It's no secret that I love to read. I am constantly downloading free or almost free books onto my Kindle. Anytime I can get a few quiet minutes, I read. Whenever I'm dealing with an issue or struggle, I read. Whenever I need clarity or guidance, I read. And whenever I find a book that I really like, I want to share it with others.
Yesterday while I was doing some research on dating and purity, I came across a book called "Dating Like Airplanes" by Caleb Breakey. I know it's a very weird title but as I read the description of the book, I was intrigued. Here's what it said:
It's no secret...
Flying in love? I had never heard that before. As the mom of 3 teenagers and a pre-teen, we have lots of discussions about dating and courting and purity. So when I read the fist chapter, I knew this was a book that my teenagers needed to read.
If you're the parent of a teenager and want them to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex, I highly recommend this book.
Here is a small excerpt from the first chapter that I think gives a great overview:
Falling in love is exhilarating-the rush of jumping off the ledge, the ecstasy of plunging into wide-open space- but it inevitably ends in broken bones. Not only your own, but also the bones of the one who has fallen with you.
I'm excited to read this book with my teenagers this summer and pray that they choose to fly above the brokenness instead of falling in love.
He was only here for 6 weeks, but it felt like we had known him forever. We welcomed him into our home to provide a bed and a roof over his head. We did it so he could save money to send home to support his family. We had no clue how much we would grow to love him in such a short time.
He was a big brother to our kids and a son to Rich and me. He became part of our family. We laughed together. We watched movies together. We cheered him on with the same passion as we would our own kids. We missed him when he was on long road trips.
Maybe that's why the news of him being released from the team today was so difficult to process. Maybe that's why my heart sank and I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.
As a mom, when your children hurt you hurt right along with them. You want to be there for them to help them understand the difficult times. But what if you can't find any answers that make sense? How do you make sense of how cold the business of baseball really is?
To Mateo, baseball is much more than a game. It is his livelihood. It is how he provides for his wife and children. It's what he's done since he was 17 years old.
Tonight instead of a ride home from the stadium, we gave our son Mateo a ride to the bus station. Saying goodbye and leaving him there was the most difficult thing that I've had to do in a very long time. I don't know what the future holds for him but I do know that no matter where he goes he will always be one of our kids.
For now his bed will remain empty. If God so chooses, we will open our home again to more sons in the future. Sons that we will welcome into our home and our family. Sons that we will cheer for passionately. Sons that we will love with the love of Christ.
I am so thankful for the blessings that God brought to our family through Mateo. He wrote us a note thanking us for loving him and for bringing him into our home. He said that he liked that our family was so happy. He finished the note by saying "Never stop smiling".
So in honor of our son Mateo we will keep smiling through the pain of missing him.
There are so many qualities that make a mom special. They love unconditionally. They serve tirelessly. They teach us how to do everything in life from talking to crawling to walking to reading to cooking to cleaning to driving. They help us mend our hearts when they're broken. They help us understand that love is about giving not taking.
They spend time on their knees praying for strength and wisdom to do this mom thing well. I was blessed with a praying mom. I remember seeing her many mornings at the breakfast table with her Bible open asking God to help her through another day. I am thankful that she spent so many years praying for me. She prayed for me during the good times and the rebellious times.
Her steadfast prayer and love for me were such a great example of what a mom can do through all the seasons of motherhood. I learned that anytime there is a need or a worry or a fear or a disappointment, you gotta take it to God. He hears the cries of a mother's heart when she is praying for victory in the life of her children.
So mom, I thank you for praying for me, especially during those times in my life when I didn't think I needed to listen to you or God or anyone else. Thank you for continuing to pray for me as I pray for strength to raise my own children. My hope is that they will one day understand the blessing of praying moms, aunts and grandmas.
This video is just a small way of saying Thank You for being a big part of that blessing in my life.
As a mom, I'm constantly having conversations with my kids about their behavior and actions and how it all stems from their heart. When I pray for my kids, it usually has something to do with God changing or softening their hearts that have become hardened in some way or the other.
With my oldest soon graduating and heading to college, we've been having lots of discussions about wearing a "Christian Mask" and the dangers that come with that. Unfortunately I have lots of personal experience with wearing the "Christian Mask".
I grew up in a loving Christian home. I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. I even went to a Christian school. I obeyed my parents, for the most part. I respected my elders and I never got into any real trouble. I knew how to follow the checklist of being a Christian but I didn't have a solid faith that was my own. I did what pleased those around me.
Being a good Christian girl made my parents happy and my teachers happy and so that made me happy. Now of course I wasn't a fan of my parents strict rules but I followed them because I didn't want them to be unhappy with me.
Many of the churches that we attended growing up were very legalistic. Christianity was a list of rules to follow. Don't wear pants. Only listen to hymns. No drums or bass guitar in church. No dancing. No movies. No leaving church during a sermon to go to the bathroom. No leaving during a sermon to go take care of your screaming baby brother in the nursery. (Those last two actually happened to me when I was about 9 years old and I remember the details like it was yesterday) Be sure to read your Bible for 10 minutes every morning. Pray before every meal. I could go on and on.
