5 {Life-Transforming} Stories to Share with Your Kids

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In the last year my husband, John, and I have adopted four girls, ages 11–16, from foster care. When they first started doing weekend visits we learned a lot about them—their likes and dislikes, their hopes and their fears. How? Often something in our home would trigger a memory, and they would launch into a story. We learned about how they ended up in foster care, their first days of school, and the events that molded their personalities. 

In addition to sharing their stories, our girls often asked us to share ours. It never failed that after they got ready for bed they'd want to hear a story. They didn't want us to read from a fictional book (although that often happened, too). They wanted to hear about us, about our lives. 

Throughout the last year, the stories have not only been entertaining, but they helped our children understand us and our family culture. These stories have bonded us and have helped our children understand why we became who we are. Have you shared important stories from your life with your kids? If not, here are ones to start with:

1. The story of your salvation. Your children may think you always believed in God, never struggled, or never questioned your need for God in your life. Later when they have doubts, struggles, and questions they may think they are all alone. Share about your journey believing in Jesus and dedicating your life to Him. If you became a Christian at a young age, share about other faith steps as you grew older. How did your faith change and grow throughout the years?

2. A story of a vivid childhood memory. It's hard for our children to picture us a kids, yet it's our childhood that shaped who we are. One vivid memory I've shared is how my stepdad dropped me off at the wrong house for a birthday party when I was 5 years old. I didn't know the strangers and had no way to contact my parents. I ended up walking a few miles to my aunt's house with the person from the house driving behind me the whole way. That story gives a hint about my childhood, and it also explains a bit of my independence. Finally, that story explains why I'm so cautious with my own children. It's amazing how much about me can be explained by one vivid, impactful event.

3. A story of your romance and marriage. This is one of my children's favorite stories to hear, and they love hearing it from both me and my husband. They love asking questions about when we first noticed each other, our first date, and how the romance progressed. I'm pretty sure they've asked to hear the story of my husband's proposal a dozen times. We not only share moments during our dating that brought us together, but moments that almost pushed us a part. I'm learning that our stories help them understand the beginning of our relationship and provide insight into our marriage today.

4. A story of your biggest regret. This is possibly the hardest story to share with my children, but it's also important. Personally, my biggest regret was having an abortion when I was 15 years old. It's a choice I would change if I could go back in time, but it's also a regret that has impacted my life and molded my choices. Because of my bad decision I've dedicated a lot of time in helping others make good choices. I've helped start a crisis pregnancy center, and I mentor teenage mothers. Even though it's hard sharing our regrets, it's important for our children to understand how fears and self-focus led us to make bad choices. It also humbles us. Finally, our vulnerability opens the doors for them to approach us in the future when they struggle.

5. A story when you discovered purpose. When did you discover your unique gifts and talents? How did you find your career path? What hobbies give you joy? Our kids often struggle with who they are. They want to be like everyone else, even though we understand it's their uniqueness that will set them apart. Sharing stories of how you discovered your purpose will also help your children understand who God created them to be.

So, have I convinced you to opened up your heart and life? If so, here are just a few more short tips to help you:

  1. Make your stories age-appropriate. You can add more to your stories throughout time.
  2. Share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our kids already know we're not perfect. Being vulnerable encourages them to do the same.
  3. Don't force your story down their throat. If they don't seem interested, wait for a different time. I found that my kids are often eager to hear my stories at bedtime when the house is quiet and there are no distracting electronics.
  4. Finally, include God's point of view. Did your choices make God angry? Share that, but also share about His forgiveness. Can you imagine your decision making God jump for joy? Share that, too. Every decision in our lives impacts God in some way. Our children need to understand this, too.

Now, how about you? Have you shared stories of your life? Which ones? I'd love to hear how your stories have impacted your kids, too!

Blessings,

Tricia Goyer, TriciaGoyer.com

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of ten, grandmother of two, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published fifty books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. To connect with Tricia go to TriciaGoyer.com or www.Facebook.com/AuthorTriciaGoyer.

Promises and Princesses {A Review of Put Me In The Story}

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I have a little girl who is a big dreamer, do you?  I have four kids, three girls and one boy.  This little dreamer of mine is our second born.  She doesn't like to follow the rules.  She loves to be silly.  Most of all though, she loves to pretend, create something new and dream about things that I don't normally think of.  She is a little bit reckless, very unique and she just is her own girl.  You might have a child like this.  They expand your horizons, don't they? 

