Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Can a Young Person Stay Pure?

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands. (Psalm 119:9, 10 NIV)

Our goal should be to be like Jesus. The bible says that he was tempted in every way...even the same ways that we are tempted today (Hebrews 2:17-18). So many times we stumble when temptation comes along. We sin. We are impure and we feel it. Jesus never sinned though. What a role-model huh? Thank goodness that he says that he will always provide a way out from temptation and sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

So, how do we remain pure? We need to seek Jesus with all of our hearts. We need to search the scriptures, God's instructions and promises to us, for help. We cannot uphold ourselves to the highest standard (the Lord's standard) of purity on our own. This is a constant struggle and we must cry out to God for help and guidance.

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8 NLT)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Trust You Jesus

As my brother drove me to the hospital to see Christian tonight I had so many thoughts going through my head. His mom had called my dad in hysterics. I had no idea what to expect. He got back from a week long trip to the Dominican Republic on Sunday. I could only imagine the number of things that he could have picked up while there.

Like so many other times before, I was faced with the question of if I was going to trust in the Lord. This afternoon, there was no question about it. I have been through enough with my God that I know he can get me through anything. This is MY God we are talking about. You know, the one who has saved me, changed me. The One who I have watched heal. The One who I have seen give and take away. I serve a mighty God.

"I trust you Jesus. I trust you with everything."

I really, truly meant it this time. With everything in me I knew that I trusted him.

I trust Christian to him. Every relationship to him. Every season to him.

I walked into his room just in time to see him wheeled in from getting some x-rays. They tested that kid in every way imaginable, pumped 3 bags of liquid into him and we waited to hear what the news was. I was reminded of what a hunk I am marrying tonight. After entering the ER with his mom, Christian passed out and stopped breathing. It took about 5 people to get him off the ground! The verdict was a bad virus and serious dehydration. I got to watch him walk out of there on his own a few hours later and I got to ride home with him. He is doing alright.God is good. I trust my father in heaven.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

To: Pretty Girl

Hey friends, I wanted to share with you the letter that this woman on this blog

wrote in response to a question that a teen girl asked. The question is below.

Also, stay tuned this weekend for a post that will introduce you to a few friends of mine and the stories of what God is doing in their lives in the area of relationships with the opposite sex. I love y'all!

Here is the question,
"I have this friend who is really pretty and really skinny. All the guys flock to her. I think I’m pretty too but guys aren’t flocking to me. Why don’t I get attention from guys?"

. . . . .

Dear Pretty Girl with a Pretty Friend,

If I would have been brave enough to answer your question on Sunday, this is what I would have said. I’m so sorry that you feel this way. It is so uncomfortable and awkward and every time it happens, you get a little reminder from the Devil that you aren’t enough. You wonder what you’ve done wrong and what she’s done right and the truth is nothing.

Pretty Girl, here’s what you need to know- while you are wishing a boy would notice you for your looks, your friend is wishing a boy would notice her for her brains or her jokes. While you are hoping that just one boy will talk to you, she is hoping that just one boy will look at her eyes instead of her boobs. While you are busy looking at the four boys who are ogling your friend, you may be missing that one sweet guy who is carefully observing you.

She hasn’t done anything wrong or right. Neither have you. You are both just living, struggling in your own quiet ways, and hearing lies that will try to polarize you from each other, from God, and from hope. Don’t believe the lies. Celebrate the beauty in her- and remind her how valuable she is to you. Celebrate the beauty in you – and remember that it only takes one.

In the end, you will each be with one. One man will pick you- that’s all it takes. One man will pick her. The numbers will be even and when they are, you will want your heart to be in a good place about it all. Start that now.

And yes- you are pretty. I can tell. You wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t unbelievably true. Cling to what you know and wait patiently with hope. It always pays off. Always.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How Long?

So, how long have you known each other?

I get this question a lot.
Sometimes I don't know exactly how to answer.
Sometimes I think of the first day I met Christian (see this post).
Sometimes I think of the first dance we went to together when I was fifteen.
Sometimes I answer by telling about when we became "official" as a couple once we both graduated from high school.

