Mary Kassian: I have so been looking forward to this, girlfriends. Okay. This is like my favorite aged group. You have all the young ones and all the questions and all the honesty and all the yes. So that's great.
So basically you get to ask me anything you want and I will try and answer. We're not going to get to everything, obviously, but we will try and group them into questions. And if you're sitting there and you have a question that just pops up into your head you can put your hand up or wave or take a quick run to the back. Okay, we're going to be pretty casual. And pick out a card and hand it in or if there is a follow up and I said something that really perplexes you, we can make this a fluid thing. So it's not like your time's up if you didn't have your questions answered, you're done.
All right. We are going to start with some questions. These are grouped some for marriage. So we'll do that.
How do I encourage my husband to be the spiritual leader of our home and example of godly man for our daughters without sounding like a nag?
Good question. Don't sound like a nag. If you nag, you will never get your husband to be the leader of your home. Or he might do it just to stop you nagging.
Scripture says even in a difficult relationship with a man who is not a believer you can elicit, bring out, draw out, inspire him to be a man by being a godly woman. And I think that sometimes the reason that men don't step up to the plate is because we are so quick to rush in. We just do things and we don't step back and give them the opportunity to. That's number one.
Number two is that when they do try to do something they don't do it well enough for us and we criticize them and we're at them for not being the guy we want them to be.
The third thing that I just really want to quickly mention is that I think that we have in our heads sometimes a preconceived notion of what a godly male leader looks like. You know, he's a type "A" personality; he's a pastor; he's got to be this kind of a guy. And I think that's patently false. I think that's a stereotype that is not true.
I have seen marriages and I have seen men who are really quiet, solid rocks. You know, they are your plumbers, your carpenters, they might not be deep theological guys but they love the Lord and they are men. And they are men in their families and their wives know that. Do I have any wives that are like "Amen! That's my husband!" Yes. It's true. It doesn't have to look a certain way.
And I think when we talk about women, we have to give that same grace to the guys to let God work through their personalities and He will bring them into who He wants them to be as men because they are wired as men and the more godly they get the more manly they will get in terms of their personality and who they are.
So give some space. Give some room. Don't think that it needs to look a certain way. If your husband is the quiet type, that's okay. God made him to be a man and you can seek to honor him and encourage him and bless him in who he is and in who God created him to be.
Okay. I am not physically or sexually attracted to my husband. How do I handle that? Do I continue to be intimate with him even though I don't want to at all? How do I become attracted to him again?
Okay. Here's the thing about sex is when the act of sex is actually also telling a story. You are telling the story of covenant. And that's why when you get married, that's why God says no sex outside of marriage because we are telling the story of a covenant and we are telling the story of covenant faithfulness and we are telling the story of Jesus Christ that there is no union with Christ outside of covenant.
If there's no covenant in place, there's no union. And so if you have sex outside of a covenant relationship of marriage you're telling a lie about God. And that's why there's no premarital sex, that's why you don't live with your boyfriend, that's why you don't mess around outside of marriage and that's why you don't mess around before marriage.
It's not about you or you might get an STD or you might get pregnant or it's not good for relationships. Although all of the above apply. Ultimately it's because you are telling a lie about God. You were created to tell the truth about God in your behavior, in your sexuality, in your body.
The coming together of male and female tells the story of covenant union. It points forward to that eternal oneness that we will have with Jesus Christ as His church. The coming together, the union. Covenant first, union second.
Also, the concept of covenant faithfulness story telling will help you as a woman in terms of your sexuality in marriage. If you are telling the story of Christ and the church, how good of a story teller are you when you're going, "Oh, I'm revolted by him." Or "I don't want him to touch me." Or "He just doesn't turn me on."
Here's I had a girl come up to me once, one of my students who basically said, "You know I worked so hard at purity before marriage and then I got married and I had sex and it was no big deal and I wondered why I was so worried about it." And she was having struggles and then struggles with frigidity and just not even wanting to be intimate with her husband.
And I told her this. I said, "As hard as you worked to be faithful to the covenant story before marriage, put that same kind of effort into it after marriage. And understand what it is that you are doing. Understand that when you come together with your husband this is not…Is it physical pleasure? Yes. Has God given us joy and delight in the unity? Yes. But there is more than that. You are with your body bearing witness, bearing glory to the covenant story of Jesus Christ."
And when you get that it will help your sex life. You can use your head and you could pray and you could ask the Lord to have your mind govern your emotions and to wake up that part of you and to stir that to life that you want to faithfully do that as best as possible in your marriage in the privacy of your marriage bed that even there ultimately it's about telling the story of Jesus Christ.
