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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Not So Simple Fairy Tale

Ok, so today I don't really have any advice to share. Today I really dont know what to say. So instead I'm going to tell you a story. And maybe you will learn something from it.

There once was a girl who gave her all in everything she did. She knew that God gave her the ability to do so many things and that to glorify Him she needed to do her best. All through her life she gave her best in everything she did. From painting or drawing to math to swimming to being a friend, she gave her all in everything. One day when she was old enough to start noticing boys, one boy came into her life that was so very different. He had a slightly dangerous air about him but was sweet to her and treated her like a princess. This was very new and different for her as she had always been just another one of the "guys". This boy became her best friend, her confidant, her secret keeper, and the person she loved. He meant the world to her. But along the way, she did something she shouldnt have. She didnt listen to or obey her parents. They asked her to wait because they werent completely sure about some things but she didnt listen. She gave her heart to this boy and set her dreams on him. In the end, she had to choose. To obey God she had to obey her parents but that meant she had to give up him. She made her choice. She chose God. He came first and He was most important even if it crushed her to give him up she knew that God would provide if she just trusted him.

So for a long time after that she prayed and prayed that God would provide a man that would be her best friend, who would adore her, who she could have fun with, and who would love Him as much as she did. A while later that man appeared. He was completely an answer to her prayers. He was everything and more that she had hoped for. He surprised her with gifts, with visits, and adored her in a way no one ever had. He looked at her like she was his world and he became hers. She adored him and cared about him as much as was humanly possible. When he asked her out she said yes knowing that with her yes she would be giving him her heart and her best with the blessing of her parents. Everything was all or nothing and she chose all with him. In every little thing she did after then she thought of him and how she could best show him how much she cared and for a while it seemed as if he did the same. But slowly it became just her. She couldn't understand what was happening and how he could look at her with so much love and kiss her and hold her and tell her all these things and then just shut off. So she tried still. Believing that God had provided for her prayers and knowing that this man was what she prayed for. She did all she could think of to let him know how much she cared and how far she would have gone to make it work. But he didn't respond even remotely like what she thought he would. Instead he ended things and walked away. She was so very very hurt. Not only had she given him her heart on a silver platter, but she had given him a piece of her forever and he had walked away driving a knife through her tender heart. Crushed. Broken. Alone. The feelings that haunted her. Why was her best not good enough for him? How is it that an answer to prayer, a dream come true, could turn so suddenly into her worst nightmare? Why would God bring him into her life only to rip Him out?

The answer... God did answer her prayer by bringing him into her life. He taught her so many things. He taught her that a healthy relationship is centered on God. That a relationship is all about serving the other person and putting their needs above your own. That if a relationship is going to work one person cant be giving their all when the other only gives part because it is exhausting for the one person. And that good, God-fearing, loving, wonderful men are actually out there! (Ladies, take hope! They do exist). God also didnt rip him out of her life. That man chose to leave. God placed them together for a reason but it may have only been for a season. Either way God didn't make him leave, he chose to walk away. God wouldn't hurt her in such a deep way, in fact He would be crying with her and holding her close sheltering her from the brunt of all the hurt. While she may never understand why, she knows that just like before she will choose to trust God. And this time she knows that if she gives her all to God, nothing can bring her down.

While she was hurting, God also poured out His love into her life. He sustained her through every moment and provided amazing friends and family to be there beside her to lift her up when she couldn't walk and to hold her close when she felt broken. He showed her how much He cares about each part of her life by placing people in all of the areas who would encourage her and point her right back to Him and His love. While the earthly man may change his love and walk away, she knows her Heavenly Love will never leave her side. While he was an answer to prayer and he gave her a glimpse of what love looks like, she knows that the man she marries she will love more than she could understand and that God loves her even more than that. How great is God's love? How vast beyond all measure?  And with her God and her incredible friends and family, she knows that she will make it. She knows that God has a future for her that will be incredible and she chooses to give her all to glorifying Him in her life right now. She is still an all or nothing girl, it is how He made her. But she chooses in everything to give her all to Him. Because He still asks for nothing less than her all. He asks for all of her life. All of her trust. All of her love. And that is what she will give Him.

