38 Years

How do I celebrate 38 years? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today, I am taking a break from book plunges not only because I still have to finish reading some books, but also because today is a special day for me. Today, I celebrate having gone around the sun 38 times. It’s something to think about. Years can seem so long and yet so short at the same time. My wife and I have been married for eight years and yet I still find myself wondering if it really has been that time. It seems so short, and yet I have had this woman be so much a part of my life that it is like we are practically joined at the hip or rather have one heart beating in two bodies.

When you’re a kid, it seems like you think about all that you want to get for your birthday. I can think about to getting my first Nintendo when I was eight years old. Some things haven’t changed seeing as we will be busy tomorrow and my wife gave me a gift earlier, which was three Kingdom Hearts games in one for the PS4. Yes. That gamer has never died in me.

Despite this, it has been hard for me to think of things that I really want to have. Books I get from publishers now so that’s not a problem. I finally thought of asking my parents for Ready Player One on DVD which could be the best movie I have seen.

I still enjoy the material things, but they don’t mean as much as they used to. Enjoying a good book is one of the great privileges. Enjoying the love of my wife is certainly a great joy to have. We have a Wii system now that is a modified one with several old games on there and I find myself going on there and playing old classic ones from the past.

This is also a reminder of how far I have come. If I watch an old TV show now, I think back and consider the questions I can ask from a theological and philosophical perspective and wonder why is it that I never thought of such things before? How did I not see these in that light? It doesn’t decrease my enjoyment. It rather increases it.

I do wish I was doing more with my life now. It seems I have a better online presence than I would have thought and people come to me with questions, yet I wonder what more is there? This is one area I don’t think I can ever be satisfied in personally. I always want more and more. I don’t settle. That little boy who wants to go on adventures every day has never died. He just wants more adventure on the path.

I look at the friends that I have made on the journey as well. These are my teammates and partners. These are my allies in the good fight. So many people I know so well today that I had no idea existed years ago. The rise of the internet has helped with that as I know people from all over the world. As is stands, on the 18th, I had birthday wishes coming in from places like Australia and New Zealand and it’s something to think that people all over the world like that want to do something to celebrate that you are in the world.

And isn’t that something special to think about? Each one of us is a great might-not-have-been. My wife and I recently saw Unbroken together. It was the second one and I came to a realization of what I should have always known in it. As long as we are still breathing here, God has some purpose for us, as He does not waste us. Nothing we do in this life will be wasted ultimately. If God puts us through any suffering, He will use it for our good.

How many more years will God grant me? I don’t know, but I honestly hope they’re a lot, and I hope all of them are spent with my wife as well. If anything, my prayer would be that either we die together one day or that she goes one day before I do. Until then, I pray that we adventure together and do as much good as we can.

The boy has never lost sight of the fact that good and evil are still realities. There is still the dreamer who sees them in the games and in the TV shows and in the movies, but there is the adult who sees it in the real world and realizes that while I cannot perhaps affect things at this point on a national or global scale, I can at least do something where I am at. I can fight evil on a local scale and dare I say it, but the best place to fight evil is under my own roof and specifically, within my own soul. How can I defeat the evil in me to be a better ambassador for the Kingdom of God and a better husband to my beautiful wife?

I am grateful to my parents for raising me the way they did and making sure that I was a faithful church attendee. If they had known about apologetics, I am sure they would have introduced me to that. I am thankful to my in-laws as well for giving me their daughter in marriage. I am especially thankful to my wife since she gives me the gift of herself, the greatest honor that someone like that has ever given me and something that I continually celebrate and I am so proud of how her diet plan is going and how she’s being an inspiration.

And lastly, I am most thankful to God in Heaven. It is by His grace that I have made these trips around the sun. I cannot help but be amazed at the impact that I have having in this life and I hope it continues more and more. When I enter into the full Kingdom, I anticipate I will be amazed to see how God was working through it all and I look forward to spending eternity in the presence of God and going on those adventures that I could never have dreamed of in the past. The boy who was thrilled with them at a young age and still enjoys them today will find his true home at that point where he is most at home, with God and His people.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/1/2018: Allie Peters

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Life is a beautiful and sacred gift, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like that. We all have times where suffering enters into our lives. Christians aren’t immune. Unfortunately, even Christians can be tempted to make awful choices when that happens. Even Christians can be tempted to throw in the towel. Even Christians can actually attempt to give up, and sadly some will succeed.

