“A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:3-9
I had a sweet, fleeting moment with my daughter the other day. It was surrounded by unfortunate circumstances, but tender, nevertheless. My in-law’s dog, Molly, had passed away. We all knew this day was approaching; it was just a matter of time.
Even though Molly was not a cuddly kind of dog, she was still one that our girls adored. They would lavish her with treats and high-pitched hellos. When we received news about Molly, we knew it would be hard to tell the girls. Mainly because our girls are three and six.
Describing death to a child is hard. How much do you divulge? How truthful should you be? We are committed to being honest with our kids, even when it’s messy and sticky and uncomfortable.
Our girls were about to go visit their grandparents. We had put off this conversation about Molly long enough. We began to explain to them that Molly had been really sick.
“Remember last time when we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s, we had to be really gentle with Molly because she wasn’t feeling good?”
I explained,“Well, Molly got really sick and she passed away. She died.”
The question asked, “Where is she?”
This question caught me off guard. I really thought I would get an “okay”, then they would go trotting off to play. Instead, they wanted to know where she was now.
I answered honestly, “I don’t know.”
They asked,“But, where did she go?”
Do I be honest again here? I wanted to comfort them and tell them she went to (a non-existent) doggy heaven. Do all dogs go to heaven?
The question was asked, “Do all dogs go to heaven?”
I diverted their question and reminded them of the Truth.
“When we die, we can live in Heaven with God, if Jesus lives in our heart.”
My six-year-old responded with slight fear, “But Jesus loves me!”
“Oh! Yes, sis, He loves you so much.”, I replied.
She said, “But, I want to go to Heaven.”
I explained,“Okay, you can go to Heaven. You have to ask Jesus to live in your heart.”
“I want Jesus to live in my heart!”, She was still speaking in a concerning voice.
“Okay, well…” This is the moment I’ve been hoping for as mom.
We’ve been praying. Reading our Bibles. Talking about how much Jesus loves us. How he died for us on the cross. How he forgives us when we make bad choices.
Finally! Here we go.I mentally began to walk my six-year-old down Salvation Road.
“Do you remember what sin is?”, I asked.
I explained,“Sin is when we disobey God.”
She said,“I want to do the dishes.”
I responded,“Oh… Okay… You can do that, but let’s talk first.”
She persisted,“I want to do the dishes.”
I asked,“Are you done with this conversation?”
Just like that. My oldest, dearest child was done talking. She heard all she wanted to hear. She was content with what was said. She wanted to do the dishes.
At first, I was a little deflated. Just a second ago, my heart began to flutter with excitement that this may be the moment that my daughter accepts Christ as her Lord and Savior!
Now, she just wants to do chores (I am super grateful for by the way). Then I realized… A seed was sown! That was the furthest we have ever gotten in a conversation about salvation. I’ll take it. We will build on this conversation.
Until she ready to make the ultimate proclamation of faith, I will tend to the seed. I will keep tilling the soil. I will protect it. I will nourish it. In time, the roots will take and she will flourish.