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The Dating Tightrope part 3: “Prayer and approach”

In post 1 I talked about taking the first step onto the “Dating Tightrope”  and in post 2 I talked about “Finding Balance” while walking the dating tightrope. (All were originally written for “The Whatever Girls” ministry)

Today I want to look at the importance of prayer and how each of our kids required a different approach when having conversations about dating.

  1. Prayer: For years we prayed for our children and the spouses they would have one day.  It was in prayer that we found the wisdom we needed to set the guidelines, and the words for some very intense conversations with our kids.   Prayer gave us peace to step back and give our children space to grow.  Time in prayer for our children is one of the greatest gifts we could give them.  I cannot stress how important it is to pray for them to make healthy choices when you are not there to guide them.  In prayer, I cried out for God to show my kids the next step in their walk, even when I know they really don’t want to listen to the words of their parents.  I hope you are picking up what I am putting down here…. PRAY and PRAY ALWAYS, FOR YOUR KIDS.
  2. Our different approach: No matter how hard we tried to keep things balanced, when speaking to our kids about dating there was a different approach with each of them.  We have to talk to our son differently than we talk to our daughter.
  • With our son, we had to make it clear what our expectations were: how to treat his girlfriend, and how to have respect for her parents and the guidelines they set for their family.  We also spoke to him about how he should treat a girl the same way he would Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 7.59.46 AMdemand a young man should treat his sister.  As I stated in our guidelines (post 2) the girl our son is dating is Jesus’ princess; he needs to treat her like that.  We encouraged him to really think about the woman God has chosen to be his wife; out of respect for her, he should save the special gift of sex for her.  Also, we told him to have respect for the girl he is dating: do not put her in the place of having to tell her husband that she gave the gift, that was meant for him, to someone else.  Now, my husband and I know it takes two to tango but we have tried to raise a son that will be a Godly leader.  We are proud of our son: he would not date his current girlfriend until he talked to her father first.  He met this beautiful young woman during his Jr. year in college and her home town was 6 hours away; he could not just drive over on a whim and ask.   It was the end of Christmas break and he wanted to ask before she came back for school, because they really liked each other and he did not want to disrespect her by starting a relationship without her father’s blessing.  Because of his college lacrosse practices he could not go in person, so he set a Skype-time with her dad. The next weekend, when he had a break in his practices, he drove the 6 hours to her house to officially meet her parents and ask–again–to date her.  He was a broke college student and really could not afford the gas but he knew it was what was expected of him and he knew she deserved that kind of respect.

For years my husband has joked about it being easier with a son, because with a son you are only worried about one p@n!$.  With a daughter, however, you are worried about all p@n!$es.  Yes, that is crude but true. 

  • With our daughter, we taught her to have high expectations of the way she deserves toScreen Shot 2014-05-26 at 7.58.09 AM be treated.  We told her to set the bar high when choosing the young man who wants to date her, to remember she is Jesus’ princess and, as a princess of the king of kings, she should never feel she is unworthy of being treated with respect.  Thankfully, our daughter has a clear picture of how a woman is to be treated because her father treats me with a great amount of love and respect.  Our daughter has made it very clear that to even take her to a dance, a young man must go through her father first.

Our kids are now 21 and 19 and we are faced with a whole new set of challenges and at times it is hard to say, “these are the rules in our home,” when we know that my son has an apartment of his own and our daughter is gone 9 months at college.  We would still rather have our kids here in our home where we could chaperon them but we cannot control that anymore.  Now, more than ever, we rely on PRAYER.

We have been very impressed with some of our kid’s actions; we know they came from the guidelines weWhatever-Girls-Header.png Whatever-Girls-Header.pngWhatever-Girls-Header.pngset years ago and all the talks we had with them.  In my next post I will look at how we are trying to keep our kids balanced on the dating tight rope as adults and have the ability to make choices on their own.

Until next time, don’t forget to pray for your kids and keep the lines of communication open with them.

