Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Update..tHIS Story Continues

The beautiful story the Lord has orchestrated for  Ellie & Jonathan Micke is in full bloom. After a successful courtship season, they are very much in love and ready to begin their life together as husband and wife. Their June wedding will be in a beautiful country barn setting with square dancing and worship service to the Lord. We all couldn't be happier with how this relationship has blossomed since it all began in December 2012. We are now in full wedding planning mode around here.

My son Jonathan left for basic training to become and Airborne Ranger in Fort Benning, GA on April 2, 2012 and is doing very well. He has been going through some extensive training and on his next adventure. In his first letter to us my favorite part was this:

 "In 40 minutes Drill Sergeant is coming back to our bay for inspection. All beds have to be PERFECT. All PT uniforms have to MATCH. Bathrooms, showers, floors, laundry room all have to be SPOTLESS. NO PROBLEM FOR ME!! but for some....I think it is the first time some of these guys have ever made their bed or wiped up their toothpaste off the sink. It's STUPID! Everything is an argument. Hah. Jeremiah, James and Josiah are more mature and know more about respect and common sense than probably 50% of them. I only chewed out 15 people today!:)" Oh this Mama's heart is so full of joy right now. All those times I spent drilling my boy on the high standards of cleanliness, making sure he made his bed every single day, and keeping the standards high have paid off! If the secular military has such high standards how much more should we as God's Holy People set the bar for our children. "Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!" AMEN! My boy will be dealing with a lot of stress and hard things but in this...he will SHINE FOR JESUS! So much for being the drill sgt. clean freak...this is the fruit of that labor :)! We do not have an address for him because he is shipping out tomorrow to a unit called the "MEAT GRINDER", considered the hardest/best infantry unity there. He asked specifically for "DAILY PRAYER for good health, patience, endurance and to be aware of who and what I am representing!" Thank you for your love an support everyone!feeling great.

As believers, we must actively, intentionally choose to yield to the Spirit instead of yielding to the flesh. Learning to trust that in HIS Omnipotent Wisdom, Goodness, and Sovereignty God has permitted whatever I am disappointed about is HIS Appointment..His sovereign appointment for me. Trusting that because God is WHO He is, I m able to trust that this, too, is a part of my ultimate completion in Christ. All that God allows or orders to touch my life is the kindest, wisest, best and yes, necessary, "ingredient" in bringing me to perfection. God's promise is to cause all things to work for the ultimate good of forming Christ in me. His Word is true, His way is perfect! 
Well, God has been telling me for some time now that I need to make a career change. Those of you who have taken that leap of faith know how scary that can be. But I was like Jonah running away from God, trying to ignore Him, and until I finally relented and said, "OK, God, but not just yet" ....well God has done this to me before, where He says, "You aren't listening, so now I am going to have to do something to get your attention." Two days ago, He did just that. He took the matter out of my hands. There have been events in my life that I can look back on and say, "That was the best thing that ever happened to me." Well, this one ranks right up there. Losing a job can be traumatic, and give cause to grieve for some. But being set free from bondage is a cause for celebration. This is a new day. A new chapter is unfolding in our never-a-dull-moment life. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me and my family! Rejoice with us. God is so Good!

Please join us in prayer for new employment!

Jerry Mestas


My precious Ellie Marie is getting married in 5 DAYS!!! It is such a bitter sweet season for all of us here at the Jerry Mestas house. How do you let go of the most precious gift from the Lord, your sweet baby girl and big sister,  who has been a joy, pleasure, and essential part of daily life and your family? How do you wake up every morning for 19 years knowing she will be your sunshine...your reason for living all day...and great support and helper. Now she will be gone; living in her own house and soon moving far away with her wonderful gift/husband from the Lord, Jonathan Micke??? It's all :MORE THAN "I" CAN HANDLE!! This is the worst part of parenting...I hate my babies leaving me!!!! I just hate it!!!! I love my Melissa Pearce and my Jonathan Mestas (who left for the Army in March) and my Ellie Marie with all of my heart!!! I love being their Mama, I love having them in my kitchen and in my house every single day...every single day...every single day! They have been my life....and now...they are all grown up and moving away...flying the nest.

Melissa and her husband just became owner/operators of a Chic-fila store in GA. They will be setting up permanent residence and taking my three beautiful grand babies away from us. No more living in the same town and being together for Sunday meals, birthdays, holidays, and just every day life together.

Jonathan turns 23 years old this Thursday, June 6th and he is in boot camp in the ARMY! He is gone for at least four years and only the Lord knows the plans He has for him now. He will not be home for his traditional birthday dinner, chicken cutlets, mashed potatoes and corn and yummy birthday cake. He is no longer going to be walking through the door and heading to the pantry and frig to see what's good to eat.

And Ellie will be going with her husband Jonathan who has been awarded and Officer/Pilot contract in the Air Force after they get married. She will be in Texas for at least nine months and never again sleeping in her room and being here with us to do every day life!

All of this has just happened within the last few months and I am just drowning in sadness right now!

I am sooooo proud of each one of them, I really like and love them and the wonderful people they have become. They love the Lord Jesus and serve him faithfully. I am so grateful for their wonderful spouses and the things the Lord is doing in their lives. But, I am just very, very, very, sad,  and I am mourning the loss of them being here with me. I know this is normal, and it is all for their good, but it is hard!  REALLY HARD!!!

Today as  I read the Bible, I was reminded of how Mary endured so much joy and hardship as the mother of Jesus. She was given the miracle and privilege of birthing and raising the son of God, the Savior of the world! What an honor and responsibility.

A crisis of belief stared Mary in the face when Gabriel, God's angel announced to her  "You are about to bear a son." How could that be? Mary was not married and she was a virgin. That was just what God said would happen as he spoke through Isaiah long ago. (Isaiah 7:14) This is God's way. He takes prophecy and shows how he is working to make it happen in a person's life. The angel's message troubled Mary. Too young..not ready..unable to understand what God was doing. The angel had the answer. TRUST GOD! HE LOVES YOU! He is giving you a unique invitation to be the mother of his unique Son. God in the Person of the Holy Spirit would bring this to pass. Mary had to be available as God's obedient servant. She had to believe God's Word: With GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! (Luke 1:37)

The experiences surrounding Jesus' birth proved to be only the first adjustments. Her entire life became a process of adjusting to new experiences with God. Watching Jesus realize who he was involved Mary's understanding of his loyalty to the Father over her as family. Being faithful to him and his mission meant leaving the security of home to wander the roads of Galilee with him.

Thus Mary showed her faith and loyalty as she endured hardships with her Son--even the hardship of the cross.  (Experiencing God)
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it , put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he received the drink, Jesus said, "IT IS FINISHED." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. "

The last act Jesus performed right before he died, was an "ADOPTION"  between his mother Mary and John, the disciple whom he loved! He did not want her to be alone and made sure she was going to be well loved and taken care of.  There in LOVE, Jesus rewarded her, giving her a new son to care for as well.

As I reflect on this reading today, I am so grateful and honored the Lord saw fit to bless me with the gift of motherhood. He gave me three beautiful children in my youth, and now, in LOVE, he has blessed me with five more precious children through "ADOPTION" to care for and love and train up to know him in my old age. What a gift! How wonderful of HIM to know my heart so well and to care so much for all of us that HE made us a family! Just as He knew it was time for Him to die, he performed this adoption. Just as He knew it was time for our birth parents to die and/or their inability to parent our precious little ones, HE saw fit to place them into our hearts and lives and to take them into our home forever...just as John took Mary and Mary took John.

How gracious is my LORD to show this to me today! I love the way HE is faithful to speak to me in my pain and to bring comfort. He shows me how intentional He is in every detail of my life. What a loving, kind and compassion FATHER HE IS! What a beautiful picture of LOVE the Father lavishes on HIS children! Thank you Lord for this blessing.

As I grieve the loss of my older children leaving our home and pursuing the plans HE has for them, I look forward to the work, memories and yes even hardships I still have to enjoy with my precious little ones whom I dearly love.  I pray daily for their spouses He has waiting for them and look forward to seeing the plans HE has for each of them as well.  I pray I will steward this life well, like Mary, enduring the joys and hardships as I walk by faith and seek to fulfill the plans and purpose HE has for me to glorify Him alone!

There is joy in the mourning......



Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen Ephesians 3:20-21

I am just an ordinary middle-aged woman who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and is striving to live my life for His purpose and His glory.  One day I realized how perfectly my name fits me – Eileen “I lean on the Lord cuz I’m a messed up” Mestas! I am Jerry’s wife and mama to eight beautiful and amazing children – Melissa, Jonathan, Ellie, James, Jeremiah, Josiah, Keren, and Keziah.  I am also grandma to Vaden, Cana, and Callum, and mother-in-law to Randy. I am a sister, daughter, and friend.   But most importantly, I am a sinner saved by grace and a child of the King.

This year, Jerry and I celebrated thirty-three years of marriage, and it has been one wild ride!  Scattered among seasons of incredible blessings have been extremely difficult times, including struggles with infertility, alcohol abuse, infidelity, financial crisis, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness.  At the beginning of our marriage, we were guided by our sinful flesh and not by God’s blueprint, and the consequence of our selfishness was that in 1988, after nine years together, we were separated and headed for divorce.  Praise God that He had other plans for us!  By the Lord’s mercy and divine intervention, we were able to reconcile and turn our lives over to Him.  We learned a lot through that time about trusting God and leaning on Him in times of trouble.  

After dedicating our lives to Jesus Christ and renewing our commitment to one another, Jerry and I were blessed with three children and were living a comfortable, middle class life in Southern California. In 1994, Jerry retired from the Los Angeles Police Department after twenty years of service, and we decided to make a fresh start and move our family to North Carolina.  Jerry took a job as an insurance investigator and we settled down to the business of raising children, serving in the church, and enjoying the laid-back charm of small-town Southern living. Life was good!  Little did we know that the Lord was about to turn our lives upside down and inside out!   First, in 1995 He called us to homeschool our children.  I hadn’t planned on this.  Me?  Homeschool?  What about socialization? How will they get into college? I had all the typical worries and concerns about my qualifications for this new venture, but the Lord was whispering, “Trust Me.” 

Then, in 2003 God convicted us that we were to trust Him for the size of our family and begin a journey to adoption.  Again, doubts filled my mind.  Could I really love an adopted child as much as I loved my three biological children? Could we provide financially for a bigger family the way that we wanted?   The Lord spoke a little louder, “Trust Me.”    In 2004, we suddenly found ourselves unemployed.  Jerry found temporary employment here and there, but he ended up working only three of the next seven years.  We had added two new babies to the family and my aging parents had recently moved into our home as well.  Our savings account was quickly wiped out and I found myself lying wide awake in bed at night, arguing with God. “Where are you?  Why would you do this to us?  What if we lose our house?”  Over and over again, I felt the Lord’s presence and heard his reassuring voice saying, “Trust Me.”   Unbelievably, in the midst of this time, the Lord seemed to be calling us to grow our family AGAIN, this time through international adoption.  Now, this didn’t make any sense at all!  I was 48 years old and Jerry was pushing 55!  We were too old!  Besides, international adoption is very expensive, and we had NO MONEY!  We already had five children, Jerry had only just recently started a new job, and we had no savings!   What in the world?  Were we insane? I’m sure some people thought so (and probably still do!).   But once again, the Lord spoke to our hearts with these words, “Trust Me.” 

There is a saying that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Well, I know that isn’t true! God says he will not let us be tempted more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13) but it does not say we will be able to handle everything that happens in life on our own. The Lord has definitely given me way more than I can handle – on my own.  The truth is that I would be a basket-case were it not for the One who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)   It is the power of the Holy Spirit and His word that give me the ability to handle everything on my plate.  My loving, heavenly Father arms me with strength (2 Samuel 22:33) to accomplish His will on a minute by minute basis. His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The Bible is full of stories about people who were called to do things they couldn’t handle. Moses was called to ask mighty Pharaoh to grant freedom to all his Israelite slaves, but he begged God to find someone else because he didn’t feel equal to the task.  Joshua was called to defeat the great walled city of Jericho by marching his army in circles around it while the people standing on the walls laughed. Gideon was called to lead the Israelites against the much bigger and stronger Midianite army, and he threw out a fleece, not once but twice, to be sure that he wasn’t hearing God incorrectly. Jesus’s disciples were instructed to feed a hungry crowd of 5000 people with a measly two loaves of bread and seven fish and they tried to convince him to send the people elsewhere. But in each case, God’s plan was greater than what man could see from his limited perspective. It is when God calls us to do things that we know we cannot handle that He has the opportunity to show us his incredible love, mercy, grace, and mighty power.  And in those times, we have the opportunity to grow in faith and we fall even deeper in love with Him. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

The Lord has given me a story to tell about the miraculous signs, wonders, and provision our family experienced when we began to listen, trust, and obey His voice, even when it didn’t make sense.  I am blessed with more than I deserve; more children, more joy, more love, more happiness, and more faith.  I pray that tHIS story will encourage you to be faithful to listen, trust, and obey whatever God is calling you to do in your life.  There is a saying – God doesn’t call the equipped, but He equips those He calls – and I do believe that!   It is only by His will that I write this book of testimony for His purpose and His glory.   I have come to understand that my life is not my own. It is not about me! It is truly more than “I” can handle which is why I have bowed my knee and surrendered my life to the Almighty God who never gives me more than HE can handle! 



Our book "MORE THAN "I" CAN HANDLE!" is shipping from our website www.morethanicanhandle.com and also on Amazon! All books purchased on our website will be autographed with a specific prayer for each recipient by name. I don't take lightly the sacrifice and time invested by each person who buys it and I am forever grateful to each of you. I have great hopes that you will be inspired, encouraged and blessed.

THIS story is written by the Lord,  I am merely the story teller. He has intentionally orchestrated every detail of every adventure with many surprising miracles along the journey. The story has become so eventful, exciting and amazing that it turned into a speaking ministry and now a book! I believe with all of my being the Lord told me to write it, HE sent the publisher to me to publish it, and now HE will intentionally market it and get it get it into the hands of those he wants to read it! It's all HIS!

As the reader, you will travel on a journey through every emotion; you will laugh, you will cry, you will question and you will gain insight on what the scriptures have taught me on how to handle many of life's experiences. I pray everyone will be encouraged and challenged to walk by faith and trust the Lord in what ever situation life may be giving you. This is not just a story about adoption, it is so much bigger than we all realized! If you have been following our blog over the years, you may still want to purchase the book because you will find a lot more details and stories that I have never shared before. 

Reviews just in:

-- AWESOME BOOK about a family I LOVE and their adoptions....and the miraculous throughout....... Definitely worth the read...it's a cry and laugh book........ my favorite!! It's even better if you know or have seen Eileen speak...because you automatically read it in her voice with her expression..... BONUS!
.....Carolyn Twietmeyer

--I have known Eileen and Jerry for more than 20 years. Although I haven't seen her in a long time, after reading her book I felt I was living it with her. This book is so inspirational that even if you are not a religious or spiritual person, it certainly makes you think. I have always believed in God and know He is an all knowing and forgiving God and Eileen has made this book without a doubt her "miracle" testament and can only be done in Eileen's voice. This book will lift you, make you cry, and laugh. I wish her and her loving family all the wonders of the world. Please read this book.. It's amazing.... Terry Impastato

--Eileen, it's been a year since you came to the "mountain" in Arkansas and shared the testimony that God used to change our life so completely. The day that we heard you share this story was the day our hearts were opened miraculously to adoption...and we are in our mid 40's, too. I'm almost half way through your book now.....if only I hadn't needed to sleep last night I would have finished it by now! ha! But, I am enjoying it immensely and am so happy to have the copy in my hands now. I read a lot of books and this one is absolutely riveting...great job! Glory to God for what He has done. ♥♥♥ Rhonda Drain

--Have tissues on hand! Cried thru every chapter so far.....Joanne Page

--The second time in a week that I get up to your story being first on my news feed! Eileen, there are no words to tell you how excited and happy for you I am! And just to think of all the little lives who will be impacted b/c of you. May God continue to bless and guide you on this glorious journey! xoxoxox.... Darlene Lowe

I got the book last night around 7pm, and stayed up until I had finished it last night.  IT WAS AWESOME! By far, my favorite description of you and Jerry is the airport scene where the man gives an honest account of what it is to meet Eye Lean and then to love her.  As I read your book, the tears just streamed down my face through many parts. I love you for writing this book (and many other reasons!) because I truly feel that people need to SEE these divine timelines of adoptions. I want to live boldly in every matter, trusting Christ to work out the details of His call. Thank you again for this book..... Missy

If you have been following our blog over the years you may still want to purchase our book because you will find a lot more details and stories that I have never shared before.  

