Sunday, April 17, 2011


When I was young, my Mother always said that it was important to remain pure until I was married. But she left it there. She never explained to me the benefits both physically, mentally and spiritually of entering a marriage pure. And because I never truly understood it, the idea  was never mine, I never Owned the belief, I just heard it, it never became a part of me...and so as I grew older.....well you know.

   So one day, a few years after I had a child of my own, a lady from my church had a class on Courtship and I had not ever heard of courtship so I went. And it was the answer that I wish I had been given when I was young. But saying that, the way courtship was presented to me that day are not the exact courtship principals that I teach to my children. I modified it to meet the needs that I had when I was young, knowing that my past and the lady who presented her version of courtship's past were as different as night and day. I knew I needed to go a little deeper when reaching my children because I was sure that wild blood was hereditary. What I didn't know then was that sin was what was really hereditary. So for the next few posts I will explain Courtship by Sunshine.

What courtship is, is very important to understand. You have to understand that it is a way of life, a standard of belief, a set of principals, a map to a marriage. It points toward the marital relationship not away from it. It is not a set of Do Nots, but a list of Do's. There are plenty of do nots but there are equally alot of do's. It is the path toward a relationship that will be safe and kind to both of the young people involved. But it is also something that the parents have to commit to teaching because this is something that must be taught regularly, not just once and then never spoken of again. It has to become the child's belief or it will not work and may instill rebellion. And it is never to something that is spoken of in self righteousness or pride. It is too volatile a subject for someone to have pride in. Courtship is humbling in that you find your weaknesses exposed to yourself and family. This can separate or bond a family.

  One thing that I learned while mentoring young girls and men for several years in our church was that even the kids who claim to belong to Christ, still were drawn to immodest dress and relationships that were not good for them at an early age. Now being from original sin with a sin nature (and I know that will set some people off who don't believe that) this I found to be natural and not something to shame the kids with. Because when you are young you may not have a firm hold on your feelings and unless you are Martin Luther or James Dobson, who claimed salvation at age 3, this is understandable. As adults and parents in these kids life it is our responsibility to help them talk to us and that takes trust. Trust is established I have found by not showing shock or disapointment when we are confided in. Also do not judge others harshly in front of our kids. If they hear you judging and being mean about someone's failures they surely are not going to trust their sins to you for fear that you will treat them the same. So prepare your relationship with your child before you broach the subject of courtship with them. Make sure that you are able to talk with them. Let them know that you want to share something that is for their good. Because that is the truth. Staying pure is beneficial to your child heath and future marriage. You have to be able to broach this subject with them in a gentle and a loving way. Or they won't listen to you just to spite you. They will regret it but some kids will spite you to prove a point and most of the time it is the kids of the self righteous people who have children that rebel.

 Smile at your child every day 10 times a day for 2 weeks before you begin teaching them about courtship.

First, after you do the 2 week smile, you need to to find a quiet time that you know you will not be disturbed for at 30 minutes.  Really I would spend no longer  on this that amount of time. And you should do it at least by age 10. I have actually been speaking to my 8 yr old since she was 5, but in very limited terms. She really doesn't know what it means but knows that she is going to do Courtship for her marriage. She knows that it means no boyfriends at all and that when she does get a boyfriend it will be toward marriage.

That is the next step, talking about relationships with very young and not so young kids. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Death of a Friend

Steve was my husband's friend. I met him during the first year of our marriage 23 years ago. He had the same birth date as my husband exactly 10 years older than him. Back then, we all drank very heavily and did a lot of boating and outdoor playing. Over the years we all stuck together as people died from accidents and families lost parents (me) and babies were born. Steve loved our kids and treated them like his own as did his wife. She was devoted to Steve and their only son was the light of their life. 10 years ago his kidneys failed and he was put on the transplant list. I remember thinking , we should have been more careful and said something when he was downing Advils like candy to counteract every pain from his working on cranes to hangovers. He would eat 8 at a time. But being young and not really experienced in spotting things like that we didn't. But we felt the guilt as a collective group of friends when this happened and we stayed close to him during that time before the blessed day of a kidney was found. We had almost lost him many times the 2 years he waited for that call.

Steve used to come by the house sometimes and if my husband wasn't home he would say "let's go get a margarita while we wait for the old man". And he would take me and my young son out to get one. He was always honorable and a gentleman. A good friend to my husband. When my husband and I separated (which was at least every year), he always treated me the same. Never taking sides, always saying that nobody is perfect.

I became saved during the time that he was waiting for a kidney. He would call me all the time to tell me to pray for him, since God was my friend now. He would ask for specific things and sometimes just a general prayer when he didn't want to elaborate. For years he would call me and and ask me to pray for him. And not to tell anyone. I didn't tell and I did pray. I also told him how to have the privilege of going before the Lord without shame. I told him the Gospel.

After his transplant I didn't see much of him, he started partying again and went back to work. He got his life back. It was wonderful. And occasionally he would call me and ask me to pray. Out of the blue. But it was like we had just seen each other an hour before. I think that is true friendship. You can not talk for ages, but when you see each other, it is like you just walked out the door a minute ago.

I heard about a year ago his kidney failed. His body rejected it and he had to go back on dialysis again daily. How horrible. It was so sad but everyone was optimistic because he had rebounded so well before and they had high hopes of another match. But he got weaker alot faster this time and last night his heart failed him. It had worked too hard.

I don't know if he ever accepted Christ. I haven't seen or had an  opportunity to talk with him in a long time. I do know that he did not call me at all this year to pray for him. That gives me hope that he was able to pray for himself.

My husband is devastated, missing his friend that he saw and talked to often. He had been planning on going by today and taking him to the races. He went alone, with red eyes from crying.  And I wonder  if he will wonder where Steve is spending eternity and then think about where he w.