"Oh, happy day,
You washed my sin away!
Oh, happy day
I'll never be the same!"
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 is a day that will go down as one of THE BEST days in history here in the Feathers' household. It's the day my baby's name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life ~ AMEN!!!
That's right, my sweet Taylor Brooke asked Jesus to live in her heart that morning and how I pray she'll never be the same. It all started with a simple conversation about sin.
She and I have these little heart to heart discussions from time to time when she has questions and is being receptive to hearing the answers (sometimes she just asks questions to be silly or sometimes she asks questions, but just wants a short answer because her attention is really elsewhere). Her Awana Cubbie book has been fabulous about bringing up these conversations! Through the last year and a half she's learned several Bible verses dealing with sin and Jesus being our Savior. Through learning these verses, it's prompted me to discuss with her what sin is, what does it mean for Jesus to be our Savior, etc.
Also, we have some dear friends who, a little over a year and a half ago, lost their precious baby girl only four short days after she was born. (You can read about sweet baby Audrey here http://www.cbeandahuff.blogspot.com.) At only 3 1/2 years old, this loss was very impactful to Taylor as she very much wanted to see Baby Audrey. At that point, we discussed Heaven...A LOT. Taylor already knew who Jesus was and that He lived in Heaven, but it was through Audrey's death that she really seemed to "get" that people can die and go live with Him there. Whenever Taylor would have questions about Audrey being there or about seeing Audrey there, we tried to very simply explain that, yes, if we ask Jesus into our heart, we will go to Heaven when we die and see our friends and family who might be there.
While Taylor seemed to understand this concept of living in Heaven when we die, she didn't seem to grasp that we need to do something about it...that we have a choice. We have to invite Jesus into our heart. We have to be saved. While we always tried to say "If you ask Jesus in your heart" or "When you ask Jesus in your heart", you can go live in Heaven someday too, she never seemed to pick up on that. We were okay with this because, after all, she was only 3 1/2 - 4 years old and we needed to keep things simple so as not to confuse her. Kraig and I had also decided long ago that we would never, ever push our children to make this decision. It needed to be something they came to us with and not something we asked of them. Especially with Taylor...she's very much a people pleaser. She loves to make her mommy and daddy happy and proud of her. She's good at doing the right thing. If we would've asked her, Taylor, do you want to be saved? She would've said Sure! only because Mommy or Daddy asked her and it seemed like the right thing to do.
We wanted her to want salvation because something in her heart (the Holy Spirit) told her she needed it.
When the Awana year started up again in August, I looked through Taylor's new Cubbie book and saw that several of the verses were the same, or along the same lines, as what she did last year. I felt like this was good because repitition is an important key to learning, plus many of these verses are great verses (or abbreviations of those verses) in helping to understand who Jesus is and what He's done for us. After looking through the Cubbie book though, it struck me that Taylor probably has no idea that there is a Hell because we've never, ever talked about it with her. It's probably not something that comes up in a four year old Sunday school class nor is it something that is mentioned in her Cubbie book. Kraig nor I had ever mentioned it to Taylor because she seemed too young and we've always concentrated on talking about the positives rather than talking about the scary stuff. I talked to Kraig about it and he agreed that if the time was right, she needed to know about Hell.
Hell was not something we would just casually bring up in conversation with her nor was it something we were going to sit her down and say Look, you need to know something. It needed to be done delicately so as not to scare her and it also needed to be done when the timing was right and she was being receptive so that she would understand.
Well, on this particular morning the day before yesterday, she and I were talking about sin. It all got brought up because she was talking about how Rylan was being bad (I had just put him down for a nap because he was being a bit cantankerous) and I said sarcastically "Oh right, because you are never bad!" And she sarcastically replied "Nooooo!" ;0) So I mentioned some things that she does wrong sometimes like not obeying Mommy & Daddy or aggravating her brother and she said "Oh yeah." So I said "What's that called?" And she said "Being bad." And I said "Yeah and it's also called sin. Remember your Cubbie book talking about that and memorizing Romans 3:23 that says All have sinned?" And she, of course, did remember and it launched us into a conversation about sin and being bad and how no one except for God and Jesus is good all the time because we all, unfortunately, do wrong things and sin.
