Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dearest Sons,
It has been a while since I last wrote. Marco, you are going to University next September and Seb, we will be enjoying you for the last two years before you go to university as well.

Here I am, still writing to you, with the hopes that one day you will find encouragement in these simple words.

Sons, the world will find it their goal to fill your head with thoughts that you are enough on your own, that you need nothing and no one, that you deserve all good things without even knowing you. They will try to convince you that for as long as you live, you are good enough.. yet, bombard you on the other side, with a false image of perfection, success on what you have and done, telling you that you are not man enough if you do not have a certain type of body and tough attitude, and on the other side they will try to remove your masculinity.

Sons, do not listen to these conflicting thoughts of the world. They will accomplish nothing but frustration and insecurity. Listen to the word of our precious Lord. Listen to His precious words when He says in Isaiah: "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away". We need a Savior, We need Christ. And in 1 Peter it says: "...And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
Sons, we on our own, though created in His image and made perfect; we all have fallen away. And only Christ and His work in enough to save us from our sins, from the world and from the lies that easily entangle. Your only hope is in Christ.


Your works, your efforts if not done for Christ and by Christ are useless.

On Becoming Men

Dear son,

You now are a man. a young man. And one of the hardest things for me to do, is learn how o treat you like one.. you see? you have been little. I have taught you, cared for you, carried you, telling you what to eat and how much, which movies to watch, what friends we would have over, I planned your play dates, your school activities and field trips... I have done much for you, because that was my life. Trying to teach you in all, how to make wise choices, seeing you fall and learning not to run (though I wanted to do). Showing you (some times easier than others) that choices have consequences. But at the end, I was the mom and you were my child.

Now, things changed. You are still my child (I think you will always be), but you are becoming a friend. Someone I like to hang out with. Someone whom I can learn, I can seek advice and admire.

I love seeing the man you are becoming. Seeing the choices you are making. The friends you are choosing. the activities you are using as entertainment. I know you are not perfect. Having 'not so perfect parents' it is comforting to know that you were taught by God. The most perfect Father of all.

I am still learning to be the mother of an adult son. I have much to learn and I ask that you are patient with me. I love being a mom, be needed, tell people what to do and how to do it, because "moms know best" :)

All my love,
Mom.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On being a hero, the silent way.

My sweet boys, now young men. With the weight of the world weighing heavy upon you as you grow older. When the struggles of childhood are fading away and the struggles of adulthood staring you in the face. You are young still, but not a child. You are young men.

As I think on the issues you face these days, specially as men, I feel very inadequate in the subject, considering that I had one sister and no brothers to relate. So the way I can bring some understanding is through the eyes of a woman.

What would you do if you saw a girl as you are walking by and a man beside her grabbed her forcefully? What if that man hurt that girl? What if you have it within you to stand up from where you are and defend that lady? Would you? Would you defend the girl? Would you stand up for her? ... I really hope you would. I really hope you would protect her, cost what it cost.

Why would you (and most men) would say yes to that question? Why would they desire to protect?.. The reason is simple: because they and you are men.

Now, what if you saw that on the side of your screen they are promoting girls to be looked at,to be lusted after? They are being hurt by men every day in the most brutal way. In a way that most women would gladly take drugs to forget what they have been put through. What then? Would you help them by not clicking? Would you hurt the man by not clicking and promoting his abuse to these women? I hope you do.

Why is it easier to stand up for a girl on the street than the one on the screen? The reason?. There is a reward by helping the one on the street. Even if no one saw you, she saw. You were a hero to her, and she knows it. You helped her and seeing her face gives you a reward. Seeing the face of the man who hurt her, with a bleeding nose running away, gives you a reward. But with the one on the screen, by no clicking you are a silent hero. No one will know how many women you are helping, not even her! Is a hero that works undercover. A hero that fights the battle to protect women in the streets and in the screens. A hero that won't be on the news or your friends will talk about it.. It is a true hero. Who protects, not for the reward, for the fame, for the glory, but for the fact that is his job as a man to protect women.

