Monday, October 21, 2013

October, 2013 Down Syndrome Awareness... Day 8

Truly, the photos that are attached to this story speak volumes. In fact, if you didn't even read the story, you would know what happened. Someone's heart had been transformed and a miracle happened. But when you read the words, you can really sense a mother's love, a boy's love for his "Boss" and, most importantly, God's love.

I love this story. It gives me hope. Thank you, Bethene.

(and I have never heard God referred to as the Boss of my life before... but now I can't help but smile when I think of it).

Josiah's miracle... as told by his mom...

For some time Josiah has been on an “I choose Mom” kick at bedtime. For a long time he insisted on Dad tucking him in, but then he made a shift. I’m sure I’ll fall out of favor again at some point.

So, each night we read from his Bible. When we finished the third of reading through his “Yellow Bible”- (a children’s Bible with a reading for each day of the year), he agreed to begin to read his Action Adventure Bible his big brother Micah gave him for Christmas (begrudgingly at first- we actually had to read both Bibles for several days). He is hooked now! If you have boys you really need to check out this amazing Bible. I really enjoy it too!

After reading from his Bible, we often talk about the character of God in that event. Then we pray. I ALWAYS have to pray first (routine is important to Josiah- can you tell?), and then Josiah will pray. Many months ago I was convicted during our prayer time. You see, Josiah often prayed very self-centered prayers. “Dear God, I want apple juice”- meaning he was thirsty and didn’t want the water I was offering; or “Dear God, I’m hungry”- you get the idea.

One night realized I had not modeled for him a good prayer life. You see, I often prayed what had become perfunctory. You know, going through thanks for the events of the day, God’s provision, family, Jesus’ death on the cross. I would continue on to wish lists, etc. Often I would pray that Josiah would be willing to listen and obey, that he would come to know Jesus as his Savior, asking Him to forgive him of his sins, and desiring Him to be Boss of his life. So on that particular night, I realized Josiah was really modeling his prayer after mine- telling God what He wanted.

So, we set up a prayer board on the board above his bottom bunk bed. We started to choose missionaries to pray for each night. We added some people who Josiah dearly loved. Of course, we would add in the other things too, but just mixed it up more, and tried to be more other focused than self focused. So one particular night in early June of this year, I did not pray for Josiah’s salvation.

Then Josiah started to pray.

“Dear God, thank you Jesus walked on earth. He died for sins and He’s alive. Forgive me.” Then he prayed some more things really fast and I could not understand. He also included “be Boss” in there somewhere. All this was accompanied by hand motions, showing Jesus’ death and resurrection as well as facial expressions showing his remorse and surrender.

It always tickles me that there will not be ANY talk of Jesus’ death with that boy without also talking about His resurrection! If the two are not mentioned at the same time, he will quickly say, “No, not dead. Jesus is alive!” Tonight’s prayer was no different in that respect. He knew Jesus died to pay for his sins, but he was also real clear on the fact He didn’t remain dead. But making the work of Jesus personal for him was VERY different.

My mind was racing! My heart was beating so fast! I was trying to stay calm. You see, I’ve taught classes on how to lead a child to Christ. I know kids tend to respond like sheep and do what they think others want them to do. They like to please parents and adults (most of the time at least). I knew to not let my excitement be the reason he made this choice. I wondered, “Did he pray this because I had not prayed about it that night?”

Many times we have had great conversations about Jesus and God’s love for us. Sometimes Josiah is just very present and alert- when he seems to have heightened comprehension and responds much more clearly. Several times I thought during moments like this I had thought he was ready to submit to Jesus. On these occasions, when I asked him, “Do you want to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and become Boss of your life?” And each time he would look at me and matter of factly say, “No”. I would tell him I hope one day he would, and that when he did, the Holy Spirit would come live in him and help him make good choices. Then we would move on to other things.

This night when he finished his prayer, which appeared very heartfelt to me, I asked him “Did you just ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins?” Josiah smiled really big and said “Yep!” I replied “Did you ask God to be the Boss of your life?” He said “Yes!” With a full heart, I told him that the God was then living in him in the form of the Holy Spirit and that He would help him make good choices. And he said “Yep!”

I shared the information with my husband, and we began to pray for clarity about if Josiah really understood the decision we believed he had made. After multiple conversations over the next week where we asked Josiah what Jesus did for him we were convinced Josiah had truly understood what Jesus did for him and had started that very important relationship where Jesus was now his personal Savior. We also say the fruit of that decision in increased repentance and the many “I love you so much, Jesus” prayers we heard. It was heartening that we never taught him to say this. He had not prayed like this before his salvation, now it just truly flows from his heart.

Finally, we felt confident of his decision and shared it with Ms. Kitty, our children’s minister. She was so excited, taking time to speak with him about his decision. She also sent home with us a great video about baptism that is done on a kid’s level. We watched it together several times and Josiah was again able to clearly answer our questions. He told us he really wanted to be baptized.

So on, June 30, 2013, Josiah expressed publically his choice to let God be the Boss of his life.

He will even hand motion just like he does about Jesus’ death a resurrection, about baptism being an illustration of Jesus’ work for him. In mid July we had had a special Lord’s Supper service at our church, and it was our joy to participate in communion for the very first time with Josiah. Many services we had sat with him and explained what the bread and cup stood for, telling him one day when God was the Boss of his life, he would be able to remember Jesus’ work with us. It was a moment I will forever treasure, watching him be ever so serious and focused as he participated in remembering Jesus’ loving work on our behalf.

I tell Josiah that now I’m not only his mother, but I’m also his sister, because we have the same loving Heavenly Father as our Daddy. He is so very good. All three of my kids now walk with Him, and truly there is no greater joy!

Now I must go get a tissue!

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