But he repeatedly asked to see The Jesus Storybook Bible sitting on the shelf until one day I decided we would just give it a try for his bedtime story. I told him it was a special book and set some rules: that he could touch the pictures but not turn the pages and he could only read it with an adult (so that he wouldn't tear it as he had done to many other paper books). That night, it was like reading to a different kid. I'm telling you, Brody was so attentive to the story. He sat quietly as he listened to the entire first story. He did not even try to turn the pages. He just studied the pictures and waited patiently for the pages to be turned. It was unbelievable. He LOVES turning pages. That is his favorite part of reading. So, we continued to read it each night. I would ask him before bed to pick out a book and he ALWAYS replied, "Bible."
This went on for months until April, last month. I went on a girls' weekend trip, leaving Brody behind for the first time with his dad and Aunt Jessi. While I was gone he got away with reading the book and turning the pages all by himself. (I should have expected he would get away with things since he was left with his dad and aunt, right?!) So, the night I returned home we sat down to read his Bible and he had a HUGE meltdown over not being able to play with the Bible and turn the pages himself. He had already bent some pages and ripped some others, so I only felt more sure that he needed the rules I had originally set for this special book. After a night or two of fierce temper tantrums, I had no choice but to declare a Bible restriction and hide it in our closet.
I felt horrible. What mother hides a Bible from a child who so eagerly wants to read it?! But, I knew if I let this continue it would turn ugly and the book would be ruined. I'm not exaggerating when I say this children's Bible is nothing short of amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it each night as it put new meaning to old stories. And, I have talked to other mothers who say the same. I wasn't willing to let him tear it up.
But tonight, after a month of Bible restriction, Jonathan decided it was time to pull it out of the closet and off the shelf to give it a try. I'm happy to report, the lesson was learned and his daddy was able to read it to him tonight while Brody patiently listened with a healthy respect for this special book. I'm glad it's back. I missed reading it too!
You may wonder why I would bother reading a big kid book to my toddler. Surely he isn't getting it, you might think. But, God promises us that his word does not return void. I don't know how, but I believe God is using the stories we read to him from this book.
"So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11