Last year I walked into my daughter's room to see if anything needed cleaning, and behold, on the wall above her bed was a garland of candy wrappers that she had created!  I know God has special things planned for my little dreamer, just like He has special things planned for all of your children too.

When I received the opportunity to review Disney’s Dream Big Princess book by Put Me In The Story I was thrilled.  My sweet daughter, the dreamer, is named Grace.  She enjoys reading books, but not really novels so much as books with big pictures and lots of colors.  Put Me In The Story invited me to make a personalized book for Grace, so I did!  I loved doing this so much! I definitely wanted to share the book with you as well as the  website so that you could make a book for your child!  

The first thing I loved about making a personalized book was the process!  I've never made a personalized book before, so this was all new to me!  I enjoyed selecting whether I wanted a paperback or hardcover book.  I was able to put who the book was from on the cover and I also was able to add some neat touches to the inside.  I would show you our cover, but the lighting was a little dark on the picture.  Here is an example from the company:

On the inside, you can write a special message to your child. I loved doing this.  I sat there and thought for a long time what I would like my daughter to remember.  This is what I came up with:

This book, the Disney’s Dream Big Princess connects the reader to each of the princesses and encourages the child to dream big by writing down some answers to self-discovery questions.  For example there are two pages with Princess Aurora on them.  The text reads, "Aurora dreamed of sharing her gift of song with those she loves.  What songs do YOU sing to make you feel cheerful?"  Then there is a spot for your child to write their response.  

On the page with Pocahontas, the book says, "Pocahontas loves and respects the earth and dreams that everyone else will too.  Circle the activities below that YOU do, Princess Grace Ellen (this part is personalized with your child's name) to show your love and respect for the earth."  Here is a picture of what this page looks like:

Here is another sample from within the book:

The book arrived in the mail promptly and as expected.  The quality was great and the colors throughout the book were vibrant.  My daughter was so excited that she told me she would "keep it forever."  I don't know how true that is.  We are still working on keeping her Bible in a spot where she can always find it, but I appreciate her tender response. 

Here is a picture of how thick the book is:

The moment that brought the biggest smile to Grace's face was upon finding her picture within the book!  The personalization allows for you to add two pictures of your daughter.  These were the pictures I chose:

I have nothing negative to say about this product.  My daughter loved it. I loved making it.  I love seeing her read it and I am so glad that it helps reinforce how special I think she is.

The pages of this book are filled with culturally diverse princess who offer different strengths.  I know there aren't Bible verses on the pages of this book, but it's easy to point out this truth to my daughter that princesses come in all shapes and colors. This is what I will say to her, "Grace, do you see how Mulan was strong and brave?  Do you see how Tiana was spunky and innovative? Do you see how none of these girls look the same?  These are only pretend princesses, but even though they are pretend, they still show us that God makes us all with unique gifts.  The Bible says 'Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10 So you, Grace, use your amazing creativity for the Lord.  I can't wait to see the woman you will become, but in the meantime, I am enjoying the beautiful girl you are right now."

I am eager to go read her a few pages of the book tonight and tuck her in.  Its a good thing to remind our daughters that they are princesses, don't you think?  Not princesses who are served, but princesses who use their gifts to faithfully serve in God's kingdom.  Now, that I think of it, maybe I need to make one of these books for myself so I can remind myself of that truth. 

Okay, maybe not, but here's the best personalized reminder, "For God so loved (insert your name here) that He gave His one and only Son that (insert your name) should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Reminding my princesses, and myself of this precious promise,

Lindsey Feldpausch :)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Lindsey Feldpausch

Lindsey Feldpausch is a sinner saved by grace who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her worship leader/youth pastor husband and four delightful kiddos fill life with unbelievably amusing quotes and sweet snuggles. She enjoys Christian rap music, mangoes, and Tim Hawkins. She celebrates not burning dinner. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice.

You are Not a Failure, You are a Daughter of the King

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You are Not a Failure, You are a Daughter of the King

There are many temptations in our world to fall into the trap of believing the lie that we are a failure. As wives, we struggle to compare our marriages to other's marriages, or to what we see portrayed in social media, movies, and in books. As moms, we are tempted to compare how good of mom we are. But the truth is, you are God's child, a daughter of the King. And He has the power to help you overcome any temptation, any obstacle, anything that is overwhelming. All you have to do is ask....

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