Is this blowing you away? Or is this like…Have you ever thought about this before? No, I won't tell you that. This is being recorded.
My husband always uses a lot of sarcasm when speaking. It was the first thing that attracted me to him. But now after our years together I've grown out of it and would like him to mellow a bit. How can I approach him with this in a Christian kind of way?
Do Conversation Peace. That actually really helps in terms of getting your heart in the right place and then in addressing difficult issues in a way that's respectful and truthful and in a way that is constructive and not destructive. So talking about it will give you a few practical techniques of reporting what's happening.
"Honey, you're saying this and I understand that you're just trying to be funny. And I really appreciate that about you. I appreciate your sense of humor. But I am feeling just hurt. The barbs are catching me and it's hurting my spirit."
So you do need to be truthful about it. You need to speak the truth in love in a way that's very gentle and very respectful and you pick your moment. Probably not right when it's happened but at another point in time.
So, you do need to address that. And that's part of growing as a couple is that communication. All right? Submitting to your husband doesn't mean not talking to him. That's not fair. Okay? It's not fair if he doesn't know what your emotions are, what you're feeling, what you're thinking, how you're responding, how… And a wife is actually, like we spoke this morning, not letting creeps into your household…
I have found that's not being the case. Because I'm judicious in terms of not nagging, judicious with my words, when I do bring something up with my husband, Brent, he takes it so seriously. It's like he listens to me because I've earned that right over the years. And I am probably his closest friend and the one who challenges him the most spiritually in his life.
And that's what union is. That's what unity is. That's what God brings together two counterparts - two equal counterparts with different roles. But you need to learn how to communicate and grow because ultimately your goal is oneness. And your goal is demonstrating the unity and the fellowship that is not only between Christ and His church but also evidenced in the God-head. We are story tellers. We tell stories at every level of our lives.
We live in the - C.S. Lewis called it the "shadowlands". And the things that we see here all point to something else. And so we do want to work for unity. And we want to be truth-tellers to our husbands.
What are some ways to start a devotion time with my husband who is a Christian but doesn't have time? And also how can I encourage him to be a leader without nagging and annoying?
I think you need to express your desire to your husband. You say, "Honey, I would really love to do that." But if you have a past history of nag, nag, nag, nag, nag, it's going to just be another nag. He's going to sense if you have an agenda that you're on the "I'm going to change my husband agenda". Okay?
And quite honestly, I think we have a propensity sometimes. I can't tell you the number of times I've applied for the job of Holy Spirit in my husband's life. Okay? And was turned down.
But we do that. So we need to do a serious heart check and I would spend some time praying and talking to God about it first before you start talking to your husband. And then try and use discretion and wisdom in how you do it. Express your desires. But it's okay. It doesn't have to be like this. It doesn't have to look like what you think it needs to look like. It may be different.
Maybe he's just the guy that's going to give you a good squeeze at night and love you and pray with you and pray over you. He doesn't have to be the "Oh, let's break out the Logos platinum version and do a study together." All right? It's not going to look the same way in every guy's life. So give him a break. Okay?
So, pray for him. Express your desires for him and praise him for what's good. Be appreciative of the eighty percent if you don't get the hundred percent. And know that a marriage lasts a long time and there's a lot of growth that happens over the years. So even though it's not happening now, it doesn't mean it's not ever going to happen and you can keep praying for it and suggesting it or make some suggestions. But make sure that you're not the one who's pushing him out of the drivers' seat in terms of your home and being the foundation and head of your home.
Okay. What advice do you have for young wives?
That's a pretty open-ended question. What advice do you have for young wives? Treasure your guy. Love him. Love overlooks a multitude of sins. You don't have to have everything right and everything the way you need it to be. And my advice to you is to be the first to the cross. Always try to be the first to the cross.
If you get in a fight, if you get in a disagreement with your husband, and usually this is the case, he's eighty percent wrong and you are only twenty percent wrong. I find that's how it normally works. But even if that's the case, be the first to the cross. Have a spirit of humility. Don't let sin fester. Don't let issues fester. Don't let stuff fester. Deal with them when you're in good head space and good mouth space but don't let them fester. Don't let them go on and on and on because it's the little creeps that will eat away at your marriage. So be alert and be vigilant. Have a humble spirit. Be the first to the cross. And just love that guy. Just love him and just enjoy him for the treasure he is.
There's a group of us sitting around. You know, girls get together and we kind of talk and laugh about our husbands sometimes. There was a group of us girls together. I can't remember what it was - baby shower or for whatever reason. And we were together and talking and I think I shared this story on a Revive Our Hearts radio show.
