Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Jesus Storybook Bible Saved My Faith (Guest Post by Abby Norman)

Today is the fifth installment of The Books that Read Us series. I love this post from Abby Norman on how The Jesus Storybook Bible saved her faith: 

I bought my girls the Jesus Storybook Bible on a whim. I bought it because not everyone was white. I bought it because all my friends were talking about it. Mostly, I bought it because it was a great price on Amazon, under 10 dollars I think. That book is worth more than I can say.

My husband and I were in a major de-construction phase in our faith. We were pretty  sure we believed in God, we were pretty sure we were down with Jesus. After that we weren’t so sure. What the heck do we believe about all of the old testament? We didn’t know. We didn’t know if it was fact, or if it were metaphor, or how much the answer to that questions mattered. We didn’t know quite what to make of the passages in the new testament saying I needed to cover my head and be silent. We were surprised at how little the Bible actually said about issues we had been told were “clearly stated.”

We just had a lot of questions, and not a lot of safe places we felt like we could put those questions. We had a lot of questions at about the same time our girls began asking their own.

“Did that whale really eat that guy?”
“What happened to the little kids when the flood came?”
“Does God love bad guys?”
“Is that man on that cross because He made bad choices?”

I found myself responding with questions of my own.

“What do you think?”
“Why are you asking that?”
“I don’t know. How do you think we could get an answer?”

I had spent most of my life with a faith that had very little questions. I was completely confident in my answers, and now I had no idea how to answer the questions my children were asking.

I found solace for these questions in the Jesus Storybook Bible. All the stories pointed back to Jesus, and that was the one thing I wasn’t questioning. The rainbow in the flood story pointing to a promise fulfilled in Jesus. The story I always hated so much of Leah being ignored by Jacob, became a testament to the fact that God did not forget her. The introduction had me weeping, about the greatest love story ever told, and I bought the Kindle version and read parts of it through tears to my Bible study. When asked to participate in the Advent readings, my husband read out of the Jesus Storybook Bible.

My husband took bed time reading for about two months in a row and would leave the girls room wiping his eyes. I still wasn’t sure what was fact or not, but I was deeply reminded of what was true.  God is love. Jesus died for my sins. If you know how to look, all things point to these truths.

It isn’t that the Jesus Storybook Bible answered all of my questions. It certainly didn’t answer the questions of my children. We are still working out the details to what exactly we believe. But it did anchor us to the place of what we are sure is true, what we are sure is good, what we are sure we still believe. It  reminded us that even if we disagree on important things, we can commune with all brothers and sisters in these truths: Christ died, Christ has Risen, Christ will come again.

I bought the Jesus Storybook Bible on a whim. I am so glad it was there to catch my faith.


Abby thrives on distributing complex ideas to the masses. As a teacher, Abby began her career in one of the most under served areas of the country. There she discovered her voice in the classroom as she explored concepts like race, gender, and social justice through the literature her students were reading. She is sure she learned more than she taught. Her students showed her that most people are interested in engaging and improving the world if they are just given the words to explore it. As the mother of a three and four year old, Abby has found that this concept holds true. While she most often speaks to her students, Abby loves to discuss equality and justice in all forms. You can find her blogging on the intersection of faith and everyday life at and tweeting at @accidentaldevo. A blog her 2014 voice of the year, and nationally recognized speaker, the highest praise Abby has ever received came from a 16 year old boy who told her she "made English not suck." Abby believes in champagne for celebrating everyday life, laughing until her stomach hurts and telling the truth, even when it is hard, maybe especially then. Abby loves all kinds of Girl Scout cookies and literally burning lies in her backyard fire pit.

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