I don't remember a time not knowing who Jesus is. I grew up hearing Bible stories in church and praying before dinner. I knew that Jesus loved me because he loved all the little children, red and yellow, black and white. I knew I was precious in his sight.
I grew up going to church. I heard the story of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the whale. I knew that Jesus was born on Christmas and rose again on Easter. I was told that God loved me so much that he sent his only son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.
I knew I was a sinner who could choose whether I would go to heaven or to hell when I died. And when a four year old is faced with those options, I am pretty sure most would choose Jesus. But not me. At least not in that moment when they told us the story at church and explained about asking Jesus into our hearts to receive salvation. I was not going to jump on that bandwagon. No I was a thoughtful little girl. I wanted time to consider my options and think it through.
And then later that week, I was sent to time out. I have no idea what I had done that day, but I was sitting in timeout and instead of thinking of what I had done, I was contemplating this whole Jesus choice I had. And it was in timeout, all by myself, that I decided that yes, I did want to ask Jesus into my heart. I did want to go to heaven. I did want to follow Jesus.
I prayed the prayer they had taught me. I told my mom. And nothing really changed. At least not noticeably. My life went on. I kept going to church and praying with my family before dinner. I learned my letters and eventually went to kindergarten and then first grade. I grew up physically and intellectually, but I also grew spiritually. I continued to learn more about Jesus. And the more I learned, the more I grew.
I have had my share of crisis of faith moments. I have had doubts and struggles with the church and what it says about Jesus. But I continue to grow and learn and follow Jesus down the path I started when I was a little girl in time out.
My first step of faith was at 4 but that step was in response to a simple truth I have always known, Jesus loves me this I know.