{Celebrating Beautiful} When Kids Know God Better than We Do, by Elizabeth Thompson

In blogging for the last 6 years, I’ve written about many different topics, but one theme that has remained constant has been my focus of sharing about how our family is discovering the beauty in difference and choosing to celebrate the incredible beauty all around us, and how we want to encourage others to do the same. After connecting with so many others with truly amazing stories, I started a guest blog series called Celebrating Beautiful, as it relates to beauty however it can be interpreted: parenthood, faith, your kids, an experience, home, and so much more.
 
I got to know Elizabeth Thompson after her first book was released by our shared publisher. She is clearly the ambitious sort because she released a second book a year later! 🙂 I was excited to get to endorse When God Says Go, and I know this message of what it means to trust God and his perfect timing will really impact a lot of people. *Elizabeth is giving away a copy today – just leave a comment to be entered to win!*
Here is Elizabeth Thompson on Celebrating Beautiful…

“God paint trees, Mommy.”

My two-year-old beams up at me, pointing a chubby finger at the thick trees shading our front lawn.

Her word choice surprises a laugh out of me. “You know what? You’re right! God did paint those trees.”

I swirl the word paint around inside, exploring the delightful image of God the great Artist, paintbrush in hand, painting trees—a touch of green, a knot in wood, a crooked limb.

But my daughter is not done expounding. Her finger sweeps the yard. “God paint wow-ee.”

“Yes, and the flowers too.” A fragment of scripture flits across my mind: Lift up your eyes . . . who created all these?

Again the little finger searches, points. “God paint grass. Pink grass.”

I laugh, not bothering to correct her colors when she’s in the middle of a theological epiphany. “Oh yes, God painted the grass!”

She tips her honey-and-sunshine curls back, squinting up. “God paint sky. Clouds. Sun. Moon.” She casts me a smug grin as if to say, Aren’t you impressed that I know so many “sky” words?

“Oh, yes, you’re right. God painted all of those things,” I say. “Aren’t they beautiful?” I glance up at puffy clouds drifting on a sea of blue. The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Hazel eyes dancing, my daughter flings her hands out wide, the grand finale: “God paint me!”

I am struck speechless. I catch her up in my arms and bury my face in her sweet baby-soap smell.

She pushes me back and insists: “God paint me! Mommy tummy!” Pudgy fists pressed against my chest, round eyes locked on mine, she awaits my response.

At last I find my voice. “Oh, yes, darling, God painted you in Mommy’s tummy.”

She snuggles in and squeezes tight.

Even now her words echo inside me, a gorgeous refrain: God painted me. Such profound insight, from one so young, so fresh from heaven. God made us, yes, but more than that: he painted us.

I can just picture it: The great Artist takes up his paintbrush, selects his canvas, lays out his paints—a thousand hues of possibility—and ponders: What to create today? Oh, I know!

Humming happily to himself, he dips his brush in paint and begins with just a single stroke: conception. Another stroke, a pause for inspiration—she’s taking shape now. A dab here, a curve there. He stops, debating: What color eyes to give? He mixes shades—a hint of green, a streak of caramel, a few golden flecks—there. Just right.

He chuckles to himself, picturing those eyes lit with wonder the first time they see a rainbow, a dandelion, a puppy. Now for the hair. He thinks for a moment, tapping his brush against his lip. I’ll borrow a little curl from her grandfather, a touch of auburn from her great-great-grandmother, a wild cowlick from her mother . . . oh, yes. Beautiful.

On and on he paints—long fingers, clumsy feet, knobby knees, crooked nose (because as any great artist knows, it’s the imperfections that make it perfect); and then he bestows talents: kindness, gentleness, a knack for organizing closets, a flair for piano and poetry—and when he is finished, he steps back, eyes shining.

Even more beautiful than I imagined, he thinks. Oh, yes. This is good. She is very, very good. In the corner, he signs his name.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

(Psalm 139:13–16)

Elizabeth’s new book, When God Says, “Go”: Rising to Challenge and Change without Losing Your Confidence, Your Courage, or Your Cool, encourages us to overcome fear, insecurity, and regret when God comes calling. She is also the author of When God Says, “Wait.” Elizabeth writes at LizzyLife.com about clinging to Christ through the chaos of daily life. As a minister, speaker, and novelist, she loves finding humor in holiness and hope in heartache. Elizabeth lives in North Carolina with her preacher husband and four miracle kids. They were totally worth the wait—and now they keep her on the go. You can connect with Elizabeth on her author site, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

“Celebrating Our Stories” Releases!

“Why do you think he’s in a wheelchair?”

My daughter pointed to the outline of the man pushing the large wheels of his chair on the page in front of us.

“I’m not sure,” I answered honestly. “Maybe he hurt his legs, or maybe he was born with legs that aren’t able to walk.”

Whatever the reason, I was aware in that moment of the important lesson being shared over our library book: learning about someone who is different than ourselves.

As parents, we’re all trying to do our best every day. We love our kids fiercely, don’t we? And we want to raise our children to be kind individuals by modeling empathy and acceptance.

People are ALL different. What an incredible world it might be if we could show our children how to recognize that others are truly people first, despite any differences!

But how do we teach them this? How do we empower them to feeling empathy for another person or to appreciate that a peer has different abilities, culture, skin color than themselves?

Story is one of the most powerful gifts we can offer to our kids! That’s right – through reading quality children’s book, we can impact our children’s lives in a big way… not only teaching them new words and concepts but more importantly, new feelings and ideas.

Why are stories so powerful for our kids?

Stories allow us to learn about each other. A story enables us to imagine how we may feel in situations we have never been in or to appreciate someone’s life that we have never met – developing empathy for those we encounter throughout our lives.

Through the characters who grow within a well-told story, books foster new ideas, new cultures, new ways of living. Instead of pity, we can come to better understand. Instead of apathy, we can learn to connect and bridge. Instead of intolerance, we can learn to celebrate how uniquely we were all created.

That’s why I’m BEYOND THRILLED today to share my brand-new book:

 Celebrating Our Stories

In Celebrating Our Stories, you’ll learn:
-Why it’s important to start teaching your children about kindness and respect at a young age
-The best ways to help your children understand, appreciate and celebrate differences – their own and other people’s!
– Why reading books is so powerful for learning about how to treat others
– The best books to read based on the topics you’re interested in!

Celebrating Our Stories contains more than ONE HUNDRED carefully chosen children’s books organized by theme, including:
Celebrating Yourself
Different Appearances
Cultural Differences
Differently Abled
Kindness and Respect
Empathy and Thinking of Others

For this week only, it’s available for a special launch price of just $3.99!! At the end of Friday, it will go up to its regular price of $6.99 – so don’t wait around!

Grab Celebrating Our Stories for only $3.99 here