RE-POST: Conversations With My Daughter

Tim —  December 30, 2011 — 6 Comments

(I’m taking this week off from blogging. The official name for this is Blogger’s Break, not to be confused with the more popular Blogger’s Blitz or the infamous Blogger’s BreakDOWN. Anyhoo, this last re-post is my favorite and is also the top post from the year. Originally posted August 24, 2011.)

I’d like to share a conversation I had with my daughter, our oldest who is now a first grader, that took place two weeks ago. I was putting all three kids to bed by myself and decided we would try something different to pray. I got us in a circle and said we were going to pray for the person on our right. (Then I showed the boys which way was right.)

The boys prayed silly prayers, imagine that, but when it was Addi’s turn she said she didn’t want to pray. Thinking she was just too nervous, I offered some encouraging, fatherly words that would surely convince her she could pray.

But she said, “I can’t pray… I did too many bad things today.” That got my attention, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. She looked at me and said, “I want to feel clean inside.”

That floored me. Instantly, my heart was both full and broken. I was a mess of excitement and nerves. This was the kind of conversation pastors live for, and here was my little girl opening that door.

I pulled her over to me, sat her on my lap, and gave her a big hug. I said a couple of things to her, then realized we needed to have a real conversation. So I put the boys to bed, grabbed my Bible, and we sat on Addi’s bed and talked.

I read 1 John 1:9 to her: “If we confess our sins, (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I explained that to confess simply meant to admit to God she had done bad things, which she had done. I told her because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are clean on the inside. I desperately wanted her to understand that this is what grace is all about, that she didn’t need to do anything, that because of Jesus she is forgiven and clean.

She said she understood. I prayed, and she repeated what I said. I asked her if she understood what she had prayed, and again she said she understood.

I wonder how much she did understand. I wonder how deeply a six-year-old can grasp amazing grace. I’m not sure how deeply I grasp it! I constantly find myself slipping back into old ruts of approaching God based on what I’ve done lately rather than because of what Jesus Christ did for me 2,000 years ago.

And I remember when I was about Addi’s age I prayed the sinner’s prayer to receive Jesus over and over and over again. I couldn’t tell you how many times I prayed it, but I know I had it memorized.

My constant fear was I had not prayed all the right words, I had left out a part, or I had not been 100% sincere. Ironically, in my prayer asking Jesus to save me from the eternal fires of hell, my focus was more on my own efforts to be saved. I did not get grace. My faith was pretty weak; I wasn’t able to trust in Christ alone.

From a developmental view, maybe I was unable to mentally and emotionally grasp the concept of grace at that young age. Maybe the same is true for my daughter. Less than a week ago, again at the end of the day, Addi said she did not want to pray. Then she said, “I think I need a new heart again.”

She felt bad for something that had happened earlier, and I love that she feels bad about being bad – I hope she never loses that! We had another conversation, and I explained how in a relationship it is important to say sorry when you recognize you’ve done something wrong. Then we prayed together.

I think her statement is indicative that she doesn’t get grace yet. As we go on from here and have more conversations, this is what I want to try to bring down to her level: that she is saved by grace and that her “job” is to believe that when Jesus said, “It is finished,” it really is.

As Paul Tillich wrote, “Faith is the courage to accept acceptance.” Faith is believing God’s grace is real and is for me. That’s what I want to be convinced of in the depths of my soul, and what I want for my kids as well.

I do believe God is hearing the heartfelt cries of my little girl, and it pleases Him to extend His Son’s righteousness to her. She might not fully get it, but in Christ she is forgiven and clean.

She is His.

Tim

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  • Bill Bordeaux

    This is definitely one of if not my favorite post!

    Happy New Year Pastor Tim

    Papa

    • http://friendedbychrist.wordpress.com Tim

      Thanks, Dad.

  • Linda Bordeaux

    OK, Tim! Go ahead and make me cry all over again for the beauty of Addi’s cry for forgiveness and grace and for the words you have written of your own struggle with grace. Mostly my heart is touched by the goodness of God and all the grace He has given to us.

    • http://friendedbychrist.wordpress.com Tim

      Thanks, Mom. Sorry for making you cry. :)

  • http://stephenhaggerty.blogspot.com Stephen Haggerty

    I can relate to your childhood experience, and can only imagine what that must feel like as a father to long for your kids to “get grace”. Looking back, even though I’ve had doubts at times of my childhood “prayer of repentence”, I still see as the time where I started to know God as a relational being, someone I could talk to honestly and openly.

    Like your daughter, I’m not 100% I “got grace” then myself, but the point is I did eventually, and that prayer was a start to something. I’ll pray that she will come to understand His acceptance, and learn to trust in Him for her righteousness.

    • http://friendedbychrist.wordpress.com Tim

      Thanks, Stephen! Our journeys to Christ tend to be the same though different. So thankful He is faithful.