We were talking about our husband's snoring habits. And so it was getting pretty boisterous because we were imitating them. And just like doubling over in laughter. You know, "Your husband does that? Well my husband does…" We were telling all our nighttime snoring stories. But it started taking a little bit of a twist in terms of almost being critical and "those are the guys and we're better than them." And man, humph. You know kind of an attitude - a superiority kind of thing.
And there was a woman who was sitting in the corner, an older woman. And she just very quietly said, "You know, my husband died four years ago. I would give anything to hear him snore tonight." Perspective, right?
So be grateful. It is a great gift. Sometimes it is a great challenge. Keep at it. Do not give up. Do not give yourself the way out. If you want to glorify God you work at it and you do everything you can to make it work.
Okay, I'm done.
Modesty and singleness. Real easy topics. How do you begin discussion with women who are dressing very immodestly? How do you make it about the heart and not just outward appearance?
Those are good questions. Those of us who have husbands know that… and even those who don't…but those of us who are married sometimes can take it very personally when we see a woman dressed provocatively and we know she's going to be giving our husbands or our sons trouble with the way she's dressing.
And so we want to get in there and fix it and let her know. And I've got to tell you, I've had that inclination even at the grocery store sometimes to say, "Well, sweetheart, do you think you could put some clothes on?"
But that's probably neither helpful nor edifying. Ultimately it's not about the rules. It's about God changing the heart. I think it's good to have those discussions amongst girls and teen groups and mums to have with their daughters and dads to have with their daughters.
I know that we didn't have daughters but in my brother-in-law's family he has girls. And it was basically dad that was going, "There's no way you're going out that door dressed like that sweetheart. And let me tell you why. You are not leaving this house…" And then they'd throw a big fit and "Dad's so unreasonable."
So, how do you begin the discussion? If you barge into a woman's life and say, "You are dressing really immodestly" that can be hurtful. It can sound judgmental, condescending. For me, personally, I welcome women into my Bible study. If their boobs are hanging out and their skin is too tight and they've got everything going on, I welcome them in and then I begin to pray for God to change their heart.
And inevitably He does. And sometimes it will come up in conversation and gently. But normally I speak from private experience, like, "This is how God convicted me about the way that I dress." And if you're a mother figure you can begin to say, "This is how this effects the guy." Or if you are in a position of authority in a woman's life, if you are her youth group leader or if you are that to her then maybe you have a little bit more license to begin to discuss or address those. But it needs to be done with gentleness and not with condemnation.
And you've got to give women space for the journey. Where I was when I was eighteen is way different than where I am now. All right? And so if you see a young girl like she might not even be aware. It may be that she's insecure. It may be that she's trying to get attention. It may be that she just doesn't think about it and she just wants to look nice. And so you don't know the motivations of her heart. You can't come in judging the motivations of her heart. You want to pray that the Lord will address that.
But sometimes that's not going to be the first issue that God addresses. It might be something else that He addresses first in terms of their sins. And we all know that we're in process. God's not going to reveal all my sins to me all at the same time.
So, that's probably not a very good answer. It's probably a wishy washy one. But I don't think there is a cut and dried answer. I think you need to pray for wisdom. Have the right timing. Have the right heart. Have the right spirit when you address those issues.
How do you define your personal standards for modesty and how did you establish those standards?
Okay. Here's the thing about modesty. Everybody wants a list. Everybody wants a list. And when I was a kid, my mom had a standard. And that was that my hot pants…any of you know hot pants? My hot pants could not be more than four handbreadths above my knee. So, one, two, three, four. My goodness, was that short!
But that was my standard. So when we went shopping it was one, two, three, four. Urgh, Darn it. I would push this. And sometimes I think with kids, like in school situations you have like you spell out the standard.
But I think if we look at modesty in terms of an external standard we are going to miss it somewhat because modesty is an issue of the heart more than it is an issue of physical appearance. Modesty is going, "Hey! Look at me!" Modesty is going, "I want attention." Modesty actually is a flagrant self-attention thing even if the person may not be aware of it.
Why is modesty important? I think that most often - I talk about this in "Girls Gone Wise". We most often think, "Well, modesty is important because the guys have problems if they look at a girl. You want to help your brothers. You don't want them lusting after you."
You know, that's true. But that's not the most important things about modesty. Why do we wear clothing? Why do we clothe ourselves? Well, it's a spiritual illustration just like the rest of our lives. We clothe ourselves. When was the first piece of clothing constructed? After sin, right? Who constructed it? God. What did He do? He killed the first animal. It was probably a lamb. Made a covering.
And it was symbolic that He covered what we could not cover. He covered the nakedness. He covered us so that we could be presentable to God. Okay? He covered the guilt of our sin and He covered us.
