Thursday, September 30, 2010

Orlando or bust

After prayer meeting this morning, I'm headed with my LC ladies to Pen-Florida Women's Fall Breakaway in Orlando for the next three days.  It's going to be a great time!  Rita Springer is leading worship for the whole thing.  WHAT COULD BE MORE AMAZING THAN THAT??!!  I am so excited, it's going to be off the hook.

Life has been crazy lately with more of a work pile up than I've had in a long time.  I finished what I needed to before leaving for Orlando, and guess what?  I'm leaving my computer behind!  Yep, really.

As I am not a hobby blogger, I am here daily no matter what. (I'm even thinking of a way to set up blog postings after I have passed on or Jesus has come back.)   As such there will be something here that I've pre-set to publish just for my die hard readers on Friday and Saturday morning.

Would I leave town and not leave you with something?  :::shudders:::  Of course not!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The best dark chocolate cake EVER!!!

This is what I'm making for tonight.  We're having a dessert night in Fusion tonight, and a Q & A session with Larry and I on the subject of courageous parenting!   This cake is TO LIVE FOR!!!  You will LOVE it.  Now, it needs NO ICING.  Please do not frost it, you would ruin it for sure.  (This is a little drizzle of chocolate syrup that's on it in the photo but really it needs nothing.  I have experimented and sprinkled it with powdered sugar before but even that was totally unnecessary.)  It's absolutely PERFECTO by itself just like it is.  One bite and you'll be hooked.  Really, I promise.  It's the most moist, dark, delicious semi-sweet chocolate cake you have EVER had.  Serve it with a side scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Your guests will moan the whole time they are eating it.   I have served this at countless dinners and special occasions.

Dark Chocolate Cake

1 box of devil's food cake mix 
Small box of instant devil's food pudding
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips - semisweet

Mix all ingredients except chips in large mixer bowl.  Beat until well mixed, about 5 minutes.  Mixture will be very thick.  Stir chips in manually.  Grease and flour a bundt pan, very well.  (I use shortening and then flour -- it seems to make the cake come out better when I use shortening.) Spoon mixture into pan.  Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Let cool completely.  Carefully remove from pan.    

Side note: Some have asked if our sessions from the Spice Conference were recorded.  The first two were and are on our church podcast here.  The last two were not due to us having question and answer sessions and respecting the privacy of those asking the questions by not recording.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some photo highlights from
The Spice Conference

All of these photos from the Spice Conference at Celebration were taken courtesy of Lourdes Manners.


Monday, September 27, 2010

The morning after...

Yesterday was such a busy day, I'm E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D, but it's all worth it.

We had a great day at The Spice Conference and so many of the couples thanked us for what was for some a life changing day.  Through times like this I'm reminded that there's nothing quite as great as a marriage that's going right and nothing as painful as one that's  not.  I've been in both situations so I understand things from both perspectives. I'm glad we were able to bring some hope to those who wonder if things can get better.  (Yes!  They can!  We're living proof.)

I'm not sure what happened but as I was going to the Spice Conference dinner last night I came down with either an allergic reaction (sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose while simultaneously not being able to breathe freely) and was pretty much miserable while I was trying to teach and do our Q & A .  I came home and took a warm shower to clear my sinuses and took a few Benadryl's.  I'm hoping it was just an allergic reaction - not a cold.  As the day unfolds we'll's another thing to pray away.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Keepin' it hot and spicy!

Today is the Spice Conference (our Marriage Conference) at Celebration Church.  It kicks off this morning with me teaching, "Thriving Through Incompatibility...being married to your OPPOSITE and doing more than just SURVIVING!!!"  After that my husband and I will tag team in the morning service, a message called, "PARTNERSHIP 101".  This evening we'll have a banquet at the church followed by two more sessions.  It's going to be an exciting day!  I believe it's going to bring change to people's lives and I can't wait to see what God does.  If you live anywhere near Tampa and want to come, c'mon over and join us for the first two sessions (9:30 and 10:30 am).  Reservations are required for the dinner and last two sessions.  To see if there is still availability email Candy Rivera here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My dog has more fruit of the spirit than most Christians...

Max is an amazing "fruit of the spirit" dog.  I often marvel at his character.  I wish I could be more like him in the sense that many days he's a whole lot more like Jesus than me.

Galatians 5:22-23 definitely describes him...

