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About Courtney Stanford

Courtney Stanford is a passionate follower of Jesus and the writer of her blog, Let Every Heart.  She is the wife of a worship pastor and the mommy of three little men. Courtney is an elementary school teacher on hiatus, while she is currently a stay-at-home Mommy and the keeper of a joyful (yet slightly noisy) home that she lovingly refers to as her "frat house."  Whether she is leading a Bible study for women, teaching her adult Sunday School class, or writing for her blog, Courtney is an enthusiastic encourager of Christ followers, especially women and children. You can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!  
 

A Letter to My Child as You Follow Jesus

Courtney Stanford
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Courtney Stanford is a passionate follower of Jesus and the writer of her blog, Let Every Heart.  She is the wife of a worship pastor and the mommy of three little men. Courtney is an elementary school teacher on hiatus, while she is currently a stay-at-home Mommy and the keeper of a joyful (yet slightly noisy) home that she lovingly refers to as her "frat house."  Whether she is leading a Bible study for women, teaching her adult Sunday School class, or writing for her blog, Courtney is an enthusiastic encourager of Christ followers, especially women and children. You can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!  
 
#salvation #christian parenting #child

To my big guy,

So you’ve decided to follow Jesus.  You’re still so young but your heart is so genuine and you say you want to be on “God’s team.”  You have been asking your Daddy and I questions, mostly around the dinner table and at bedtime for the past year or so, and we have watched you from afar as you have pieced it all together.  I always tell you and your brothers the same thing, usually before bed, right after our prayers together.

You are a treasure.

It is true. You are a precious creation of God, gifted to us, ours to hold and love and train and nurture…for this time that is already passing by all too quickly.   We are overwhelmed by the goodness of God as you grow into that big heart of yours.  The truth is this: I have done absolutely nothing to which I can contribute your heart of gold.  Sure, I have given my all thus far and will continue to raise you to love Jesus.  I will teach you everything I can about His ways, but God gets all of the glory because it is by His grace that we are saved: you, me, Daddy, all four of your grandparents.  None of us can boast about any of it.  It is all by His grace that any of us have been saved and that any of us get to walk in new life with Him.  His hand is at work in all of us.  We’re all still a work in progress and we won’t reach completion until we stand before His throne.  He created you.  He gave you that big heart.  He gave you to us.  He gave His son so that we might live.  

To God be the glory, great things HE has done.

Your child-like faith wants to follow Jesus.  We have answered your questions, taught you every relevant thing a Kindergarten Christ-follower must know, prayed, visited our Pastor for a second opinion and additional counsel twice, and prayed some more.  Why?  We just want this to be YOUR decision.  It is YOUR faith.  We want you to make the choice.  I was your age when I decided to follow Jesus and I know how hard it can be to remember that early decision.  Perhaps it was selfish of me to almost…sort of…I suppose I wanted to stall this whole thing.  If only I could slow it down for you.  Hear me when I say this, Buddy.  You will read this one day.  Today…if you are reading this…I want you to know: there was no slowing you down, Bud.  You said it again and again:

“What do I have to do to be a Christian?”

No matter how thorough or simple I was with my answer, your responses were always the same.

“I DO believe Jesus is Lord.”

“I DO want to follow Him.”

“I know everyone sins.  I know that I sin.”

“I DO want Jesus to forgive me of my sin.”

“I will confess it!  I will say, ‘Jesus is Lord!'”   (I hid my face because your enthusiam made me giggle.)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe it in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.       ~Romans 10:9

That’s it.  God’s word is clear.  One day, it may be tough to remember this season of your life.  I want you to be able to look back and read what I have recorded for you today, just like my mom wrote down the details of that day for me…although your day didn’t include the Sandi Patty “Friendship Company” sing-long cassette tape…no, that is my testimony.   Wow.  Moving on from that gem of information.  

Just as important to me, I want you to know a few things about being a follower of Jesus.

1) Your parents, other Christians, other adults, church people, your family: we all sin.  We’re all sinners.  Every last person on this earth will mess up, sin, fail you, and need your forgiveness.  You will mess up too.  It’s inevitable in this fallen world.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  He will never fail you.  

2) About that, “God will never fail you” part:  That is absolute, undeniable, indisputable truth.  Let’s talk about why that will still sting sometimes.  You will ask God for all kinds of things, and He will know far better than you what you need for His purpose…and this can be extremely painful.  He may ask you to wait.  He may say no.  He may give you something else.  He may take something away.  He may say yes.  He may seem quiet or far away.  He may seem close and His plan may be clear.  I have experienced all of these responses and you likely will as well. You will doubt.  That is okay too.  He is still there.  He is still working His perfect plan.  You are still called according to His purpose.  His love will never end.  No matter how it stings, nothing can seperate you from the love of Christ.  That is His unfailing promise.  It’s like when your knee is skinned.  You don’t want mommy to remove your bandaid but I see the bigger picture.  I know the hurt is temporary.  Something has to be removed.  You can’t hold onto it forever.  It stings.  Yep…life on this side of Heaven will sting too.  The pain that we feel doesn’t compare to the joy we experience.  Joy comes in the morning.  Just ask any follower of Jesus who has made it through the unthinkable.  God is in the business of replacing our hurt with joy.

3) Finally, nothing in this world compares to the peace you will have from knowing Jesus as the Lord of your life.  Nothing material, no earthly relationship, nothing compares to Jesus.  (Of course, I’ve never been a millionaire so I don’t speak from experience on THAT part…but I do believe that stuff God says about riches, material possessions, and seeking the Kingdom of God.). Seek FIRST the Kingdom of Heaven.  Run after His heart.  Be like David in this way.  Be a man after God’s own heart. Your Dad is this kind of guy and I can tell you that your wife, your children; they will all follow your lead.  Lead them in the peace that comes from knowing Jesus as your Savior, Comforter, and your firm foundation.  No matter what He asks you to do, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how successful, smart, wealthy, or poor you become, His peace is irreplaceable and will carry you.  If everything around you crumbles, cling to Jesus.  There is power in the peace that only comes from clinging to Jesus.

There’s more.  We will keep teaching you to walk in His way.  And my tone of voice issues will keep presenting you with real-life opportunities to see repentance (ahem…my repentance) and you will have plentiful opportunities to forgive. I really, really love Jesus…and thankfully He is still working on me, as well.  

When we get to Heaven, we will know God as He really is.  Scripture tells us that.  For now, your faith will rely greatly on the unseen and the understanding that His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. 

 You have made this decision to follow Him and I believe your heart.  When you can’t remember this day, may my words to you be a reminder of this most important life decision you have made to be on “God’s team” and may you have faith in a Savior that loved you even before you were born. (Psalm 139)

May you know that it is by His grace we have been saved, through faith.  Your child-like faith?  That big heart eager to follow Jesus? Your deep understanding of things that we’re all still learning every day?  They are all a part of His plan for you to have new life in Him.  All glory goes to Jesus, our Redeemer.

For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.  ~Ephesians 2:8

I love you a bushel and a peck.  Forever and ever.

With all of my heart,                                 ~Mommy

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