Some of my favorite moments as a father happen right before my children’s bedtime. Whether Elias and Adeline are acting like angels or more like trolls, bedtime can often create the opportunity or space for good stories to get told, for deep and curious wonderings to get said out loud, for the most hilarious moments to happen, and for important lessons and ideas to get talked about.
Often the best of these moments are sparked by a book that we read together.
But one thing I noticed early on while reading to Elias was that there seemed to be a shortage of fun, easy-to-read, creative, and age-appropriate books about God. We read lots of books about God. But for some reason, those books were never on Elias’s list of favorites.
Shortly after Adeline’s birth (Elias was 3) somewhere in the back of my mind, an idea began to evolve. Like most ideas, it started as a question: is it possible to write a children’s book about God that was fun and inspiring and might develop the same bond with kids that so many of other books seem to do? And if so, what would that kind of book look like? What would it sound like? What would it be about? And if a children’s book like that were possible, would I even have the chops to write it?
A few days later I was sitting at Starbucks, laptop open, brainstorming ideas. After a handful of bad concepts—a couple of them terrible—I decided on a theme: Creation. Eventually, I narrowed the concept to God making light. Light is easy to comprehend. It’s both practical and magical, a simple enough concept that’s layered with mystery and symbolism.
For three months, off and on, I worked on the verse for a children’s book, attempting to capture with words what it might have been like when God created light. As I developed the concept, I let numerous people read it. I gave them permission to tell me what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they believed worked and didn’t work. And then I worked on it some more…
Let there be light!
That’s what God said.
And light began shining and then started to spread.
In flickers and flashes,
In spills and in splashes,
Shine began shining across nothing but blackness.
Light glared and glimmered.
It flared and sparked.
And wherever light shined,
Dark stopped being dark.
Upon finishing, I knew exactly who I wanted to illustrate the book, my longtime friend, Matthew Paul Mewhorter. Matthew’s artwork brought the words I wrote to life. And God Made Light was born.
As Matthew and I were finishing up the visual concept for the book, my wife (and (in)courage writer), Jessica, shared the story and a few of the pictures with some of the good people at DaySpring. Almost immediately DaySpring expressed interest in partnering with the God Made Light concept in order to create a product line built around the images and themes found in the book. That blew me away! I mean, what? A product line?! Are you kidding me?
Just like every word and sketch, each of the three products in the God Made Light line are very intentional, fun, colorful, and useful ideas that not only highlight the various concepts of “light,” but remind us that we are light. They are wonderful tools to come along and support the message of the book with your children. And with Christmas around the corner, they make great gifts!
The God Made Light product line by DaySpring includes:
A floor puzzle: Using artwork straight from God Made Light, this beautiful 2’x3′ floor puzzle is a favorite of Elias’s and Adeline’s. They love it! They love the big colorful pieces and are enthralled with putting together the various rays of light. The pieces are high quality and the color is incredibly vibrant.
A nightlight: One of the parts in the book is about the fear of dark: “And if you’re ever afraid in the darkness of night, remember the shadows are no match for God’s light.” Including a nightlight in the product line was a natural fit. It’s beautiful, something we proudly have lit in one of our bathrooms.
Encouragement notes: This product is most personal to me, as I’m a big believer in putting notes of love and encouragement in my kids’s lunches. I do this every day. Borrowing from the imagery of God Made Light, these notes feature Bible verses and/or rhymes (that I wrote exclusively for this product) that remind our kids of that they are loved, that they are light, and that God’s light is always shining on them.
Our goal was to create a book and product line that remind our little ones that God delights in who they are. I wanted God Made Light to be simple, fun, rhythmic, and full of color. I wanted to do this for all of our kids. And for all of us. I wanted to do this because all of us need a little more light in our lives.
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