Love - Max is the most loving dog I know - even exceeding Maddie in this department.  I have never known a "sweeter" dog than Max.  He wants to cuddle all day long.  He has to be as close to you as possible.  He  just wants to be near.  Even when you use the restroom, he waits outside the door and lays right up against it until you come out.  Seriously.

Joy - he leaps with joy constantly.  Sometimes too much!  He gets excited if you just leave for 10 minutes and go to the store and come back, he leaps with joy all over again.

Peace - he is a very peaceful dog and I have never known him to start a fight.

Longsuffering - he's the most longsuffering dog I know.  Maddie get aggressive with him sometimes.  Max just takes it most of the time and doesn't injure her.

Kindness - Max is so kind.  Even his eyes are kind.  He just gives a "look" that screams, "I love you!"

Goodness - he struggles a bit with this one - chews up things constantly including chewing Larry's I-phone charger cord to pieces yesterday, and chewing about a 5 inch hole in our leather sofa.  Yeah.  We're working on this one.  I believe at heart he's good but chewing is his weakness.  Some struggle with porn or drugs...or a brownie calling their name....Max chews.

Faithfulness - Max is faithful everyday to be the same sweet natured dog in times good and bad.  Larry and I can be moody and all over the place with our emotions but Max is steady in who he is.  He's loving, kind and faithful whether we're serene or screaming in the house.  It's amazing.

Gentleness - he's got the most gentle eyes and he never does anything real aggressive although he is extremely exciteable he has never been a biter even in play.

Self Control - This is another one we're working on.  Yeah, that chewing thing.  He can't resist a cord or plundering a pillow.  But hey, seven out of nine fruits of the spirit mastered isn't AT ALL bad!

I have so far to go on these Max puts me to shame.  Oh Lord, please help me catch up with Max.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Am I the only one?

My friend Michele often tells me, "you are not alone."  I've been so grateful for her reassurance so many times in my life.

Am I the only one...

Whose children walk in the house and holler, "Mom!  Mom!  Mom!"  throughout the house expecting ME to find THEM rather than them coming to my room or endeavoring to find me?   (Especially frustrating when I'm in the bathroom or laying down taking a nap.)

Who cleans the kitchen before I go to sleep only to wake up to dirty dishes on the counter in the mornings?  Am I the only one who feels depressed about this?

Who gets a pedicure and then dings my big toe on the grocery cart, flicking the polish off?

Who wonders if my house will ever ALL be completely clean AT THE SAME TIME ever again?

Who has potato chips talk to me?

Who will be taping Sister Wives on DVR on Sunday night?  (It's like a bad accident.  We shouldn't look but many of us will check out this bizarreness.  Yes, bizarreness is a proper word.)

Whose kids make a PBJ and then wipe the knife on a kitchen towel?

Who is counting the days until cold weather comes again?  My greatest fantasy right now is being on my back patio with the fireplace lit, toasting smores.  My husband is a little disappointed that this is top on my list of fantasies, but it's hot as all get out in Florida still...I'm just sayin'...

Who LOVES mangoes?

Who doesn't understand anybody's interest in Lady Gaga?

Who is really glad it's Friday?

p.s.  My friend Michele actually writes a blog just for parents of children with behavioral and emotional special  needs.  It's called "Parents You Are Not Alone" and you can find it here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's good for the goose...

 Melissa enlightened us about this in the comment thread from yesterday's post...and I couldn't believe it!  Well, yes,I can.  But still, I ask myself, "Have we not already conquered this mountain?  What year is this?  2010 or 1910?"

The female counterpart for Viagra or Cialis has just been released.  It's a topical OTC product called Zestra, and is evidently getting great reviews from women who are using it.  The issue?  Television and radio execs are refusing to run the commercials for Zestra, although they happen to be much more conservative in verbiage than the ads for Viagra or Cialis.   While  Cialis commercials talk about what to do "if you have an erection lasting more than four hours" the Zestra ad that is very discreet in comparison is banned from the airwaves.  The root of the problem is discomfort with female sexuality and in particular women who take responsibility for their fulfillment very seriously.  

This makes me tired.  [sigh]

So tired I think I might leave now to buy a box of Zestra.  I don't think my husband would complain.  Maybe I'll even find a box in my Christmas stocking or my Easter basket.  Imagine the possibilities. 

