Why wait?

waiting

Why would God give us a gift as wonderful as sex and then ask us to wait? For our own good. To be enjoyed to its fullest with someone who loves us enough to back it up and want to spend all the morning afters together.

Our bodies go through all kinds of changes as we grow up. Sexual desires and feelings are natural in this process. And, when puberty ends, that’s just the beginning. God created sex for us to not just be fruitful and multiply, but to enjoy. To come together as husband and wife over and over and over again. Each time we do, we honor God with our bodies and our marriage.

But, what about before? Before I got married, one of my favorite things about a committed relationship was consistent sex. I enjoyed it with my boyfriend and felt little shame. We were “committed” after all. But, is that the commitment God desires? Our boyfriend is not our husband. Our boyfriend has not pledged his life to us. Boyfriends come and go. Husbands are supposed to stay. I realize now that this is God’s desire and definition of commitment.

Covenant love gets to enjoy sexual relations free of shame and free from the fear of parting ways. Sex is a gift that God intends and promotes for true commitment. These days divorce is so common, I can understand how even marriage can feel iffy in the “not parting ways” department. Mine was. This fact makes it that much more important to me to know how committed my future mate is.

In my mid 30s and back in the dating pool, the Lord spoke to my heart and I had the question for the first time in my life: “How do I date without sex?” “How do I have a relationship without it?” Is it even possible? I mean, what do we do instead? How far is too far? What’s ok, what’s not? How will we connect? How will our love grow? To me, that was all part of being and growing in a relationship. And, once I’d crossed that line, what was the point in not crossing again?

Then, the questions: How would I want my daughters to date? Wouldn’t I want them to know it’s possible? What example do I want to set? How does grace play in? I hadn’t held back since my teens. So, I thought I’d write to share my struggle with you. If it’s hard for you, I get it. I’m living it. This was new and very difficult territory here.

My best tips are communication and peace. Communicate with God. Ask Him for help and guidance. Have the “talk”. Let your dates know up front that it’s your desire to wait. If they bail, you know early! If they have the same desire, Hallelujah! They can and should help you. If they don’t, they’ll go elsewhere. Don’t expect it to be easy for them either. You will both struggle. But, it will be together.

Keep talking as your relationship progresses. It will grow in a completely different way. Let peace be your guide. If you have it, you’ll know. If you don’t, you may be going too far. Communicate again with God and each other. Because, there is so much more to it…

You are not alone. There are Christian singles out there with the same desire to honor God with their lives, hearts, and bodies. Both men and women. They are out there, but few and far between. It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. It’s so difficult in fact, that it may prohibit some from dating at all.

If you find someone who is willing to battle this with you, they are willing to fight for you. They know, like you, that in order to get to the other side with someone who respects themselves and desires to honor God is worth that wait.

Your willingness to communicate your desire to wait has to be stronger than the fear of embarrassment or rejection. In this case, you have to look at rejection as a blessing. The man who honors you, honors his Father in heaven. And, that’s the kind of guy you’d want for your daughters, right? A man who knows how to cherish, protect, and wait for what he wants most too. And, that’s you. A woman who knows her worth and God’s definition of commitment.

Your heart is the ultimate benefit after the ring. Add that to the other benefits and that’s a marriage to cherish!

 

This Mama’s Prayer…

baptism

6/4/16

To my Abby,

You have no idea how much this day means to me. I know you’re young. I also know that your decision to be baptized is as clear as it can possibly be at the ripe age of 10 years old.

You’ve told me that today means washing away your sins. That’s true. You’ve also told me that today means that you and Jesus will get closer and closer. That is also true. But, like we’ve also discussed, we need to do our part to continue to foster that relationship.

Just like you, I was baptized while attending the same school you do, in this same church. In this very same baptistery. I also believe I made the decision as clearly as I possibly could at the time. Then, life happened.

I need you to know that you are the reason I got rebaptized. When I held you in my arms and stared at you in your crib, I knew I needed God more than ever in my life. How on earth would I be able to raise you to love, lean on, and honor God if I wasn’t? I knew, in that moment, that I had allowed our relationship to wither. It was you that made me a mom and it was you that brought my heart back to Jesus. For you, I am forever grateful.

I know God never left me, but I went about my life not checking in with Him, not growing with Him, not seeking Him. You, Abby, changed all that for me. The love I have for you opened my heart to God’s unfathomable love for me and put me back on the path of relentless pursuit with my Jesus.

I pray there are many big events I’ll get to witness in your life. Graduations, first cars, jobs, moves, boyfriends, possibly a wedding, and maybe even children of your own. I’m sure I’ll cry at each one. But, one thing I can say about today is that this relationship that you are allowing in your heart and declaring as your own can, will, and should affect them all. This is my prayer as your mom.

I pray that your relationship with God trumps all others. He wants to lead you. My prayer is that you let Him. I pray that each decision you make in your life reflects the one you’re making today. I know how hard that is. And, if one blessed day we do this again, I will be right here crying tears of joy like I am today that you are choosing and walking with the Lord. As a parent now, I realize that there truly is no greater joy…..