Some will not. Some will live on to tell the tale. Life can still be a battle for them, but they will tell the tale about what happened. They can talk about the impact they saw on the people around them and how it affected them. They can talk about what they have learned.

September is suicide awareness month. It is a time of the year when we try to remember that this is a real problem and it’s still with us. Whenever a celebrity has successfully committed suicide, unfortunately, the suicide rates make a spike after that. Sin breeds sin after all.

My wife is one person who has been affected by this greatly seeing as she is herself a suicide survivor. This is after more than one attempt. Her parents have found her after an attempt and I have found her after an attempt. Both of us were left devastated by such events. Indeed, to this day, I cannot hear the siren of a first responder without thinking about it.

We’ll be talking about Allie’s life some as bullying definitely played an impact on her as she was growing up. We might look at this as “kids will be kids” but it is getting worse and social media isn’t helping. I personally place a lot of blame on the self-esteem movement as I am not convinced we can stop all bullying, but we can certainly equip kids to be better able to respond to bullying.

But how can a Christian ever feel this way or even do this? Doesn’t this contradict what we are told in Scripture? If we really think this, is it proper to talk to someone about their salvation status if they are really considering the choice of suicide?

What about other people out there listening? How should we respond if we think someone around us could be contemplating suicide? Are there any warning signs to look for? What do we do if we think that there is someone around us or even on social media who we think could be suicidal? How should we respond to such a claim?

I hope you’ll be listening. As is no doubt known, my wife is my favorite guest to have on the show and we will be here together to talk about this important topic. September is the month for suicide awareness and if you are considering this awful choice or know someone who is, I really hope you’ll listen and please don’t do this choice. All of life is sacred and that includes you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Risk Of Love

What does it mean to love someone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, my wife posted an article about Borderline Personality Disorder. The person talked about their past romantic relationships and how hard romance was for someone like them. A friend commented saying how hard it can be to love some people and sometimes you might have to take a break for your own well-being.

Being married to someone who has been diagnosed with BPD, I had a few things to say.

Can it be hard to love someone like that? It can be, but that depends first off on what is meant by love. Second, it can be because it can be hard to love ANYONE. As C.S. Lewis said years ago, we are all very hard to live with.

So let’s start with love. We have four kinds.

Storge is the familiar love. It’s the love we show to just random people on the street we meet and also associated with family. Sometimes for family, they’re seen as people we probably wouldn’t love if we weren’t related, but because we are we become invested in them. There’s not much risk involved here. Someone could be a jerk, but it’s not the norm.

Phileo love is a bit more personal. It’s when you refer to someone as a friend. This is a love Lewis wrote a great deal about as did Aristotle. This is indeed a much more risky position and some friends you will open up to more than you will to others. It depends on how close the friendship is.

Agape love is often seen as godly love. I would think of it as passionate or self-sacrificial love. It is often used to describe the love of God. This requires a good deal of risk from us because we can make ourselves very vulnerable.

Eros love is the romantic and sexual love. For us, this can be one of the biggest risks of all. At full fruition, it requires total vulnerability as one’s very body has to be openly displayed and shared for it to reach the goal. This is one more reason I think the full expression of eros should be saved for marriage as at that point, one has made a total commitment worthy of the action of total commitment.

Let’s also consider something else about love. Love is not having warm fuzzies for someone. Love is not a feeling. It can produce feelings, but it itself is not a feeling. Love is a commitment of the will. It is a commitment to seek the good of the other for the sake of the other.

That’s hard for any of us. It requires that we put someone else above ourselves. Often when I read what newlyweds say about marriage, I notice something is left out. You get used to getting to have sex, sleeping in a bed together, sharing a budget, sharing personal space, what you’ll watch on Netflix, etc.

Very few if any seem to say something about learning more about putting the other person above yourself. That is a real challenge. It doesn’t help that marriage really gives you a good picture of what you’re really like.

Perhaps I’ve just sat down and Allie needs me to go to the store. I really don’t want to. I want to watch Netflix or read a book or play a game on the Wii or something like that. Nope. Allie needs something so off I go.

But you know, the more you do that, the more you become a better person. It’s almost as if doing the right thing helps you become a good person. It’s almost as if once you stop looking out for #1, you find your own happiness and joy waiting there for you.

