Last year around this time, Ana committed her whole life to Jesus and made the decision to live for Him. We talked with her about what was going on in her heart for months leading up to that decision. We spent time asking her questions, listening to what she was feeling, and helping her sort it all out. She was ready, and while her decision wasn’t the advent of God’s work in her life, her profession and baptism was the evidence of what He’d already done in her heart.
Emma watched it all happen. And while she heard the talks and listened to Ana’s responses, she still got it in her head that baptism was the key and that baptism naturally occurs at the age of six.
“I need to get baptized,” she told me recently.
“Why?,” I asked her.
“Because I need to get baptized,” she repeated, like I didn’t get it.
Well, someone wasn’t getting something…
“I think we should talk to Papi about this,” I said, wanting Wes to be in on this conversation.
And so we did. Wes and I asked the same questions we asked Ana last year, and we got very different answers. The most frequent answer we got was, “I don’t understand the question.” We weren’t asking her seminary-level questions. We were asking very basic questions about sin, about her own sin, about her need to be saved, and they were all way over her head.
“If you still feel like this tomorrow,” Wes told her, “come and talk to me again.” We had said the same thing to Ana last year, and she came to us every day, saying again and again, “I really need Jesus in my life.” So much so that the child had trouble sleeping at night!
But with Emma? Nothing.
I’ve been a little down about this. While I was so hesitant when it was Ana, because I couldn’t fathom a six year old really getting it, the proof of His work in her life has made me a believer (no pun intended), and I’ve been anticipating the same work in Emma. As a result, I was ready to jump on the first mention she made of baptism, as if to say, “AHA! She GETS it!”
When honestly? She didn’t get it.
It’s not that I think her praying a prayer or getting dunked is going to make any difference. The difference was already made on the cross, and God’s work in her heart started long, long before now. If and when Emma comes to faith and gives her life to Christ, it will be the end result of all that God’s doing already, starting with these conversations she’s having even now with us.
But still. I was sad. Not because I want her to DO something. But because I wanted to see evidence that God is doing something in her.
When your seven year old regularly exegetes the Scripture in her spare time (she’s just like her Papi, y’all), it’s sometimes difficult to remember that for a six year old, simply saying that she loves Jesus and having her know that He loves her IS God’s work in her life. And when she can’t connect all the dots and doesn’t feel a conviction for sins she’s not even aware that she has, it doesn’t mean that God is silent. It just means that He’s working it all out differently in her.
I’m reminded that when I pray for her, after seeing God’s “yes” in Ana’s life so clearly, that Emma continuing on without any apparent move forward isn’t a “no.”
It just may be a “not yet.”
Praying for God’s glory in what He’s doing in His time and in His way…
4 thoughts on “Not Yet”
I've been wrestling through the understanding and acceptance of salvation in my kid's lives. I see growth in Caiden's life and a sensitivity that shows his understanding and commitment to the Lord is sincere. Ellee has claimed to have Christ in her heart since she was 3, though there was never a specific time she prayed to give her life to Him (as far as I know), but she still knows the truth of the Gospel, prays to God, tries to do what's right, learns Scripture, etc, and truly seems to understand. A couple months ago, Caiden walked Cole through the ABC's of salvation and Cole wanted to repeat the prayer after Caid. When they told me what they did, I asked Cole to explain to me what happened (because both boys were so excited!!) and he was a little shy about it. Since then, he has told me several times what he prayed and again, he knows the facts about the Gospel and the Love of our Savior, and our need for Him. So, I guess at this point, all I can do as a mom is continue to encourage them to grow in their knowledge and understanding, reading, praying, and seeking Him (and modeling that as well). It's tough when I want to get inside of their hearts and see that they truly understand and truly are saved. But then I also have to remind myself that I don't want it to be about a “legalistic” salvation, but a relationship and understanding of true grace, love, and forgiveness.
(Sorry, that kinda turned into a novel. And I think I am going to go ahead and copy and paste it into a post in regards to a post I recently wrote about participating in our Good Friday communion service.) 🙂
“I want to get inside of their hearts and see that they truly understand” — I think that sums up exactly how I feel! And I'm reminding myself, too, that even these decision moments are mile markers along a very long road full of them. I think, like you said, that having parents who are walking with Christ and having these conversations on a daily basis with them is going to be what helps our kids grow from young kids who love Jesus with sincerity to young adults who walk with Him authentically. At least, I hope so!
Praying for your sweet three (and soon-to-be four!) as they're working out some of the same things we're working out here in our family…
Thanks! I love reading about your special conversations with your girls. You challenge and encourage me. 🙂
If you want to read what I wrote, you can check it out here (I set up a new blog): http://jennikim6.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/the-gift-of-salvation/
I'm behind in reading this week,
So just seeing this comment convo. Pray for your kids. As someone who accepted Christ and “prayed the prayer” at age 3 1/2, I remember asking my mom a lot of questions about that night bc I didn't really remember the occasion- just her telling me about all that led up to that night, and then that night what I prayed. When I was a sophomore in high school, the theme at our church camp was “Where's Your Spot?” My mom told me before I left that her prayer for me that week was that I would remember and fully know that I was saved, OR that I would realize that I had not really understood and would make that decision at camp. I prayed along the same lines. That week, God gave me a VERY vivid dream. (I don't dream in color OR see faces- this time, I did.) I was in my old bedroom, but watching from above- like I was sitting on the ceiling or something. I saw and heard everything that I asked my mom that night, heard little me confirming all the truths I had been taught, and then asking my mom to pray with me. I saw her laying on my bed, and me laying on her chest talking to God. I could FEEL her arms holding me. I was there in that moment all over again, and when I woke up, I remembered every bit of that dream- also unusual. I still remember it to this day. God gave me that gift of clarity and remembrance.
Pray for your kids as they grow- that if their faith now is not genuine, that it would be made genuine. And if it IS, that they would be given a confirmation of that authenticity from God when they get to an age where they might question if what they did was really real.
The age of accountability is different for EVERY SINGLE PERSON- for me it was a month before my 4th birthday. For some it's at 6. For others, not til 8 or 9. For my husband, he didn't fully understand and make a decision for Christ until age 12.
Take heart, friends- He has overcome the world! And He knows the timing for each and every one of our children.. Because remember, they aren't really ours. They're His. 🙂