Earlier this year on a Monday, my son come to my desk with tears in his eyes and told me he wanted to be baptized.
I had already seen the Lord begin to move in my baby boy’s heart one night in the book of Daniel. We were reading the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The scripture reads that the king looks in and asks the question, “Didn’t we throw three in? Because I see four.”
I asked the kids who did they think the fourth person was. Big alligator tears welled up in Haisten’s eyes when he asked if it was God.
Then I got the tears too when I told him it was.
I explained to him that we aren’t always going to be rescued from the hard things and just because we’re forgiven doesn’t mean that we don’t still have consequences, but a relationship with God does mean that He’s there in the hard things. He loves us through our consequences, and no matter what- whichever way we step- the way he asked us to or the way that we want, He still there.
He always has been. He always will be.
As a mom, there is nothing more comforting than God allowing you to witness His work in the hearts of His children, especially when they’re also your children.
But the morning that Haisten showed up at my desk, teary-eyed and made the request for baptism, it was not comfort I experienced but fear.
How strange, right?
The motions… they trick us into thinking we have something but we are really just walking close to it.
I’ll let him call all of the important people in his life and tell them about his big decision and then we went to the word.
We had a pastor who is a dear friend and mentor sit down with him and offer real counsel and prayer.
We learned the ABC’s of salvation and we watched The Passion of the Christ. For all your mom shamers, I know it’s graphic, but if we reach the place where we are willing to accept the gift, I feel it’s important that we also have an idea of the magnitude of what it looked like.
That it’s not something you just do.
A walk you just make down the aisle.
It’s not a prayer you say or some thing you schedule but it’s the ultimate gift because it was the ultimate sacrifice.
And then one Sunday not long after there it was- the sacrifice- the bread and the blood waiting as we entered the sanctuary.
At first, I was excited. I looked at Haisten with big eyes and I told him, “Look it’s gonna be your first time! This is called communion. It’s for believers and it’s how we remember what Christ did on the cross for us.”
but the more it grew closer to time, the more nervous I got.
I won’t go into the details of what happened next because I’ve definitely had some prouder moments, but let’s just say that Haisten’s first communion experience was a little less conventional because I wanted him to fully understand the weight of what he was doing.
Fast forward a month or so later, communion experience number two, I can say that the events of that day must have made an impact of some sort.
With gentle hands, Haisten opened his single serving of the blood of Christ and that tricky layer of “peel the foil” got him.
He spilled it on his khakis, and there was immediate horror on his face.
Holding back inappropriate laughter in an otherwise serious moment, I told Haisten it was OK. Actually, this is kind of perfect.
A little less mortified about the blood of Christ he was now wearing- he asked, “how?”
“Because, as Christians, all that we are or can ever hope to be, ends and begins with the Gospel”
Even though we have been forgiven and we are technically a new person dead to sin and alive in Christ, the reality is we still fall short.
We still make a mess, and It kind of looks like it does on your khakis right now.
Everybody sees it.
Some people may point.
Some people may talk about it in their circles.
Others may ask you what happened.
But Most will just judge how big your spot is compared to the spot they are wearing and that’s how they will judge how they are doing…
But there are a few that will do this:
and I took my cup and I gave him half of what was in mine and I told him that I made some big messes too- and what was so cool about God is that all of the bad things that we’ve ever done or even the bad stuff were going to do doesn’t make him love us less and even cooler, when we’re willing to share those things, he can use them to help other people see that he has room for their messes too and it doesn’t matter how many people we share it with, there is just enough Grace to cover all of it.
You see, The Gospel is not something we just read or accept. It’s also something we share with anyone who is brave enough to say they need it.
The Gospel is something we walk with. We Introduce its work to our hearts and into our circles.
The Gospel is everything but only if we continue to reach for it, to let it reach for us, and to keep the path clear for its power to do only what it can do.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” Matthew 19:14
I do not know which is more scary- letting any of my kids decide they are old enough, mature enough, understanding enough, to make a decision of this magnitude or waiting from the edge of my seat at every alter call for their young hearts to break enough for them to say “yes”.
but Jesus said let them come.
When I look at this picture, I’m tangibly reminded of the limitations in the knowledge and understanding of the magnitude of my own decision to follow Christ much less my sons or even yours.
I just know I want it and not just a piece of it.
I think it started that way for me. I wanted God to fight for me, to change things, to change people, to change me but looking back, if He had done all that I desired- it would have meant less for my husband, for my kids, and less for my heart.
Peeling back the foil of communion tricked me too. Just when I think I’ve got the top peeling at just the right speed to make a clean separation, I hit a snag too. I spill the blood of Christ, too.
And If we are not careful, we wear the blood without being washed by it.
The more I know God, the more I want to.
I make mess after mess and God just keeps giving me new pieces of Him- pieces we read about but can’t imagine touching until we can.
and whats even crazier is they’ve always been there for me, for Haisten, and for you too.
God doesn’t change so that means there for as long as He has been but gosh stuff gets in our way.
and I’m scared for him, but there is enough wrong in his life already. I can’t be another obstacle for him, I wont.
Jesus said let them come.
He has invited us too, and what I love is that He never stops.
He is as available as we allow him to be.
Push the stuff that is in your way aside.
I know you want to be right, but you dont have to be- push it aside.
I know so and so hurt your feelings and maybe you hurt theirs too- I know you want to protect yourself and you have it all written down and stored up because you may need it one day.. but you need jesus more- push it aside.
Your money is in your way.
Your plans are in your way.
Your job is in your way.
Push your pride aside.
Push your unforgiveness aside.
The more you get rid of, the greater the invitation.
We’re in our own way.
But of all of the mysteries of Chirst- this one is one of my favorites:
It doesn’t matter how far we’ve fallen or if we’ve been standing in the same spot for the last twenty years- it only takes two steps every time to get to a new place. One step to change direction and another step toward Christ.
Let them come.
Because He is faithful to meet us where we are and love us fully and without condition while He carries us to where we’re going.
Thank you, God, for the invitation to come- for the Gospel that changes everything, that changes is. Thank you, God, for you.
(we also believe chicken nuggets are a biblical form of measurement- directly proportional to the size of the blessing)
The Bible is real
There is power in testimony
& The Gospel changes everything