One of the questions I am often asked is why I have chosen to include spirituality and verses from the Bible in my children’s divorce recovery handbook, ‘The Mending Chronicles of Liam and Emily’. The short answer is HOPE. The longer answer will take some explanation.
For me, my spiritual path has followed the Christian tradition and the Bible has been one of the guiding lights through the years. I think that faith and spirituality is a journey unique to ourselves. It’s something we choose to embark on (or does it actually choose us?) to deepen our daily experience, bring meaning to our lives and commune with God.
I see the Bible as a lens with which I can look through to see how other people historically have walked out their spiritual journeys and what their understandings and experiences of God have been. Furthermore, I find their stories offer ancient wisdom and truths I can hold onto and apply to my life.
A perspective I have is that the Bible was written by people, about people, for people. I love this quote by the French Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
It’s a book for the human spirit for the human experience. It is filled to the brim with story after story of people who lived regular lives with life’s challenges, highs, lows and mundane bits too. But the thing that strikes me so often is that in this everyday trundle, their underlying spiritual journey facilitated the discovery of who God is, what that means for them and how they can live their very best lives within the context of what life has given them.
Why include the Bible in your children’s book?
The emotions that children of divorce feel have been experienced by people throughout the ages. Despite culture, kingdoms and time, emotions stay the same. Rejection, anger, grief, fear… There are stories in the Bible of ancient people who dealt with these things. I love how we can feel a kinship with these characters and their very real and raw feelings. The message I get is that we are not alone. This human experience is shared. I also love how these stories create opportunities for us to have conversations about their experiences and reflect on our own responses to them in relation to our present realities.
For instance, think of …
Hagar and her son being sent away and suffering rejection,
The disciples in the boat experiencing terrible fear during the storm,
How Moses burned with anger at the slave master’s cruelty,
Hannah’s grief in her infertility and unfulfilled dream,
Esther’s difficult time of adjustment to a life she hadn’t chosen when she was taken into the king’s harem,
And Joseph’s pain at his brothers’ betrayal and his ultimate journey to forgiveness.
Their reflections and exclamations of who God is and how he fitted into the mess of their lives offers a relevant hope and perspective to today’s reader. The words of these colourful characters can offer us comfort and HOPE.
When days get dark, questions like these surface: “Where is God? Why me? Does God care?” People in the Bible asked the same questions, which for me, validates our search for meaning. I think we spend our lives addressing the layers that these questions present, which in effect, is what the spiritual journey is all about. I have no doubt that these questions are essential, healthy and normal. In addition, honesty and conversation can enhance them. This was actually my vision for ‘The Mending Chronicles of Liam and Emily’. I saw parents taking the opportunities offered in the book to have these conversations with their kids and walk through their season of change together.
How is faith presented in The Mending Chronicles?
Each chapter in my book deals with a particular emotion. Chapter one is rejection, two is anger and so forth. Liam and Emily process their emotions with the help of an adult and I include a gentle Biblical response using the characteristics of who God is. For example, we have a heavenly father who will always love us and be with us, his love is steadfast, and much more.
At the end of each chapter, there is a page with a few Bible verses relating to the concepts in the story, so families can reference them and explore further. Again, it presents an opportunity for conversation which is a key design element of the book. Included in this page of verses is a blank space for children to be creative. My intention for this page was that they can interpret their thoughts visually and doodle or draw their responses to these Bible verses. This video will give you a better idea.
As a person who loves poems and literature, I really enjoyed collecting these beautiful texts in the Bible that offer comfort, HOPE and peace. For example …
“God sets the lonely in families.” Ps 68:8
“A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Proverbs 14:30
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Heb 13:5
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Ps 139:17, 18
As with most of my blog posts, I offer a printable PDF. My wish is that my resources can give parents and kids an opportunity to connect and have that meaningful conversation. Please enjoy this complimentary printable.
With Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s quote in mind, children are really just young spiritual beings in the shallows of their human experience. Learning to nourish and tend to their spiritual natures can set them up for a future of inner strength and a compass to find peace and HOPE. In a life changing event like divorce, surely kids can benefit from this spiritual support. It has the potential to bring a deeper meaning to their recovery experience. This is what ‘The Mending Chronicles of Liam and Emily’ is all about.