Monday, March 31, 2008

03/31/03 - While waiting to be a wife and mom

After college I moved to Denver for a year. After three years of living away from my parents I moved back home. My dad asked me to come home and prepare for marriage.

I didn't think I had a lot of preparation, but was I wrong!

In those three years I had developed an independent spirit, which would not be conducive to a healthy marriage in which I believe an interdependent spirit is most beneficial!

Living at home with my parents I had people who I had to "check-in" with, run my calendar past, and be accountable to. All of these things had become obsolete to me. Living on my own I was my own boss, so moving home and having that structure and authority was a bit of an adjustment.

After moving home I was free (thanks to my parents) to pursue ministry, God, preparing for marriage, and life. God birthed my book from this season of my life!

I know there are those of you who read my blog who are doing just what I at home, preparing for marriage, and not pursing a career at all. Be encouraged to seek the things of the Lord! He will use this season of your life in ways that can not be imagined!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

03/30/03 - I want to be a wife and a mom

"What do you want to do when you grow up?" The curious woman asked the young woman.

In her heart she wanted to say, "I want to be a wife and a mom." But she knew that this answer never satisfies the critics who think that to "just" want to be a wife and mom is not a good enough answer!

"I am hoping to become a elementary teacher after college." Was her half-hearted answer.

How many of you feel this way? You really have a deep longing to be a wife and a mom, but the world around you says that this is not a good enough goal to have!

Well, I am here to encourage you!

I am a proud helpmate to my husband and full time mom to my kids! It's what I always wanted to do and I love my job!

Our culture seems to think that desiring to have a career is far more exciting, adventurous, worth while, than "just" being a wife and mom.

Let me ask you: What can you take to heaven?

Before we had kids we agreed that the only thing we can take to heaven were our kids and we were going to make any sacrifice we had to in order that we could use as much energy as we possibly had to see our own children enter the gates of heaven!

You can't take a position, prestige, money, a job title, a big house, fancy vacations, brand new everything, and a large ego to heaven...just souls!

Being a wife and a mom is powerful! I have the chance to make an eternal impact...ETERNAL IMPACT!!!

So next time someone asks: What do you want to do when you grow up?

Tell them, "I desire a godly wife and a mom! I want to see God's kingdom grow and one way for that to happen is for godly men and women to marry, have babies, and raise them in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. This would be far better than any 'job' I could have. But until God does that, I am working towards becoming a teacher."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

03/29/08 - Centrality of the Family

I had a chance to hear Voddie Bauchman last May. Just today a reader sent me this link to a podcast. I heard this message (not this exact message, but him give the same talk) and it is very powerful! It was awesome to listen to it again.

If you want a vision of what the centrality of the family means and how radically the church can be change, spend 45 minutes and listen to Voddie:

The Centrality of the Family

Friday, March 28, 2008

03/28/08 - Did you break something?

Yesterday, I was feeling so frumpy! Ever feel that way?

It was just a day where I felt...blah about myself. I felt fat, frumpy, and just lethargic..and this was when I woke up! As John left for work I was checking e-mail and hardly looked up to say goodbye.

As soon as he left I thought to myself, "What kind of wife am I?"

I looked around my messy house and thought, "I am going to either sit here and feel bad about myself all day, or get up and be productive!"

Thankfully, I choose the second option! I started spring cleaning! I actually unpacked the last box from when we moved in to this house, almost two years ago!

When John got home for lunch I had a hot lunch waiting for him (which he loves) and we sat together to eat lunch. (Normally I eat with the boys, but I waited to eat with him.)

Then after lunch I caught sight of myself in the mirror! WOW! I was not a site I'd want to come home to. So I finally got my shower (at 6 pm), blew dried and curled my hair, put on make-up, and got dinner ready. (Thursday nights he doesn't get home till after 7:45 or so.)

When John got home he said, "Oh, you look pretty tonight."

After about two hours he said, "Did you put on make-up and do your hair?"

"Yes." I replied.

"You cleaned the house, took the garbage can out to the curb, had a hot dinner, and you got all dolled up!" He said.

