Thursday, January 3, 2013


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!

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