Saturday, May 24, 2014

How to Have a Passion for Purity

About to enter the dating scene? Already dating but don't want to go too far?  Sometimes it's so hard to know how far is too far, and what rules you should live by. A conference told you one thing, your boyfriend/girlfriend is telling you another. What's a girl (or boy!) supposed to do?

Last night during our Bible study we came across this verse from Psalm 119:9

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
That's it. Those are the rules. Do you want to know how to keep your relationship from going 'too far' then get into God's Word and see what He says. Not only that, but you have to do what He says!

I loved the Joshua Harris books: I kissed Dating Goodbye, and Boy Meets Girl and highly recommend them to those wanting to go a different route than most. However, when it came time for my own love story things didn't go quite according to how I pictured they would. For starters, I was in Thailand, and my then boyfriend was in the States. We didn't physically date until 9 months after we met through a mutual friend on Facebook. This meant that all those 'rules' that the books and conferences suggested had no meaning for my particular situation. What did we do?
I think it helped that both he and I had a desire for purity. If your boyfriend or fiance doesn't have the same desire for purity that you have, then you don't need to be in the relationship. More than likely, he will cause you to do things that you don't want to do, and to go farther than you want to go. So, having a significant other that has a relationship with God (and not just one that says he's a Christian but doesn't live like one) is vital for a pure relationship. 
Second, we told each other that we would put God first in the relationship instead of each other. We then got on the same page as far as once we did meet, what we would do physically. Now, here comes the tricky part, because you have to decide what you will do to keep your relationship pure. For us, we stayed where people were, held hands, but never kissed. Actually, my husband never told me he loved me until he asked me to marry him, and we never kissed until our wedding day. This is what we did, and once we set up those guidelines for ourselves it lifted the burden of knowing whether or not we were going too far. It allowed trust to be built between each other. Since we often skyped while we were alone, knowing each others heart and intentions made it where we never ventured into the 'unknown' (you know, the after marriage stuff) or 'too far' category.

I said all that to say, you have to read the Bible, you have to set the guidelines with yourself and with your significant other. You both need to be in the Word. Because it doesn't matter how many conferences you go to, or books you read, your heart needs to be in the right place. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wisdom From my Mom

Mother's Day is this Sunday, and I thought I would share some wisdom my mom has taught me over the years that I hope to use with my own little boy. Also as a youth pastor's wife who deals with teenagers/kids a lot I see just how important some of her wisdom is when it comes to parenting!
Note: I am in no way trying to tell you I have parenting figured out (because, I really don't have a clue!), nor am I saying I was raised perfectly. These are some things that I feel that my mom got right, and I believe she has done her very best.

Mom First, Friend Second

I am guessing this must be a hard thing to do, but I am so thankful that my mom used this motto with us. So many parents today want to be buddies with their kids instead of dealing with their behavior and being their mom. Because my mom didn't put up with some 'rebellious' actions of mine as a 13 year old, she and I have a great relationship today. She disciplined me then, so we could be friends as adults. I pray I do the same with my little one. I don't want to 'talk down' to him, but I also don't want to allow him to do wrong things because I just don't want to hurt his feelings.

Never Talk Bad About Your Kids in Front of Them

My mom would shake her head every time she heard a mother say things like 'He/She's impossible.' 'I can't wait until school starts again.', 'They just drive me insane!', etc. Mom always said that of course kids are going to act badly if that's all that's expected of them! Not saying you won't have challenging kids (I know I was a bit of one!), but my mom felt that tearing your kids down wasn't the answer, love and discipline was.

Teach Your Kids That Learning About God is a Pleasure, Not a Chore!

To be honest, this is not something I ever remember mom saying out loud, but she instilled in us a love for learning about God. To this day I enjoy discussing scripture and doctrine with people because my mom made Bible study not only a habit, but a joy. We would gather as a family about 3 times a day to either read Proverbs, a chapter we were doing for our Bible curriculum, and then in the evening before we went to bed. We didn't just listen to her read, but we got to take turns, listen to it being read by actors on CD, or sometimes just discuss what we read.

Lead by Example

Sometimes parents come to my husband and I and wonder why their kids are doing things that aren't right, when they themselves aren't living the life they should. You see, I knew that before (or maybe a little after) I got up in the morning my mom had Bible study and prayer. I knew this because we would sometimes catch her in the act. She didn't just expect us to spend time in the Word, she did herself! She was always willing to volunteer at the church, made sure that when we cleaned the church we did it out of love for the Lord not just for people's praise, or for money we made. You could tell she lived this out, because she would always think of extra things she could do to make it cleaner, more organized, etc. She also took on the church's youth even though she isn't being paid a dime.  I clearly saw by example, and I have to say that makes me a bit intimidated thinking that I am going to be under my own child's watchful eyes just as I watched my mom to see if she would 'walk the walk'.

Thank you mom, for being my mom first, and now my friend, for never talking bad about me in front of others, and never making me feel like you didn't want me around. Thank you for helping me develop a love for God, and showing me, not just telling me, when it came to doing things for God. I love you, Mom!

Feel free to comment nuggets of wisdom your own mother shared, or showed you!

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