God Bless,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I Wish More People Knew About Dating

Okay, so the very first thing I think more people should realize about dating is that you're not just dating that boy or that girl. Nope! You are dating God's creation! You are dating God's son or daughter! If that doesn't make you stop and think about how you act, then the rest of what I say really doesn't matter.

Now that I mentioned that, the next thing you need to keep in mind is that dating a non-Christian actually is a big deal. God does call us to not be unequally yoked in our marriages (aka Christian with non-Christian). Dating eventually leads to marriage, so how is dating a non-Christian ok? Its not! It is so much easier for a person to pull you down than it is for you to lift that person up. In other words... no missionary dating!

Next people need to realize that dating at young ages really wont help you in the long run and it may in fact harm things. What if you date the person that you would have married too early? Then things get messy and you break up because you were too young for it to progress into marriage. That... isn't a good thing. Please please PLEASE consider your age when you think about dating!

When you start to date, you need to be sure that you are ready for it. Truly you need to be ready for the type of investment you will be making with your time and your heart. If you aren't ready to commit for a long time then you aren't ready to date (sorry, but its true). It is not ok to say you'll commit for a long time then pull out. That is not fair to the person you are dating and is very painful for them. And that also sets you up badly for marriage as well... you cant just all of a sudden decide you're not ready to be married when you are married. That just doesn't work. If you commit to it... stick to it!

Realize that when you ask someone to date you or say yes to dating someone, even if you don't think you will get emotionally involved, you will. Be prepared for this and guard your heart accordingly.

Keep in mind that there is not a guarantee that your relationship will work out, so do not share things with them that you will regret after.

If the person interested in you is ditching another relationship to be with you... that is NOT ok. Why in the world would you date someone who would ditch their relationship for you? Sure it may make you think "man, they really like me a lot" but what's to say they wont do that to you later? If that is what they're doing and what they're like, then run far away!

Similarly, if they cheat on you and come back... say no!! If they can do that while dating you, why would they stay faithful when they are married to you?

Putting each other down even in fun is not ok! Neither is always play bickering or trying to get on the other's nerves. Eventually all of those things become real. If the world is already trying to bring you down, why would you want to be with someone who does that too? It hurts. Build each other up! In everything you say to each other or to other people about each other, let it be good and helpful.

"I love you" actually means something! Please keep it that way! Don't say "I love you" after the first 2 hours of dating someone. You don't really love them... :P Sure you are highly attracted to them, but loving them comes from knowing them and serving them. That doesn't happen over night. And if someone says "I love you" to you, be sure that they actually back it up for the long run by not just their words, but their actions!

And by actions I do not mean they have sex with you. SEX IS NOT LOVE! Outside of marriage all sex is is lust. By actions I mean that they go out of their way to make sure you are ok, to keep you safe, and to honor you as their boyfriend/girlfriend but also as their brother/sister in Christ!

On the topic of sex... I want to point out that kissing, holding hands, and the stuff that the world considers to be little actually means a lot. If you think about your future spouse, the things you give away to someone now that isn't going to be your spouse, is stuff you are stealing from the person who actually is going to be your spouse. Also, the things you do with the person you are dating... you are depriving and stealing from their future spouse. Please think that over! Mull over it, consider it, think about it, and try to comprehend it. It made me do a double take when I realized that.

Guys, just so you know, girls view kissing very differently than you do. You may consider it an experience and may love it and it may feel amazing, but for girls its different. Girls view kissing as something very precious. Its a way that we give a guy our trust, our love, and our heart. It leaves us vulnerable. While it may make the guys feel powerful, it makes girls feel vulnerable. So even those things you may think are "little" actually are big and mean a whole lot more.

Please realize this and know that it is true. Unless you are married to someone and you are considered by God to be one body, then you have absolutely no right to any part of their body! None! That covers all parts of intimacy! If you are living out your love for God and your future spouse, then why would you treat the person you are dating any differently than a married person would treat someone not their spouse? It may be hard to think about and you may not agree, but think about it! Please, just think it through. :)

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2 Timothy 2:22

People will say things in a moment, but unless they live it out for a long time... be careful!

