Online Dating

God does not leave things a mystery when we are constantly petitioning Him about our children I have learned this again and again

Recently we dropped our son off at the airport, he was heading to England.  He started on a journey a year and half ago that culminated in him flying to another continent and country.  There are so many thoughts and feelings that go with this adventure as his parent.  Parenting adults as you will hear me say often is so full of ups and downs.2017-01-16-15-44-45  Sometimes God is using them in such amazing ways and doing such amazing things. They are making choices that make you stand back and say oh wow that is my child. Then there are other times when you are asking yourself “Wait what? Where is that coming from?” In this case six months ago we learned that our son had a relationship with a girl he had met online.  Now let me be clear there are many types of online relationships and I will speak to others in a later post but for now this was a regular girl he had met while in a book discussion forum on a website.

God does not leave things a mystery when we are constantly petitioning Him about our children I have learned this again and again.  This was made clear again in this situation as well. God allowed us to be in the dark about our son as long as He wanted and then He brought it to light.  Our son left up a Skype ID we were unfamiliar with and the story unfolded.  There are so many clues the Spirit gives about  where a heart is at if you are seeking Him. I think often times  in these situations where a hidden aspect of our child comes to light, we can be either hurt or use something like this to bring some legal point home that has nothing to do with the path God has for that particular child.  I found both of these to be true with my first child, poor girl.  We can get so caught up in what we think is the overall right choice in a decision our child makes. Our son’s demeanor was not angry or defensive about our finding out about the girl, he was just not sure how we would feel. Essentially he had not told us because he thought we would not approve of the online aspect of their relationship.

I don’t think before this I could have articulated how I felt about this as I had nothing to go on prior to this occurring, but on discussing this with him I really had a peace about it. I felt like the Spirit was telling me to be open.  We spoke to her that first night and she was so sweet.  We have spoken to her several times over the last 6 months and she is a sweet girl.  I let him know he had a responsibility to go and meet her in person so he booked the tickets he just used.  This has been such an unexpected turn of events and I as always love watching God at work.

I have been watching this open my son back up, he had been hurt by another girl a few years back. It also is getting him to travel and step out in a way I don’t know that he would have prior to this.  I have seen nothing but growth in good ways in him.  So I am excited to see what God has planned for this journey he has embarked on!  The key in these kinds of things especially with our kids, but in everything really is staying open to what God wants to show you not being stuck on what you think should happen.  We all or at least I do, have a tendency to predetermine what we would like to happen, see, or learn in the situations He puts in our life.  I have found that when I define things myself I have a hard time seeing what He is actually doing.

As different family members have approached me it has been from the perspective that I am worried but I cannot go there in my mind.  I cannot let my mind wander down these paths and give power to fear and doubt.  So instead I have just been praying for growth and wisdom.  I have been encouraging my son to look at God and move forward.  It has been so different from how I handled my first just one more reason to have more than one child if you can.

So there you have it my son went off to England to see a girl he has been communicating with for lengthy amounts of time daily for over a year. He was so joyful while he was there, his best self really. This relationship is bringing out his strengths. So while it is unorthodox and we are in unknown territory I am excited to watch God work in this area as well.  Stay tuned and I will keep you posted as to where God leads all of us on this new path.  Stay open and be amazed as God works in your children’s lives and the way He gets their attention.

NF lessons in honesty and expression

I was listening to music the other day with my daughters and they introduced me to a new artist. This has been the way it has been since my kids have grown into teens and adults, I get to hear and experience new music through them which I love.  On this particular day it was a hip hop artist who goes my the name NF.  Now hip hop  is not my first pick but I am not adverse to it if it strikes a cord. It has to be danceable or more importantly the lyrics hit home.  Both were the case with NF, the music was good and the lyrics really hit home.  He is honest and says what he is feeling.  While listening in the car it is easy to pick up and enjoy what he is saying but as I listen around the house and can’t specifically hear the words a tone of anger can come across.  This rubs me wrong as I try to go about my daily tasks and I don’t enjoy it as much.

My daughters have a big joke now about how I don’t like NF because I shy away from it in our day to day when I can’t really tune in with the lyrics as well.  I keep telling them that is not the case at all I love NF and what he is saying. I also love his musical style.  It was funny to me as I sat and talked to one of my daughters who is a big fan and it was somewhat surprising to hear her point of view, although not totally, as I had come to suspect what the Spirit showed me in part that day.  You see this daughter is bright and shiny ,positive, fun loving , and for the most part peacemaking.  She likes to have fun and put a smile on people’s faces.  I couldn’t reconcile how she was connecting with NF.  I on the other hand totally relate to what NF talks about in his songs.  I should in my opinion love his music and want to listen to it all the time yet I struggled.

