On that day in my little country church I remember a troubled heart, an anxious need for God that I had never experienced before.
After church, we went to my Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner like we did every Sunday. I played with my cousins. We ate banana pudding. I was eight.
That afternoon when we made our way home, I decided I had to tell my Momma about my heart, about my fear that something was not right.
While I was in church that morning God called me into his kingdom. I had always known Him. For the first time in my life, I recognized He knew me.
I have a glimmer of memory of me and my sister, tiny girls with folded hands, reciting this prayer in harmony:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
I never once thought He wouldn’t---take my soul should I die--- until that Sunday at church. I felt the weight of my sin. In the mystery of God, I had child-like understanding that God was calling me.
I remember no words, nothing of what Momma said to me. But I do remember other tactile details of the day I entered the kingdom of God.
Skinny little eight-year old knees dropped to the sculptured blood red carpet beside my parent’s bed. My hands caressed the knotted snow white bedspread that covered it. There I prayed and received the kingdom like a little child. That’s it---all I remember of that day, that glorious day!
Time has stolen the details, but some days later, I put on the white robe, stepped into the warm water of the baptistry. The air caught the robe as I stepped down causing it to billow around me. It seemed that I was floating. The witness of what Christ had done in me was proclaimed before those who loved me. I was raised to newness of life.
Forty years later, I realize what a gift to have received the call as a child. Over the span of my life, I surely have acted like a child too many times to count. But my Father, he has always found me when I was lost, always brought me back to the fold.
Never could I have imagined the blessings that would come to me when I received grace so many years ago. Nor could I have imagined how I would grow to love the One who gave me so great a salvation. Even now I see in the mirror dimly---someday, face to face.
Today I worship the One who calls me His very own possession:
“Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little Ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.”
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
(1 John 3:1a)