The day before my sister told me that her little girl had asked Jesus to be in her heart. This was something that I wondered if Ethan would understand or even WANT to do, but I had been praying for since he was created. And this is a pretty typical up/down feeling for a mom of a child on the spectrum. Most of your friends' kids are hitting milestones & achieving progress.......first steps, saying "Mommy," reading, writing, developing relationships, etc......and I am always so genuinely happy for them. I love seeing the kids in my life growing up....I love being Aunt Wo in my family or Miss Jessica at church or Mrs. Wolfe when I teach. But then there is ALWAYS a punch in the gut that comes with it. It's another reminder that my child is a bit different. That my precious Ethan may never achieve the milestones his peers are reaching. Up/Down feelings.....another quiet prayer in my heart.....my infamous broken record....."Please Lord, I want Ethan know you at an early age. And I want him to love you & serve you the rest of his life.
The next day, June 12, 2013, Ethan & I were engaged in another Q&A discussion about Jesus, God, Church, Heaven and so forth. That's when I remembered....I should talk to Ethan about asking Jesus to live in his heart!
"Ethan, do you love Jesus with your whole heart?"
"Yes, I do, Mom."
"Ethan, do you want Jesus to be your best friend forever?"
"Well, of course, I do!"
"And do you want to do what Jesus wants you to do, like sharing toys & loving your family & friends?"
He nods his head "yes".....a sign he's tired of me asking questions.
"Do you want His Spirit to live in your heart & help you when you need Him? (Ethan prays for God to help him calm his anxiety.....as well as to help him find his toys....so cute.)
Another nod "yes."
Then, I led Ethan in a prayer. It was super short & simple. Typically, when leading anyone to the Lord, I have used the ABC prayer (Admit I'm a sinner, Believe that God is Lord, and Confess that Jesus is Lord of your life). However, many of the vocabulary in this prayer would have brought up many more questions. So, Ethan just repeated after me....
"Jesus, this is Ethan. I love you so much, and I want to live my life for you. Jesus, will come live in my heart & be my best friend forever? Thank you, Jesus! Amen."
When we were done, I asked him if he felt different. He said yes, but who knows for sure. I then told him....through my tears & joy......that Jesus & the angels were up in Heaven having a big party because he asked Jesus to be his best friend! His face grew wide with a HUGE smile. "They are having a party for me?!"
Oh yes, Ethan, they are! And soon.....we would be too!!!! After I took Ethan to Easter Seals, I ran over to the Christian bookstore & bought anything I thought Ethan would enjoy. I wanted him to know just how special this moment in his life was, so I bought him a few gifts. It was, after all, his Born Again Birthday! I also thought it would nice for him to have some tangible, "hold it in your hand" items to remind him about this day.
After I picked Ethan up from Easter Seals, we picked Daddy up for lunch. Ethan told us that he had told his Easter Seals teachers about what had happened to him that day.......but Daddy was in the dark. I wanted Ethan to tell him what had happened. Ethan said, "Daddy, we are going to Steak-n-Shake for my party because I asked Jesus into my heart!" Of course, Daddy was happy too. Below are pictures from Ethan's Born Again Birthday Party! Of all the miracles that God is doing in Ethan's life, this one has truly been a huge answer to my broken record prayer. He gets it, folks! He really gets it!!!!!
|"I Am With You Always. Love, Jesus" vinyl sticker|
|His first "Big Guy" Bible|
|I Can Follow Jesus short stories|
|Jesus Loves Me This I Know t-shirt....it's HUGE on him!|
|This poster is Ethan's favorite of the gifts.|