Last September, Maddie prayed a simple prayer, giving Jesus her "whole heart." Eight months later, we see all kinds of evidence of the Spirit at work in her. It is absolutely amazing and really, quite indescribable to hear your Maddie, my own child, speak truth and to see the sanctifying work of the gospel in her life. A few weeks ago she decided to be baptized, and as we enter the week of her public declaration of faith, I felt the need to write down some of the things we've seen and heard over the past few months.
A few days ago Maddie said to me, "Sometimes when I feel like I want to make a bad decision, there's something in me that tells me I don't have to do it." I explained that as the Holy Spirit, which she received when she prayed to Jesus, and the Spirit's job is to help guide her in truth and help her make good decisions. She turns to me and says, "It's just something God gave me. I don't have to make bad decisions. It's just inside me."
Also this week, her sweet friend Nicole took scissors to her own hair this past week, resulting in a new, short style. After speaking with Kelly, Nicole's mom, I talked to Maddie about how she could come around her friend at school, love and encourage her so she wouldn't feel embarrassed or uneasy about her hair. On the way to school, after telling Maddie how important it would be to support her friend, Maddie says to me, "But, Mommy, Nicole is a precious child of God. Nothing can change the way I feel about her! I will tell her that her hair is amazing and I love her no matter what!" These are not words that I fed her, but her very own understanding of God's unconditional love for his sweet child Nicole. I can't even describe the joy that fills my heart that these two sweet best friends can speak truth to each other at only four years old. (It's only in the past two years that their own mothers have learned this way of loving and speaking truth to each other!)
After Sam's birthday party I was walking around, cleaning up, popping balloons and throwing them away. One balloon started drifting away and I grasped for the string as it headed toward the stairs and up to the ceiling fan. I was frustrated and hurrying around, and when I couldn't make it to the balloon in time I barked out, "Stupid balloon!" As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew there would be an intervention from a certain four year-old girl. Sure enough, she ran over. "Mom, did you say stupid?" Me: "Yes, but sometimes when Mommy is really frustrated she says things that aren't right. I was really feeling upset that the balloon got away and now is all tangled up in the fan." (Hear the justification?) Maddie wouldn't let up. "You don't have to say stupid. God doesn't want us to say things like that, even if you are frustrated." She was right, just like that, the Holy Spirit swooped in, pushed my pride and self-justification right out of the way, and allowed me to admit my sin and ask for forgiveness. Truth from my child's lips, once again.
And to finish on a humorous note, the other night at small group I cut Maddie a small piece of the fruit tart Phil had provided. She decided that it was too small to really appreciate its goodness, and asked for more. I hushed her and reminded her it was bedtime. Verne, aka adopted grandpa, asked me quietly if he could give Maddie his piece to enjoy the next day. I smiled and assured him it could be so. Maddie's face lit up as she leapt into Grandpa Verne's arms, showered him with kisses, and then accompanied me upstairs. I sang her songs and then started to pray, as we do each and every time she gets in bed. Maddie interrupted, saying she'd like to pray also. The prayer went something like this:
"Dear God, thank you so much for this day. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for the cross, for dying for us. Thank you that you help me, Jesus, to make good decisions. And, God, please help Verne to remember my fruit tart. AMEN!"
Sweet Maddie, we are so proud of you. We are in awe of the work that God continues to do in your tender, gentle, passionate little heart. Even on our roughest of days, I take such comfort in knowing that God is great, he is in control of your life and he is working his will and his ways to produce fruit of all types in your life. We are so honored to be your parents and to walk through this life as disciples together.