It will also be available by request at Barnes & Noble, CBD and most Christian Bookstores within a few weeks.  

I pray reading tHIS story will encourage you in faith to trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ on the journey HE has for you and your family.  May you be richly blessed and thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to follow along with us. Please leave comments or reviews here on the blog and let me know what you think of the book! 

Sunday, February 3, 2013


What a "GLORIOUS DAY!" Mr. Jonathan Micke proposed to MY SWEET Ellie Mestas and included all of us in his very detailed,well planned, creative, personal, thoughtful, intentional Christ Centered all day long proposal ceremony. He is one very special young man who has been blessed with one very special young lady who said, "YES". We are overflowing with joy as we celebrate and SEE the Lord at work in His precious children. This fairytale romance has HIS name written all over it! God is soooooo good! Welcome to the family Jonathan Micke and the Natalie Micke Crockett, Tamara Katsacos family!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Pastor Ted Rivera preached Revelation 3:7-13 this past Sunday and I was blessed as usual. I was reminded of some things through the following verses:

 "These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts, no one can open. I KNOW YOUR DEEDS.  SEE, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:7, 8, & 13

Throughout my life, the Lord has graciously spoken to me with specific details of doors He has opened for me to walk through and then in His time, he specifically closed them. He has shown me so clearly that I HAVE LITTLE STRENGTH! Hence the title of my book, "More Than "I" Can Handle!" (soon to be released in His time, when He opens that door!
 Here is one of the things He reminded me of!

Twenty two years ago, I had just given birth to my Jonathan (BJ). I was praying about how to breastfeed him with modesty while maintaining my very busy life. I was taking Melissa, 7 yrs old, to school events, ballet class, and just living a very busy life all the time. I did not want to supplement with formula and a bottle when I was out in public. I am a champion advocate of  100 % breastfeeding which was not encouraged in that day.  It never made sense to me that God created women with the ability to feed their babies the perfect and most nutritional milk, but the culture declared that the better choice was an imitation man made substitute. Formula companies even claim it is  not as good, or equal to the nutritional values of breast milk, yet the majority of women choose not to breastfeed. Go figure?? It just makes sense that since God created everything He is the expert and we should do everything the way he designed it to be!  As was common practice for the those who did breastfeed,  I was not comfortable going into unsanitary bathrooms, or having to excuse myself from everything to hide somewhere to feed my baby.

When my BJ was just a few months old, the Lord gave me a very detailed dream with specific dimensions to make the "Can't -a - Peek tm Nursing Canopy" to breastfeed in public with privacy.  I immediately got up and wrote it all down on the pad beside my bed. The next day, I went to the store, bought the supplies and made three of them right away! He then gave me the name of a woman at my church of 600 plus people,"Allison Peirson",  and told me she would help me mass produce them.  I found Allison Pierson that Sunday, who I didn't even know and had never spoken to before. I introduced myself to her saying, "The Lord told me to talk to you about helping me with something He told me to make."  When I pulled out my sample nursing canopy, the drawing and described it to her she looked at me with curiosity and said, "Wow, this looks interesting. Did you know I have a degree in fashion design?" I was shocked and almost fell over because I had no idea! We had never spoken before and honestly didn't know a thing about each other. She too just had a baby boy Sean, and was breastfeeding, so I gave her one of the nursing covers I had made to sample.  After using it a few days, she called me with great excitement telling me how blessed she was and what a positive impact it had on her nursing experience. She was my first satisfied customer and was absolutely sold on the idea!  As the Lord would have it, and the way He commonly works, her husband has a Masters Degree in Marketing and was also on board with helping us start our own manufacturing company for the purpose of blessing and promoting women to breast feed their babies! Within a few weeks, "Baby Essentials was birthed and I filed for a patent that was approved. For  twelve years, we became the best of friends while making and distributing thousands of "Can't-a- Peek tm Nursing Canopies" via the "One Step Ahead Catalog" and 100's of retail outlets in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe. While Jerry and I were eating lunch at Denny's one afternoon, he came up with the product name because "you can't a peek while the baby eats! My partner was in charge of the manufacturing and I was in charge of business and sales. Even my parents, brother and sister-in-law, and Melissa helped us package them on our dining room table. It was really a family business and we loved it. The Lord clearly opened the door to this season in my life. When President Clinton shut down the manufacturing industry in the USA, it was evident that in order to stay in business,  we had to move our manufacturing to China, or Mexico to remain competitive. It was then we felt the Lord telling us it was time to shut the door!

In spite closing down almost twelve years ago, I am absolutely in awe that I continue to SEE women using my nursing cover still today! My patent expired as is the law after sixteen years, but they are still being manufactured today by another company who has copied it.  I have been so blessed to see them being used throughout my travels in recent years and days. I have seen women using it on the plane, at conferences, in churches, at Disney World, in restaurants, etc. I was shocked to hear this week that Ellie's new beau, Jonathan's sisters have both recently used it as well.What a joy to know it is a blessing to so many new mom's for so many years.

I share this testimony only to boast in the Lord and His goodness of how He opens and shuts the doors of opportunity to fulfill His purpose in our lives! When He gives us an assignment, or calling, we must listen, obey and trust Him as we walk through each journey because we never know when he is going to shut that door. We often think if a door closes in our lives that it is a failure, or we did something wrong. But, as I study the scriptures and live my life, I have realized that like the change of seasons in a year, so does He takes us through different seasons in our lives.  We are to be about His business in all seasons of our lives seeking to bring glory and honor to Him!

When I think back over my life I can SEE how He clearly used this experience to prepare me for the upcoming assignments that only He could have orchestrated. Some of the new doors  He opened include   homeschooling, adoption, parenting eight children, being a grand mother, Kolfe Mama Ministry, our journey to Solomon,  and now author and public speaker. The older I get the more I realize life keeps getting more exciting.

So may I encourage you to have an ear to listen to His call, and a heart to obey and trust Him to walk through the doors He has opened for you while you still have the chance. Do not be afraid, be strong, courageous and faithful, even unto death.

"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come." Revelation 4:8

Patent US5652958 - Nursing canopy for use by a nursing mother ...

Go to Google Patents Home ... for use by a nursing mother. Eileen F. Farrell-Mestas ... Cited Patent, Filing date, Issue date, Original Assignee, Title. US4631754 ...

To See My Nursing Canopy

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


My regular evening routine consists of planning and communicating to the Little's what tomorrow's agenda will look like. Last night it went something like this: "Now tomorrow remember, you wake up, make your beds, empty all trash cans, put away all laundry, (which I fold every evening for them to distribute in the morning) get dressed, brush your teeth,  then we go downstairs, bringing any dirty laundry to the laundry room, I put the wash on, you empty the dishwasher,  we make breakfast, set the table, eat and clean up  the kitchen and then it's back to the school books!"  We are getting back to school after a wonderful Christmas break and they all got so excited! The twinettes even got their books out before bed and wanted to start on them right away.  I reminded them it was bedtime, but assured them we would work on them tomorrow, since I had no plans to leave the house!

So today, they did everything they were supposed to and while we were all at the breakfast table eating, I got my phone to check for an email from our publisher. We are anxiously awaiting to hear from him with the release date for our book. There was no word from him yet, but, I got an email from my dear Sistah Jodi Jackson Tucker. Knowing they are in the process of adopting Kato Fred from Uganda, whom they discovered was left behind after they adopted his sister a few years ago, I opened it immediately. We are on the front lines praying for them, so I read it out loud to everyone.  Here is what it said:

 "Tuckers are heading to Uganda!"
Hello Faithful Friends and Family,

We just wanted to update you that we are planning to leave for Uganda the first week in February for court! We could not be more excited to go see our son and begin to get to know him.  Here are a few things we have been told about him already:

He is quiet (praise the Lord!  There is enough noise around here already...)
He is very funny once you get to know him.
He is extremely compassionate and will do anything for someone he loves.
He loves animals.
His favorite subjects in school are physics and chemistry (WHAT - oh dear, thank goodness my husband is a Chemical Engineer).

This is what he wrote about himself on some school paperwork when asked why he is a Christian:  
"In Romans 10-11, Jesus tells us that whoever believes in God will never be disappointed.  Therefore, I choose God, who never disappoints."  Fred, you will NOT be disappointed!!!!

