Ten minutes later, Sadie passes me in the hallway and says "Momma! I accepted Jesus into my heart!" I smile, say "that's great honey", and as she walks away I look around to see others looking at me and know they are wondering why I am not weeping and hugging and emotionally out of control. For a moment I feel like a REALLY BAD CHRISTIAN. But they don't know....
They don't know that Sadie has accepted Jesus into her heart 80 times in her bedroom. That she asks questions all the time, that she's struggling to figure it all out and reading her Bible more than I do. That she watched her friend get baptized in front of everyone in worship rally yesterday and REALLY wants to get in that cool tub. That she is in process....that she is "being saved..."
See, we've worked with either youth or college students for the past 12 years of our lives. We've seen the damaging effects that can happen when someone is rushed to say a prayer, "accept Jesus", and baptized before they really understand what it all means - then later in life they struggle with knowing if they really ever had salvation. We've seen so many kids "rededicate" their lives, when really it was probably for the first time. I have been that kid.
Not all of them, mind you. Some really do find Jesus at 7 and "get it" and never turn back. My personal opinion is that this is rare.
There is no magic in that prayer that is prayed when the lights are low, and the music is playing softly and someone is speaking dramatically hushed. I want my children to accept Jesus with their EYES WIDE OPEN, counting the cost and knowing that this is not game or a fairy tale or an emotional experience.
So, my husband took Sadie for "coffee" that night and they talked about it. We knew after the talk that she is still a bit confused. She thought you "become a Christian" after the baptism, so there's still some work to be done. He used an illustration with her that I thought was really intriguing.
He put a peppermint in her hand. He had her hold it, smell it, observe it. There is so much you can know about that peppermint just by being an observer. You could research how they were made and what herbs are in them, and know from the smell how they might taste. But, until you put that peppermint in your mouth, it is all just intellectual. There is no personal tie to that peppermint until it is in your mouth and in your stomach. You could never TRULY say that you knew peppermint, unless you've actually eaten one.
As parents, we personally believe that Sadie is holding that peppermint and lifting it towards her mouth. Her taste buds are starting to water as she anticipates the minty freshness. BUT, it's not quite there yet.
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