So even the stuff I wear in a sense, is symbolic of a greater spiritual truth. The reason I cover up appropriately in given situations is not only because the guys are going to have problems and the older you get the less problems they have. That's not the main reason.
The main reason is that I am telling the story that Christ's covering covers me adequately and appropriately so that I can appear before and stand before God. That's the purpose and nature of clothing.
So, modesty is a heart issue because sometimes there are different standards in different cultures and at different points in time and in different situations. You need to be appropriate to a given situation. Okay, if I was wearing a modest bathing suit up here even if it was down past the knees, it wouldn't be appropriate would it, in this situation. It's not an appropriate environment to be wearing a bathing suit. But if I was in the pool, then I could be. Right?
Well, if you go, "Wait a minute, that's a different standard." Well, it's a different situation. And I think that by intent God doesn't give us, "Oh, your skirt needs to be so and so many inches below your knees. Or you can't wear short sleeves. Or you need to have this or you need to have this or you need to have that." Because it's legalism.
And He give us the power of His Holy Spirit as our counselor and our advisor and that's our best counselor and advisor when it comes to modesty is to go, "Is this appropriate? Is this God-honoring?" Examine your heart.
It's fine to want to be beautiful or to want to be attractive or feminine. That's fine. But am I telling the wrong story about the gospel? Am I displaying flesh in flagrant glorification of the flesh? Or am I representing God well as a daughter of the King?
So you need to wrestle with those questions. There is no easy modesty standard. And standards do vary somewhat. But I think we usually generally have a sense for what's appropriate in a given culture at a given time. You can normally take a group of teenaged girls and show them a picture and they'll go, "Man, that girl is a…she's just dressing like she shouldn't."
And there's a sense of that, right? We have an intuitive sense of that but I think for the Christian woman it is "Am I representing my King in a way that is with dignity, with honor, with femininity?" Because I think modesty goes both ways. I think we can ere on one side and be totally immodest in terms of showing too much. And then I think we can ere on the other side by just being sloths and not being femininely and not being the daughters of the King.
So, but again, I think it's balanced and it's not about ultimately the clothing we wear as much as it is about the story we're telling. And that's a heart issue.
I'm a young college student. Strong desire to be married, have a family. My singleness feels like a weakness. I know that isn't the case but sometimes I have a hard time believing it. How can I control this desire in a way that is glorifying to God while I am single? How do I channel this desire without it overwhelming me and controlling my life?
And here's another one: How do you know if you're called to singleness or if you're called to marriage? If you get married, you are called to married. If you're not married, you're called at that point in time to singleness.
How does the Lord say about singleness amongst a community that marriage occurs between twenty-one to thirty?
My desire to be a wife and a mom. Tips to prepare.
So all those are similar. Yes, this is a tough question in our culture now because there are several factors that kind of have all come together at this point in history. Number one is that education has changed so much that you don't get a terminal degree. You don't go into college at eighteen and you're done at twenty-two with your degree. That just doesn't happen anymore. You have to get a second degree. So there's that part of it. So your education isn't done at a young age. You're not done until you're twenty-six, twenty-eight, thirty. That is a huge cultural shift, a huge cultural change.
Another thing is the shear amount of debt that you take on through getting educated now. If you have a debt of fifty thousand, a hundred thousand dollars when you finish your education, that has to be paid off somehow. So that's another factor.
Another factor is that I think that we are not challenging men to be men. Men used to be challenged. "You'd better get your act together. You'd better step up to the plate. Become a man because you are going to have to support a wife and a family." And guys are not thinking like that anymore.
Guys are not challenged to think. So they are thinking their money is all about them. Instead of "providing for" they think "playing for". Okay? So you've got the perpetual adolescent - the video guy who's stuck in video games until he's forty and guys that the thought of even stepping up and becoming a man and a provider doesn't even cross their mind because they haven't been trained to think that way.
So you have all these factors. You also have the factor in the Christian community that women far outnumber men. So it's just a question of math. If you have twenty percent more women in churches, you are probably going to have twenty percent more single women in churches than men. And unless they want to go out and marry a guy that's not a Christian, there's going to be a percentage of women who are single and who will not get married.
So, here's what I know. I know that most people do end up getting married, eighty to ninety percent of people do at some point in their life whether that's twenty's, thirty's, forty's. What I know is this. Do not waste your single years. Do not squander them. Be mission focused. Be God focused. And God, if it is in His sovereign design to bring you a mate and if that is a desire of your heart, tell Him. That's all right.
But have that desire here. Keep it here. Keep it close. That's fine. You can pray about it. Your girlfriends can pray about that with you. I have girlfriends that I still pray for them. Their desire at age fifty is still to have a husband, a never married girlfriend.
