When The Rubber Meets The Road

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Dear Pastor Susan, 

I just read your blog about not awakening love before its time. I’m a college student and I believe I have met the man I will marry. We’ve talked about it and have a plan. As soon as school is over and we find jobs we will be getting married. We are both Christians and were raised in Christian homes. We knew better but things went a little too far once and I just found out that I am pregnant. I didn’t know what to do and I was scared so I told my mom. She was really mad but now she thinks I need to have an abortion and not tell anyone even my boyfriend. She says she hopes I’ve learned my lesson and can go back and finish school and put this all behind me. This does sound like a good way to go but why do I feel so bad?

I’ve edited your question a little to keep everything anonymous because you aren’t the first girl to find yourself in this situation and you won’t be the last either. 

I want to say this as carefully as possible but I can’t find the words exactly to be as tactful as I want to be. So, let me just get this out there. Your mom is wrong. I know it sounds good, to just get this situation behind you and move on but the fact is you won’t ever be able to put this behind you. You’ll always think about the “what-ifs” and because you know Jesus, you’ll find that it will be hard for you to find forgiveness for yourself. You have three decisions to make and they are all forever decisions. 

The first decision is to have an abortion. Trust me, when I tell you that I understand your mom’s perspective. She is trying to save you and the family the shame and heartache. Only you can’t undo decisions. See, God can and will forgive the indiscretion of a night of fornication but the consequence stands as is. A child is on its way. If you decide to abort, you’ll live with the decision forever and it will have lasting effects on your life. There is no way of getting around this. 

The second decision, and my choice if I were you, would be to put the baby up for adoption to a two parent established home. This will be the most gut-wrenching decision you will ever have to make but the most profound act of love as well. Rather than drag this child through the mess of single parenting, daycare, finishing school and all the drama that will ensue, you will lovingly place this child in the arms of a family who is prepared to love and care for a child. You will satisfy a baby hunger in a couple’s lives and yes, this too will have forever effects on your life. 

The third option is to keep the baby, hope your boyfriend does the right thing and try to make a loving home. Your chances of divorce are high, given your age, but nothing is impossible with God. Without jobs, life will be difficult, but not impossible, and if you are both committed you’ll walk it through. Keeping God as the third strand in the cord that binds your marriage together, will be critical. Either way, this is a lasting effect on your life as well. Dreams will have to be altered and a new path made.

These moments of decisions are what I call, Where the Rubber Meets the Road moments. These moments tell us whether we believe the word of the Lord, and walk in faith, or we throw out what we know about God to feed our flesh. While your mother’s suggestion sounds good, the feelings you have are the prompting of the Holy Spirit. God will never force His will on you and yet, He awaits your decision. Do you and your family believe that God will never leave you or forsake you or is it a nice thought? Submission is only submission until we disagree.

Finally, as a woman who found herself in your shoes, in her youth, I understand your heartache. I wasn’t intimately acquainted with the Lord back then and I dragged my son through a series of youthful ignorant mishaps. I love this child more than breath itself and would lay my life down for him, if it is ever required, but he inappropriately bears the scars of my mistakes. There is no easy answer. Each decision will leave lasting impressions that you will have to live with. My hope is that you allow God to guide you through this process and that you are open to His will. My heart goes out to you and I will be praying for you.

Blaspheming The Holy Spirit

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Linda writes:
I am concerned that I may have committed the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Twice when I was younger, I looked up at Heaven when I was unhappy and put up my middle finger and said F—You to the Holy Spirit and cursed him! I have since repented of this and asked for forgiveness. Is this the type of speaking against the Holy Spirit that is unforgiveable?

Please reply soon, I am very concerned about this!

Thank you

So for those of you reading this, the writer of the question asks this because the bible says:

Matthew 12:31 31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

My answer is, no, I don’t think so. First off, did you know Christ? Were you filled with the Holy Spirit and a believer? Did you deny him? See, this is a heart condition and since no man can know another’s heart, you are better prepared to answer this question than I am.

My understanding of this scripture is that we must know Christ, have knowledge of the Holy Spirit personally, and still denied and purposefully rejected the Holy Spirit in a concrete and conscience effort. Thus, a person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit, would foolishly reject his reconciliation back to God, knowingly. When that happens, there is no going back, you’re right, but I don’t think that this happens and then suddenly the person wants to be reconciled. At that point, the die is cast, the relationship is severed forever. Whatever light was on in the core of that person’s being, is extinguished. So, just the fact that you have repented, and want restoration, to me, means you didn’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says:

Whosoever shall blaspheme. As for those who blasphemed Christ when he was here upon earth, and called him a Winebibber, a Deceiver, a Blasphemer, and the like, they had some colour of excuse, because of the meanness of his appearance, and the prejudices of the nation against him; and the proof of his divine mission was not perfected till after his ascension; and therefore, upon their repentance, they shall be pardoned: and it is hoped that they may be convinced by the pouring out of the Spirit, as many of them were, who had been his betrayers and murderers. But if, when the Holy Ghost is given, in his inward gifts of revelation, speaking with tongues, and the like, such as were the distributions of the Spirit among the apostles, if they continue to blaspheme the Spirit likewise, as an evil spirit, there is no hope of them that they will ever be brought to believe in Christ; for First, Those gifts of the Holy Ghost in the apostles were the last proof that God designed to make use of for the confirming of the gospel, and were still kept in reserve, when other methods preceded. Secondly, This was the most powerful evidence, and more apt to convince than miracles themselves. Thirdly, Those therefore who blaspheme this dispensation of the Spirit, cannot possibly be brought to believe in Christ; those who shall impute them to a collusion with Satan, as the Pharisees did the miracles, what can convince them? This is such a strong hold of infidelity as a man can never be beaten out of, and is therefore unpardonable, because hereby repentance is hid from the sinner’s eyes.