Can I be honest? I hated these women, I saw them as women that sneaked into people's homes.. robbed the innocence of men and put wrong ideas in their minds of what sex was. As I learned more.. I cry over these women. Most of them have been abused at a very young age. They are tricked by clever men preying on their weaknesses: the need to be loved, appreciated, accepted.. And so they lure the into this trap. They promise them love, fame, money... and the deeper they go, the harder it is for them to escape. They are blackmailed, drugged, hit, tattooed with the"owner's name", they are threatened.  80% (though is hard to put an exact number because many women will say they are there by their free will .. but reality is that they are afraid of their "owner", and afraid that they will not be able to survive in the outside world since they are damaged "forever" - reputation, skills, criminal records...) of women in this industry have been victims of human traffic. Meaning: they were forced into this. My heart has been turned from hate to pity and to do as much as I can to help these women! Would you?

Consent by manipulation, extortion, peer pressure, lies, fear, if the person consenting  is under authority and fears of losing his/her job, if a person is under the influence... that is not consent. It is human traffic.

Don't get me wrong.. I hate what they do.. but in most cases, they are trapped. They desperately need silent heroes. They need the heroes that by not clicking, help these women. They need men that stand up not for the glory but for what is right, even when no one is watching.

O that the Lord give you a heart of a man. A true man. One that cost what it cost, will do every "silent" work against this fastest growing industry. Growing because men love themselves too much. So much that they rather watch this abuse, than to save the victim.

Who will you be? the silent hero or the coward seeking his own pleasure at the expense of these women and fattening the pockets of the industry while they sell you a lie which will lead to a life of addiction and dissatisfaction with that which is meant to be beautiful and perfect. Something very beautiful and different from what you see on screen. That is not real. You must believe it.

Our gracious Lord is good. He knows what it is to be tempted in any way we have. He knows. He can keep you from falling. Remember in Jude 1:24, it says: "To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy" ...What a blessing that is! To be presented before a Holy God without fault because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And so he has done with us. while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Like these women, we were and are unfaithful to our Lord, prostituting ourselves with the world BUT He does not watch in pleasure, but covers us with His blood. The most precious blood  and makes us clean. In the same way, because of what He did for us, we must act towards our neighbor.. not watch their sin in pleasure, but cover their nakedness. And one way to cover their nakedness is not to click.

Different organizations that help these women are: 
http://rescuefreedom.org/ (#refucetoclick)
http://salvationist.ca/action-support/human-trafficking/how-you-can-help/
http://beautyfromashes.org/index.aspx

Love, Mom.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On Marriage

Dearest sons,
I see many couples (including me at the beginning of my marriage) who want the beautiful picture of marriage: fun, passionate, romantic, happy, sweet, and so on.  They want from the beginning a picture of the old couple where he is kissing the forehead of his old wife and she is holding him tight to help him (and help herself) cross the street. We all have a sweet spot for that picture, and no one is able to resist a deep breath of admiration when we see them.

The problem is, let me explain.

Marriage does not start like that. Marriage starts out of passion for the girl you like. That is why God made young girls pretty, because if their character is all you saw, there would be many young girls and boys unable to get married. You will marry a sinner. A girl who has many flaws, who is going to disappoint your ideal of her, she will drive you crazy at times because of her character. And you will do the same to her. But you know what? She is beautiful! And best of all, if you have chosen wisely. You chose a girl that loves the Lord with all her heart, soul and mind, therefore there is hope.

Marriage at first, is fun. You are young, newly married, you have energy, you go out with friends for dinner and then to the movies, you try to establish new traditions, you have your first baby and all is well. Your biggest fights are finding the things that drive you crazy about each other... but you learn to die to yourself.

When children come, you do no have the time you used to have. You are thrilled about this kids, but you are tired, she is tired, she is not as energetic as she once was because she is busy with the kids, the house, training them ... you are coming from work feeling the weight of the responsibility for these little ones and this beautiful wife the Lord has given you. It is not as 'fun" ... you see other couples and you think something is lost. Your marriage is not exciting... is just pleasant.

Let me tell you, pleasant is good! Pleasant brings true love. Her body is changing, yours is changing. Her character is becoming more like you and you are becoming more like her. You work at making time for each other.. once a month, once a week, once every three months. This is the time to work. Something that was natural for her when she first met you, now she will have to work at it. Some things that were natural for you to do or say, now you have to mark it in your calendar so you do them or say them. It is work. Marriage feels that is "just" pleasant. But don't forget, pleasant is good! Pleasant grows love.

Kids grow up, you have more time for each other again. You start finding time more easily for her and her for you. You discover that the things that you used to love have changed and you now find pleasure in other things together. Love is growing. Work is needed still.

