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

Lessons From Shiro

What can we learn from the little guy in our lives? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night we went to our church small group which meets at the house of a pair of vets. Allie sat in a chair with a footstool and one of their cats was just lying on it next to Allie’s Bible. From time to time, some jokes would be made about that, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Growing up, our family pretty much always had a cat. Dogs are okay to me, but I’m the rare guy that’s more in favor of cats. I suppose it’s because cats are less forward and just mind their own business. Allie is more of a dog person who has never been into cats.

Until we found one while looking for a new apartment that wormed its way into her heart. This cat had been abandoned by his previous owners and was just living off of whatever he could find. The tenants were starting to complain and when we came one day, we realized they were going to take him to the pound. We told them we’d take him and we did. He has been ours ever since.

Allie chose the name Shiro for him. Shiro is the Japanese word for white. (It’s a real mystery why she thinks that’s a fitting name isn’t it?) Shiro is a great addition to our family. We can often get a little bit of joy just seeing him throughout the day and everything he does is either silly or pathetic to us, but it doesn’t change our love for him.

Recently we even spoke to a doctor who had recommended a dog for Allie. Allie said we couldn’t because we have a cat who doesn’t like other animals. The doctor said to just get rid of the cat then to which both of us immediately shouted back, “NO!”

Yep. That suggestion was never made again.

I have also told Allie many times before that Shiro can teach us a lot about theology. Of course, there are differences in the relationship between owners and their pets and between God and man, but there are similarities. Let’s look at this.

Of course, cats can do some things for their owners. Growing up, we got our first cat because we lived in a mobile home and we had a problem with mice. Every other cat after that has been good with getting mice, but that hasn’t been the reason. For Allie and I, when we lived in Tennessee, Shiro did manage to take care of a couple of mice for us. We remember one morning waking up at around 5:30 to a “ROWR!” sound. I somehow knew immediately Shiro had killed a mouse and one could picture the gaming voice just saying “Fatality!”

There is also the comfort factor. Many times Allie can especially get a burst of cheer out of seeing Shiro and when she’s depressed, he can help her out greatly. None of that is being denied.

Yet still, we don’t normally get a pet out of need. More often, it’s just because we like them and want to show some affection to them. In the same way, we do not exist because God needs us in any way. We could say that maybe sometimes we bring Him joy, but there is no reason to think that we bring more joy than the Trinity already has in the divine fellowship.

As I sit here also, it’s almost 9 A.M. with my writing. Shiro has a food machine that goes off and feeds him every 12 hours and the first time is at 9. Shiro is sitting in here whining, which he often does relentlessly, begging to be fed. Allie and I always get amazed. We do not leave him to starve. He always gets his food. Still, every morning and evening, it is as if he forgets and thinks he has to remind us, to which he has never had any success. The lesson is never learned.

In the same way, how many times has God provided for us? Romans says He won’t hold back since He already gave us His own Son. You would think we would learn, but no. Just as soon as we have another bit of suffering come in our lives, we’re whining again as if God has never done anything in the past.

The sad thing for us is, we have the rationality to know better.

Maybe we’re the pathetic ones.

There’s also the point that some cats like to be cuddled. Shiro is not one of them. When we pick him up, he whines. It doesn’t stop us, but he’s not a big fan of it. We often say if only he realized we’re not a threat and we just want to show our love for Him.

We often think the love of God is something comfortable. It’s not always. Sometimes it’s painful. Love doesn’t always mean something that feels good. Sometimes love can seem intrusive to us. Sometimes love can stretch us in ways e don’t want. Anyone who thinks having a loving God is all sunshine and roses doesn’t have a clue. God will not always take us where we want to go.

So why do we have Shiro? Love. That’s all it is. We wanted someone in our household who would bring an extra little bit of joy to us. Shiro isn’t a theologian, but he sure has taught a lot about theology. Those who are parents of biological or adopted children I think can understand this even more.

We’re thankful for this little guy in our lives. If you would like to know more about him, we care about him so much we actually made a Facebook page for him. We’re thankful for the special kitty in our lives and we hope you will be thankful for the special ones in your life, pets or not.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Modesty and Respect

How should victims of #MeToo live? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I had my concerns when the #MeToo movement started, but I appreciate many of the women who were in it. Real sexual abuse and sexual harassment happens. The problem is that the terms are also often too vague. There are girls who can have a guy ask them out at work and consider that sexual harassment. If a man tells a woman she is beautiful in some way, that can be called sexual harassment.

