November 18, 2017

Making Home a Haven: The Paper Bible

I recently had the privilege of attending the beautiful and inspiring Mom Heart Conference.  What I came away with was not anything I didn’t already know, not anything fundamentally formulaic that would single-handedly change the course of my life, nothing that I hadn’t really heard my whole life already.  Nonetheless, I left feeling renewed, energized, motivated.  I saw my role as mother, as heart-keeper of my home, with more clarity than I have in a number of years.

When asked why this conference was so good, and what I liked best about it, my answer has not been about Sally Clarkson, who is nothing short of amazing, by the way, but her daughter, Sarah.  I could have listened to Sarah Clarkson speak, and then left the conference with the inspiration I needed.  Sarah is delightful.  She is articulate, brilliant, poised, graceful, poetic, and eloquent.  She captivates her audience not with bold presentation or by hilarious comedy, but with story.

Sarah’s life paints the story of a child whose heart was tenderly and intentionally kept.

A Mother Who Reads the Bible is Making Her Home a Haven.

No doubt, a mother who reads her Bible diligently has Eternal perspective in making her home a haven while focusing on her Heavenly home.

One thing that Sarah said made the biggest impact on me.  She was talking about how different women had influenced her life, and her mother was the biggest influence, of course.  And one of the reasons for that was that every morning, Sarah remembers getting up and coming into the kitchen and seeing her mother sitting there with her coffee and her Bible, where she was reading and studying before the day began.

See?  I told you I didn’t learn anything really that we didn’t already know.  We already knew that moms should read the Bible, right? And while that is entirely essential to living our lives for God and growing in wisdom and being able to instruct and train our children, that’s not my whole point here.

Sarah SAW her mother reading her Bible.

The Importance of a Paper Bible

For years, I did that.  I got up every morning and read, starred, and underlined in my Bible.  I highlighted my favorite passages, and usually with a different color depending on the day.  I kept my paper Bible with me on the sofa and I’d grab a chapter or two here and there throughout the day when my first two babies were little.  In later years, when time seemed challenging to fit reading in, I would stuff it into my purse and take my Bible with me to practices to read while waiting for boys to finish.  Having loved on it so much, and enduring the hard terrain of a busy schedule, sitting on kitchen tables, getting pulled out from a pile of stuff in the van, and being grabbed by toddler hands while I tried to read for five minutes here or there, the leather cover finally gave way and began to pull away from the binding.

And almost like the Velveteen Rabbit, that Bible found itself stored on a shelf for quite some time, collecting dust, while my children no longer SAW ME reading that very real, very living Book.

Not that I wasn’t reading the Word of God.  I was still reading.

My kids just couldn’t see what I was doing.

You see, technology has changed the way we do things, and when I am looking at my phone or computer screen, they don’t know what I’m looking at.  They don’t know if I’m reading Philippians or Facebook, if I’m visiting Peter or Pinterest.  They have no idea whether I’m spending time Googling or spending time in God’s Word.

And so when Sarah said she SAW her mother reading her Bible, I knew I had to go back.  Back to the old, antiquated-to-some way of reading my Bible.  A Paper Bible, to be exact.  Maybe I will get a new one for myself, but for now, I am actually enjoying very much, the loved-on, tattered look and feel of the Life-breathing book that used to be my daily companion.  I love looking at all the places where I underlined and circled and highlighted and even scribbled my own thoughts in the margins.  I love seeing how my Paper Bible naturally opens to certain favorite passages of mine or has life smudges on its pages, evidence that I cared, and took the time, and NEEDED His Word to guide my day as I was guiding little hearts toward His.

They Will Remember.

They will do as they see us do.

If I’m intentionally cultivating a home where I desire hearts to love God, my children have to see me reading the Bible.  It’s just that simple.  It’s not enough that I know I do it.  They have to see me.  We may not think they’re listening when we recall Scripture to them, but it’s being planted in their hearts.  And we may not think it’s a big deal if they see us reading the Scriptures silently to ourselves, but it’s an image that will burn into their memories, that will hopefully, like Sarah, influence them for the rest of their lives.

In creating a culture of excellence in your home, in making your home a haven, do your children see you reading the Bible?

Do your children SEE YOU reading your Paper Bible?


  1. Great thoughts, Brandy! I am a faithful paper Bible reader…always have been and probably always will be.

  2. I love this post. I remember waking up each morning and seeing my Daddy reading his Bible and praying. Having been in the military before, he is a very disciplined person, up at 5:30 each and every single morning. My mom was not a morning person (still isn’t 🙂 but I knew she read and prayed at night after we went to bed, or during the day while we were busy completing our school work. My Dad still uses his Bible that is over 20 years old and has seen better days. Lots of African dust and sweat are in those pages and the binding is falling apart. I offered to pay to have his Bible rebound and he said no because it would take over a week for it to be fixed and he couldn’t go that long without it. There is nothing in this whole world like a parent’s example of loving God and His Word. Thanks for posting this. It’s a great reminder.

  3. Linda St. Laurent says:

    Thank you so much for this incredible post. I have been thinking about this, more then with just the Bible. But when my kids see me on my phone or kindle, they don’t know what I am doing. But, holding a book is proof I am NOT on FB or anything else. If we don’t want them to be on their phone or technology all the time, we can’t be either. Thank you again. Blessings and love.

  4. I couldn’t agree more. I’m an old-fashioned-paper-Bible reader. I don’t have any of the techy gadgets anyway. But I’ve always thought the same thing….there is just something special about having the real book in your hands. I actually feel this way about ALL books, but especially the Bible.

    Sally and Sarah are special women, aren’t they?