This is what makes love so hard. It is dying to yourself. If you do not love someone as you should, it says very little about them. It says a lot about you. Lack of love cannot be blamed on the other person. It can only be blamed on you. Love is not just love when the other person is easy to love. Love is there when the other person can be hard to love, as all of us can be at times.

Our society has often confused that, mainly by thinking love is a feeling. You will not always feel love for someone you do love or are supposed to love. Love rises above the feelings. If you do the loving thing just when you feel like it, what love is that? Love is doing the loving thing also when you don’t feel like it. You rise above what you want and seek the good of the other above your own.

If you do stop loving, it says a lot more about you. Does the other person have faults and problems that can make it hard? Yes. So do you. None of us is perfect. Ironically, the only one who is perfect is the one we can sometimes have the hardest time loving. It’s not because of anything on His part. Once again, it’s entirely on us.

Over time, loving my wife has become more and more natural because the more you do something, the easier it can become. Love has become more of a second nature. As I consistently seek that which is good for her and give of myself, I find it actually becomes my joy. I have often said that if we came into money, I would be more prone to buy her whatever is good for her. It could be that trip to Japan or that horse farm or those dance lessons. Whatever it is. It means more to me to see that smile on her face than any of the things that I want.

Loving Allie is its own reward now. Loving God is its own reward. Loving anyone is its own reward. What am I going to do to grow in the love I am supposed to have for my fellow man? It’s easy to ask how others can change for me. I need to ask how I can change for them.

And to my Princess, know always love is a risk, and one you are worth very much.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Happy 28th Birthday Princess!

What’s going on today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Today is a special day, like all days, but some days are extra special. This is one such day. 28 years ago today the world was blessed with a demonstration of God’s beauty on this Earth as Allie Licona came into the world. Of course, that’s her maiden name. Today, she is known as Allie Peters. She has been the woman I have been married to for the past eight years. That means more than a quarter of her life has been spent being married to her man.

Princess. Let me say that you amaze me so much. Through your love, I have grown to be more and more the man I need to be. I have way more confidence than I ever did and my diet is far better than it has ever been. I have worked to overcome more and more hurdles. Of course, there is a long way to go, but you have made the difference.

You did it just by being you. It’s the strangest thing. I am no longer looking out for #1. Of course, there is that tendency to do that still, but more and more I learn what it means to sacrifice. I learn what it means to love as Christ loved the church. I learn to put my own desires on hold and do things I normally wouldn’t. In reality then, your good has become my good as I see your good as something greater and worth pursuing.

It is my hope everyday that I will do something to bring you joy that day. Your smile is one of the most beautiful sights I see and I love it especially when I know I am the one who brought it to you. When I go to bed and give thanks for my blessings, you’re one of the first ones I give thanks for. I cannot believe I have a beautiful and special woman in my life sometimes who shares everything with me. You share your life and body with me and now even have my name given to you and may you see it as a name that is a badge of honor to have.

Love is a sacred gift. Sometimes it’s said that the gift God gave us is Himself. Sometimes it’s said He gave us love. The answer is one and the same. God in giving us Himself gives us love for He is love. The same it is with you. The gift of yourself to me is the gift of love to me. That gift makes me want to be a better Christian. It makes me want to be more like Jesus.

I have something planned for you today. I really wish I had enough to do everything. If money weren’t an object, I would love to fly you to Kyoto someday or anywhere in the world you want to go. I have a hard time thinking of things that I want for myself nowadays. I have Jesus and I have you and that is plenty enough to keep me happy. I appreciate all the books I get from publishers and the like, but you are a far better gift than any addition to my library could ever be.

Princess. To some people, you may not mean anything, but to one person at least, you mean everything. There is one person at least who sees you as the bright spot in his world everyday and dreads a darkness where you are not there. You are loved immensely and any gift I give you will fall far short of expressing the true and deep love for you I have in me.

Happy birthday, Princess. May you have another wonderful 28 years and even more after this! Your man still wants to grow old with you.

Love you, Princess.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sacred Beauty

What role does beauty play in our lives? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As an apologist, I have my own arguments for God’s existence. The ways of Thomas Aquinas work great to me. Despite that, there is one argument that I personally find extremely convincing. I do not think I use it in debate because it is a more intuitive argument than one that will hit the mind. I have used it on a friend dealing with doubt before.

That is beauty.

When you’re a single guy wanting to marry, you look around at the women in your world and think you’re beautiful. Then you marry and you realize that you were right. That woman that you have in your life is beautiful. My Princess is a sacred gift to me.