Then there are evils out there like Dr. Larry Nassar. Nassar is without a doubt a sick and twisted individual who has brought much destruction to the lives of the women that he worked with. Nassar used them for his own pleasures and their sexual peace has been sacrificed at the altar of his pleasures.

Sometimes, the response can go too far. An article in The Mighty recently spoke about Aly Raisman and her nude photos for Sports Illustrated. Normally, I would link, but I know that there are guys who will struggle and a link right there could be a problem. The link doesn’t show any frontal nudity, but it is clear that Raisman is nude in it. The writer of the piece says her appearing nude does not negate #MeToo.

The article quotes something said apparently on Instagram by Raisman.

“Women do not have to be modest to be respected– Live for you! Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy. Women can be intelligent, fierce, sexy, powerful, strong, advocate for change while wearing what makes them feel best. The time where women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies is OVER. The female body is beautiful and we should all be proud of who we are, inside and out.”

Much of this is fine, but some of it makes no sense. Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy? The way Nassar expressed himself was by abusing several young women. Do we have a problem with that? We sure do. The implication here is that you should do what makes you happy, and if sex makes you happy, you should express yourself sexually however you want.

What is ignored is if there is any real purpose to sex? There are a number of purposes, but many people today only look at one purpose. Sex is there only for this one purpose and that’s it.

One such purpose of sex is the continuation of the species. Some people can’t do this because of infertility or medical reasons of some sort or financial reasons or because age has made it impossible to conceive. Another reason also is the unity of a husband and wife. Sexuality is the greatest expression of love between a husband and a wife. It is a way of saying that the two give themselves entirely to each other as they are. It’s hard to do that with your bodies if you haven’t really done it in reality yet with a marriage commitment, which is a reason why living together before marriage actually makes divorce more likely.

Of course, pleasure is on the list. Husbands and wives also do this because it’s a lot of fun. The problem is too many today treat sexuality like just a hobby. In essence, it’s treated as something common. You watch TV with your friends. You go play a sport with your friends. You have sex with some friends. Why not? It’s just another thing you do.

But what if it isn’t just another thing you do? What if it involves more than just an activity, but rather the bonding of persons? In sex, after all, oxytocin is released that bonds the man and woman together. This cannot be altered. Of course, the more you deny what comes with that bond, the more you will be going against your very own body and making it harder to bond. Sex really does change things.

Raisman also says a woman should not be modest to be respected. Okay, but that leaves us with the question of why should a woman be modest? When I go out in public, I see several women. They’re all wearing clothes. Why is that? Also, the men are wearing clothes as well. Why is that?

Are we wearing clothes because we are ashamed of our bodies? Is the only way to show love for your body and delight in your body to walk around naked all the time? If so, then we live in a society where the only people who love their bodies are the ones in nudist camps.

Or do we wear clothes for another reason? (and I don’t just mean work requirements or keeping warm) Do we wear clothes not because our bodies are something shameful, but do we wear them because they are something sacred? We don’t want to expose what is sacred to everyone else. That treats the sacred as if it was just common. We save them for the people who are really special.

The only woman who sees my body totally is my wife. The only man who sees my wife’s body totally is me. By that action alone, we each know that we are something different to each other. We are the only ones that share this unique bond. Sex takes it even further. It’s not that Allie’s body is a place of shame. In reality, it’s a place of honor, but in her life, only one person has the honor necessary to totally receive the honor she has. Likewise, there is only one person out there I consider worthy of totally giving the gift of myself to.

What happens for women who bear it all sexually? Everyone gets that, and that includes multitudes who don’t deserve that. That includes the men sitting in their basements watching porn and not going out and meeting a real woman because they just need a fake one. When they do meet real women, these real women aren’t enough for them because they’ve seen the fake ones only and expect real women to be like fake photoshopped women. There’s a reason there are men in their 20’s taking Viagra now.

A woman does not dress modestly because she is ashamed of how she looks. She does it because she honors how she looks. She wants everyone to know that she is not to be treated as common. Her body is something sacred and is not to be put out on display. Getting to see her body and all her beauty and glory is not a right that a man has. It is a privilege. A woman determines who is worthy of that privilege. If she wants to say everyone in the world is, then she has lowered herself. Everyone in the world includes some despicable people.

