“My prayer is that our kids will continue to hide God’s Word in their hearts and look to the Bible for life’s big and small decisions. That’s the only place we will ever find peace, contentment and rest.” – Ann Silva

A place to turn in good times and in times of trouble. That is what God’s Word has meant to Ann Silva over her years of following Christ and what she is eager to impart to her children while they are still at home.

Early in the morning, as Ann and her youngest two kids, Lucy and Charlie begin the day, the family gathers in the dining room. As they enjoy breakfast, Ann pulls up on the computer and reads the daily Scripture and devotional written by a member at Watermark. “We talk about the passage and discuss questions,” said Ann. “Often, the kids get something out of it that is completely different from what I do. Slowly, the kids are learning more about the books of the Bible, who wrote them and what it all means. I hope that the time we spend studying God’s Word together normalizes the idea of letting the Bible guide their lives.”

Those quiet mornings with her kids are much different from Ann’s upbringing in Oklahoma. “We didn’t really talk about Jesus at home,” said Ann. “My grandparents were very involved in church and our uncle who we saw on holidays was always making sure we knew the path to Heaven was by grace alone, not by works! My brother, John, was a believer from a young age. He has always been a role model for me. But the biggest spiritual influence in my life was a Christian camp I attended in the summer.

The lessons Ann learned about faith in Christ carried her through hard times in her teenage years, when her parents divorced. “Things changed for us,” said Ann. “But by God’s grace, I never blamed Him.”

Ann, and her husband, Bobby, met in college and married in 1989. He was a new believer when they married. Shortly thereafter, they began attending a student Bible study that her sister was regularly involved with here in Dallas. “When the leader of the study mentioned that the ministry was looking for a place to meet,” said Ann, “Bobby offered space at his restaurant. That’s really how we got started discipling kids.”

Soon Ann was leading a small group of students through a book called Search for Significance. Although she was the one discipling students, Ann says she learned the most from that study. “I realized I was seeking my value in things apart from Christ,” said Ann. “Whether it was materialism or my job at the time, I was falling for what the world had to offer, hook line and sinker.”

When their oldest child, Taylor, was a toddler and Ann was pregnant with their second child, the family moved to Colorado Springs. It was a challenging time. “I was pregnant and running around after a two year old, and I didn’t know many people in Colorado Springs,” said Ann. “I was lonely and sad, and I knew if I didn’t connect with God’s Word and other believers, I would fall into depression.”

After living in Colorado Springs for several years, a mentor of Ann’s challenged her to start a neighborhood Bible Study. It sounded like a good reason to get to know her next door neighbor better and to share Christ with her. “I was surprised when my neighbor decided to join the Bible study,” said Ann. “We ended up meeting together for more than three years. The study was a big melting pot of all kinds of people, united in the reading of God’s Word. The Lord showed me so much of His purpose during that season. I am thankful that the neighborhood Bible study still continues, even though my family is back in Dallas now. Spending time with these women each week allowed me to step outside of myself and see God’s greater purpose.”

Today, Ann serves as a small group leader in the Watermark Women’s Bible Study and continues to disciple others. There is a wide age gap between Ann’s oldest two and youngest two children, so she continues to look for tools to speak truth in a way that’s relevant to their stages of life. Following along the Join the Journey reading plan helps them stay on the same page, no matter where they are. “We continue to memorize verses together, and return to the Scripture we’ve studied together when the kids have challenges,” said Ann. As she thinks about the morning devotionals with her kids, Ann keeps a story from missionary, Corrie ten Boom, in mind.

“In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie talked about the mornings she and her sister spent at the table studying the Bible with their father,” said Ann. “Some days it would feel rote and monotonous to Corrie. It wasn’t until the Holocaust, when her family was helping save Jewish lives and relying on the Lord for their very survival, that Corrie realized the value of those mornings pouring over the Bible. I hope that my kids will feel the same way eventually. If we memorize a verse each week, we will know 52 verses. My prayer is that our kids will continue to hide God’s Word in their hearts and look to the Bible for life’s big and small decisions. That’s the only place we will ever find peace, contentment and rest.”