Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five MInute Friday...Catch and Release Parenting...

 Today is Five Minute Friday. When I saw this week's word I was amazed at how fitting it is me! Read on and see my take on the word RELEASE...

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Ephesians 5:31

My husband went fishing last weekend and I have heard many fishing stories in the past week. So with that background in mind you will understand where I am going with the word release this week.

Parenting is the ultimate catch and release program. God gives us the perfect "catch", we measure that little one and take pictures proudly displaying our prize. And to us that baby is a prize, the best prize.  We don't have to release right away, but we know one day it is coming!

Years go by, we nurture and love and raise that sweet little "catch" to adulthood. We spend hours praying over and for that child. We spend many sleepless hours rocking and cuddling him back to sleep. We play games of catch in the backyard, we build numerous forts, we answer about a million and one questions that start with the word why.

Then comes the day, the day we have to release our catch. Last week my husband had to throw back anything over 19.5 inches. So, on Saturday, we will release our final catch, our son is over 19 and God has given us peace that it is time to release him. We aren't throwing him back though, we are releasing him to adulthood. At 6:21 pm our son will be standing at the end of an aisle watching his beautiful bride walking towards him to become his wife. This for parents is the ultimate release.

My emotions are unsteady this week. My heart is full, so full in fact that it is leaking out of my eyes. Release my son, am I ready? From the moment God gives us our children we know this day is coming, but is it possible to prepare the heart for the emotions of release? I'll get back to you on how that goes!

Friday, June 6, 2014

No answers...just questions. (Five Minute Friday)

Today is Five Minute Friday. A flash mob of sorts; women from all over getting together to write on the same topic, for the same amount of time; but with different results. Today's word is HANDS...

Go... first response if I have my hands. I have scars on them, I chew my nails, my fingers are short and stubby instead of long and slender.

But...then I thought about it.  Does God call me to have beautiful hands? Or does He call me to do beautiful things with my hands?

When I worship...are my fists clenched? Or do I open my hands and raise them up to worship Him?

At home...are my hands idle? Or do I use them to honor God by serving my family?

In the they play the latest game on my phone? Or do I use them to hold God's Word so I can immerse myself in it?

Do my hands reach out to others? Do I greet people with a hand shake, a pat on the back or do I simply keep my hands at my side and distance myself from people?

Do I use my hands to write an encouraging note? Or are my hands more likely to write a discouraging status on Facebook?

Do I use my hands to write out checks to tithe or give beyond that? Or are my hands writing out checks so I can have more stuff?

Are my hands part of the hands and feet of Jesus??

These are the the questions I will be pondering today!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

“Wait, you’re getting married?”

In just 20 short days, my baby boy will be getting married! I asked him to share today his thoughts on one of the most frequently asked questions concerning his wedding. Why get married so young? He and his bride-to-be are just a few months shy of 20, so many people wonder why get married now. I will tell you one thing about my son, he does not do anything compulsively, he is a thinker and a pray-er. As his mother, I have complete peace with his upcoming marriage. Of course that doesn't mean I won't cry at the wedding!! 

Wait, you’re getting married?

That seems to be a question that I have been facing a lot lately. With my wedding coming up in a little over three weeks, a lot of people have been asking me questions along those exact same lines. You see, both myself and my fiancé are 19, we met met a little less than two years ago, and we are both still in college. Some call us crazy, some question our motives, but I stand firm behind my decision to get married and stay married.

Why would I want to get married? I wrestled with this question for a long time as I was preparing to propose to my now fiancé. We had been dating for a little over a year when I decided I wanted to pop the question. But before I even considered talking to her dad to get his blessing, I had to wrestle with my own thoughts first. Getting married before it’s even legal to consume alcohol (neither of us even want to) seems a little hard to grasp for the average couple. Yet, I still came to the conclusion that there was no real reason holding us back from getting married. To come to this conclusion, I had to face the four factors that typically stop a couple from getting married so young.

