Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gettin' Hitched

Gettin' Hitched

I am about to get married soon, so I am not about to give marriage advice, see me in 10 years for that, but one thing I do know a little about is being single, dating, and waiting for the right person to marry.

I am almost 38 years old, many of my friends my age have been married 10-15 years, many ofcourse are also on their 2nd or 3rd marriages. A few years ago, I saw a study that said the average age of getting married was 27 for males and 25 for females. It may even be older now. I do also know that many statistics say 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

So I've been doing alot of thinking and what I could share to help people when it comes to getting married or preparing for marriage, what are some things I've learned:

1. Don't settle

I think many people settle on a person they are not meant to marry or probably shouldn't even date, and many times for all the wrong reasons. Dont date or marry for just security, loneliness, physical attraction, or anything. Do worry about how old you are or what your friends are doing or what society or others pressure you to do. Get married when you are ready, for the right reasons, and to the right person

2. Be patient

I struggled with patience, but if we are impatient, we rush things, make poor dating choices, and sometimes end up hurting someone or being hurt. Marriage is not mandatory. You don't have to get married, and there is no age limit or time frame to get married. Some people date 5 years and some date 6 months, I think it's different for each couple and situation. But, be patient with the process and learn to be content with yourself of no one else will ever complete you.

4. Don't take marriage lightly

Divorce has become an easy option for many. I'll get married and if i don't like it or get tired of it i'll just get divorced. If you can't see yourself spending the rest of your life with a person, dont marry them, divorce brings too much hurt and pain, especially when it comes to children, families, and finances. Also, if you aren't ready to settle down or be with one person, do not get married, until you can commit to that. When you feel you are ready to get married, divorce shouldnt be an option in the back of your mind. If you are thinking of divorce before you even get married, maybe you aren't mature enough or ready for it. Divorce still happens due to abuse or unfaithfulness or other reasons, but take marriage and the vows serious before you "I do".

5. Marriage is only the beginning

Having a wedding or getting married is only the beginning. You have to learn to adjust, to think and put someone else above yourself, and learn to love unconditionally. Most of all you need patience and flexibility because the person you marry is going to need it with you. Its not always going to be romantic, a honeymoon, or easy. Marriage will take work, effort, energy, and commitment, but it also will be a blessing, rewarding, and will grow if you start out with right attitude.

6. Place God at Center

God cares who we date. God cares who we marry. We must strive to find a partner to share our lives with that God has approved. If you start a marriage with one of you being a christian and the other not, or having two different faith practices, you are asking for trouble. Or if a person is selfish, mean, or a jerk while dating, that will continue after you wed. That is why its' so important to have God in the process and have him as your foundation as you begin your marriage journey.

I started to wonder if i'd ever get married, or get to set in my ways, or if God would ever allow me to meet that person to share my life. Well the wait is over, all the mistakes, pain, sorrow, heartache, and experiences i've had are worth it now that i've found the one I feel God has for me to share my life with. I did learn to enjoy being single, I became content being alone, and I've learned so much about myself and others along the way. I know I still have alot to learn and alot of growing to do, but I am excited about the journey ahead.

"Marriage should be honored by all." Hebrews 13:4(NIV)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Reap what you sow...duh!

You Reap What You Sow...Duh!

"The one who sows to please sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." Galations 6:8(NIV)

I could stop there. Scripture says it all, yet somehow we try to avoid it, deny it, or turn it into something that fits what we want, or makes us look good, but in the end, truth is truth. Truth is, we reap what we sow.

You want to live in eternity in Heaven, you can't live like Hell on earth. You don't plant corn and produce lettuce. You plant corn, you get corn. You lie, cheat, and steal, you'll reap the consequences of those actions. You practice honesty, integrity, and sincerity and you'll reap the consequences of those actions. Pretty simple?

Yet we make it so difficult. We choose to listen to our flesh, our sinful nature, the enemy the devil who convinces us we are right or we know better than God, or better yet we are above the rules. It doesn't take long for good people to fall under those attitudes.

I'm not trying to depress anyone today, I just want us(me included) to realize and be reminded, that our actions and attitudes carry out consequences. We cannot make choices good or bad and they not touch others lives. We also must realize that we can't make poor choices, bad decisions, and have selfish motives and get away with it. Oh we may for a day, a week, a month, even a year, but eventually 100% of the time, God's natural law of reaping what you sow comes into play.

Some consequences are minor or temporary, some are major or even go with us for the rest of our lives. I'm living with some bad sowing I did in the past, and I bet many of you are as well. The thing that bothers me, is I talked with a person recently who got into some major trouble and the whole time, I felt like they were only sorry they got caught and were only doing the "right" things now to avoid having to pay for the consequences, in this case prison. But, it doesn't matter what the case, whether it's something illegal, immoral, or dishonest we will reap what we sow.

