The angels in heaven are throwing a party for Ephraim tonight! And I wanted to write it down as soon as possible, so that I wouldn't forget, and so he'll have something to look back on and remember.
I'll start at the beginning. Before Ephraim was ever born, we prayed this prayer for him.
(From Luke 1)... "You will bear you a son... He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
We've always told him about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We've taught him Bible stories. He knows our faith. It is our life. Several times over the years we've asked him if he'd like to ask Jesus in his heart, and he has consistently said that he was not ready yet. We have respected that and not really brought it up unless the discussion seemed to be going that direction.
At the recommendation of a few friends (thanks ladies!), we have been listening to the audio version of "Heaven is For Real," by Todd Burpo. This isn't a children's book, but it does chronicle a child's story. It is the story of a four-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Spiderman-loving boy who visits Heaven and comes back telling his parents all sorts of really miraculous things about his journey. (You'll have to read it, or listen to it, for yourselves.) Ephraim has been listening along with us, laughing, and enjoying the fact that the story is about such a similar little fella to himself. I honestly think God has used little Colton's story to stir Ephraim's heart a bit.
Tonight, I was laying in Ephraim's bed with him telling him all sorts of silly stories. We read "Hop on Pop" and made up a story, "Mom and Ephraim Find the Surprise Box!" We have the Crayola Glow Station and use it to illustrate stories with him on a regular basis. As we were laying there, he started to share some of the story of the little boy in heaven with me. I showed him the illustration of the cross being the bridge between us and Jesus. He said that he knew that already and that he wanted to go to heaven, so he was ready to ask Jesus in his heart. WHOAH! I knew Quincy wouldn't want to be left out of this moment, so I told him to wait just a minute, that I knew Daddy would want to pray with him too.
I came back a minute later with Quincy (and Aspen, who had woken up crying - I guess everyone wanted to be a part of it!). Quincy just talked to Ephraim and asked if he understood what he was doing. Ephraim said that he did. We explained that he was just telling God that he believed in Him, in Jesus, that Jesus died for him, that he had sin in his heart, and that Jesus was the only way to make his heart clean. He said that he understood. Quincy said that with Jesus in his heart, Jesus would help Ephraim be able to make better choices and be more obedient. Ephraim said, "That is hard." ;) hahah Quincy explained that having Jesus in your heart was like giving it extra muscles to make it extra strong for making good choices. Ephraim seemed satisfied with that and said he wanted to pray. Quincy led him in a little prayer, with Ephraim repeating after him. (I wish I would've videotaped it.) After the "amen," Ephraim popped up and ripped down the Glow Station, which was hanging on the top bunk bed. He was showing us how strong God had made him! hahah! Quincy said it didn't necessarily apply to his arms, but that was cool, either way. I told him that the angels in heaven were having a party for him, and he said he was going to put up some decorations tomorrow. ;)
I left the room to put Aspen back to bed, and he and Quincy continued talking about baptism. Ephraim would prefer it if I baptize him (not dad), he will wear his Spiderman bathing suit backwards, and he will have an umbrella. ? ;) I think we'll discuss this aspect a bit longer. He does understand that baptism is a picture of the decision he's made, and that's the most important thing.
Anyway, I'm SOOOOO excited for my son tonight! That's pretty much the most important decision he'll ever make. Thank you, Lord, that I got to be a part of it!