  5. I still read my paper bible. I still have my bibles from 2011 and 2012. I buy a new one every year. Not sure why, but every time I read through the bible I take something new from it, and i often highlight different verses (most likely it’s a reflection of my current season of life). I love sitting down with my past bibles and looking over the verses that stood out to me that year. Okay, I totally rambled and probably made NO sense LOL 🙂

  6. Thanks for this reminder! As someone who often reads from the computer and Kindle AND before the kiddos are up in the morning, I needed to hear this!

  7. I love this! I think about this all the time.

  8. Another great post! I think that my tendency is to truly read a different way if I’m reading the Bible on an electronic device. Electronic devices promote skimming, which is not what I should be doing when reading God’s Word! Good reminder. I generally read/study after the kids are in bed, so they have no idea if I’m reading God’s word or not… Something to think about!

  9. Excellent post, Brandy! Many times when I’ve been reading my Bible on my phone I’ve thought the same thing. It can also be distracting reading it from the phone or computer.

    Also, there are places that you can send your Bible off to that will recover it. That way you can keep your original pages and notes, but have it re-bound and ready for more lovin.

  10. This is a pretty thought-provoking post. I try to get my quiet time with the Bible in before they wake up nowadays — so, no, they don’t actually SEE me reading the Bible. I think that needs to change in our home.

    (PS: I adore paper Bibles and have quite a few, in lots of rooms. LOL)

  11. I love this post as well. I can’t say I’ve been as faithful a bible or scripture reader as I wish, I do try to read with my little ones at the breakfast table and on my own. Every time I do it makes a difference. There is truly a power, a real tangible power one gets from reading the will and word of God. It keeps us directed. One thing I wanted to add though is I remember my father kneeling early before I would leave for school saying his prayers. That, like reading the scriptures was a great turning point for me as a teen and child to know my parents had their own personal relationships with Heavenly Father. It in turn made me have the desire for myself to cultivate my own relationship with Him and my Savior. Thank you for the inspiring blog! I am so glad I found it!

  12. Love the thoughts on why it should be paper. I read my bible almost daily yet I read it so early in the morning that all 3 of my children are still sleeping. Perhaps I should make a point of leaving it open with my notes on the table where they do school when they wake up so they can see that I started my day studying His word.

  13. I’ve been following your blog for some months and just posting for the first time. A few weeks ago I realized the importance of reading my paper Bible instead of using the laptop. My husband had to go to the hospital one night, and my almost 3 year old slept in my room since he was having a tough time being separated from daddy. After he was tucked in and almost asleep I pulled out my Jesus Calling devotional and Bible from next to the bed, so I could spend some much needed time with the Lord before going to sleep myself. My son saw that, and the next night wanted his Bible and bible story books next to his bed just like Mama. That small act of his made me realize how much he needs a tangible example, especially at this young age. To him the laptop is a “toy”, but there was no mistaking my Bible and devotional book.

  14. Great post, Brandy! I want my kids to remember me at the table reading my Bible, too. The picture for them is life changing. It shows them something to strive for.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  15. This is a great post! I’ve never really enjoyed the kindle or internet reading because I like the feel of a book in my hands, and I LOVE to highlight my bible and scribble notes in. However, I tend to read my Bible with my daughter isn’t around. When she’s napping or before she wakes up usually. She is only 9 m/o and always tries to rip the pages out of my precious bible, but I know I need to make an effort so that she does see (although this is a small season and soon she will be past the paper ripping stage!)

    great post! I think this is true for book reading too. I was thinking about how I want my children to read books, and the best way is for them to see me reading, to have a collection of their own books in a bookshelf, and have books throughout the house. I always love browsing my book shelf to see what I want to read next. I think this techie age does a disservice to encouraging reading, because we lose all that!

  16. I love this! I recently (just a month ago) switched from reading my scriptures on my kindle back to my “paper copy” for that very reason! I wanted my children to see that I was studying God’s word. It was something that I suddenly felt very strongly about and I think the Lord was telling me that my kids, especially my teens needed to see me studying scripture. Thanks for your post!

  17. Thanks so much for this. I often want to hide away in my room with my Bible, but I’m reminded that what my kids see and observe can be much more powerful than what I say to them.

  18. I needed that in so many ways!! Thank you.

  19. Thank you for this! I have always been against “fake books” if it wasn’t made from paper I didn’t want to read it lol. But last week I started reading my Bible on my phone because my app keeps track of my yearly progress… It goes against everything I feel about books lol but I did it for convenience. But once I read your comment about highlighting, circling, etc I knew I needed to go back to my paper bible. Thank you!

  20. I found you site yesterday. I was a great blessing to me. I was in full on mommy burn out. I have 4 littles my oldest just turned 6 a few weeks ago. Sometimes I feel all alone in this race of motherhood. Thank you for reminding me God is carring me.

  21. Tamra Krohn says:

    Wonderful post. Thank you.

    When my kids were little I read my paper Bible, much like you. Then, it became easier to just use technology. All the version I like to read are in one place, my Bible reading plan is in one place, etc.

    I love my tattered Bible and cringe every time my husband says he should get me a new one. It would be like getting rid of a trusted friend.

    God Bless.

  22. Thank you for this. I am a mum of 4 in the uk surrounded by small families, I am always so encouraged to read about your big family! It’s lonely sometimes having more kids than everyone else! I read this today and it really challenged me. I usually read my bi le on my phone, but today after reading this i have ordered a new paper bible. My kids like their bibles, but they need to see me reading mine too!

  23. This is an amazing post!! Thank you
    I feel like crying when I see so many looking down at devices. There is nothing like
    a beautiful worn out paper bible ~ I love it!


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