Better with, than without.

I was listening in as our youth pastor’s wife gave some dating advice to our students last month.

One student asked the question, “Does God want some people to be single and some people to be married?  How do you know what God wants for you?”

It’s a great question.  One that I’ve thought about before.  When I was very young I went through a phase where I felt empowered and wanted everyone to know that I didn’t need a boyfriend to be happy.  It was true.  I was perfectly happy on my own.  

When I met Randall, I sat down and rationally made the decision to move toward marriage with him in our relationship.  We married in 2002 and I still feel like we’re in the honeymoon phase.  

But in all honesty, there have still been some times when I’ve wondered what life would be like if I were single.  What amazing things could I be doing if I weren’t tied down to one place?  I like to think that I would travel to Calcutta and serve the poor and be completely selfless.

Rachel, our youth pastor’s wife, answered the question saying that someone once asked her to consider, “Are you of more use to God with your significant other, or without?”

I’ve never considered that question seriously.  I assume if I were single and childless I could do more for God and devote my life to Him fully.  But in reality, Randall is the one who has shown me how to be a servant.  Parenthood has shown me how to be selfless.  I am so far from being the next Mother Teresa. Soooo far.  But I know I am closer to God, and being the woman God wants me to be because of this man.

Happy Birthday Randall. Thank you for all you are and all you’ve done for me!  I love you with all of my heart!

Faithfulness

This weekend, Randall spoke to our church about faithfulness.

Sunday for lunch, my extended family got together to celebrate Mama and Papa Kirkland’s 60th anniversary.

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Oh, the stories of faithfulness represented in the picture above.

They have loved and cherished for better and for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

They have set the example for their four children and their spouses, fourteen grandchildren and their spouses, and at least four great-grandchildren (I’m sure there are many more to come).

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Legend has it that these two were married at 17 and 18 years of age.  Mama had a few months on Papa and he may or may not have lied to a judge to get approval to get married so young.

If you know my grandparents, then you know how faithful my mama is to God and his word.  She has been nicknamed the “kissy lady” because she greets everyone with a kiss (or a pinch on the butt).  She loves others with a passionate love and her smile is contagious.  If you know them well, then you know how faithful my papa is to his bride.  He has served her for over 60 years and continues to love and cherish her through the heartbreaking sickness that comes as she ages and loses her memory.

Papa sent some words to his children in gratitude for the celebration on Sunday.  But he ended it his note with a charge to live well.

                * Tend to your families and love each other well.

                * Live intentional lives.

                *Practice showing concern and kindness to each other and to others.

                *Be prepared to account to the heavenly Father for how you use the influence you have or can develop with others.

                *Don’t underestimate the value of money you may earn in this life.

                *Work hard and earn while you can.

                *Retain some of your earnings for security and freedom when you cannot earn.

                *Continue to worship your Father in Heaven by tithes and offerings.  It will also remind you of who made it possible for you to earn.

                *Mind your own business and don’t mess with things that you can’t influence or assist with.  Growing up in the country we often were told, “Close the gate and don’t mess with the bull.”  That is good advice for your life as well.

                *Surround yourselves with those who believe as you do and who may keep you accountable and may develop your strengths.  They will broaden your pathway.

            Continue to take control of your lives and make good choices.

 

Mama and Papa are still parents and as a child, I appreciate any wisdom from my parents.  It is refreshing and encouraging and challenging and makes me want to live to please my family.  As a kid, when my dad would lecture me for hours on end, I would cry and be resentful.  I would get lectures on how to be independent and not be one of those girls that has to have a friend to go to the bathroom.  My mother would give me lectures on how to be a leader and a good example to girls younger than me.  I always felt like I was in trouble when I got these lectures, but soon after I graduated high school, I appreciated every minute of their advice.

Teach your children and impart your wisdom on them.  When they are grown, you will still be their parent.  Don’t wait until they disappoint you, teach them how to be successful citizens now.  Teach them how to be good people.  Teach them to love others well, and put others before themselves.  Teach them to be good stewards of their money.  Teach them to choose good friends and not to “mess with the bull.”  Teach them to live intentional lives and show them how this is done.

 

Oh my God, how blessed you have made me to have such a history of parents who love you and want the best for their children.  May I grow to fill their shoes and pass on the same legacy to my boys.  In a day and age when children and adults are losing common courtesy and manners of old, may my family be different from the norm.  May we honor you and point others to you.  May we be faithful to you and to each other and to the heritage that was passed to us.