But in the meantime these girl friends are super and uber ministry focused and kingdom focused. And they realize that the husband part is the temporary part. The Husband, Christ part, is the eternal part and that's where their major focus needs to be.
And that doesn't change. In a sense, you still need to have that focus if you're married. You can't get so tied up in marriage and children and the temporary stuff that you forget about the eternal stuff. And I think that I have seen people that exalt having children and getting married to the point of forgetting about Jesus and forgetting what it's all about.
"It's about having kids" instead of "It's about being fruitful for the kingdom". So it's not like your focus is one thing when you're single and then it's a different thing when you're married. No, it's all the same focus but it's a different venue. If you're single, you want to be fruitful for the kingdom. You want to be the woman God wants you to be for the kingdom of God. Same thing if you're married.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians, "Marriage, singleness? Which is better?" Singleness is really valuable because you have more time and attention to pay attention to eternal things than a women who's married and has to be running to a gazillion soccer games.
But still, even for that married woman. What is her mission? She is on a kingdom mission. So yes, you are running to a zillion soccer games. But you invite your mentor, your discipleship girl to come sit and watch soccer. And you talk about Jesus.
So, if you want to get married, that is a legitimate desire. We have a good Father and a generous and loving Father who does what's best for us. And it's fine to ask Him for the desire of your heart. Ask. But don't make it so that's the only thing. There's much more. And watch for what He's doing in you through this season and rejoice in that as well.
Are you finding this helpful? Okay. I feel like I'm' a monologue here.
These are questions about sexuality. What are your thoughts about helping women who are addicted to romance fiction books, for example "Fifty Shades of Grey"? "Fifty Shades of Grey". Oh my goodness.
Here's the thing about sin. It usually hooks us through curiosity. And it's just, "I'm curious about that. I don't think it's bad." And how's that different than like drugs or anything? Right? It's that we're curious and I wonder what that's like. Or I wonder what the big deal is. Or you feed yourself some story like, "Well, that's going to help infuse some, put a lot of hot enchiladas back in my marriage bed and so I'm going to read it."
But here's the thing. Sin is so subtle and it hooks us and then it reels us in and it's powerful. And if you think you're more powerful than sin then you are a wimpy woman and you are a weak woman.
A woman of strength knows that she is not more powerful than the pull of sin. And she knows that she needs to lean on Christ in that she is weak. I am weak. Given the right circumstances, given the right scenario, given the right emotional situation, there go I. So I need to guard and protect my heart every moment and all the time and especially in the little things.
We talked about it this morning. It's those little things that creep in and grab hold of you until the darkness is so great. And by the time you realize you're ensnared and entrapped it's hard to get loose.
So the time to deal with it is at the curiosity level and say, "No" there. But if you have progressed beyond that and you find you're hooked in terms of pornography, in terms of romance novels, in terms of masturbation, in terms of your sexual thought life, if you find that you are hooked and the darkness is creeping in and you're not resisting it very well or you're not winning the battle very often, then it's time to pull in to bring it to light and to pull in somebody to help you in that battle.
Talk to a girlfriend. Talk to a Christian sister. Maybe she's going through the same battle. Pornography for women has become a big deal. It's become a very big deal, the whole lust industry pushing lust towards women. So, these are common battles.
Satan likes us to get the mentality that sin is unspeakable. It's so shameful and so we hide it instead of exposing it and going, "I'm struggling". Because as soon as you tell someone about it, if you've been reading those romance novels and you tell a girlfriend, "I've been reading these romance novels. I'm having struggles with my thought life. Would you pray for me?"
James 5:16: "Prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. You will be healed." And it may be a struggle. It may be a journey. You may need to put up boundaries. You may need to go burn your books. You may need to have repeated and serious sessions of repentance. You may need accountability. It may be a journey for you.
You may need some bondage breaking in terms of having some prayer intervention - having people lay hands on you and pray for you because sexuality and broken sexuality is one of the biggest entrance points for Satan to have a stronghold in your life. So deal with it. Don't let it slip. Don't hide it. You may feel ashamed or embarrassed but don't be a wimp. Deal with it.
All of us are sinners. All of us. I am a sinner and I have to deal with my thoughts. I have to deal with my thought life. I have to deal with the temptations. I have to deal with critical spirit. There's so much.
And so don't be too proud to do what you need to do to deal with the sin in your life. This stuff is not healthy. It's not only not healthy, it is dangerous for your soul. Do not go there. And if you are going there and being pulled in, do what you need to do to stop that process.
That's similar to this question: How do you stop porn and masturbation?
That's a similar thing. Put boundaries into your life and into your circumstances. Set yourself a decent bedtime. Don't fill your head with movies at that time. Read the Word. There are certain things that you can do to clean up your act to stop moving into that.
