Tuesday, February 25, 2014

signing our lives away

This weekend we experienced the joy of hosting senior boys in our home for Disciple Now. Youth experiencing Christ is something very special to me...and I have not always realized that.
I was reminded of something this weekend while I watched these kids freely worship.
Every once in a while that sweet gal I have mentioned before would invite me to a camp or retreat. That girl was at church ALL the days and I am so grateful her mama included me so often.
I remember getting ready and packed for an overnight camp. My mom was such a good mom...she made sure I had a cute matching outfit for each day. A handwritten note in my bag for me to open each day. My very favorite snacks, a new cozy sleeping bag, all the essentials plus some.
However, I remember her very clearly saying...Don't sign up to accept ANYTHING they ask of you, then they will just call ALL the time. 

What my mom was telling me was that if I accepted Jesus I would be forever inconvenienced by the church. They would expect things of me like money and time. They would invite me to all of their activities. They would include me in everything. They would remember my name and miss me when I wasn't able to come.

Let me tell you a bit more about my mom before you begin to think she is a horrible person. She was born as 1 of 10 children into a very poor family. She had a hard working daddy and a mama that clearly loved kids. My mom died March 2nd 2009. Never once have I seen a picture of her as a child. She never talked about where she grew up. She told very few stories of her child hood. The ones she did tell were sweet memories of her dad, who died before I was born. She was a passionate woman who loved with her whole heart. She sacrificed much for the happiness of her children.

When you become a "grown up" you realize that when you have close relationships with people it is because you have spent time with them. You have heard their stories. You know their families and you know embarrassing things about their pasts. Come to find out... I don't know a thing about my mom. She had two kids in a a previous marriage that were grown and out of the house by the time I came along. I know in a sense that I was a "fresh start" for her...a chance at a do over. But, in trying to start over she left behind pieces of her past that made her who she is. She never let me see the real person that she was. She was my closest friend in all the world, but she ALWAYS had a guard up. She had many versions of herself that I loved and adored...but looking back I can't figure out which one with the REAL her.

If she had sent me away to camp and I came home transformed and wanting to follow Jesus, she would have lost me. For many years it was just me and her at home...and after her and my dad divorced, she really needed ME. If I had needed Jesus more than I needed her it would have crushed her.

Obviously, these are things I was clueless about at the time. I knew in my heart that it wasn't right to ignore the invitations to accept Christ. I knew I would gain more than phone calls.
But, I didn't want to disappoint my mom.
I never ever wanted to disappoint my mom.

Now, as I sit very very close to the age 30 I can see my life in chunks of time. I see how God has been pursuing me for years and years. Even though I wasn't "allowed" to accept Christ when I was younger...He didn't just give up on me and move on to the next. He has time for all of us. He strategically placed friends in my life through elementary and middle school...and he reached me even harder through the very wrong boyfriend in high school. Through these people I saw an example of what real family was supposed to look like. I saw what a family looks like when Christ is the center.

I am so grateful that I gave my life to Him. I am grateful to be inconvenienced often by the spirit. My heart wants to fly out of my chest when I watch kids genuinely understand Christ's love for them. I am a bit jealous that their parents let them "sign their lives away" so much sooner than me, but I know that His timing was perfect. For this family is now rooted in Jesus. There is NOTHING that can take that from us. There is NO other authority over us. There is no fear in death. There is no burden of guilt. When all the blood of Jesus was shed on the cross...it was FINISHED. (COL 2)

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