Tuesday, February 7, 2017
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
-III John 1:4
Both of our older boys prayed to accept Jesus as their Savior when they were quite young. They were 4 and 3 1/2 years old. But that has been 4 years ago, since Jacob made the decision! So it seems like this announcement is a long time coming.
Last Sunday, Zadie made the decision to trust Christ as her Savior!
This event has brought me so much joy and relief. Even though we read the Bible with our kids nightly, Zadie has shown very little interest in spiritual matters. Even over the last year, since she's been in Cubbies at Awana, we have tried to have intentional conversations with her about sin and why Jesus had to die, and she would usually change the subject. If I could engage her into conversation, the conversation would end in her refusing to admit she had ever sinned. The few times she would admit sin (usually after being caught in a lie), when we would go over the conversation about sin and Christ, she would say she didn't want to pray for forgiveness. It was becoming obvious that she knew all the pieces, but it was willful refusal to open up to God. Others would encourage me that she was still young (she's almost 5), but the hardening of her little heart was still concerning. And i was questioning myself whether we were being diligent enough in discipleship and training. Obviously I don't have as much time now to talk and teach one on one like I did with Nathan and Jacob, now that we have 5 kids.
Last Sunday, our Bible study met and since it was our first meeting since the holidays, we didn't have a study set. Someone asked, "What should we read?" And Paul jokingly said, "Jonah!" This is the answer our children always choose when given a choice of what Bible study to read in the children's Bible, so we had a good laugh. But we did study Jonah, and had good conversations about it.
When we came home and were putting the children to bed, Paul took Zadie upstairs to read the Bible in her bed. (On late nights, we'll read the children's story Bible to Zadie and Gideon alone, rather than reading as a family in the living room.) Paul asked Zadie what she wanted to read, and of course the answer was, "Jonah!"
In light of the good conversations we'd had at Bible study, Paul talked to her about why the people of Ninevah were in trouble with God, and that led to a conversation about sin, and on to talking about the fact that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins so we can go to Heaven.
I wasn't upstairs, but I could hear that they were having a conversation. After a while, Paul came to the to of the stairs, and said, "Rachel, could you come up here?" My heart filled with hope.
I went to her room, and Paul filled me in on what they'd talked about. He asked Zadie if she wanted to pray with Mommy about Jesus talking her sins away. She said yes!
I could sense a different spirit about her. Usually she had a kind of flippant attitude when you try to be serious with her. But she was very quiet and contrite as she lay there on her bed. I knelt by her bedside and asked her some more questions. She answered all of them with assurance. Then I asked her if she wanted to pray. She nodded.
I guided her in a simple prayer to confess that she had sinned, and asking Jesus to forgive her and thanking Him for dying to pay for the bad things she'd done. When we were finished, she had a big smile on her face, and i felt like my heart was about to burst with happiness!
The next morning I asked her what she had done, and she quickly and confidently answered, "I asked Jesus to take all my bad sins away so I can go to Heaven!" I feel certain she understood and fully accepted what had happened the night before.
Paul and I noticed an almost immediate change in her, which I believe I'd evidence of the Holy Spirit now living within her. She accidentally hurt Gideon. I had her apologize, which she did, but then several minutes later, she came to him and asked him if he would forgive her. She told me when she was outside, she was singing "new songs" about Jesus dying on the cross. Instead of playing with dolls or other toys, she say quietly and listened attentively when we read the Bible the next night (and every night since). She has told most of her friends about what she did.
It is such a joy to know that one more of our children will be joining us in eternity! And the fact that i got to be with her when she made that decision makes my joy complete!