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My Church Lady “Smile” mask

By Cassie of Cassie’s Corner

As a psychology student in college I learned about masks people wear to protect themselves from other people knowing who they really are or how they really feel. A mask is defined as a covering for all or part of the face, worn to conceal one’s identity, anything that disguises or conceals, and/or any protective covering for the face or head. I am the queen of masks.1460089_10202385674673583_318410895_n

I have a Mommy Mask, Wife Mask, Daughter Mask, Mentor Mask, Servant Mask, Tough Lady Mask and my extra special Church Lady Smile Mask. Each mask serves it’s specific purpose to protect me from those around me knowing my personal war with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

When I began thinking about what to write for this month all I could think about was my Church Lady Smile. Come on now, you know what I’m talking about. The smile on your face you wear on Sunday’s at church whether you realize you do or whether you adorn yourself with it right before you walk in the door. My mask looks confident, happy and sounds cheerful and loving. I place this mask on every time I feel like I am going to emotionally loose it at church.

I am a woman in my mid-thirties that feels like I should still be a college student. I am a wife and a mother and most of the time I feel disqualified to be either. Most Sunday’s are a struggle to get the family to church and present ourselves ‘all put together’ so no one notices that on the way to church the kids were screaming and my husband and I were fighting.

I know that we are not the only family that this happens too, we all have our moments. Each Sunday however, I feel the need to switch gears from being wife and mom to representing the pastor of our church as his assistant. I have to look the part, right? Wrong. I burden myself with so much pressure to look and conduct myself as a professional, friendly, godly and above all else, strong in the faith and emotionally sound. I put on my Church Lady Smile, the one that makes me look like I have conquered the world and I can handle every all at once.

God knows when my Church Lady Smile Mask is super glued on for survival. When I am walking through something, I want to conceal my real feelings and try very hard not show it at church. For some reason, I am not comfortable showing my brother’s and sister’s in Christ that I am secretly vulnerable and emotional. This is exactly the opposite of everything I have ever learned from God’s word.

I need to take off my mask and let myself weep in His presence. I need to ask for pray and let those whom I call family surround me and walk with me. My Church Lady Smile has helped me along my journey so many times that I often don’t even know I am wearing it. I have allowed myself to be conformed to the ways of the world concerning emotions and vulnerability. The world tells us to act strong, be strong, live strong. No one can be strong all the time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 7.05.21 PMPlease take a moment to step back and evaluate your masks, we have all them. Ask a friend, family member, spouse, or significant other if they see you wearing a mask or trying to hide behind a tough exterior. Next, find one or two people who you feel ‘safe’ being vulnerable with. Share with them your exposed heart. Finally, take the mask(s) off and be who you were created to be. Weak or strong, fearful or brave, out spoken or quiet; JUST BE YOU!

To read more of Cassie’s posts go to “Cassie’s Corner”

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Raising Spock

Guest post by Courtney Snailum of the “Passionate Pen”

Two weeks before Christmas, my 9-year-old son asks me, “Mom, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure”, I replied.

“Well,” he began, wringing his hands together and looking down at the floor, “I just wanted to say that at 6:00 am in the dark, I went into your room with the night vision goggles to look at my presents.”

“Oh,” I said, encouraged by his confession. “And how do you feel about that decision now?”

“Well, pretty sad, because they weren’t bright enough and I couldn’t see my presents.”

“Hmmmm, I see. And is not being able to see your presents the only thing you feel bad about?”

“Yep!”10322777_10203703873578610_1280731750506954340_n

Being a parent isn’t easy for anyone. I respect the challenges and situations that every mom and dad have to face when it comes to God’s highest calling, and I would never assume that our difficulties are any more trying than anyone else’s, they’re just different.

Our son, Samuel, has High Functioning Autism (or Aspergers) and parenting him comes with its own set of rules, most of which, we’re still learning.   But much more important than discovering our son’s practical parenting needs has been the lessons that God has taught my heart along the way. It’s learning how, not only to allow God to interrupt our plans, but coming to fall in love with those interruptions.

“’For I know the plans I have for you’ Declares the Lord” – Jeremiah 29:11

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” – Proverbs 16:9

This journey hasn’t been easy, and it’s never going to be easy. Truth be told, there are many days where I just don’t know if we’re going to make it, and all I have left in me to do is cry out to the Lord for help. But trusting the Lord means allowing Him to write our story, even when we think we could have made the plot better, or we don’t see how He is going to tie it all together.

