You may know Sandy, Jane, Megan, or Maura.
Do you help them trust their identity as God's daughter and heir?
Are you available to them?
Do you pray with them?
Do you remind them
that the Lord's mercies
are new every morning?
Great is His faithfulness!
HIS WORD OVER DECEPTION
Deception came early... and stayed long. Sandy felt unloved by her father. She went to church with friends, but always wondered: Is God really here for me? In college, it was easier to turn away from faith toward alcohol and drugs. Once out of college, she believed sexual intimacy would fill her emptiness.
Sandy moved further away from God and the father of lies settled in. The floodgate of emotions burst when she heard the words, "Your test is positive." For perhaps the first time, Sandy knew real fear, shame, and loneliness. Her mom would cry. Her dad would be so angry! He had never been there for her before, so why would he be there for her now?
At the door of the abortion clinic, Sandy paused only long enough to name her baby. "I'm sorry, but I can't be your mother. There is nothing else I can do." Now the deceiver sang his own praise.
Sandy moved back home, but did not confide in her parents. The whole experience, Sandy believed, was finished. Because the difficult relationship with her dad had not changed, she spent as much time out of the house as possible... and met the man she would marry.
Satan was not finished. He continued to play his game of deception with the goal of alienating Sandy from her heavenly Father. The first years of her marriage to a loving man were to the tune of hissing sounds. "You can't be a good wife." "You don't deserve a good husband." In caring so little for herself, Sandy resisted the love of her husband. She resisted the love of God. But God, unseen yet faithful, was present and involved.
Sandy and her husband had kept their distance from the church but when their son was born, they realized their need of a church family.
For the rest of Sandy's story with "talking points," click here.
A Letter from Jane
THE BRIDGE OF FRIENDSHIP
I am writing you because we have been friends for so long. We grew up together in similar Christian families. We went through catechism classes and were confirmed together. You were a bridesmaid in my wedding and I in yours.
But it hasn’t been easy, has it? We’ve both been deceived by the ideas of this world. Repeatedly, Satan has come to us with the same question he asked Eve, “Did God really say…?” Did God really say that He would provide all that you need? Did God really say that you can’t trust your own feelings? Did God really say that it’s wrong to be intimate with someone who is not your husband?
We each chose different paths in life. You stayed closer to home and, therefore, had the benefit of parents, relatives, and church family who held you accountable. You married a Christian man. I know you’ve had your own struggles, but do you know how badly I wanted the kind of encouragement you seemed to have?
I married a man who was older. Sophisticated. Exciting. He was a good man, but because he wasn’t a Christian, he couldn’t encourage me with God’s Word. To further his education, we moved far away from my parents and church family. Without biblical mentors, it was easy for me to follow my heart and listen to the voices of the world.
After my daughter was born, I remember thinking I wanted to be the kind of mom my mother was. But thinking others more capable than me, I decided on professional childcare and took up a vocation outside the home. I was a capable businesswoman! There were pleasant rewards. But I longed to be home.
For the rest of Jane's letter with "talking points," click here.
BEHAVIOR CHANGES ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD
Megan is an “All-American girl.” Like other freshmen in college, she considers herself “modern.” She communicates by iPhone and all social media, is comfortable with her “sexuality,” strolls through Victoria’s Secret with her boyfriend, and, ready for a serious relationship, scheduled an appointment to discuss birth control with a Planned Parenthood counselor.
Megan also considers herself to be a Christian. Growing up, she attended church regularly with her parents. She was educated in Christian schools. Her friends are Christian. She knows the Bible stories and sings praises to God.
Megan believes Jesus is her Savior. If you were to ask her if she is a creation of God, she would answer “Yes!” Megan knows that when she forgets to pray or skips worship for another activity or sins in any way, God remains her heavenly Father. This gives Megan comfort. She adores her “awesome God” on Sundays. But, on Mondays, she returns to the “real” world.
In the “real” world, Megan is in love and being responsibly adult. Planned Parenthood helped her to separate the act of sex from procreation. One weekend while visiting her parents, Megan did the usual thing by attending church with them. But what happened took Megan by surprise. This day, the pastor seemed to look right at her. The Word he spoke did not comfort but, instead, convicted. Megan heard him say that those who follow the flesh by being sexually immoral, impure, and sensual are in danger of missing heaven (Galatians 5:19-21). Megan also heard him say that a new person in Christ is equipped to guard against passions and desires (vv. 23-24).
Megan was conflicted. She did not leave church that morning in a good mood. What did it mean to be a “new person?” How did that fit with being a “sexual being” as she had been taught to see herself? Couldn’t she love Jesus and know He died for her, yet be “modern” in her thinking and behavior?
For the rest of Megan's story with "talking points," click here.
Unhooked and Set Free
Maura is a young and spirited woman who invited me into her life. She seems to welcome the experience of age and expresses the need for a “mother” figure. Maura is intelligent. More mature than most her age. She has a tangible dream and works hard in college. Maura displays all the normal feelings and emotions that come with being female. The answers to my questions consistently reveal that Maura delights in all things of God… but, she is “hooked” to her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend’s words of love cause Maura to feel special so, when he has demands, she tries to please. The warmth of his embrace encourages her loyalty, but his lack of commitment makes her vulnerable. She clings to the relationship with hope that it will change.
Maura and I have talked at length about who and Whose she is. Her eyes glisten when I explain that because of what Jesus Christ has done she is a daughter of God. If too much time passes between our visits, I text with an invitation to walk or meet for lunch. Rarely does Maura refuse. She’s happy to bring me up to date, explaining her work and studies. When the conversation turns to relationships, Maura smiles when she talks about her dad. “I’m happy when I’m with him. I feel safe at home.” But, when I inquire about her boyfriend, Maura’s smile always fades.
One day, Maura seemed less confident and visibly sad. She uttered not one positive or hopeful word about her boyfriend. “So,” I asked, “why do you stay with him?” Her shoulders drooped. She stared past me with no particular focus. She sighed, then almost seemed to shutter. “He isn’t good for me,” she confessed. “But, it’s so very strange. After we’ve been—you know—together, the harder it is to think about breaking up.”
The honesty of our friendship compelled me to take a deep breath… then look into her eyes. “Maura, you’ve fallen into a bad habit… and now you’re hooked.” Tears that flowed were evidence of the tug-of-war for Maura’s heart but also for her body and soul.
For the rest of Maura's story (Part 1), click here.
Unhooked and Set Free
Maura, my young friend, has bonded with her boyfriend. She doesn’t seem to want to be with anyone else. In fact, she moved in with him with the hope that he will ask her to marry him.
It’s really quite remarkable, don’t you think? Despite the cultural acceptance of multiple partners most young women want to be married to one man and make a nest for their children. Unfortunately, a woman’s consent to play “house” outside the commitment of marriage enables young men to postpone marriage.
So… what is going on with Maura? Why has she bonded with her boyfriend? I believe it’s because faith and science are at work in Maura’s life. The Creator of life has not only written Himself on Maura but also wired her for monogamous attachment.
Right now, Maura’s faith is relegated to Sunday morning or an occasional religious discussion with her dad or me. But I’d like to help Maura see that faith intersects with daily life in all areas including the physical, emotional, and relational. Together, Maura and I are learning that God has designed a woman’s body and mind to connect through the biological wonder of neurochemicals.
Oxytocin, or the “cuddle” hormone,” is a neurochemical. It is present in both male and female but is primarily active in females. The female body releases oxytocin at four different times. Take note! Each has to do with procreation and the care of children.
For the rest of Maura's story (Part 2) with "talking points," click here.