As a mom, I've waited for that day for my children. I've prayed for it. I've wept over it. Jonah turned 10 last summer and had still not taken that important step. People kept telling me not to push him. I didn't. People told me not to worry. I did! When your child's eternity is at stake, it's a big deal.
We've had countless conversations over the last few years. We've answered so many questions. We've asked him so many questions. Spiritual mentors in his life have prayed for and been equally as frustrated when he would always respond with a flippant "I'm not ready!" In January of this year, he actually told us that he knew he was a sinner, he knew Jesus was the only way to Heaven, he knew that Jesus died for him but it didn't matter to him. He didn't say that in a mean way but in a "that's not enough" kind of way. Our hearts broke to hear this because in that moment, we knew he was being disobedient to God's call on his life. We told him than and prayed even more fervently.
Last Friday night, Dan took the boys to the church to see the illusionist that was there for DiscipleNow. I was planning to go with them but a friend had a hard week so I went to dinner with her instead. We stopped by Publix on our way home and while standing there in the middle of the chip aisle, I got this text.
I took there with my mouth open then showed it to my friend. She said "well, can you talk?" I couldn't. I was blown away. The moment I had prayed for came in the most unusual way. I immediately text Dan and he said "It's for real!" I bought my groceries quickly and got home as fast as I could.
A little backstory you should know is that a couple of years ago, Jonah called Dan to his room one night and told him he had just asked Jesus to save him. After Dan talked to him and he knew all the right answers but didn't seem to have a spiritual connection at all, he said "let's tell mommy!" Jonah freaked and said "NO! I don't want anyone to know!" After a little time, Dan convinced him to tell me but he refused to tell anyone else. That led to some discussion with him then that when Jesus saves us, we want to share that news with others. We might be a little timid about it but we are definitely not embarrassed or ashamed.
Well, when I walked in to his bedroom to hug him, he was on his iPad texting his family and friends to let them know about his decision. That was huge to me. The fact that he was willingly sharing this was a huge sign of the inward change. If you know Jonah at all, you know that outward expressions are not his thing. So, to be joyful---even exuberant about a decision to follow Jesus was further confirmation.
Here we are a week later and my heart is so full. The little boy who was embarrassed to talk about Jesus has told so many people that he became a Christian and is so proud of it. He's asked for a new Bible and some more devotional books. We've told him that devotions are good but they aren't God's words. God's words are found in scripture and that needs to be his primary form of growth. So, he has started reading the book of John. He reads a chapter each night on his own then comes out to talk to us about questions he has. His AWANA verses have begun to make sense to him. He told me "the songs in church were more meaningful." All of that is just the Holy Spirit working in his life and on his little heart. Which, of course, has me on a spiritual high as well.
I asked him that night what finally clicked for him. He said "Well, Zack told a story about his dad dying and how he didn't know his dad because he was a little boy. He showed us a picture of his dad. He knew a lot about his dad but he didn't KNOW his dad. That just made me think about some things and realize that I know a lot about God but I don't KNOW God. So, I prayed and asked God to save me from my sins and told him I would follow Him."
Y'all...the most precious thing he's ever told me.
There is one thing I keep thinking about...I keep thinking that he almost didn't go that night. Dan was feeling yucky and spent the day in bed. I told him not to go but he wanted to be at DiscipleNow to support Andrew. I told him that getting better was more important. But, he got up, got dressed and took our kids to this event. And, after countless Sunday School Lessons & Sermons, 9 years of Vacation Bible School, 2 years of camp, devotions at Upward, numerous spiritual lessons at home, other events at church and more church events than you can imagine, THIS is what the Lord used to draw Jonah to him. This was the thing...the thing we almost missed.
Friends, make sure your kids are under the teaching of God's word every chance you get. Sports are fun. They aren't eternal. The beach is fun. It isn't eternal. ____________ (that thing that takes you away from gathering with God's people) is fun. IT ISN'T ETERNAL. People tell us, I don't need church for my kids to hear God's word. Maybe you don't but I assume it's because you are teaching them God's word day in and day out. Don't let your kids make the choice if they are going to be involved. You don't let them make the choice as to whether or not they brush their teeth, go to school or eat healthy foods. They aren't wise enough to know what is best for them. Every single thing that Jonah has been taught or has heard over the last 10 years led to the very moment that Jesus called him and he responded. And, all of the sudden, all of it made sense to him.
I'm so grateful that my 10 year old baby boy is also my brother in Christ. I've waited a really long time to say those words. It's been a really good week around our house. Praise be to God!