I don’t want you to forget the special details of Friday, November 30th, 2018 (nor do I, for that matter), so I wanted to take a minute or two and write down the memories of this special evening when God lowered His ladder from heaven and reached down for your little heart!
We had just returned home from a fun-filled night that included Christmas lights, a horse-drawn wagon ride, and a family dinner to one of your favorites–Fuzzy’s Tacos! It was late and bed time had come and gone when we had returned home, but we decided to take the time and read our Advent book. And man, am I ever-glad we did!
Since “Superman” is having his heart surgery in the middle of Advent this year, we decided to start our readings early; we were on Day 8 that evening. As I opened the book, and began reading from Ann Voskamp’s, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, the Old Testament story of Jacob and his ladder dream covered the colorful pages.
“…The real amazing dream is that there are no ladders to climb up at all, ever, because Jesus comes down to get you…See, Jesus doesn’t just come down to show you the steps you have to take to get up to heaven–Jesus comes down makes Himself into the steps to carry you up to heaven. Everybody else may tell you the steps you have to take to get better But Jesus is the only One who becomes the steps to take you there Himself–because He love you already, just as you are. Jesus doesn’t wait for you to be good; He comes to be with us you…Jesus came from heaven to be with you…And Jesus is the ladder who wants to give you the gift of letting Him carry you up, no matter how far down you’ve fallen…”
Quietly and intently, you listened.
At the end of the reading, it was your turn to hang the Jesse Tree ornament that evening. As you grabbed the wooden ornament with the ladder imprinted on it, I asked you the following question:
“Evie, what does the ladder mean?”
You responded quickly and confidently. “It means that Jesus is the ladder for me!”
“You’re right! Isn’t that awesome?”
You didn’t say anything and then you quietly said, “I think I’m going to ask Jesus to come live in my heart tomorrow.”
I’m not going to lie, I was surprised by your response.
Your brother had prayed for salvation on September 11, 2018 and when you heard the news, you simply and almost defiantly said, “I don’t need to pray that prayer.”
We didn’t push the topic or question your defiance, we just continued to pray that God would soften your heart in His perfect timing. And to be perfectly honest, I imagined that it wouldn’t be any time soon. So when you spoke of your desire to ask Jesus into your heart “tomorrow,” I was slightly stunned. As I sat in silence, recognizing that I had absolutely zero intention of doing any further pushing or prodding, your brother spoke instead.
“You know, Evie, you don’t have to wait until tomorrow. You could always ask Him tonight.”
Your little blonde-head looked from Caden…to me…and then back to Caden. And though I hate to acknowledge this, I truly believed you were getting ready to give your brother a piece of your mind, and I assumed it would sound something along the lines of, “Caden, you don’t have to tell me!!!” Evie Rae, you are all kinds of sugar and spice, AND you are also all kinds of fiery and feisty! But you didn’t.
You looked back at me with big eyes and quietly said, “Mommy, can we go get Daddy? I want to ask Jesus into my heart.”
I went and found your daddy immediately and then tucked your big brother into bed before climbing the stairs to your room. As I went to turn out the lights in your brother’s room, he simply asked, “Mommy? Is Evie old enough to understand what she is doing?”
To be honest, I didn’t have eloquent words, and I wasn’t entirely sure. I was six when I prayed for salvation, your brother was seven, and your daddy was eight. And here you were, at four, ready to accept God’s free gift of grace. I wasn’t sure how to respond, but I said what I truly believed.
“Buddy, I know that God works in our hearts at all ages, and I am going to trust that God is doing that right now with Evie.”
As we knelt around your bed, your twinkle lights sparkled. Immediately, I was transported to 1989 when I prayed for salvation on my own bed with my daddy (your Papa) at my side. Tears began to well. I couldn’t believe this was happening and yet, I had been praying for this since the day I learned you were growing in my womb.
On February 21st, 2014 (4 days before your BIRTHday), I wrote to you…
“Evie, your name means life, lively, living. I am thankful for your precious life, and I pray that as God continues to sustain your life, you will be a soul that breathes life into others. I pray that your life would be a lively testimony to God’s grace in your life, and I pray that you would bring much glory to God through your living.”
Almost four years later, God was answering my prayer and breathing new life into your lively soul.
As we knelt at your bedside at close to 10 PM on Friday, November 30th, your daddy and I asked you several questions.
When we asked you why you wanted Jesus to come live in your heart, you answered, “I want Him to come work in my heart, and I want to go to heaven with all of you.”
When we asked you what it means to be saved, you said, “I am a sinner and Jesus took my spot.”
When we asked you what happens when God saves you, you answered, “God sees HE when He looks at me.”
We were blown away by the depth of your answers and the personal way you expressed your little-big faith.
And then Daddy asked you, “Why tonight?”
Immediately, you brought up Saturday, October 27th–the day you refused to dance at your final dance class…the day you made Mommy really angry…the day your daddy talked to you, at length, about your choices and your refusal to obey…the day where you announced (for the first time) that you were NOT sorry for your actions and had zero remorse for your behavior.
I will probably remember that day forever (not because of what you did) but because of what I didn’t do.
I didn’t respond with patience that day, Evie. I didn’t respond with kindness, and I certainly didn’t respond in a way that I am proud of. AND YET, God used that day to plant and water a seed in your heart. He used that day when I couldn’t see how. He used that day to pave a way for your salvation.
We were blown away, and my mama-heart was laid low.
Not ONCE since that day (almost two months prior) had we rehearsed your wrong, revisited your disobedience, or reminded you of your defiance that day. We had forgiven you, moved on, and thought you had, too.
And YET…here you were, on a cold, Friday evening, noting that Saturday as the reason for why you knew you needed a Savior.
Donned in a purple nightgown, we held your hands as you prayed for salvation. And though I cannot remember all that you said, I could hear the excitement and repentance in your voice. And as you finished, the angels rejoiced and heaven shouted with joy! Welcome to the family, Evie Rae!!!
Before I left your room, I pulled your blanket up to your chin, hugged your body, and you rehearsed the words we have rehearsed since you could speak them.
“I’m smart; I’m kind; I’m beautiful!” And then you added a new phrase (all on your own) that you had never uttered before. “And Jesus is working in my heart!!!”
With wet cheeks, I responded, “Yes, sweet girl, He is. He is working in your heart.”
Evie Rae, we rejoice with you; we praise God for His ladder of love that reached down into your heart and saved you on November 30th, 2018; and we pray that God continues to work in your heart from now until eternity.
With all of our love,
Mommy and Daddy