The response article tells us that clothing is just clothing and our bodies are just bodies and your body, your choice. Yes. You do choose what you do with your body, but notice how the writer says our bodies are “just bodies.” It’s like saying, “No big deal. This is just the human body being shared.” It is a big deal. Every human being is a big deal. If you believe every woman should be honored, then you should also not believe that they are to be treated as common.

That’s the great danger also with young women especially doing the whole sexting thing now. By doing that, you are letting a guy know that if he wants to see your body, all he has to do is have a Y chromosome. Nothing extraordinary is required. A guy is far less likely to pursue you and if he does, well he only wants to hit it and quit it. He’ll move on to the next fix after that.

Now some do say that it is always the fault of the perpetrator in sexual abuse. It is, but at the same time, if someone overeats on a diet, it is their fault, but it’s not wise for friends and family to come by and dangle unhealthy foods that the person likes right in their face. Women and men should seek to dress in a way that honors those around them. Even if those other people are not worthy of being honored, like Nassar, you deserve to be honored around them.

Does this go against #MeToo some? I think it does. So many women have rightfully complained about being treated as objects, but then act in a way that makes it more likely that they will be treated that way. Again, it’s never right to do that and that can happen sadly even in marriage. (Sorry guys, but your wife is there for more than just you having someone to have sex with and you need to treat her with honor as a person in the image of God and sacrifice for her.)

Women should feel empowered and confident as they are and not be ashamed of their bodies, but that doesn’t mean you treat them like they’re common. Go with the Christian idea of treating them like sacred vessels. Save them for a man who truly deserves that honor, say, I don’t know, by making a public lifetime commitment to you till death do you part?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Why do I think today is a special day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I used to hate Valentine’s Day. Back then, I was one who called it Singles’ Awareness Day. It was a depressing time because I always wondered if I would ever find someone who would love me and who I would love. Really, the prospects of that happening did not seem good.

That really changed in August of 2009. I found out about this girl named Allie who lived in Atlanta. She had Aspergers like I do and she was going through a hard time and wanted a friend. I said I could be that friend and started communicating with her. Before long, it was more than communication and we were a hot item. Everyone knew exactly where we were heading and this only after a couple of months. I proposed to her in December and we were married in July, but I did get to spend Valentine’s Day with her.

Since then, every Valentine’s Day has been special. I always make sure to celebrate the day by doing something really special for her. You see, when you go through life and you doubt that you will ever find that love, you want to celebrate it when it comes along. You never want to take it for granted.

Something theological about this is that love is now something we do celebrate. When you read Plato, the whole dialogue of the Symposium is all about a celebration of love because that really wasn’t as much celebrated as it is today. Romantic love was often the exception and not the norm. Many times, a wife would often be just the woman that the man chose to have his main heirs with.

Today, romantic love is the norm. We can’t picture any other cause for marriage than love. At the same time, we often don’t think about what love is. What does it mean to love someone?

Many times, we think that love means we have warm feelings for someone. That can be good when it comes, but that’s not what love is. Love is not about what you feel so much as what you do. The best definition of love I know is seeking the good of the other for the sake of the other.

This means love is in the giving. It’s in the giving of oneself for what is genuinely good for the other. It might not even be what the person wants. A loving thing to do to a recovering alcoholic seeking to overcome is to NOT give him the alcohol he desires. Love can be painful in that sense, but love is there because it is the person seeking the good. There’s always the possibility that one is wrong in the action they think loving, but they are still at least trying to be loving.

As a husband, I am called to give of myself to my wife regularly and sacrifice for her, but with love, it is not often a sacrifice. It is a joy. My greatest joy many times is in knowing I am making Allie happy and knowing she can rely on me and trust in me. If you hear me talking to other men about marriage, what you will often hear is that I wish I could do more.

Today, I will be celebrating the love I have for my Princess. If you are married, I encourage you to please celebrate it today, but remember also that Valentine’s Day is not meant to be a once a year event. Celebrate the love you have for your spouse every day. If you are single, you can still celebrate love you have in your life. You can have the love of friends, the love of family, and of course, the love of God. If you want to find romantic love, be assured it can be found. I never thought it would happen for me and now we’re working on year eight of our marriage.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you also Princess. I love you dearly.

In Christ,
Nick Peters