Last week when I was driving home from Arkansas with the kiddos, we stopped at a gas station off the interstate so I could feed Grayson. It was one of those run down ones with disgusting bathrooms and bars on the windows. Needless to say I fed Grayson in the car . . . not my first choice, but it was dinner time and this was all that we could find. While I was cleaning baby food off almost every surface of my car, I noticed a man standing around and looking in the trash can after people threw stuff away. As we drove off, I rolled down the window and asked if he was hungry. I told him all I had was the box of nutrigrain bars we had brought with us for the trip, but he was welcome to have them.
I did not expect what came next. I had barely gotten the window rolled up when Ava screamed, "Those are MY nutrigrain bars. I NEED them!"
Thus began a 30 minute conversation (I'm not exaggerating) about what had just taken place. I started by explaining that the man was hungry and I knew that because he was even looking in the trash for food. She said that he should just go to his pantry and get food. I explained that if he was willing to look in the trash, that probably meant that he didn't have any food in his pantry.
Once I convince her that he was, in fact, hungry, I began to share what the Bible teaches about the situation. I told her that it was plain and simple . . . if we see someone who is hungry, we should give them something to eat. She kept arguing about him not being hungry or that we really didn't need to give him our food. She was having a hard time with why it had to be HER nutrigrain bars that were given.
I tried to explain how God has provided for our needs and that she has never experienced hunger like that man. At this point, I think she was becoming okay with the fact that we gave him food, but now she wanted that food replaced. She started making a plan to get her a new box of nutrigrain bars to go in her pantry. Since she is 2, we've had multiple opportunities to talk about being selfish lately. :) I reminded her that we don't want to think only of ourselves, but think of others and their needs because that honors God.
This may sound like a nice, neat conversation, but it was anything but. We went round and round and at one point she even declared that God didn't love the man. I was in tears by the end of it and ended up just telling Ava that we couldn't talk about it anymore. I can't tell you how my heart hurt to hear such selfishness come out of her heart and mind.
I spent the next hour praying. I was reminded of the passage in Psalm 51 where David acknowledges that he was surely sinful from birth. It was so overwhelming to see sin, to see the evidence that even in such a little one resides a heart that is fully flesh, fully evil. I prayed desperately for God to change her heart. That one day He would give her a new heart and break the hold that Satan has on her.
I was discouraged, but not so much by Ava, just at the reality of our fallen world. I was, however, disappointed that even after our long conversation I didn't feel like Ava got it. I knew I had shared the Word and Truth, but it didn't seem like it really sunk in.
Fast forward to last night . . . Our friend Jeremy dropped by for a minute. Ava was cooking in her kitchen and brought him some eggs she had made. After Jeremy left, she told Chad, "Mr. Jeremy was hungry and when someone is hungry, Jesus says we give them something to eat so I gave him eggs."
Chad and I looked at each other and had a moment of rejoicing! The Truth I shared over a week ago has taken root in her heart. The Word does not come back void, but accomplished God's purposes!
I know there will be many days to come where I'll need to come back to this moment as a reminder to persevere, to keep sharing Truth, to discipline, to teach, to disciple my kids because God IS at work and His Spirit is powerful enough to change even the smallest and darkest of hearts. I love my girl so much and can't wait for the day that she is not only my daughter, but also my sister in Christ!