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Rosie’s Night-Light

Rosie sat on her bed in her nightgown. Her feet were cold, but she just put her chin on her knees and stared at the night-light in the corner. Emma was sleeping. It had been a busy afternoon and Rosie was tired, too. But she had to think.

Big sister Irene opened the door quietly and came in. She snapped on the table lamp and picked up her Bible. “Oh!” she said in surprise. “Why aren’t you asleep yet?”

“I’m thinking,” said Rosie.

“About what?” whispered Irene, tip-toeing over to sit on the edge of the bed.

“Elise says that no one can be good,” Rosie said slowly. “Is that true, Irene?”

“God can help us be good,” said Irene. “Besides, the verse Dad read tonight says, ‘the steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,’* (Psalm 37:23) so that means we can be good.”

“But Elise says we can’t say that we do right, because everyone does wrong, and we must say we’re sorry every day for our sins.”

“Elise Thompson said that?” Irene was quiet, and then she said slowly, “I think it is because they don’t believe God can take sins out of our hearts. So they think that they can’t help doing wrong and then they must ask God to forgive them every day.”

“Yes, that is what Elise said,” Rosie whispered, nodding her head. “She said I was bad and should pray for God to forgive me when we were playing house. But I said that I wanted to be a good girl. Then she said I can’t be a good girl, because no one can be good. Irene, do you think I’m a bad girl?”

“When Jesus changed your heart, you didn’t want to do wrong things anymore, and Jesus helped you, didn’t He?” asked Irene.

Rosie nodded her head.

“So, have you done something that you know is wrong?”

“No,” Rosie said slowly, “except yesterday Daniel and I left the rakes out in the rain, and so Dad said we couldn’t use them again. I told him I was sorry that I forgot. Was that doing a sin?”

“It don’t think so, because sinning is to do the thing you know is wrong. It would be better to remember next time though,” Irene said, putting her arm around Rosie’s shoulders. “Let’s pray that God will help us do the right things. Then we can be a light to others who do wrong, okay?”

Rosie nodded. She was glad to have such a kind big sister.

“Is wrong like the darkness?” she asked, as she sleepily crawled under the covers a few minutes later. Irene had switched off the lamp. Now there was only the night-light glowing in the corner.

“Yes, but God is like the sun. He makes the darkness go away. He can help us shine in the dark, too,” Irene said. The ladder creaked as she crawled into her bunk.

Rosie looked at the night-light one more time before she closed her eyes. It shone in the corner like a little star. I can be like a little night-light, Rosie thought. Jesus can help me do right even if Elise thinks I’m bad. Maybe she never had a night-light before. And with that, Rosie was asleep.

It was the next week before Rosie saw Elise again, but she had been thinking a lot about being a light. “Mom,” Rosie asked, as they drove together over to the Thompson’s one afternoon for milk, “How do night-lights glow in the dark?”

“They have a light bulb which glows when they are plugged into electricity,” Mom explained. “Why were you wondering, Rosie dear?”

“I was just thinking about lights in the dark. Irene and I were talking about it.” Then she said slowly, “Irene said that God is like the sun. Is God like electricity, too?”

Mom smiled. “Yes, I think so. And we are like light bulbs—we need God’s help to shine bright, don’t we?” Rosie nodded.

They pulled into the Thompson’s lane and bumped up the long drive to the farm house. As the car came to a stop, Elise and Eddy came running around the house with their two barking dogs. “We won’t be staying long, so don’t go far,” Mom told Rosie, as she went inside.

“Didn’t Daniel come?” Eddy asked.

“No. He was helping Dad today, so just Mom and I came,” Rosie said, patting the dogs’ heads.

“Let’s play in the playhouse, then!” Elise said. “Shall we be pioneers or play Cinderella?”

“Pioneers,” said Rosie quickly. “We can go west on the Oregon trail.”

“I guess I’ll be a mountain man, then,” Eddie said. “Come on Buddy! Pete! We’ll go fur trapping.” In a moment he was gone with the dogs, and the two girls were left alone. As usual, Elise wanted to be the mom, but Rosie didn’t mind.

“I’ll pack up our dishes and things to take on our trip,” said Rosie, putting the plastic plates and tin pot in a cardboard box.They soon had the contents of the little kitchen stacked in Eddy’s red wagon.

“I’ll be the horse first, then you can be,” said Elise. So Rosie got in the wagon and they began their trip around the backyard. They were going by the shed when one wheel went down and the wagon tipped over. Rosie’s knee hit a rock as she tumbled out, but she quickly blinked the tears away and scrambled to her feet.

“You were too heavy and now everything is spilled!” Elise complained.

Rosie didn’t know what to say, but she began picking up the dishes.

“I think our wagon broke down and we have to walk the rest of the way to Oregon,” said Elise, more cheerfully. “Maybe you should carry the dishes, since I didn’t get a chance to ride in the wagon.”

“Okay,” said Rosie, picking up the box. “Shall we go find Eddy?”

“No, I think that we should go on the trampoline. It will be more fun. Leave those old dishes and let’s jump!”

The girls raced over to the giant round trampoline that stood by the back porch. Rosie’s shoes were off in a flash and she was climbing up when Elise called, “I just have to show you the game Eddy and I made up!”

“But we can’t go two at a time, remember?” Rosie said, bouncing up and down. She loved trampolines. It felt like she was flying.

Elise climbed up on the edge. “Oh, it doesn’t really matter. Eddy and I go on together when Mom isn’t watching.”

Elise began bouncing, but Rosie stopped. What should she do? She knew what the rules were. To shine as a night-light I must do right, she thought. The trampoline was swaying under her and she felt like bouncing, but instead she walked over to the edge and slipped off.

“What are you doing, Rosie? Come on, it’s not so fun by myself,” Elise said.

Rosie pulled on her shoes and looked up at her friend. “I can’t disobey,” she said quietly. “I’ll jump after you.” Elise was about to say something when Mom appeared around the corner of the house. A gladness filled Rosie’s heart and she smiled brightly.

“You look like you’ve been having fun,” Mom said.

“Do you have to go?” Elise asked, slipping off the trampoline.

“Yes, we do,” Mom said. “Are you ready, Rosie?”

Rosie got to her feet, “Yes, but we left the dishes out, didn’t we?”

“Oh, I’ll put them away,” Elise said quickly.

“I’m sorry about the wagon,” Rosie said, looking at the wreck they had left beside the shed. “Thank you for having me over.”

“Oh, it’s okay. Thank you for playing—and for letting me go first on the trampoline,” Elise said, looking down. “I’m sorry you didn’t get a turn.”

“That’s alright,” said Rosie, smiling.