In case you missed it, Melissa said this yesterday in the comment thread here on the blog::  "Why doesn't anyone share the info?" I personally think it's our culture. Our culture is still even after all this time stuck on what happens to a man. I was watching Nightline last night and they were talking about this drug called Zesta (think that's the name) it increases a woman's sexual arousal like Viagra does for men. They don't advertise it because the networks won't let it air but they will allow a commercial for Viagra talk about the symptoms it causes and when to seek a doctor. Just more proof we as woman need to SPEAK up and so that others and younger women are not out there wondering if what they feel and are experiencing is normal for different stages of our lives."  

I'm sure some people are of the opinion that such ads for products should not air whether they are for men or women.  There are those who believe this type of merchandise doesn't belong on a TV commercial.  I respect people who hold that opinion.  I personally don't have a problem with products being advertised as long as it's done in good taste.  Sexuality is an important part of life.  If someone has created a product to solve a problem for those who are struggling due to impotence or hormonal fluctuations or whatever, I believe it's a very valuable service to let people know about it I say people, not just women because the truth is, when wives are happy, husbands are happy.  Truth be told, that would be a great campaign slogan for Zestra.  Think about it...can't you just picture a lady on TV holding up a box of Zestra saying, "Zestra...because when women are are too"???  LOL  

The Bible declared long ago that sex wasn't a man thing.  Unfortunately the media and culture still haven't caught up.

This stuff is over the counter.  Perhaps we should all pick up a box this weekend, and blog our reviews.  Bloggers can make the mainstream media sorry they ever missed the opportunity to advertise it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why doesn't anybody tell you this stuff???

So last Wednesday night someone was at the pulpit receiving the offering and in about three minutes I was supposed to come forward and teach.  During this time I felt my eyes drying out with my contacts feeling like they were going to pop out.  I blinked repeatedly to try to wet my eyes and thought to myself, "should I come off the platform and take my contacts out and put my glasses on, or what?"  I resisted the temptation to do that although I was extremely uncomfortable.   I just thought it would be a really unprofessional thing to possibly have to ask someone to stall at the pulpit while I removed my contacts.  I got through a 30 minute teaching while every last bit of liquid left in my eyes evaporated.

 As soon as I was done teaching, I quickly removed the contacts and put my glasses on.   This was actually a culmination of my eyes feeling parched for about  three months now.  I've been going through lot of rewetting drops but they didn't solve the issue. Wondering what in the world was going on I came home after church and did what I do so often...

I googled.

And I discovered the reason my eyes have been like a desert. 

I found out dry eyes are a symptom of menopause!  Yep, I'm at the beginning of going through this change...what is known as perimenopause.  I know, you're not surprised that I'm confessing it here on the blog since I talk about pretty much anything here openly and have somehow still lived to retain my minister's license. Much to some people's

 A bunch of other stuff is happening in addition to the dry eyes, like momentarily forgetting my best friend's names, waking up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom, kicking the covers off at least 10 times a night because I'm breaking out in sweat, forgetting the names of simple items like a stapler or ketchup.  Yeah, what a blast.  

Nobody ever told me that when I got to this point my eyes might totally dehydrate.  Why not???  Do your friends a favor and please tell them that their eyes might dry up like two raisins.  I had lunch with a friend this week and said, "Hey, you've come through the change.  When you went through it were your eyes dry?"  She says, "Oh yeah...big time."   Then I interrogated her on everything else I should expect and she said, "If you feel like you have Alzheimers just know it's totally normal."  How thrilling.

Nobody ever told me that when my first kid went to move out I'd feel like my world had ended.   (Mine changed his mind and stayed home, so my world has continued for a while longer.)

Nobody ever told me that at this point in my life I'd want to stay in bed on my day off all day long for something else besides sex.  (EXHAUSTION)

I'm really thinking of making a long list of stuff most people don't tell you, so people can be prepared.  

**  About the dry eyes, here's what I've done, in case this is happening to any of you and you need help.  I stopped wearing my contacts for a few days to rest my eyes.  I got Thera Tears which I've been using several times a day.  I also started takinng omega 3 essential fatty acids several times a day.  One lady said just 24 hours after the start of taking these, her dry eyes were relieved!!!  I've also been drinking a ton of water.  Everything I read on line said doing these things will greatly reduce if not eliminate the problem.  I'm wearing my contacts again today.  We'll see how it goes. 

For anything else I need to know Kathryn tells me I need to get this book.

What did you not know about in life that you wish someone would have warned you about?

Just one more reason I like Google.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stop analyzing and let God be God!

 "We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails." 
Proverbs 19:21 (MSG)

God's purpose will eventually prevail, but the question is how quickly?

How many times do we analyze our way out of a miracle?  How often does our human striving delay the answer from God we've been looking for?

