last night i got to speak to a group of women at our church called iMom (being intentional moms). yesterday morning i got to speak to the morning group of iMoms. it was so great and i love being with people who are wanting to be better parents. it was so awesome to get a chance to tell these moms how much i love their kids, and how much we value them and want to support families through our ministry. it was an honor to be asked to share and it was even cooler because God being God did so much more with what little i was bringing to the table. love it.
i was asked to talk about leading your child to Christ, and where to go for good family devotions.
SO… to start out, I basically shared how i feel about kids and salvation … you can read about that here if you are interested. I wanted to be very clear about where I stand on that issue… and encourage people to engage with their kids in conversations about God.
i shared that we don’t need to be afraid to tell our own story. i gave the “ABC’s of salvation. etc. etc. etc.
so when a mom pulled me aside afterwards, i really thought that she was going to talk about her child and how she wanted to share Christ with her. I was wrong.
She wanted to talk about how she accepted Christ at the age of 8 but had been suffering from a crisis of belief ever since. doubting the true-ness of her relationship with God. unfortunately she had been in a church that focused on “earning your way and begging for God’s love”… here is the thing… if we could earn it, it wouldn’t be heaven and it wouldn’t be God and it wouldnt be perfect. because we are not perfect. anyway… before i get derailed by the falsehoods she had been plagued with all of these years, let’s get to the part where she finds hope.
we talked about that moment when the decision to believe happens… then i gave her this illustration… i put a pen cap in my hand and asked her to try to get it out. she could not. i reminded her that the bible says that when we are his, nothing can pluck us from His hand. nothing.
i guessed correctly that she had some shame she had been carrying around that was stealing her joy. and causing her to doubt her salvation.
i’ve been there. i recognized her angst because i have had it. when i was in high school i went through a crisis of belief… “is this my faith or my parents’ faith? was it real? does God really love me?” my best friend pointed out the fruit she had seen of God’s work in my life over the years. she asked me questions about how i perceived God, she asked if i really believed he died on the cross and lived a perfect life. she said that the fact that i was seeking him and concerned about the state of our relationship was evidence that there had, in fact, been a relationship there to begin with. you can’t miss something you never had. you can’t be convicted by a holy spirit if he has never come to dwell in you. this verse was instrumental in returning me to Christ that night and has been a constant encouragement each time i have pondered the same thing. (btw…it’s ok to ask God to show himself and be obvious to you … he is up to your questioning)
here’s the verse: Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. restore unto me the joy of my salvation.
– yes. please God. create in me a clean heart. every day. every time i wonder. everytime i don’t do the things you want me to do.
-yes, God renew a right spirit within me. set me straight. breathe life into me.
-and yes, God… please restore to me the joy of my salvation.
back to our point… if you have never known the joy of your salvation… you might not know our God… but if you miss the joy of your salvation… you know him you have just neglected your relationship. like a best friend that you haven’t talked to in awhile… you miss them. like the friend you’ve never even met… you don’t.
well, after we discussed this concept and i prayed with her… i hope that she has begun to have the joy of her salvation returned to her. i hope she is not allowing the enemy to use shame and the past steal her joy and freedom that Christ brought her. I’m going to find out!
isn’t it interesting… all of this came out of a talk on how to share Christ with your kids… or why we don’t want to give them access to heaven, while we want to tell them all about the judgement and punishment of God. i supposed that the reason we sometimes hesitate to “allow” our kids to make a decision is that we are fearful of a decision that we made early on in life… but it brought up something really important. KNOWING YOUR SALVATION IS SECURE. at the risk of being redundant, i’ll sum up here:
you can’t miss something you never had.