On Preston Highway in Hillview, right before you get to Walmart (which wasn't there at this point in my life), there was a little cross in the middle of the road with a picture of a little girl on it. The cross might have been pink. As a curious little six or seven year old, I asked my mom what that was. I had spent most of my life in Germany til that point and I'm not sure if I had ever seen anything like that there. Mom told me a guy she went to high school with had a little girl who died in a car accident and that cross was placed there in her memory. I believe this particular stretch of highway is named after her as well.
Anyway, I remember having this realization that kids die. Little girls just like me can die. I was afraid of seeing her ghost and I was also afraid of dying too.
A couple of years later, I remember watching a movie at my Christian school about the rapture. It was an old hokey 70s movie, but it still made a lasting impression. A woman wakes up in the morning and hears a man over the radio talking about millions of people in the world missing. She walks into the bathroom to find her husband (or boyfriend), only to see his electric razor still running in the sink and no boyfriend to be found. She screamed in terror. And all I could think was, "oh, I don't want that to happen to me." I remember waking many nights and wondering if I had been left behind! However, I had this false assurance that because I was a good kid, in church, and I "believed" in God, I was okay. I was fooled by that for a very long time. Truth is, without the drawing of the Holy Spirit and true repentance (not just repeating a sinners prayer because everyone else is doing it) is the only way. I'm so glad God pricked my heart even as a young child and had enough mercy to keep showing me until I finally got saved almost four years ago.
Sometimes I wonder how it's going to happen for my own kids, because they're so young and innocent at this point. (I do believe that babies and young children who are too young to understand are indeed sinners, but not old enough to be accountable for their sin.) I also realize that I can't play the Holy Spirit and force them to get saved. I do not want to push them into a false profession, which is an unfortunate thing that happens much too often. Thinking about my own experiences as a child, I know they will come to their own realizations and begin to wonder about death and what would happen if Jesus came back. I have faith that God will use this to draw them and show them their need for a Savior.
My heart has been very heavy for my babies lately, so when we drove through Hillview lastnight and I saw that little girl's name on the highway sign, I remembered God dealt with even me at a young age. He is faithful and just. And He sees my kids just like He saw me.