Then as always when the Spirit is at work a light went on and I began to understand things in a new way.  One of my weaknesses that God has been working on is to look toward what He is doing for good.  I tend to see the bad and the negative outcome in most situations.  For me I am attracted to happy books and happy music, things that highlight the brighter side as I try to look to Him for my sustenance and view point.  Whereas my happy daughter really enjoys the honesty and straightforward way that NF talks about things that are happening while still giving credit, adoration and service to God.  She is not connecting with her own negative experiences and giving them voice and strength she is seeing another side.

I am struck by this as I have taken up blogging or as I have dealt with people throughout my life.  I have so much on my mind I don’t want to drag people down.  The Holy Spirit has been trying to get across to me that He created us each differently with a purpose and this was one of the confirmations He used.  My daughter and people like her enjoy NF and his honesty as do I when I sit and just listen specifically to the lyrics.  I can relate to what he is saying.  I am reminded as I meander through these things the Holy Spirit is putting in front of me that He has specific people He wants to touch by the way I express myself.  Yes He has been transforming me and showing the beauty and freedom of living in His will.  He is showing me to move beyond the gray cloudy world that is my mind at times, but I will never be a sunshine and roses kind of girl and that is okay.

Here you will find me speaking to the freedom I have found in Jesus. Freedom from the gray clouds.  I am not NF and it is not therapy to talk about the clouds and confusion (he is not confused btw).  I am learning as I walk to rejoice in being freed from those thoughts.  As I am writing this blog I am learning to live in love and rejoice in the freedoms each situation brings me, but as I learn that lesson I want to be free from the fear of being myself.  I have tended to try to be too bright and shiny at times.  As this blog has been from God it has not worked to well since that is what He has called me too but this lesson he gave me through NF and my daughter was such a good one to keep me on track with being who I am.  Sharing my journey with parenthood, marriage and life won’t always be sunshine and roses but it will be full of freedom and praise to the one who turns the dark and cloudy to light.

Check him out below he will get you thinking:

Therapy Session by NF

Aging vs. Wisdom

How do you define close minded and what makes it different from standing firm?

ulz8elesybm-lotte-meijer.jpgAre we set in our ways, and closed-minded or someone to turn to and look for wisdom as we age?  I don’t know if that is even the question.  God has given me the opportunity to deal with both the young and the old intimately in my lifetime and I have learned so much.  Is an older person close minded or standing firm? How do we stand firm as we age based on our knowledge and wisdom and still show the love of Christ? There is so much pride wrapped up in all of this on both sides, as always we need to go back to where God calls us. What does He have to say about age and open our hearts to what He wants to show us.

As I have read my bible over the years, verses about aging have crossed my path and being that I had older people in my life that I loved very much they stuck here and there. On being led to write this blog post I sat down to look up the references to age in the bible and while I knew they were there and I could marginally quote a few, the number I encountered was unexpected and so cool really!

Proverbs 16:31

Isaiah 46:4

Job 12:12

Psalm 92:1

Proverbs 23:22

Job 32:7

Psalm 143:5

We are called to honor age. We are called to look to the wisdom of those older than us. Now as I age this seems stupid and self promoting really.  “Listen to me because I am older and God tells you to”, but that is not my heart. I am really listening to the speak around me about people and aging. There is much thought about people being set in their ways or unwilling to change, and looking at my own heart I had to ask, where do I stand? Am I getting more closed as I age? Am I unwilling to listen and change? The Holy Spirit began to point me in a direction as I thought about aging. He asked me questions about why I stood where I did? Why do I take the position I have on certain things? As I answered these questions I began to understand that I don’t stand because I have to be right or because I need someone to do things my way but rather because I have often  been there, done that and I am not doing it again.  I know the path I am on and why I have made certain choices over the years and I don’t need to question or back track. With this in mind the Holy Spirit opens the doors of my mind even more. I had already had a respect for those older than I out of obedience to God. This is what originally led me to listen and as I did to learn amazing things but now He has added a new dimension.