Please be in prayer for us as we have so much to prepare.  
We need an additional $5500 to cover the travel costs of the trip.  We are completely in faith that God is going to provide this and we are not going to have to go into debt to complete this process.  WE HAVE 3 WEEKS TO RAISE THIS MONEY.
Some of you have already been extremely generous is supporting us and we could not be more grateful.  God bless you.
Here is the link where anyone can make a tax deductible donation.  Please help us spread the word to anyone that might feel moved to support us.  I have also posted this on Facebook.


Finally, we are thrilled to tell you that Olivia will be going with us on the trip!  She has been saving her waitressing money for quite a while, and recently decided to use it to buy her own ticket to Uganda.  As a future professional photographer, she will use this trip to build her portfolio.  We are so excited she can be part of this journey!  

we love you all,

p.s.  Attached is a photo of Fred with his sister, Agnes, in 2009.  I actually took this photo...so glad I have it now that God has revealed His plan!!!
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Well, a few months ago, we started a new program with our Little's. I gave them each a large manila envelope with their names on it and told them it was time to learn about how to handle money.  I decided it was time to be intentional about teaching them about responsibilities with their own money. They each have their own 8x10 envelope to decorate and maintain. We put them  in the kitchen file basket to make them easily accessible.They have just started to get a small allowance for doing chores and the tooth fairy has been making regular visits these days! They also had some birthday gift money stashed in a drawer that is now in the envelope. We talk about being good stewards of what they have been given and to be wise with it.  For the first time, they used their own money to buy Christmas gifts this year.Then I told them they need to think about their future, like saving to buy a car some day, or for any future purchases they may want to make. So, for weeks now they find coins, or get a dollar from Grama for helping her with something and they run to put it in their envelopes.

Well today, immediately after reading Jodi's email,  everyone wanted to SEE the photo of Fred. Within seconds, Jimmy said: "Hey mom, can we give them some money?" My response; "Sure Jimmy, that would be a great idea." He immediately got up and ran to get his money envelope and everyone else jumped up right behind him. We suddenly had chaos of coins and money being strewn all over the table. I suggested they each count out their money and determine how much they wanted to give. I was not going to make any decisions for them. They were so excited and started to talk amongst themselves. I heard Kezzie say; "Toys is not important like Fred in the orphanage." Jeremiah, "Yeah, we can get more money to save up for our cars later!" Jimmy: " I am going to give them half of everything I have." Then he proceeded to "do the math and got it right!" Keren and Jeremiah agreed to do the same. Josiah decided to give 75% of his money and then Kezzie being quiet and just watching them all said, "I am giving him ALL OF MINE!" I stood there at the table just in awe as these five "USED TO BE ORPHANS" were counting their money to help pay for a boy in an orphanage in Uganda to be rescued by his new family! As they were putting their money into the new smaller envelopes I handed out, Kezzie ran to the supply cabinet and returned with heart shaped stickers telling her siblings to decorate them with the hearts she found saying; "That way they will know we love them." She also drew hearts all over it. They had $92.50 total in their envelopes!

By this time, Jerry and I were just watching in awe. He turned to me and said: "We have to give too!" I immediately agreed and then he asked me what number came to me. We both agreed on giving a certain amount. When I asked him if we even had that much to give he responded, "No, but if we don't give even when it hurts then we have no faith!" So, I turned to the kids and asked them if they wanted to take the money to the Tuckers right now, instead of heading to the books. They unanimously jumped up with joy and started for the coat closet. We quickly got our things together and headed out to Durham to make our special delivery. I didn't call in advance because I knew my sister would feel obligated to pull out the vacuum, or maybe even rearrange her beautiful furniture or something. Even though her house is always immaculate, I seem to have that effect on people because of my "clean freak reputation" and I hate it. I just wanted to show up, drop off the money and leave without interfering with her day!

It was a thirty minutes drive and while listening to worship music, the kids were giggling and so excited. Half way there Kezzie said, "Mama, we made God really happy today because we gave our money to help Fred get out of the orphanage didn't we?" My response with tears and choking up, "You guys sure did Kezzie, God is smiling down on all of you right now!"

We got to their house and the kids literally were jumping out of the door before I took the key out of the ignition. When they rang the bell, they were just gitty. The Tuckers were "SHOCKED" to see the Littles' on their doorstep. In fact, when Jodi asked Jerry who was there he said, "It's the Little's, the Mestas Little's!" To which she murmured, "Oh my, it couldn't be them, it must be the neighbor kids, he thinks all kids look alike!" They invited us in and the kids couldn't wait for them to open all the envelopes. They were overjoyed!! Jodi was actually painting Fred's room when we got there and invited them upstairs to see it. They were so excited to see the preparations being made for him. We then enjoyed an unexpected  afternoon visit with a cup of tea, playing with baby dolls and Lego's, jumping on the trampoline and then had to get on the road. Before we left, we sat in the driveway and they each prayed over the Tucker home for the Lord's protection, provision and blessings as they head out to Uganda to bring home their new son! Needless to say, today's curriculum at Mestas Christian Academy, was not the one I had planned out last night!

I felt led to share today's adventure with you because I SEE GOD and hope you do too! When I started homeschooling seventeen years ago, I was very rigid and controlling, making sure we worked on academics every day and often missed out enjoying life. Then, as time went on and I grew in my faith and wisdom of the Word, I  began realizing I am not in control of my days but the Lord is. I began to ask HIM to show me what HE wanted me to teach the kids and how we should schedule each day. I often say, "I used to do academics and squeeze life in, but now I do life and squeeze academics in. You see, education/school is not just what happens in the classroom, or in the books, but more importantly, it's what we do with our lives, time, resources and how we nurture their hearts and minds. Today, I had plans not to leave the house and to just work on academics, but the Lord had other plans!  My children heard a cry for help, and answered the call with the resources and time they had. Today, they heard a whisper from the Lord himself, to act in faith and compassion on behalf of a child who is exactly in the same situation they once were. My prayer has always been, and continues to be, that the Lord will use their/our lives for HIS purpose and HIS glory and that they/we will be a voice for the ORPHAN'S still left behind!

May I please ask you to also step out in faith and be about the Lord's business today. Will you please give what you can to the Tucker family right now? They have 3 weeks to raise the rest of the funds to bring this precious boy home where he is already loved, and will be trained to know the one true God, Jesus Christ!

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9 

"Whoever has the world's goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth."  1 John 3:17,18

Thursday, January 3, 2013


For those of you who are patiently waiting for our book, the publisher sent an email saying it should be released this month. I know this has been dragging on since August 2012 and I am sorry. However, I am confident the Lord will release it in HIS perfect time. This is sure to be an exciting new year and we look forward to the great things HE has done and will continue to do! Happy New Year 2013!

Please know we will expedite every book order as soon as they come in. Blessings to all of you who are gracious to support tHIS story and if you would like to pre-order your copy please go to the website,
  "More Than 'I' Can Handle!" 


With Love,



I am responding to several great comments and questions to my previous post on our courtship policy. I am honored to share my thoughts and convictions on this subject. First of all, this decision has come about only after many years of studying the Word of God, making mistakes, and earnestly asking for wisdom to parent my children in a manner worthy of His praise. He has and is continuing to do a work in me and my family as we seek His will in all things. We have been very blessed to have established a relationship with our children from the beginning of being very involved in each other’s lives. Because we are a home school family, we have really done "life together". We have always included them in all of our decisions and respect and cherish their input, wisdom, desires and prayers. I have learned God often speaks to me through my children and has intentionally given each one of them to me/us for His greater purpose of doing a work in us! They have been vital in all of our decisions throughout their lives; we heeded their input and advice to adopt, move to a new location, job search, vacation choices, major purchases, family crisis, family relationships, and choices for dinner, social events, etc. etc. Our family motto is: "WE DO EVERYTHING TOGETHA!" I am a very transparent communicator and my and Jerry's heart’s desire is always to serve our children with love, respect and encourage them in truth and righteousness. While balancing all of this with discipline and being the authority in their lives, they know we would never do anything out of selfish gain, or to prevent them from being in the Lord's will. We pray and seek the Lord's wisdom and guidance in everything. The Holy Spirit is very much alive and communicates well in our family! We also trust our children and know they have standards, convictions and spiritual guidance for making their own decisions. We let them make their own choices that either teaches them a consequence or a blessing. We are born again Christians who always pray for each other, have studied His precepts together and encourage each other to always seek to be in the Lord's will and not our own.