You see, I realize something that I didn’t really before. When a woman shares herself, she is sharing something sacred. I have exclusive rights to my wife that no other man does. My wife is a great treasure and no matter how many times I see her, it is still always new and amazing to me. I cannot even explain why it is that way. Before I was married, I did not understand why the human female form was so beautiful. I have now been married eight years and I still don’t really understand it. I just know that it is.

Sometimes, we will hear the horrendous lie that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It certainly is not. Beauty is real, and if we miss out on beauty being real, truth and goodness are not far behind. A drawing that a small child makes of a stick man will not be nearly as beautiful as the Mona Lisa.

And yet our world cheapens beauty. Sadly, many women do it themselves. They treat their bodies like common goods and give them away to anyone who meets minimal requirements. One of the best ways a woman tells how much she’s worth is by making a high price on her beauty, and that would be a lifelong covenant in marriage.

Pornography is a great way to devalue female beauty. I realize women watch porn and there is porn of men, but most of us, even most women, would agree that the woman is a whole lot more beautiful then the man is. I still look at my own body and wonder what the heck there is that my wife sees.

In the past, if a man wanted to see a naked woman and have sex, he had to be an honorable man and get married. That encouraged men to build up qualities that were fitting for a man to have. Not so today. Today, a man is encouraged to not be a man but really to be a user. If he wants to see a naked woman, he can just open up his browser and see one in seconds. If he wants to have sex with a woman, he could just go post on some internet site and have a hook-up that evening.

In doing this, we have lost the sacredness of beauty and sexuality. Sex is no longer a great good really in our society. It’s common. It’s just something people do together for fun. It’s not about building up a serious love commitment one has already made and that is exclusive and definitely not about having children one day.

We think our society knows a lot about beauty. Look at all the investment we have in make-up and supermodels and such. We don’t. We talk about it and display it and chase after it, but we don’t think about it. The same is true with sexuality. Our culture doesn’t think too much about sex. It thinks too little. It does everything else but think.

While we should think about it, one thing we can also do is live it out differently. Live our marriages like the other person is the most beautiful one in the world, because they are. Ladies. Hold out for the man who is worth it and guys, honor the women you are pursuing. Both sexes. Abandon any pornography now. Beauty and sex are sacred. Don’t put them on open display.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Beginning Year Nine

Where do we go from here? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Thanks to everyone who gave us anniversary wishes yesterday. My wife and I had a great day together. So now that we’ve been together for eight years, what do we do at this point?

We go to year nine.

Year nine begins right now. I have told several guys that as soon as you finish one year of marriage, you need to start working on the next one. Of all your earthly relationships, the marriage that you have is the most important one and no other one must come before that.

This is especially a danger for those of us in ministry. Some of us can be so caught up in doing the work of building up “God’s kingdom” in the world that we don’t do it in our own home. Wives and children can feel neglected. There are jokes about how when some men walk across a stage to get their Ph.D.s, their wives are waiting at the other end with divorce papers. There are plenty of kids of those in ministry who wind up rebelling. Many of them could do so because ministry took their families away from them.

If you are in ministry then, always make time for your family. I realize as one in this field that there are plenty of other people that can do the work that I do. There is only one person though who can be a husband to Allie. That is my job. I don’t want to slouch so much in that area that she winds up looking for a replacement.

All of this has to be taken seriously. I hate to say it, but when I meet people and tell them how long I’ve been married, and before yesterday it was seven years, they say that that’s a long time. Seven years to me is not a long time, at least for marriage. I think about couples that have been married for decades. They can say they’ve been married for a long time.

So already, I’m planning ideas in mind for what I can do for Allie next year. Her birthday is next month and I already have something in mind for that. All of this is done to show that I have an investment in her. By showing I have an investment in her, it lets her know how much she matters to me.

That’s the way it is with anything. You will invest in what matters most to you. If your family doesn’t matter or your marriage doesn’t matter that much to you, then you won’t invest in them. I have been warning not to get too involved in ministry, but don’t neglect that either. It is the kingdom of God. It does matter, but you’re not the only one serving that Kingdom. Never act like the Kingdom depends on you because it doesn’t and God can have a great way of showing that.

Again, my thanks for the anniversary wishes! Here’s to the ninth year of marriage!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Eight Years!