"Yup, see...well..." I said, getting ready to confess how I felt so bad about not seeing him off to work. How my e-mail took precedence over him and I wanted to be a better wife overall and make this home the one place that he longs to be, over any other place.

"Did you break something? Did you run the van into the garage wall? Did you break something in the basement?" He said in all seriousness, before I got to my confession.

Laughingly I said, "No...." and then went on to share with him my desire to not lose sight of the fact that he is my number one ministry and I want to make this place the most desirable place he longs to be.

He just kissed me and told me that I am the best wife he could have ever asked for and that this is the one place he longs to be over any other place, but it was nice to see me all dolled up just for him and have a hot lunch and dinner!

Why do I share?

I think it's easy to put only my "good" foot forward. But know that I have to make a point to foster my marriage. I work towards making my family and my husband my number one.

I never would have believed I would have become one of those women who doesn't see her husband off to work and greet him at the door, but with two little ones it's easy to see my husband as the only one who doesn't "need" me. My boys need me, they are unable to do things on their own. My husband doesn't so at times it's easy to just want him to fend for himself, but I am called to be his helpmate.

I thank God for the reminder! I am sitting here, with dinner ready to be made, hair done, make-up on, and just waiting for him to get home from work!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

03/26/08 - Standard

Who's standard are you living up to? Do you expect others to live up to your standard?

One thing I love about God is that He calls us each to different things, He convicts us at different times and of different things, and He brings unique situations into our life.

One thing God has taught me is to not place my convictions about non-essential issues onto other people. God's called me to live my life in such a way, but He may not call someone else to live their life the same way (How boring would it be if we all did the same thing anyway!?)

I realized that I am not the Holy Spirit and I've tried to take all the "you should" and "do this" phrases out of my vocabulary. (Except for my kids, in which I have the God given responsibility to train them and guide them until they are able to hear from God on their own.)

There's not list in how to remain emotionally pure before or after marriage. There's no "do this" and you'll be pure! It's a matter of your heart and the standard God calls you to may look totally different than me or those around you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

03/25/08 - Preparing for Marriage (Part 7)

Today will be our final instillation of: Preparing for Marriage. Again my prayer is this has been helpful on many levels in your life!

My last piece of advice, from a woman who is richly satisfied in her marriage, would be the most important thing one can do as they prepare for marriage: spend as much time as you can getting to know God!

When I was single I had lots of time to read the bible, pray, fast, and sit at God's feet being still before Him. I look back at that time and am thankful to have had that season of fully investing my extra time in getting to know God.

I learned how God communicated with me and He became very personal to me. I prayed specifics and I saw Him move and work in my life in powerful ways. Knowing how He spoke to me greatly aided when John came into the picture and I began to see God answer prayers about my future husband!

Now that I am a helpmate to my husband, a mom to my 3 year old and 20 month old, the primary caretaker of my household operations, and invested in my church and emotional purity ministry, my time is much more "spoke" for.

Yes, there is daily time in the word and prayer, but I don't have countless hours I had when I was single.

Yet, God still communicates with me as personally as He did when I was single. He is faithful to my time and He affirms that this is just a season of my life. Had I not had that time as a single woman I may miss out on many of God's promptings in my life!

May God bless you as you faithfully prepare for whatever He has in store for you!

Monday, March 24, 2008

03/24/08 - Preparing for Marriage (Part 6)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

I hope you've been enjoy this series on Preparing for Marriage. My prayer is that it's given you some "meaty" thoughts to chew on as your think and prepare for marriage. We prepare for so many other things in our lives, why not take some real time and prepare for marriage?

We talked in Part Five about saving yourself physically and some of the benefits and today I want to share about why I think saving yourself emotionally is just as important.

When I spoke at a woman's retreat about six years ago I polled all the women about their first loves. (Most of the women were married.)

I asked:
Do you have a special place in your heart for your first love?
Do you think about your first love?
Did you marry your first love?

When I asked that third question, the room took a collective GASP!

Why...after the women turned in their answers I found that about 80% of the women have a special place in their heart for their first love, think about their first love, BUT DID NOT marry their first love.