That beautiful young girl you once met, has now a wrinkled body, and the beauty of her smooth skin and lovely hair are now gone.  You do not see her beauty because her character shines stronger. She does not look the same. Yet she is truly beautiful to you. She has endured with much pains your character and you have endured hers. She is changed because of the work the Lord has done in her and you have changed because of the Lord's work in you. And now, pleasant is a treasure!  You reach the love you wanted at the beginning. By perseverance, by dying to yourself for her, by forgiving constantly, by putting her needs above yours, by protecting her even against herself.

Now you hold hands.. wrinkled hands. Now you kiss each other's face and young people desire that for themselves. Now with no work.

Dear sons, enter a marriage and do not be discouraged about the times ahead. Love will require work, and mortification if you want it to count at the end..

Mom.


Friday, November 15, 2013

“He didn’t even get down on one knee or anything?”

You boys ask it incredulous, like there’s some kind of manual for this kind of holy.

And I’ve got no qualms in telling you no. No, he didn’t even get down on one knee – it was just a box, a glint of gold in the dark, two hallowed words and a question mark.

“Boring.”

I know. When you’ve watched a few dozen mastermind proposals on youtube, shared them with their rolling credits on Facebook, marvelling at how real romance has an imagination like that.

Can I tell you something, sons?

Romance isn’t measured by how viral your proposal goes. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal.

Your goal is always to make your Christ-focus contagious – to just one person.
It’s more than just imagining some romantic proposal.

It’s a man who imagines washing puked-on sheets at 2:30 am, plunging out a full and plugged toilet for the third time this week, and then scraping out the crud in the bottom screen of the dishwasher — every single night for the next 37 years without any cameras rolling or soundtrack playing — that’s imagining true romance.

The man who imagines slipping his arm around his wife’s soft, thickening middle age waistline and whispering that he couldn’t love her more…. who imagines the manliness of standing bold and unashamed in the express checkout line with only maxi pads and tampons because someone he loves is having an unexpected Saturday morning emergency.

The man who imagines the coming decades of a fluid life – her leaking milky circles through a dress at Aunt Ruth’s birthday party, her wearing thick diaper-like Depends for soggy weeks after pushing a whole human being out through her inch-wide cervix, her bleeding through sheets and gushing amniotic oceans across the bathroom floor and the unexpected beauty of her crossing her legs everytime she jumps on the trampoline with the kids.

The real romantics imagine greying and sagging and wrinkling as the deepening of something sacred.

Because get this, kidsHow a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.

And a man begins being romantic years before any ring – romance begins with only having eyes for one woman now – so you don’t go giving your eyes away to cheap porn. Your dad will say it sometimes to me, a leaning over – “I am glad that there’s always only been you.” Not some bare, plastic-surgeon-scalpel-enhanced pixels ballooning on a screen, not some tempting flesh clicked on in the dark, not some photo-shopped figment of cultural beauty that’s basically a lie.

The real romantics know that stretchmarks are beauty marks and that different shaped women fit into the different shapes of men souls and that real romance is really sacrifice.

I know – you’re thinking, “Boring.”

Can you see it again – how your grandfather stood over your grandmother’s grave and brushed away his heart leaking without a sound down his cheeks?

50 boring years. 50 unfilmed years of milking 70 cows, raising 6 boys and 3 girls, getting ready for sermon every Sunday morning, him helping her with her zipper. 50 boring years of arguing in Dutch and making up in touching in the dark, 50 boring years of planting potatoes and weeding rows on humid July afternoons, 50 boring years of washing the white Corel dishes and turning out the light on the mess – till he finally carried her in and out of the tub and helped her pull up her Depends.

Don’t ever forget it:

The real romantics are the boring ones — they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.
Be one of the boring ones. Pray to be one who get 50 boring years of marriage – 50 years to let her heart bore a hole deep into yours.

Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: committment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for?

Who am I willing to take the reeking garbage out for and clean out the gross muck ponding at the bottom of the fridge? Who am I willing to listen to instead of talk at? Who am I willing to hold as they grow older and realer? Who am I willing to die a bit more for every day? Who am I willing to make heart-boring years with? Who am I willing to let bore a hole into my heart?