If it comes to a point where the relationship is not working and you know it needs to end because it is not pleasing to God... then don't make stupid excuses, don't tell them it is because you're not good enough for them, don't say its because you need to work on _______ before you're ready to date, and don't say you realized they weren't good enough. Those are stupid excuses! MAN (or woman) UP! Take the fall for your choices, and end things without putting the blame on them, or on God. Be straight with them. If you're going to break their heart or hurt them, the least you can do is be honest, open, and gentle with them!

Do not ask to be friends or try to stay friends with your ex. 1. A friend would never hurt you how your ex did. A friend would have looked out for your interest, not their own. 2. This isn't fair to you! Your emotions were involved and if you're always hoping that it will go back to how it was, then that really isnt fair to your heart. 3. It isnt fair to your future boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse to always have an ex hanging around. That just isnt cool. No one wants to be reminded that there was someone around before them!

Relationships take two! And if only one of you is working for it... it will not work. :( Trust me. Even if you put your all into making it work, unless the other person tries too then the relationship will die.

Dating isn't easy. It takes work. It takes time. It hurts. Its wonderful. Its painful. It has ups. It has downs. You have to work for it, but anything good is worth the work. And if the person makes you happy, if its honoring to God, if you're comfortable and can be yourself around them, and if they are wanting to serve you and in turn serve God, then why wouldn't you work for it?

God bless!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Walking Blind

Have you ever tried to walk around your house with your eyes closed? Your house is your ground, a place that you know, that you are familiar with, but when you close your eyes its hard to move around without walking into something, knocking something over, or hurting someone or yourself. This is kind of like your faith in God. You think living out your faith is comfortable, easy, and familiar, until you are asked to step out and walk blind. That is when panic and procrastination comes in. Both not good things.

I know right now God hasn't shown me a "clear path" for where I should go. I feel a bit in the dark about life in general and its a confusing, scary, and slightly frustrating place to be in. Me being the one who wants to control my life, wants to know where I should go, what I should do, who I should do it with, and when! But God hasn't shown me any of those, and honestly He may never fully tell me those things before they happen, but I know that He will guide me. How do I know? Well that's where the faith part comes in. I have FAITH that God will guide me. I cant always see where He will take me, but I know He will take me there.

"For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened- not that we would be unclothes, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

We don't know exactly what we're doing here on earth, but we do know where we are going! Our walk here on our earthly home is blind. We do not see what is truly going on around us or where our next step will land, we just know that we have a home in heaven and that is where we belong. While it is hard and I still have no idea where I'm going here on earth, I do know where I am going for eternity and I know that while I am on earth, no matter where my path may go, I can always choose to honor God. I am of good courage knowing that even though I am walking blind on earth and don't know where my step will fall, God will provide the path I need to best glorify Him and will someday take my broken, battered tent and replace it with a mansion.

God bless,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Relationship Wrecking Ball

Ok so this is something that I've noticed is a huge deal for people who are in dating relationships or who are married. This is something that actually breaks relationships apart and to me, its something that really needs to be addressed. This thing is known to many of you as "like" or "attraction". Now when you are not in a relationship, liking someone or being attracted to them is not that big of a deal. In fact, its expected and normal and totally ok! :) So what happens when you're in a relationship with an amazing person, but you notice someone else? What happens when you are attracted to someone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife? Well here's what I see happening most often...

First there is a couple. They are super happy, they adore each other, and they know that they are dating/married to someone who has the same values and beliefs as them. They are incredible together and their relationship is God honoring. And then.... one of them notices someone else who is nice, good looking, and maybe they have fun with. But they are caught, because they have someone in their life already. They are torn between the "newness" of this new person and the deep commitment they have with the other person. This causes a LOT of confusion and hurt for all of the people involved. And the relationship ends up breaking apart because the person attracted to the new person can not let go of the new person or the idea of them.

I'm sure lots of you have seen this happen in your friends' dating relationships and sadly even in marriages. It is completely heart breaking... and really I don't understand it. But it happens and it is completely horrible. So what does God think of this crazy horrible thing?

