Lydia never even considered the fact that she wasn’t a Christian. I know that a person has to choose what they believe for themselves, and we definitely wanted her to do that. But I believe that because of the parents, older siblings, church and friends all around her, she doesn’t even remember not believing. She chose all along the way for herself without saying anything out loud to let us know what she was thinking. Lydia is very matter-of-fact. At age five, she kept asking why she couldn’t have communion. And I kept saying we needed to talk about it later, not during communion. And then I guess we didn’t.
But one day during communion at church, she was sitting on her daddy’s lap. She said, “Daddy, why can’t I have communion? I’m a Christian! I believe in Jesus.” She was so adamant and almost offended that she needed to justify herself to us. He began asking her questions about what she believed, and what the communion represented. She had all the answers. And being the wise daddy that he is, he said “You’re right. You do have God’s Spirit inside you.”
And that day she took communion for the first time and officially became a part of God’s family.
We parents try to make it complicated. We get super concerned about if our kids “really get it”. How old do they have to be? How much do the have to understand? Knowing a person will never understand it all, what level of understanding is a must?
And my question is why does it matter? Why are we so careful to “make sure” before we validate to our child that they are a Christian? Do we think that God will disapprove of our child’s premature decision to follow him? What if they don’t really understand enough, and this is really a stage of “pre-salvation”? I guess I would say that if it is, well so what. I’d rather my child be headed in the right direction and understanding as they go. I’d rather them decide to be a Christian early on. If I haven’t been pushing them and it is truly their desire, then I believe that is God speaking to their hearts.
As they continue to strive for more understanding and grow their relationship with God, they’ll have additional milestones and markers where God reveals himself and his purposes for them in a new way. I am pretty sure that this is how the Christian life is supposed to work. Not just for kids, but for everyone. I know way more now than I did at age six when I joined God’s family. I still don’t know it all and never will. But the desire in my heart to know God, acknowledge what he’s done for me and have him in charge of my life is the same now as it was then.
Lydia, our youngest child, gave us a new perspective on passing down the faith and what it can look like to grow up just always believing. Do I wonder if she will ever question God or her beliefs when she’s older? I actually hope that she will to some degree, because I want her to continue to wrestle with understanding spiritual things on higher levels and making her beliefs more solid.
To hear it straight from Lydia (and Sam and Abby) check out the video Payne Kids Testimonies that was shown on their baptism day.