A Small Celebration with Eternal Significance

Every Friday, before we begin our school day, our family plays a game. My strategy is to provide our family with a time to interact together in a fun, engaging way. We’ve worked hard all week long in our little Happy Blue School.  Granted, there is more to work to complete on Friday, but starting the day with fun breathes life and a bit of relief into the final school day of our week. We look forward to Fridays.

Today, we played Wii Sports Resort 100 – Pin Bowling. It’s an active video game in which instead of ten bowling pins to knock down, there are one hundred! Our family has played this game for years and years. Yet, what happened on Friday was something new.

Jake won.

I cannot remember a time when Jake was the high-scorer of a 100 – Pin Bowling game. Yet, he nailed two strikes in a row and then proceeded to score 99, 98, a spare or two, and then another strike! Jake was literally on a roll!

100 Pin Bowling

No one could catch him.

It was fun to watch Jake experience this success.

When Jake was younger, he was happy and content to see the pins fall down – he really didn’t care about how many fell. He definitely didn’t care about winning – he was more interested in discovering new ways to make the bowling pins crash, fall, and spin.

Not today.

Jake set his sights on victory and never looked back.

The other cool thing that happened today was that Caleb and Micah cheered Jake on – there was no competitive brother maneuvering. They were genuinely delighted to see Jake enjoy his bowling streak. Everyone played well today, though. Our family had spares, strikes (well, except me) and all earned high 100-pin bowling marks. It was neat to see the boys genuinely care that their brothers and mom(!) did well. Micah and Caleb were full of praise. This is especially meaningful to me as we approach the final days of John’s absence. Whenever John is away on a longer ministry trip, the final days are the most difficult for us. Emotions are raw. Patience is thin. We miss John and his fun, loving and exuberant spirit. The fact that Micah, Jake and Caleb are showing this much care and support for each other at the end of a long school week and towards the end of a long ministry period makes me feel down-deep grateful.

In fact, it makes me feel joyful.

John and I spend a lot of time investing in our kids – coaching them, discipling them, cheering them, listening to them, supporting them, disciplining them when we need to, and more. Our kids aren’t perfect and neither are we. However, when we catch them doing something we’ve been focusing on – something that we’ve worked on for years and years – we celebrate!

Today was one of those days.

I read these words recently:

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy.

New International Version, 1 Thessalonians 2:19 – 20

There is going to come a day when I stand before my Maker. The God of All is going to ask me about these three superstars that He entrusted to me. You see, nothing is going to matter that much then – except for one, powerful concern of my Heavenly Father’s heart.

It’ll be my kids, my husband, my extended family, my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors, even my acquaintances – in fact, it’ll even be you – that He asks about.

Because when the day comes – and friends, the day is coming – nothing but the souls of man will be the prospect of eternity. Nothing else will be the focus of our Lord’s attention. My God is going to ask me how I loved others, encouraged them, invested in them, and discipled them.  And it is at this crucial point in eternity that I must answer.

Did I show my children the way to my God through the transformative, life-giving path of Jesus Christ?

I desire Micah, Jake and Caleb to not only know Christ but also seek His holiness for their lives. This is our aim as saints, the holy people of God. I don’t think we tell our kids, those who have declared their faith in Jesus Christ, enough about their identity and position in Christ as saints. For as saints, we belong to Christ and are part of God’s family. We are a holy people set apart and dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ. We believe that God is the primary source of our security. He is able to meet every need we have in life. We are confident in our position as a people of faith, hope and love.  As a result, we most experience the Lord’s divine favor as we love those in our midst – for as we love others we demonstrate our love and devotion for God.

This is why I was so stoked by my sons’ care for one another yesterday. For as they loved and cheered for each other, they were loving their God as well. And this is why I decided to reflect upon this seemingly small and insignificant family experience and write about it. I need to acknowledge my kids in times when they demonstrate the love and care of Jesus Christ in their lives – when only their family is looking. There are no trophies for that on earth.

But there will be in heaven.

In heaven, rewards will flow in the direction of those who loved others well and who sought the holiness of God. Celebrations at the gate of heaven and beyond will erupt as lives that have been transformed by Jesus Christ are recognized and honored. I imagine one to-infinity-and-beyond reception line as saint after saint after saint are hugged and loved into the Kingdom of God.

What an amazing sight!

But we’ve got to guide them there, don’t we?

John and I are investing in Micah, Jake and Caleb with every ounce of our being that they will know Christ, love Christ, and bless others with His love. Yet, we cannot stop there. Our boys need to also understand the holiness of God and the sanctification of His Spirit. Their lives are a reflection of Jesus at work as they live out His influence with faithfulness, patient endurance and obedience. This is what the life of a saint in all about.

Friends, criticism, negativity, doubt and insecurity are being poured into our lives from our culture daily. The hearts and minds of our children are especially vulnerable to this barrage of antagonism. At least, I know my children have been affected by it at times. For me, I desire my children to be secure in their identity and position in Christ.

So, what do we do?

First, we love, love, love our kids.

Give them a love that no matter what they do or say – our love for them is secure and safe.

Second, we pray for our kids.

We pray that they would know, choose, and love Christ in a personal, life-transformative way. We pray for them grow to strong in faith even as they experience challenges on earth.

Third, we esteem and celebrate our kids.

We acknowledge their character, their unique strengths and their life choices as they bring honor to our Lord.

Fourth, we encourage our kids to seek Christ and take up their crosses and follow Him in obedience – every single day.

This is the holy path to God and His Kingdom.

Jake won a bowling game yesterday. That was fun to see. However, what’s more important to me is that Micah and Caleb cast aside their own desires and encouraged their brother to victory. Isn’t that a great picture of Christ-centered living as we love and encourage others in seeking His Kingdom?

That’s why I am celebrating my kids!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy.

Who will you celebrate?

 

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