How do we celebrate? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out!

This is a blog post that is much more personal. It’s about how my Princess and I celebrate eight years of marriage today. Nine years ago, neither of us knew the other existed. I might have had some small clue since in the book her Dad wrote with Gary Habermas, he mentions a kid of his named Alex, but that can also be a boy’s name so I had no idea of her beyond that.

And yet when Allie came into my life, before long she became central in my life. Aside from Jesus Christ, Allie has been the most transforming person in my life. If you want to talk about the person who has had the most impact on my ministry thus far, it’s Allie. Allie has given me the confidence to reach beyond where I was and seek to become what I need to be.

With our age difference, it’s interesting to compare our lives to our marriage. Allie will turn 28 next month and I will turn 38 in the month after. That means over a quarter of her life has been spent in marriage to me and over a fifth of my life has been spent in marriage to her.

I am also amazed that I found a woman who accepts me as I am and loves me and yes, even wants me. Allie does not have pity on me and did not choose me for that. She wanted to be with me because she saw someone who loves her.

In turn, I did not have pity either. Many times when Allie asks why I love her, I tell her it’s because she loved me and I had never seen anything like that. I often think of the text of the Bible that says we love because He first loved us. Because Allie loved me, I found myself being more and more transformed into who I need to be.

Love like that does have a more transforming power. If anyone wants to talk to me about empathy and care and things of that sort, Allie has the most to do with that. I am often wondering what Allie would think of the things that I say or do. She is my constant reminder to live a holy life, because I want to be a man worthy of her.

Both of us went through a lot of rejection from the opposite sex in our life, but in the end I am thankful for it. If those guys had not rejected her, I would not be the one with her. If I had not been rejected by other girls, I would be with someone else besides her. We are a unique couple that I think is perfectly fit for one another. We balance each other out so well with our differences and work so well together with our similarities.

So today I want to say again happy anniversary to my Princess! I love you so much Allie Licona Peters! Thank you for being in my life! I look forward to all the years to come!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why Suicide And Self-Harm Questions Matter To Me

Why do I take seriously questions relating to self-harm and suicide? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night as I was getting ready to go to bed, I got a question sent to me for a ministry I help answer questions for. It was a question about suicide that also referenced self-harm. The person who passed the question on to me asked me if I was okay to handle it. It was hard, but yes. I was. I did.

Why is it so hard?

Let me tell you about the worst day of my life.

When I met Allie years ago, she had actually just recently before then had a suicide attempt over a guy who was a jerk to her. When I met her, she thought she could make it right with him. That changed quickly. Before too long, she didn’t care about making it right with him. She was interested in me.

So go back a few years ago. I know the date. I don’t want to tell you for my own reasons. I had just got done with a podcast. Allie and my Dad and I were going to go to the movies. I went to see her and was talking to her and she was being quiet. Something seemed strange. I told her I needed to go to the drugstore and she still seemed out of it. Then I heard her say three words that ripped my world apart.

“Nick. I overdosed.”

At that moment, everything comes crashing down. I called 911 instantly in a panic. Fortunately, there was a fire station about a mile away from where we lived. I was calling everyone. I called her parents. I called my parents. My parents lived next door and my mother ran down and jumped on the bed and begged Allie to keep her eyes open.

The firefighters and ambulance that arrived assured us she was going to be okay. They were taking her to the hospital. My Dad and I would follow in his car. Mine had recently been hit by someone and thus I didn’t have one. When my Dad said we would follow the ambulance, I had no idea how literal he meant that. We followed right behind them the whole time through intersections and red lights even.

Allie had multiple people waiting to see her in the waiting room as we had called so many people on the way. Sadly, most of them did not get to see her. I was restless the whole time wondering when I would get to see her. When the time came, I went back there. Of all the people who were allowed to be in the room, two at a time. I was the one who was there the whole time. Her mother also arrived from Atlanta and stayed with her.

I stayed that night with Allie all night long. I didn’t get any sleep. I had to sit in a chair and someone had to come in regularly and turn the lights on to do things like draw blood and other such things. I don’t remember exactly what was done, but I remember being there. The next day, my parents took me home so I could get some sleep for a little while.

