When my son was four, furrowing his brow, he asked, “I’m your child right?” “Yes!" I answered. He then furrowed his brow even more and asked, “And you’re grandma’s child, right?” “Yes!” I answered. Stepping back, with his hands on his hips and a grin on his face, he exclaimed, “Great! We're both children.” I smiled thinking, so it is in the kingdom of God there is only One God, one Lord, and One Father of us all. Ephesians 4:5,6
Growing-up I did not know that my relationship with God was that of being His child. I heard many Bible stories about Him and had even memorized Bible verses. I heard that He was all powerful and all knowing. I heard that he healed the sick, made the crippled walk, and the blind to see. I heard that he loved children and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 18:16
I longed to be one of those children, to experience His love, His protection, His healing and encouragement, but I didn’t know how to do it. I thought that being good would make those stories real for me but it didn't. My greatest fear as a child was that one day I would wake up and find my mother dead after a violent argument between my mother and father. My deepest longings were to be loved and accepted. My story is not an isolated story. There are hidden stories of betrayal, abuse, and neglect in the hearts of children we see daily; children who long to know that they treasured and loved.
After a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit at the age of twenty-eight that led to my conversion, I began to experience what it meant to be God’s child and to call Him Father. I started to learn to recognize the gentle ways in which He spoke to me. I learned to trust Him and to obey Him. My life would never be the same. I knew I was loved and accepted. I knew I belonged. Looking back into the eyes of my son that day, I knew that I wanted my children to know God, as their Father not just about Him. I began to ask God to show me how. Slowly a vision emerged. It would be an intergenerational setting. I would teach as Jesus did through Storytelling allowing the Holy Spirit to be the teacher.
I called several of my friends and asked if they would be interested in getting together with our children and having something like a Bible Study together. Our first Pebbles and Stones meeting didn’t have a name. That would come much later. It was simply a humble attempt to create a place for my own children and others to fall in love with God and to experience His love in the context of community. We began with Praise and Worship, and I told a Bible Story. After the story we listened to see how God would speak to each one of us. Next we shared what we heard and prayed for each other. We were astounded at what we saw happening with our children. They were sharing their hearts and we were too. God was changing our hearts and together we were learning what it was to be vulnerable and to become like children. The following week more children came, some of them brought their parents. The group continued to grow and in a short time we had around 60 children and adults attending the meetings.
Over the past 40 years I have learned that children thrive in community with others who know and love God. This intergenerational model of listening, sharing and praying has continued to grow. Partnering with other organizations such as One Hope, World Vision, Heart of Hope, and Children in Prayer, Pebbles and Stones has been presented in 49 countries. Between 2013 and 2016 over one million children have heard the "good news" and know that they are God's children and 20,000 teachers have been trained to use this simple approach to bring the generations together to experience God's Kingdom.
My own journey to know God has continued, and I seem to understand more and more what Paul meant when he said, "This one thing I do, I press on to know God... " Philippians 3:13 My desire is that each one of us will continue to press on to know God, and proclaim God's glory and majesty to the generations to come. Psalm 71:18
Click on the photo link below to watch Pebbles and Stones founder, Kathleen Trock-Molhoek, share her story.