life

Following My Father’s Footsteps

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of trips and adventures with my dad. My dad has always loved to travel and to take my family to new places. I still remember him waking my sister and I up one (somewhat rainy) day to go hiking.

Each time we traveled to a new place, I trusted my dad to get us there. I’m honestly not sure how anyone got anywhere during the days without a GPS. Nonetheless, he always got us where we needed to be. As I young girl, there were many occasions where I struggled just to keep up with my dad. He would often hold my hand in a large crowd to help guide me, and keep me from getting lost. He lead the way, and I followed his footsteps.

As is true for most every child, I had no sense of direction (some things never change), I had a tendency to want to go my own way, and I needed my father to guide me. Now I am twenty-one years old, married and working full-time, and yet the same is still true today.

I need my heavenly Father to lead me – every. single. day. 

In the Bible, in John chapter 10, God’s people are described as sheep. If you know anything about sheep, you know that they are not very smart animals; they have a tendency to wander off and get lost. They are unable to defend themselves and are quick to follow the crowd. All sheep need a shepherd to lead them. Jesus is our shepherd, and He calls out for us to follow Him.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”                     -John 10:27

This life on Earth is filled with many challenges and we have to face new ones almost every day. As a Christian, I have seen how the enemy has tried his best to keep me from obeying God and following Him. To walk through life without Christ, is to walk alone in darkness. However, God’s Word assures me that I don’t have to walk alone! Check out this verse:

 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

-John 8:12

It is so great to know that in the same way I followed my dad as a young child, I can follow my Heavenly Father through every step of life. I don’t have to make choices alone, or be afraid of what lies ahead.

I choose to let God lead, and follow my Father’s footsteps. 

 

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relationships

How I Waited Until Marriage

“I could never wait that long…”

When my husband and I first started dating, one of the very first things we did was set our boundaries. By “setting our boundaries”, I mean we both sat down one evening and talked about the things we did not want part of our relationship, and how far we would go with each other physically. Thankfully, we both agreed on every boundary we set, which made everything a little easier. Our list of boundaries looked something like this…

Never stay at his/her apartment alone.

Even if only for a “short time”, Tyler and I said we never wanted to put ourselves in the position of temptation. Yes, we do have self-control, but we also understood that we are human, and because we loved each other, there would be a strong desire for one another.

Being alone would leave too much room to entertain those desires.

Hands on hands.

This one speaks for itself. Lots of couples will say they won’t have sex before marriage, but there have to be boundaries such as this one in place as well. During the eleven months Tyler and I dated, and the six months we were engaged, I can honestly say we never crossed this one although there was definitely temptation to do so. Mark 10:8 says, “the two will become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one.” This means that until Tyler and I were married, we did not have the God-given freedom to touch each other in a way that satisfied our sexual desires. Because I respected Tyler, and he respected me, this was another way we were able to protect each other and honor one another.

No kissing until engaged.

Okay, so let me just first say that I am not at all trying say there is a right or wrong decision when it comes to kissing, and please don’t think I am insinuating that the way we did things is the way everyone should.

Tyler actually initiated this one, and to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to wait that long. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with kissing, right? As it happened, Tyler knew that kissing could quickly escalate and lead to much more. Let’s be real. Kissing is tons of fun. But Tyler wanted to protect me, and our relationship, and he understood that for him, kissing would only make the temptation for sex that much harder. I soon realized how thankful I should be that my boyfriend wanted to wait to kiss me!

After eleven months of dating, we got engaged and finally had our first kiss!

Six months later, we got married. I am proud that I can say we remained pure until marriage.

So often we hear the phrases, “you have to try it to know if you will like it.” Or “you just gotta do what feels right.” Let me just stop right there and say, “Not true.” I can promise you that you don’t have to get “practice” when it comes to kissing, or having sex. God created sex to be good and wonderful in the context of marriage alone.

Many times I have been asked, “how did you wait that long?” or told, “I could never do that,” and “I could never wait that long.”

Truth is, I couldn’t stay pure until marriage. At least, not on my own. Tyler and I fought temptation for sex just like any other couple. We set our boundaries and determined in our hearts not to cross them, but the reality is that we would never have been able to keep them on our own.

“But I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”                                                                     Galatians 5:16 (NASB)

Through the help of the Holy Spirit within us, we were able to do what we could never have done on our own. The Holy Spirit of God is given to us to lead us into truth, and guide our steps. We must set our minds to listen and obey.

I encourage you to consider these words and understand that saving yourself for marriage is possible and brings such honor to the Lord God. Even if you have already crossed boundaries you wish you hadn’t crossed, it is never too late to begin a fresh start and do things differently. To honor God in your relationships with others brings so much glory to Him!

And trust me,the wait is SO worth it!

Lara