Friday, October 17, 2014

The Ticket

He was SO excited!   Kendall almost knocked me over when I picked him up from church recently because he had been given a precious gift... a ticket to a FREE movie that our church is showing tonight.  He kept jumping up and down telling me that he had been given a ticket to movie night and what a prize it truly was.  In reality, every kid in the class got a free ticket that day, but in his mind, it was a rare treasure.... so much so, that even I (as his mother) was not allowed to touch the ticket!  He ran up and down the halls of our church stopping everyone he saw to show them his ticket and tell them about the upcoming movie night.  Oh, his joy became contagious!  I laughed.... as did everyone else he talked to that evening.  To be brutally honest, everyone is invited to movie night and the ticket isn't even needed to get into the event.  Yet, to my incredible four year old, it has meant the world... he is suddenly special, precious, chosen.

Friends, through the blood of my precious Savior, Jesus, I, too, have been given a "ticket" to a redeemed life where all my past faults and failures have been transformed for His glory and my betterment.  I have been given life.... but, not life as this world holds, life that is reflective of the one who has restored and given me purpose.  I have found freedom in Lamb of God who bore the sins of the world!  Yet, do I share it with the same conviction and excitement that my young son held for this movie?  Do I find such delight that I have to stop everyone I see to share this tremendous thing?  Is my joy about being a redeemed child of the one true King contagious to others?  Oh, dear ones, I feel deep conviction about this.... if I have been given SO much from our precious Lord, WHY do I fear sharing? 

"You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:11-15 NIV)

Friends, we have been a gift- beyond our imagination and it is to be used for His glory to transform lives, bringing healing, and restore life!  Yet, we bury it deep within due to fear of offense or rejection.  Isn't it better to be rejected than to have never shared?  You have the ticket to life within- if you withhold it from others- you withhold life from them as well.  Oh, Lord, please don't let that be!  Also consider this.... He chose you to be the one to share His life-giving message.  All resources and possibilities are His and yet, He chose you!  Let that privilege not fall of deaf ears.  It is an honor that you were selected to carry His gospel to a world in need!  Will we share the freedom we have?


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Confessions of a Parent

Can I confess to you?

I often struggle with parenting.  I desperately love my kids and I long to do this thing right.  I want them to grow into mature, responsible, and productive members of society.  I want them to succeed and thrive in whatever place they find themselves in society, work, and life.  I long for them to discover love and marry precious daughters-in-love for me to spoil!  I want so much for them....

So, as their parent, I feel the weight of preparing them for living this life they have been given well.  Each small moment of discipline and instruction begins to feel mountainous as it all seems to have tremendous impact.  Sometimes, I feel like I am too easy on the boys and other times I feel like I am the mean mother who resembles more of a military officer as I  bark commands and orders at them.  On occasion, I am the mother who just wants to hide in the closet... with chocolate.  I love my children, but this endeavor we call parenting is HARD. 

More than anything, my heart cry is to see them fall in love with the Savior who gave His very life-giving blood that they might have life--- not this physical life, but life that extends beyond their last breath.  I long for them to know that depths that HE went to for them to have relationship with them.  I want them to seek after Him for their entire lives.  I think the reason for this is that no matter what else they face in life, if they have Christ, they will have all they need.  He is the resource of all that is truly needed in the life.

Sometimes, I just need a perspective check.  I will often fail in parenting.  They will never have perfectly creative and homemade Halloween costumes.  I may always burn the garlic bread.  I will sometimes allow them to have dessert for a meal.  On occasion, we will have fun instead of school.  They will, at times, wear there socks outside instead of shoes.  I have accepted that burping at the table will still happen, at times.

Yet, of all things.... please let them cling to the Father.  I want to live out a real active faith before them.  Moments of tearful praise followed by daily obedience.  Weakness transformed into strength by the unseen hands of a very real God.  Prayers answered and acknowledged in thanksgiving and praise of the One is the resource of all.  Please, Father, if I can get but one thing right in this season of parenting, let it be that they see YOU in me.....


Friday, October 10, 2014

Lost in Walmart

"Attention Walmart customers. Would customer Julie please come to the dressing room area?  Kendall will be waiting for you."

As you might already imagine, this was NOT one of my most stellar parenting moments.  Just minutes earlier, I had come across a huge clearance sale on several items and I wanted to look through them.  The boys grew impatient as we were at the store for a birthday gift for a friend originally.  So, Caleb asked if he could go to the toys area with his younger brothers since he had his phone, and he would be responsible for Kendall.  Caleb has really grown in maturity in this area and I agreed to his offer.  Shortly later, Caleb returned with Kendall who wanted to convince me that the toy he found for himself would be a good purchase.  When I did not agree with that, Caleb went to return the toy and Kendall -in anger- ran off.  Before I knew it, he was lost....

I searched through all the areas close to me and still did not find him.  The only thing I could think of was that he wanted that toy, and I quickly headed to  that section of the store where the older boys helped me search, but no Kendall.  My panic was nearly to capacity when I heard the announcement calling my name and that Kendall had been found.  I was relieved, desperately so- and more than a little irritated.

When I arrived at the designated pick-up area, I expected... nay, wanted to see a frightened little boy.  I wanted him to feel the depth of fear I had felt in that moment.  However, that was not what I found.  He was calm and happy.  The sales assistant couldn't get over how un-upset he had been.  He gave them all the needed information- my name is Kendall Boles and my mother is Julie Boles.  No fear.  No tears.  No anxiety. 

After I thoroughly hugged, kissed, and chastised him for running off, I asked him if he had been frightened.  "No," he responded, "I knew you would come get me."  Ugh!  Really!?!?  I was shaking, and he had no fear!  Later, as I processed this (and confessed all this to Reagan) (and Facebook) the Lord helped me to see two things:

First, he knew who he belonged to... and he knew his name.  Friend, sometimes I forget who I belong to- do you?  I am a child of the ONE TRUE KING!  I am His precious redeemed daughter.  His name is branded on my soul and I have taken His name--- CHRISTian.  He is my precious Father.  Why do I fret when the storms of life threaten?  Why do I cower in fear of the unknown?  Whom do I have to fear?  Oh, that I could know- truly, deeply, bone-marrow deep that I am His chosen child.... how different would my life look?

Second, Kendall knew me so well that there was no fear of my not coming to find him.  He rested in that knowledge.  Oh precious friend, if I just knew my Savior that well..... Sure, we all say that He is ever faithful, but when we are the ones being tossed about in the midst of the winds of change, conflict, and difficulty... are we as confident?  Sometimes we just need to be reminded of His faithfulness in the past to rest in His presence in the midst of an uncertain future.  His faithfulness endures and He never fails us!  I want to know Him that intimately.  How about  you?

Let that be the cry of our heart today- that we might know to whom we belong so intimately that all fear and anxiety is abated.  We can rest in HIM!!!