This is the heart of emotional purity, saving that "first love" for the person you marry, so that when you think about and have a special place for that person, that first love, it's your mate!

When you've emotionally attached yourself to another person that you do not married, that person (potentially) will always have a special place in your heart. Once married you may find yourself up to your eyeballs in diapers, bills, conflicts, it may be easy to compare that first love with your husband.

"Bobby from high school, well he always 'got me'. We could talk for hours and hours and he knew how to relate to me. My husband hardly takes time to say 'hi' to me after work."

"I wonder what it would have been like to marry Jimmy from college. He was an amazing protector and he cared about me. We never had the worries about live that I have with my husband."

"It was so easy with Jack. He was just fun, easy going, and had a free spirit. My husband is boggged down with life and just doesn't know how to 'let his hair down'!"

May be your thoughts: thoughts of comparison, thoughts of doubt as to why you married the man you're married to and not your high school boyfriend, these thoughts can can lead you down a place in your mind that you ought not go as a married women.

Being emotionally content in your marriage will start with being emotionally content before you are married. Know that God's in control, that He is the one who satisfies you emotionally (sometimes He uses another human, sometimes He wants you to rely on Him and Him alone) will aid in a richly satisfying marriage!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

03/22/08 - Preparing For Marriage (Part 5)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Keep oneself physically pure will aid in a richly satisfying marriage!

Before I go on, let me say that I know that God is a God of GRACE! He forgives, He heals, He restores, He extends grace! So if you've "messed up" in this area already know that He can heal you. You must be willing to work through the issues that may arise from stepping ahead of His perfect timing in this area, but know it can be worked through! You can have restoration!

We all hear, "Don't have sex till your married! God tells you not to and I tell you not to!

Sometimes this is all we hear!

Well, I want to share why, not just because God says so, but why, what difference it will make and blessings you will have in your marriage, if you wait.

John and I were virgins on our wedding night. We know that we're in a growing minority of people who actually remain virgins till their wedding. After we were married, especially that first year, we'd say to each other, "Thank you for waiting. I can't even imagining knowing that you've done this with someone else." This greatly helps trusting that one will remain faithful within the marriage commitment.

It was wonderful to know that neither one of us had a "past". We were so thankful for the purity we had and thanked God fully for His grace in keeping us pure!

Contrast that with other people I've talked to about this issue.

One person told me, "I know that certain issues in our marriage are because we didn't wait. I always wonder what it would be like if would have waited? Would this issue be here if we had waited?"

Another person told me, "We knew in order to have a real relationship with our kids we'd have to be completely honest in answering all their questions, which did include them asking us if we 'waited' till we were married. That was one of the saddest days of my life when I had to look my own kids in the eye and tell them of our sin."

I also heard another woman explain that she's always had a hard time fully respecting her husband because of their sin of premarital sex. She said she felt he didn't respect her enough to wait and that has stuck with her throughout their marriage.

The bible tells you to wait, your parents tell you to wait and for good reason because the consequence of sin can be long lasting. It can effect your marriage and your relationship with your kids (Especially if you decide you don't want to tell them. If you choose to not share with your kids your past sins it will be hard to not build a wall between you and them. You may find yourself as a "Stuffer" family.)

When you are in a relationship that heading towards marriage, maybe engagement, it's easy to "do" more and more because you are so committed to marriage. But, let me say that the more you save for marriage, the more you will be richly satisfied in this area of your marriage!

Saving yourself physically for marriage may be difficult at times, but well worth the wait!

Have a Blessed Easter and I'll be back next week with a couple more installments of "Preparing For Marriage!"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

03/21/08 - Preparing For Marriage (Part 4)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

I was going to write this post tomorrow, but I think it's fitting after Julie's comment on yesterday's post:

"Domestic chores and responsibilities would be a major area for a couple to discuss their expectations about before marriage, I think. That seems to be why so many non-Christian couples move in together before making a more serious commitment."

