What is it about the word “awakening” that makes me feel excited and hopeful?

I love the word.

It sings of hope and an awareness of something not yet known.

Last night after youth group, Olivia shared with me about the lesson they had studied.

She told me about a conversation with a friend where they both had shared that praying was hard for them because they felt like they always said the same things.

Then, so unexpectedly, I listened to Olivia talk about sharing in her small group about having an “awakening.” That’s exactly the word she chose to use.

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She told her friends and leader that she realized one day that talking to God is just like talking to a friend, so now she just pretends He is in the room with her when she is getting ready for school and she just talks to Him.

I sat there thinking about where I was in my walk with God when I was only 13, then I watched with amazement as Olivia continued to talk about her evening at youth group.

I remember when Olivia was only four. We were sitting in the kitchen one day when she said, “When I grow up, I’m going to go back to India and teach them about God, and Jesus, and Spirit….”  I was feeling so overwhelmed with joy and pride when she stopped and looked at me with a very serious face and asked,

“What is Spirit?”

She made me laugh.  She had a passion for wanting to share God even before she really understood what everything means.  Oh, to have that kind of passion even now when I still don’t understand everything about God’s ways.

I’m thankful for her deep faith and yet find myself asking how this happened, because in many ways I feel like I haven’t always been a spiritual leader in her life.  We don’t pray every night before she goes to bed.  We don’t have regular family devotions.  We don’t force spiritual moments.

So what has caused this little girl to be who she is today?

I’m not sure. I don’t think I could ever point a finger to one thing that has made her so confident in her faith, but I do think I can think of events and moments that have pushed her to know Jesus more.

Watching Nick fight cancer so bravely changed her.

Watching our family and community rally around Nick,staying positive and hopeful even on the darkest days, compelled her to want that kind of hope.

Watching us walk the road of grief in victory not defeat has surely helped her sleep at night.

Attending church regularly and seeing so many teachers and friends attend church too has inspired her.

Seeing kids who don’t have the Lord long for Him and ask her questions about Him has caused her to want to learn more.

Olivia teaches me something every day which reminds me of a verse my students memorized in class at the Christian school I taught at years ago,

I Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Today, I’m thankful for Olivia’s “awakening.”

In many ways, I feel “awakened” by her childlike faith.

I’m praying you do too.

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