In Honor of Mothers Everywhere

When one thinks of a mother, words such as caring, kind, and wise usually begin to come to mind. Mothers play a huge role in the lives of their children, and this does not stop when the children start to grow up.

College students often find themselves completely flustered by situations faced by adults every day. For some, cooking is a prime example of this. Recently, one TFC student found herself with three large pots of beans, when she only intended to make one small pot for herself. Though stuck in a sticky situation, this college student knew exactly what to do. It was time to call in the expert: her mom. A mother’s advice seems to be able to fix most everything. In the case of the excess beans, this superhero mother’s solution was quite simple: freeze them in Ziploc baggies and save them for later. Good mothers are always there to help out their children, even with the tiniest of crises, such as having cooked enough beans to feed the entire school.

Moms are special people. From day one, many moms are ever-devoted to caring for their children. They give and give, and expect nothing in return. When they do not feel good themselves, they can often be found taking care of others. If something is wrong, a perceptive mom will know right off the bat. Usually, she will also know just what to do to help fix it.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for people to take their mothers for granted. Sometimes, a mother’s love can be misinterpreted as over-protective or nosy. Instead of shoving a mother’s questions aside as insignificant, it is important to value them and answer them fully.  Mothers desire to be connected with their children, and it is hard for a mother to let her children grow up.

With that in mind, college students should remember that the occasional phone call to keep mom up-to-date can make a huge difference.

It is also important to note that a mom does not have to be a biological mother in order to be a mom. Many of the world’s greatest moms are not the biological mother of their children. These women are very special individuals who deserve just as much honor as any other mother.

In Proverbs, there is a description of what a godly woman looks like. This description is found in the latter half of chapter 31. This chapter is a good reminder of all that goes into motherhood and it shows that the job description is not easy. The Proverbs 31 woman is hard-working and valued by all those around her. Verses 25-26 say, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” This is an excellent description of what a good mother is for her children; she has much wisdom to impart to them and her words are kind and loving. Verse 28 says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also praises her.”

Though it is easy to do this on Mother’s Day each year, it is important to recognize that mothers deserve this year-round.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day… A day that is used by couples to spark romanticism. Most couples go all out to profess their love for each other on this special day. Some couples use this day as a reason to get out and have a day for themselves. It might be a day to rekindle a diminishing love in a last-ditch attempt to salvage something that once was. Or maybe it’s a day that gives an individual enough courage to ask that significant other out. Whatever the reason, it seems that this day can only be enjoyed by couples. It is important to remember that Valentine’s Day’s is essentially meant to be a day to be celebrated with a loved one. Often, the phrase loved one is restricted to partner. Is the concept of Valentine’s Day dying a slow death with more and more people being single?

When asked if Valentine’s Day is a dying holiday, the students at Toccoa Falls College shared their opinions:

Kaxee says,

“I do believe Valentine’s Day is a dying holiday. I like Valentine’s Day–everything’s pink, there are lots of cute things being sold in the stores, but it seems to end there. When it comes to writing a card or buying someone a gift, I think it’s nice to do it whenever you would like to or feel the need to do so, compared to doing it because of the day. That is not to say it is wrong to do these things on Valentine’s Day. The designated day could be seen as a day to be intentional and to actually remember to show your loved ones you appreciate them. Personally, I feel that Valentine’s Day adds a bit more pressure to couples in telling them what to do or what to buy to make it an ‘extra special day.’ But, this day could happen anytime. I believe that romancing your significant other should be happening daily.”

Daniel answered,

“I don’t think so. I think it’s a good day to remember something special between you and your significant other. I do think that the gifts and cards should not be confined to just one day. Those should be signs of affection all throughout the year. For singles, it’s just another day really. I don’t think people should let the day get them down.”

Jessie states,

“I do believe that Valentine’s Day is a dying holiday because it’s losing its meaningful value. You look around and increasingly see young single adults refusing to celebrate the holiday or even acknowledge it because they are bitter that they are single. The day has become less spectacular and celebrated and has become more often refuted and/or disliked.”

