To all of you waiting for more stories from my recent trip, you will have to wait just a bit longer. Tonight I want to just briefly share (before I forget the details) some encouraging signs of the Lord's work that we have been seeing in Clara Anne.
While I was gone, John took the girls on a Sunday afternoon to meet some new friends. Afterwards, Clara Anne asked why they were meeting these new people, and John replied that it was because these friends were also Christians. Clara Anne said, "Daddy, I hope I can be a Christian someday." He talked with her further about it but I'm not clear on the exact details.
Then a few days ago in a taxi, I was alone with the girls and Clara Anne said to me, "Mommy, I want to be a Christian someday." I asked her, "Well, what do you need to do to become a Christian, Clara Anne?" She replied, "I have to trust that Jesus died to save me from my sins." I affirmed her that this was correct, and asked if there was anything else she had to do (wondering if she would get mixed up at this point. Remember the "obey Mommy for the whole long week and then you can go to heaven" line she gave Christin?), and she said "Then I have to fight against sin." I again affirmed that this was certainly true, and reminded her that it was Jesus' power in us that gave us strength to fight.
Last night, as we were putting the girls to bed, as usual we gave the girls an opportunity to pray. Chloe said her usual: "Thank you for this day, Mommy, and Daddy, and Ayi, and Uncle Kevin and Aunt Becky, and Amen." Clara Anne, however, prayed a long and heartfelt prayer. I don't remember all the specifics, but she essentially laid out the gospel. She recounted all of the details, how our hearts were sinful and had darkness in them, but in God there was no darkness at all, only light, but we love the darkness because of our sin, but God hates the darkness and wants us to have light in us (the darkness and light business went on for quite some time). Then she recounted how Jesus had to die for us "on the judgment tree--it was really a cross made of wood because trees are made of wood" and how now if we believed in Jesus then we would be with Him forever. It was a long and remarkably theological prayer; she wasn't being silly (as she has sometimes been in the past) and she seemed to truly take comfort in the things she was saying.
John and I talked briefly about it last night and agreed that, while we wouldn't yet confidently say "Clara Anne became a Christian!", we do see signs of progress in her, evidences that the Spirit is working in her heart. We feel encouraged by the signs!
As well, for the last few months or so, Clara Anne has had occasional times where in the morning she will tell me that Jesus came and talked to her during the night. I have tried not to express doubt or discourage her in any way when she's said these things, but just to treat it as if it were a really normal thing. In fact, if the Lord is truly working in her heart, I hope that she is having times of hearing His voice. This morning she also told me this. I asked her what He said, and at first she couldn't remember, but then she said, "Oh, He told me that He will always be with me if I trust in Him." Well, that sounds pretty good to me! Clara Anne had such evident joy on her face as she told me about her conversation with Jesus, it was wonderful! I certainly am not going to discourage that, but rather rejoice in what I see the Lord doing in her heart!
At some point, perhaps, if she continues to express a hoped-for wish to become a Christian, there will be a point of encouraging her that if she has believed on Jesus, His death and resurrection, for the forgiveness of her sins, surrendering herself and her life to Him, that in fact, she IS a Christian! We hope and pray that this will come soon, but for now we are just so encouraged at what we see happening in her young heart. PTL for His faithful work! May He continue to draw our dear Clara Anne to Himself!