Friday, February 16, 2018

Why I Wrote a "Secular" Book

Since I'm a Lutheran pastor, people are sometimes surprised that I didn't write a "Christian" book when I set out to write Bubble Wrap Girl.  For me, the choice was very intentional, and to put it simply, I did not want to limit the potential for any child to not hear this book's message, simply because it was labeled in a certain way.

Bubble Wrap Girl is about not letting setbacks or fear hold us back from discovering all that life has to offer and chasing our dreams.  It's about remember who we are deep down, and I want all kids-regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what their situation is at home, to know that they have what it takes within them to do hard- and great- things.

Of course, it's my faith that informs this belief.  At night, when I kiss my kids goodnight, I mark them with the sign of the cross on their forehead and remind them, "God made you special and loves you very much."  This is something I want them to know and lean on as they continue to through life. 

I believe God made each of us unique, with inner-strength and worth, and that God gave each of us gifts to use for good.  But regardless of their faith upbringing, I also want other kids to hear this message one way or another.

Not long ago, I preached a sermon on our identity as a child of God.  This is the name we receive through baptism and the promises we receive through baptism are what allow us to go forward confidently in life, knowing that no matter what happens, God is there and God's love will abide.

When talking to parents who want to have their child baptized, I often tell them that baptism is not "fire insurance," in case something bad happens to us.  Rather baptism is "life insurance," because the reality is that bad things will happen.  Yet the promise of baptism is that we are not alone and God will see us through.

Though I didn't use overt God language in Bubble Wrap Girl, this is the message that propelled me to write the book and the message that I hope kids learn as they read it.  And it's my hope that this is a message that they will remember and that will sustain them as they face things like mean girls, put downs, being cut from a team, moving to a new school or feeling like they don't fit in. 

To me, Bubble Wrap Girl is a book that celebrates resilience and the inner-worth that is inside each one of us.  Somehow in life, I got this message, and I am grateful for that.  However, I also wish it was one that I had embraced more confidently earlier on so that I wouldn't have spent so much time and energy in my younger years trying to be someone other than who God made me to be. 

So as you read this- and if you read Bubble Wrap Girl- I hope you are reminded that you are a child of God.  God made you special and loves you very much.  And whether it feels like it or not, you have what it takes within you to do hard- and great- things.

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