Timothy says,

“In my opinion, I believe it’s growing more and more each year. However, you will have some people who are anti-Valentine’s Day because of their own personal issues. But in my opinion, I think Valentine’s Day is very well alive. Even though I’m single, I still believe that certain focus on Valentine’s Day is love, so we as people should show love to everyone.”

Ligia states,

“Well, every year this holiday comes around and there’s a lot of pressure to find someone to love…. To find your ‘Valentine’. Many people complain that they feel lonely during this time, but I think it’s fun to hang out with friends and do something cute together…. Honestly, I’ve never felt lonely during this time because my brothers or my mom always get me something cute for Valentine’s day… For me personally, it’s less about romantic love and more about love towards family and friends.”

Frankie says,

“It’s not a dying day because every year not just couples but friends and family members send each other valentines cards, candies, and/or letters to each other to show how much love, care, and thought they have for the one another. It’s not just a ‘couples day’. I see this all day at where I work. Elderly people to young children come and buy cards to give to others. And of course, you’ll also have the couples that come in to buy something for their significant other. Valentine’s Day is a day where you can give thanks and show how much you love others. Not just for a significant other but for families and friends.”

Whether one is single or in a relationship, the pressures of Valentine’s Day is clear. Love comes in all shapes and forms, but it is not just exclusive to one person. Instead of dreading the day, a person can go out and show others that he or she and loves them. Instead of only celebrating love on one day, people can celebrate love every day. Valentine’s Day does not have to be a dying holiday, it just needs to be redefined.

 

*Last names were withheld.

Jesus at the Center of it All

People believe a relationship is between two people and that once someone else is added into the equation everything falls apart, but this is not entirely true. A relationship built on Christ will grow to be stronger than any relationship that is built by the strength of any two people. Jesus must be the center for a relationship to function. This does not mean two Christians date and talk about Jesus once every few months; this means two committed people being bound together through the love of Jesus Christ.

A true relationship that glorifies God is one that does not end no matter the circumstances. A relationship that grows closer to God is a relationship that glorifies God. When one person chooses to idolize their significant other above God, there is a problem. God should never be second rate; He is the glue in the relationship. A Godly relationship means one that constantly chooses to serve God through their love. A Christ-centered relationship is one that sees the other as a brother or sister in Christ before a lover. This does not mean holding hands, kissing, and hugging are out of the picture. It means that before one’s own desires are carried out, God’s desires are favored. A Christ-centered relationship should always ask “would God be pleased if this happened?” Being in a Christ-centered relationship is a wonderful thing, and putting the Lord’s will above their own should be something that they enjoy doing. God created two people to be together and to love each other, so when God brings them together they should be honoring Him.

Being in a Christ-centered relationship does not mean there are no issues. To follow God’s will and to love another person through the eyes of Jesus is a very challenging task. Christians do not have an easy life, including two Christians who have joined together. A Christ-loving relationship is bound to have problems just like any other relationship. Christians should follow morally correct codes not because they are obligated to, but because they want to honor God’s will. God made a relationship to be between two people and these two people should not be joining together unless they are married. A Christian couple must learn to guard their hearts. This does not mean becoming a nun, but it means to guard one’s heart from the secular temptations. It means to keep Christ at the center so that when these temptations come along the couple does not falter. When Jesus is at the center of a relationship that relationship can withstand any trial, temptation, or tribulation. Just as 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, God will provide a way out of any temptation because He is faithful. God will protect anyone who truly loves Him and keeps His commands.

When choosing a possible spouse one must be careful to choose a faithful and Godly significant other. A believer should never yoke themselves with a non-believer. A believer should want to be with someone who has the same beliefs as them because through their relationship they should be glorifying God. A Christ-centered relationship is one that loves God and leans on Him. When the relationship gets rocky, or when one wrongs the other, as long as God is the center of that relationship they should fear nothing. If God is truly being honored through their relationship then anything that they go through will not split them apart. A couple should always go to God before they go to each other, and should love God more than they love each other. A couple should trust God so that they may trust each other. Without God, relationships will fail; without God, relationships will break. However, With God as the anchor, relationships will prosper. Hold fast to God and He will always provide.

