"Godly SORROW brings REPENTANCE that leads to SALVATION and leaves no regret . . ."
~2 Corinthians 7:10
I asked her if she wanted to go to the back of the room and talk, and she shook her head, "Yes." We found a quiet corner, and I asked her why she was crying. I already knew the answer. I just needed to hear her say it. And she did.
"I want to be saved."
Why, Hannah Kate?
"I am a sinner."
I wasn't surprised. We'd already had conversations for two years. She had asked several times to be baptized. But we always wanted to be absolutely sure that she really understood the concept of sin . . . that SHE was a sinner . . . and that because of her sin, she was separated from God . . . and that the only way to God was through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ . . . His gift given to us by His GRACE. There were so many times when I felt like I was "holding her back." There were so many times when I questioned whether or not we were doing the right thing. I mean, she'd been asking for two years! I knew she had the "head knowledge." I also knew . . . I SAW . . . the ways the Lord was working in her life. We've seen that for quite some time.
I wish I could remember the date, but I can't. I think it was the fall of 2011. Hannah Kate was three years old, almost four. We were at a revival. All of a sudden during the invitation, she started crying. I mean, bawling. And so much so that I actually had to take her out of the sanctuary! I so wish I could remember the song we were singing, but I can't. She could not articulate to me why she was so upset. I just thought that perhaps it sounded "sad" to her (much like Away in a Manger sounded so sad to me as a child that I cried every Christmas time we sang it!). She has always been very sensitive, very emotional. But one thing I'll never forget is my mother-in-law insisting that it was the Holy Spirit moving in Hannah Kate's heart. Because she was so young at the time, that was one of those things that I just tucked away for awhile. I wish now I could remember the time, the song, the circumstances. Looking back, the only thing I can say for sure is that I do believe the Holy Spirit was speaking to her heart. And she was listening!
That night at camp, I again walked through the Roman road with Hannah Kate . . . the Bible says we ALL have sinned (Romans 3:23), and our sin deserves death (Romans 6:23). But Jesus died for our sins (Romans 5:8) so we could have eternal life (Romans 6:23) if we confess Him as Lord and believe He is alive (Romans 10:9-10). We prayed. All I wanted to do was scoop that girl up in my arms and go to a quiet place so we could talk some more. The time of invitation was over, and it was getting loud. She was ready to go back to her seat so we did. But when I think back to that night, I do wish we had more time. She didn't need more time. I did.
It's hard to find the words. Obviously. It has taken me four days . . . FOUR DAYS . . . to write this post. I still feel the exact same way I did when Mason accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord:
As for me . . . well . . . like I said, I'd always imagined what the day would be like when each of my children would profess Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives. But IT WAS NOTHING LIKE I IMAGINED! I thought I'd want to shout it from the rooftop. I mean, I did, but then again, I didn't. I can without a shadow of a doubt say that that was one of the most humbling experiences of my life!
Oh, that my own heart would be grieved enough for my own sin that I would sob tears of repentance like my son did!
Just humbled. And in awe. In awe of the awesome power of God, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the voice of the Holy Spirit that calls us and draws us to Him.
I can honestly tell you it was no less humbling, no less amazing, no less awe-inspiring when I had the opportunity to lead and pray with Hannah Kate to accept Christ than it was with Mason.
No greater joy.
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." ~3 John 4
NO GREATER JOY. Because my deepest prayer for all of my children, first and foremost, is that they will surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and call upon Him for eternal salvation and life.
But when we got back from camp, the unexpected happened. Hannah Kate did not immediately make her profession of faith public in our church. We talked about it several times. She knew what she needed to do. But she couldn't do it. She couldn't step out of the pew and walk down the aisle. And I was reminded that she is, indeed, a very shy and quiet child. She is so full of life and energy and love, but she is not my most outgoing one. I never once doubted her salvation experience. Never once. But it was hard because this was one of those times when I couldn't "make" her "do the right thing" or do what she was "supposed to do." It was hers to do. So I prayed. When Christmas came and she wanted to sing a solo in the musical at church, I wasn't sure how that was going to go. But she did it. She stepped out of her comfort zone big time on that one. And it was at that point that I was hopeful she would then be comfortable making her profession of faith public. But I still didn't say anything.
And then it happened. As part of our homeschool curriculum, Hannah Kate memorizes a new Scripture verse every two weeks. About five weeks ago, we began a new verse.
" . . . the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings . . ." ~Revelation 17:14
We spent two weeks studying this verse with particular emphasis on Lord and King. She'd already learned and studied a verse earlier in the year about Jesus as the Lamb of God. We talked a lot about what it means that Jesus is Lord and King, what our lives should look like if, indeed, Jesus is our Lord and King. We looked at other verses in the Bible, talked a lot about obedience.
When I woke up on March 2, I knew immediately that this was the day the Lord wanted me to again discuss the subject of baptism with Hannah Kate. I'd not done that since last summer! I had decided to wait until later in the day when school was over, and we could have some "alone time." Well. God had another plan. We were again reciting Revelation 17:14 and talking about Jesus as Lord. Hannah Kate looked at me and said, "Mom, when am I going to get baptized? I am ready to be baptized." I was shocked. (But not really.) So I basically told her that was up to her because she knew what the Lord was calling her to do, and it was her choice as to whether or not she was going to obey Him. That following Sunday we already planned for her to spend the weekend in Houston with the cousins. So she wouldn't be at church. She assured me that she would do it the next Sunday, March 13. So we talked about it, and I told her that she could then either be baptized on my birthday (March 20) or on Easter (March 27). No pressure, right?!
March 13 came, and I was excited. I think she was excited, too. We talked about it one more time, and she assured me she was ready. The time for the hymn of invitation came. I went to the piano. I started playing and singing. I waited. And waited. We sang three verses. And it was over. She didn't move. She was still in that pew. My back was to her, and when I turned around and looked at her, she was staring down at the floor. My heart ached so badly for her. When I put her in bed that night, she started crying. I asked her why she was crying. She didn't tell me, but she didn't have to. I knew. So I gave her a hug and told her that she didn't need to be upset. There would be another Sunday.
I started praying. And I asked my BSF small group to pray. Until that time, we'd not shared with anyone regarding her decision to accept Christ. So my BSF sisters prayed along with me that week that the Lord would give Hannah Kate the courage to follow Him in obedience to a public profession of her faith in Him and baptism.
When Sunday (March 20) came, Hannah Kate was determined that she was going to walk down that aisle (although, we sit on the front row so there really isn't any aisle to be walking down!). She sat in between Seth and I during the sermon. Usually she sits with her grandparents. Abbie passed a note to me that Hannah Kate had been complaining that her tummy hurt. So I whispered to her, and she told me it didn't hurt anymore. I knew she was a bundle of nerves. When the time came for the invitation, I didn't know what was going to happen. I started playing, and before the introduction was even finished, I saw her from the corner of my eye walking up to our pastor. I know it took every ounce of courage she had, even courage she didn't have! But that's what the Lord does in your life when you commit to following Him and living your life according to His Lordship!
BEST. BIRTHDAY. PRESENT. EVER!!!!!
And this Easter Sunday, Hannah Kate will be baptized.