She's got it. Jessica, that is, my daughter, the oldest of 6. She is wise beyond her years and more spiritually mature than some adults I know. This year for Christmas one present we put into Jesus' stocking was to "memorize a verse each week." Hopefully, when 2011 rolls around we will have 52 verses hidden in our hearts. So the first week was Psalm 111:10 which says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." She was asking me what that verse meant about "fearing" the Lord. I tried to explain, as best I could in human terms, that the word "fear" in this text doesn't mean we are supposed to be afraid or scared of God (although I KNOW we would be shaking in our boots if he suddenly appeared before us). It is similar to a "fear" that means to "respect" or "honor" someone; you are holding that person up in great value when you "fear" them. I hoped it all made sense to her. She seemed to kind of get it and we moved on to a different conversation.
On this particular day, the kids had a half a day of school, Jessica got home before everyone else, so she and I sat down to eat some leftover lasagna. During our conversation Jessica admitted to me how terrible she feels for the kids over in Haiti right now and how she wishes she could help, "but I have to go to school," she says. She's right, of course, school does await. Yet in the depths of her heart, with hundreds of miles and and an ocean between them, she feels pain for the hurting people. Not only does she hurt, but she also wants to help in some way. So we talked about how prayer is always one way to reach out and also donations to great organizations like Samaritan's Purse are other ways we can extend the love of Christ. It is obvious that compassion is one of Jessica's gifts, it is sweet to see that gift blooming in her. To top the whole conversation off she says, "is that why you are always telling us we should be thankful that we have food to eat and stuff like that." Ding ding ding. We have a winner. She is getting it.
Later that evening, Jessica and I were on our way to run some errands before the night's end. We picked up our conversation where we left it at lunchtime. We were finished talking about Haiti for the moment. Now she wanted to know about Christians getting killed in other countries. In what countries did they kill Christians and who who would do such a thing? She asks a lot of questions like this for just being a 12 year-old girl that is supposed to be caught up in fashion, boys, and herself. So then a bigger question comes out: "If God told you to move to a country where you might be killed for being a Christian, would you go there?" I paused for a moment and told her that yes I would go there. She says, "yeah, I would too." As I gave her a squeeze on the knee and some tears filled my eyes, I said, "I know you would do that, you are a good girl."
The spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is deep within my daughter. She never could have uttered those words if He weren't living in her and guiding her to say them. What 12 year-old says, yep, I'd die for Jesus, just like He did for me. I'm not ashamed. Wow! I learned so much in such a short conversation. My prayer for Jesssica is that God will continue to guard her heart as she matures into a young lady, He will give her unlimited wisdom as she learns to fear the Lord, and that she will be a witness to other young girls that you can be on fire for God at any age.
Let it be a lesson to me, Lord, to not be ashamed of you, but to let my light burn bright as I have been taught by my daughter, Jessica.