Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Shall I Have Pleasure…?

Sometimes God waits entirely too long to fulfill His promises.

Sometimes it seems He just forgets and sits our prayer requests on the back burner with the heat off while other people’s requests are bubbling over with answers and blessings.

And sometimes you are 99 with crusty, dusty eggs and only memories of how your husband used to fondle you. Then here comes this BIG God with His BIG promises declaring, once again, that you’re going to have a baby. Sarah laughed in her heart and said “Shall I have pleasure seeing as I’m old, and my dear husband over there is older than me?” Yes, Mama Sarah. I understand why you laughed.

Sarah used her physical limitations to indict God. She was basically saying “Look, God. You waited too long. I stopped believing when my girly parts stopped working. I still love you, and I’ll still serve you, but there’s no point in believing Your promise any more.” Does your faith and willingness to believe have an expiration date or contingency clause like Sarah’s?

I’ve been praying that God would send one of my co-workers her mate. I won’t hash out any details about her, but I will say this. It’s clear that long ago she stopped believing for an answer to that prayer. If the greatest prophet walking on earth today told her that God was going to send her mate, she’d scoff and say “Shall I have the pleasure?” She has decided to no longer believe the promise for whatever reason, and her lack of faith hinders her expectation of something good.

I didn’t think I’d have pleasure because of my former nature. You may think you’re too old, too big, too skinny, too– whatever crazy things us women come up with to judge ourselves. God is moved by faith, not emotion or rational arguments. When God makes a promise, He’s able and willing to perform it. Don’t disqualify yourself with unbelief! Don’t frustrate your own destiny with doubtfulness and negativity! God’s Word is true!

Should you have the pleasure of a Godly mate?

Should you have the pleasure of bearing healthy, beautiful children?

Should you have the pleasure of divine health and fulfillment?

Should you have the pleasure of a bottomless bank account?

Should you have the pleasure of eating as much chocolate as you want never gaining a pound?

Yes, and amen.

May we submit our shortcomings and limitations to the Lordship of Christ and allow His grace to superabound in our lives. May we hold dear to the promises He’s made always trusting in His timing. I pray this post stirred up your faith to believe that you shall have pleasure.

Read and meditate on the following Scriptures to remind yourself of God’s goodness. You WILL have pleasure!

Isaiah 34: 16
Numbers 23: 19
Psalm 16:11
Psalm 84:11
Hebrews 12:2

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image courtesy of bee.creativesolutions at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Uncategorized

A few months have passed since I wrote the post about the incubus and succubus spirits, and folks from all over the world (crazy, right?) have emailed me confessing that they’ve felt suffered from these attacks. Over the past few weeks, I’ve encountered some other sorts of spiritual attacks that are worth discussing.

It all started on a Tuesday afternoon. I was in the middle of a fast, and especially tired. I napped, dreamed about a friend, and woke up with crazy stomach pain. I couldn’t make it to service at church that night, so I watched it online and prayed along with the guest minister. I dozed and woke up around midnight from a vision…

I saw myself standing outside my apartment. There was no light anywhere except for at the door. I felt unsafe and heard people running and shouting up and down the street. I opened my apartment door and shouted “I can see you!” into the black night thinking it would ward off the strangers. Soon as the door opened I felt someone push past me into my apartment. When I looked inside, I saw a short figure with muscles running recklessly through my apartment. At that point I jumped out of my bed and began to pray. I warred in the spirit by praying in tongues for twenty minutes or so. After playing some worship music I dozed back to sleep confident that the evil spirit had been evicted. (Unlike dreams, visions are interactive. You experience them rather than just visualizing them. All of my physical senses were fully activated during this experience.)

Around 2:30 am I felt my body get incredibly hot. I tried to walk up the hallway to turn adjust the thermostat only to discover that I could not walk and could not see. I bounced from wall to wall until I hit my head forcefully on one wall and fell to the floor. I felt my mind beginning to slip, so I cried out to the Lord to help me. I knew that if I didn’t get off the floor I’d either end up in the hospital or worse. Thoughts of B&B being cared for by another sobered my thoughts and gave me the ability to cope with the pain. I crawled off the floor, turned down the heat, drank a glass of water, and passed out on the sofa.  I could literally feel the intense heat lift out of my body.

