There is no wrong age to find Jesus.
I grew up in a family that didn’t go to church or talk with me about God. It’s not that they didn’t believe in Him, but going to church was not a priority. As a teenager, I was asked to attend church with a friend. We would have a sleepover on a Saturday and then go to church on Sunday with her family. I loved the message, family time, the Sunday school fun— and of course the donut at the end! After starting college, I took the step to commit my life to Jesus and was baptized. I loved how I was the one who committed my life to Christ. I was never forced, but always encouraged, and ultimately that was my plan for my children.
The day I became a mother was one of the best days of my life. Through all the excitement, pain, and sleepless nights, I saw firsthand God’s beautiful work as I looked into my daughter’s eyes. From her first breath to the present, I pray daily for her. I pray she follows God’s Word and the journey He has for her. I pray that through her weakness, she will find strength in Him.
I have prayed that one day she too would be baptized. However, I have not pressured my sweet Mackenzie into finding His love before she is ready to embrace it.
At three years old, I knew Mackenzie was going to change the world. She was maternal and strong. She was blessed with twin baby sisters, only to discover that one would not make it and the other would be fighting for her life. Additionally, both her grandfathers were diagnosed with cancer within months of each other. As I started to lose hope, God led me to 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
He gave me strength to fight and in turn I saw Mackenzie fight alongside me. She’s probably the only little girl who knows how to comfort her dying grandfather, has patience with a sister with special needs, and goes to bed every night praying and thanking God for what she has, not for what she hopes she can have. I feared she might pull away from God, but I found her praying more through all these tragedies.
When Mackenzie turned six, we packed up and moved from California to Colorado. We found an amazing church that welcomed us right away. Mackenzie starting asking all kinds of questions about God. Baptism came up and I explained to her what being baptized meant. After my explanation she said, “MOM! Why have you not baptized me yet?” Talk about a mom fail! She seemed so young that it never crossed my mind. After she talked with our pastor and children’s ministry leader, they said she was ready. Before we knew it, Mackenzie was baptized and when I saw her smile, I knew this had an incredible impact on her.
Today Mackenzie is seven. She has lost both grandfathers to cancer, lost a baby sister, and has watched her sister fight and conquer all odds (now known as the miracle baby). Mackenzie speaks to friends about God and has such a huge heart for her community. In order to earn money for the foster children in our area, she drew pictures others could order and asked me to post them on Facebook, put together a hot cocoa stand, did chores around the house, and asked friends to help out as well. Through her efforts and others, our church raise $8,000 for the foster kids.
I urge all moms to never put a time frame on your child finding God’s true love. Some may welcome Him into their hearts later on in their lives and some might be like Mackenzie. I do encourage you to pray for them, guide them, but never push. God has this in His hands already; we are here to walk alongside them. I leave you with a recent quote from Mackenzie before bed one night. She asked me how we know God is listening to our prayers. Before I could answer she said, “Wait! I know! God is doing things and He is always listening.” So moms, God is listening and His plan is set. Let yourself enjoy the beauty in His work.
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Amanda Cant is a California native who just moved to Colorado a year ago with her husband Brandon and two girls. Through a series of twists and turns, Amanda has grown not only closer to God but is able to connect with others who are struggling. She shares her story of finding the light in darkness and building a support community. She is now the Executive Assistant at MOPS International. To learn more about her story go to www.mandyarioto.com where she is a guest on Mandy’s podcast that will be airing this year.