She’s 10 years old now. That, in and of itself, is hard to believe. It seems like only yesterday that Jana and I struggled over what to name this little girl, our precious daughter, and in the end settled on Andrea Hope Kelley.
She has been Andi since the day she was born.
And yet there she was, standing in the baptistery of our church, next to our children’s pastor. There she was responding in a clear, confident voice that yes, she knew she was a sinner and stood in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. And yes, she had indeed placed her whole trust in Jesus Christ alone to be made right with God. And that yes, she was telling this group of gathered Christians that it is her intent to follow Jesus all the days of her life.
And it was wonderful. There were many things that went through my mind as she went down into the water and then came up again, but I wanted to share four of them:
1.The gospel is true.
Sometimes we forget this is so. Or at least our anxiety, fear, and choices would suggest we have. But watching my daughter confess Christ before these people, I had the overwhelming sense, again, that this is all real. Realer than real. The most real thing in all the universe, in fact.
How do we know? Well, she is one reason of many.
2. Remember the “win.”
I also felt, again, a sense of responsibility as this girl’s daddy. Mainly, I felt reminded that if indeed this is the realest of the real, then part of my job is to remember what the true win is.
As a parent, I feel a near constant tug between competing “wins” on behalf of my kids. I feel, ashamedly, the pull of wanting my kids to be well liked, to make good grades, to be good at sports, to have nice clothes, and all the rest of the stuff. But it’s moment like these when we, as parents, are reminded what the true “win” is – it is, in fact, that our children know, believe, and love the Lord Jesus.
3. Thank God for the church.
When we gathered to be witnesses of Andi’s baptism, there was a retired gentleman standing behind me. I happened to catch a glimpse of him during the baptism, and his eyes were shining with tears. He had been one of Andi’s Sunday School teachers when she was in the 4th grade.
Thank God for the church. Thank God for a group of people, united by the gospel, who are committed to helping one another do the hard work together of things like teaching one another’s children the truth of the gospel.
4. God finishes what He starts.
Is my daughter a Christian? I think so. She seems to exhibit evidences of grace and repentance. But she is, in the end, 10 years old. Not to be callous, but time will tell, just as it will tell with all of us.
But thank the Lord that her perseverance in the faith, just like mine, is not dependent on our own strength. And I’m especially thankful that my kid’s perseverance in the faith is not dependent on how good of a father I am. It is God who sustains, and it is God who finishes what He starts in me as well as in her.