The next day I stayed home to recover. The stomach pain lasted longer than expected, and I could hardly eat the rest of the week. That afternoon, one of my girlfriends called to tell me she woke up around 2:30am and felt the urgency to pray for me until 4 that morning. What if she had not obeyed? My God!

Three other spiritual dreams followed over the next month, but thankfully, they were less intense. In the second encounter I saw a beautiful, but evil young woman mocking me. I asked the Lord who this woman was, and He said “She’s the one taking your blessings.” I had seen her many times before in my dreams, but only this time was it brought to my conscious mind.

The third dream revealed a large woman who monitored everything I was doing to the point that created a hole between my home and hers so that she could hear and watch what I was doing. I’ve had dreams of this spirit since  I was a very young child, but again, only now was it brought to my conscious mind.

This is a deep topic, but there are five points I want you get out of this post as it pertains to spiritual warfare.

  • God wants the absolute best for your life, and the devil only wants to steal, kill, and destroy. He HATES you and is working overtime to scatter the good things in your life. Don’t get it twisted… Any good thing the devil brings will end in heartache and shame, or worse.
  • When you receive Christ in  your heart you are saved immediately in your spirit, but salvation of the soul is progressive. Demons dwell in the soul of believers until we become free from them. Those who never receive deliverance find themselves frustrated in trying to live a holy life before the Lord. Many more, just don’t want to be free so they will not see the fullness of the promises of God in their lives on this earth.
  • Evil spirits come through a few avenues, particularly through family lines (generational curses, sins of the forefathers, promises and vows made by our parents, etc.), sins we commit, and sins committed against us. Repentance and prayer will keep these forces.
  • Spiritual attacks can be frightening particularly when we are spiritually strong enough to deal with them, BUT these attacks do not mean that God does not love us or that He has abandoned us. He is simply exposing the enemy and calling our attention to a serious matter that must be addressed through reading the Word, prayer and fasting.
  • Only the name of Jesus Christ spoken by those who have an intimate relationship with the Him can defeat powers of darkness. If you find yourself unable to move or speak when under attack and the spirit won’t leave, that is an indication that you must draw closer to the Master. The enemy knows who bears light and who is claiming they bear light but have no power. Don’t be like the seven sons of Sceva, try to fake the funk, and get that tail whipped.

There is more to come on this topic, but I’m curious to hear what’s going on in your spiritual life? Who are you seeing in your dreams and visions? What happens in your life before a breakthrough? I’m listening! Email me through the Contact page or at consideringthelily@gmail.com.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Chipped Polish & Panty Lines

Sometimes I sit and think of creative titles for posts when I really have nothing to write at the time. THIS is one of those posts. In the back of my mind I felt like I needed to address why my nails are seldom polished and why thongs ain’t really the move at this point in my life. Some ladies are top notch all the time. I might be top notch a good two to three days out of the week. Because life.

So today, the substance of the post came to me at church.. At the risk of ticking people off… a risk I’m willing to take… I’m going to deconstruct (read: rant about) one of THE most annoying things that a man can do to a woman.

Criticize her.

I went to church this morning for a prayer service. I woke up with intercession on my mind, but the kids delayed me so I arrived 30 minutes after I had planned. Happens.

My hair was in a ponytail, and I was wearing light make-up. I was wide awake, but hardly feeling social enough to grin the way people are expected when they enter the house of the Lord. I don’t know if it was my serious demeanor (felt more “focused” to me), or the mannish nature of the speaker of the hour… but dear God… he rubbed me the wrooooooooong way.

His rebuke for the attendees’ untimeliness lingered into a story about a woman who often came to church unkempt. He felt it was a disservice to allow her to continue looking slovenly, so he told boldly told her “Men don’t like that. You need to do your hair. Paint your nails. Put on some make-up.  ”

Now had any other person in the church told this story, I might have shouted in agreement. A woman should always look clean and well put together. But in this case, at this time, from this person, my only thought was “Sir, you are no prize yourself.”

To be perfectly clear, I have little issue with what the man said. The problem for me is how he said it, and the fact that he felt it was ok to retell it. Whatever happened to speaking the truth in love? Why does everything have to be a rebuke? Why the heck do you think I’m going to say “amen” to this foolishness? You don’t understand what that woman has going on in her life, and chances are, you don’t want to because making rash statements as the ones you made validates your masculinity. *coughs “lame”*

Every woman wants to look and feel beautiful. I’m no different.