So it only makes sense to sow seeds of honesty, love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, sharing, compassion, integrity, and responsibility. That is what I want to sow, so that I may reap a harvest of Eternal life.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Proposal

*I am supposed to write a weekly blog but with my new job and circumstances it's been hard to find the time and access to be able to sit down and write my weekly blog. Rest assured I will strive to write weekly, but if don't I will at least try every other week or write a couple times a week as time and computer access allows.

The Proposal

Many of you may or may not, but I proposed to my girlfriend Cheryl on Friday, April 2nd. People always seem to want details about these things so I'll do my best.

April 2nd was our 6th month anniversary of dating and Cheryl did not have her two kids that night (Josh 13 and Lindsey 9), so I took advantage of the chance for us to be alone, believe me it's a rarity when you date someone with kids.

We had been talking about wanting to get married and so a few weeks earlier I went out and bought a ring, but hadn't really decided when and how I was going to propose. After knowing she wasn't going to have the kids and it being the anniversary of our dating beginning, I thought it was the perfect time. I also had already talked to her mom(who talked to her dad) and got their blessing.

I put Cheryl's engagement ring in a giant Easter Egg and put it in an Easter basket and then I made Cheryl dinner(ok I brought chinese take-out). She always cooks so just the fact she didn't have to is good. I gave her her easter basket and while she was opening the egg, I got down on my knees and asked her to marry me.

I decided to go simple, intimate, and just the two of us for the proposal. She said Yes! I am blessed. Cheryl and I go way back and grew up together, we graduated high school together, had the same friends, and she's my sister's best friend. For whatever reasons our paths to love didn't cross whether for God's timing, or we ignored it all these years? Either way, God has led us together now and I pray His blessings on our relationship and future marriage.

I've been patient, had may heartaches, and I know I've hurt some people along the way. Lord knows I'm 37 and i'm not settled even though at times I felt pressured to get married by others, society, or even myself. But, I'm glad I didn't get married young only to find divorce, or settle, or marry the wrong person. I believe I have waited and found the person God meant for me.

Now many people have asked about a wedding date? Not sure yet? Hopefully sometime this summer or so, but right now we are thinking will have just have a private ceremony with family and then have a public reception sometime later to celebrate with our other friends and family. We have not worked out those dates or details just yet. It also looks like we will be living out back of Glenwood by her mom once we get married, so I guess Cheryl will be moving back to Mason County and I can't escape it just yet.

Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare for marriage. Also Cheryl's dad is losing His battle with cancer and doesn't have much time, as well as her grandfather Barnett is in hospital and not doing well and might not live much longer. Please also pray for us that we will find a church home.

"God, not you made marriage. His spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage." Malachi 2:15a(The Message)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Fool Proof

Fool Proof

One year ago I started a journey to lose weight. It took nearly six months, but I was able to lose 50lbs. 6 months later from that goal, I am still at the weight I wanted to be, so far so good. I feel so much better, I've went from a 40 to 36 waist and that size is loose. I even have a pair of 34's I can wear. My health is better and I've been able to pretty much eat what I want, exercise without having to count calories, do crazy diets, and go to extreme measures.

It's really all about balance. It would be very easy for me to go back to old habits and gain the weight back, but hopefully I am hoping to "fat"-proof myself and taking measures to keep the weight off and stay leaner and healther and continue to do things to maintain and tone up.

Today is April Fool's day and I guess it's no coincidence this "fool" started his weight loss journey a year ago today. I think weight loss is alot like faith. Many people for a season seek the Lord or go to church or become a Christian, but over time they revert back to bad habits, old lifestyles, or poor decisions and they lose their faith or walk away from God.

I think just as I try to "fat"proof myself, we need to be wise to fool proof our faith so that we do not backslide, fall away, or succumb to the devil and his temptations. Satan usually tempts us with the things we have tried to quit, overcome, or things from our past. Sometimes is laziness, sometimes its a vice or bad habit, sometimes is something we struggle with. We need to take steps in our personal faith to make sure we stay in church, stay involved, and stay involved in reading God's Word, praying to God daily, and being involved in serving.

These type of things will help us to not revert back to our sinful nature and pasts. It may help us keep our focus and attention on God and the future and off the road behind us so we don't return to things, places, and people we don't want to go.

I hope I don't gain my weight back, I hope I can take steps to maintain my current weight, and continue to develop good habits to stay healthy and fit. I also hope I can continue to mature in my christian faith so that I do not return to the ways of the world, but keep my focus on an eternal perspective.

"Blessed are those who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right." Psalm 106:3 (NIV)