stoneHow do you define close minded and what makes it different from standing firm?  What He brought to mind is close minded is being unwilling to listen.  God created all people, He crafted them especially for a purpose. Everyone has something of value to say. We may not agree with everything a person is saying but still there is something God wants to teach us in what they are saying.  Often times I have found He is teaching me where I actually stand on something or why I think or feel a certain way.  He takes the opportunity to take me into a deeper understanding of something I may have only briefly thought about. I am always so grateful for this and grateful for the different people God has placed in my life. I love going deeper and get a more rooted understanding of why I think and feel the way I do. So even if I disagree I can listen and participate in conversations where I don’t necessarily agree.  Standing firm, He showed me, is knowing who He created me to be and the events and circumstances He has placed in my life that brought me to the point I am in my thoughts and actions.  I have spent time looking at Him and time looking away. I have done things my way and I have done them His way. Year upon year rolls by and I know why I am making a certain choice and why I am not. There is no question. I am not going to turn back so I can seem or feel that I am being open. I have 47 years at this point of choices that brought me to my conclusions about my choices. So with this same view I am now able to see the wisdom of those people He has put in my life. I can seek out these people and listen to their stories and opinions with an open and loving heart.

God has continued over the years to put older people in my life and as He opened the doors of my mind to love people and see what He created in them I began to see a beautiful garden of wisdom before me.  I began to sit and listen to what they had experienced in life, poppy-381589__340the choices they had made and how and why they made them and put them before God.  I was stunned at what I saw. I am learning to ask questions about why they say the things they do or the choices they make, what led them there.  I have been excited to see how even though some approach God very differently then I do they have an amazing faith. I have seen and heard how they have worked through and endured things that I did not really think people faced too much way back when. I have learned that some of their reactive statements came out of fear and by asking clarifying questions when they were saying something caustic or accusatory so much more was revealed about their thought process and why they come to certain conclusions or what made them say something in just that way. What it of course has come back to is the love of Jesus.

When we approach things with the love of Jesus our perspective changes. We are open and listening. We see who God created the person in front of us to be. He reveals some aspect of their heart we need to see in that moment and we He gives us the ability to love them and learn from them. We don’t need to approach age with fear and close the doors of our mind no matter what side of the age door we find ourselves on.

How are we set apart with regards to age? I know what God is sayirise-1503340__340ng about age, we are to honor it. I know He says there is wisdom to be found there and I intend to look and see. I intend to dig deep and know Him more by talking to and listening to the people He puts in front of me.  As I age I intend to love and be open but still  at times I will stand firm because I have come to my conclusions  as I walked this path with God and I know the outcome of certain choices. I will stand firm in love and make my choices based on experience and not pride. I will open my heart to all of God’s creations so I can learn all the lessons He has for me. I will seek wisdom and pursue it.

 

Free from Fear

Where He is, where He leads, there is always light, there is always strength, there is always peace when I open that door

I would love to start this off today telling you I am free from fear. That Jesus has set me free and this is how you get there, but I cannot.  It isn’t because Jesus has not set me free, that is just not true.  I am free I just choose to stay in my jail cell even though I could walk right up and push the door open.

I am comfortable here in my jail cell.  No it is not pleasant, I don’t get treated well and  sometimes bad things happen, but, if I keep quiet, and eat the food I am being given I at least know what to expect for the most part.  Let’s be honest I am in jail, you can picture, it no matter how I draw it, cell-windowit is not good.

We are asked to “Throw off the fear that so easily enslaves us” (prompted by Hebrews 12:1) Why am I not doing that.  I serve the King, The sovereign God of the universe and there is so much out there He is waiting to show me.  Why do I resist?  Why do I shut the door like a child and say no?  What do I gain? Peace? Quiet?  These come to mind, but it is not really like that because it is a jail cell, little vermin are crawling around you, you can hear them even when you cannot see them.  It is hard cold and uncomfortable. You are always being confronted with why you are there. No it is neither peaceful nor quiet.

As He paints this picture while I write, I am seeing it all in a new light.  Several months ago God asked me to write, He asked me to share the journey He has set me on with others. Slowly He has been opening my mind to this and showing me His thoughts and direction.  Last night I read a post by a blog I love One September Day. The post was Brave Steps for a Quiet Heart. It was another step in my journey to freedom from fear.  Here is a mother of ten blogging and this post was Jesus speaking right to me from the honesty of this womans heart.  She spoke of her fears , of being honest, of showing the good and the bad. Everything she wrote about in this post were things the Spirit had already been saying to me.  Her post was confirmation and opened my eyes to the fact that I was not alone, I was not hearing wrong.