There’s a woman deep inside of me that longs to have every hair in place from sun up to sun down. She wants to apply her mascara confidently, knowing that it won’t spread under her eyes and leave her looking like a sleepy raccoon by noon. She longs to smell like her $90 bottle of perfume until the time she takes her evening bath with oils of frankincense and myrrh. There’s a woman in me that wants to have her nails perpetually sparkling with OPI’s Hawaiian Orchid. She even hopes to wear light silky panties that are invisible beneath her slacks and curvy mom jeans.

That woman can dream.

But this woman– she’s cooking and cleaning, wiping boogers, scrubbing tubs, baking cookies, and fighting battles. If a chip in my nail polish indicates a lack of womanliness, I’m certain you haven’t looked deep enough. Take your shallow, non-discerning behind elsewhere. (Having said that, chipped polish is worse than no polish at all, so I seldom wear any at all.)

And if my panty lines (believe me, they drive me nuts too) aren’t as enticing as the jiggle that only reveals itself with meager undergarments, I have one thing to say to you. “EYES UP, MISTER!” These hindparts need medium to full coverage because I’m more than blessed– if you catch my drift.

Bottom line, ladies and gents… A woman or man should look good, but don’t let the superficial block you from seeing the true nature of that person. Before you know it, some fella is going to scoop that lady up, pay for my hair appointments and mani-pedis, and hire a maid to do all her cleaning just so she doesn’t chip my polish while a superficial suitor will end up with an attractive mate who is less than interested in meeting his or her needs.

I don’t need to preach any further, do I? Good, because I’m out of breath. *wipes sweat from brow & drops white hanky*

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Image source:  towardsthesunset via Compfight

Being Smart, Uncategorized

I was looking for a piece of paper with some illegible scribble. That was the only sign in my mind that my dishwasher was fixed. Everyday that I came home and found no paper I became more and more despondent about having to wash dishes by hand.

I had become fond of the paper. The one time I could decipher the scribble, it read “I fisc the hole.”

Fisc? Ok, sir. Thank you ever so much. Now can you fisc my dishwasher? I know you said the part had to be shipped, but it’s been over a week now. And I NEED that paper? I will have conquered another item on my list once I get that paper.

So for seven days I trudged into the house, glanced at the mess on the dining room table… no paper… no fisc-ing. By day eight, I had resolved to call the rental office to remind them of my suffering. How dare they leave me without my modern day convenience? Yep. I came in the house, saw no paper, and planned to make the call. I glanced in the kitchen and thought “Boy, it looks different in there” then headed to my room to get a power nap before homework and dinner.

At 5:30 someone banged on the door and the kids shouted that the maintenance man needed to speak with me.

“Do it work alriiight, ma’am?”

“Work? Does what work?”

“The dishwasher, ma’am. I fisc it today. You no knooow?”

I felt like a fool. How could I not notice the paper I had been looking for for days? I ran into the kitchen, again admiring its cleanliness. To my surprise, my dishwasher was running perfectly with all the kids’ dishes from breakfast, my KitchenAid mixing bowls, silverware, and God knows whatever else was floating around the sink.

He followed me into the kitchen and watched as I discovered his gift of kindness. I hugged him and thanked him profusely for his kindness. And then I asked…

“But where’s the paper?”

“No paper dis time. I just come and do it for you.”

I gushed… half from embarrassment and half from… well, no. All embarrassment. All those dishes. All that mess. And I didn’t even notice the mighty gift that was offered to me because I was looking for a sign.

A foolish and perverse generation seeks after a sign… (Matthew 16:4)

That’s what the Holy Spirit spoke to me. That’s the same thing Jesus said to the Pharisees and Sadducees when they asked him to do a magic trick to make them believe.

Let us not be so wicked in our hearts that we look for the sign rather than trusting in the goodness and faithfulness of the Father. 

Selah.

 

Being Smart, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

Lower Than Parallel

I thought this was a joke. Who would ever in their right mind think to squat lower than parallel especially with weights on his or her back? I didn’t mind doing it at home when the trainer made me. He’d chant “lower, lower, loooooower” until my rear nearly touched my heels. Whatever. I was only squatting my body weight, so it was feasible. But in the gym with seventy additional pounds on me? Nah. Wasn’t going to happen.