Domestic chores and responsibilities: laundry, taking out the trash, pick up, taking care of kids, pet care, lawn care, paying bills, bringing in income, scrubbing toilets, grocery shopping, running errands, meal planning, cooking, dishes, home organizing, home maintenance, making the bed, vacuuming, dusting, changing diapers, and planning the household schedule are just some of those things.

Yesterday, I talked about expectations and these would be some of those issues to know what your expectations are, however today I wanted to talk about selfless service.

To be richly satisfied in your marriage one would have to be willing to serve selflessly!

Although it's important to know what you expect, doing things for each other shouldn't be a check list of "This is what you do and this is what I do and in order to have a happy marriage you must do your to-do-list!"

The attitude should be: "It would be a joy to willing to do "your" chore without complaining about it or expecting praise." This is selfless service!

For example, John's "chore" list includes cleaning out the kitty litter box (When I was pregnant they said not to do that task, so he took over and kept it up after the kids came!) Well, he's been super busy with our church Passion Play so the other day I surprised him and cleaned it out.

I had two choices how to respond:
1) Annoyed that he was "slacking" around the house.
2) Bless him by doing his "chore", so he can bless others in the Passion Play.

As a single person you have plenty of opportunities to practice selfless service.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I looking for ways to help around the house, or do I still expect, mom, dad, roommate, brother, sister to do it instead of me?
  • When I see a candy wrapper in the hallway of my church, do I stop to pick it up, or do I expect the guy behind me will do it?
  • When I have a glass or plate in the livingroom, do I gladly take it to the kitchen, or do I let mom do that?
  • Do I help in the kitchen when I can or do I leave all cooking and cleaning up to mom?
  • Do I only do bare minimum around the house, just what I am asked to do, or do I go beyond my own personal list and help others?
  • When I see dad outside doing a project, I willing help him or wait till he asks and then grunt and moan that he's taking me away from my video game?
  • Do I look for ways to help out or pretend to not notice that a certain chore (taking out the trash for example) needs to be done?

These are just a handful of questions to ask yourself. But if you are practicing selfless service before marriage, once married it will come more naturally. You'll be looking for ways to serve and not to be served. And this will be RICHLY SATISFYING!

Part Five

03/20/08 - Preparing For Marriage (Part 3)

Part One
Part Two
(If you've asked questions in the comments, I answered in same days comment box)

When I examine my own mindset before marriage I realized I had a lot of expectations. I expected things to run in such a way, looks this way, act this way, think this way...etc.

Expectations can be as little as how you squeeze the toothpaste to who leads family devotionals.

You may expect things to operate like they did in your family.

This may sound silly, but this is one of those expectations I had in marriage: for John to check the locks at night before we went to bed. My dad always did a check of the house, every door was checked and every light was turned off. I just expected it to operate this way in my marriage.

When we got married, John didn't do the night time check of the house. It may me feel like he didn't care for my safety, which couldn't be farther from the truth. I expressed to him this silly expectation and he worked on making a point to check the house at night before bed.

Realistic expectations would be on my list of things to examine as you prepare for marriage. What can and should a marriage look like? What do you expect your marriage to look like? What things have your parents modeled that you expect in your marriage?

I believe that if you know what are your expectations of your mate before you enter in to marriage and if you are able to express these expectations to him or her, it provides a better spring board to that first year of adjustment in marriage.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

03/19/08 - Preparing For Marriage (Part 2)

Part One

Last week I blogged about Authentic Communication and it was this post that made my mind start swirling with other areas singles can work on as they prepare for marriage.

I want to share a bit more on this area.

We've all grown up with different families. I have found, in general that there are two types of communication styles within families.

There is the family that openly talkes about things. Your parents share and talk, you confront issues, and no topic is off limits. Actually conversations can easily get heated because of the open style of communication. I'll call these the "Talkers".

Or the other family is one that brushes issues and confrontations under the rug. Everyone is nice to each other, but past hurts and pains are always under the surface. Conflicts never really get resolved because of the unwritten family code that says to just forget it and move on, without ever speaking about the conflict. I'll call these the "Stuffers".

Do you relate to the Talkers or the Stuffers?

