If you have read this blog previously, you know that we exert much effort in developing a love for learning and making each school day fun and interesting. However, as we grow, at some point, we are introduced to certain subject matter that is avoided by most, cringed at by some, and uncomfortable by all. One of those being – Death and dying. It’s not a subject that most of us typically wake up thinking about, much less decide to incorporate into our day’s homeschooling lessons. Nevertheless, it is a real aspect of life that has eternal significance; therefore, shouldn’t it be taught? Much preparation and development had been given to our end-of-life lesson (which we will detail below), but the day came when we finally had to face it – the Death lesson.
“But Mommy, I don’t want great-grandmother to die,” she sobbed with tears streaming down. School had been completed and Mommy and AbiNoelle were just pulling the car into a store parking lot, when our conversation took a serious turn toward things eternal. But first, let’s rewind and give some background points for context and clarity.
- A couple of months ago, as Mommy was busy in the house, AbiNoelle was listening to Bible stories in her room and playing. As Mommy came through the room, she suddenly asked, “Mommy, will I get to go to Heaven with you one day?” Mommy explained in a simple way that God will not allow sin into His perfect place called Heaven. Sin needs to be punished, but God loves us so much that He had a plan so that everyone who wanted to go to Heaven one day would be able allowed to enter. That plan included Jesus coming as a baby to this earth, dying on the cross to take our punishment for sin, rising from the grave, and going back to Heaven to make a special place for all those that believed in Him. Jesus is waiting for people to talk with Him – He is waiting for someone to tell Him that they know they have sinned, that they believe in His plan, and that they want to receive Him as their Saviour. [AbiNoelle]: “Oh, I know, Mommy…like my song…Admit, believe and forever receive…admit you are sinner, believe in Jesus Christ, receive Him as your Saviour and you’ll have eternal life.” [Mommy]:”Have you ever prayed to God before, AbiNoelle?” [AbiNoelle]:”Oh yes, Mommy…I pray to God about my boo-boos.” [Mommy]:”Have you ever prayed to Jesus and told Him those special things that are in your song – Admit & Believe?” [AbiNoelle]: “No.” [Mommy]: “Well, that is something very important that I want you to think about. Jesus wants you to pray and talk to Him about those things. He wants everyone to be able to go to Heaven one day.” [AbiNoelle]: “Ok, Mommy, I’ll think about it.”
- About a month ago, during our nightly Bible time, the lesson emphasized the holiness of God. God is holy. He has no sin. Sin is ugly and He doesn’t want to be near it. No sin can be in Heaven where God lives. We have sinned. We have done bad things – disobey, disrespectful, pouting, etc. Does this mean that God doesn’t want to be near us, or that we will never be allowed into Heaven? NO! God made a way that we could be forgiven and cleansed from our sins. When we received Jesus as our Saviour, it is like He comes into our heart and cleans us all up so that we can go to Heaven. “AbiNoelle, have you ever talked to Jesus about this?” (That night, Mommy and Daddy questioned AbiNoelle at length, discerning her great knowledge about salvation. She had ALL the right answers. She even “prayed to receive Christ as her Saviour,” yet when she prayed, she simply said she wanted to go to Heaven and made no mention of sin or being sorry for her sins. When she finished praying, we explained that Jesus was so glad to hear her praying…we were glad to hear her praying…we had heard her tell Jesus that she believed that He died on the cross and that He rose again, but we didn’t hear her tell Jesus about her sins. We reminded her of the song she sings and that we need to Admit that we are a sinner. “Ok,” she said quickly, “I’ll do that tomorrow night.”
- Since then, there have been several occasions when AbiNoelle has told us that tonight or tomorrow night she was going to accept Christ as her Saviour. We were always very positive in our response and encouraged her to let us know just as soon as she was ready to talk with Jesus about all this.