For marriages in particular, the Bible states that "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 How can  you separate something that is one flesh without completely killing both halves and ripping them apart? The truth? You cant.
Paul states plainly what the view of divorce is in 1st Corinthians 7:10-11, "To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does she should remain unmarried or reconcile to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife." Does any of that say "If you are attracted to a new person its totally ok to ditch your husband/wife and go with this other person"? Nope, in fact it doesn't leave room for that. It says not to leave your husband/wife. So attraction to another person should not get in the way of marriages! But why does it?

Because people stop thinking about God and about their spouse and start thinking about themselves and their selfish desires. When you take your eyes off of pleasing God and being the best person you can be for Him and how you can best serve your significant other, then you start focusing on your self and that is when these sins slip in. This is the same for dating relationships and why people cheat or they break up because they just don't "feel into it anymore". Feelings don't really have a ton to do with being committed  Yes, attraction is a good thing, however those fuzzy feelings fade and then you are left with the real person. True commitment comes when you know the real person and you CHOOSE to stay with them. And what happens when you notice another new attractive person? Is it a huge sin? Is it wrong? Well... in all honestly I believe that you may always notice an attractive person. However, commitment comes in when you realize that you already are with an amazing person and God has already provided you with someone to love and who loves you, and you can walk away from that new person knowing that you are choosing to be committed. Is it wrong to notice an attractive person? No, it is only wrong to cheat on the person you are dating/married to. Really its an eye to thought connection. Your eyes can notice something, but unless you let your brain dwell on it, then its just something you  notice but don't really think about. When you see someone else that is attractive, as long as you don't dwell on it, it is just something you notice, more of a fact that doesn't really affect you. It is when you let it sit in your mind and you dwell on it that the trouble starts. God asks us to dwell on things that are pleasing to Him, so is dwelling on someone who isn't the person you have committed to honoring to God? Where your thoughts are, there your heart will be also. Be careful not to let your mind wander, and your heart won't be as quick to follow.

Commitment isn't NOT noticing an attractive person, it is walking away from them knowing you already are dating/married to an amazing person. God has provided you with an amazing man/woman so why would you need anything else? He provides for our needs, so trust Him and stay committed.


Monday, March 11, 2013

This Is My Friend... Or Are They More?

When you think of someone who is in your life who is a "true friend" what are some of the qualities you identify in them? Do you know what makes that person such a fantastic friend? Here are some of the reasons I think my true friends and best friends are such wonderful friends.

1. They seek the best for the other. My best friends seek the best for me. They want me to have the best of everything, even if it means giving something up themselves. They willingly sacrifice for me even if it makes it hard for them or puts them out.

2. They will laugh with me. Sometime's at me, but never in a mean way. They always laugh with me, even when its those little stupid things.

3. They cry with me. My friends understand when I am hurting and they hurt for me. They don't try to fix it, they just hurt with me, hold me, and pray me through it.

4. They take time for me. They will always take time out for me. :) For me, quality time means a LOT! I know they care because they take time for me. This comes out in them taking time to care about the little and big things in my life.

5. They actually care! No seriously, they care. They don't just ask me how I'm doing because they're being polite and really want me to ask it back so they can vent... they ask because they care. They go out of their way to show me that they care in sooo many ways! From giving me hugs, worship music, sermons, Bible verses, and Kleenex when I'm broken to laughing, dancing, screaming, hugging, and smiling with me when something exciting happens.

6. They are always there! Sometimes I don't even recognize that I really really need a friend or someone to be there with me and for me, but they always seem to pick up on it and are always there for me! Its incredible! I am so very blessed to have friends who are always there for me.

7. They love me! Not in a romantic way, but in a real, accepting, caring, brother/sister way.

I could come up with so much more as to why my friends are amazing, but I think you get the idea. :) Jesus had some pretty amazing friends too! And Jesus, Himself, was an incredible friend. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." Jesus was the absolute best friend there ever could be, because He willingly sacrificed His life for His friends. For you. That's right! Jesus is your friend. ;) Also He is the only friend who will never let you down and whose love for you is greater than anyone on earth's love could ever be! So there's my thought for today.