I'm a natural analyzer. 
I do it almost as naturally as breathing. And I'm trying to stop.

When a problem comes up my natural inclination is to think of several ways it could be solved.   The problem with that is, many times God wants to do something that is totally outside the realm of anything I could conjure up.  He wants to do something bigger, and  more creative.

I hear God speaking to me to take my hands off (and my mind as well) and let Him do his thing.

I'm not talking stupidity here...if a glass of milk dropped on the floor and shatters, I'm not turning it over to God to figure out.  Obviously I know how to solve that problem and there's no need to analyze it or pray about it.    I'm talking about those things that are more serious complexities of life.

Why do we try (unsuccessfully over and over) to fit God in OUR realm of possibility?
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.   Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)

His purpose will always prevail but how many times do we delay it by trying unsuccessfully to solve it ourselves?

Monday, September 20, 2010

These are the times we live for!!!

This was the altar time yesterday at Celebration Church.  Savanna took the photo with her phone as the altar time was going on at church.  It was a great day, with people going hard after God.  Moments like this are what make the ministry all worth it.   Many times in ministry it's what's happened at the altar that has kept me going another week!!!

There were some wonderful speakers at this past weekend's Experience Conference and one of them was my friend Marsha Woolley, our district women's director.  She's one of the most dynamic speakers you'll ever hear. She presented a teaching on life in the ministry and the character needed to withstand the pressure.  Today I'm sharing some takeaways from this message that were meaningful to me and why.

Marsha shared about how most people [who are not in vocational ministry]  "romanticize" the ministry.  They have a conception that is completely different from reality...which is why many get disillusioned and don't make it.  

Someone recently asked her, "what's the hardest thing for you in ministry?"  She answered, "Somebody's ALWAYS talking to me."  (One of the hardest things is that you can't ever walk down a hallway without somebody stopping you.)  I so related to her remarks about this. It is hard to find a moment's peace.  Most people don't realize, a pastor cannot even come out of their office and walk anywhere else on the church campus without being stopped. It's not that you don't love people.  It's just that quiet doesn't exist outside of your office or bathroom.  And sometimes even there people are knocking.  On Sunday mornings in between the Christian Education Hour and Morning Worship I always have to use the restroom however some mornings I force myself to hold it until after church because the 15 minutes of silence and prayer that I get in the back room is more valuable to me than going.  Leaving the privacy of the prayer room to go down the hall to the ladies room means I will be stopped at least three or four times and may not make it back in time to ascend the platform for worship.  Most times I sound like a broken record, giving people hugs or handshakes saying, "Love ya, but I've gotta get to prayer..."  I know it sounds rude and probably hurts feelings at times and I sure don't mean for it to.

She also shared that when pastors face the worst moments of their lives, they generally do so in a very public fashion...little privacy.  This is true.  One of the reasons my  husband didn't want to blog and only recently started was because he just wanted to keep his feelings private as he has so little privacy to begin with.  I'm proud of him for stepping out anyway and blogging.  

"Ministry is 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration and it will cost you everything!!!"

"Pastoring requires extended good behavior..because you are always with the same people and don't leave to go to a new group each week like an evangelist does." (You have to work through conflicts and challenges with people, and don't have the luxury of just moving on every time something stressful happens.)

"If you're in the ministry by the time you die you will have already died so many times." 

All these are reasons why things like salvations, altar times, water baptisms, prayer times, worship times and other things like that are what we hang on for!  For those things, it's WORTH IT ALL!

For the rest of times, God has given us His matchless grace.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rest at harvest

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Even in the midst of a day of ministry it's possible to find rest.  We have to take God-opportunities where we can find them.  Friday I was in Lakeland for ministry all day but didn't have a hotel room to go back to.  We went to our friends Keith and Joy Conley's home at Keith's invitation, while waiting for Joy to get home from work so we could all go to dinner.  We were only there for about an hour but as soon as we got there I fell asleep in the recliner chair in the living room for about 30 minutes and it gave me the strength I needed for the rest of the time there.

Larry wisely suggested that since we've had such a packed weekend of ministry that we take this evening (Sunday evening) to rest.   I am looking forward to a great morning of harvest at Celebration Church...I know God is going to do great things this morning!  I'm expectant and can't wait to see what unfolds.

I'm also looking forward to a late afternoon/evening of rest.  God is so good to have afforded me this.  Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's Saturday but my Sunday afternoon nap is coming!