The last sentence in Matthew Henry’s commentary should bring you peace. A person who has blasphemed the Holy Spirit has no repentance because it is hid from the sinner’s eyes. In other words, the person who blasphemed never has a thought about coming back to Christ. I think you sinned. Since sin is sin and it’s all judged the same, mine and yours are different but equal so the only thing to do is to fall on the mercy and grace of God. It’s really all any of us can do. This is why we plead for mercy and grace over our lives daily. I believe that this torment that you feel in your soul is not of God. He doesn’t condemn, it’s the enemy of your soul who is consuming you, trying to get you to give up on God. You’ve proven much stronger than that though. Let the peace of the Lord wash over you, as you restore your relationship with Him.

Chef Boyardee

 

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My husband and I both woke up with the flu last week. I think it was because the day before I’d gone on a long walk with Lulu, the wonder dog, and it was dusty and I was wheezing when I got home. That’s not how I caught the flu, just stay with me. In a meeting my husband looks up from some drafts he was studying and says, “I can hear you over here. You’re wheezing! Well, be healed, in Jesus name because I don’t have time to get sick right now.” I think selfish prayers provokes a sarcastic sense of humor. So I wasn’t surprised when the next morning I woke up with a croup, burning throat and fever of 101 and glands so swollen I couldn’t swallow. My husband woke  coughing like a barking seal and saying, “What happened?” I said, “It’s the prayer. You should have just prayed healing with good motive.” He rolls his eyes. He doesn’t believe me. But I have James 4:3 or is it 6, I can’t remember on my side. Motive is the key. 

All this to say that we got really sick. Since I had the half-hearted prayer over me, my fever never went over 102. His went to 104. We went to the doctor and got doses of Tamiflu and were assured it was not Swine Flu and told to go home and rest till Friday. Our doctor laughed when he said this because he knows us and because it was only Monday. My husband had a killer headache as well but then again, he wasn’t eating because he wasn’t hungry. I offered up everything I could think of.

Then he said it. 

“You know what sounds good? Chef Boyardee Ravioli.” HUH? If this post could have sound effects, it’d have the rewind sound,  or brakes inserted here.  We never eat that. Oh, he knows, he says, that I don’t like it because I never buy it, but he LOVES it. Now, we’ve been married 7 years, do you think he’s ever bought a can or said, “Honey can you pick up a can of Ravioli at the grocery store?” Not once. Now I find out he LOVES it. And further I might add, the man hates pasta! Go figure. 

Come to think about it when you’re sick you desire your own style of comfort food don’t you? I wanted Enchiladas. My little Mexican girl side comes out and I want hot food. So it makes sense. We didn’t eat the Chef’s cuisine at my house, so I have no reference. Oh yeah, he also said he missed some pan fried squirrel but since California rabbits don’t taste like Louisiana rabbits he assumes squirrels are the same, and so no go on that one. Yes, yes, yes, you’re right about that,  I could do the big EWWW factor here but I hadn’t had menudo in months and had a bowl just a few weeks ago so we all have our  gross things we eat. Even you if you think about it. Twinkies and Ding Dongs are some nasty food.

So we compromised and had veggie stir fry, homemade I might add, and Jamba Juice. Yes, we’ve determined to be pioneers and make our own memories of comfort food. Someday when we’re old (er), we’ll look back on this time and remember how it all began. “Remember baby, when we got that flu in 2009 and discovered that the best remedy is Jamba Juice? Who would have known?”

What about you? What do you eat when your sick? What makes you feel loved and cared for when you’re not feeling well? Spam? Chitlins?, honestly, I don’t even know what Chitlins are, or even if I spelled it correctly, it just sounds gross, or a good ‘ol bowl of chicken soup? My kids get sick and want a bowl of Ramen. How’s that for comfort food? We all have our stuff!

What’s On Your Mind?

 

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So my goal in starting this blog was to get interactive. That has happened on a small scale but as you read these blogs, what stirs you? What makes you think? What would you like further discussed? Let’s make this blog more interactive. So far, some of you are emailing me with comments on what has made you think but let’s bring it out more to an online discussion. There is a lot of collective wisdom here, let’s help each other. That’s the goal and purpose of TLC. Transforming Lives takes an exchange of ideas and truths. I know we can help each other. That was always the goal.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. Go ahead and go back over the posts to see which one impacted you. We are new enough still that it isn’t that far to go. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

These Are The Threads Of Our Lives

 

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Have you ever realized how many people you touch each and every day? I don’t mean physically touch but I mean touch by a word, or a smile or a not so friendly hand gesture in traffic? Part of being a human being on the planet is that we are interconnected and those little things we do matter.

