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Just Say the Word
By Mallory Simmons

As a parent, I wanted my son to enjoy this new chapter in his life, but I was anxious about his potential exposure to new influences. As a freshman, my hope was that he would be able to experience high school in a manner that would honor and glorify his values alongside a group of classmates who shared a similar Christian upbringing.

         It wasn’t until my son came home and spoke of detailed debates with his friends that I began to wonder if this was really happening. Within his group of friends there was one kid in particular who stood out. It was a classmate whom my son had met in the 8th grade. Adam was extremely pro-science and believed strongly in evolution. These opposing views led Adam and some of their other classmates to tease and make fun of my son. Needless to say, hearing that my son was being mocked and coined as “religious” saddened me, and my mother instinct wanted to protect him from his association with this particular group of boys.

        My feelings of caution deepened when I came across an Instagram account that revealed photos of these same friends engaging in inappropriate behaviors. I addressed the issue directly with the parents of the account holder, and as a result, the unsuitable content was removed.

        The school year continued and despite Adam’s opposing beliefs, he continued to hang out with my son. I would see him at the house from time to time, and he was always sweet and polite, often times calling me “Aunt.” It was seeing this side of him that caused me to be conflicted about my own feelings about their friendship.

        One day at our home, I had the opportunity to speak with Adam. I shared with him the story of my broken past. I knew from a previous conversation with Adam’s mother that there were some parallels between what I had been through and what Adam was going through, and I wanted him to know that I could relate. I hoped this would make him comfortable enough to open up, and it did. That day, Adam shared some of his struggles and feelings, and by the end of the conversation he was in tears, and I had a deeper understanding of who he was and what he was going through. It was after this experience that I made a decision; I came to peace with the friendship between Adam and my son. It seemed as though it was not my son who was being influenced negatively by Adam, but rather Adam who was being influenced positively by my son.      

        Time passed, the school year progressed, and my son’s social circle expanded.  Before long, I noticed that Adam was not at the house as often, if at all.  The boys would see each other in school, but rarely did they hang out after school.  I still remembered our talk and the things he shared, and I often wondered how he was doing.  Eventually, I decided to reach out via text and see how things were going. Adam was responsive, and as we texted back and forth, Adam gave me an update on how his life was going, and I offered a bit of advice. Our conversation ended, and a few hours later Adam contacted us and asked if he could join us for church. With a joyful heart, I told him, “Yes!”  He said he needed to ask his mother, and I resounded, “Bring her with you.”

        The next day, we picked Adam up, and he came with us to church. His mother was asleep when we arrived, so I was unable to make one last attempt at speaking with her. . Once at church, we took our seats and listened to Pastor Miles as he delivered a powerful message. He closed the sermon and invited people to give their lives to Christ. As I sat in the row behind my son and a few of his friends, Adam included, I prayed. Miles continued to encourage and invite people to come to the altar, blessing those who were one-by-one standing and giving their lives to the Lord. As the altar call came to an end, I saw Adam rise and stand to his feet. It took my breath away, and in that moment I knew Adam needed our support more than ever as he took his first steps toward his new beginning. My son and I walked with Adam from our seats to the front of the church, where a group of people were making the same commitment. At the altar as we faced Pastor Miles, I noticed a woman out of my periphery walk up and stand near. As I ventured to look at her face, I was shocked to see that it was Adam’s mother!  None of us expected her to be in church, let alone at the altar surrendering her life to Christ. As it turned out, we were not the only ones to invite her to church that morning. Another Rock family member had it on his heart to encourage her to attend the Sunday service. Here stood mother and son reunited at the altar with an entire congregation praying over them and clapping them out as they headed out of the church.

        After the service, I asked Adam about his experience. He recalled his thoughts as he sat in the sanctuary listening to Pastor Miles extend the invitation to meet Jesus. Adam revealed that a word immediately came to his mind, and he thought to himself, “If the pastor says this specific word, then it is time to stand up!” And just like that, the word was spoken.  Since this momentous day, Adam comes to church regularly, and he listens to Miles a Minute on a daily basis.

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