I scavenged the workout sites, myth pages, blogs, etc. They all said the same thing. To restore the former glory of my thighs, I had to squat lower than parallel. In-freaking-sane. I chugged my water and mentally prepared myself for the challenge ahead. Off to the gym I went with a protein mix in hand to help me recover from the damage I was about to do to my hein poss (that’s “hind parts” for you infrequent readers).

I went hard. One hundred pounds on the leg press… five sets of 12. Another one hundred on the abductor and adductor machines. Sixty reps each down for the count. Leg extensions… not too many pounds and minimal sets and reps. They hurt.  On I mosied to the back extensions… long as my muscles loved me. One hundred twenty pounds was too easy.  I thought about upping the weight but didn’t want to get cocky, so I played it cool. Then I knocked out some lower than parallel squats at 70 pounds. They hurt… dropped the weight to 60. Finished. I was still feeling good.

Really I was feeling great. I figured if I had to down a nasty protein shake I better give my body a reason to need it. I took my highfalutin heiny on over to the Freemotion Hammie machine. I had been eyeing it for a while and felt it call unto me like a pint of Graeter’s Mint Chocolate Chip. I set the weight to 15 pounds, secured my right foot and squeaked out 5 reps. Repeated on the left side. Turned. Took a step. Cheeks locked up ass-aptually.

Out of stride and with awkward motion I stepped right and left in tiny gaits to minimize the pain. The children saw me coming to pick them up and waved for me to hurry. I had to stop in shame and hang my head. A little baby tear streamed down my cheek but mixed in with the sweat. No one could know how badly I was hurting. One of the workers opened the door for me at which point I sat my locked up hein poss on the cool floor and rolled it around in agony. Poor Brandon was mortified.

I’m not easily embarrassed, but I felt sorry for my kiddo. Not nearly as sorry as I felt for my hot achy muscles, but I tried not to cry aloud for his sake. The child care worker ran to the front desk to grab me a singular ice pack. I guess she didn’t realize I have two cheeks like most human beings. I slid the ice pack down into my pants, chomped on a banana, and enjoyed the relief. Before leaving I requested another ice pack, and away I went with my two babies and two large ice packs tucked safely away in my drawers. I really gave the fellas a show.

You guys know I have a gift for turning my foolishness into a lesson. Here goes… in 100 words or fewer!

[quote]First, don’t do heavy weights on fasting days. Heh. I should’ve known better.

Second, if you want to see any real change in your areas of weakness you have to go lower than parallel… proverbially speaking of course. You have to dig deeper. Go past the point that seems to make the most sense. Cast aside the status quo. It may hurt immediately. It may hurt later. But when you’re finished, stop what you’re doing and rest. Rests some more, then reflect. Then do it all over again.[/quote]

You’ll be happy to know that my cheeks have fully recovered and are, in fact, rounding out to my satisfaction. I’ll be back in the gym Saturday after eating a few properly balanced meals at which point I will avoid like the plague that dang Freemotion Hammie machine. Choose ye this day which battles to fight!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your thick fiit thighs (if that’s your sort of thing),

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Creative Commons License Helga Weber via Compfight

Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

Long before any of us have became involved in sexual sin, we battled unawares with incubus (male) and succubus (female) spirits. They come in the night to seduce us into impure dreams that we may eventually act upon on our own accord. What’s even more shocking is those who have remained sexually pure battle with terrors in the night as well. Even young children… YES… are tormented by these evil spirits because of generational curses or open doors in the home (i.e. pornography, fornication, adultery, sexual abuse, even strife, etc.). Wouldn’t you know that one of today’s most popular rap artists has on his album covered a forked-tongue succubus at the feet of his sacrilegious self-portrayal as Jesus? Heaven, HELP!

The devil’s tactics, age old as they may be, are simple. He wants you to forget that you are loved by God and one way he does this is by making us feel guilty, dirty, and ashamed. Sin and sickness often disconnects us from our faith, but what if we haven’t overtly sinned. How, then, can the enemy gain power over us? Preachers won’t talk about this. Alas, I have been commissioned.

Still not quite sure what I’m talking about? Let me share a dream-vision I had about a friend.

*inserts wavy vision and harp sounds*

He and I were discussing the possibility of a more serious relationship over video chat when I stepped clean through my laptop screen and into his bedroom. I was in two places at once… chatting with him and observing HIS surroundings. I felt the need to move forward and as I stepped into his bedroom my hair stood on end as I discerned an evil presence. In his bed was a gorgeous woman with smooth brown skin and long, silky hair. I was ticked. Why would he bother me about a relationship if our friendship was perfectly fine AND he had a boo? As I turned to leave the room, she opened her mouth and spoke the vilest, cruelest words to me through her razored teeth and over the forked tongue. This negro had a succubus in his bed.