This courtship process is ultimately led by our children who are free to make their own decisions and choices throughout this process but we are the more experienced ones who have much wisdom and counsel to contribute. We have had several prospects over the years that never made it past the phone call to Jerry. This was sometimes his decision based on knowing his children and their desires well, and sometimes it was the choice of the child in question. On several occasions, when approached directly by someone, they have chosen to immediately redirect them to speak to their father first. They have a choice and free will. By being the first line of contact and leading the courtship process, there is automatically a hedge of protection and authority established. With Jerry being the first line of defense, he is in his rightful place of authority as designed by the Lord! The Lord teaches us to be in submission to authority with respect and grace and this is a perfect example of that. The definition of authority is not a dictatorship but rather an understanding of someone with experience in the position to make decisions for the purpose of good and prosperity for all. Our children trust their father and know he adores them! He is a wonderful father who honestly would give his life for them. They all have him wrapped around their finger...just ask them! This position of authority has given each of our children the knowledge and truth of feeling love, security and safety as well. They have all said it was a relief to not have to hurt someone’s feelings, or leave room for doubt. It is a blessing to know your father has your back and will protect you! It is also profitable to protect the caller so that they will understand we are very intentional about marriage and will not waste their time or mess with their heart unnecessarily. We are seeking to serve and protect all people involved with love and respect!

If someone does get past the phone call, we immediately start the one-on-one questions and there is no dating or spending time alone yet! We immediately schedule the meetings around the table to begin discussing the questions. In addition to the questions, we do a background investigation, (Jerry is a Private Investigator and retired LAPD!), and we also check references and actually talk to other people who know this person. The question session is a family affair. All older siblings are involved in the process and are free to participate as well. Even my son-in-law submitted 27 questions that were incorporated in the 256. I think that says a lot since we did this same thing with him. He brought some of the same questions to the table that we asked him six years ago in addition to new ones of his own. All of our children have decided that they want input from every family member in this process. I admit this not normal in our culture and it is overwhelming, but this is the decision of each member of our family. Even Grandma has her questions and input! So, the person who "comes a courting" one of our kids, gets all of us in his/her face from day one! As we discuss the questions, it is really a fellowship time where we share our stories, values, traditions, morals and desires for our future family legacy! We give our answers only after the prospective courter does first! The questions are designed for detailed information and we do not accept one or two word answers. It has been wonderful and entertaining to hear stories that automatically incorporate information about family relationships, friends, etc. etc. as we delve into each question. It is also apparent in their answers what they know about scripture and how they live it out, or not. We are all either bearing fruit in our lives or not. Scripture says you will know them by their fruit! When someone speaks, their language is either seasoned with the Word and the Spirit or not. It is always possible for people to lie, but in this case, it is very hard to fake it. The questions are very detailed, personal and hard to script without it being obvious. There are several of us at the table that are intentionally watching body language, hesitation and listening to every word. This also gives that person the opportunity to know all of us at the same time and then decide if he/she wants to become a member of the "Messed Up Mestas Family" or not! When all the questions are completed, we all share our input and then the decision is made by both parties. If one of them does not have peace about moving forward toward marriage, then we end the relationship as friends and brothers/sisters in Christ. It is then obvious the Lord has someone else in mind for each of them and there is no need to have anger or resentment toward each other. We can part as friends and wish each other well.

We all agree there is no one perfect, no not one! We are all sinners saved by grace and we all have baggage. We don't make this decision based on the answers alone, but collectively with prayer, and input from all of us, the Holy Spirit and the Lord. We are the last ones who can cast the first stone on anyone else. Wait until you read our book "More Than 'I' Can Handle" and you'll understand us better. We are merely trying to navigate and expedite this process of seeking the compatible and divinely chosen spouse for our children with humility, respect, wisdom and to honor the Lord Jesus Christ in the process. Our desire is to prevent each one from getting their hearts attached prematurely only to be torn apart if it becomes apparent that the relationship is going nowhere. Just look at our culture and the history of the normal dating process. It is a miserable failure! I cannot stand by and tolerate this any longer. I have always encouraged my children to learn from personal experience and from watching others and make better choices! Do what it takes to walk the higher road and to glorify the Lord in everything you do. It's a matter of being in a genuine love relationship with the Lord so much that we desire righteousness and trust His ways are the best. He tells us to be holy for He is holy. It's like when you find that one special person that you fall in love with and you want to do everything you can to make them happy. You want to spend every moment and the rest of your life with them! Well, God created marriage and He has written the guidelines on how to be blessed by it if we choose to follow his ways and not the world's way. We love Him enough to trust Him and walk by faith on this journey as a form of worship and love for Him. We are created by Him, for Him and He already knows whom He has created for each of us. It just makes sense to be intentional and include Him and all of our family on this journey.

As far as legalism is concerned, it is acceptable, normal and wise, for people to be intentionally questioned, interviewed by several people at once, seeking advice from others, and investigated for compatibility for a job. Is that legalism? All of this is common for choosing an employee but not for choosing a lifelong spouse and future parent of your children? Think about that! This courtship process is no different and even more important! Finding and choosing someone to marry is the second most important decision a person will make in a lifetime, next to surrendering their life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life! Both decisions are to be made with the love, support, wisdom, counsel, the encouragement of parents, the Holy Spirit and the Lord! The fact that this person is even sitting at our table already has us asking; "Is this the one you have sent Lord?" We intentionally start praying for the spouses for each child when they are babies. Our five Littles already regularly pray for their spouses who are most likely already out there in the world somewhere. We already have these conversations with them at 5, 8 and 9 years old so this is not unexpected or a surprise. We are sincerely preparing and seeking wisdom and not judging or condemning the person in this process. Not only are we trying to ensure the right choice in a spouse, but this is our first opportunity to also protect and care for our grandchildren. The Lord gives us a multi-generational command to carry on the faith of our forefathers throughout the generations. We are commanded to be influential in the lives of our children and grandchildren. We are looking at the entire picture of our family heritage and responsibilities and not just that two people are attracted to each other and want to have fun!

So, all this to say, we are far from perfect people and know there are no guarantees in life. However, we stand on the Word of truth and seek to obey the Lord in His statutes and precepts. He doesn't leave us here on earth to fend for ourselves to try to figure things out alone. He is the one and only most high, loving God who cares for each one of His children and He has a plan and purpose for everyone. He gives wisdom through His Word and is always by our side with love to encourage us in every good and perfect work. He always uses His saints to work in each other’s lives, we are not meant to navigate life on our own! All we have to do is choose to come under His authority and let Him walk us through every minute of every day in every decision and situation. He is faithful to those who love Him and call on HIS name as Savior!

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. [a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Deuteronomy 6 NIV

Like the people who were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, the Lord brought me out of slavery to sin and living by the world's standards. He has given me new life with the forgiveness of my sins, eternal life in heaven and the Holy Scripture to transform and renew my mind and give me strength and guidance, while still here on earth. I /we are choosing to do things differently with our children with the intention to bless them all the days of their lives with wisdom, joy, peace, love, good health and righteousness. Their lives, their bodies, their children and grandchildren, and everything in their future belong to Jesus Christ. Long after we are gone from this earth, they will have to make decisions for themselves and their own children. Our prayer is that they will always love the Lord Jesus Christ, seek the truth of the scriptures and His will and will intentionally and successfully pass on the faith to their children and all who come in contact with them until He calls them all home!


After posting the announcement of the official courtship of my daughter Ellie and Jonathan, there were so many requests for a copy of my courtship questions that I decided to write this post. I pray it will be a blessing to you. I do not claim to have all the answers, or that these questions will result in a perfect relationship. However, I do believe this to be the best way to encourage and help my children go through the process of finding their soul mate for this life. I have prayed and spent many hours going through this process and so far have had absolutely wonderful results. So here goes.......

