On this particular Saturday, my daughter woke up from nap in a grumpy mood. Instantly crying, meaning she had not had enough sleep, we knew we were in for it, as her attitude continued to plummet south. She refused to do what we said, she rebelled quite a bit, and spent a good while in time out or apologizing to various family members she had sinned against.
I was angry with her, not always responding in patience, and finally I explained to her, very sternly, for the umpteenth time in her life, that she had a rebellious heart that was dark with sin. This talk came after she outright rebelled against me and took something of her sister’s that both my youngest daughter and I had, over and over again, politely asked her not to take.
After getting out of the bathtub, and being dressed for bed, this particular daughter asked if she could cuddle with me on the bed, knowing that it had been a hard evening, and she had not frequently been in my favor. I readily agreed, of course, and climbed with both girls onto my bed. Feeling lazy and not wanting to go down to the playroom to get any books, I pulled out my booklet of punch-out gospel tracts for children. I had been going through them with the girls, and then punching out the tract and handing it to them to play with and look at. All of them had little pictures and clear, concise gospel messages. I also told the girls about salvation and the Lord Jesus Christ every single time they were punished for disobedience. I tell the girls the gospel about Jesus’ death and resurrection at least twice a day. Over and over and over again. Never getting tired of it. Praying one day the Holy Spirit would open up their heart and make them receptive to Him.
She thinks about Jesus a lot, especially when told to be obedient, but it’s been a bit of a “works” thing up to this point. She assumed Jesus was there to tell her to be obedient and to help her obey, nothing more. There was no relationship with Him. She also had, 99% of the time, refused to pray for the last six months or so, which was different than when she was a baby and prayed all the time. However, I was not discouraged by this, knowing she was not a believer and had no desire to pray because the Lord did not live inside of her. I thought I would simply offer it to her and then choose to lead by example if she declined.
She talked about Jesus, but her understanding of God and the gospel always got to a certain point and would then veer off. I’d get to Jesus rising from the dead, she would have been following me up to that point, and then she’d suddenly say, “I get up from sleeping too! I rose!” etc.
Today, however, she was in a very sober but thoughtful frame of mind as she listened to me. I read one tract, which had a large heart with the word Jesus on it as an illustration, and then punched it out and handed it to her. She frequently asked questions, like, “My heart is black inside from doing so many bad things. I need to try to be good?”
“No.” I explained, “There’s no way you can be good. None whatsoever. You’re a sinner bent on doing evil. Instead of trying to do good, tell God you’re so sorry for what you’ve done and ask for His forgiveness. Then He can live in your heart. And only He can change your heart and help you be obedient. You need Him.”
After reading the second tract, at around 9:30 PM, and punching the sheet out for my baby daughter, who was quietly sucking on her pacifier this whole time, I finished with how we need to cry out to God and pray and ask Him for His forgiveness. My older daughter said softly, “Mama, can you pray for me?”
Of course, I normally would have prayed. But tonight I said, “This is between you and God. If you have something to say to Him, you need to pray yourself.”
Normally, she would have refused, as she had for the last great while. But, tonight, she bowed her head instantly. “God,” she murmured, “Please make my heart white as snow. And make Baby’s heart white as snow, and Daddy’s heart, and Mama’s heart.”
I sat in silence for a while after she prayed. What did this mean?
She looked at me.
“That’s a good start,” I told her. “But what are you trying to say? You understand full well that you’re a sinner.” She had for a long time. She frequently talked about how “black” her heart was, how dark it was with sin. She readily apologized and admitted she was wrong whenever she was disciplined. She came to us on her own to confess frequently. She says, “I’m not good. I can’t be good without Jesus.” But she had never turned to Him and asked Him to forgive her and make her His own. She had never really acknowledged that she believed in His death and resurrection for her.
But, after asking her what she was trying to say, she instantly bowed her head back to prayer. “Please, Jesus!” she implored, sincerely and with her voice almost breaking a little. “Please forgive me! Please forgive my black heart! Please make me white as snow!” I did not lead her to pray this, nor had she ever heard anyone pray a “salvation prayer.” This was entirely from her own heart, with words all her own.
I was trying to hold it together at this point. I sat up and looked her straight in the eyes. “That’s it!” I cried. “What are you saying? Are you saying you know you need Jesus to save you from your sins?”
“Yes,” she replied readily.
“Do you believe He died for your sins?”
“Are you asking Him into your heart?”
Her little hands clasped again. “Please come into my heart, Jesus!” she asked. “Please forgive me! I love you, Jesus!”
I was crying. She wanted to know what was wrong, but I was so happy. I tried to tell her how happy I was, but I think she was terribly confused. Her mom never cries when she’s happy. But my greatest, deepest wish on this earth had come true, as far as I could tell. I prayed right then and there and begged God to hear her prayer and save her soul, to seal her to Himself, and to begin a lifelong relationship with her that would continue on into heaven.
She was ecstatic and full of joy. She hugged me and kissed me over and over, saying, “I love you, Mama!” She wanted to know if she had made me happy, and that gave me some a moment’s pause.
“It’s not about making me happy, it’s about making Jesus happy! It’s about loving Him and being thankful He has saved you from your sins!” I then explained that He was now inside of her and with her and she could talk to Him at all times.
She just held me and smiled.
After a few minutes, I sighed and explained that it was time for bed. She was still hungry, and being sent to bed hungry usually would have caused a great bit of weeping and gnashing of teeth from her. She would have thrown a real fit. However, tonight she said, sweetly and calmly, “Mama, if it’s all right, can I have a little bit more to eat first?”
I was shocked. “Thank you for talking so kindly and not whining!” It was unheard of for her to do so.
She looked at me with a big smile on her face. “It’s because I love Jesus!” Of course, Mama! her expression seemed to add.
It was such an amazing change of attitude, that I just sat stunned. Praising God in my heart.
It remains to be seen whether this was a real conversion or not, but I’m a firm believer that the Holy Spirit does the work, and it is not of man. That God’s timing is His own, and He can lead the youngest, in the simplest of ways, to Himself if He so chooses. I, myself, was saved at the age of 2 1/2. And it was a true conversion where my mom saw my life completely change. I have never had a doubt that I was saved back on that day.
Please pray for my daughter! Pray that this, indeed, was God’s change in her heart. Pray that her life is a testimony to Him, and that she is an example for her little sister. Pray that my second daughter comes to know Him as well.
My heart is so full tonight. When my husband walked in the door a few minutes later with dinner, I held onto him and sobbed. Wish he had been there to hear her little prayers himself. God is SO good, and I am thankful He answered this tremendous prayer of mine. I feel like I should never complain again. If only my baby and all of my future children can come to know Him, then my husband and I can spend eternity with our children, and what on this earth matters more than that?!