Today I held the hand of my second-born as she took a giant leap of faith, going forward at the invitation at church to announce her salvation and ask to be baptized. For an almost-seven-year old who is terrified of crowds and talking to people she doesn’t know, it was a huge step, but one she was determined she had to take today.
I’m always proud of my babies, but I was especially proud of my bluebird today because really, she set me in my place. She actually gave her heart to Jesus several months ago, but I was very cautious about it. I know she’s young, and I want to be sure that when she makes major decisions, she knows what it is she’s deciding. And as much as I want my children to follow Christ and have a relationship with Him, I know that I cannot make that choice for them- they have to do it on their own. So, while I’ve raised them to know what I believe and what I know to be true, I never really talked to this little girl about making that decision, and I was a bit surprised when she came up to me one day and informed me that she had asked Jesus in her heart.
Over the next several days I asked lots of questions, and ended up giving my daughter a complex as she felt she had to keep asking Jesus to save her. She wanted to be sure she did it “right” and I realized what a mistake I was making! It really is as simple as confessing and professing, and I was complicating things so much and making my child doubt her own childlike faith. I will always remember her finally looking at me with those big, gorgeous blue eyes wide, saying, “Mommy, of course I believe Jesus is real and died for me.”
Why, oh why, do we over complicate grace? Our human nature causes us to fail to understand that something so amazing could be offered so freely- but it is. We think we have to jump through hoops and say the right words and pray the right prayers and go to this event and that meeting… that we have to look a certain way or talk the talk or know the right people. We wait for perfect circumstances that never come, a perfect place that doesn’t exist, or the perfect time that may have already passed. Yet Jesus meets us right where we are. Grace doesn’t wait for perfection. It doesn’t require us to have it all together. It doesn’t even need for us to know all the answers. It’s just trusting, believing, and obeying.
For my little girl, grace came down in the backseat of the car as she listened to songs about Jesus and knew she needed His forgiveness. It wasn’t a complex process. It didn’t take a committee of adults to decide for her. She didn’t even need her mama to walk her through it. She just surrendered to the nudge of the Holy Spirit and let Him work. It took her a few months to build up the courage to step out of the aisle in front of a church full of people, but that didn’t make her any less saved. And today as she told us that she knew she needed to do it, I was beyond proud to watch her overcome her fear so that she could obey God.
I am so thankful that God doesn’t leave us on our own to figure this crazy life out. I’m so thankful that He speaks to hearts young and old, and that the message of salvation is simple enough that even an almost-seven-year old can hear it and accept it. I’m so thankful for salvation and mercy and grace and amazing love. And I am so thankful that my child’s faith is not shaken by her mother’s doubt and questioning, and that God uses these girls to teach me more about Him every day.