Level of Maturity

I believe that maturity is something often forgotten when attempting to figure out the reasons for a failed marriage. Couples are not mature or ready to be committed to each other at the level of marriage, but they still pursue marriage. Whether it’s one or both of the people getting married, immaturity can devastate a relationship later on in its Thankfully, I am blessed to be partnered with a very mature woman of God. In fact, one of the first things that I noticed about my bride-to-be is her high level of maturity. We worked together at a summer camp, surrounded by high school and college students going through the process of maturing. In the midst of all the chaos of the so-called freedom, she stood out to me far above the rest. As we grew to know each other, we grew even more in maturity. Challenging one another to “grow up” so to speak. Although we are young, our maturity does not seem to reflect our age (in a good way). I realized that I have been blessed with a mature enough relationship that would endure the trials of marriage.

Financial Situation

One thing that causes my anxiety to peak is the topic of money. The thoughts of student loans, gas bills, insurance costs, monthly rent, and so on continually reassert themselves in my brain. I am a numbers guy that likes to see it when everything works out nicely. Ideally, I would be able to get everything to work out on paper. That doesn’t always work out so well in the real world. As I was pondering getting married, this was the one area that caused me to really think about the possibility of waiting a little while to get married. I didn’t have a steady income or a large amount of savings and I could not go into the commitment of marriage knowing that I wouldn’t be able to provide financial stability for my wife.

Yet, there is one thought that crossed my mind that relieved most of my anxiety in this area. The thought was that it would be a long time before either of us were “financially stable.” In some ways, true financial stability is never fully reached. Whether it’s a lot of money or a little money, there will still be anxiety surrounding the topic. To combat the strain of money, we sat down and discussed our budget. We came to agreements and are now at a place where we may not have much wiggle room, but we are comfortable enough so that we can still enjoy our marriage and thrive.

Strain on a Relationship

Getting married comes with difficulties. That seems to be all that the older and “wiser” couples are telling us. I realize that the strains between a husband and wife are very real and sometimes very difficult to overcome. Yet, those strains didn’t scare me away from pursuing marriage. My fiancé and I have definitely had our fair share of strains. We’ve had late night talks where she needed to cry on my shoulder or I needed to tell her something that was on my mind. We’ve had disagreements. We’ve had tensions. However, none of those have made me love her any less or question our relationship in the slightest. In fact, it is through those strains and trials, that our relationship has grown firm and secure. We will no doubt have an argument or disagreement in our future, but the possibility of strains in a relationship should not take away from the joys of being married. Maybe I’m just an inexperienced dreamer, but I firmly believe that the positive aspects of marriage far outweigh the strains that every married couple faces. So long as we stay mature and understanding through the difficulties, we can not only “make it,” but we can enjoy it.

Making the Commitment

This is perhaps the most common reason that people shy away from getting married at a young age. The thought of being with the same person for 30, 40, or 50+ years is an intimidating notion. Having not even lived for 20 years yet, the marriage that lasts (as all should) will endure for much more than half of the life of anyone getting married at such a young age. In a culture that plans for the now, looking forward 30+ years is intimidating and making that commitment is definitely a scary leap to make. In my mind, marriage is a lifelong commitment. We plan on going through the traditional vows at our wedding because the words in those vows are so powerful. When I say “til death do us part” in a little less than a month, I will mean it with every fiber of my being. I intend on staying committed to my wife through all of life’s triumphs and defeats. Unlike most men, the thought of that commitment does not scare me in the slightest. In fact, it is a very exciting thing to be considering. We are pledging to be together for the rest of our lives and nothing will break that commitment between the two of us. It’s a big commitment to make at such a young age, but I believe it is the right

So, why am I getting married so young?

When people ask me that question now, I have started to answer, “What’s holding me back?” The answer? Nothing. Nothing is holding me back from marrying my soon-to-be wife. Other than a few numbers, I see no difference between the commitment we are making and the commitment that two people getting married at age 30 are making. Despite what people think, we know what we’re getting into. We’re not getting married because we have to or we need to (a.k.a. there isn’t a baby on the way). We are getting married because we want to.

Men are often told that marriage is like being tied to a ball and chain, constantly being weighed down by the relationship. It is seen as difficult to truly “live” once the commitment is made. However, I don’t see marriage like this at all. Sure, there is a bond that is formed between the two getting married, but it’s not getting tied down. Instead, its getting joined together with the person that you love so that you have a partner with which you can go through life. It’s not the end of living, it’s the beginning of
life together. And for that, I couldn’t be more excited.