I went back that evening and just stayed by her side. We knew sometime they were going to take her to the mental health wing of the hospital. It could have been that night. We didn’t know. When that happened, I couldn’t be with her. The time came that I needed to go. Allie wanted me to stay, but it wasn’t that easy. I had no car. If they took her to the mental health wing, then I would be there at the hospital all night alone with no food and no place to sleep. Not only that, Allie had done this because she felt like two friends of hers had abandoned her. If I go, will she feel abandoned?

It was a hard decision, but I went home. An hour or so later she called me. I was scared she was going to be angry with me. Instead, she said I was right. Within an hour they had taken her to the mental health wing. From there, for the most part, I couldn’t reach her. She could call me sometimes, but they were the rare times.

So I sat at home alone. Many of you know I love doing apologetics, but there was no interest. I would sit in the chair in the living room just watching TV. My mother took care of everything in the house. Also, this time, there was a lot of anger rising up inside of me.

I couldn’t imagine how Allie could do this to me. How could she be willing to leave me like this after all I had done for her? Did these friends matter more to her than me? Was she just telling me that I was no longer worth it? I’m not a good enough reason to go on living?

I remember well the next time I would see her. Allie was taking Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at the hospital. There was a long hall to get to where she was and at the end there was a set of doors with windows you could see through, a short tiny hallway, and another set of doors like that. Now keep in mind, I love Allie, but I was going to tell her how hurt I was and all manner of things. I had a lot of anger in me and I was preparing all I was going to say. It was ready.

Until I went through the first set of doors and saw her at the end of the long hallway after that. As soon as I saw her, immediately I had a mental wipe. I forgot everything I was going to say.

We walked back to the mental health wing. Allie had been allowed to go out for DBT, but soon she would have to go back. We sat on a little bench outside and did I don’t remember what. I’m sure it was talking, hugging, kissing, things of that sort. Once again, it was devastating to see her go back and know I couldn’t see her.

You have to understand that I have a deep devotion to my wife. If things are not the way I think they should be between us, it’s hard for me to function. It is a great disappointment in my life when I think that I do not please Allie. I am always striving to be her man.

A few days later, Allie was able to come home. When she was home, it was wonderful for the first month. Allie was wanting to take care of the house, she was wanting to lose the extra weight she has, she was sharing great notes on Facebook about the joys of knowing Jesus and wanting everyone to know Him, and she was open to my love and freely giving me hers. She walked with a confidence I hadn’t seen. It left me more and more inspired to make changes in my life and be a better man. Ladies. Learn this. If you have a man in your life, nothing will make that man come alive and face challenges like him knowing he brings you joy and you enjoy him.

Except one day, one of those friends she’d thought she’d lost. He had made up with her and then on Facebook he told her she was stupid and from that time on things came crashing down. It all vanished. I do not speak to that person to this day. Before we left Knoxville, I tried to make it right, but things failed miserably. I had to talk to several people to help me deal with the anger. No doubt, there’s still some of it there. Anytime I see someone hurt Allie like this, that anger comes back. I guard her with my life.

Allie also struggles with self-harm. The last time was not too long ago and it was after nearly nine months without. When I found out, I cried for two hours. When I called the crisis line, they were more convinced I was the one in crisis. I don’t care if you think I’m less of a man really for crying for my wife so much. It is an expression of how much she means to me. I had no idea how much any one person could mean to me until Allie came into my life. Today, aside from Jesus Christ, she is the #1 influence in my life.

It hurts me every time. I wonder what is going on that hurting herself brings more relief than letting herself be loved. It is incredibly painful. I am pleased to say Allie has avoided self-harm since then, but I know this is a struggle.

Because of all of this, these questions matter to me. Suicide is never anything to joke about. It’s never anything to be flippant about. It’s also never anything to be glorified and celebrated. We should not treat celebrities who commit suicide like they’re heroes. We can grieve for them and their families, and it doesn’t mean we speak of them like they’re devils, but let’s make sure we all know the action is wicked.

If Allie had succeeded, I know I had the thought going through my head that I was no longer worth it. I would have lived with that thought forever. Suicide leaves such a painful effect on those left behind. They do get to where they can function, but they are never the same.

If you are considering suicide or know someone who is, please reconsider. Get some help at the Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Call your local crisis line also. Whatever it is, it is a temporary problem.

Especially if you are a Christian, embrace the love of Christ at this time and realize that even if He seems silent, He is there. He has not abandoned you. You never truly walk alone.

Whoever you are, your life is worth living. You also never need to hurt yourself. Christ took on enough wounds for you. You don’t need to add any more to them. You matter as someone who is in the image of God.