She was being so focused and genuine in our conversation that it seemed like the natural time to let her know about Hell. In the three or four months it'd been since Kraig and I had that conversation, there had never yet seemed like the right time, but I really felt God tugging at my heart that this was it. So I reminded her that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin and I asked her if she knew why He had to do that and she said no. So I explained to her that Jesus had to die on the cross to save us from our sin because the Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, which means someone has to pay or be punished for the sin. Our punishment should be that we have to go live in fire with the devil in a place called Hell. But, Jesus dying on the cross made a way for us not to have to go to Hell. Instead, if we believe in what Jesus did on the cross and if we tell Him we're sorry for our sin and to please forgive us and to please come live in our heart, He will and we get to go live with Him in Heaven when we die.
Oh my, she was very intent on what I was saying! She really didn't have any questions at all about Hell, which surprised me. (Looking back on it now, I realize she didn't need anymore details about that place. She was familiar with who the devil was from singing songs like "If I had a little white box..." and she knew enough about him from things like that to know he was bad. Pretty much everything she asked or said to me after that was wanting to know how could make sure she never went there!) Instead, she wanted to know if she had ever asked Jesus into her heart and I said "No, but when you are older and you understand it better and you want to, then you can ask Him." And she said "Well, what if He doesn't come?" And I told her the Bible tells us that if we confess our sin (or say I'm sorry and ask forgiveness of our sin) then He is faithful and just to forigve us our sin, which means He will never tell us no. So, if we ask Him to live in our heart, He will. She then wanted to know what you had to say to Jesus to ask Him so I rattled off several things that a person could say and she said "Do you have to say it just like that?" and I said "No, you can say whatever you want, but the main things is you have to be sorry for your sin and ask Him to save you."
That was pretty much the end of our conversation and she was like, Ok I'm going up to play in my room. I thought Wow, that was a good conversation and hopefully planted some more seeds into her little heart. It was truly the first conversation I'd ever had with her about salvation so I never dreamed she would "get it" so quickly. Little did I know what my independent child was upstairs doing in her room...
Not five minutes later, she came back downstairs with an adorable little smile on her face and said quietly, "I asked Jesus to live in my heart."
I immediately thought, Oh my, I messed up. She's confused about something. I should've waited until Kraig was home or until someone more qualified was around to talk to her about this stuff! So (after quickly trying to recover from my shock) I grinned back at her and gave her a hug and said "So what did you say to Jesus" and she said (and I will NEVER forget this as long as I live), "I looked out my window up at the sky and said 'Jesus, come live in my heart. I'm sorry. I forgive you'." I said "Why did you say 'I forgive you.'?" And she said, "Because we're supposed to tell Him we're sorry for our sin and ask Him to forgive us." Precious!!! I then explained to her that saying "I forgive you" means that person just asked you to forgive them, which Jesus doesn't need to do, so what she meant to say was "Please forgive me" and she was like Oh yeah and she kinda giggled. I feel awful about this, but I still wasn't convinced she truly understood so I asked her a few questions about what she just did and she answered them perfectly and with such clarity.
I hugged her again and told her I was proud of her for making that decision and asking Jesus to save her. I then told her to go up to her room and play for a while. I immediately called Kraig because it was getting close to lunch time and we had plans for him to come home to get me and the kids and take us to meet his parents for lunch (it was his mom's birthday...what a great present she got that day!) I explained to him what happened and he said I'm on my way and I'll be there in a few minutes. When he got home he sat with her (without me in the room) and asked her why she asked Jesus to live in her heart and she said "Because I don't want to live in the fire with the devil." So then he said "Why do we get to ask Jesus to live in our heart?" and she said "Because He died on the cross." Be still my beating heart, she really gets it!!! He talked with her for a little longer then came to me and said he couldn't rebut anything she said. She answered all his questions perfectly. WOW!
Could it be that our sweet little barely five year old baby is saved?? Could it be that she is truly on her way to Heaven someday??? We say YES!!! Salvation is not supposed to be hard or complicated. It's truly simple. We all sin (Romans 3:23). Sin needs payment and that payment is death in Hell (Romans 6:23). Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sin so that we don't have to live in Hell (Romans 5:8). All we have to do is accept that and invite Him in our lives (Romans 10:13). Taylor's little life, like so many before her, is proof that salvation only requires the faith of a child. Mark 10:15 says "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." Amen that it is never too early or too late! Whether you are 5 or 95, you can come as a little child and accept the free gift of salvation that God has so graciously blessed us with.