This morning I got some rare alone time.  I began my time writing out the things of yesterday and this morning I was thankful for, my blessings, my gifts, as another gifted woman of God (Ann Voskamp) has put it, and Jesus took my hand and walked me down this road.  He showed me the flowers waiting to bloom on the roadside and the beautiful sights I was missing as I sat in my cell or trudged down my road not looking around me.  The birds, as I wrote, were singing a literal chorus in my background I had never heard so many in all my quiet times sitting outside. I looked back at myself sitting in that jail cell and I am thinking “What am I doing? I should open it! I want to open it!” So here 2015-08-13-15-06-28I am writing, opening the door, looking outside.

As I write this post I know not all of them are going to be about me being free but about Christ freeing me.  They will sometimes be about my journey  opening the door, stepping out and looking around . They will sometimes be about my steps to freedom rather than the freedom I know.

Today I started with fear and as I wrote, the words of Jesus washed over and freed me a little more.  I am so thankful to stand in His presence and go in His direction no matter how scary. Where He is, where He leads, there is always light, there is always strength, there is always peace when I open that door. Here is to freedom from fear!

 

An Avenue of Renewal

The passionate feelings we feel in the physical world are but a shadow of what we have with Him.

Marriage for me has been a gift. A main avenue through which the Spirit works to renew and transform my mind.  The parallels that run through marriage and our life with Himsillhoutte-couple run deep.   They are  a training ground of spiritual expression.   Even as I write this I am astounded by a revelation as He opens my mind to a deeper truth of something He has been teaching me for years!

My spouse can never fulfill me the way the Spirit can.  He can never meet my needs at the deepest level the way Jesus can and wants to.  Song of Solomon is expressed the way it is on purpose.  We have turned all our focus on the physical, getting our needs met, making sure we are happy and with people who build us up.  That puts a lot of pressure on us!  I have seen posts and books about an affair proof marriage keeping your man interested in you. Now I don’t want to take away from what some of these wise women are saying, addressing certain weak areas of self focus.  I am speaking of freedom. Freedom in marriage is  a deep abiding reliance on Jesus to meet our needs.  It is a faith often so hard to grasp we are weeping at His feet, but the end of this road is a vision of grandeur. Sometimes the work He is doing isn’t on us, we are just a part of the process and in the end we get to stand in awe.  Casting our care on Him seems so clique but really only in letting go and being free do we see Him and what He is doing in our marriage and in our life.  When we are working so hard in our own power to make things work we can’t see Him.  All we see is the effort we are making and we are looking for the expected response.  This only ever leads to deception and disillusionment.  Gideon watched God work, Moses held up his hands and watched God work, Peter, Paul and the apostles laid their hands and said words. This is not work and human effort. We gain nothing on this road and in our marriage it is no different. This is not a new story or a new way.

So let’s put down our expectations. Let’s be free and look around and see what God is doing. Is your spouse not saying what you need or want to hear right now or some other loved one? Let’s live free to ask why.  I am loved, I am cherished where is this darkness coming from. Should I speak to it? Can I express love in the face of it? So often for me the answer is no. The best I can do is hold tightly to my control and not respond. Let me tell you I fail often! What should I be in prayer about?  So often I can see how my spouse should be handling our relationship differently and what His best behavior is but really the question comes back to me?  This is really between God and I. The spiritual manifests itself in the physical and satan just amps it up makes it bigger than it is.  heavens

So today I am going to take a moment and sit before Jesus and listen to the Spirit.  What does He want me to see? What army is He conquering while I am looking the other way and complaining about what I don’t have? Today I am going to look freedom in the face and see the chains the Spirit wants to break. The chains that are binding me and keeping me back from loving those He has put in my life because I only infinitesimally grasp His love for me.

I am thankful for the reminder I don’t need my spouse to act in a certain way or say certain things. I can love because I am learning more each day how I am loved.  I am thankful as I have been for years that God chose to show His love for me through my spouse and then my children and He continues in so many ways.  I am thankful I am not responsible to live with the spin in my head and to rely on those around me who have their own challenges, I can rest in Jesus. When there is no clear instruction I just rest and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that as I watch Him handle these challenges in my physical realm with my spouse He takes me deeper inside of my relationship with Him where He is healing me and bringing out what He intended when He created me.

Are you challenged in your relationships? Is it hard to hear God? Is your feeling of love coming from those around you and you just are not feeling it right now?  Leave a comment and let me pray for you. This is an ongoing struggle. Let go today and open yourself up to God’s true intent for you? See the you He created.