Not long thereafter, in real life now, he began to publicly express that his pillow was talking dirty to him. Lord. Have. Mercy.

I battled with the incubus spirit regularly in childhood, teen years, and young adulthood. My last serious bout was maybe three years ago when I was seeing a fella that I just knew would be my hubby. He and I weren’t active in the sense that we went all the way, but we did enough foolishness to create a soul tie. After our break up I had a very strong sexual dream in which my body was experiencing the act all the way through orgasm. I felt horrible and ashamed the next morning, and so sick that I came out of the shame to ask someone to pray for me. Deliverance came quickly.

Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine tweeted that she felt horrible about a dream she had. I knew the Lord was leading me to pray with her, but my spirit man needed to be filled with His presence first. As I slept the Lord showed me exactly how and what to pray. I called her on the phone and said and did exactly what the Lord showed me, and as we prayed I felt fire cover me. Immediately the power of shame and rejection broke, and we both experienced the joy and peace of the Lord. This thing is real, folks.

I’m going to keep this as light as possible, but there ARE evil spirits who sexually violate us in the night. Here’s how they get in.

  • Through the power of suggestion – They seduce you with thoughts and images in your mind first. It can go on from there to pornography, masturbation, fornication, etc. If you’re battling in your mind, it’s IMPERATIVE to read and meditate on the Word DAILY!  The enemy is never satisfied with your first step into sin. His goal is to keep you going further into it until he has your soul completely gripped in darkness. Resist the devil at the entry point. He has to flee! 
  • Transference from another person – If you’ve been around some McNasties at work, some of that crap might have rubbed off. When I taught high school students, some days I’d go home with their crap burdening my soul. I’d have to pray it out and recognize it was  a trick from the enemy to make me feel as if I’d sinned.  I believe this can only happen if we are not wearing our  Ephesians 6 armor. So yeah… the Word again.
  • Through rejection – Often times when relationships end we feel rejected and dejected PARTICULARLY if soul ties were formed. The incubus/succubus spirits will come almost immediately to feed off that rejection and impregnate you with seeds of lust. My big brother and mentor in Christ explained to me that these three spirits (rejection, incubus/succubus/lust) work together to defile a believer. How to avoid this… Guard your heart diligently in relationships and forgive quickly. Bind and cast out the spirit of rejection (the strongman), and then the subsequent spirits.

If you’re having sexual dreams and you feel as if the act has actually taken place, then something is wrong!!! It’s not natural. It’s not okay. It’s rape. We understand that the body will go through hormonal changes, but be mindful that the devil deals in  hormones and thoughts. Sanctify your mind and your senses so you can properly discern a bodily function from a spirit’s abuse.

But IF this is happening to you a door has been opened and it needs to be closed immediately. You may have sinned, or you may be involved with someone who lives sinfully. Or you may be involved with someone who’s being unfaithful, and the spirit is manifesting itself in your home. You may have a spouse or a family member who moans and rocks in their sleep as if they were in the act because of previous abuse or generational curses. THIS IS NOT FROM GOD! We must war against this darkness, not in fear, but in faith and in Jesus Christ’s name. God wants us to be free from all guilt, shame, and abuse that comes from these spirits.

I won’t go into all the implications of ignoring or allowing these violations to continue as though they’re acceptable, but I will say this… Evil spirits are VERY possessive and will not easily let go if you allow them to stay. They also like to bring their buddies along. Remember the man in the Bible who had 12,000 demons (Legion) living inside of him. His problem started with one.

Just so you don’t miss my point, to maintain your freedom from these dark seducing spirits, we MUST:

  • Seek deliverance and healing from past sexual experiences including any fornication, masturbation, molestation, incest, sodomy, etc.
  • Put away pornography, fantasies, and masturbation.
  • Remove any sources of temptation including data plans on your cell phone if you must.
  • STOP abusing others for your own physical desire.
  • Turn off any form of entertainment that glorifies sexual sin and perversion. We are inundated with images and sounds that invite the enemy into our beds and bodies. Shut it off and keep your soul!
  • Cease communication with those who welcome these spirits into their lives through continuing sexual sin, especially those who call themselves Christians. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
  • Repent from all sexual sin and renounce all generational sins. This thing will attack your children if you allow it. Close the door NOW!

