If you haven’t read Part 1, read that first, then go there first.
It all started when I was a little thing….a little girl with big questions.
Like most kids, I was a sponge, and around the age of four, the images of the world’s poor soaked into and seared the deepest places of my heart. I saw them in the newspaper. I saw them in magazines. I saw them on TV. Remember those commercials with an older man walking among rubble and hungry people, asking for viewers to support their food for the poor programs? I saw them, and the images moved me.
The questions flooded in. Who was going to love them? Who was going to feed them, clothe them and care for them? How they would ever hear about Jesus, and what would happen if no one ever went to tell them about God and His love? Would they go to heaven? I wrestled with the kind of questions for which there were no easy answers. I was convinced, however, that God saw them, cared for them, and so I did too.
Since I wasn’t old enough to write, but was struggling with what my mom knew were difficult questions, she simply offered to begin a journal with me where I recorded my questions for God. (Thanks Momma, for fanning my passion for thinking well, for expressing my heart through writing and for talking honestly with God from an early age.)
The most important “yes” from my parents, came not as they had all the answers for my questions, but as they pointed me to Jesus.
One of my most vivid childhood memories is of our nightly routine. After tucking me in under my hand-me-down Raggedy Anne sheets, and my worn in blue flowered comforter, my mom and dad knelt on either side of my white spindle twin bed. (The same bed my sisters, my mom, and my aunts slept in as children.) And every night, they held my hands and together we prayed. They usually each took a short turn, then I prayed extensively for every thing my little brain could imagine. (Bless their patient hearts) Without shame or hesitation, I prayed God would bless my family members, my stuffed animals, every item in my closet, my windows, the birds outside my windows, and of course the hungry children and their families in far away places. This simple nightly practice was another “yes” to my eternal destiny and calling. It instilled in me the value of consistent prayer, believing in a good God, and trusting that all things are for Him, in Him, and held together by Him.
I was young, and had big questions, but my heart was filled with a hunger for a God that I knew wanted to fill my whole being. A humbling gift of grace that only comes from our good Father in Heaven. The big questions and the hunger for God went together perfectly, because I was experiencing Him in a loving, tangible, personal way. Another grace of heaven.
During this stage (and for years after) I would sit in my room, talking out loud with God, delighting that angels were surrounding me (because the Bible said so) and amazed at the joy I felt in knowing Him. I was sure that God was good and real and active all around me and all around the world, and I delighted in His nearness.
In the midst of heavy questions, it was all very simple to my little heart. I loved Him, and wanted to be where He was, and do what He was doing.
Although (like everyone else) our home life was not perfect, there was a unique grace for me to understand these truths:
God is good, and nothing is too hard for Him.
Because of my parents’ gentle “yes” to what God was doing in my little heart, I responded to God’s invitation to begin walking with Him down the road of faith. And by His outlandish grace and relentless pursuit, I’ve had the thrill of walking hand in hand with Him ever since. Thank You, good and gracious God.
I could not ask for a better gift in all the world. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me space to grow up into Jesus under your roof.
Tomorrow’s post…The Best Gift My Parents Every Gave Me Cont: The First Time I Encountered a Homeless Man