Last night an interesting thing happened as I was kneeling beside Reagan's bed reading a devotion to her followed by our prayer time. Prayer times with Reagan are always different. We do not teach her rote prayers like "God is great, God is good..." because we want her to know that praying is just talking to God about whatever is on her heart. Sometimes she says the prayer, sometimes Gene or I will say the prayer after we have asked her what she would like us to prayer about, and sometimes one of us will start the prayer and she will just interrupt and start praying. That is what happened last night. I started to pray and she interrupted me right off the bat, saying things that she normally says...."Thank you God for my family. Thank you God for my home. Thank you for the food that I eat, etc. She stopped and got real quiet and I told her to go ahead and say what was on her mind and she said these words...."Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I have a dirty heart and I know that I need a clean heart. Will you give me a clean heart? My heart would be better if were clean. I would be better. I believe in You and I know you are in heaven and I believe you can clean my heart."
OH. MY. GOODNESS. The hairs on my arms stood up and I didn't know what to say or what to do. Her words came out of no where. No prompting or pushing on my part. We were not discussing clean heart vs. dirty heart. Our devotion was on Jonah and what God did to get Jonah's attention. After the prayer, I just hugged her and told her what a beautiful prayer that was.
I feel like I probably dropped the ball because I didn't announce that she was "just saved".
Parents help me out. Was that her moment of salvation? It sure sounded like the sinner's prayer to me....acknowledge that you are a sinner...tell Jesus that you desire to go a new way...and that you believe in Him and His power.
She hasn't mentioned it this morning and we don't want to push her by saying, "Do you remember that prayer you prayed last night? You have to make that public. Now you have to get baptized." We both think she will be a little persistent in bringing up those things on her own. Or maybe we will see a change her in little attitude.
But, I am wondering if I have even talked enough about "making it public through believer's baptism" for her to even think about those things....or is that my job as a parent to teach her what comes next. I don't ever want to push in this area and "force" her to take a step that she isn't ready for and then have her turn around at age 18 and realize that she was never truly saved. We see that all the time in youth and college ministry. That scares me.
I will say this, we have had a rough few weeks with Reagan. She is stubborn and she is very headstrong. She is sassy and has to have the last word. We got a call from her teacher this week sharing these same words. Her teacher stressed many positive traits such as being leader and standing up for what she believes in, but she also sees a pattern of sassiness and disobedience that she thinks needs to be nipped. I was told that parents have to "get to the heart and not just correct outward behavior". I wanted to scream, "THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO....HOW DO I DO THAT?" That answer is, of course, point her to Jesus because He is the only one that can change the heart. Based on these last two weeks we have discussed that these type of behaviors come from a dirty heart. So we have used the words "dirty heart" and "clean heart", but it has probably been about two days since we have used those words with her.
Oh, I am struggling here. Being a parent is hard. It isn't taking care of the physical needs that is difficult....feeding, bathing, clothing, etc. That stuff is easy. But molding a "character", building a spiritual foundation...those things are hard.
Any advice is appreciated because five-years-old seems so young.
The booming voice from heaven would be awesome right now!
My memory for March 1st is 2 Corinthians 10:5 which says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
That is such an important scripture because every sin originates in the mind...every worry, every doubt, every sarcastic word, every negative comment, every materialistic desire.... When the thought enters my brain, I have a choice to make. I can let it out and act on it or I can take it captive and make it obedient to Christ. In my flesh, I let it out, but in the spirit, I can take it captive. This is exactly why daily, ongoing prayer is so important. I have to stay connected to the Spirit for continual guidance.
Until next time...
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