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Saturday, December 5, 2015

From Interruption to New Life

I peeked in on Susie* curled up and deep in sleep against the back of her crib. Snatching up the phone nanoseconds after the ring began, I felt relief at the sound of Carroll’s greeting. “Good morning,” I whispered as softly as I could. “Am I ever glad to hear the sound of an adult voice; I spent the night in the rocking chair with a screaming baby. How ‘bout you? Chip ever keep you from sleep?”

“Not often. He’s finally over that stage. Teething will end one day, even though it doesn’t feel like it.” Carroll’s laughter always lightened up my moments of distress.

The mother of three, my close friend had a lot of experience with cranky infants and sleepless nights. I trusted her counsel. Her encouraging words provided a lifeline for my sanity.

For the next few moments, Carroll shared a portion of Scripture she’d run across in her morning reading. I loved participating in these brief exchanges that centered on God’s Word. The Lord blessed us with His nuggets often revealed —both to instruct and to encourage us. As I listened, another sound caught my attention—little footfalls descending from upstairs.

“Sorry to interrupt you, but my bedroom doorway has just filled with a mini-crowd of kidlets.” I sighed, struggling to get a grip. “The last time the kids presented themselves en masse at my door, someone had broken a lamp upstairs. Hang on a minute.”

I pressed the receiver to my chest and said, “What’s happening, Kids?” Silence. “Deni*? What happened?” Silence; eight small pairs of eyes stared at me.

My smile faded, and I spoke directly at my four-year-old redhead. “Deni, you’d better tell me what’s happened, and you’d better tell me right now.”

I watched as the oldest member of the group drew in a big breath. In a rush, the problem exploded from the preschooler’s mouth. “Sally wants to ask Jesus into her heart!”

I nodded at the silent youngsters and put the receiver to my ear. “Uh, Carroll? I gotta go. Sally wants to ask Jesus into her heart over here.”

“What! Are you kidding? Sally’s three years old, isn’t she?”

“Yes, that’s right. I gotta—“

“You better call me back as soon as you can. This must be a great story, and I can hardly wait to hear the details.”

Returning the receiver to the cradle, I followed the assembly to the living room. I sat on the sofa, patting the area next to me. Sally sat on the edge. Some kids crammed into the open spaces of the couch and others dropped to the floor near me.

With all eyes on me, I addressed Sally. “Do you know what it means to ask Jesus into your heart, Sweetie?” The blonde locks bobbed with her nodding affirmation. “What does it mean? Can you tell me?”

“It means I ask Jesus to forgive me for all the stuff I did wrong and…then I tell Him I want to give my life to Him, and then…Jesus comes into my heart.” The beautiful little girl tapped the area over her heart as she voiced the final phrase.

“And, that’s what you want?” I said.

“Yeah,” Sally said, accompanied by those bouncing curls.

“Okay. Would you like me to pray and you can say the words after me?”

The pre-schooler clasped her tiny hands together, bowed her head and nodded as she squeezed her eyelids shut. Carefully, Sally articulated each phrase of the sinner’s prayer—children’s edition—as I prayed. I must admit I wondered if she genuinely knew what she was doing… until the Amen, that is.

Once Sally’s voice repeated the final word of the prayer, the petite preschooler leapt from the sofa and began to dance. “Jesus’s in my heart! Jesus’s in my heart,” she sang, twirling around and jumping like a ballerina. “Jesus loves me! Jesus loves Sally!”

Truly, there is simply no other way to describe what I witnessed in this child: Joy unspeakable overflowed her young soul.

In fact, Sally’s joy spilled over, splashing the other kids. All of them began dancing around the room, making up their own songs of praise to God. After about half an hour, the little gang stopped dancing and singing, returning to the playroom and their games.

For moments after the little feet stopped pounding the wooden steps to the playroom, I sat in stunned silence. An enormous smile filled my face. What just happened here? I felt glued to the sofa, moving when I heard Susie’s stirring in her crib. The call to Carroll would have to wait.

One thing I knew for certain: The first chance I had to get Deni alone, I’d find out what prompted this extraordinary event.

*Name changed

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