I didn't see it as a wonderful, joyful, passionate relationship with a Savior. I saw it as a way to make people like me. So when I went on to a Christian college, I met lots of others who were wearing their own masks. Here we were...a couple thousand teenagers away from home living with our new best friends. We had a curfew but beyond that we had the freedom to spend our days however we chose!! We could go to class or not. We could eat breakfast for dinner or dessert for lunch. There were very few rules and for me, following those few rules was quite easy.
I coasted through my freshman year. Went to church on campus on Sunday mornings, went to class, hung out with my friends, worked and went to some amazing Christian concerts. My mask was well intact and it stayed that way until my junior year of college. That year I questioned all the rules and then threw them out the window. I was determined to take advantage of my freedom to do my own thing and find my own way. I only wore my mask when I was around a few specific people like my parents and some college friends who truly loved God and desired to serve him.
Over the next 3 years, I partied a lot. I drank a lot. Went to clubs. I was involved in several physical relationships that led to me giving away my virginity and ultimately getting pregnant. How did the good Christian girl make so many wrong choices? I mean she was in a Christian bubble her whole life and she was even at a Christian college.
I'll tell you why....I never made my faith my own. I just piggybacked off of my parent's faith. I didn't passionately surrender my life to Christ. I didn't immerse myself in the study of God's Word. I played the "Christian" game. I made sure that all of my outward actions looked Christian enough. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I left for college and I could be on my own. I figured I could get serious about my faith while I was in college. But what I found was that there were so many teenagers just like me. So many that had spent years just going through the motions of the Christian life.
We were like houses built on the sand or like trees with no roots. We were easily swayed and knocked down. We did not have the tools to withstand the temptations. We had no clue why we believed what we said we believed.
My reason for sharing this is that I want every Christian teenager to take a real hard look at their heart. What does it look like? Is it fully surrendered to God? Or do you just have a little Jesus in it to get by until you leave home?
Do you love the Word of God? Do you love reading and studying the Word of God? If you don't thirst for the Word of God then you need to find out why. If you don't have an aching desire to draw closer to God then you're going to be easily pulled away from Him.
What about your boyfriend/girlfriend relationships? Do you both put God first before the relationship? Do you obey the Christian rule of "No Sex" but think that anything else is okay? That's a dangerous place to be. You're playing with fire and you will get burned.
As parents, we have no guarantees that our children will stand strong in their faith when they leave our homes. But I can guarantee you that it will be much more difficult for them if they don't know what they believe and why they believe it before they leave your home. This world is twisted and cruel and dangerous. It is ruled by the devil and he will devour them if they're not ready and prepared to withstand temptations.
I am a not perfect mom and I've made my share of mistakes. But the one thing that I am determined to do is to impress upon my children the importance of having a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A relationship that impacts every part of their lives. Not just where they spend their Sundays and Wednesdays.
Make today the day that you take off the mask and get real about your relationship with Jesus.
This morning in church we sang the song "Christ is Enough" . The chorus goes like this:
Christ is enough for me
Christ is enough for me
Everything I need is in You
Everything I need
As I sang that song this morning, I realized that I could truly sing those words and mean them. Those words are so true for my life right now.
As I stood there in the pew by myself, I didn't feel lonely. I had such peace and gratefulness for God's presence.
As I thought about being at the Women of Faith conference this weekend by myself, I thanked God for using the speakers to encourage and challenge me.
I've spent many years of my adult life, looking to other people to be my "everything". My disease to please has wreaked so much havoc on my spirit and emotional state.
I've based my joy on the amount in the bank account or the relationships with my children. I've looked to my husband's words and actions to determine my worth and value. I've looked to friends or co-workers to affirm my calling. I've looked to extended family for approval in many areas of my life.
But by the grace of God, He has become my Everything!!! Over the past few years, He has been stretching me and growing me. He has been showing me over and over that my value comes from my position as a daughter of the One True King. My joy comes from knowing that God loves me with an everlasting love that never increases or decreases. He has great plans for me and has placed me where I am for His purpose and plan.
The verses of the song say this:
Christ is my reward
And all of my devotion
Now there's nothing in this world
That could ever satisfy
Christ my all in all
The joy of my salvation
And this hope will never fail
Heaven is our home
There is NOTHING in this world that will ever satisfy my longings and my needs. There is no job or friendship or relationship that can "complete me". Only in Christ am I made whole and complete. I don't need the approval or affirmation of others to make me happy and content. There is only one person that I need to look to for fulfillment and satisfaction.
There is only one who I am to look to as my Savior and my God. He is my hope and joy. He will never fail me....EVER.
I can say with confidence that today, Christ is enough for me.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.