If you're family resembles the Talkers, you may be too quick to jump into conversations and topics that should be reserved for later. It may upset you to not have all the issues out on the table. You want to get to the bottom of each matter and not allow time or the Spirit to bring issues to the surface.

If you're family resembles the Stuffers, conflicts may scare you because you're not used to them, so you really avoid those deep, serious issues that need to be talked about. You do know what you really are thinking, but have not learned or just don't want to fully express yourself. Learning to authentically communicate can be uncharted waters.

I have found there should be somewhat of a balance between the Talkers and Stuffers. My family is the Talkers. We cover all issues and no topic of off limit, but I've seen the beauty of letting certain, non-essential topics just sit and not get talked about. I've seen how waiting to talk about something can change my thoughts (mostly because emotionally I've calmed down). I thank John for teaching me things.

In my own experience I have seen that the Stuffers are Stuffers because there are things they wish to not discuss. Past sin, secrets, shame and guilt keep certain topics buried deep. To avoid these issues Stuffers stuff everything and tend to avoid conflict.

Examine your own personal style of communication. Being aware of it as you enter into a relationship heading towards marriage, will greatly enhance that process and your marriage.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

03/18/08 - Preparing for Marriage (Part 1)

The next few days I will share with you my thoughts on preparing for richly satisfying marriage. I am no expert, I am not a perfect wife, I am not a licensed pre-marriage counselor...I am just Heather, a woman who is richly satisfied in her marriage. So, take my advice and thoughts as you wish. Take what applies, leave what doesn't!

As I began to think through these ideas about preparing for marriage, the first and most important thing I believe one must do to prepare for a richly satisfying marriage, is to practice complete and total selflessness!

Marriage requires each partner to lay aside their wants and seek to please their mate.

Although Paul is speaking to the church of Phillipi in the book of Philippians, I believe 2:3-4 apply to each of us as we walk through our lives in relationship with other sinners:

"3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. "

Learning selflessness will be an ongoing process but, in your season of singleness, practicing selflessness will be such a blessing to your mate.

How do you know when you are being selfish?

Ask yourself:
  • Would I be upset if things don't go my way?
  • Will I be annoyed if my plans for my day get interrupted?
  • Do I feel that I can justify my complaining because I'm having a bad day?
  • Do I deserve things (job promotion, position, applause, recognition, praise, sleep, money, time off, time to myself) just because I do?

Of course there are more questions you can ask yourself, but really in your heart of heart do you look to please yourself, rather than those around you.

Maybe you live with roommates, are you respectful of them, looking for ways to bless them? Do you just have days you say, "I'm having a bad day, so back 0ff" instead of closing your bedroom door and praying for a better attitude with those you are in relationship with? Do you expect them to thank you for cleaning the kitchen or taking out the trash when it wasn't your week?

Maybe you are at home with your family, are you looking for way to bless your younger brother or parents? Do you complain at the meal your mom made because you don't like it, or do you just thank her and have a snack later? Do you get annoyed when "your" time is interrupted by a need that arises in your family? Are you late to a family function because getting "your" thing done was more important than keeping a commitment?

As you go about your day keep in mind the concept of being selfless. It's easy (I remember because it wasn't that long ago) when your single to just not be in tune to other people's needs, schedule, and desires. It's easy to become totally inward focused.

As a wife and mom God has brought selfishness to light. There's just no room for it in a marriage! I know that the more I look to bless John, do what he wants, make him happy...the more I am blessed and I get things that make me happy!

We agreed, when we first started dating, that we'd strive to please the other person over our own needs. When you have two people who are looking for ways to bless each other it is richly satisfying!

When you are trying to live a me-centered life, you will only find yourself annoyed, irritable, unpleasant, and unhappy!

Part Two

Monday, March 17, 2008

03/17/08 - Parents/Mentors

This post is based off this comment:

"Do you have any specific advice for me and others whose parents are not involved?
I have mentors, but in reality they'd probably meet "him" (whoever he is) after a relationship has formed, you know? I don't have the covering of an earthly father to scope out guys beforehand or to tell me they know who I'm going to marry or when. Any guy who comes around me, will see there's no dad to go thru first. I wish there was that family dynamic but there's not. (I am praying for God to give me extra guidance and wisdom in lieu of a what a dad would give me.)"

