eight-year-old atheist

Eight-year-old Atheist: “Mom, I don’t believe in God anymore”:

As a budding eight-year-old atheist, I traumatized my parents by throwing over Christianity.

Ours was an overtly Christian household, with both parents having the gift of evangelism. And my dad was a pastor. I had definitely believed when younger. But the influence of an excellent third-grade teacher—a strong humanist—changed that completely.

One night after family devotions, I announced to my family, “I don’t think I can believe all that stuff. Mrs. Allen says there is no God. People just created the idea of God as a crutch to lean on. He’s only an idea for weak people.”

My parents were shell-shocked. My dad spent countless hours explaining to me all the proofs of the reality of Jesus Christ. No dice. After months of frustration with my stubborn disbelief, my mom—in her desperation—decided to do the only other thing she could think of.

She began sharing with me daily examples of her prayers to Jesus.

She also shared how he was answering them. Bingo. I don’t remember what she was praying about most days. Certainly things in her kids’ daily lives. Probably about how yucky she felt while pregnant. I know those are the kinds of things she asked me to pray for after I grew up.

One answered prayer stands out hugely though. That day she ran into the house over-the-top excited because her dentist had prayed to receive Christ with her. We all knew she had been praying for him. She knew he had tough stuff in his life, but she also knew she couldn’t take up appointment time to talk about Jesus with him. On the day of her excitement, he had told her that he had purposely scheduled no one after her, so he could ask her more questions.

It turns out he and his new wife were going through a really rough time with their newly blended family—three teen-aged daughters. Mom’s joy had attracted him. He wanted that for his family. Later the whole family became Christians after my parents met with him and his wife together.

That day I saw the reality of Jesus Christ in the power of my mom’s personal relationship with him.

I now see that she had finally resorted to what the disciples did as the first ones to introduce others to Christ. She told me about her daily companion and Lord of her life. I had no moment of sudden realization–simply gradually returning to believing in Jesus Christ. I’m sure my parents wondered for a long time whether my faith was solid or not. I can’t tell you a time either, but I know Jesus spoke through my mom’s uncertain words to me.

I know many parents and grandparents want their children to know Jesus Christ as Lord. But sometimes they’re unsure what to do. They feel they don’t know enough. Or they feel not good enough to be the best examples.

What has nurtured your faith in the most noticeable ways? Is there an eight-year-old atheist or some other child in your life you could share that experience with?

22 thoughts on “Eight-year-old Atheist: “Mom, I don’t believe in God anymore”:”

  1. Hey Lisa,
    I love your new blog. What a great way for you to share your gifts. Sharing prayer requests and answered prayer with children or sharing in answered prayer together with children has also been one of the most nurturing experiences for me. I’m reminded of the time our youngest was overheating in a car stuck on the side of the road on a very hot day. Our oldest child prayed fervently for the car to start so that we could get to a cool place for our infant who could not yet regulate her own temperature. The car wouldn’t start but a kind nurse stopped and offered to give me and our baby a ride to shelter or to the place of her employer, a pediatrician. The place where we were staying was closer and she instructed me to give our baby a tepid bath immediately and gave us the direct phone number to the pediatrician should we have any concerns. After things settled down our oldest reflected that he found it interesting that God did not answer his prayers specifically but that he answered in a BETTER way. Had our car started we still would have been worried about our infant and whether she needed further care etc. God provided what we needed instead of what our child asked for. What a lesson!

  2. Valerie Hirschberg

    Lisa, Thanks for sharing, this is delightful. Oh how parents can be put on the spot by their children! God is so faithful to give the right words at the right time, so the child, the friend,or even the dentist will know that truly is who he says he is.

  3. I very much appreciated reading this, Lisa. It’s well-written, but more importantly, it’s wise. It echoes part of what I heard from the pulpit on Sunday: forcing belief on our kids won’t convict them, but sharing our beliefs through our daily walk can make the difference. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  4. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Lisa! I am very encouraged by this post. It’s a good reminder even for those of us without kids to be sharing our faith and the work God is doing in our lives with those around us! He blesses us to be a blessing.

  5. Krista Schaafsma

    Lisa,

    What a wonderful start to your long awaited blog. You are going to provide so much insight to parents and grandparents. May God bless your efforts and reap His rich harvest!

  6. Lisa, this is so great. What an awesome story of your mother’s dentist and family! I love it. Praising God for using you to bless us through your gift of writing and life experiences as a faithful disciple!

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