When I first became a mom, my thought was…”I got this…”
I love Jesus. And, if I just tell my kids all the right things and point them to Jesus in every situation, they will love Him too. It’s that simple, right? I was treating it like a checklist…
- Take the kids to church on Sundays…check
- Take the kids to all church activities and VBS…check
- Read the Jesus Storybook Bible to my kids every night before bed…check
- Pray before bed every night…check
- Say all the right things — pointing them to Jesus in every situation…check
These are all good things. In my heart, though, they flirted with legalism. I had minimized my children’s relationship with Jesus to a bulleted checklist. Now, this wasn’t where it stopped. I prayed all the time for their salvation…and for my shortcomings to not get in the way of them loving Jesus with their whole heart. I recognized that it was God that had to work in their hearts, but put too much emphasis on my part in the process.
On Sunday, I was reminded of the power of Jesus. You see, when I first became a mom, I thought the day my kids got baptized would be a huge pat on my back. Look at me, everyone! Look at what a great mom I am! I did all the right things to bring them to this point! Yay, Carrie!
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As I sat in the front row watching my husband baptize our 8-year-old, I was reminded of all my shortcomings. I thought about all the ways I’ve failed Alyssa and let her down. I did nothing to change her heart. Yes, I crossed off all the things on the checklist, but that’s all I can do. Those things alone can’t bring anyone to the point of fully surrendering their lives to Christ. I can only model for my kids what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus — which includes failure and triumph.
With both of our girls, I could see God bringing them to a point of surrender apart from me. Before that moment, they loved Jesus and wanted to get baptized, but they were both scared to get up in front of our church congregation and profess this love. They both had a moment when it no longer mattered. Their obedience to God was more important than their feelings of fear. I vividly remember that moment when they looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m ready. I want to get baptized.”
Even as Alyssa and I sat in the front row, people slowly filling the church sanctuary, she looked at me with tear-filled eyes and said, “I’m scared.” It’s real. I held her and we prayed. I reassured her that everyone in that room loves her and was for her. The peace of God calmed her fears and she went boldly — apart from me. Not because of anything I said or anything I did. But because of the work God is doing in her life.