Thursday, June 30, 2011

This is what I mean...

I just read a very sad blog post.

Immediately it reminded me of my "Praying in a Relationship" post.

If ever faced with similar circumstances, I hope to trust God like this woman of faith:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Babysitting for Eternity

I had a conversation today with a friend about the importance of babysitting. Releasing couples to go out, be alone, strengthen their marriages, and grow in communication. Giving them time to evaluate their lives (Eph. 5:15), their relationships, their parenting, etc.

We talked about how it's a joy and privilege to be able to, as a Single in the local church, directly build into the future church: the next generation. It is all of our responsibility to pass the Gospel onto them- whether they're our kids or not; to be an example and a light. The most direct way I can think of, is this. (Surely there are others.) But when we support marriages, we strengthen the core of the family. The parents can take a breath, gain composure, set their face to what's important: pursuing the Lord and keeping their spouse as their #1 ministry. When that is in line, parenting is far more effective. The Gospel is communicated and demonstrated more clearly. Discipline is more consistent and grace-filled. And hopefully, the result is softer hearts and better soil for the seeds to take root.

The beauty is that we are family: so we can make ourselves at home in other people's houses. Pick up toys, make meals, do dishes, bathe kids, fold laundry, unload the dishwasher, etc. Because we "live life together" its no big deal to lend a helping hand-- just as you would at home.

We talked about how much parents need date nights. How much their kids need them to have date nights. How helpful it is when we volunteer to babysit without being asked.

...and we also talked about the importance of "taking an interest" in your babysitter. It is very easy to accidentally put a single in the "babysitter" category...forgetting they have a soul, and needs, and desire relationships too. At times, there may only be a small difference in your just happen to be seasons apart. But even then: Married couples, please invite your single friends to events even if only married couples are going. Certainly there are times you're not able...but singles still want to hang out with you. Better to be a 3rd, 5th, 7th, or 9th wheel than not be invited to something just because the title "not married yet" is held. It's best to let the one being invited say, "No thanks" instead. (Well. In my opinion.)

And, I told my friend I'd blog about our conversation.
Here ya go, Meghann. Love you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Praying in a Relationship

I began thinking the other day about how I haven't blogged in a while.

"I don't really know what to blog about..." was my first thought. Usually my blog posts have some direct correlation to my life, and while I certainly CAN talk about Josh forever, I'm pretty sure you don't want to read about it.

Then I began to think of all you teen ladies at Christchurch in Newport. About how I want to share in this season with you-- clue you in on things I'm learning or nuggets I've picked up along the way for when you're in perhaps a similar season: This blog post is for you.

Pretend we're sitting in Bob McCan's office with pizza and cans at a typical LIFE meeting. (oh how I miss those!) Pull out your sheet of paper; let's talk.

You know how we hear about how people in relationships are "praying for God's will" all the time. Well...what exactly is that? What does that mean? How do you do that in a relationship? How do you know if a guy is "the one" you're supposed to marry?

You ask yourself: Is his character good enough? Are you attracted to him enough? Will he be faithful to you? Will he be a good provider? Will he love you well? Will he be a good dad?

The "evaluation" questions are endless.

And they are good questions- certainly practicals to consider and get other's observations and counsel on, no doubt.

But I wonder if in only praying through the character of the MAN, we miss hearing from God.

I have attempted to make it common practice at times in my relationships to "set aside" the evaluation part of the relationship in prayer, and instead SEEK THE LORD about His will. Here's what I mean:

I'm a hairstylist. I've heard TONS of stories. Men who've been unfaithful in their marriages. Men who are strong godly leaders and then 10 years into their marriage decide they're not a Christian and leave. Men who die unexpectedly at a young age. I would be a fool to think that "those things couldn't happen to me" no matter how wonderful a man's character might be. I can't know what God has in store.'s possible. My future husband could be unfaithful. We could get to our honeymoon, and he could tell me he's been lying to me about some huge secret that I never could've guessed that affects me dramatically. He could tragically die much sooner than old age. He could have a disease he doesn't know about that we accidentally give to all of our children...and then he could pass away...leaving me with very ill children to provide and care for. Maybe 20 years into our marriage he decides that there's a major part of the Gospel he doesn't see the same as he once did and I'm confused about how to follow him. Maybe just 2 years into it he tells me one night, "I'm not sure what I believe anymore..."

The thing I'm seeking to do in this season of prayer, is hear from the Lord...that EVEN IF one or all of those things took place...could I with confidence, look back and know that I heard from the Lord that I was to marry that man. That it pleased God for me to commit my life to be faithful and serve this soul. When the romantic feelings wax and wane later in life (I hear they do), will I, before the Lord, have peace that I didn't rush into a decision emotionally, but I sought His face...and His will even above my own. Is my love for this man based on GOD'S love for me and not his love for me-- do I believe God is calling me to love this man no matter what he does, who he becomes, what he believes in the future, or what trials we face?

If the answer is "no"...that shouldn't scare us. It's not necessarily a reflection of us...or our willingness to work hard at relationships. The Lord just might simply not be leading us to marry that man.

...because, here's the thing: there's only one man the Lord does lead us to marry. Just one.

This is about me and God. Me trusting my future with HIM. Is HE leading me to this man?

What happens in the future is out of my control. But I know and trust the One who is in control and who has marked all of my days. I just want to do my part to seek HIM in this decision and commitment.

These considerations have helped me pursue what can be a very wonderfully "cloudy" time. I have found great comfort in the faithfulness of God, the power of His promises, the gift of infallible Scripture, and the joy of knowing that "A man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

I pray something in here is of some use to some time.