This is huge baby girl. For you, for me, and for Jesus. He is here, He loves you, and He will never leave you. I am praising God for this day!

My life changer. My Abby.

Daddies and Daughters

daddy

This is the best list that I’ve come across to explain the importance of how much daughters look to our daddies for love in the form of approval, acceptance, grace, tenderness, and direction. We CRAVE it. Our earthly fathers have a tremendous responsibility in shaping our hearts for the future. We look to you first for acceptance and approval (especially when we mess up). We look to you to determine our self worth.

Before we learn to seek and look to our Heavenly Father for our sense of worth, we look to YOU. This is why we tend to turn to men that treat us like you do for comfort and eventually marriage. This is why it is SO important when we are young for us to truly feel your love. If you get the privilege of raising a daughter or stepdaughter, learn to love her in her language (it’s probably different than yours), show her how to be treated and what to accept and not accept from a man, fess up when you mess up (this teaches us that humility is honorable), and tell her how beautiful she is (alot)! She will ALWAYS look up to you. She will learn about who God is to her by the way you treat and value her. She will ALWAYS love you fiercely.

Here is the list:

1. How you love me is how I will love myself.
2. Ask how I am feeling and listen to my answer, I need to know you value me before I can understand my true value.
3. I learn how I should be treated by how you treat my mom, whether you are married to her or not.
4. If you are angry with me, I feel it even if I don’t understand it, so talk to me.
5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.
6. I need to experience your nurturing physical strength, so I learn to trust the physicality of men.
7. Please don’t talk about sex like a teenage boy, or I think it’s something dirty.
8. When your tone is gentle, I understand what you are saying much better.
9. How you talk about female bodies when you’re ‘just joking’ is what I believe about my own.
10. How you handle my heart, is how I will allow it to be handled by others.
11. If you encourage me to find what brings joy, I will always seek it.
12. If you teach me what safe feels like when I’m with you, I will know better how to guard myself from men who are not.
13. Teach me a love of art, science, and nature, and I will learn that intellect matters more than dress size.
14. Let me say exactly what I want even if it’s wrong or silly, because I need to know having a strong voice is acceptable to you.
15. When I get older, if you seem afraid of my changing body, I will believe something is wrong with it.
16. If you understand contentment for yourself, so will I.
17. When I ask you to let go, please remain available; I will always come back and need you if you do.
18. If you demonstrate tenderness, I learn to embrace my own vulnerability rather than fear it.
19. When you let me help fix the car and paint the house, I will believe I can do anything a boy can do.
20. When you protect my femininity, I learn everything about me is worthy of protecting.
21. How you treat our dog when you think I’m not watching tells me more about you than does just about anything else.
22. Don’t let money be everything, or I learn not to respect it or you.
23. Hug, hold, and kiss me in all the ways a daddy does that are right and good and pure. I need it so much to understand healthy touch.
24. Please don’t lie, because I believe what you say.
25. Don’t avoid hard conversations, because it makes me believe I’m not worth fighting for.

“It’s pretty simple, really. Little girls just love their daddies. They each think their daddy hung the moon. Once in a while when you look at your little gal twirling in her frilly skirt, remember she’ll be grown one day. What do you want her to know about men, life, herself, love? What you do and say now MATTERS for a lifetime. Daddies, never underestimate the impact of your words or deeds on your daughters, no matter their age.”

This is priceless information. So true!

When Love is What You Don’t Do

Don't

To quote Forest Gump, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” I feel like I’m in the same boat in discovering and sharing what healthy love is and what it is not. These actions do not equal love and respect even if they say they love you:

Love is when you….

  • Don’t ridicule or criticize their efforts
  • Don’t use the person for your own personal gratification
  • Don’t lie or cheat
  • Don’t belittle a person’s values or opinions
  • Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not
  • Don’t prevent or discourage growth in a person
  • Don’t intentionally hurt someone physically, mentally, or emotionally
  • Don’t expect your needs to be met without concern for the other’s needs
  • Don’t dismiss their ideas or feelings
  • Don’t shame or call names
  • Don’t withhold or withdraw from a person without explanation
  • Don’t isolate the person
  • Don’t minimize their problems or fears

Just a few that come to mind….

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

Jesus is the ultimate example. Love is not easy and love will get messy, just look at the cross.  Love will take work, grace, and forgiveness. We will never get it perfect in our humanness, I know I haven’t. But, we can pray and ask Him to help us love in a way that pleases Him. We can ask forgiveness when we fail, and give it another shot. With Christ ALL things are possible. When our love tanks get low, refuel with the unfailing love of God and DON’T give up! If the love we offer is not received and/or returned, let them go. Letting them go is showing love for yourself and that is also VERY important. We can’t make someone love us but we are all worthy of love. Love never fails. DON’T forget that!