Now... a lot of you guys and girls have amazing friends of the opposite sex who do all this wonderful stuff and really genuinely care about you. And a lot of times you can get confused as to what they mean by it. Are they really just your friend? Or are they more? Do they like you as more?
In all honestly I have wondered the same thing, and jeopardized some amazing friendships because of it. If a guy is super nice to me my brain will go "oooo! He must like you!" or "he totally wants something out of this". And that is NOT fair of me. It is an extremely human response, not a Godly response. I shouldn't be thinking those things. And I am really working and growing in that area of my life as I have some amazing guys who actually are just my friends. They are teaching me a lot about how guys care about girls but as friends, and my mind-set on friendship with the opposite sex is changing. How, you ask? Here, let me explain a bit.
In general, I have learned that guys and girls are built to care. We are made to care for each other  Its just part of how we are made. This does not mean we "like" that person in a romantic way, it just means we care.  Yes, people who like each other care about each other, but friends care about each other too. Friends love each other! That is how friendship is supposed to be! So don't be weirded out or instantly think more of it when a friend is nice to you and cares. They are actually supposed to! If they didn't then what kind of friend would they be?
"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10
We are called to love each other with brotherly love. Not romantic love, brotherly love! So when your friends show that they care, they are actually following Christ's example and God's will for us. Try to keep that in mind when your friends of the opposite sex show caring and kindness towards you! It does not mean they are interested in dating you (at least most times), but it shows that they care about you as their brother or sister in Christ. :) They are your family and as your family, they love you! The second part of the verse says honor! We are to honor one another as well as care for them! So if you KNOW that someone is attracted to you in more than a friend way, then honor them and care about that by not leading them on and trying to be super close best friends who do everything together. That really does hurt them and is not at all loving or honoring. I'll be doing a post about honoring one another sometime in the near future. :) But for now, please think these things through and keep in mind that you are called to love others as your brothers and sisters through Christ.

God Bless,

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Difference in The Voices

Hi guys, sorry its been a while. I've been going through it and really haven't felt I could honestly say anything that would be relevant or fit with anything that's been going on in my life. I am struggling so much right now to discern who's voice I am hearing and who's voice I want to listen to. In one ear I am hearing that God loves me, that He has a plan, that He will bring good out of this pain, and that He will hold me through this. In the other ear I am hearing that God has left me to face this alone, that I messed everything up, that I'm worthless, that I'm unloved. One side is truth, one side is lies. You can probably tell right away which is which, but when you're the person hearing them, its hard to discern what is what. So how can you tell when it is God prompting you forward and growing you, or if it's lies set out to trap you and break you off of the path God set you on?

Well some ways are to look at HOW the thought comes.
1. Does it reflect the character of God? If not, then what is it reflecting?
2. Does it help you or hinder you? God wants to help you to reach Him and help you in your life. He will hinder you from the extremely bad things, but in those cases you will more than likely know that it's wrong to begin with. :P
3. Does it still you or does it rustle you? God's voice is calming, it should still you.
4. Does it lead you or does it push you? Leading is good, God's voice should lead you, but it shouldn't push you. God isn't pushy.
5. Does it reassure you or does it frighten you? God's voice should reassure you, not frighten you.
6. Does it enlighten you or confuse you? God is not a God of confusion! He likes order and sense.
7. Does it encourage you or discourage you? God is encouraging in the good things, but should enlighten you to the bad.
8. Does it comfort you or does it worry you? worry is a sin! God wouldn't cause you to worry!
9. Does it calm you or does it obsess you? God likes calm too! Obsession isn't a good thing.
10. Does it convict you or does it condemn you? God's Spirit lives within you! He will convict you to the things that are bad or wrong for you. God does not condemn or guilt His children. Guilt isn't from God, guilt just condemns you and makes you feel shame and despair. Guilt wants you to wallow in your mistakes, while God wants you to receive forgiveness and love and be able to move forward. His Spirit convicts you to notice the mistakes and wrongs in your life and to make a change and move towards Him.

Remember, the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! You should be able to recognize those traits in the thoughts that are good and from God. If your thoughts aren't good, and they are harming you, please have a Bible verse that you can turn to! One of the one's I have right now is Psalm 30:2 "Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me." He heard my cry for help and He healed me. He loves me. He wants the best for me. And He loves you and wants the best for you! Listen closely to Him, seek His words in the Bible and also in quiet time. Let Him speak to you and be careful  to listen to the Right voice.

God Bless,