When I was growing up, it was common for dating to start at middle or high school age. The purpose is to gain relationship experience with the hope of one day finding prince charming and to be married for a lifetime! I never learned anything in advance about dating, nor was I given specifics on how to do it. All I knew was there would be one-on-one dates to the movies, restaurants, concerts, etc. and hanging out with friends. Parents and family were never involved.  Although it was still not acceptable to have sex before marriage, I knew everyone was doing it anyway.  It was common to date many people in search of that special someone which in reality is training in how to break up/divorce from relationships.  As I got older, it became more common to engage in all facets of the "married life" like having sex and living together, without committing to marriage. It was better to test everything out first. While divorce was not as common and even considered shameful back then it is quite different now. Since then, the divorce and abortion rates have risen higher then any other time in history, and many hearts and lives have been broken and devastated. When compared to the history of courtship, chaperones and purity until marriage, it has become evident that the choice to live by the world's view of  free-spirit dating has devastated our culture.

My own high school dating experience was the worst thing that ever happened to me! While I didn't start dating until sophomore year of high school, I was truly seeking to find that one special guy for a lifetime and wanted to stay pure until marriage. I was not raised in a Christian home, and had no knowledge of courtship, or involvement and supervision of my parents, so I dated the world's way.  I fell in love with my one and only high school sweetheart. He was popular, the most handsome guy in the school and he intentionally sought me out! He would be waiting at my locker to talk to me and just seemed to be where ever I was. He told me I was pretty, he knew I was a good girl and he wanted to be my boyfriend! He made me feel special because he wanted to be with me when he clearly could have any girl in the school. I knew nothing about dating and my parents pretty much had a hands-off mentality about it. All the cool people had a boyfriend in high school so it was normal to respond and allow his wooing and pursuing.  I soon learned the truth that I entered the world of pain, suffering, rejection, lies, shame and regrets that would be with me forever!

I fell in love thinking we were going to be married. After two years of investing our lives together we got pre-engaged (which was common back then) and I was dreaming of my wedding day right after high school graduation.  Since I "knew" we were getting married, I fell into the temptation and lies that it was okay to give my virginity to him before marriage. It wasn't long after that he began to change. He started to hang out more with his friends instead of me and then after some time I found out he was actually dating other girls behind my back. Then the most horrible and devastating thing happened....I got pregnant! My worst nightmare came true. While I wanted to get married and start our life together, he didn't! I knew he was not the man I should marry. He was very emotionally abusive to me and he had a lot of anger stemming from his parents divorce.  He told me I had to get an abortion and I knew that he wanted to break off our relationship. During my entire childhood my mother had always told me that if I ever got pregnant out of wedlock, I should have an abortion so that it didn't ruin my life. I should never get married because "we had too!" A "shot gun wedding" as she put it, was the worst thing you could do to yourself. So between my mother's training and my boyfriend demanding, I had an abortion. In my heart, I wanted to keep my baby that was conceived in love, on my part anyway. Although I was not raised in a Christian home and didn't know God's Word, deep down in my heart I knew it was wrong. But, I felt like I had no choice and I believed that it was just a mass of tissue, as was taught in health class throughout my childhood education. In spite of that, I always had a deep and heavy pain and sadness in my heart that never went away. I felt guilt, shame, anger, betrayal, and heartache like I have never felt. I wondered if I did the right thing even though everyone said I did. I always wished I could go back for a do over. I would have never started dating him and would never have had sex before marriage. But now, I had to live with myself and the consequences of my choices! I honestly never thought this would happen to me! I was the good girl who was going to wait for marriage! I learned first hand how easy it is to fall into temptation with a life of regret and wrong choices!

When I became a Christian years later, while reading the bible, I read Psalm 139:13-16; "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

For the first time, I understood the truth of God's creation and realized that I was a "murderer!" I killed my first baby that God created in my womb. I cried for days and days and poured out my heart to my Savior Jesus Christ. I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame and I wanted to die! But as He always promises, My Savior poured His grace over me and filled my heart with the cleansing blood of forgiveness. He whispered to me that I was forgiven because He laid down His own life to take the punishment for my sin of murder. He then reminded me that David and Moses also committed murder and because of His forgiveness, He was able to use their lives for His glory and purpose in spite of what they did! This brought great comfort and healing to my life but it never took away the regret and sadness that I still feel today!

Because of this, I have determined to do everything in my power to teach and equip my children to walk through their lives with wisdom, discernment and to intentionally build hedges of protection from falling into the same pitfalls that I did. I know hundreds of stories from friends and family members that have the same testimony as mine and I have determined to make a difference in the lives of my children if they so choose to let me!

I first learned about the courtship process from Dr. Dobson's "Focus on the Family" radio broadcasts when Melissa was about five years old. I have since read as much as possible and prayed for the Lord to give us wisdom on training our children for purity and righteousness in pursuing their lifelong mate. We have discussed and taught/teach them that the Lord has a plan and purpose for them and He already knows who the spouse he created for them will be. Therefore, we need to pray constantly and be intentional to wait and discern who that mate is when the time is right! The right time is when they are mature enough to take on the responsibility of being a spouse and parent! I don't have an exact age in mind, but rather have intentionally and conscientiously trained my children to be ready by the time they want to leave the comforts of our nest.

Because of my and my husband’s personal experiences, much study and prayer, together we have chosen the "Biblical Courtship" method of pursuing a spouse for our children.  We have discussed this in detail with all of them and agreed this is a personal choice they have to make, we do not force them.  We have had the experience of our children starting in relationships either without our intentional involvement or without going through the intentional nature of our questions and they were not successful. Unfortunately, they had to go through the always-painful experience of a break-up. Since then, we have comprised our own "Courtship" plan of intentional involvement and questioning starting at the very first contact with a potential person of interest. All three of our oldest children have since agreed to follow this method from then on and we are praying the five littles will as well! They are getting a first hand preview and are already involved in this process which should be helpful to them in the future.

Our purpose and prayer is not to control our children, but rather to come along side to encourage and guide them to make wise and discerning choices. The scriptures tell us to seek wisdom from many counselors and to learn from the history of others who have gone before us. We want all of our children to have the best outcome in their lives and to avoid sin, pain and heart ache as much as possible. Our prayer is to also protect the other person involved as well. By being intentional from day one, we can help determine compatibility between two people that are obviously attracted to each other. Marriage is a serious covenant before God that is not to be taken lightly. It is hard! It is two sinners coming together in a commitment for life!  When the honeymoon and newness wears off, there has to be a strong foundation for marriage to stand strong and to glorify the Lord. In everything we do, we seek to glorify him and love others well.

To begin, we don't date! We intentionally start the process of getting to know a person for the purpose and plan of  marriage. If not ready for and intentionally seeking marriage, there is no need to even start getting to know a person on an intimate level. Once you do intentionally get to know a person intimately, it doesn't take long to know if "He/She" is the one. We also are very intentional to pray to God for His leading and discernment. God is faithful to give wisdom and discernment when we intentionally seek HIM! "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3

We start the process by first "Calling the father of the other person to ask his permission to get to know each other for the purpose of marriage!" We clearly communicate that we do not date! The father then has the right to question and interview the person calling. He will then privately speak to the child being pursued to see if they are interested in pursuing this person for marriage. If not, the father calls back to tell the person there is no interest and wish them well. End of possibility of anything other than platonic friendship. This protects my child from being in the position of hurting someone’s feelings or leaving room for discussion. If it is a "Yes, I am interested in getting to know this person more intimately," then we start the open lines of communication.  We have the person over for dinner and fellowship and then the meetings begin! We communicate to the other person that we will begin a series of discussions with the list of questions we have compiled for the purpose of redeeming time and energy in a relationship that may not necessary. It also protects both hearts from getting attached too soon, only to be torn apart if it is discovered that there is no compatibility later on.  Again, the other person has to make the choice to participate or not. If not, that is the end of the possibility of a relationship. That settles things quickly! It's all about redeeming time and protecting hearts! However, if the other person agrees, we begin a fun time of intentionally getting to know each other on a personal and intimate level and have a lot of laughs along the way.  Just by agreeing to this process shows integrity, intentionality and character of the other person! I have comprised a list of questions that are very intentional, revealing, very personal and some even embarrassing. At first, I wasn't sure about some of them, but then I realized that nothing is off limits, or too personal when you are considering giving and spending the rest of your life with this person. It is a huge responsibility that I do not take lightly to be giving the child the Lord has entrusted to my care, to another person for a lifetime of service! This is also going to be the father/mother of my grandchildren and this is my first opportunity to love, protect and care for them as well. God gives us a multi-generational command to train our children and grandchildren to know Him! These questions come from personal experience as well as learning from other people’s experiences. They are specifically geared to our family's preferences and traditions but can easily be modified to your own. It is true that when you marry someone, you marry the family too! It is important that when two people come together they are compatible and able to prosper and grow and not stifle or dominate one another. We believe marriage is really another form of adoption. You become a member of that family for a lifetime! So, it is important that you are compatible and comfortable with the whole package and not just the individual person. If we do it right, we don't lose our children but rather gain another member of the family!