I’ve included a few resources below that can help you find freedom from incubus/succubus spirits or what some churches around the world call spirit wives/husbands. Ain’t that something right there?

 

A Youtube video of a teaching on incubus/succubus spirits: http://youtu.be/GHl4LXAYPww

A prayer of repentance and renunciation: Deliverance from Spirit Husbands and Wives

Audio teaching: Understanding Seducing Spirits

 

As always, your comments and questions are welcomed. Because of the particularly personal nature of this topic, emails are welcomed as well. You can contact me at consideringthelily@gmail.com. If the Lord leads, I will pray with you.

One final request, at least 3 people you know are struggling with this matter. Please pass this post on to help them find deliverance.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

A Sh*tty Situation: Wedding Night Story

 

Beads of sweat formed on my lips and brow. My body quaked with pain as I tried to control the impending sounds of embarrassment. Oh, dear God! What did I eat? My stomach churned and gurgled. I arched my feet and pressed my toes hard against the bathroom tiles in hopes to minimize the pain. The baby flipped and kicked me in the lungs knocking the wind out of me. Oh, Lord! Help me not make a fool of myself. It’s not supposed to happen like this. My bowels shifted and dropped, and though I felt relief, I was mortified.

It was my wedding night.

Earlier in the day he had asked me if I could go away with him on a business trip. I knew my mother would refuse. Even though I was of age, I didn’t want to shame her anymore than I already had. I was great with child and fresh out of college. He and I wanted to marry, but my mother asked us to wait. One of us was willing, but the other wasn’t. We switched roles depending on the day.

So Mom gave in on the advice of a friend. “You never keep love apart,” she said. “If they love each other, let them marry” she said. Oh the woes of well-intentioned, uninformed advice! So off we ran to the courthouse to sign a marriage license. While there we found business cards for justices of the peace who could perform the ceremony and within two hours found a gentleman who was willing to oblige. We took our hasty selves down to the local mall, ordered a pair of wedding bands, purchased nice outfits, and drove back to my mother’s house to get dressed.

I found this lovely Chinese collar silk blouse and skirt set. I was never much of a fan of red, but the size 10 skirt fit nicely under my rounding belly. Chinese brides wore red, so why shouldn’t I? It was a sign. This was meant to be. He found a basic white sweater and black slacks, and off we went on a cold February afternoon to our 10-minute ceremony. I was certain he loved me. I was certain that the tear he cried would ensure me and my baby a secure future. I made my vows and meant every one. We paid and thanked the gentleman for his services and off we went on his business trip. Our first night together as Mr. and Mrs. in a small hotel… cheap dinner… no chance in heck at a honeymoon… was divine in every other sense. I didn’t mind what we didn’t have. I didn’t mind because our love was official. I had papers and a ring being made to prove it.

So after our consummation (if that even means anything considering we had so much practice beforehand), my guts began to stir. I. Was. Sick. And I sat on that toilet for a good part of the evening. I showered in shame and cheap hotel soap and climbed my bare, pregnant self into bed to sleep. Good wives don’t do that sort of thing.

The next morning his phone rang with a cheery chick voice on the other end. I ain’t like that heifer. I knew she wasn’t to be trusted. He shared the news and her high-pitched “oh-that’s-so-nice-congratulations” muffled past his ears to mine. It was phony. I knew because immediately after she cheered she began whispering again. I ascertained the following…

He hadn’t told his boys. He hadn’t even told his father.

Sh*t.

 

Photo credit: Gerard Stolk via Compfight

 

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Case for Courtship

Had to be the summer of ’93… I was eleven years old and promptly budding all over with my big ol’ glasses and bigger gapped teeth. The boys in my neighborhood were starting puberty too, so while they were finally aware that girls didn’t have cooties, they still threw rocks and vile words at us whenever we walked by. I forget her name, but she’s my cousin’s cousin, and she lived in a bright teal green house one block  south from where I lived. This house was so darn fluorescent, you’d have to look at the ground  until you made it to the porch. I’m sure by now the chemicals in that paint have turned the house into a primordial soup. Ain’t no way it’s still standing.

