Monday, March 7, 2011

Still Here!

My goodness.  I can't believe it's already been three weeks since my last post!  I'm so sorry for leaving you all without notice like that. As you probably guessed, blogging just hasn't been on my list of priorities these past couple of months... :-)

  First off, I thought I would let you all know that my dad is doing much better this year than he was this time last year. Praise the Lord! He's now had a total of four Tysabri treatments (once every four weeks) and each time he seems to do a little better. He hasn't had an exacerbation since the beginning of last November, which is a HUGE blessing from the Lord. His main trouble right now would probably be with his memory/his ability to remember things when he needs to. As far as motor skills go, he is doing extremely well. Sometimes I forget just how far he's come in the last few months. To think about how differently things were last summer-fall honestly gives me the chills. I could never thank God enough for faithfully sustaining my Daddy and my family during that time. :)

Psalm 145

"I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, LORD;
your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might, so that all
people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through
all generations.

The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
The LORD upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever."

Laughing w/ Dad and being silly on my 18th birthday. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day ♥ with a Purpose

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

1 John 4:7-12

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  
Romans 8:28

Monday, January 24, 2011

Concerning Courtship...

1. Parents raise daughters to be maidens of virtue and sons to be Godly spiritual leaders in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
2. Daughters and sons vow to remain pure in spirit, mind and body all their lives.
3. Daughters and sons trust the Lord to bring their future mate into their lives at just the right moment. Therefore, they have no need to look for their mate before they are in the season of life when they are prepared to be married, but instead pray throughout their childhood and single years for their future mate.

1. Young man feels led by the Holy Spirit to ask the father of a young maiden of virtue who has "caught his eye" if he can have permission to court her after first having asked his own father's permission (to be certain that he is in the season of life when he is prepared to be married).
2. If the girl's father feels that the young lady is in the season of life where she is prepared to be married, and if he feels that the young man might be worthy of his daughter's hand in marriage, he tells the young man that he will need to answer a lot of questions first.  (If one of these two aren't true, then the father lets the potential suitor know and the courtship ends before it ever begins.)  
3. Young man says, "Yes sir! Whatever you say, sir!" and then answers the questions  prayerfully and honestly.  We feel it is best to provide the questions in writing so that the young man has the opportunity to pray and really think about the answers.
4. Once the father is satisfied that the young man is suitable and daughter is ready, he asks daughter if she is willing to be courted by this young man.  If she isn't, then the father communicates this to the potential suitor for her.  (Remember, he is her protector.)
5. If daughter says yes, then the father gives permission to the young man.  It is completely appropriate if the daughter has more questions to be answered before committing to the courtship.  The courtship itself is quite serious because you only go into it with marriage in mind.
6. The father, mother and daughter agree on courtship guidelines and asks if the young man is willing to go by those guidelines -- such as what is and is not acceptable like holding hands or not, being alone or not, etc. (In our case we chose to do niether.)
7. The daughter and the young man spend time together in the presence of their families and also with their families in order for everyone to get to know each other completely.
8. The young man leads the daughter in Bible study and prayer throughout courtship so that they may begin to grow into one spiritually.  (A word of caution:  if the young man is not spiritually mature enough to lead in Bible study, then he should not even be considered as a potential suitor.  However, if the girl's father sees enough potential in him, he could invest time in discipling and training this young man before turning him away completely.  Even if he doesn't see him as a potential suitor for his daughter, he could still disciple and train him for the Lord.)
9. The young man and daughter continually pray for wisdom and guidance as they hopefully become close friends but do their best to not become emotionally attached until everyone involved is sure that this relationship is the Lord's will for their lives.  This will be different for each couple.  The fathers and mothers need to pay close attention and help guide the sons and daughters.  The fathers are still in charge at this point and have the final say-so on everything.  
10. Once the young man feels led to ask for the daughter's hand in marriage, he first asks permission from his own father because his father should know more about whether he is ready for marriage. Once given permission, he then asks the father of the daughter for permission to ask her. Once given permission to ask, he asks the daughter to marry him. Engagement or betrothal follows. Times of courtship and engagement are different for everyone. It's more about God's will and direction and the couple's preparedness than a particular time frame...
During courtship they focus on spiritual matters but abstain from being physical and do their best to abstain from a deep emotional attachment. During engagement they can begin focusing on a deep emotional attachment as well as other important plans for their future life together. After marriage is obviously when the physical attachment enters into the relationship.
Of course courtship and engagement are different for everyone. Sometimes parents won't participate and it's just the young couple's decision to court on their own. Also, each father and each couple set different guidelines according to their desires, beliefs and situations. These guidelines are based more on what we have felt led to do.
The season of courtship is a time for deepening the courting couple's friendship and for focusing on becoming one spiritually.  A few ways to do so might be to read and study God's word together, pray together, share testimonies with each other of what God has done/is doing in your life, ask each other questions in order to learn more about the other person (such as their life growing up, their thoughts and beliefs, their favorite activities, interests, etc.), spend lots of time with each other's families... Okay, I think you get the idea! 