Holding my baby son, I had already written his story according to my desires: Straight A student, football, college, marriage, and grand babies. But God is the sovereign writer. He directs our steps in spite of what we think is best, then creates a masterpiece that is so much more beautiful than anything we could have come up with on our own.

The days of frustration may sometimes outnumber the days of joy, but they definitely don’t outweigh them. As difficult as Aspergers can be, there is also great wonder in discovering the world through Samuel’s eyes.

We have jokingly come to refer to him as Mr. Spock since he views everything through a literal lens, which has also made him a master loop-hole finder. This has caused us really raise the bar with our communication. Not just with Samuel, but with all of our children as a result. He has a gift of memorization and music that takes my breath away, and is always creating outside of the box.

Next year, we will be embarking on the adventure of homeschooling Samuel after having a very difficult time in public school. This decision started out of necessity, as the classroom is no longer a healthy environment for him, but the more I prayed about it, the more I began to see all of the amazing doors that this move is going to open up to him. We’ll be integrating occupational therapy techniques into the curriculum and will have every opportunity in the world to build and develop him in his unique areas of gifting.

And the best part is, we’re not going at it alone.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it’s true. I believe it takes a Church family to raise a child with Aspergers, and we are so blessed to have ours. This is a group of people who have come around my husband and I and prayed with us, supported us, and occasionally taken our children when I just needed to take a walk and gather myself.

1017754_10203643551950607_947508421581739680_nA few weeks ago, Samuel received his first award at the school and we were so blessed to see such a large group from our church show up to cheer him on as the principal called his name.

I don’t know why God chose us to raise Samuel, but I am so thankful. He has an incredible plan for his life and we’re humbled to be given this responsibility. It takes a reliance on the Lord’s strength and careful listening to His voice to know how to tackle each and every challenge, but He has been faithful to give us everything we need to help our son, in the words of Spock, “live long and prosper”.

To read more about Courtney go to the Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom.  I was honored to write about her in one of my first episodes of that series.  Blessings 🙂

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Get your sparkle on

Though my kids are both away at college our home is full of constant reminders that they have lived in our home.  Small silver things that look like sequins have been popping up all over my house these last several weeks.  They are off of my daughter’s sheets and the last time she stayed here they took a major exodus from her sheets into the washer and dryer.  That has led to silver sparkles everywhere.  Anything that has been through the wash photo 1is at risk of getting what I like to call, sparkle-fied.  I have found them on my sheets, the bath mat, my clothes, my suitcase, my husband’s socks and, one day as I looked in the mirror I saw one on my cheek.  Every time I see them I feel in my heart, that God telling me to “get my sparkle on”.

Sparkle? I am pretty sure He is not telling me to go cover myself in sequins and rhinestones.  To sparkle (verb) means to shine brightly, to glitter, glisten, twinkle, and shimmer  A synonym for sparkle is: to be full of life.  As I read the definition of sparkle I began to see that to “get my sparkle on” makes a lot of sense.  I want to be “full of life” for the one who gave His life for me.  I want to sparkle, glitter, glisten twinkle, shimmer, and shine brightly the love of Christ to all those around me.

Zechariah 9:16 says; On that day the LORD their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

I don’t know what day Christ will come to rescue his people.  I can’t predict the day He will come, not even Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 9.28.06 AMChrist Himself to knows the day.  When the father is ready he will send His Son to bring His bride (all those that believe that He died for their sins and who are saved by his blood) home with him .  Like any bride we need to be preparing for the day when he returns so that we are shining and beautiful in his eyes. With that being said, we don’t need to wait until He returns to sparkle like a jewel in his crown, we need to GET OUR SPARKLE ON now!

What are you waiting for?  Sparkle the love of Christ for others to see before it is too late!

Dedicated to my daughter who sparkles brightly for Christ.  Today she is having shoulder surgery so please keep her in your prayers.  Thanks and blessings, The midlife domestic goddess. 

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