We have had great success with this process so far and desire to share this with you for the purpose of encouragement. I dedicate this to those who are seeking to love well, be a good steward to redeem the time, protect hearts and lives, and glorify the Lord in the process. I pray you will find this helpful and ponder how you can take an intentional role in the lives of your children as you seek to equip them for every good and perfect work and gift from above. The Lord desires that we walk in truth and righteous, being holy as he is holy.

The process we have established begins with the four of us at the kitchen table with refreshments, we open in prayer and then Jerry and I lead with questions. We give both parties the opportunity to answer and ask questions of each other with the other party always giving the answer first. (Not giving opportunity to just agree with our answers!)We ask permission to take notes and give permission as well. If at any time there is resistance to answering a question...red flag! We always give the freedom to end the process at any time with the option to continue another day or to end it period. Again, this redeems the time invested and reveals things. When it comes to the questions about sex and other personal things, we do give the option for our child to leave and we discuss these issues privately so as not to cause inappropriate situations. This process takes a long time with several visits that require priority of time. But, I assure you it is well worth it! It is a blessing to see someone be transparent and willing to make sacrifices to get to know your child. It requires integrity, perseverance, humility, and a true desire to know you and your family. If done right, you end up becoming friends who know each other well!

As a result of this process, we have been blessed to hear, "I would have never had the nerve to ask those questions but because you did, I learned a lot about this person." "I am able to really know if I want to continue or not now." "It is encouraging that this person is still here after the questions last time. He/she must be serious." "It would have taken months or years to get to know this person so intimately if not for this intentional discussion time." "Regardless of the outcome of this particular person and me, when I have children, I want to do this process with them too!" "Thank you for taking the time to do this with me. I feel very loved and protected!" "This is exactly what I prayed for, to get to know someone in the context of the family." I feel safe and comfortable with this person now!"

After completing the questions with us, we then encourage meeting the other family and offer the questions for their family to go through. We now allow them to spend quality time together, to continue to get to know each other with intentional hedges of protection from temptation, with a plan for marriage. We don't believe in long engagements after going through this process because when you are already seeking marriage and know that this is the one, it is not necessary to wait. This also helps reduce the battle with temptation and makes for a wonderful honeymoon! While we have no guarantees in this life, we do believe this process does establish a good foundation to build on. We continue to have intentional discussions with each other and pray and seek the Lord's wisdom and will for each party. And then, when it is clear that they can not live without each other, we plan the wedding and celebrate the covenant of marriage! And we are blessed to "KNOW" and "LOVE" our new son/daughter!


By Eileen Mestas 2/23/06

1.     What is your life’s goal, mission?
2.     What is your passion?
3.     What career / education/ hobby/ministry/ goals and experience do you have and why did you choose them?
4.     What were your favorite subjects in school? Why?
5.     What was your least favorite subject?
6.     Who was your favorite teacher and why?
7.     Do you like art?
8.     Describe your gifts – talents and how you demonstrate them.
9.     What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
10.                        What do you consider to be your greatest weaknesses?
11.                         Why has God put you here on planet earth?
12.                         Do you “THIRST” for God?
13.                         Do you read the bible regularly?
14.                         What bible studies have you done and do you have a preferred method of    study?
15.                         What is your favorite book of the bible, verse, story, hymn and why?
16.                         Describe a time when God’s word spoke directly to you.
17.                         Are you governed increasingly by God’s word?
18.                         Share your testimony of how you became a Christian.
19.                         How would you describe your spiritual growth now compared to 2-3-5 years ago?
20.                         Are you sensitive to God’s presence in your life?
21.                         Describe a particular time you have SEEN God in your life.
22.                         Describe the Holy Spirit and how He impacts your life.
23.                         How often do you pray?
24.                         Do you ask for prayer from others? Who and how often?
25.                         What have you done to establish accountability?