If the temptation is so strong and you're feeling urges and impulses, it's just like dealing with any other temptations, like dealing with the problem of gluttony. If that chocolate bar is singing your name and it's singing louder and louder and louder and louder, you try to close the door on it. Go for a walk. Have a cold shower. Eat a piece of celery. There are things you can do. But above all, bring your sin into the light and get some prayer and get some accountability in your life.
How does a Christian woman deal with and face sexual frustration? How does God who is a Spiritual being satisfy a physical being? And is there a correct view of sex and men?
Well, there is a correct view of sex and men. No one ever said this is going to be easy. There is a cost to following Christ. Christ walked the path of singleness and purity. There are women and men throughout Scripture who stand before us as having walked the path of singleness and purity and not having had the opportunity for that physical consummation. And loneliness can be a real thing, is a real thing, wanting to be held, wanting intimacy, yearning for that is a deep and true yearning.
What you always need to remember is that every yearning of this life points to a fulfillment that Christ offers to us. And even women sometimes the loneliest women are the ones who are out there having all the sex. It's not the sex. It's something deeper and you've got to get that. There's something deeper at work.
So you have to keep that in mind. And you have to bring your body under the control of God's Holy Spirit. And that's not always an easy thing. Paul said that he wrestled with the body and making even the body the flesh obey God and bring glory to God.
So, here's a three step method. This is going to work for you. Real easy. Go girl! No, this can be hard, tears, sweat, hardship, bringing your thoughts and your impulses under submission to Christ to glorify Him. And is there a cost? Yes there is. But everything that's worthwhile has a cost. But you will gain the greater glory when you do it. You will.
How do you handle homosexual thoughts and temptations especially with a homosexual past?
Homosexuality and gay lifestyle and transgender and all of these things I believe a symptom of living in a broken world. We all live in a broken world. We are all sexually broken to a certain extent - some of us more than others. Some of us through sins committed against us. Some of us in sins we have volitionally committed. Some of us who got hooked in through curiosity. Some of us who just life circumstances. Things happened and you get drawn in and pulled in.
And so our impulses in terms of sexuality, in terms of being heterosexual, homosexual, all that can be just as broken as any other area of our lives. And your impulses may be something you need to wrestle with and bring under the Lordship of Christ and it may be a very hard thing for you and it may be a battle that you face for your whole entire life.
Again, no one said that the Christian life was going to be easy. But there are things that you can do to fight that battle. If you have been in a homosexual lifestyle I would advise for you to get some good prayer ministry, to get some accountability going in the community of believers and to not hide that part from everyone. You don't have to broadcast it to everyone. But to have one or two friends that you can take into confidence that can wrestle with you and work with you and support you and love you and love you because Jesus loves you.
For me, it's like, okay, the ultimate goal is not getting rid of the homosexual impulses and desires and turning into a heterosexual and getting married and living happily ever after. The ultimate goal is taking all your junk to Jesus and having Him help you walk through it and gain victory. And that may be that you just live a celibate lifestyle and you get to heaven and you look Jesus in the eye and you say, "I did it because You are worth it." And that's what bring you through.
We're going to see more and more of this. Our young girls are being taught, almost mentored, encouraged to experiment sexually and bisexually by the time they are grade 3, grade 4. Katie Perry, "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It". It's already yesterday's news. And so we are going to see this. And we have this happening in our youth groups.
Danielle, who came with me, she works with the young adults in our church. And we were talking about this on our flight down. Wake up, parents! This is happening in our youth groups. There's same sex stuff going on in our youth groups among our girls and we need to have answers for them.
And again, the answer in terms of our sexuality is that it is not about us. Our sexuality, we were created as sexual beings to tell the ultimate cosmic love story between Christ and the church either through a faithful covenant marriage or through covenant faithfulness to Christ outside of marriage and remaining single and celibate and living your life for the glory of God that way.
Is it easy? No. Can you be in victory? Yes. Is victory possible? Undoubtedly because Jesus died on the cross and because He will walk you through it and help you.
Okay, I think I'm done on these ones.
Is birth control biblical?
There is a lot of debate, a lot of different discussion on that question. And what I would challenge you to consider is just I think that God has given us dominion over the earth and so there is a sense in which He's given us some say. And yet at the same time God is sovereign. And what I challenge women to do is ask yourself the hard questions.
Is your view of children the same as God's view of children? Are you saying 'No, God, I don't want children. Or I don't think children are good. Or they're going to cramp my style." Or are you trying to be prudent in terms of "You know what? I have not physically recovered from my last pregnancy." And this is like a timing issue for you. Or is this sort of like an attitude, a wrong attitude.