Also, one of the most important things to realize is that every courtship is different.  There are no "rights" and no "wrongs".  It's less about do's and don'ts and much more about honoring our Father in heaven.  As long as the young man and young lady and both of their families make Jesus Christ the number one priority in all these things, that is what truly matters.  The bottom line is: Who are you striving to please and to serve?  Yourself?  Your peers?  Or is the purpose of your relationship to please the Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of heaven and earth?   The answer to this question is what truly makes a pivotal difference!

"Choose this day whom you will serve. 
... But as for me and my house,
we will serve the LORD!"

Joshua 24:15

Have a very blessed week, everyone! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Choosing Courtship


My family was introduced to the idea of courtship quite a few years ago through the stories and testimonies of other Christian couples.  During that time we all agreed it was definitely the route to go and through the years found several good resources concerning the topic.  Some of my favorite books include I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris along with his other book Boy Meets Girl (Say Hello to Courtship) and Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally.  On my 13th birthday I made the committment to remain physically, emotionally, and spiritually pure not only for my future husband, but for my parents and most importantly for my Lord Jesus Christ.  As a teenager I always knew I would never have a "boyfriend".  Rather, I would wait until the season of life when I was ready to be married before any kind of relationship would ever begin. On my 16th birthday I decided to have dinner with my parents in order to spend that time further discussing what all we believed exactly in regards to courtship.  It was at that time that I made the committment to steadfastly pray for my future husband, with the realization that God intends for a prospective wife of noble character to bring her husband good, not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:12)  Since then I have remained content in fulfilling the callings God has placed on my life by serving my family at home.  I've always known and trusted that if it was the Lord's will for me to someday marry, then He alone would be responsible for writing my love story.  This was something I determined to leave in His hands in order to avoid involving my own self at all.  I even prayed for Him to make me completely "oblivious" and "unaware" of the young man who would someday become my husband until just the appropriate time.  I didn't want to deal with the struggles of fantasizing over 'every Godly guy' that came my way prior to that, and it was important to me that my love not be awakened until it so desired. (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, 8:4)  In other words, it's been my prayer that the Lord would keep my heart guarded and that He would prevent me from ever prematurely romanticizing in any kind of way.  ...And that prayer still stands today! ;-)

"Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."
Song of Solomon 8:4

Friday, December 31, 2010

Eighteen Candles... and a Happy New Year!

Yes, today is my eighteenth birthday!
And it really is hard to believe. Where did all the time go?

This morning my mom and I drove to our local DPS office so that I could take my driving test with the prospect of finally obtaining my drivers license.  I have to admit I was a tad nervous; mostly because I'm not a consistent parallel parker. *nervous chuckle*  I was so afraid I would fail that part of the test. SoOo... I prayed a lot!  And guess what? 

***  I passed!!! ***

I have to give all the credit to the Lord for supplying me with the wisdom and guidance that I needed.  He is so faithful and I am just jumping for joy inside.  Left to myself, there's no way I would've walked out of that office today with a license in hand.  But -- praise God -- I'm now a licensed driver!  Eep! 

This is just an added blessing to the many I've experienced this past year.  I can't thank God enough for walking with my family through these last 365 days. 

People, let me just tell you,

Without His hand of providence leading and guiding, protecting and sustaining, nurturing and holding us up this past year... I don't know where my family would be.  I am truly in awe of his awesomeness right now.  And that's what I love about this time of year: the opportunity it gives me to really reflect on all God has done in my life.

Elisabeth Elliot speaking of Amy Carmichael

"The preoccupations of
seventeen-year-old girls
-- their looks, their clothes, their social life -- do
not change much from generation to generation. But in 
every generation
there seem to be a few who make other choices. 
Amy was one of the few." 

...And I pray I was too.

Now, as an eighteen-year-old, I look forward to continuing to live out my life to the glory of my precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  He is certainly worthy. :)

I pray you all have a supernaturally blessed new year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
{Isaiah 9:6}

I pray you all have a very blessed day as you
celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!


Friday, December 24, 2010

This Christmas Eve...

My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.

 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.

Luke 1:46:55

I find myself feeling the same way I imagine Mary felt when she first spoke these words.  In many ways this passage says exactly what I'd like to say as the year comes to an end and we celebrate the birth of our Savior!  God has been so good to my family, and I'm so thankful for his constant protection and provision.  Only He knows exactly what each year will bring, and this one has had its fill of surprises for sure. ;-)  Needless to say, He is faithful and has sustained us through it all. 


Blessed be the Lord, God of heaven and earth, who has done great things for me!
Holy is his name.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Littlest Sis . . .

Who isn't so little anymore!

Dear Samantha,  It's hard to believe we're celebrating your 12th birthday!  It's at times like these when I'm reminded of all the memories we've made together, and just how precious of a gift you are.  My life has been so richly blessed because of you.  And I mean that with all of my heart.  I love you.  And I pray God's best for you each day! Remember to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness... 

Happy birthday, little Sis!

Love Always,
your forever...