From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise. . .
~ Psalm 8: 2
Mom said my very first word was "Je-Je." My mother taught elementary school several years before and after she married and in fact, was teaching when she discovered she was going to have a little scholar of her own. Mom said she knew it was a word because I was pointing with my pudgy little finger to a print of Jesus hanging over my changing table. I wonder what she thought when I didn't say "Mama" first?
Anyway, Mom taught me how to write and spell my name before kindergarten. She said she named me in honor of her best college girlfriend and it was a special name, meaning "Mary, mother of Jesus, was sad." Later, when I was twenty-something, working in the lunchroom at Avila University, the Sisters there said I had a special holiday attached to my name and I have become fond of these two songs -- "Via Dolorosa" and Mark Lowry's song "Mary, Did You Know?"
Mom's the one who took me to Sunday School and church nearly everytime the doors were open and taught the first children's choir I was in, because she was the church's organist. When we kids would get restless and bicker in the backseat, she'd start singing happy songs. I remember my little brother singing the second part "Praise Ye the Lord" by himself, while us girls sang the first part of the song, "Hallelujah!" She always said that she wanted to make sure our social life was centered in the Christian activities at church.
Seems I've been close to Jesus from the very beginning, although I didn't give my heart to Jesus until I was ten. We were having a revival and I remember the awful feeling inside when I realized I was a sinner. When the evangelist, at the end of the service, asked us to come forward, although I was sitting in the second pew from the front (mom parked us kids there to keep an eye on us), I couldn't seem to get to the altar fast enough. It was shortly after that I was baptized by my pastor, Rev. Betty Jo Teaford, and my grandparents came to witness the event. Like a neon light, I was aglow because Jesus washed me whiter than snow!
1. It's always a happy day when I can find my name in the correct spelling (Latin) on products and when my friends can remember to spell it right! Thank you! J. I have two other stories connected to my name -- Yes, indeedie, my mother taught me how to write and spell my name, so when on the first day of school the teacher insisted on the English spelling; the second day of school, the teacher had a surprise visitor! J The next story -- my paternal grandmother was notorious for her bad spelling (now get this, her favorite game was SCRABBLE!). When we had the reading of the will, I "innocently" asked the lawyer if it made a difference in the documents if someone's name was misspelled? "Yes, of course," he said, and wanted to know whose name was misspelled. It was mine (again that English spelling). He grabbed up all the copies and returned them by mail, corrected. LOL!
2. I thank God my grandparents and parents introduced me to Jesus and took me to church! I'm thankful the evangelist came to preach at our revival and through him, God spoke to my little girl heart and called my name. I'm thankful too for God's book of life, because my name is written there!
3. I'm grateful that my mother is a singing mom. One of the very first songs I remember her singing was "You Are My Sunshine." Happy Birthday Mom!
4. I believe in hope and miracles! I'm thanking God in advance for his answer to our prayers in seemingly impossible situations, for he said in his word: "For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37). Help us overcome unbelief! (Mark 9:24).
5. I'm thankful that someone thought of this simple way to present the way of salvation to children by using their ABC blocks =
Admit we need Jesus (And he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 18:3)
Believe in Jesus (Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. ~ Acts 16:31; For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16)
Confess my sins. Sins are the bad, naughty things we do that gets us into trouble with mom and dad or our teachers. Jesus said he will forgive our naughtiness and wash our hearts clean. (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~1 John 1:9; Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. ~ Isaiah 1:18).
At this point, we ask the children if they want to pray (prayer is simply talking to God) and ask Jesus to come into their hearts and be their BFF (best friend forever). If you feel a need for a BFF too, you can pray this simple prayer, right now, today!
Jesus, I admit I'm in need of a best friend forever, one that lives with me and in my heart. I believe that you love me. I ask you clean out all the ugliness inside my heart and make me whiter than snow. Thank you Jesus. Amen!