So ask yourself the hard questions. Ask yourself do you really see children as the blessing that God says they are? Is your heart in tune with family in the same way that God's view is on family? Does your heart beat with the same beat for it as His does?
So this is a question that you're going to have to wrestle with on your own. But I do think ask yourself the hard questions. Ask yourself, "Is my view of that shaped by the world or is my view of that shaped by Christ?"
And let me also tell you, ladies, please, please check it out medically. I actually wrote an article about it on my blog. Took lots of heat. But you can go look at it. When I was working in rehab medicine I saw twenty year old girls who had stroked and whose lives were ruined because they'd gone on birth control pill. So for me, even just on a medical perspective, dig for the information because doctors just hand you the pills. And I think it's socially acceptable and we don't often research what you're putting into your body. And there's some scary stuff with the hormones. So check it out.
How do you best confront friends who are getting sucked into unhealthy relationships with ungodly guys?
Gently, with love. "You're my friend. I love you." And be specific what it is that bothers you or the red flags that you see. Don't just say, "He gives me the weebie jeebies." Go, "This is an issue that I see in his life or in your relationship that concerns me. I have a caution there. I'm not going to tell you what to do, but I need to draw your attention to it because I love you so much."
First boyfriend. Loves the Lord. He's so self-controlled that when we hug he doesn't like to hold me long but I really want him to so what do I do?
Good question. You need to as a couple talk about boundaries and land your plane in terms of boundaries. And then you need to respect them. So if he has a conviction about that, I mean you can talk about your convictions but if he has a conviction about that, I would say if you are pushing him beyond your convictions that's not a good thing to do.
So, yes. He's a boyfriend. God may take the relationship to a deeper level. But you have to live with the fact that this guy, until you have a ring on your finger and you're walking down the aisle, he may not be your husband. So do you really want to be doing stuff with this guy and have that memory and not have yourself fully and purely able to give yourself to your husband?
It's a tough world that we live in and the boundaries are so loose. You need to wrestle that one through. And again, you need to figure out above all, why. You need to answer the why question. You need to actually have that. Why sexuality? Why physical touch? Like, is that just for me? Is that just for me to feel good? No. Physical intimacy, again, tells a story. So you're a story teller with your body and you want to tell the truth about the gospel always. In all your behavior in your sexuality. So you want to tell the truth about the gospel. So you want to demonstrate covenant faithfulness even before you are in a covenant.
You don't want intimacy before there is a covenant in place. And the definition of that, you know, how far is too far? That is something, again, that's what you need to wrestle with. But I would say that is the wrong question.
The "how far is too far" is the wrong question. The right question is "How do I best tell the gospel story with my physical affection and my body before I am married?" That's the right question is how do I tell the gospel story not how far is too far?
Is there such a thing as being too picky about what you want in a relationship with the opposite sex?
Yes. I think that sometimes we're just….I'm not saying you need to settle but I'm saying that culture has painted this picture of this amazing one guy that you're going to meet that's your soul mate and is going to sweep you off your feet and be six-foot three tall and dark and handsome and brown eyes and physique and body builder and Mr. Super Spiritual Leader and he's the worship leader and like on and on and on your list.
And I bet you if you put a list together of everything that you would want in a guy there wouldn't be any guys that would meet your list. And Jesus wouldn't even meet your list. So, understand that you do not want to settle when it comes in terms of a commitment to Christ.
So here's the central things: The guy loves the Lord. He loves the Word. He's teachable. And He doesn't have emotional anger issues or control issues. Okay? There's my short list. Does he have a big nose? That's okay. Do his feet smell? Yes. That's all right.
Woman in the audience: So how do I know if I'm being too picky? Like say a really super godly guy is purusing me but I just…
Mary: Are you attracted to him?
Woman: right. That's my point.
Mary: Are you?
Mary: So, it's the wrong guy. Unless you're totally into the arranged marriage thing and then we could make it work. You're not into arranged marriages? Well, then, he's the wrong guy. My point is you could probably make it work.
Woman: Right. And I know that. But my point is am I being too picky?
Mary: Well, it's not necessarily that you are being too picky, I think that unless your heart is stirred that way, and I think you pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in that, but unless your heart is at least stirred toward this man, it will be harder to sustain a long-term life-long relationship with him if you don't have at least some feelings of romantic affection towards him.
In arranged marriages, the women work towards the feelings of romantic affection and those can come and sometimes it's just a really good friendship that develops in an amicable and a good working partnership.
So there's two things. On the one hand our culture is way too obsessed about the big romance and the woohoo swooning and the flutters in the stomach. And women make their decisions based on emotions instead of on reason. So I think that's the one side of the coin.
