It all started when she locked her dad out of the house. Those two can be quite ornery to one another. Lily is learning to go toe-to-toe with her dad’s sense of humor and silly antics. If he dishes it out, she dishes it right back. So it was pretty amusing the afternoon that I heard them come home and someone quietly stepped into the house and shut the door. I didn’t hear footsteps on the hardwood, though. Whomever came in the door stood there waiting. …for a LONG time.
Finally, I heard a hand touch the doorknob and jiggle it. It was followed by a giggle on the inside. The door knob jiggled harder and so did the giggling. I knew immediately what had happened. Lily slipped into the house first while her dad finished doing something outside, but she wasn’t going to just lock the door and leave.
She was hanging out to take credit for her little joke.
Once the whole thing was done and Dad made it inside, wrestling Lily a bit after the fact, she came into the kitchen smiling and laughing at her achievement. “Mom, did you hear that I locked Dad out of the house?” There was a tinge of triumph in her voice.
She didn’t wait for my answer before trailing into her next sentence, “You should write about that tonight!”
“Oh yeah?” I questioned. “Maybe I should. But how does you locking your dad out of the house teach someone about Jesus?”
“Well, does it always have to be about Jesus?” she asked.
I thought for a moment. “No. I guess it really doesn’t. I can write about anything I want…”
However, my sentence was abruptly cut off at the first sign of Lily’s excitement. “I know! You can write about how so many of us lock Jesus out of our hearts. Write about how we don’t feel any peace when we don’t want to know Him.”
Well color me happy. This was unexpected.
I say this because Lily is not a girl of many words. She’s reliable, artistic, mature for her age, excels in many areas, loves God – but she’s relatively surface level and doesn’t dig too deep into conversation. I see more depth in her writing than in her speech.
No clue where she gets that…
However, her suggestion really got me thinking about my own experience with this.
Why did I lock Christ out of my heart?
There are billions of people in this world who don’t know who Jesus is. Many because they haven’t been reached yet. Some because they don’t want to know Him. And then there are others, still, who straddle the fence of I-believe-but-that’s-about-as-far-as-it’s-gonna-go.
I used to be one of those people. I knew enough about Him to get me by, but the idea of “religion” made me a nervous wreck. It didn’t fit into my way of thinking and I wasn’t about to sell myself over to something I couldn’t physically touch. I grasped enough of Who He was to submerse myself in prayer when I desperately needed it and I felt the peace that came from that.
But after the resolution I’d turn on my heel and lock the door to my heart behind me. I was good at locking Jesus out.
Some of it was unintentional. As an adolescent and young adult I couldn’t distinguish God’s promises from anything else I’d heard because I didn’t read God’s promises. And then there were other times that the world just looked so good that it was easier to ignore Him entirely.
I made that choice.
As it is, I’m forcing down that lump in my throat while I type these words and remind myself that it’s not that way anymore. That door is wide open as I continue to build a relationship that brings peace, joy, courage, forgiveness and unconditional love to my life, to name a few.
But that was a choice that I had to make, too. As it says in Romans 10:17 – faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Ultimately there was someone who brought that Good News into my life, but in order to grow that faith I had to choose to do so. My heart had to be open to hearing that Word.
But I wanted Truth. And I wanted Life.
And there became a whole lot of resistance on the other side. He was pushing into that door until it was finally time to stop trying to keep Him out.
Just as Lily unlocked the door to let her father in, so it was time for me to do the same.
It wasn’t easy at first. I felt conspicuous. Like a white t-shirt in a room full of black lights. It was hard to be up against so many testimonies that involved an entire life of living the Christian faith. I’d walk to Sunday school wondering if I should join the Pre-K class because I didn’t feel like I knew enough to sit with a room full of women who appeared to have it all together.
They knew how Jonah got into the belly of that whale. Me? I seriously didn’t have a clue. Maybe I’d feel more comfortable amongst the littles.
Nevertheless, it didn’t take me long to develop a desire for knowledge. To learn about God’s character and His love for me. To establish an understanding of my purpose and how it fits into His will and His ways.
There were, however, days that I would stare at the old key in my hand, wondering if I’d made the right choice by letting Him in…
Even now I have to smile and shake my head at those reservations, dismissing them as rubbish.
I’ve leaned into Him more during this last year than I ever have. Through life changes and urgent questions and petty frustrations and strained relationships and the slower-than-what-I’d-prefer outcome in response to this YES that I have agreed to…I finally threw that key away.
Because now I know that, through it all, He loved me anyway.
Through it all, He loves me still…
And how can I possibly lock that door knowing what I do now?
Today I’m linking up with the following authors to share my story:
Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory
What a great post. Out of the mouths of babes God inspires us. I know there are seasons where my heart closes because of hurt. It’s crazy because I know only Jesus can heal the hurt but I’m keeping Him out. So grateful He keeps knocking.
“So grateful He keeps knocking.” – my sentiments exactly. Thank you for visiting!
You have one smart little girl. Smart in the ways that matter. And your writing is beautiful. Glad I found my way to this 5 writers above you on the 31Dayers thread.
Thank you for visiting, Shelby!
Oh I love this Jennifer! You know, just yesterday at a new Bible Study, we had a new gal sit at our table and I could tell she was feeling like you described… not knowing the story of David and Goliath or Jonah and the whale – but she is hungry and we loved on her and encouraged her to keep coming… to keep opening that door to her heart a little wider, and a little wider… (And #Swoon at your girlie and how she connected the dots and found a way to dig deep with her story idea!)
Karrilee, I also have a friend who is just getting her “faith feet” wet and I am trying to keep things the least bit intimidating as I can. Even as far as sharing my own story of how long it took my faith to develop. Just keep working on that new lady of yours. I don’t know you well, but enough to know how contagious you are in regard to your heart for Christ and I have faith you’ll make her feel right at home. 😉
You are a great writer and your daughter sounds absolutely adorable!
Why, thank you!
Wow. What a wonderful post…so wonderful that your daughter is learning spiritual truths at a young age.
Cindy at Notes in the Key of Life
Thank you for visiting, Cindy!
This is so great. The story made me laugh out loud. I could totally see my kids doing that. I love how you turned into a lesson of truth too!
I think I loved it even more that she knows how often I look for “lessons” in life and she wanted to turn something into a blog post, as well. I was proud of her for uncovering truth in such a comical situation. Thank you for visiting, Natalie!
So glad you chose Jesus, we are all blessed to hear your voice as He speaks through your words. About you knowing less than those people who have been in church all their lives….just want to say Ive been in church all my life but it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I started applying any of those truths. As someone who knew a lot in her head and not applying it to my heart, that knowledge can get you no where. Its not until Jesus comes knocking on our door and we are desperate enough to listen that our lives are changed. We can know about Jonah and the belly of a whale but if it doesn’t penetrate our heart, it doesn’t mean anything until we let the Lord unlock that key inside of us.
Thank you, Kortney. Your words are always welcome and like the balm of Gilead, itself. Grateful to have come to know you, friend!
This was so good. I love the insight you got from your daughter. I know that sometimes when we pretend to have it all together we are only hurting ourselves and maybe someone who is right next to you hurting and needing you.
So sweet when our kids give us writing material ideas.:) Love your bio- yes tea!
I loved this & the spiritual journey picture it portrayed for everyone to somehow relate to! Lily gave you a great opening!
Such maturity! I love when God uses my girls to teach me!