Welcome to Day 2 of Amanda Week! Today I thought it would be fun to look at how Amanda met Jesus. After all, this is what led to where she is today: a vibrant young woman, totally sold out to God, dedicating her life to Jesus through a life of prayer and fasting and spreading His word.
Amanda was raised in church, going to Sunday School every Sunday, pretty much no matter what. The story of her salvation really starts sometime before she turned three. I was talking to her about Jesus, explaining the gospel to her in response to something she had asked. I got to the part of saying that when you know you’ve done bad things, you can ask Jesus to forgive you, ask him to come live in your heart, and he will. After she heard this, she looked at me with a look I knew well. It was the look she got when she was contemplating new information and applying it to various situations in her head.
This time, the look didn’t lead to the look of “Ah, ha! I’ve got it!” like it usually did. This time it led to a look of confusion as she said, “Jesus in my heart? That’s silly, Mommy! He’s too big!” I tried not to laugh, and actually have no idea how the conversation went after that, because she had stopped me dead in my tracks. For not the first time, I looked at this little girl in awe and amazement, knowing it was going to take God to raise her!
Several months later, shortly after turning three, we were on our way home from somewhere or other. By the way, at this time we were attending a Presbyterian church where they didn’t preach the gospel to the adults, let alone the pre-schoolers! As her baby brother slept in the carseat next to her, she piped up with “Guess what? I have Jesus in my heart.” Brian and I looked at each other, surprised, and not quite knowing what to do next! I began to ask Amanda what she meant, doing the total mom thing of not really trusting she knew what she was talking about. Eventually, though, it became apparent that she did know exactly what she was saying. Still being in the mom mode, I had her pray the “sinner’s prayer” with me, just to be sure she had actually done it “right”. Now I shudder at how I handled it, but it was all I knew to do at the time. Amanda patiently went along with me, because that’s just how she is.
A couple years later we began attending a Baptist church, and she saw dunking baptisms for the first time. She wanted to know what that was all about, so Brian explained it to her. She got excited when she heard, and decided she wanted to get baptized, too. The next Sunday, when the call was given at the end of the service, Amanda took me by the hand and went to the front, straight to the pastor. She told him she wanted to be baptized, and he explained to her that she wasn’t old enough. He refused to baptize anyone younger than six because they couldn’t really know what they were doing. This frustrated her, and I think hurt her a little, too, because she was confident she knew exactly what was going on. Brian and I encouraged her, and said we agreed with her; that she was ready for baptism, but told her we had to follow the rules of the church. She grudgingly agreed, and began her wait.
We didn’t think much more of it, but Amanda did. On her sixth birthday, she announced she was really excited, because now she could be baptized. So, the very next Sunday, she grabbed my hand at the end of the service and headed for the front. The pastor began to ask her questions, still convinced she probably didn’t really get it, but she stood her ground, politely answering each question. Eventually the pastor gave in, and agreed to baptize her. She was so happy and excited, you would have thought it was Christmas!
So, there you have it, the story of how Amanda met Jesus. When you think about it, it’s really a lot like how she learned to read. We don’t really know what happened; we just know it did. We’ll never know for sure how or why Amanda gave her heart to the Lord; that’s a mystery hidden between the two of them. Amanda herself has no memory of what happened, but looking at the fruit that is evident in her life, there’s no denying that it was real.
I wonder what we’ll talk about next? Oh, so many stories, such a short week!