I’d just opened my mouth to reply to Phyllis* when singing, dancing three-year-old Sally* interrupted. Noticing her daughter’s lively entrance, Phyllis said, “What’s got into you, girl? Carrying on like that. What’s made you so happy this afternoon?”
“Jesus came into my heart today, Mommy! He really did. Jesus’s in my heart right now,” the little girl said as she pointed to her chest.
“Oh yeah? Well, go get your coat and shoes on. It’s time to go home.”
“She’s not kidding, Phyllis,” I said. “This morning Sally prayed and asked Jesus to forgive her of things she’s done wrong and come into her heart. I wish you could have seen the joy she had as soon as she said ‘Amen.’ It was really impressive to see the difference in your girl.”
“Humph! I usually tell her she’s got the devil in her heart; she can be an ornery kid.”
“Now, when she’s acting up, you can remind her that Jesus can help her.”
Sally’s mother’s laughter didn’t sound like she believed me. I prayed Jesus’d remind the pretty little blonde girl.
Finally, I had the opportunity to speak privately with my four-year-old about what led up to Sally’s request for Jesus to come into her heart. Baby Susie* and two-year-old Jamie* had already dropped off to sleep when I noticed Deni* setting her shoes by the piano bench.
“Deni? I’d like to speak with you a minute before you go for your nap.”
The freckled little redhead released her shoes and came to sit by me on the sofa. I wrapped her up in a hug before asking the question that refused to leave my mind.
“Sweetheart, how is it that Sally wanted to ask Jesus into her heart? Can you tell me what happened in the playroom?”
“Oh, Mama Dar. Sally was being so mean to the other kids. Me told her she shouldn’t act like that, but her didn’t care. Her just wanted to be bad.” I smiled and nodded my understanding, freeing Deni to continue. “Well, me said, ‘Come out on the steps with me, Sally,’ and her did. We sat on the top step, and me asked her why she acted so mean.”
“Did she have any reason?”
“Her did like this,” Deni said, shrugging her shoulders. “I don’t think her knew why.”
“Okay, then what did you say?”
“Me said, ‘You don’t gotta act like that, Sally. Jesus can help you. You just tell Him you’re sorry and ask Jesus to come into your heart. He gonna help you not be so bad. You’ll see.’”
While tears fought to escape my lower lids, I felt dumbfounded. I’d never ever in my wildest imaginations anticipated my foster daughter would spontaneously evangelize one of the three-year-old charges that spent the weekday in our home.
“Honey, you did the right thing. It’s wonderful that Sally prayed. How did you know to say those things to Sally?” I knew I’d never told the children.
“Heard you on the phone.”
“You did? When? What did I say?”
“Me and Jamie was ‘sposed to be takin’ a nap. Me wanted to, but my eyes didn’t want to. You telld the lady--” Deni dropped her gaze and hesitated.
“It’s okay, Honey. Sometimes we can’t sleep, and we just rest on our beds. You didn’t do anything wrong. What did you hear me say?”
“Me thinks the lady had trouble ‘cuz you telled her Jesus could help her. You said she could ask Jesus to forgive her of the stuff she did wrong, and Him wanted to forgive everything no matter what her did. It didn’t matter to Jesus; He waited for her to ask Him. You telled her she’d feel better if her asked Jesus into her heart.”
“Okay,” I said when Deni paused, searching my memory for just who and when that would have happened. As Deni continued, I dropped my memory search.
“Well, Mama Dar, me still not sleepin’, me said, ‘You needs to do that, too. So me did it.”
“You asked Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart?” I fought back the tears and tried not to show my surprise.
Deni nodded; her beautiful little red curls bobbing up and down rapidly. The huge smile filled her face. “Yup! Me did it. Jesus came into my heart, and Him’s still there!” The youngster thumped her chest over her heart.
Pulling Deni onto my lap, I squeezed her tightly. “I’m so happy that you did that, Deni. Yes, Jesus is still there, and He’ll always be there. Wherever in the world you are, Jesus will still be right in there,” I said tapping her chest. “He’ll help you not to be afraid. He’ll help you to do the right thing. You just ask Jesus!”
I slid my index finger from her heart to her tummy and began tickling her. Deni reached around my arm, returning the tickle. Both of us giggled like two little friends.
“Okay, Sweetie. You need to have a rest. I must do a couple of things before Susie wakes up from her nap. Try to sleep, okay?”
The freckled arms gave me a squeeze and said, “Me try,” before slipping off the sofa.
Who would think such a young child could understand the Gospel message so easily? Little did I know, I had an even bigger surprise just around the corner.
Story thread began with this link: With Just One Phone Call