Updated: Feb 10, 2022
Pearl is most certainly a mamma’s girl but there are a few things she really enjoys playing with her daddy. She loves when I speak in different voices for some imaginary animals we created. She also enjoys when we play with her My Little Ponies. I don’t know their official My Little Pony names, only those that she made up for them. I am always a purple pony named Violet and a rabbit named Jellybeans. Having prayed for Pearl’s salvation since before she was born, little did we know that the Lord would use Jellybeans one day to bring her to Jesus.
As parents we try to take what opportunities we are given to discuss with our kids God’s love, creation, sin, right and wrong, and other things life presents, through the lens of biblical principles. Sandy has always read Bible stories to our kids and sang Christian songs with them. Pearl is now six years old and for the past several years Sandy has spent time with her before school having age appropriate Bible studies that explore God’s word and his world. Each night we gather as a family before the kids go to bed to read some of the Bible and have a devotion. Our greatest desire for our children has always been that they might know Jesus Christ as their Saviour and have an intimate relationship with him all their days as well as have an active faith that impacts how they live their lives and treat others.
The responsibility of helping our kids discover their need for Christ without manipulating them to parrot a “sinner’s prayer” has always weighed heavy upon Sandy and me. We are also careful to consider our kids personalities and how they respond to certain things especially when dealing with a spiritual issue as important as salvation. As someone who takes things very literally Pearl has had difficulty praying to a real Person she could not see.
In some ways, Pearl can be non-verbal; she is usually talkative but under certain circumstances she does not know how to express what she is feeling. She usually opens up to her mommy and in early Spring she began to discuss with Sandy something that was bothering her. Attending Italian public school the kids are exposed to Catholicism and one day Pearl said to Sandy, “I don’t know if I am a Christian, a Catholic or nothing.” Later on in the conversation Sandy explained mommy, daddy, and her brother were all Christians and she hoped that one day Pearl would become a Christian by trusting Jesus as her Saviour. To which Pearl later concluded, “I think I’m just normal.”
Throughout the springtime Pearl quietly seemed to be contemplating with some seriousness the Bible lessons she had heard particularly regarding salvation. On several occasions she had expressed she wanted to be saved but she just didn’t understand how to talk to God about it. On Sunday May 3rd a toy rabbit showed her how.
Jellybeans has always been cantankerous. On this particular Sunday this cranky little rabbit knocked one of the little ponies down which led the leader of the ponies, Violet, to kindly reprimand him for his bad behavior. In doing so it was discovered that Jellybeans was not a Christian. This was not a typical conversation for the ponies to have but given Pearl’s difficulty with talking to Someone she could not see and her increasing desire to be saved I thought it might be an opportunity to model for her how a sinner calls upon the Lord for salvation.
Violet explained to Jellybeans how God saves sinners too broken to save themselves through Jesus Christ. At this point Pearl moved a yellow pony near Violet and said, “Sunshine wants to be saved too.” I asked, “Oh, was she listening to Violet talk to Jellybeans?” “Yes,” Pearl replied, “and she wants to be saved.” Then she added, “When Jellybeans and Sunshine pray to be saved, I’ll pray too, okay?” So a little rabbit, a pony and Pearl repeated after me as we prayed for salvation.” At “amen” Pearl jumped up with a look of excitement in her bright brown eyes. Did she sincerely ask to be saved? Honestly, I was just trying to help her understand prayer. Would she look back someday with some vague memory of playtime, not sure of what really occurred? She leaned closer to me with a big smile on her face as I said nonchalantly, “It’s exciting Sunshine and Jellybeans got saved, isn’t it? It’s fun to play make-believe.” She immediately crawled up on my lap deflated.
She said in a dejected voice, “I thought I just got saved… but I guess it was just pretend.” My heart was breaking to see sadness cover her like a wet blanket. I hugged her and told her that whenever she really wants to be saved that all she has to do is just ask mommy and daddy and we would show her how from the Bible. She immediately hopped off my lap and ran out of the living room to find Sandy. I quietly followed and heard her glumly say, “Jellybeans and Sunshine got saved. I thought I did too but I guess it was just pretend.” Sandy reassured her if she wanted to be saved we were always there to help her. She asked if she wanted to be saved that day and Pearl said yes.
We went to Pearl’s bedroom and as she sat on her mommy’s lap I opened the Bible and explained once again, in words a 6 year old could grasp, how God loved her so much that he gave his only begotten Son to pay for her sin and that he rose from the dead and wants to give her eternal life. Not too many days prior Pearl explained on her own how Jesus was a sacrifice like the lambs in the Old Testament to take away our sins. She had understood clearly her need for a Saviour and now she understood how to ask him in faith for eternal life. She called upon the Lord to be saved kneeling between her mommy and daddy. Afterward she jumped up and down and then kissed Sandy continuously all the while laughing. We were overjoyed. The next morning she thanked Jesus for saving her and she was happy Sunshine and Jellybeans got saved too, even if, she said, that part was just make-believe.