26.                         Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
27.                         Are you a servant to others? If so, how?
28.                         Do you delight in the “Bride of Christ”, the church?
29.                         Are you a member of a Church?
30.                         How do you serve in your church?
31.                         Do you fellowship with people/families from your church?
32.                         Are spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
33.                         On what foundation is your life’s compass based, how do you make decisions, etc?
34.                         Where do you plan to be in 5- 10 years; describe your plan of action. (Spiritually-- Career-- Family etc.)
35.                          Are you engaged in things now that are going to bring you closer to God?
36.                          Describe your relationship with your family, parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, etc.
37.                          Describe your relationship with friends, best friend how long, etc.
38.                          Do your parents have best friends? Practice hospitality in your home?
39.                          Describe your family. How many siblings, cousins, etc.
40.                          Do you think a man can be best friends with a woman? Before and after marriage? (Other than/in addition to wife)
41.                          Do you have friends/family of various ethnic backgrounds?
42.                          What do you think about bi-racial families?
43.                          What does your family think about bi-racial families?
44.                          Do you speak another language?
45.                          What is your ethnic back ground?
46.                          Do you have pets?
47.                          Do you prefer dogs or cats?
48.                          Describe your communication style.
49.                          Are you shy? Outgoing?
50.                          When at a party are you in the middle of the action or a bystander?
51.                          Describe integrity.
52.                          Describe honesty.
53.                          Who do you strive to please and why?
54.                          Who is your biggest cheer leader/encourager?
55.                          Who or what is your greatest frustration?
56.                          Describe your philosophy on dating, courtship?
57.                          Describe the role of family, friends, etc. in this process.
58.                          Do you think physical touch i.e. Holding hands, kissing, etc. is appropriate and at what point in the courtship process?
59.                        What do you think of waiting until your engagement/wedding day to kiss?
60.                          What is an appropriate time frame for courtship -- engagement process?
61.                          How do you think you will know if this is the girl for you and if not, how do you intend to handle that?
62.                          Describe your plan of action to protect her heart and yours from being broken.
63.                          Describe your plan of protection from physical temptations.
64.                          By what authority do you base your decision to move to the next level or not in this process? i.e., Who will counsel and encourage you?
65.                          How are you preparing to be the spiritual leader of your home; wife & children?
66.                          Are you ready for that responsibility now?
67.                         What is your plan of action to grow and how can you improve?
68.                         How do you see your role as a husband?
69.                         How do you see the responsibilities of daily chores being played out? i.e., cleaning, cooking, yard work, gardening, trash, laundry, paying bills, food shopping, fix it maintenance, etc.
70.                          Describe your family routines growing up. i.e. mom vs. dad, siblings’ responsibilities, etc.
71.                          Are you organized or a messy?
72.                          If I go into your car/truck right now will I need a trash bag? How often do you wash it?
73.                          How often do you change/wash your bed sheets, clean your bathroom, floors, etc?
74.                          Do hang your clothes up in the closet/put in drawers?
75.                          Where do you put your dirty laundry?
76.                          Do you iron your clothes?
77.                          When do you shower?  a.m. or p.m.
78.                          Do you visit the DDS regularly and how often do you floss?
79.                          Describe your happiest memory.
80.                          What is your saddest memory that you feel you could share?
81.                          Have you had previous relationships? How did you handle them, how long, etc.? Tell us about it.
82.                          How do you handle conflict?
83.                          Are you a stuffer or a talker? (Grab by the horns, sweep under the rug)
84.                          In previous relationships did you initiate and pursue or did the other person?
85.                          Did you remain pure in those relationships?
86.                          If not, did you use birth control? Any pregnancy?
87.                          What is your relationship with that person today?
88.                          Is there unforgiveness or anger as a result of that relationship?
89.                          How are you different today as a result of those relationships?
90.                          What is the greatest lesson learned?
91.                          How long since your last relationship with someone?
92.                          Are you content to be alone/single?
93.                          How much time do you spend on the computer/cell/texting/ what exposure--practice of watching pornography?
94.                          Do you need to have your phone w/you at all times to check Facebook, etc.?
95.                          How are you dealing with temptation/pornography?
96.                          What are you doing to guard yourself, eyes, ears, heart?
97.                          Do you have a filter/accountability on your computer/telephone/TV?
98.                          How do you address this situation with friends, others?
99.                          Do you initiate accountability for their concern and ask them how they are doing?
100.                   What do you think of cursing/ course joking?
101.                   Do you practice that behavior?
102.                   Do you watch “R+” rated movies?
103.                   What does scripture teach on this topic?
104.                   If a friend invites you to watch something inappropriate what do you do?
105.                   Describe your relationship with your mother.
106.                   Describe your relationship with your father.
107.                   How do you see your role as a father? (Duties, responsibilities, diapers, feeding, etc.)
108.                   Describe your childhood.
109.                   Describe your relationship with your siblings.
110.                   Describe your favorite memory with your dad/ mom.
111.                   What is your least favorite memory with your dad/mom?
112.                   Describe your communication style in your family.
113.                   What word best describes your childhood?
114.                   How many children would you like to have?
115.                   Do you plan to use birth control?
116.                   What if your wife wants more or fewer than you?
117.                   What if you are not able to have children biologically?
118.                   What is your philosophy for discipline of children?
119.                   What do you think of adoption?
120.                   What kind of education do you plan for your children, home school, government or private school? Why?
121.                   What books have you read and what is your favorite?
122.                   How have you prepared /Are you currently intentionally preparing yourself for marriage?
123.                   What do you think of divorce?
124.                   What does scripture say about divorce?
125.                   Describe your expectations for the role of your wife? i.e., Working, parenting, chores, responsibilities, education, cooking, baking, etc.
126.                   What is your favorite food? Dessert? Candy? Drink?
127.                   Do you eat cheese? Vegetables? Cake? Cookies?
128.                   What is your least favorite food?
129.                   How do you feel about tasting food you have never had?
130.                   Describe your thoughts on drinking wine, beer, alcohol?
131.                   Do you drink socially, privately, occasionally, etc.?
132.                   What does scripture teach on this topic?
133.                   Have you ever been intoxicated? When and why?
134.                   Does your family drink?
135.                   Have you ever taken drugs, pot, etc.?
136.                   Do you take vitamins, medications?
137.                   Do you have allergies, or health issues?
138.                   What is your favorite movie, TV show, book and why?
139.                   Is there any kind of store you could get lost in, because you love so much of what they sell?
140.                   Are you a procrastinator or a doer?
141.                   Describe your favorite vacation.
142.                   Describe your dream vacation as a single man, a married man, and father.
143.                    Do you like camping? Hotels? Resorts? Cruises? Boating? Fishing? Hunting?
144.                   Do you own a gun? If so, what kind? Why?
145.                   Have you ever been to the Biltmore? Did you like it? Do you desire to visit?
146.                   Have you been to Disney and do you desire to go?
147.                   Do you like the beach? Mountains?
148.                   What is your favorite season and why?
149.                   Do you swim?
150.                   Describe sports you have played and which is your favorite?
151.                   How much time do you devote to sports?
152.                   How much time do you devote to watching sports on TV? Going to sporting events? Playing sports now?
153.                   Describe your travel experiences.
154.                   Which was your favorite?
155.                   Where is your dream to visit?
156.                   Where would you never want to visit?
157.                   Where would you like to live and why?
158.                   Have you done missions trips? With who, where, what did you do?
159.                   How has your life been impacted by your missions work?
160.                   Where is your mission field now?
161.                   Describe a perfect day…
162.                   What do you fear?
163.                   What is your greatest accomplishment?
164.                   What is your greatest regret?
165.                   What are your pet peeves?
166.                   What is your unfulfilled dream?
167.                   How do you spend your time? Describe a typical week day vs. weekend.
168.                   Do you live intentionally or fly by the seat of your pants?
169.                   Are you a planner?
170.                   What is on your list of things to do now?
171.                   Describe joy and peace. Do you have it in your life?
172.                   When faced with a problem/crisis, where do you go for help?
173.                   What is your decorative style? Color or white? Rustic or Classic, traditional or trendy?
174.                   What is your favorite color?
175.                   What do you think of flowers?
176.                   Why did God create them?
177.                   Describe your dream house? Garden?
178.                   What kind of car/truck do you prefer? Why?
179.                   Have you ever taken a personality test? If so, which one? What were the results?
180.                   What makes you angry?
181.                   How do you process that anger? Are you a screamer? Temper tantrums?
182.                   Tell me about a tough decision you had to make.
183.                   What is the hardest decision you ever had to make?
184.                   What kind of music do you like?
185.                   Do you dance? Sing?
186.                   Do you play an instrument?
187.                   Do you like the theater? Opera? Broadway?
188.                   What do you like to do for entertainment?
189.                   Do you like to host parties?
190.                   Describe your birthday celebrations/traditions.
191.                   What was your favorite birthday and why?
192.                   Describe your relationship with neighbors.
193.                   How long have you lived in your home/town, etc.?
194.                   What kind of work does your father/mother, grandparents, siblings, do?
195.                   Do you have nieces, nephews?
196.                   Describe your relationship with them.
197.                   When you see trash on the ground, do you pick it up or ignore it?
198.                   Where do you put your trash when out in public? What if there is no trash can?
199.                   How would you describe your reputation according to others?
200.                   Who would you give for a reference and why? Will you give me their telephone number?
201.                   What role will friends play in your life after marriage? Your wife’s friends?
202.                   Is adoption an option in your future?
203.                   What do you think about day care? Babysitters? Sleepovers?
204.                   Do you have a mentor?
205.                   Who is your best friend? Why? How long?
206.                   What are your favorite ministries and why?
207.                   Do you support them?
208.                   Do you tithe?
209.                   Do you budget? Save? Plan for your future?
210.                   Are you a spender or saver?
211.                   Are you a gift giver?
212.                   Are you an impulse buyer or over-think a purchase?
213.                   Do you think it is appropriate for you or your wife to make a purchase without consulting the other?
214.                   Do you plan to have one or separate bank accounts?
215.                   Describe your world view. Political and Social
216.                   Who did you vote for in the last election and why?
217.                   What is your opinion on the sanctity of life?
218.                   Is there ever an appropriate time to end someone’s life?
219.                   Did you ever go to camp? Describe.
220.                   Are you a man of your word?
221.                   What do you think about being late to an appointment?
222.                   What do you think of lying? When is it appropriate?
223.                   What do think of air conditioning/heat usage in your home?
224.                   How do you plan to train your children with two different cultures/backgrounds? One dominating the other?
225.                   Do you want your children to speak Spanish?
226.                   Would you be willing to relocate for your wife’s preferences?
227.                   What is the order of priority in your life? Work, Ministry, Husband, Father, Church, etc. Which comes first…last?
228.                   What does scripture teach on this subject?
229.                   Would you consider taking a relative in to live with you if necessary?
230.                   Will your home be the “hang out” for your children or do you prefer they go to other places?
231.                   Describe your expectations/hopes for your daughter? Education? Dating? Etc.
232.                   Describe your expectation/hopes for your son? Education? Dating? Etc.
233.                   What is your plan for housing in your future? Rural/urban? Farm/Community
234.                   How do you plan to keep your marriage alive and vibrant?
235.                   What travel plans do you have for your future/children etc.?
236.                   Have you ever witnessed a miracle?
237.                   What are your wedding—honeymoon expectations? Big, small/local/weekend/week?
238.                   Who are your heroes? Why?
239.                   When you die, what do you want your legacy to be? He was …..
240.                   What do you think about death? Fear? Peace? Are you ready?
241.                   How would you respond to the death of child, wife, and parent?
242.                   Will you ever consider living w/your parents or in-laws?
243.                   What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?
244.                   What is the nicest thing you have done for someone else?
245.                   Describe some recent fruit in your life.
246.                   Do you have debt?
247.                   What is your philosophy on debt, credit cards?
248.                   Do you have a savings account, emergency fund?
249.                   How are you preparing for your future, i.e. buying house, etc?
250.                   Where do you want to live?
251.                   Why are you interested in my daughter/son?
252.                   What is on your bucket list?
253.                   Now that we have gone through these questions, what do you think of this process?
254.                   Are you willing to proceed with this courtship?
255.                   Do you have any questions for us or anything to add?
256.                   Thank you for taking the time and going through this process with us!

     At the conclusion of discussing all these questions, we privately discuss the answers given and any concerns we may have with our child. Then if we all approve and our child chooses to move forward, we initiate and announce an "official courtship" and proceed with prayer, counsel, caution and excitement!