First of all, God is your Father and you have the wisdom to pray for extra guidance, which is awesome! He will bless this request.

Second, I know that my family dynamic is not the norm. I am well awear of the fact that many young women do not have the protection, covering, or input from their dad. Some dad's are missing from the picture all together for a variety of reasons.

So in saying that, your questions are very legitimate and many are in your position. Actually, some may read about my dad and just write me off because they can't even imagine a dad like that.

Seeking out mentors is also very wise. Although they may not enter the picture till after the young man has stepped into your life, they still will have wisdom and insight in seeing if it a good fit for you. A good mentor will know you will enough and have spent time with you, to see if a young man would be high quality and the things you're looking for.

Have you asked your mentor to be your "screening process"? You may think, "That would scare any guy off!" But my dad is 6 feet 8 inches and I thought that alone would scare any guy far away (I never thought a guy would be brave enough!) But, the right guy will be open to your desire for him to be "screened". He will see it as protection of you, of him and of your hearts.

Also, a mentor has just been around the block longer. They can pick up on things that you may not be able to see! They may be able to see qualities in him that could result in deeper issues along the way.

Hope this helps!

We're going to spend the rest of the week in "Heather's Thoughts on Preparing for Marriage!"

Saturday, March 15, 2008

03/15/08 - More Questions

Seems like my Comment Response blog created more questions!

"What you said helped. I'd like to ask two more questions. How involved were your parents in this? Did they "approve" him dating you before he approached you? And, if so, what kinds of things did they look for, ask him, etc. ? Also, The post said " I'm wondering if you could go deeper and give examples of everything you and John talked about." What things DID you talk about?"

About my parents, it would be helpful to read Our Story. Start with part one and you'll see how involved my parents were! But in a nutshell, yes they approved and my dad knew he would be my husband within a few months of knowing John.

What did we talk about?

Everything from our visions of raising children, expectations of a husband/wife to where we'd want to vacation. We covered topics of our own childhoods and how things in our past effect our thinking or actions. What filter we use in life. Our desire for the centrality of the family in our marriage and with our kids. We covered money issues: how we spend, budget, expectations of fiances within marriage. What are our biggest areas of struggles. Expectations of holidays as a married couple. What ministries we desire to be apart of or continue in. What areas of growth we know we need the most. How we like to celebrate birthdays.

In writing all of this I realize that John and I knew ourselves pretty well. As a single it's helpful to know yourself. Take time to work through (journal or think through) these topics. It will be a great aid in knowing what things you want to know about once you get to the place in a relationship where you're working towards marriage!

Hope this helps!

Friday, March 14, 2008

03/14/08 - Comment Responce

Yesterday I posted about Authentic Communication and I received this comment:

"I really appreciate this post. It makes sense and sounds really practical. Even though I know your point is to stress communication, I'm wondering if you could go deeper and give examples of everything you and John talked about. It actually surprised me that you said that. I guess I'm trying to sort out this whole emotional intimacy thing and what it means practically. Like of course if you're going to marry someone you want to know where they stand on things so that it's clear beforehand, but then again, I think that'd create a lot of emotional intimacy? It's just kind of all confusing. How do you know how much to open up as your relationship is unfolding and growing? You said you walk away from you just take it as it comes?"

When John and I began to date, our goal and intention was extremely clear from the first night. We knew we were in this with marriage in mind. We knew we were committed to seek God for marriage in our life!

Five days later we started planning our wedding, so we were committed to marriage, thus we felt the need to communicate about everything that was appropriate.

I do know that our situation is not the norm! But once we come to the place where you are in a relationship with a commitment, I believe you are free to become (this of course is a process) emotional intimate. Those times I'd walk away from John was when we had no commitment.

Does this help?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

03/13/08 - Authentic Communication

How well do you communicate? I mean really communicate?

