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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Jamie’s Prayer

The sound that pulls every mother out of a deep sleep hit me like a rocket: the pitter-patter of two-year-old bare feet on the wooden floor. I leapt from my cozy bundle of warmth, sprinting for the bathroom door I’d neglected to open.

Every night, Jamie* left her bed to go to the bathroom. She seemed to manage the entire event without waking upunless I failed to reopen the door Deni* closed. When that happened, I woke up to the sound of the little African-American thudding into the door—suddenly fully awake and crying.

For some reason, my four-year-old foster daughter wanted the bathroom door shut before she went to bed. Roaming boogie men coming out of the toilet? I had no idea why this activity needed to be part of her bedtime ritual; it just did. No problem. I opened it on my way to bed.

Whenever I heard the nighttime footfalls, I rousted my mind a second to ask myself if I opened the door. On those nights with a negative answer, I shot out of that bed to get to the door ahead of Jamie.

On this particular night, my hand hit the door one second before Jamie’s pajama-clad body walked through it. I backed over to the bathtub, watching to be sure the petite ebony beauty could get her pj bottoms down and lift her body onto the toilet. When she’d accomplished this, I sat on the edge of the empty tub, waiting for her to finish.

To my utter surprise, Jamie opened her eyes and looked right at me. I smiled but said nothing. With her baby sister asleep not far from the bathroom door, I feared entering into a conversation with my little Chatty-Cathy may wake Susie*.

As the next scene played out, I looked on in amazement. Jamie bowed her head and clasped her hands before the slender body, still teetering on the edge of the open toilet seat. “Jesus, please forgib Jamie of duh stuff I did wong. I sorwy. I weely is. I want You to come into Jamie’s heart, to live dere fowever. Amen.”

I quickly closed my gaping jaw as Jamie looked up and over to me. She smiled, saying, “Dere. Dat’s done. Jesus in Jamie’s heart now.”

I couldn’t speak. The tiny child wiped her bare bottom, slid off the toilet seat, and yanked up her pj bottoms in what looked like one smooth move. Dumbfounded at what’d just happened, I sat glued to the edge of the bathtub.

I calculated her age in a whisper. “Jamie is two years and…uh…seven months old. How in the world could she know what she’s doing?” I decided the child had been dreaming and probably wouldn’t recall the event in the morning. That had to be it, didn’t it?

Busy getting the day underway the following morning, I forgot all about Jamie’s middle-of-the-night surprise. Jamie loved waking up, kicking into high gear by the time she’d danced her way to the kitchen to see about breakfast. I noticed the extra-long smiles and loved the spontaneous leg hugging but missed the middle-of-the-night connection.

Later that morning, the image of Jamie’s toilet-bowl prayer popped back into my mind. I laughed and called to Jamie. “Hey, Princess, do you remember anything special about last night?”

Jamie’s grin filled her small face, bobbing her head like one of those goofy dolls teens put in their jalopy’s back window long ago.

“Can you tell me about it?”

“Jamie asked Jesus in her heart, and He came.”

“Yes, that’s what you prayed but why?”

Jamie began to giggle. “Oh, Mama Da. You know. Cuz Jesus forgibs kids when we asks. Jesus lubs us, too. He want to live inside kids’ hearts, just like gwoanups. Jesus lives in here,” Jamie said tapping one delicate finger against her chest. Make Jamie so happy.”

Undeniably, the precious little girl did know what she was doing. I scooped her up in my arms and swung her around--an activity she loved. “It makes Mama Dar so happy, too, Jamie! Jesus loves you, and so do I!”

Jamie gave me a quick squeeze, laughed, and squirmed her way out of my grasp. Kids got stuff to do, you know? Can’t stay there hugging grownups when there’s books to read and a dog needin’ pettin’, right?

I never discovered the reason Jamie prayed what we know as the “Sinner’s Prayer” that night in the bathroom. Deni said she didn’t mention anything to her sister about Jesus. Perhaps, watching Sally’s experience earlier, Jamie’s young heart felt the Lord’s touch and her own need for forgiveness? Maybe, Jesus showed the child through a dream that He wanted to live in her heart, too?

I only know that her experience had been as real as my own. Who am I to say a child who has yet to live even three years on this planet can’t ask Jesus to forgive her and come live in her heart? She did, and He did; that’s all there is to the story.

*Name changed.

Original story thread began here: With Just One Phone call

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