My earliest memories of childhood are happy carefree ones. I was immensely loved, and disciplined with fairness. I honestly don’t ever remember being yelled at.
One of my first memories, is that of my mom warming a baby bottle on the stove, and then giving it to me with a smile. Another memory I have is of my brother and sister playing finger plays with me. (They were quite a bit older than I was) One was of me watching out of the window waiting for my brother and sister to come home from school. Another one is my mom caring for me when I was sick. These are all before the age of three.
From the age of three, I can remember MANY things that even my mother and father don’t remember.
I thank the Lord for these happy memories, because they were in my mind when I was going through my depression. I knew what it was to be happy, secure in love, and carefree. I had a good childhood.
When I reached the age of five, I was invited to a Vacation Bible School that was hosted in our next door neighbor’s backyard. I remember learning Bible verses, one of which, of course was “John 3:16”. Memories of singing the song to the Wordless Book, and making a little bookmark in the shape of a worm, with the same colors as the wordless book. I remember listening to a sensational missionary story being told to us kids on the front porch, in the Georgia summer heat.
The last day of VBS came about, and as it was nearing lunch time, and kids started to be picked up by their parents or started to walk home; I noticed a little boy carrying a cute little New Testament with a picture of Jesus surrounded by little children. I coveted admired his New Testament and asked him where he got it. He told me the teacher gave it to him because he got saved.
Well. I wanted a Bible like that too. And if the teacher gave it to him, maybe she would give me one too. Normally, I am/was a shy person. Not one prone to boldness. I must have really wanted this N.T, to be bold enough to go ask the teacher for one, before she offered it to me. I thought she must have forgotten to give me one… or something.
When I reached her, and asked her for it, she gave me a disappointed look and said, “I am sorry Sweetie. Only those that “get saved”, get one.”
Not having one clue what she meant by “getting saved”. I said, “Well, I want to get saved!”. A look of sheer joy spread across her face and she said, “Really?!”
In my child like mind, I didn’t know what the big deal was. I must have given her a positive answer, because she led me to the porch steps and sat me down. She prayed a prayer with me. I can’t remember if I repeated what she said, or if I just listened. But I do remember thinking that I wish she would hurry up and get it over with so I could get that cute little Bible, and go home and eat my lunch. I was starving!
When she said, “Amen” I looked up to see tears in her eyes and she was smiling broadly. She got up to leave and I think she said something about being glad that I had stopped her, so she could help me ask Jesus in my heart or something. She picked up her purse and started off the steps. I then said, “Do I still get the Bible?” She stopped, and laughed and said, “Oh yeah! I almost forgot”
Funny thing is, my best friend at the time witnessed all of this. She too wanted the N.T and prayed the prayer after I did. That poor teacher. She must have thought she was reaping a golden harvest at that small neighborhood VBS I am sure.
I believe she had a sincere heart, and truly wanted to see children come to know the Lord. But that children’s Bible was a sale’s tactic if I ever did see one. My opinion is she should of just given me the Bible, and not said anything to me about needing to be saved to get one.
To this day, it bother’s me that churches lure children with candy to memorize Bible verses. Or use Bubble gum to get them to come to church, with a promise of more candy on the ride home.
For YEARS I banked my assurance of being saved on that moment. I thought that since I asked Jesus in my heart I was saved. Even though I had no clue as to why I would need Jesus in my heart anyway. Afterall, Mom told me every night that Jesus was watching over me, and caring for me when I slept.
But I had no concept of what sin was. I had no concept of even needing Jesus to save me from Hell. Even after that week of Vacation Bible School. I don’t remember learning much about my personal sin. Of course, I remember the “black page” of the wordless book. But me, at five years old, grasping that concept without much teaching about it before hand? No, I didn’t make the connection, they were hoping to make I suppose.
Even though mom and dad were Christians. (Born again by Grace through faith), I don’t remember them talking to me about the need of salvation before that point. And honestly, I don’t think I was ready to be saved at that age. I think I was still in the age of innocence.
But that whole New Testament experience would lead me to YEARS of confusion later on down the road.
And it didn’t start until after I immersed myself into the Blue Denim lifestyle.