- Then came the Death Lesson. It all began with her questions to Mommy about who her grandparents were when she was a child, followed up by, “Where are they now?” Mommy explained that three out of four grandparents were already in Heaven, but great-grandmother Williamson still lives in her house. [AbiNoelle]: “I’m sure that great-grandmother must be so sad that she isn’t with granddaddy anymore.” [Mommy]: “But she will be with him one day in Heaven.” [AbiNoelle]: “But how can she go there?” [Mommy]: “Well, God’s plan is that babies are born, they grow into big girls and boy, they grow to be Mommys and Daddys, then to be Grandparents, and then sometimes they even get to be Great-Grandparents, and then God’s plan is that one day they will die….their breath will be all gone…and they will see God.” [AbiNoelle]: “But that is so sad…I don’t want great-grandmother to die!” [Mommy]: “But it doesn’t have to be sad…if you have received Christ as your Saviour, then, the moment that you die, you will see God and He will hold you in His arms, love you, and you can be with Him forever. It is only sad when someone dies if they don’t have Jesus as their Saviour. Then, when they see God, He will tell them that they never received Him as Saviour so they must go to a place of punishment….that is very sad, but great-grandmother has received Jesus as her Saviour so when she dies she will be able to go Heaven – Jesus will save her from that place of punishment. AbiNoelle, have you ever prayed and received Jesus as your Saviour?” [AbiNoelle]: “No, but I don’t want to die!” [Mommy]: “Well, AbiNoelle, I want you to think about all this very carefully. You know, Mommy and Daddy have told you about when we were little and we prayed and received Jesus as our Saviour. We are going to Heaven one day, and we want more than anything to have you there with us.” [AbiNoelle]: “I’m going to talk to Jesus about that sometime, Mommy.” [Mommy]: “I’m glad, AbiNoelle but remember, Jesus also tells us that one day He is going to have Heaven all ready for us and He will decide to come down out of the clouds and call us all to Heaven. So we have to be ready. All those that have received Christ as Saviour will get to go with Him up to Heaven.” [AbiNoelle]: “But how will we get up there, Mommy – we can’t fly!” [Mommy]: “Remember, God has all the power and He can make it so that we can get up there with Him and go to Heaven, but we must be ready. You have a choice to make, AbiNoelle.” [AbiNoelle]:”I’m going to think about this, Mommy.”
- A few days passed by until AbiNoelle said to Mommy one morning, “I’m going to receive Christ as my Saviour today!” A little while later, AbiNoelle told PopPop, “I’m going to receive Christ as my Saviour.” “Is this something that you have been thinking a lot about, Tweetypie?” “Yes, I have been thinking A LOT about it, PopPop.”
That night, during our family Bible time, Daddy taught the lesson, and AbiNoelle said that she wanted to receive Christ as her Saviour. Daddy asked her why she wanted to do that, and AbiNoelle said, “Because I don’t want to go to that place of punishment…I want Jesus to take me to Heaven when I die.” “Will you help me do it, Daddy?” We explained that Daddy couldn’t save her, and that Jesus wanted to hear her talk to Him. We asked her what she thought she needed to talk with Jesus about. She explained that she needed to tell Him she was sorry for her sins, that she believed He died on the cross and rose again, and that she wanted Him to be her Saviour and take her to Heaven one day. So with grateful hearts, Mommy and Daddy knelt beside AbiNoelle. Daddy prayed thanking God for this time, AbiNoelle prayed and sweetly talked to Jesus, and Mommy prayed thanking God again for helping AbiNoelle to learn and understand. It was a Praise the Lord!!! moment. Phone calls were made to grandparents so that they could join in our special night time praise service.
Next came the verses of assurance and the Lamb’s Book of Life. How amazing it is to know that such a personal God cares so deeply that He writes our names in His special book until that day when we can all join Him.
As we prepared for bed, AbiNoelle said, “My head is so full! I’m going to be dreaming all about how Jesus will take me to Heaven one day.”
Miraculously, because of Jesus, our Death Lesson became a lesson of LIFE, life eternal!
There have already been many questions from our little one…eternal things are on her mind! “Can bunny go with me to Heaven?….Why didn’t Noah just make all those people get in the ark so they could be saved?” So…the teaching continues. It’s great news! It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but something to shout out to the world, “I’m a Christian.”
The next morning, without any conversation or prompting, she said, as she talked to MeMe on the phone, “Isn’t it great how I accepted Jesus as my Saviour last night?”
Seven deaths per one thousand die before the age of five in the U.S. each year. Death is real. In light of eternity, we, as parents, must be truthful as we talk with our children. Each is responsible. Each has a choice. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. It is sobering as a parent to think about the death of a child. We have two unborn children who are safe in the arms of Jesus today (2Sam. 12:23). Yet, with the living, we are responsible before God for teaching our children the truths found in God’s Word, and, in that, may we all see them yield to the truth and make the choice to trust Christ as Saviour at an early age.
Factors that influenced AbiNoelle’s decision to trust Christ:
- Teaching her of the Love of Jesus from infancy
- Playing gospel music and children’s Bible songs regularly
- Teaching her that disobedience is a sin
- Teaching her many Bible lessons
- Refraining from influences that might turn the heart away from God, such as evil story characters, magic, stories that emphasize or romanticize ungodly character traits, etc.
- Spiritual conversations between AbiNoelle and parents/grandparents
- Playing Bible Stories that emphasize a need for salvation, such as: Patch the Pirate, Aunt Carolyn Stories, The Bible in Living Sound stories (at naptime, at night before bed, during the day while playing, or riding in the car)
- Lots of Bible Verse Memorization
- Participation in Church Services
- Nightly Bible Time
- The Book, Leading Little Ones to God
- Teaching her to pray at an early age
- A Beka K4 Bible DVD
- Pee-Wee Patch the Pirate Club
- Sunday School and Church time
- The Evangecube and Wordless book
- The prayers of family and friends
- Leading her to Christ, yet letting her come to Him on her own
- And most importantly, the special working of the Holy Spirit in her heart to make Jesus her Saviour