Explosions: An Ellie Goulding Review

After much consideration, I chose to review “Explosions” by Ellie Goulding. She is not a Christian artist, but she is popular in today’s culture and it seems wise to understand the music we listen to.

The song starts with a cappella voices that sound very much like they were recorded on a record. There is a melancholic feel that fits perfectly with the theme of the song. This whole song is about the memory of an ended relationship: she is reminiscing about a man she thought she loved. Here are the lyrics to the first verse:

 “You trembled like you’d seen a ghost, and I gave in.
I lack the things you need the most, you said where have you been.
You wasted all that sweetness to run and hide. I wonder why
I remind you of the days you poured your heart into, but you never tried.
I’ve fallen from grace, took a blow to my face.
I’ve loved and I’ve lost. I’ve loved and I’ve lost.”

He is trembling because he saw something from his past that he thought was over. This girl that he sees reminds him of a past relationship, and he never tried to pour his heart into this relationship because he is afraid. He hurts her in the process because he is not mature enough to commit to her; the pain is so intense that she equates it with a physical injury.

The chorus is short but says a lot:

 “Explosions on the day you wake up
Needing somebody and you’ve learned it’s ok to be afraid
But it will never be the same. But it will never be the same.”

The explosions when he wakes up refers to an awakening of sorts. He realizes that his life is shattered from a past experience and needs that one special person. But he hasn’t quite learned that it is alright to be afraid: this causes him to run away. The next verse and chorus give a little more insight into what happened:

 “You left my soul bleeding in the dark so you could be king.
The rules you set are still untold to me and I’ve lost faith in everything.
The nights you could cope, your intentions were gold.
But the mountains will shake. I need to know I can still make
Explosions on the day you wake up.
Needing somebody and you’ve learned it’s okay to be afraid.
But it will never be the same.”

He left her soul in the dark because he was being selfish. He wasn’t thinking of her and again she equates the feeling to physical pain. His “rules” were abstract and unclear: she didn’t know what he wanted or what he was doing. This caused her to be insecure because the relationship was unstable. On the days when he could cope (meaning he could deal with the threat of commitment), he proved to be a tender, loving gentleman. The shaking mountains symbolize the ground under his feet moving out from underneath him: even though he is able to be mature occasionally, it isn’t enough to bind the relationship together. This time, the word “explosions” refers the passion between them. She wants to know that there is still a mutual fire burning in them. She knows that he needs someone there for him even if he is afraid of the relationship. But he still hasn’t learned that it is ok to be afraid: he still cannot trust her. And that is why it will never be the same.

Here is the bridge:

 “As the floods move in, and your body starts to sink
I was the last thing on your mind: I know you better than you think. 
Cause it simple darling. I gave you a warning. 
Now everything you own is falling from the sky in pieces. 
So watch them fall with you in slow motion. 
I pray that you’ll find peace of mind.
I’ll find you another time. I’ll love you, another time.”

The floods are symbolic of the end of this relationship: the weight of all the conflict has finally come crashing down on him and he begins to sink. As soon as this starts to happen, he realizes what he had and how great it was. The old adage “You never know what you have until you lose it,” is very applicable here. She tried to warn him about this outcome, but it is too late now. His life is shattered and it is crashing down around him. It is as if his life is flashing before his eyes in slow motion: everything he thought was good just can’t compare to this woman that he just lost. Even though she has been hurt by him, she still wants him to find peace. She wants him to resolve the conflict in his life so he can begin to trust again. But she realizes that he needs some time to do this so she lets him go and says she will find him again at a later time. She will even love him again, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a romantic love: she will simply forgive him for the pain he caused.

Finally, the chorus is repeated:

“Explosions on the day you wake up. 
Needing somebody and you’ve learned it’s ok to be afraid. 
But it will never be the same.”

This time, the explosions when he wakes up is referring to the realization that washes over him each morning: the realization that he has lost one of the best things in his life. He finally understands that he needs that special someone and even that he needs to trust them, but it is too late. His chance with her is gone. But I hope that he remembers this in his next relationship; it would certainly be less painful.