Please don’t make this awful choice. You have more of an impact on those around you than you know and they will never be the same. Celebrate the people who love you today.

When I get a question now about this, I always take it seriously. It matters greatly. I’ve been there. I don’t want anyone else to have to be there.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Thoughts On The SBC And Abuse

What do I think of the recent issues going on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As someone who reads marriage blogs, I have seen several people writing about the events going on in the SBC. These issues have particularly centered around the treatment of women. The removal of Paige Patterson from his position is based on this kind of happening.

Controversies surrounding him have included people like Sheri Klouda and Darrell Gilyard. There was also a statement released concerning other allegations from the chairman of the Board of Trustees. One great concern I had in reading that was that Patterson said he wanted to meet with a student alone who said she had been raped. He wanted no officials there and he wanted to “break her down.” I’m not sure how to take that statement, but anyway I can think of is not good.

Also, some of this centers around women in abusive relationships. Sometimes, women were apparently told to just submit to their husbands. This would often put those women in great risk.

Patterson isn’t an isolated figure in this. Steve Camp who was a popular Christian singer back in the 80’s and today is a pastor got into a debate recently with Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. In the link, you can see Camp made a number of awful statements because Gregoire is a woman and began blocking other women on Twitter defending her. I believe it’s events like this that got J Parker of Hot, Holy, and Humorous to write her own take on this.

So let’s say a few words about all this going on.

I am not a member of the SBC, but let’s be sure that I do not think this represents the majority of SBC pastors and leaders. I think most of them want to be good and God-honoring men and if they are married, they want to love and honor their wives the best they can. Sadly, a few bad apples in any group can spoil the bunch.

As regarding marriage, I am complementarian in my approach. Yet as I say that, I have something important to say along those lines. If a man does think Biblically that he is the king of his castle, well guess what. Your wife gets treated like a queen. There is never any justification whatsoever for abusing your wife verbally, physically, emotionally, sexually, or any other way I might have left off.

I also hate divorce. When Allie and I go to another town around here for something else in the line of medical care, there is a billboard on the way back that says “Undo, I do.” I always reach over and softly pat Allie on the leg or something and just tell her, “Not us.” Because of a divorce culture where divorce is prevalent, though there are myths about how prevalent it is among Christians, there are many good marriages where one person fears a divorce from the other because it has become so easy to get one.

Yet my hatred of divorce can be much like our hatred of war. No one really should really like the thought of war, but sometimes it is necessary because of the evil of other people. Many people who have a concealed carry today carry it to protect their family and I am sure it is their great hope that they never have to use it.

Divorce is sadly a necessity if a spouse is abusive and they will not change. (While this is about women in abusive relationships, let’s not forget that women can be abusers of men too.) I would urge any couple that when abuse takes place, separate for a time being and try to work things out with a licensed professional counselor. If that cannot happen, there is no requirement that you stay with someone who is abusive, doubly so if children are involved.

Even still, divorce should be seen as a necessary tragedy. It is sad that someone who made a promise before God and man to love and cherish someone for the rest of their life ended up breaking that promise. It is a reminder that we live in a fallen world. We need to have zero tolerance for abuse.

So what about Biblical submission? What about wives submit to your husbands. I believe in it, but men, if you have to start quoting Ephesians 5 to your wives in hopes that she will get in line, you’re already not being a leader in your family. More importantly, when we are talking about someone’s spiritual condition, the only person we can do anything about directly is ourselves.

And men, we have a lot that is said to us in Ephesians 5. When I was engaged to my now wife, I remember once when I was visiting her and her family and one day it hit me that I was to be married really and then I remembered what the passage said. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.

As Christ loved the church.

Really.

Look at those five words.

Pause in your reading men if you’re married and think about those five words.

If we’re being honest, we all fall short of that one. Yet that is our calling. We are to be such great husbands to our wives that if they didn’t know better, they could swear they were married to Jesus. The number one person in your wife’s life who should remind her of Jesus is you. If you are not that person, you are doing it wrong.

Paul has many other commandments to us. To the wives, he only tells them to submit to their husbands and respect them. We get far more attention given to us.

Submission is something that should never be used as a whip. Sex is always a big area in a marriage and guys, if you are using submission as a way to get sex, stop it. I suspect many of you are not doing that, but there could be that lone wolf out there. If it’s not happening as often in your marriage as you’d like, then maybe you need to ask yourself how you could be more romantic so that your wife will feel safe and want to make love to you.