Many of you are single who read this blog and I believe a great tool you can sharpen as you wait on God's timing for marriage, is the ability to communicate.

The day my husband and I began to date (which was five years on Tuesday!) we said that we would be as honest as possible. We never held back our thoughts or feelings in fear that we'd ruin this relationship. We never feared the outcome of talking as freely and openly as we could.

We covered all issues in those first few weeks of dating. No topic (beside anything that was not appropriate) was off limit. We talk and shared about everything.

Learning authentic communication in my single years helped me know what type of communication I wanted in my marriage. I knew I wanted to feel like I could share anything with my mate.

One may think that all couples communicate this freely, but surprisingly they don't. One married friend told me I "trained" John to talk so freely and there are just topics she and her husband do not talk about.

Another woman shared with me that it took her two years to bring up a topic in her marriage that was "difficult" to address.

I received another e-mail from a young guy who was sharing how he recently broke up with his girlfriend and although they started with very clear intention (dating with marriage in mind) he felt like there were issues (things that would be appropriate to share) he could not talk to her about. He felt like these issues would just "go away" over time.

Practice authentic communication in your same sex friendships, it will greatly aid you as you move towards marriage with the mate God has for you!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

03/12/08 - Emotional Integrity

I am speaking again today (this never happens, two speaking engagements back to back). Although I have lots of original thoughts swirling around, I just don't have time to type, so he's a post from October:

What is emotional integrity?

The heart of emotional purity is having emotional integrity with those we come in contact with. It's understanding that if you are single, emotional integrity would be keeping your emotions for the mate God has for you. It would including not asking for time, energy, feelings, conversations, or emotions that don't belong to you.

I had plumb line questions I would ask myself when I was single:
1) Would I treat him this way if he was married?
2) Would I talk about this with him if his wife was sitting here with us?
3) Would I think about him this way if he were married?

As I interact with single guys, I'd filter my actions and thoughts through these questions. It helped me maintain emotional integrity with my guy friends. Even as I got to know my husband, before we were dating, I treated him this way.

After we committed to each other, he told me there were times when we were "just friends", that he felt me pull away from him. I told him that I was just protecting my heart!

Maintaining emotional integrity in my relationships allowed for the greatest amount of freedom in friendships and in my walk with the Lord!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

03/11/08 - Hardness of heart

This morning I spoke at a camping conference. I got there earlier enough to hear the main speaker.

He was sharing from the book of Psalms 95 where it says: Do not harden your heart (8).

He said that his working definition of hardening your heart is to be "disenchanted or disillusioned with God's timing."


Do not let your heart become hard, trust God's perfecting timing!

Monday, March 10, 2008

03/10/08 - Guys

Okay, guys this one's for you!

Are you upfront with your intentions?

I was talking to a girlfriend over the weekend and I was sharing about this one guy who was a little ambiguous with me before I knew John. She said, "He was the same way with me!" Not that I am picking on this guy at all, but guys come on and be up front!

It's just not nice to be all flirting with a girl you have no intentions with. Maybe you'd like to get to know her, but have no real "dating" in mind, then just get to know her without all the flirting, setting her apart or making her feel like you like.

I have to believe that guys know when they are stirring a girl his way. I know girls know when their outfit is getting attention from guys. They know when what they are wearing is causing guys to look their direction!

Guys you know when you're not being totally clear with a girl. If single men and women avoided these ambiguities, I believe maybe there be a deeper sense of God's wonderfully, high call in the body of Christ. I believe young men and women would have more respect for each other and may, just maybe more people would be married!

Friday, March 7, 2008

03/07/08 - Proverbs 7

One of my two New Year's resolutions was to read the bible to my sons at least five days a week. We have been pretty faithful at this and we read five verses from the Proverbs of the day. We're now on verses 11 to 15 of the chapter of the day!

So this morning I read Proverbs 7:11-15 to my sons:

11 (She is loud and defiant,
her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
at every corner she lurks.)
13 She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:
14 "I have fellowship offerings at home;
today I fulfilled my vows.
15 So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you!

I told them, "Let's pray for your wives, they they are not these type of women."

