August 01, 2015

Special Prayer

Abby is a deep thinker and I have had more religious conversations with her than anyone else in my life, maybe combined. I remember clearly while she was in preschool she asked me, "are people born good or with sin?" Excuse me, what? I'm not qualified to answer this! She came home one day from Kindergarten and told me she asked all the kids on the playground if they knew Jesus. Humbled because that terrifies me, I asked her what she said if they said no.... she told them He loves them and died on the cross for them. Wow.

Most of our conversations happen in the car. We listen to Christian music and she would ask what different phrases mean and it would spark conversation. Throw in 2 years of really catchy VBS tunes and we had lots of questions! Abby had asked enough questions by the Spring that in talking to our children's director, we sent her to Kids Praise (1st-3rd grade) on Easter Sunday to hear an official gospel presentation explaining how Jesus, sin and the cross all work together. At the end of that, she said in her response card that she wasn't ready to make a decision. In talking about that with her, we learned two things. One, she didn't understand the breadth of sin. It was just major sins in her mind- lying, killing, stealing. Two, the thought of being baptized was closely tied to accepting Christ and that thought TERRIFIED her.

We would talk about accepting Jesus casually and she would immediately talk about being scared and asking a million questions about being Baptized- how long am I under water? how deep is the water? will they hold me under? can I hold my nose? We fully understand she can accept Christ and not be baptized for a long time- years even- but I wanted her to know the decision was bigger than a fear of water and to want it all in her heart. So we continued talking about Jesus and focused on discussing sin, but also went full force into giving her confidence in the water.

She took swim lessons in May and then we've been at the pool 3-5x/week since then. We worked on swimming, but then focused on going under water. We'd look for toys and then started jumping in the 3 foot, then 4 foot and eventually 6 foot. Then we took off her life vest and did it all over again until now, she swims above and under water all over and can jump into the 6 foot without a vest. During this time, I bribed her with a lego set if she'd let me stand in the 3 foot and holding her body do a back flip underwater. She agreed. Just a few days later, I asked her if she wanted me to pretend to baptize her. She agreed. I did it in the pool and when she came back up, she had a big grin and said, "that's it?". Ha! It really wasn't all that hard after all she had done in the water!

In early July, Abby attended a camp at church that was outdoor fun, but also taught her a Bible verse, gave her a daily Bible story, and taught her more worship music.

Two weeks later, she attended VBS and spent all morning learning more about the Bible, Jesus, and worshipping. She has always loved music and since I really only listen to worship music, it is her favorite. She has combined her love of Jesus with Marcus' ability to learn song lyrics and she is a quote machine! 

Fast forward to July 31st, Abby in the car tells me she has made a decision. I think she is talking about her 1st grade haircut which is a popular topic this week, and she tells me "no, about Jesus. I want to say the special prayer tonight". Gulp. Okay, Let's do this! So, on the way to drop her off at the YMCA so that we could celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary, Marcus asks Abby lots of questions. We both want to make sure she knows the commitment she is making and it isn't due to peer pressure or to please us. He had spent Wednesday during VBS answering kids questions and counseling them so he was trained and ready. She understands Jesus died on the cross so that sinners like her could get into heaven and there isn't another way. Sin isn't allowed in heaven and she will sin. She loosely understands the holy spirit will be with her and help guide her along with the Bible so that she can learn to live her life for Jesus and be a worker on his team, as she likes to call it.

I'm proud of her- accepting Jesus is the first step in living for Him and one Marcus and I really didn't make until adults. I love that she has Him for as long as she can remember and will grow in Him from such a young age. I love that she is a deep thinker as I know understanding God's word requires deep study. I love that she sings to worship Him without abandon. I love that she wants to share Him with her playground friends. I love that I get a front row seat to see what He has planned for her precious life. God is good! 

For posterity, her special prayer with her Daddy is here.

And her goodnight prayer afterward...

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