Monday, January 19, 2015

The Perks of Being in a Christian Relationship

     Before I began writing about how awesome my relationship is, I should make sure that you know that I am a FIRM believer in having a relationship with God before having a relationship with anyone else. I should also be clear in stating that my relationship with Matthew is by no means perfect and I'll never claim it to be. But I do know that no matter what happens, he was an answered prayer.


1. Dating to Marry.

      One of the sweetest things that attracted me to Matthew is that he had never been a relationship. He is quite the cutie so he had plenty of offers, but I was the only one he pursued. That is such an honor to me. I, however, wish I had been so smart. I had boyfriends all throughout high school because I felt that I needed to be validated, but the only one that needs to approve of me did so a LONG time ago. Luckily, he has the same values as me and isn't dating me just to have a girlfriend. We're dating with the intentions of spending the rest of our lives being disciples of Christ together.

2. No Pressure!

       From the beginning, boundaries were set and agreed upon. If one of us doesn't like what's going on, we have no problem saying, WOAH! I'm not okay with this, and here's why. That, to me, is one of the most comforting things about any relationship. I know that I am always respected and I will always respect him.

3. Forgiveness Comes With Compassion.

      When we fight, we fight GOOD. I'd be scared if we didn't fight. Since we both know that Jesus came to Earth knowing He had to die on the cross to forgive us, how could we not forgive each other for mistakes and misunderstandings? I'll be the first to admit that Matthew is much quicker to forgive than I am. However, he has accepted that and loves me unconditionally still. (Sound like another guy you know?)

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." - C.S. Lewis

4. Understanding and Acceptance.

       Matthew and I have been together for over three years now, from high school to the first few years of college: two different colleges. I'd be lying if I said a long distance relationship isn't hard. It's way harder than I ever imagined and there are plenty of days that I want to give up. But, when we decided to attend different schools, three hours away from each other, we set some more boundaries. We agreed that if either one of us felt that our relationship was getting in the way of our school work or our relationship with God, we'd talk about it and if the problem didn't get better, we'd step back from each other. I honestly believe that because we made this promise to each other, understanding our priorities and accepting one another's goals, we're growing stronger as a couple.

5. Motivation for Self-improvement. 

      We're both always looking for ways to not only enhance our walk with Christ but our journey to continue to find ourselves. There's a mutual respect and support for each other, and we both try to motivate and compliment each other as often as possible. We are constantly trying to find things to do that make us better Christians.

6. Couples That Pray Together Stay Together!

       I heard this statement a lot growing up. But now that I have actually grown up, I'll be passing it on. Neither one of us prayed out loud often, especially around someone else. It wasn't until this past year that we began praying with each other. The first time we decided to pray out loud to each other, he prayed first, and began with me. That is hands-down the sweetest thing he does for me and I can't think of anything more attractive. 

7. Always Have Someone to Grow in Faith With.

     This is Matthew's favorite perk. As I began writing this post, I asked him for his favorite thing about being in a relationship with me. His exact words were, "Just knowing I have some one to talk to about God if I ever needed it." I love knowing that if we have questions, we can find the answer together. I also love knowing that he knows he can come to me with anything.

There are many more positive things that come with dating a good ole southern Christian boy, but those are my top seven. I've been blessed with a relationship that helps me grow in every part of my life. Thanks Matthew for always being there and for inspiring this post. I love you!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Faith? Bad timing.

How often do you have faith? 
How big is your faith? 
Maybe the better question is this: Who is your faith in? 

As I began a new Bible study I recieved as a Christmas gift, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Turkerst, (thanks Mrs. Debbie), I am blown away at the immediate reaction this one verse in particular gets out of me. 
        I will bless The Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs      me. I know The Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right    beside me. No wonder my heart is     glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in    safety. 
              Psalm 16:7-9 (NLT)
Wow. If that hits you like it hits me there's no need to go on. But, being the over-sharer that I sometimes am, I'll go on. 
I'd like to break the verses down. 

     The first line: "I will bless The Lord who guides me,". 
Am I blessing Him? His name? 
What could I do to bless Him? 
I'd like to say yes to the first two, and give you a perfect answer for the latter. But if I'm being honest, no, I can't do that. And that's heartbreaking to me. 

     The next line: "Even at night my heart instructs me."  
It's 11 o'clock at night, I'm lying in my bed, writing this. Night, for me, is the best time to think about my day, lessons I've learned, chances I've had to be a disciple, but mostly, my thoughts go to where I went wrong. But here's the thing I often forget, in pondering my day, the moments I wish I could do over and the what-if it had gone another way, there's the lesson in itself. I've learned how I could face those challenges, the what-ifs.
I've grown from my failures. Isn't that reason enough to praise? 

     Next: "I know The Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me."  
Don't believe me? 
Those moments where you feel like nothing is going right and you have nowhere to go, who do you call on? 
See, there's a little bit of faith there. And I bet he's always come through. 

     Lastly: "No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety."  
If you believe the previous line, really believe it, then you don't have a problem accepting this one. God has this under control. He knew about it long before you did and he knows how it's going to end long before you will. No wonder we can praise Him, He's got this! 

One of my biggest struggles in my relationship with God is who I put my faith into. Some days it's in Him, often days, it's in myself. I try to justify it and say, "Oh, I can handle that!", or "God's got enough to worry about."  
Then I find myself stressed out about it and complaining to someone who can't help me and could probably care less anyways. So why couldn't I just take it to God? Not only can He help me, He will. And He cares about me more than anyone I know. 
The same goes for you. He loves you more than anyone and only wants the best for you and from you. Let's put out faith back in Him, because none of us can do it alone.