In the midst of the Experience Conference, but taking time for a quick post.

I miss my kids, and I miss my dogs.  Love making ministry trips, but look forward to coming back home.

The other night Larry and I were laying in bed watching a movie and Max and Maddie were laying there like they always do.  They are always snuggled up to one of us, or to each other.  

This weekend is so busy.  My day started yesterday at 5:30 am and ended after midnight.  I'm hanging on for an "after church nap" tomorrow!!!  My favorite way to nap is with Max and Maddie snuggled up beside me or on my feet just like they are above.   They add so much love, so much joy to my life.  I am so blessed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two seconds to change

Yesterday I read a great blog post by career coach Penelope Trunk about stability.  She spoke of staying put, making the decision to stop running away from our problems and refraining from blaming others.   She says we can make any location work for us if we just determine to take personal responsibility.

It's much more convenient to blame everyone else for our problems rather than look within at what we need to change.  To change our environment, all we have to do is change ourselves!  We can bring immediate transformation to the atmosphere we're in by changing what we speak, what we hear, what we do.

Too many times we wait for someone else to change or another opportunity to come along.  Change can take a mighty long time in that case. Changing our attitude alone can produce change in two seconds flat...much preferrable, yes?

p.s.  I'm on my way this morning to speak at the Experience Conference in Lakeland. Keep all of us who are there in prayer for God to show up and do great things. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hard core parenting

Here I am with the story I promised yesterday!  I know, you've been waiting on the edge of your seat.  ::giggles::

Right now at Celebration we're doing a series, "Courageous Parenting" on Wednesday nights.  Larry and I strongly believe that there is a crisis of courage among parents today.  Many parents lead their children by fear rather than principle.  May God break the spirit of intimidation off of parents and raise them up to lead without fear, even if they are dealing with high schoolers!!  We aren't called to be pals, we are parents.

There was a girl who wanted to date one of the boys in high school.  This went on for quite a long while.  He wanted to date her too.  But, she did not profess to be a Christian and please keep in mind, throughout this whole time by  his own testimony, our son  was a believer.  Not only was this girl not a person of faith but she was disrespectful and abrasive.  It wasn't just that she speaks her mind -- I don't mind girls or women who speak their mind...obviously  :)   There's a difference between speaking your mind and disrespect.  A big difference.

My husband and I told our son he was not to get involved with this girl beyond just being  a friend like he would any other girl at school.  At one point we learned they had taken the relationship beyond just friends and my husband took our son's driving permit away from him and said, "you will not get this back until you break it up with this girl."  (Yeah, we're hard core.  lol)

So this kept up and finally one day in my e-mail box came a long letter from this young lady very disrespectfully questioning our decisions as parents, our family values, and the fact that we forbid them to date.  I sat there at my computer just shaking my head at this ridiculousness.  Kids today  have nerve.    Honestly, in my generation this probably wouldn't have happened.  I don't care how much I ever disagreed with one of my friend's parents decisions, I would have never questioned them disrespectfully or written such a letter.  And I do not believe any of my teenage friends would have ever written a letter to my parents or given them such a critical questioning.  This shows the poor parenting of many of your youth today.  They have not been taught that it is completely unacceptable and dishonoring to do such a thing.  

So she ended this letter with, "alright, what do I have to do to date your son?"

Since she asked, I answered.

I told her for starters she would have to begin meeting me for prayer at 5 am each day. 

And...that was the end of that. 

Suddenly her interest totally waned.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When your kids date and it
scares you out of your mind

Sunday night I had a horrible dream that Dustin married the wrong person.

What's the definition of "the wrong person?"  Well, in the dream he married someone that he is spiritually incompatible with.  They don't share the same values.  I'm not just talking about mine and his father's values -- I'm talking about HIS values!  We have raised him in the ways of God and He has chosen to walk in those ways for himself.  Needless to say I was in utter shock and disbelief at this wedding.  The only funny part of the whole dream was that after they were pronounced husband and wife Dustin popped out with a big sign that said, "FINE ARTS IS #1!" and ran around the sanctuary with it.  Then after doing a few laps with the sign, he ran over and gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, "don't worry Momma, everything's gonna be alright" while I stood there numb, feeling like my legs were going to give way.  This dream was real as day!!  I woke up covered in sweat.  During the dream, after he told me it would be alright,  I looked into his face and   felt faint and sick with grief, thinking, " have no idea what you have just done...the pain that is ahead...and I can't save you from it."  I felt like I was watching him go off a cliff and there was nothing I could do.

