Saturday, November 29, 2008

Every November...

The siblings at our annual Homemade Pumpkin Pie Night last week, taking crazy pictures (with a camera suspended from the ceiling fan) while the three pies baked.

Learning to Love

I’ve had a day of sweet conversations with dear women (my mom this morning; two of my married friends, Emily and Cassandra, over coffee this afternoon; and two single friends, Tiff and Jayna, at my place late tonight). Our talks had very little to do with guys, but they sparked some thoughts which now become tonight’s blog.

How can we single girls love men sincerely and selflessly--in the midst of a sexually saturated and self-absorbed culture?

Now before you read on, please understand: I am no expert in this area of relationships! In fact, I have more questions than ever before. But I have such a desire to learn how to love my brothers in Christ, how to honor God in the midst of the messiness of relationships, and how to live by principle—and not just passion.

So here are a few things that have either helped me along the way or that I still desperately want to learn:

Pursue: sincere love. (“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” 1 Peter 1:22)

Pray: for your brothers’ purity. (If my struggle as a woman is this intense, I can only imagine what guys are going through!) When you see him take that second glance, shoot up a prayer, “Lord, help him right this minute. Give him strength to fight lust and think on what is pure and lovely and right and true…”

Practice: patience. Wait on God, not on a man. We’ll need to do this for the rest of our lives, as wives and mothers too, and today just gives us another opportunity to set our hope on the Lord and wait for His timing and purposes in our lives. (“He acts for those who wait for Him.” Isaiah 64:4)

Promise: nothing—outside of a relationship. Don’t give all your precious time, energy, emotions, physical affections, and daydreams to a man who isn’t interested in you enough to pursue a relationship with you. If he’s not committing, you shouldn’t either. ("Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23)

Privatize: your parts. Girl, your boobs, legs, and butt do not need to be hanging out for anyone but your man! And then, within your marriage, let it all hang out all the time! ("But among you there must not be even a hint of immorality, or of any kind of impurity." Ephesians 5:3)

Purpose: that Christ will be your first love—whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married. No man can or ever will be God. (Let man be man and God be God!)

Provide: a safe place. From your inward motivations to your outward body language, let yourself be a woman who is beautifully safe for a man to know and be around. Are you prodding him on sexually, or are you encouraging him in the Lord? ("But encourage one that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13)

Preach: truth to yourself. Don’t listen to your emotions; command them! (“The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 “…whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” 1 John 3:20)

Praise: the Lord continually. He gives and He takes away. He is always good, and He knows what He’s doing. And He’s wise enough to not always give us what we think we’ll die without.

Like I said, I am no expert, but boy do I want to learn and live these principles! Wish I could have one more conversation today—with you. I'd love to hear your insights, thoughts, wisdom, feedback…


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wrapped around his little finger....

I mean, really--do they get any cuter than this?

(Okay, so my "niece" Claire--my best friend Christy's li'l girl--is a close runner-up.)

And Tuesday I'm off to the high desert to see two more of my beautiful "nephews" (Mike and Lisa Hamel's darlings). I love children so much, and I'm blessed to be an aunt many times over!

(And even if my future children come out looking like bug-eyed sticks [see picture of me below], I will love them with all my heart. I just wish you friends and family would stop setting such unreachably high standards.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Always keep a sense of humor.

And don't take yourself too seriously.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The power of life and death

Tonight a few Proverbs are faithfully convicting and encouraging me to be careful little tongue, what you say. What I say reveals the condition of my heart, and how I talk about others shows so much of what I believe about God.

If I understand God's forgiveness even in the smallest way, how can I ever criticize or ridicule or talk down about another person?

How can I flatter someone to their face and then turn around to whisper my true feelings behind their back?

How can I share a "prayer request" or "concern" that puts someone else in a bad light?

May my heart be so filled with God's grace and love and truth that my tongue overflows with the same.

"The tongue has the power of life and death." Proverbs 18:21

"He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity." Proverbs 21:23

"A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin." Proverbs 26:28

"Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he hold his tongue." Proverbs 17:28

One of the sweetest gifts I could ever give to a friend is the promise that I will never talk about them in a way that would embarrass, humiliate, criticize, or shame them. If I have a concern, may I always tell them to their face--and not someone else behind their back.

O Lord, guard our mouths. Keep us from words that injure, flatter, and deceive. We are totally incapable of reigning in our tongues, but You love to do the impossible!