I feel like I've fallen a little silent lately. It certainly is not because of lack of writing material...as we speak I'm listening to the sweetest, most gentled spirited child pray in her room alone. No one asks her to, but even at the brink of her 5th birthday (yes, 5 years...can that be true? It's so cliche to say, but where has the time gone?) she knows the Lord and I can see His Spirit pursue her little heart.
On the Eve of Easter Sunday, she asked me to read the story about Jesus on the cross "one more time". And although we had already read it twice since her bath that evening, there was no way I was going to deny her little ears from hearing the Truth one more time before slumber.
And she asked me lots of questions that night. Hard questions. Questions about life and death. Heaven and Hell. Why do we sin? Why did Adam sin? Why did Jesus have to die? Why were they so mean to Him before He died? Why did they beat Him? Why didn't they believe Him? One and a half hours worth of questions.
It was hard for my 32 year old mind and tongue to articulate. How do you explain grace to a 4 year old? How do you explain the love of Christ when it's only something I've only in recent years even begun to semi-understand? How do I explain that we are no longer under the law, but we live in grace...yet, God still tells us to sin no more? I didn't start asking these hard questions till I was an adult.
However, as I reflect on the last few years, Ella has watched Andrew and me in our deepest despairs and cries to the Lord. She has seen people pray over us and with us. She has watched them pray over my health and the health of her brother and sister. She heard us pray night after night after night for a miracle.
And she saw that miracle. I just didn't realize the impact all that would have on her. At a very tender age, she saw a community of believers fervently pray for months over her mother and those babies. And she saw us rejoice and give thanks for all that He gave us and continues to give. She saw as blessing upon blessing was bestowed upon us in our weakest hour.
And that girl...she left me speechless that night of Easter. I wasn't prepared for her maturity. She put her hope in Christ that night. Now, we could sit and intellectualize that she is way too young to understand such a thing, but I felt a gentle nudge from the Lord to trust that He was doing something great in her heart.
"Mommy I want to pray...I want to pray to the Lord tonight."
Ok, love. What do you want to say?
"I don't know how to pray. I only know the thank you for our food song. But I want Jesus to know I said thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. And I want Him to know I don't want to sin anymore. Can you help me pray to Him? I don't know the right words."
Ok. I can do that. But, I just want you to know that God knows your heart. It's ok if you don't know what to say. God knows. What you just told me is exactly what you can say to Him.
"He listens to my brain think?"
And she thanked Him. And she prayed He would help her not to sin. She said other things that my mommy brain does not quite remember. But her heart of gratitude...well, let's say this girl understood the magnitude of what the Lord did better than most adult believers do. Her heart just burst with thanksgiving for what He did for her.
I left trembling that evening. Only God knows our hearts, but I believe God is dwelling in hers. I am not so naive as to think that she will have harder questions as she grows and even times of possible doubts, but I know what I saw and heard that night. And I have no doubt that He who began a great work in her will continue to work until the day she meets Him face to face.
And the world...it's fierce. I have been bullied and ridiculed for my faith. I have begun to understand what it means to give up everything for Christ. And this world that these young children are coming into...they are going to have to have the heart of a warrior. I am fearful for what they will endure for being believers and followers of Christ.
I have felt burned out by the bullying via the media...news, facebook, twitter, the blog world, etc. So burned out, that I have found myself withdrawing from those platforms. It's sad the harsh words that can come simply from quoting the Bible. I am beat-up and tired...yet, I totally understand now why God wants us to commune with other believers...we desperately need each other for encouragement. Yet sadly, even the divisiveness amongst Christians has left me exhausted. It seems, these days, even Christians can't live in harmony with each other.
But that prayer the other night...
that was hope.
That although darkness abounds on this Earth, that God is still pursuing our undeserving hearts.
And although my hope is in Christ and not a 4 year old, I know that the Lord has not given up hope on us.
"Mommy, will God let me take my baby doll to Heaven?"
I think God will give you what you need to be happy in Heaven.
"Will I fly?"
I have no idea.
"I think Heaven is going to be awesome."
Wouldn't you love to have seen the Lord's smile that night?
Hope. She's going to go out and fill this world with joy and hope...and hopefully she'll teach me some things along the way. Someday I'm going to have to let her go, but in the meantime, I am raising a warrior for Christ.