We probably all have those friends we grew up with who considered themselves to be a Christian in childhood yet have not chosen a lifestyle of obedience and surrender to Christ in their adult years. Honestly, because of all the people I have encountered who have this as their story, (and honestly i was one of them for a time) I was very hesitant to “let” my children get saved when they were young. I was so worried that they would make the choice as children and change their minds as adults. This plays a part in why I celebrate my children’s salvation birthdays. This seemed like a fitting post to write this week since both girls celebrated their salvation birthdays this week!
why i changed my mind
Hailey, my oldest, has always had an inquisitive mind. She started asking questions about God and theology at a very young age. When she was 3, she started to mention the idea of wanting to go to heaven and ask Jesus into her heart. I would question her about it and she didn’t really know what that meant so I didn’t press it and neither did she. Since she was inquiring, I really started to think about what I would do when she DID press it and really want to get saved.
That’s such a brief overview, although it looks long, but I hope that helps for anyone who was feeling lost.
So back to how I changed my mind. I spoke with some friends in our care group and had a chat with my mother in law about it and came to the realization that if God was calling her to Himself, I should absolutely not be the one to stand in the way. I never wanted to give her the impression that she “couldn’t” get saved becasue that was absolutely not true. So I decided that when she asked and knew what it meant, we would pray together for her to be saved.
I’m going to pause really quick here incase any of my readers aren’t used to this lingo and wonder what on earth I am talking about getting “saved”. We believe the Bible to be the true word of God. So because of that, we believe what the Bible says in regards to all humans being sinners (Romans 3:23 – “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”). We believe death is the punishment for sin and that our sin seperates us from God. (Romans 6:23 – “for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”). The Bible tells us that God did not want His creation (us) to be seperated from Him because He loves us so much. But, as we know, actions have consequences and our sin had to be punished. So, out of His immense love, He sent His perfect son Jesus to die and pay the price for everyone’s sin. Not after we stopped sinning, but right there in the middle of our ugly, messy sin. He paid our price and loved us just as we are. (Romans 5:8 – “God demonstrated His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”) God created us with free will and we get to use that free will to accept or reject this gift. We can accept His love and His payment for our sins and we can then be forgiven and able to spend eternity in heaven. See, without our sins being paid for, we cannot be in the presence of God. But Jesus’s death on the cross paid that price and allows us access to God in heaven. So what does it mean to be saved? Romans 10:9 says “If you confess with yourself that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You need to acknowledge your sin and that Jesus willingly paid it. Confess that sin and that Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus conquered death when God raised him from the dead. And you will be saved! You have given Jesus the authority in your life and now you choose to surrender to him.
June 11, 2016 she did that. She asked me about it, we chatted and I asked her questions, and it was time. I felt a peace from the Lord that it was time and she joined the family of God that night.
Sophie did a few years later when she was 4 as well.
why i’ll always celebrate it
The type of celebration just seemed to happen on a whim. The night Hailey asked Jesus to be her Lord and Saviour was after Sophie was asleep. I knew I just happened to have a cupcake in the freezer so I got her up and served her the cupcake in celebration. That kind of stuck so now every year on their salvation birthdays I wait until they go to bed and then I sneak in and get the girl up and bring her out to a cupcake on the table.
Back when I was discussing all of this with my MIL, she made a point to me that I wont soon forget. She reminded me that whether she accepted God’s salvation at 4, 14, or 40 she would need to continue to grow in her faith. That she could accept God at 4 with all she knew and understood at the time and just continue to learn and grow as she developed a greater understanding.
So my hope this celebrating yearly is that this is a decision they will remember. I want them to remember what it means, why they chose it and that they will continue to choose it. Even in Exodus when the Israelites fled Egypt, they were to have yearly feasts on the passover day to remember what God has done for them. That is sort of how I treat their salvation birthday; a time to remember what God has done for them.
what we do
We keep it pretty basic and try to just focus on time spent together and good conversation and discipling. I always get them out of bed to have a cupcake and time with me. I share with them a verse that I am praying over them for the year and we talk about what God has done in their life the past year, for example prayers that He has answered. Last year since Hailey could write, I got her a little prayer journal. While she ate her cupcake I showed her my prayer journal and explained what it’s for and gave her hers. This year I gave them both quiet time journals to work through. I don’t focus on gifts or even wrap up these little things, and I dont give something every year, it just happened to work out last year and this year that I had something I wanted to give them. The focus is on discipling and celebration.
This year, since it was Sophie’s first salvation birthday, I reread her a kids book about salvation to remind her of why we celebrate, why its a big deal and what it means. We talked about sin and why we need a Saviour. It was a sweet and special time for her.
With Hailey, I chatted more about choices and how she is growing up and we can’t make good choices for her. She needs to decide if she is going to chose to follow God’s will or her own and we talked a bit about what that looks like and how its often not an easy choice. Last year her verse was “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” so we chatted about how taming her tongue went last year and how we can both continue to work on that.
When we are finished, I pull that child into my lap or hold hands with them and pray over them. I thank God for giving them to us and for their decision to follow Him and I pray for strength and wisdom for them as they grow and continue to choose Him every day.
So that is the general jist of it
This is so individual and different for each family. I am only sharing what we do to give you ideas and hopefully inspire you to make this a time of celebration with your children. Be like the Israelites and take time each year to pause and remember what the Lord has done for them!
I’d love to hear how you celebrate your kid’s salvation birthdays in your house!