Thursday, February 6, 2014

Outrageous Ideas About Sex Before Marriage - Courtship Story #12 Praying with Small Group Leader

Our small groups in Youth With a Mission were 4-5 of us students with a leader who was on staff. These were the times when we could share our innermost joys and sorrows. The things from our past that had tripped us up, the things of today which caused us concern or joy. We prayed for each other, studies things from the Bible, shared areas of overcoming and areas of defeat. My small group leader was Mary. She and I had been the cooks for our group of 80 on our outreach. I used to babysit her four and five year old when she and Mark needed a sitter. She was not only my small group leader, Mary was a friend, close friend and I knew and appreciated her close walk with the Lord.

She had been praying with me about much so it was natural when Mick and I began to be friends that she’d be one of the first who would pray with me about that relationship.

There was a time when I was beginning to have some friendships with guys who were closer to my age (many in YWAM came right out of high school and I was in my thirties at this point in time). She said when she was praying for me and friendships with guys the Lord showed her “green bananas” and said that my life before him most of my relationships were like trying to eat green bananas and that now I was finally eating the fruit when it was good, wholesome and at the right stage of ripeness….and I should enjoy that. Good graphic. I finally had some friendships with people of the opposite sex that were fun, we laughed, encouraged each other in the Lord, were there for each other during times of trial as well as triumph. On occasion I’d have dinner with one of these men or go for an ice cream or a walk, just friends, no commitment other than that friendship. No hand holding or signs of affection other than politeness because we understood the parameters of the relationship and what it meant to be good friends.

Mary was (and still is) a blessing in my life with whom I could share my every concern. We laughed and cried together and Mary? Well, Mary was (and is) in a class by herself as far as I was concerned.
Right when Mick and I began to pray about something more than friendship Mary was leaving the country to go on an outreach. That was the era of “snail mail” so there were no daily e-mails but there was definitely prayer. And I was blessed to have another gal on staff to pray with during this time.

Why pray with others? Because in a male female relationship it is SO easy to get your emotions very involved to the point where, in a way, your emotions become ear plugs. It is sort of like the emotional closeness gets stronger and to that same degree your hearing from God seems to get less and less acute. YWAM seemed to have some built in safety nets for relationships. Praying BEFORE you let your emotions get involved. Praying to see what God had in mind for the relationship. Mary was one who taught us that we might be attracted to the guy because the Lord had plans for us to be in ministry together (not married). AND if you had various people who knew you well and loved you in prayer you had a covering that was priceless. If any one of those praying sensed a “check in their spirit” about the relationship, all involved prayed more until that person felt a release or until the Lord made clear what the problem issue was. Our parents were praying too but since we were older and they were away from where we were it was SO good to have the investment of the prayers of others close by.

One main question Mary asked was “Is this relationship drawing you closer to the Lord Jesus?”  We were also taught that if you were in the Word together while you were courting then you’d be in the Word together after you married. Same thing true about praying together, attending fellowship or whatever you did while courting was what (in their experience) you continued to do after you married. THINK about this….It is what you are singing up for – for a lifetime!

Mick and I have definitely found this to be true. We still go on long walks together and enjoy that much. He gave his TV to his roommate when we got engaged so we could focus on communicating with each other. We don’t have a TV even now but talk and read, sometimes out loud to each other – almost every day. We will dig in the Word together and I think there has only been one time in all these years when one of us wanted to pray and the other didn’t.  Relationships in the Lord Jesus Christ are simply THE BEST!

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

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