kenagy was the M. C. It filled my heart with joy to see what a strong woman of God she has become. In high school she was just budding, and I didn’t even know she was a believer, but oh the fruit I saw that weekend. I asked permission to share this story and she said “Yes!” She laughed, “Whoever thought that God would use my forgetfulness in such a mighty way!”
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Week One (Memorial Day Week)
Proverbs for Moms and Mentors
2. Read Proverbs 1:1-19
A. What can the wisdom of Proverbs do, even for the simple, even for the young, according to verses 1-4?
B. What is the beginning of knowledge, according to verse 7?
C. Tim Keller differentiates between bad fear and good fear — and gives the example of how you feel in the presence of one your greatly revere and long to please. How do you fear the Lord?
D. What warning is given to “sons” and why in verses 10-19? What lies of the enemy does this uncover?
E. Pray for the children and teens you love now in light of the above passage.
3. What metaphor is used in Proverbs 27:17? How have you experienced this?
4. What ideas do you have for the mother who longs for her children to have godly friends? For yourself to have godly friends?
5. What warning is given in 1 Corinthians 15:33?
Week 2: (Beginning May 31)
Panel on Parenting from The Gospel Coalition
1. Books are great friends — so I want you to recommend three you have loved: One that changed your life, One great but edifying beach read, and One you love for children: And tell why in a sentence!
Here are mine:
Great beach read: Each Christmas I list my top three books of the year. This is my top so far, and I can’t imagine fiction getting better. She’s a Pulitzer Prize Winner for her book Gilead. Exquisite writing. Interesting in particular to Presbyterians. Wonderful character development. Favorite quote so far: “Papa always said we don’t need to understand to forgive, we need to forgive to understand.”
One I love for children: Life is hard — and we have to go through it, but Jesus will be with us. I add that application. And google the video on this to do it with your kids!
Changed My Life:
Great Beach Read:
For Children or Teens:
At the end of this panel they list books for teaching children, which our Elizabeth wrote down and commented on herself. It follows this video — you may want to copy and keep for shopping or inter-library loan.
7. Share your notes and comments:
The following our the resources they mentioned, with great comments from Elizabeth.
Big Truths for Little Kids (catechisms built in to the stories)-Susan Hunt;
We used this is 1st grade Sunday school—it takes the catechisms and puts them in simple short stories, questions at the end. Good for preschool to probably 1st.
Big Truths for Young Hearts (Bruce Ware)—”bedtime theology”
This is great material but just a little long and wordy for us. It says ages 9 and up, but I would say older—the chapters are long, it can get dry.
The Action Bible (comics-style Bible book, lots of graphics); also audio and devotional
Have this in ebook—a little weird to me, its really comic-style, maybe certain boys? Not so much us.
The Gospel Project Curriculum
We use this at Church, really solid curriculum for Sunday school.
Desiring God Kids curriculum
I’ve downloaded pieces of their stuff online—was actually about to get one on God’s Names—tons of good resources on that website.
The Big Storybook Bible
Not sure if they meant “Big Picture Story Bible”—I have a copy, its “ok”-? Just not my favorite for a storybook (of course I’m partial to Jesus Storybook Bible!)
The Children’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos
We love this one—you probably have it? I used it all summer for devotional time—it really keeps the detail and accuracy but is almost Message-style easy to read. I like it for the heavy Old Testament stories
Jesus Story Book Bible (SLJ)
( still my top favorite
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing (SLJ)
Really still love this one too—so short, but always good devotions, great for a quick morning thought)
Show Them Jesus (Jack Klumpenhower)
Don’t have it—looks great.
Give Them Grace (Fitzpatrick)
It’s good, didn’t get a whole lot new from it, but some eye openers—like “pharisee princess”
Exploring Grace Together (Jessica Thompson )
I really like this one, surprised me. It is short daily devotions, really takes gospel truths and applies to real-life kid scenarios. Elementary to middle school.
Answering your kids toughest questions (Elyse and Jessica)
Don’t have this one.
Also–We have been using Long Story Short (he also wrote Short Story Long) by Marty Machowski for nightly devotions for about a year—its really solid, very gospel-centered.
I also really like Long Story Short & Short Story Long—Marty Machowski, was surprised they didn’t mention it.
8. What is your take-a-way and why?
Next week we begin the summer study — I’ll send out an e-mail you can forward to friends!