Let me offer some bizarre suggestions. Maybe you could take your wife out on dates more. Maybe you could actually talk to her some. Maybe you could do some work around the house or help with the kids more. Maybe you could touch her lovingly and do so other than when you want sex. And maybe all of this could be part of loving her as Christ loved the church.

Now to the women, many of them don’t understand this need in a man, but imagine you wanting to hear your man say he loves you and he says, “Okay. I love you. Are you happy now?” Well, no. Of course not. It was done, but begrudgingly. The same would be if he took you out on a date and acted like it was just a chore for him. Unfortunately, many women don’t realize that this is often how they come across to their husbands in the area of sex. It’s a necessary evil that they put up with. Your man wants not just to have intimacy with you, but for you to want him and want that intimacy with him.

Ideally in a marriage, this will begin a circle of love. A couple that is more loving will have more sex together. In turn, they will be more loving to one another. That will result in their having more sex together. As a result, you get the picture.

And men, our role is to love our wives and always seek to improve. For me, I started a men’s group on Facebook for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry called “As Christ Loved The Church”. Honestly, part of this was for myself. I wanted to be a better husband and I was sure other men wanted to join me on that journey. Nowadays, I am seen by many as a sort of expert in the field, but I realize I have a long way to go.

If any denomination has any issues with how men are treating women, they do need to clean house. By the way, a lot of this starts before marriage. The church needs to be teaching on sex far more often. Robert Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice has said we need at least one sermon a month. Think about it. Our kids in popular culture and all around them are seeing the world’s view of sex everywhere. How often are they going to get the Biblical view? What are they growing up believing about marriage as a result?

This also means that pornography must be talked about. This isn’t just a men’s issue anymore but if you’re engaging in pornography, stop it. You are doing damage to yourself and any future marriage relationship you will have. This can be undone, but it would be best to avoid it to begin with.

We should pray for the SBC in this time and hope the new president will build up the denomination to honor women to be sure, but even more that it will honor the name of Christ. Abuse in any relationship should never be allowed and definitely if you’re dating someone who is abusive, get out now. Husbands and wives need both to seek to honor one another in marriage and definitely get rid of pornography.

This scandal has given the world one viewpoint of how the church treats these issues. Let’s make sure we give them a better one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 4/7/2018: The Fairest Of Them All

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As the host of the Deeper Waters Podcast, I constantly get asked the question about who is my favorite guest I’ve had on. I’ve never been able to answer that question. I’ve had on so many great guests that I don’t think I could have easily pinpointed one and said, “Yes. This is my favorite guest.”

At least, that was the case, until now.

As you should know, this month is Autism Awareness Month. It’s a month that is near and dear to my heart. I always try to have guests on that know about Autism and have them speak on the subject. This Saturday I kick it off by having the best guest I can think of on to talk about Autism.

This is someone who knows about Autism from personal experience of having to live with it. Not only do they have to live with it, they have to live with someone who lives with it as they are married to someone with Aspergers. By the way, this guest that I am having on is someone who is incredibly awesome and is a real knockout to boot.

This Saturday, my wife has agreed to join me on the Deeper Waters Podcast. You all have heard me talk about Allie before many times. Now this time you’re going to get to hear from her yourselves.

My experience with Aspergers has been very different from Allie’s. We’re going to look into that. What was it like growing up? What was it that made her realize that she was different from everyone else? How is it that she came to be diagnosed with Aspergers? What did that mean for her? Was it good news or bad news?

As many of you know, Allie got a very different sort of traits than I did from Aspergers. She is actually incredibly high on the empathy scale. Her main language is also not logic but art. Believe it or not, while she does agree that apologetics is important and needed, she does not really enjoy talking about it. (Please remember that all my Facebook friends who think she shares a deep love for the field. She doesn’t.)

She doesn’t want to focus on this, but we will have to talk about married life some. What’s it like not only being on the spectrum yourself, but being married to someone on the spectrum? Are there any hurdles that you face that you think other couples don’t face?

What about church? Is there anything you wish churches knew about how to communicate with people with Aspergers? What are some steps that could be taken if there is room for improvement?

I am really looking forward to this interview. (Although Allie is a bit apprehensive about it) I can now say my favorite guest would be getting to have my wife on my show. Please be looking for this episode and please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters