It all started with a boy. Sorta.
“Dad. You wanna know why I love (name omitted to protect the innocent i.e. her BROTHER’S BEST FRIEND) so much? Do you know why I looove him and why I want to MARRY him? BECAUSE HE LOVES DUKE. AND he loves Jesus. That’s why.”
First, the girl is brilliant. Best way to get under her big brother’s skin? Make a quick and borderline-aggressive beeline for his best friend.
Second, Matt’s response:
“Uh, well. That’s great, Mary Grace. I mean- Duke AND Jesus. Good call. But I have a question- you talked about him loving Jesus, but are you a follower of Jesus?”
This snowballed into the best kind of late-night parental conversation. The gospel. A decision. Prayer. Next steps.
And tears. So many tears. Even more than discussing future spousal prospects with our eight year old, the tears are what caught us by surprise.
“It’s just that- deciding to give up control of your life to someone else feels kind of scary,” she said. Like, you really, really, really have to trust someone a whole lot if you’re going to give him TOTAL control over your WHOLE LIFE.”
Oh sweet girl, truer words have never been spoken. This following Jesus gig isn’t a sure-fire guarantee for health, wealth, and prosperity. You’ve seen enough and experienced enough in your short eight years of life to appreciate this. But here’s the thing- when we cry out- when YOU cried out a few months ago- “God, my life is yours,” we’re not following with some blind, naive trust. This is not some spiritual-sounding exercise in holding our breath, crossing our fingers, and hoping for the best.
No, we surrender to a God who has promised us his forever presence. A God who fights for us. Advocates for us. Provides, protects, loves, and guides. There is no need to sit around anxiously hoping and wishing for the best when we have the presence of the almighty God who already gave us the ultimate: His Son.
So yes, Mary Grace. Your teary reflections were spot on. This life of following Jesus takes A LOT of trust. And if you’re anything like me, there will be days when this trust of yours wavers and your faith feels shaky. You might have doubts, and you’ll surely have questions. But I can promise you one thing: even when this happens- even when you’re at your unsteadiest- God’s love for you is unchanging. He will never leave you. He will never turn his back on you. And his plans for you are good. Maybe not always easy. Maybe not always comfortable. Certainly not always predictable. But always, always good.