He then began really asking questions about dying. What happens when you die? How does it feel? Will I be alone? When will I die? How will I die? Will I be scared? I will cry and cry if you and daddy die. How do I get to God? How do I get to heaven? What is heaven like? How do I talk to God? Why can't I see God? What does God look like?
I get choked up just typing these questions! Such big, big thoughts for a little guy. And, of course, answering questions about death with your handsome first-born are enough to give any momma's heart pain. It really makes you think--as you try to put what you believe into terms a child can understand. And, it makes you process what you believe as you put it into words.
I told Rey that I was so glad these questions were overflowing just as we were going into the Christmas season--because: ADVENT! The story of Jesus! I really wanted to find an advent that told the whole gospel story, because I knew that Noe was ready to see the whole picture of God's redemption offered. I was excited to find this resource online--PERFECT for us: simple enough that I in my craziness and shortage of time could do it, yet involved enough that they kids looked forward to it (we only did it 1-3 nights a week... but they got it!). (Also: The link takes you to the website. If you scroll to the bottom, there is a button to download the .pdf version of the guide, which was easier to follow for me)
So, we've been following the story of Jesus... from his foretelling, to his birth, to his redemption provided, to his resurrection and promise to prepare a home for us in heaven. The kids followed along--asking many questions, and being nearly moved to tears as they took in the story of the cross. It was so great to finish the story tonight... Jesus is not dead... and He is preparing a room for us in heaven! This imagery helped Noe get excited about heaven, as he dreamed up how perfectly decorated his new room will be!
We asked if the kids wanted to pray to give their lives to Jesus and be with him forever, and they did. Especially Noe got it... He was very, very nervous as he decided that yes, he wanted to take this step. We joined hands and told God we loved him and knew we couldn't go to heaven on our own. We asked Jesus to wash our hearts clean and told him that we gave him our lives and we wanted to live with him forever. We told him thank you for saving us and making a way for us to get into heaven. And, then we said "amen".
Noe opened his eyes with awe, and obviously emotional. Trying to smile, and not let a tear escape, he said: "Wow! That was it?? We're done?? We can go to heaven now?? Wow!!!" He said he thought it would be a lot harder than that. Isn't that amazing? Kids and adults aren't that different--we all think it will be hard to get into heaven. Which led us to another great chat with our boy. "God makes it easy for us! Do you know why he made you? Because he hoped you would say 'yes' to him! Whenever you say 'yes' to God, you make him so happy! And, it's not hard to talk to God... you can talk to him whenever and wherever you want! Can you believe it?"
That was followed by conversations like, "Do angels sleep? Do they get hungry?" and "When you and daddy go to heaven, can you please take a video on your cell phones and send it to me so I can see what it looks like?" THEN, we pulled out the Bible again and read what the Bible says about heaven. By the time we were done with that ("Gold streets!" "No darkness!" "No sadness or bad things!"), Noe was stoked! He kept saying, "Yay! Yes!" whenever more cool things were added to the heaven list.
My boy is growing up. He is stretching my heart to the bursting with his sweet earnestness. I pray only that his daddy and I can live in a way that mirrors God's heart, and that we are given the words that speak directly to his heart and draw him closer to his maker.
Oh, nothing... just a cheery wave from Joseph...! :)