Sunday, September 6, 2009

No Greater Joy

I have great news to share! Anna Clare asked Jesus into her heart last week. We are so happy and thankful that she made the most important decision of her life! She has been saying things over the past few weeks that made me think this day was coming. Steve thought it would be a good idea to let her go talk to our pastor and ask any questions that she might have. They went, and Steve said it was a great conversation. Our pastor told Steve that he felt like God was preparing her heart and to not be surprised if she came to us soon.

I am writing this next part so I will never forget how God worked in my heart that day. He convicted me 3 times that same day in 3 very distinct ways. On the morning that she was going to meet with our pastor, I was talking with a friend whom I consider to be a spiritual mentor. I told her that while I was very excited, I was a little concerned that Anna Clare might be too young to understand what it means to be a Christian, and that I just didn’t know if she was “ready.” I went on to tell her how I was 9 years old when I accepted Christ, and I remember coming home from church on a Sunday night crying because I knew right then that I wanted Jesus. Her advice to me was “Don’t try to write the script for her story.” Wow! Has anyone ever spoken a word to you that you knew you would never forget? That was exactly what I needed to hear because that is exactly what I was doing. I hung up the phone in tears and prayed that I had not been discouraging to Anna Clare in any way.

Earlier that morning, I had emailed my dad letting him know that she was going to meet with our pastor and to ask him to pray for her. When I checked my email later that day, he told me how thrilled and excited he was for her. His advice was to “never hinder the Spirit…if she is cautioned to wait until she is older, she might easily become discouraged and her boldness and convictions could be weakened. If she loses that boldness, she may never get it back.” Convicted. Again. Anna Clare is shy and a bit insecure, and the last thing she needs is to lose what little boldness she has…especially a boldness for Jesus. Again, I prayed, thanking God that I had not said anything to her that might have hindered her.

Finally, as I was reading the lesson for a mentor program/Bible Study that I am doing with some ladies in our church, this verse jumped off the page at me. Matthew 19:14. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” DO NOT HINDER…I honestly could not believe that this verse was in this lesson on this day. I am so thankful that I serve a forgiving God who knows my heart and knows that I would never, ever intentionally hinder my child’s heart.

All of this happened on a Monday. I spent the week praying for Anna Clare and for whatever His plan (not mine) was for her. The following Sunday afternoon, she asked Jesus to come into her heart. I am so grateful that God worked in my heart prior to her decision so that when that moment came, I was able to experience pure, unbridled joy. His grace is sufficient.

I think Steve summed it up best. We try to make it complicated. We tend to think that it can’t be simple. But it is. Jesus died on a cross so that we could be set free. It is that simple for anyone who believes.

We are not sure when she will publicly profess her faith or when she will be baptized. Jesus will lead her. Right now, I am just praising Him that our daughter’s eternity is secured in Heaven, and I am soaking up all God is teaching me through the faith of a little child.


Melissa said...

What a beautiful post, and I know y'all are thrilled! I felt the same way when Matthew accepted Jesus last fall. I was afraid he didn't truly understand, etc. Our pastor put it to me like this...if this is real, that means he's reached the age of accountability, and if we discouraged him....well, you know he is still going to be accountable to God. I believe it was as real to Matthew as it could possibly be at his age, and so we didn't discourage him either. He fully believed with all that a 6-year-old can believe & understand. The things you've posted helped give me reassurance too, even months later!

Lindsey said...

That is wonderful and so sweet too! And I am glad you had some convictions/words of encouragement!
I just told Jeremy and he said, Now I won't be surprised when she walks down the aisle! (as in, I ruined it for him. He is silly.)

emily said...

Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing! You have blessed my heart I have been thinking some of that same way with Beth. Thanks for being transparent.

Denise said...

Yay for A.C. Made me cry. God is so good.

andi said...

Praise the LORD! I love how you are allowing the Lord to guide her!~ Wise words that I am going to treasure and in my heart!!! Praising the LORD with you!!!!
AC-May the Lord guide you and direct you as your heart and life become more and more like Jesus. May there be no unnecessary pain in your life but that which is only used for God's glory. May you grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man!
We love you precious one!

Anonymous said...

crazy and amazing, isn't it?!?! i am so proud of her, AND you! God said "i'll show you, crazy momma"! i'm glad that you experienced this first. SO many of us will learn and be guided through what He showed you! seems to be no greater joy than seeing His love shine through such a beautiful little girl! i love her! and i love you! : )

Tonja said...

It is exactly what it should be... childlike faith. What wonderful news. As a parent, this is a very comforting thing. Especially as she gets older and she is not always where you can see her or be with her. The assurance that God Himself is holding on to her heart, and it belongs now as much to Him as it does to you. My Dad used to say that nothing else mattered to him in life as much as knowing that his wife and his children and his grandchildren were all Christians and bound for Heaven!

Anna Clare...
This is THE most wonderful news! Even though I don't get to see you much anymore, I do have you tucked into a special place in my heart. What you did is so special that when you asked Jesus to come into your heart, ALL the angels in Heaven sang! That's how happy they were! And lots of us here on earth are just as happy. God bless you, dear one. Mrs. Owens

JMom said...

Thank you so much for sharing this link with me. I wept as I read your post. It was exactly the encouragement that I needed. Praise God that His Holy Spirit works in our hearts writing individual stories on each one.
Thanks again!

JenB said...

I came over from JMom's blog, saw your comment. I love that you wrote this to remember how it all happened. How awesome for the Lord to speak to you distinctly so many times about this! I love when He does that! I wrote the same thing to JMom that you said here, how we try to make it complicated.

Blessings to you! I'll be back!