We live in a culture that tells girls to "take charge" in relationships and be aggressive with guys. But as you read the rest of this chapter you see that her "house is a highway to the grave" (vs. 27).

The word brazen jumped out at me. defines brazen as shameless! Or: blatant, bold, cocky, defiant, defiant, forward, immodest, indecent, shameless, unashamed, unblushing.

How I pray that God would raise up women of godly character for my sons to marry. I pray for their future in-laws, that they have wisdom in raising these future wives!

What type of young woman are you? What type of young woman are you looking for as a wife?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

03/06/08 - Opinion

Who's opinion of you matters the most?

Do you care more about what others think of you than what God thinks of you?

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

As you pay attention to your thoughts today, think: Who's thoughts of me matter most?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

03/05/08 - Summer Camp

Next week I'll be speaking at a camping conference. I was so excited to be asked to speak and I am looking forward to sharing the message of emotional purity with camp directors and staff.

How many of you will be going to summer camp?

One thing I love about camp is the time away from the demands of every day life. Camp is a chance to reflect on your life, your walk with the Lord, and to connect with other like minded believers. Camp can be a very emotional and spiritual experience!

As much as this is one of the most satisfying aspects of camp, it can be a danger zone. We can find ourselves emotionally opening up in inappropriate ways with people we shouldn't open up to.

Be awear of the importance of finding and maintaining emotional purity as you venture off to camp this summer!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

03/04/08 - More Thoughts on pain

Yesterday I responded to a comment from a previous post.

I realize that there are many people who will read this who are dealing with past pain in their lives that are causing them to not function to their greatest potential today!

I do have a degree in Social Work and part of my masters in Christian Counseling finished (got married and had kids!) When someone has had a traumatic event in their life (death of parent, separation/abandonment of parent, physical or sexual abuse) a person can tend to remain emotional at that age.

So if a parent died at age 9, a person can tend to remain emotional a nine year old. I don't say this to sound harsh, but it's reality. Unless a person works through the emotions, feelings, and results of a traumatic event this is the reality they live in.

The filter they view the world is one of the emotions they felt at that age.

I remember when I learned this concept, it was life changing. I was able to view people with a better perspective as to why they were acting or respond to those around them. I was able to have compassion on them and grace for them to work through whatever issues need to be examined.

Monday, March 3, 2008

03/03/08 - Motives revisited

It seems that my Motives post from last month is still creating a bit of conversation with my readers.

Julie posted:
"I am a single Christian woman. Since my late teens I have had a longing for marriage, which has persisted into my late twenties. Over time I lost any silly, self-centred motives I might have had.

As I matured, I realized I have equally strong reasons to fear and shun the possibility of marriage. The result of these two sets of conflicting emotions is bouts of confusion and deep unhappiness. Why would God place a desire in my heart for something that would bring me sorrow and pain? A broken relationship might even destroy me. I sometimes wonder if it's simply yearning for the unattainable.

My reasons against marriage:
*Fear of men and sex.
*Being an intensely emotional person, with a tendency toward anxiety and depression.
*Conflict affects me on a personal level - if someone I am close to is angry with me, it feels as though I am hated and rejected by them.
*Fear of being mentally dominated by someone else - their beliefs and ideas pressed upon me so I lose my sense of self.

I wish this ambivalence would go away so I can really get on with life. Can you advise me on how to pray so that I may have peace on this matter (or perhaps peace from it)? I really need help with this."

There is much in this comment to respond to, I may take two days!

The counselor in me has many questions and observations. This fear of marriage generally doesn't come from "left field". Normally someone has experienced something in their own life (divorce of parents, abuse) to produce such fear. I don't have all the facts of Julie's life, but I do know that being so consumed with fear is coming from a place where healing has yet to take place.

Now maybe it's not coming from a place of pain, but then I ask why do you feel so fearful of marriage?

You ask how to pray. I am a person who is specific in my prayer life. Ask God to take away any unreasonable fear you have. Ask God for those specific areas of your life where you want freedom from controlling emotions.

Please e-mail me privately for more conversation!