This was a really long dream.  Following the wedding I stared at everyone I came into contact with wondering how they could continue to go on and live life as normal when such a devastating thing had just happened.  The wedding was Saturday and we had a guest speaker that Sunday and we were supposed to take him out to lunch but I broke down crying saying, "Larry, how can we take a guest speaker out to eat at a time like this?!"  It was all I could do to show up to church and lead but I did.  I left the church after service to go home by myself and bawl my eyes out while Larry took the preacher to a restaurant and was sitting there explaining to him, "our son has married a girl  who doesn't share his values or ours, and my wife is just feeling unable to cope with what's happened right now...please excuse her..."  Larry drove off with the speaker... 

And then ..I woke up.

It was the wee hours of the morning, like 4 am when I woke up out of this dream. Whenever I have a dream like this, I just start praying for whoever was in my dream.  I look at it as God's way of telling me somebody needs special prayer.  If I'm wrong, no big deal -- it never hurts to pray for someone.  In this case I began to pray for Dustin, that God's will be done in His life and that no assignment of the enemy would succeed in his life.  The peace of God came over me and I went back to sleep.

Kids and relationships really have the potential to worry moms.  Because let's face it, nothing is more important to us than our kids.  I have had a lot of women talk to me asking for wisdom concerning their children and dating.   I am still going through this with my children as none of them are married, so I'm right there in the midst of the same journey, trying to keep concerns concerns and not let them turn to worry.  We know worry is unGodly and we are commanded in scripture to worry about nothing and pray about everything!  There are some practical helps that I give others that have helped us, but the main thing I tell anybody is to pray your guts out.  And then pray some more.  Pray the Word, pray specifically, add fasting to your prayers, and don't let up or give up!

In our case, it hasn't been all bad.  Now when I speak of dating, I refer to the boys only.  Savanna's not old enough yet.  The boys have been in relationships that would not have been a devastating marriage choice.  Sometimes a person can be a fine choice but for whatever reason it's just not meant to be.  We've gone through that.  And, in those cases where they have dated girls who share our family values, it's hard to let go sometimes, because you really grow to love and adore the the person!  And of course we can still be friends, and love one another, but it's not the same as when they were around us all the time .  We've also gone through our times where they have really been in the danger zone.  We have even experienced those who will even go so far as to hide their true beliefs in order to date them.  Thankfully prayer and fasting exposes this.

I know how dangerous this is because I have a friend whose husband masqueraded as a believer the whole time they were dating because she had made it clear that anyone who dated her would have to come to church with her.  He came, went to the altar and made a so called commitment to God, was there every time the church doors were open...until they got married.  Then he came out with the fact that he never really believed any of that but he loved her so much and wanted to continue dating her.  He said, "I knew if I told you I didn't agree with you on spiritual matters, that would have been the end."  (He was right, and it should have been!)   Because she doesn't believe in divorce she stayed married to him all these years.  Personally I think she would have qualified for an annulment but she didn't pursue one.  They have three kids together and she has dragged them to church and raised them in God's ways as basically a single mother though she is actually married.  The kids have always struggled spiritually because of the example of their Dad who is an agnostic.  What a nightmare.  

Mothers, if you don't have a prayer life, NOW is the time to get one!!!   Especially when they become  adults, and they are making these choices on their own, not having a prayer life is like being up a creek without a paddle.  Spiritual warfare IS your answer and fortunately it's the most powerful.  I'm a strong believer that our children need more than just a mate who is a believer.  The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked, but I believe you could both be believers and still be unequally yoked.   It's important to take the call of God, spiritual maturity, spiritual core values etc. into the equation as well.  Sometimes when hormonal young people see a hot body the last thing on their mind is the call of God or core values.  It's during times like this that a praying Momma is  invaluable.

In addition to the Word and prayer a great resource that I have leaned on for years is the book, "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian.  And for those like me who are navigating the waters of young adulthood with your kids, the book, "The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children."

When they are over 18 you may feel like you have no recourse, but the truth is all of heaven is with you as you call on God for your children.   Another thing I've learned is that sometimes when they are entangled in a relationship and to you things look bleak and inevitable, sometimes you're right on the verge of a breakthrough.  It's always darkest before the dawn.  Don't go by what circumstances say -- go by what God says.  Pray, fast, believe -- and don't stop.

Tomorrow I'm going to share a funny story about how I dealt with a girl who pressured us to allow one of the boys to date her when they were in high school...