My son’s eyes were lit with excitement as he said, “I looked it up in the Bible and that is what it says!”
A half-hour before, this same boy had been miserable because he couldn’t find a book to read. I suggested he read his Action Bible — the one I bought for my boys last Christmas. The one I expected them to love, but instead it remained unused on their bookshelf.
Until this day.
My boy who hates to read spent a full half-hour reading and then cross referencing in his Bible and then writing down notes in a notebook!
Ever since, he has been recording stories that he finds in the Action Bible and writing down the corresponding Scripture so that he can easily find the passage for future reference. He asks me if he can take all three books with him where ever he goes.
Yesterday he asked me about baptism.
My heart is full to overflowing as I see God answering my prayers right before my eyes. My prayers that my children would fall in love with Jesus. That God would change their hearts. That they would grow in wisdom and knowledge. And that they would hunger and thirst for righteousness.
If you had been able to catch a glimpse into our lives five years ago, you would have seen completely different scenarios playing out. You would have seen a frazzled mom, desperately trying to convince her 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. You would have observed the feelings of failure this mama was experiencing, the result of her inability to change the hearts of her children.
One Sunday, my daughter wore a new dress to church. She couldn’t contain her excitement as we left church that day. As we walked up the hill to our home, I discovered that she had made a decision to follow Jesus with her life. She knew she was a sinner and that she needed Him.
Oh, these were the words I was longing to hear!
And then . . . she told me why she had come to this conclusion. The front of her dress had three buttons on it and there are three letters in GOD. The back of her dress had five buttons on it and there are five letters in JESUS. It was her God-Jesus dress! In that moment, I teetered between rejoicing in her decision and being completely flabbergasted at how she had come to it! Really? Is this what she had learned from her pastor Daddy and her Mama with the Bible degree?
That very night, my son slept with a pillow that had a cross on it. In the morning, he informed me that he too had made a decision to follow Jesus . . . because he slept with a cross pillow!
Where had we gone wrong? Was their faith real? Had we just completely failed as parents?
I began to pray (something I should have been doing faithfully for five years!) and God slowly began to change me.
I realized that it was not my responsibility to change their hearts. In fact, I couldn’t do this even if I was the perfect mother, sharing the right truths at all the right moments in ways that my little ones could completely understand and grasp. God was reshaping my way of thinking and my own views on faith and evangelism.
It was a bit terrifying to release my control on their little hearts, but as He slowly peeled my fingers back, I discovered how freeing it was to trust Him with my most precious gifts.
The past five years have been a journey of trust for me.
God has been teaching me to move from feelings of failure to faithfulness. Instead of basing my success on results, I simply strive to live and breathe truth. And then I pray like crazy, trusting God with how He desires to use my faithfulness in the lives of my kids.
We do devotions together as a family on most nights. And we don’t stress out when we miss one. We pray together, sing together, and memorize scripture together. We point our kids to Jesus. But we are no longer trying to change their hearts.
We are trusting the only Heart Changer.
This new perspective has freed me from expectations. It has allowed me to wait patiently for God’s timing instead of worrying about when my kids will really get it. I have moved from trying to make them accept Christ to simply rejoicing with every heart change, every softening to the Holy Spirit’s leading, every glimpse of God at work in their lives.
I was faithful in encouraging my boy to read his Action Bible. And I rejoice that God is faithful in changing his heart!
Have you read the Action Bible to your kids?
Becky is a pastor’s kid, a pastor’s wife and a mama to four kids. She loves the Word of God and has a passion for knowing Jesus, but the more she learns, the more she discovers how desperately she needs grace. Becky shares her journey at www.dayebydaye.com and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.