Get it: Life – and marriage proposals — isn’t not about one up-manship — it’s about one down-manship. It’s about the heart-boring years of sacrifice and going lower and serving. It’s not about how well you perform your proposal. It’s about how well you let Christ perform your life.

Sure, go ahead, have fun, make a ridiculously good memory and we’ll cheer loud: propose creatively — but never forget that what wows a woman and woos her is you how you purpose to live your life.
I’m praying, boys — be Men. Be one of the ‘boring” men and let your heart be bore into.

And know there are women who love that kind of man.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t flashy – because love is gritty.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t about cameras — because it’s about Christ.
The kind of man whose romance doesn’t have to go viral — because it’s going eternal.

No, your dad did not get down on one knee when he proposed – because the romantic men know it’s about living your whole life on your knees.

There are Fridays. And the quiet romantics who will take out the garbage without fanfare. There will be the unimaginative calendar by the fridge, with all it’s scribbled squares of two lives being made one. The toilet seat will be left predictably up. The sink will be resigned to its load of last night’s dishes.

And there is now and the beautiful boring, the way two lives touch and go deeper into time with each other.

The clock ticking passionately into decades.

(taken from: Ann Voskamp  http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/11/the-real-truth-about-boring-men-and-the-women-who-live-with-them-redefining-boring/)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

On Legalism

My sons,

Many will come and try to convince you that obeying and keeping God's commands is legalism. They will tell you that you need not holy habits like prayer, keeping the Lord's day, communion, baptism, worship together with other believers, mortification of the flesh, the reading of God's Holy Word, singing His psalms in worship, and hearing the Word preached.

Keep your ears away from such, for they follow the desires of their sinful nature. They desire that which pleases their senses. They like little religion, and justify their sins by saying they are 'free'.

Legalism is trying to keep the law in order to earn salvation by your 'good works'. But remember, keeping God's commands and obeying them (battling the flesh to keep them even when our plans are disrupted),  is not legalism. You are not working towards something you earn or deserve. Keeping them is love. Love towards the One who saved you. Towards the One who gave His precious blood as a payment for your soul.

He says: "If you love me, keep my commandments". It does not give us freedom to do as we please; but our pleasures are now to be transformed, mortified, purged and  aligned to His will and His pleasures. We will desire that which He desires and enjoy what He enjoys.

It is a painful process, it is a cross to carry, it is a battle to fight, with a great reward. Carry it humbly seeing your own frailty. Carry it strong, as a soldier in the middle of the battle.

Like R. C. Sproul said: "Freedom is a precious commodity. But our freedom has limits. We are under restraints and we are accountable. We are ultimately answerable to God. We are simply not permitted to do everything we might want to do"

Be careful, be on your guard. Be diligent and work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Watch your heart and know it well. If there is in your daily work a sense of 'earning' God's favor, step back and remember how impossible it is for you to please Him on your own in the first place. It is finished. His work, His purchase, His acceptance, His victory. And now, looking at the cross, at His finished work, at the redeeming blood, you have nothing else to give but to obey because of love.

Mom.
 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On forgiveness of sins

"I assure you that any sin can be forgiven"

These words fall lightly on the ears of many persons. They see no particular beauty in them. But to the man who is alive to his own sinfulness and deeply sensible of his need of mercy, these words are sweet and precious. "All sins shall be forgiven." The sins of youth and age--the sins of head, and hand, and tongue, and imagination--the sins against all God's commandments--the sins of persecutors, like Saul--the sins of idolaters, like Manasseh--the sins of open enemies of Christ, like the Jews who crucified Him--the sins of backsliders from Christ, like Peter--all, all may be forgiven. The blood of Christ can cleanse all away. The righteousness of Christ can cover all, and hide all from God's eyes.

The doctrine here laid down is the crown and glory of the Gospel. The very first thing it proposes to man is free pardon, full forgiveness, complete remission, without money and without price.

Let us lay hold on this doctrine, if we never received it before. It is for us. This very day, if we come to Christ, may be completely forgiven. "Though our sins have been as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18.)

 
Let us cleave firmly to this doctrine, if we have received it already. We may sometimes feel faint, and unworthy, and cast down. But if we have really come to Jesus by faith, our sins are fully forgiven. They are cast behind God's back--blotted out of the book of His remembrance--sunk into the depths of the sea. Let us believe and not be afraid.
 J.C Ryle