Most of all, I smile when I think of our friendship over all these years. First, before we fell in love or we dated, we were buddies. It happened like this.
First, Christian and I spent time with each others' families. From going to the school's family square dance to going to family camp together, we got so many chances to hang out and get to know each other and our families. I think that I was better friends with Christian's younger brother Jon before I was even friends with Christian. Christian was a grade older than me in high school  so we were rarely in the same classes. I have good memories of being invited to join Christian's family to do things like come over for dinner and a movie or go to a museum for the day. We had fun. These were fun and relaxed times getting to know each other better.

When we could (finally) drive, we would force get our siblings to go do fun things with us around town. We had to be chaperoned : ) At this period in our relationship, we had come to realize just how much we enjoyed being together. When a member of the National Honor Society as a junior, I helped plan to volunteer at an event at a local elementary school. I always knew I could count on Christian being there to help. One beautiful day, we coerced some of our siblings to hike up Kennesaw Mountain. This was something Christian and I really wanted to do together. So we drug our sisters up the mountain and I think they legitimately complained the entire way up. We didn't mind though. We were together. The first time that he put his arm around me was seriously at the park with all of our sisters and brothers. They laughed at us. They knew that we were more than friends. I guess a lot of people knew.

Christian likes to say that he took every opportunity to take me to dances and events through high school. He really did. Going to these special events were, well, special. It was a fun time for me to dress up and be the date of a handsome guy, but it didn't really mean anymore than that. That doesn't sound very romantic, but it took the pressure off. Christian never once made me feel like we had to define our relationship or anything. In fact, that didn't happen until years later, but that is a story for another day.

For Christmas 2009, we exchanged gifts with each other. We were still "just friends" at this point. I got permission from both sets of parents to buy Casting Crowns concert tickets to give Christian. We both enjoy Christian music and I knew it would be a great gift. Why did I have to get permission for going to a Christian concert you ask? Well, I was basically indirectly asking if we could go on a date. On our own.

Once we were in a relationship and going out on our own we appreciated it so much. It was SO different from having to be with family all the time. We actually got to talk! Today, we often remember and are thankful for that season when we were able to build our relationship in a comfortable context among family and friends with plenty of accountability. Because of all this, the transition from being just friends to a serious relationship was natural and the timing was right.  Our families approved, but they began to realize that once Christian and I began to go out on our own, they hardly ever saw each other! At one point my mom asked one of  Christian's brothers, "Jon, are we still dating?" It was never just Christian and I dating, it was our families too!
I have been so very blessed over the years of knowing Christian. I can honestly say that I have grown closer to the Lord through our relationship. We look forward to marriage and getting to grow up together. We also hope that our story and the way it has played out will encourage young men and women to think outside of the box when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. We felt the Lord calling us at very young ages to do things way differently than the world does. I challenge you to talk to the Lord about this topic. I promise that God cares about your love life. You cannot put God in a box and exclude him from this part of your life. I am thankful for Christian who is a man after God's own heart and who has guarded me. He truly is my knight in shining armor. I am also thankful for all our family and friends who have supported us and kept us accountable to God's best. These are the blessings you need to be on the lookout for girls!

Friday, February 10, 2012

It's Going to Be Okay

On the radio this morning there was a segment where people call in and share something that they would've liked to go back in time and tell themselves if they could. This lady came on and said, "Hang in there. It's going to be okay." When she was just fourteen years old her parents divorced. Her father left her and as a result of her life feeling torn apart she made some bad decisions. Today, she has a wonderful life in which she holds on to Jesus Christ for everything. She wanted to share the truth that God is in the business of redeeming the stinky stuff of this sinful, fallen world. She said that during her teen-aged years she had lot's of people tell her "it's going to be okay" but now that she is older, she realizes how true that statement was. This lady learned that in Isaiah 52:12 it says that God will never leave you, but that he will go before you and guard you. She sees now how while her earthly father certainly did, her heavenly father never once
abandoned her.

It is the same for all of us. We need to hear this. We need to hear that it is going to be okay. I cried in the car listening to her testimony because I could just imagine how many fourteen year olds that are going through similar things need to hear this. In Christ we can be confident that the Lord is bigger than anything that we are going through and that he can redeem and restore what is broken. He can cover in forgiveness all the ways we have messed up. Hang in there. It is going to be okay.