The Best Bible Study Ever Written
It was the first day of school and as with most first days, my children were ready early. Very early. I hugged my older children at the school entrance and sent them on their way, but the youngest and I held hands the whole way to her classroom, where I hugged her extra tight before leaving her in her teacher’s care. She found her desk and flashed me the proudest of grins – my baby, now my kindergartner.
I entered a quiet house, and having become a mother young, quiet was unusual. Not cause for tears, just unusual. This quiet meant freedom – a new phase of motherhood. I wiped cereal from the kitchen table and went for a run.
Freedom and I became fast friends. I continued doing the usual things – meal prep, laundry, budgeting, and the endless errands for a family of six – but now I had time for the less usual things, like lunch with or friend or a book by the pool. Life was fantastic.
But some days, the undefined space made me feel undefined. I was a mom doing important mom things, and doing them without a child in tow didn’t bother me, but I needed something more. Something with heart, something that mattered, something so personal, only I could do it. I needed a ‘new chapter of motherhood’ kind of something.
One afternoon, at a kitchen table still crumb-less from breakfast, I asked the Lord, “What should I be doing with this time?”
And just as He does throughout the Bible, He replied with a question: “What do you want to do?”
Open-ended questions often spark ideas never before considered, and in that moment, I suddenly knew: I wanted to journal through the entire Bible for each of my four kids. I bought four journals, broke an 18-month completion goal into weekly reading requirements, and started on page one…with many blank pages to go.
But those blank pages were wide open for daily discoveries and I enjoyed the freedom of each journal entry. If a Bible character shared a strength with one of my children, I’d cheer them on in nurturing that strength. If it was a special day or if a specific challenge had been overcome, I’d write about it in relation to the day’s passage. When a Bible promise spoke to a child’s particular fear, I’d gently encourage them to let go of the fear and embrace God’s promise. I made mention of favorite verses or ways God had used certain stories during stretching seasons of my life.
Some passages took more contemplation, but I found I was more willing to reflect as I read. ‘Bible time’ was no longer just a task on the to-do list and the journal weren’t a project, but something precious – the pouring of my faith and heart into love notes for my children. Tasks always needed done and days were full, so I learned to make room in my life by waking up earlier and cutting TV time. When I needed to refresh, I’d allow myself pause from the journals, but never too long. I wanted to finish.
Twenty months later, I dotted the last period, stacked the journals on the coffee table, and breathed deeply. A mother’s labor of love was ready to be gifted. This was a finish line moment.
But truly, the gift wasn’t simply pages filled for my children. The journaling discipline had written God’s Word deep in my heart, and His living pages had fueled my conversations and filled our home. I’d hoped to influence my children’s understanding of God’s truth with the journals, but instead, I’d been reminded of my Father’s love for me. That profound love influenced everything – my perspective, my patience, my wisdom in real-life moments – shaping me into the mother my growing children needed. A new chapter of motherhood, indeed.
Mama, if your house is unusually quiet this back-to-school season, or if your quiet time has become stagnant, I encourage you to journal Bible truths for your children. Start small – just start! – and see what finishing work God does in you!
Guest Contributor, The Better Mom
Michelle Stiffler mentors at a nonprofit for vulnerable women across Phoenix, and teaches classes on getting unstuck, establishing boundaries, ditching insecurity, finding courage, and other useful skills never taught in school. She’s a wife and mother of 4, a rogue chef, voracious reader, fitness enthusiast, and a sucker for bike rides and sunshine. She's also an unwavering believer in the power of prayer and reflects on truth, faith, and being human at www.onemoretruth.com.
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