Before my children were born — or even a glimmer in my eye — I prayed they would come to know and love God at an early age. As they grew in my womb, I asked God to place his hand on them and lead them according to his plans. With each passing day, I pray they see me following Yeshua…and see his covering grace every time I fail.
Soon after Asher turned four years old, he began telling us he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. My husband and I would tell him what a wonderful idea it was, that it was such an important decision, and we would encourage him with prayer and scripture. But we didn’t sit him down and walk him through “the prayer” — we wanted him to have a full understanding and not ever look back and feel coerced. We wanted him to see it as a transformative life decision…not just a quaint, feel-good prayer.
Six months went by with him persistently asking about accepting Christ. I sought the wisdom of my father, who (coincidentally) dealt with a certain daughter asking those same questions at age four. We also asked our family pastor about his thoughts on Asher’s age and ardent interest in following Jesus. He provided us with a book that thoroughly explained the gospel in a way that children could understand…and Asher insisted we begin reading it.
In between chapters, I took to hiding the book under a stack of my books; I wanted him to have to hunt for it when he was in the mood to read and learn more. We took about nine weeks to slowly and methodically make our way through the four-chapter book, at his leading. One Friday evening after our family Shabbat dinner, he dug the book out from underneath my Bible. “Let’s read this, Mom.”
I told him that we were on the last chapter, and it was the chapter about choosing to follow Jesus. Without any hesitation, he told me that he wanted to finish the book and ask Jesus into his heart right then. No more waiting. He wasn’t going to let us put him off one more night. At three months shy of being five years old, my son knew what he wanted. Who was I to squelch the Spirit after almost nine months of prodding?
With Keane in my lap and Asher snuggled in Mark’s, we sat together as a family for this holy occasion. We spoke of belief, acceptance, repentance, and following Jesus. We prayed and hugged and called grandparents and celebrated with all of Heaven!
One week later, our family and friends gathered in our yard to celebrate Asher’s baptism. My father honored us by reading scripture, sharing wisdom, and praying. With the same hands that welcomed his little body into the world, my husband and I gently lowered him into the water, and raised him up to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus. His little buddies all had front row seats — everyone clapped and cheered as he emerged dripping wet and full of smiles! I pulled out my granny’s fine China and we shared a meal of fellowship.
Faith. Family. Friends. Food. It was reminiscent of the early church, meeting in homes and sharing the joys of life! It was a day I will forever cherish in my heart.