Three year old Emerald has been asking lots of questions about death lately. Heaven knows she’s been to her fair share of funerals and has often heard us talk about how we’re singing at one or Chad’s preaching at one. So, maybe all this funeral talk has got her thinking it over.
A few weeks ago we had a pretty deep discussion at bedtime, and she asked me if I’m going to die and if she’s going to die. I gave the most motherly answer I could think of, and I told her that, yes, we’re both going to die, when we’re old ladies.
Apparently, she’s been mulling that idea over since then, and today she said, “Mama, when we’re both old ladies, are we going to go to the same Heaven?” I told her yes, we are. “Good,” she said, “because I’m going to give you a BIG hug.”
Well, I’ll be honest. I could’ve pulled over the minivan right there and had a good cry about it.
Emerald is such a mama’s girl. It’s pretty extreme. She doesn’t want to nap or go to bed at night because it means we’ll be apart. Even though she loves Sunday school and all the childcare workers at church, she still clings to me most days when it’s time for her to go in. She isn’t shy. She isn’t lacking in confidence. She just would simply rather be with me most of the time.
I hope and pray that we really will grow to be old ladies together. I realize I have a 34 year jump start on her, but, goodness, I would be totally okay with being a young-ish 94 hanging with my hip 64 year old baby girl.
I just can’t stop thinking about her question: “Mama, will we go to the same Heaven?”
Today I spent way too long looking at old vacation pictures when I should have been cleaning. Emerald and I sat there on the couch, remembering our trip to San Antonio. Disney World. We looked at all the pictures of her first ever vacation, when we bravely packed up two kids and a three month old baby and drove from Texas to Florida to spend a week on the beach. We laughed at the expression on baby Emerald’s face as Chad put her feet in the surf for the first time. She was wearing her bumblebee swimsuit and a white eyelet hat. The final picture in the series was just a shot of our feet, the five of us standing in a circle, tiny baby feet and gangly kid feet and giant daddy feet, all toes in the sand, a tight little circle of familiarity and closeness.
I live with the constant prayer in my heart that God will keep our circle unbroken. That all of our kids will find salvation. That He will rescue them from their sins. That they will turn to Him in repentance and see their need for His mercy. I pray this because I want them to know the joy of salvation. I want them to live with the peace that only God can give. And, I want our circle to remain complete, unbroken by death, unphased by temporary separation, because of the hope of eternal life in the very same Heaven.
This is what makes me careful. I want to be oh-so-careful about doing all I can to lay the foundation. This is why I want my kids touching the pages of the Bible from the time they can toddle around. This is why I try to send them the message, “It’s for you.” This gospel, this truth, this unlimitable God. “He is yours,” I try to whisper into tiny hearts from day one.
There is no guarantee that they will come to know Him. I know plenty of godly families with children who are lost, wandering. So, I pray. I rest in my salvation and look forward to the time when I can rest in all of theirs.
But, parents, we have to be doing the work now. If we know Christ, how can helping our kids know Christ NOT be an overwhelming priority of life? How can we sleep in Sunday after Sunday? How can we rest in our own salvation and tell ourselves that our kids still have plenty of time to learn about Jesus? How can we let our own wounds that keep us away from the Body of Christ lead our entire family straight to Hell? I know these are strong words. The time is now. I know that you, like me, would plead with God to keep your circle unbroken. He gifted your children with YOU. Show them the way to Christ. Put aside your hangups that keep you out of church. Lead your family to love God with everything they have. And, keep praying.
Will the circle be unbroken, Lord? I pray that You would make me an instrument of your peace and mercy and salvation in the life of my children.
I wonder how long Emerald will be a mama’s girl. I doubt she’ll still be clinging to my skirt on prom night. I don’t really know if we’ll get to be old ladies together–for all I know I could leave this Earth tomorrow. But, I do know one thing. When she finally comes strolling into that very same Heaven, she’ll see me running to get that BIG hug. God willing. Amen.