But the other side of the coin is that I do think that it is a healthy thing to have a romantic desire or inkling towards the guy as well. So ideally you would have both. If I had to choose between the two I would say, "Use your brain before you use your hormones because they'll give you better read on things."
And you might pursue the relationship and see if the affections start stirring. God may start stirring that in you. At some point that needs to start stirring in order to tell the story properly. Right? In order to tell the story that God wants us to be telling. So it's not unimportant. It's not the only thing. But it's not unimportant.
Any tips for recognizing slow signs of abuse in a man?
Control. Uber detective snoopy. Needing to know where you are every moment and what you're doing, who you're with. That's not a good sign. Just the inability to give you freedom to be with your friends. A pulling you away from your family. That is a really bad sign. If somebody pulls you away from your family instead of pushing you towards saying family is healthy, you need good relationships with your family, then that's not a good sign because that's the first step of isolation. That's not a good sign.
Volatile. Volatility when it's like you feel like you're walking on eggshells and something that can spark the guy off. Those are cautions, warning signs you need to look for. And when those caution signs are present, you need to test the relationship extra long and get extra wise counsel and maybe take some steps back and try to be a little more objective about it.
What does a healthy non-romantic friendship look like?
It looks like a healthy non-romantic friendship. I think that it's good for guys and girls to be friends. I think that in order for that to be healthy it needs to happen in a group environment. I think that if you start pairing off one-on-one it just gets weird if your best friend in the world is a guy. And it gets weird for you dating other guys and it gets weird for that guy. I don't think that's healthy. I think that girlfriends need to seek out…their BFF's should be a girl. I think that's healthier and that makes for a better situation for a good marriage.
Having said that, before I was married, I had a lot of good friends that were men. A lot of good guy friends. And I think that's fine. I think you need good boundaries and I think that the trouble is, you don't want to be building a deep emotional relationship with a guy as a BFF, best friend, who you're not going to marry. That's going to cause you problems if you do get married.
And here's the thing, too. I know that I ran into this hard when I got married. After you get married, it is improper for you to relate to guys in the same way that it was before you got married. It just doesn't honor your husband. And it took me a while to figure that one out.
It also took me a while to figure out that I was expecting these guys to treat me like one of the guys. And it took me a while to figure out that I wasn't one of the guys. And so I had to stop trying to be and I needed to be content with that. Not healthy.
How much time do we have left? We're over, aren't we? Are we done? We're on Mountain Standard are we?
Are there any zingers that…
Should I leave my boyfriend if he stops seeking God?
If it is a boyfriend, yes. If it's a husband, no.
Should I pursue the guy I like?
What do you mean by pursue? Because I think there are two answers to that question. I think that God has created men to be initiators and the patterns you set up in your dating relationships are the patterns that are going to continue on in your marriage. So it's not a healthy thing for the woman to be the pursuer in the dating relationship.
Does that mean that you can never text him or never be friendly or you need to stand in the corner with your eyes downcast praying that God will strike him with lightening and force him into your corner? No.
You can go up and talk to him and smile and strike up a conversation. I would avoid, I don't think it's healthy nor is it godly, the flirty "come get me look". But happy, nice, I like you look is just fine. Guys really do need some of those signals. They don't like to move toward unless they know. If they think they are just going to totally be shut down, they don't like to move toward.
And my sons told me in their dating years…My daughter-in-law, Amanda, I'm going to tell you what her husband told me, not about Amanda but about girls in general. He says, "They stick together like in these groups. And it's like there's ten of them and there's no way I'm going to go up to ten girls to strike up a conversation with the one girl."
So maybe don't stick like glue to your groups. And maybe walk over somewhere by yourself so if a guy is interested in you he can actually go talk to you without getting accosted with the pack.
So I wouldn't say that's pursuing. I would say you want to send positive signals. You're not passive. But I don't think you want to be aggressive or the aggressor in the relationship.
Okay, let me pray for you. I'll stick around and answer a few more questions. You need to get going. You're more than welcome to leave.
Heavenly Father, so many questions that are just practical, wisdom questions. How do we work this out? How do we make it work? How do we live our lives as godly women? You are our counselor. You are our strength. You are our wisdom. These questions sometimes, we need to feel our way around the answers and they're not always readily clear. But I know that with You are wisdom and strength and might. And that if anyone lacks wisdom, we just need to come to You and that You will give us counsel.
Thank You for the body. Thank You that we have sisters that have walked the path. We have women that are older than us who can give us counsel that is life-tried and life-worn and tested. Lord, give us teachable spirits. We do want to be Your women and walk in Your way. In Jesus' name, Amen.