Saying thank you, holding a door open, stopping to actually listen when you ask someone how they are doing are all ways in which we touch each other’s lives. Here is what God asks for us to do,

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

I know it’s hard to like those people who drive you up the wall but we have to try. We never know the impact we make on a person. Someone, whom I’ve known for years said to me recently, “You know what I like about you? You are always the same. At church, at the gym, at the grocery store. You never change, you’re just you and you stop to talk to people even when we know you are busy.” I thought it about it afterward and had to say a little prayer to God as a thanks that he has given me a place  in my heart for caring about others. 

Doesn’t it just make you feel better when you are out running errands and out of the blue someone “honors” you by saying something sweet or holding a door open? Doesn’t it give you a boost when you are behind someone in line at the grocery store and their basket is overflowing with groceries and you have three things to pay for, they look over at you and NOTICE YOU! Then they further make your day great by saying, “Please go ahead of me in line, you only have a few things.” Wow! That doesn’t happen often does it? Or the person who randomly says, “You look great today.”

As transformed people, let’s make sure we are cognizant of those around us and take time out to notice people and to find a positive thing to say or do, if nothing else, a smile goes a long way!


I’m Sorry, So Sorry……..

 

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Tanya, 37 writes:

I married a man with a daughter who is 8 years old. We don’t have any children, although we are trying to conceive. We live in the home I owned before we got married. His daughter has a room that I decorated just for her. Her only chore, when she comes over, is to clean her room up before she goes back to her mom’s house. She is a pretty spoiled child who hardly ever gets told no to anything and very rarely cleans her room. This weekend she was throwing a ball against the wall in her room. I asked her to please stop as my husband wasn’t saying anything. She became angry and hit me in the back with the ball. My husband again did nothing. Am I wrong for wanting an apology? 

Tanya, 

Wow! I’d be mad too. You aren’t wrong but good luck getting it. It sounds like your husband suffers from guilt and consequently he isn’t going to be the dad his daughter needs him to be. Your best bet is to not discipline her at all. I know this is difficult because when things like this happen your first reaction to anyone’s child would be to correct them, after all it’s your home. I’m sure if it were your child, you would have told them the same thing and you would have been mortified and make the child apologize. However, if he isn’t going to do this, for whatever reason, there isn’t a lot you are going to do to change things. Honestly, it’s pretty typical. 

You didn’t say how often she comes over. I’ll assume it’s every other weekend as that’s usually the visitation plan. Hard as it is to do, I would let it go. If her room doesn’t get cleaned up by her, then don’t do it for her. I know this may drive you nuts but you need to remember that your issue is not the child, it’s with your husband. I would also plan activities with friends on those weekends. Until your husband can get a handle on things this really isn’t your problem.

Please reconsider having a child. You have enough on your plate as it is and as she gets older she will become more out of control if things are not handled properly. You don’t state whether you’re a Christian but if you are, I would pray, pray, pray. Take all of your concerns to your heavenly father. You have chosen a tough road to walk. I’ll be praying for you.

In the meantime, there are other stepmoms on this site that may offer a different perspective. Let’s see if they have a good plan. Also go to http://www.successfulstepfamilies.com. Ron Deal is an excellent help with these things and you may consider going to one of his seminars.

Nothing More Than Feelings

 

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philipfrazer/

 

People in our church say things like, “Pastor Susan hates feelings.” No, I don’t hate feelings and I’ve never said I hate feelings but I do say things like, “don’t be ruled by your feelings”. There is a great problem in America today with feelings. We allow them to control us and we validate them way too often.

 

We “feel” therefore we act or react. Feelings sometimes lie. Feelings sometimes betray you and others. Be careful how you handle your feelings. Now, there are those, whose days are up and down like a bouncing ball. 

Sarah flies strictly by her feelings, so she wakes up happy and singing but when she can’t match her shoes to her dress her day is ruined. Then, Starbucks makes the perfect Latte and her day is great! She gets to work and her buddy called in sick 😦 so she is bummed. After that, a client needs an answer by noon and she is stressed. Because the answer is taking longer than normal to come, she won’t have time for lunch, this makes her cranky and she snaps at everyone… and, and, and, and you get the picture. Sarah’s emotions are  swayed by each and every one of her circumstances.

All of the things that happened in Sarah’s life before noon had her feelings up and down. The problem was she needed to get a grip on herself. Her feelings were changing minute by minute and if she had taken a moment to breath, she could have handled her day more effectively.

You simply can’t let your feelings rule your life. Instead, use them as checks and balances and then compose and get yourself together and determine action if needed. Feelings are important as checks in our lives but to be constantly ruled by them is to live an erratic life. I truly believe that if we learn to control how we react to our feelings we will restore the well being in our lives. If you control your feelings and not allow your feelings to control you, your self-esteem will rise as you get a grip on your life and take charge.