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Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Hope Chest Party For a Dear Young Lady

On Saturday, Ashley and I were privileged to attend a Hope Chest Celebration for Bethany. She has turned thirteen, and her parents wanted their friends and family to gather around them as they look toward her future, and thank God for her.

The following is the charge I gave her, as her dear mother translated it into Spanish.

Bethany, it has been my privilege to have know you from your birth. You have been blessed to be the member of a family whose parents have hearts that seek seriously after God. Our family has been blessed to see your Father’s intensity of love for God, and his manly integrity. It has been with much joy that I watched your Mother wisely guide and nurture your heart through your youth. You have a very special place in my heart personally, because of our families love for your family.

Now, you and your friends are gathered here to celebrate a time of life when you begin leaving the days of your youth, and are entering the courts of womanhood. This is thrilling, because you were created for a great purpose! You are the daughter of The King! You must realize that. Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, as has been told us very clearly in His word. You must honor your Lord by being his special ambassador in this world and living a life that is worthy of so great a position. Your failure to do this will reveal the unbelief in your own heart.

You must know that we are living in very perilous times. The world has always contained much evil, but as the Day of the Lord approaches, you must be keenly aware of the warfare all of God’s children are engaged in, and not flee from the fight. The culture around you will try to lure you with glossy magazines which instruct simple young women that they can have all they want-and should stop at nothing to get it! They should put aside modesty and true beauty for cheap thrills. Unfortunately, they have never found anything in life that has any lasting worth because they are “simple women laden with sin”. They value the “freedom” to sin. You should value the “freedom” from sin!

You are to be a good faithful solder who does not pass her days in “fun” and frivolous activity. Your purpose for living is not to bring yourself pleasure and satisfaction. Rather, it is to serve your King. This service is for the noble of heart: those who have a cause much larger than their own life, and wish to leave great legacies to future generations. It is for the future great things are done in the present.

Bethany, your parents have been given the special responsibility to guide and protect you. They do not take that lightly. Honor them with your love and obedience as you would one day wish your own children to honor you. Remember the admonition to all of us to “Honor thy Father and thy Mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” This principle of honor is what sustains the preservation of a Godly line.

As a woman of God, Your area of service will be in the home. The home is intended to be a much loved haven for the family and a vibrant center of hospitality to friends, neighbors, and strangers. The home is truly where hearts are. It is your realm over which to reign. Your attitude and disposition will greatly influence the people who come under your roof.

You will be responsible to “wash a lot of feet”! Many menial – yet absolutely necessary tasks will be your great privilege to perform for the Kingdom of Christ! Remember, even Jesus Himself was not above serving his own disciples, the very ones who followed his example. It requires much humility and strength of character to impart to the home a service oriented outlook, and a cheerful disposition to add the small details that are the essence of gracious living.

One of the most important parts of your education is to be a well-prepared home maker. Now is the time to learn the skills that will enable you to function as the Proverbs 31 woman. This is a serious undertaking and one not to be undervalued. There is no “job” more important that this one. Not one. The culture around you will look down on the homemaker, considering her unskilled, and unable to make it in the workforce. What they fail to realize is that the homemaker, in order to be highly effective, must be highly skilled in diverse areas of expertise. She has the wonderful freedom to rule her OWN domain, to use high levels of creativity in limitless areas, and to develop skills for the advancement and pleasure of her own household! Furthermore, it is all done with great purpose-the Glory of God and love of her family!

We read in Titus 2 that the young women are to learn to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. It is a woman’s faithfulness in nurturing her home that gives credibility and weight to her testimony and influence to the lost. It is necessary that the work of God in her life be the impetus for her faithfulness in her home –which is her first responsibility- and will in turn, naturally touch the lives of others.

You must also be a great learner. It is a great waste to possess a lazy ignorant mind. Seek to acquire discernment for good reading. You will only learn this by reading quality writing. Develop your mind, as well as your heart with much purposeful exposure to the Bible. It will enlarge your heart for thoughts that are substantial and meaningful. It will impart virtue into your heart if you put it into practice. It will also prepare your heart for Him to come in and fellowship intimately with you.

You will one day be the gentle Mother passing on your own knowledge to your children, so be sure your mind is filled with an abundance of great thoughts. You will make the difference in their lives by inspiring them to great deeds for the glory of God, or deadening their spirits, causing them to follow after lackluster, unimportant pursuits.

The great hope of civilization is in its children. You are not a product of this godless culture, but instead your parents have faithfully taught you the Holy Scriptures and have shown you by their example how to live. Their hope is in you; that you will be faithful to the good work that God began in their lives, is doing in your own life, and will continue to do in the lives of your children yet to be born.

May you build upon the foundation that has been laid in your life and be faithful to raise up the next generation of faithful servants.


Paula said...

Dear Sharon,

This is so beautifully written, and I am so very blessed by reading your lovely, inspiring, and encouraging words! I know that Bethany and her family were very blessed as well. Thank you so much for sharing this and the lovely pictures.

You are a very godly woman and I am so thankful to call you friend.

Sharon said...

You are indeed my friend too, Paula. I'm thankful you were encouraged. God Bless

Maiden4life said...

Dear friend,
Thank you for coming to my party and thank you for your charge to me. I am
so glad to Have friends like ya'll.
Thanks again.

Sherri said...

What a nice blog entry! My husband is building our daughter's hope chest. He just has to put the hinges on and it will be ready. She can hardly wait. You've inspired me to write a post about her hope chest once it is finished. My husband says it will be a "reality chest" once it is finished!