On one particular day– let’s call her Tia– we ran to Tia’s house because the boys were launching rocks and water balloons at us. We sat in the sweltering sunroom and chatted about the usual eleven-year old topics. Then the phone rang. Tia froze and a look of trepidation crossed her face. Tia’s granny answered the call and all I heard was “Who is this? You calling for who? What you wanna talk to her for? Tia ain’t coatin’ no boys!” And she slammed the phone.

My heart started racing. Tia… age ten… got a phone call…. from a boy. And Tia’s grandma answer the phone. Ultimate fail, Tia. Granny stormed into the sun room and went off! She kept shouting over and over…

TIA, YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS! YA HEAR ME?! YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS!

Granny then proceeded to beat Tia’s hein poss (that’s hind parts in Granny speak) mercilessly while Tia retorted that the phone call was for homework. Granny wasn’t buying it, and since I was in the line of fire I ran home past the rock-throwing boys and past Tia’s wails and past Granny’s shouts because, yes, I could hear them up the block. Tia won’t coatin’ no boys.

I had to be all of 26 and married with two kids before I figured out what the heck coatin’ was, and even then, I only learned that the word was courting. After several failed attempts at coatin’ and “there-has-to-be-a-better way” cathartic cries, I get it! At least I think I get what it’s supposed to be in comparison to dating. Let’s give these meager bones some flesh, shall we?

In courtship, commitment precedes intimacy. That means before you start having those deep conversations about past hurts and future hopes and dreams, a decision has been made between the two parties to only develop a relationship with each other and Christ. In this way the couple can determine the purpose and timing for the marriage as God ordained. Why so much so soon? Because you only court a person that you would marry based on what God has shown you. Ideally, God will have already given the holy head nod for you to proceed into a courtship, but two people who are equally yoked and interested in each other may choose to enter a courtship with Godly counsel. Still a courtship is only as good as the people who are in it. Having said that, the standard is high and most bottom-dwellers won’t even pretend to take this on because it immediately exposes who you are. Easy peas-y… we weeded out the bad and the unprepared just that fast.

I’ve conjured up a few comparisons to give you a better idea of the benefits of courtship…

While dating says “I don’t know where this is going because I can’t see into the future”
courtship says “Let’s build our future together.”

While dating says “You don’t own me” courtship says “I’m here to serve you.”

While dating uproots the blooming flower to keep and hold until it dies,
courtship leaves the flower planted and watches it bloom.

While dating says “Let’s be together forever for tonight,”
courtship says “Let’s pace and plan our interactions so we can make this thing last.”

While dating demands trust without test,
courtship provides a safe place for testing and allows trust to develop over time.

While dating says “I’m a gift to you” courtship says “You’re a gift to me.”

While dating invites you to a person’s genitals but keeps you away from their phone,
courtship assigns value correctly and appropriately.

 

Dating works for some, but for the vast majority of us, this reckless approach to relationship-building has rendered us broken-hearted and underwhelmed. Players, predators, and commitment-phobes dwell in the nether regions of dating, and that is no place for a child of God. There HAS to be a better way, and I believe courting is it. I don’t know many men who would ascribe to this method, but that tells me I need some new friends because I am certain that this is God’s path to marriage for me.

Deep in the recesses of my mind I have a mental image of a tall man wearing a fine Italian cut suit and a long wool coat. He’s got one of those 007 hats tipped over his left eye, and as he approaches me he whips off his coat, throws it over my head, and shouts “You’re mine, girl!” Yes, ladies and gentleman. This is how I imagined coatin’ as a kid. Listen… even THIS is better than dating for me. If you wanna toss your coat over my head just make sure it smells good, and you put some bass in your voice.

My last plea for courtship….

Imagine how much easier it would be to open up if you knew that person was only interested in and committed to you. Imagine how freeing it would be to know that the purpose of your relationship was to seek God’s plan for you as a couple rather than to “just see what happens.” Imagine what it’s like to walk a path that’s already been laid out for you with red carpet. Imagine what it’s like to part ways with someone but still have full respect for them because they treated you with the utmost Christlike love and respect.

Come throw your coat on me, Boo.  Alana is ready for coatin’.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Audringje via Compfight

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

I can’t believe that actually worked! I know the title is TERRIBLY questionable, but I’ll reduce myself to cheap ploys to get you read this because it’s relevant and true for ALL Christian singles. The decision to marry (and whom to marry) is the second-most life impacting decision a believer will ever make. Serving Christ, of course, is first. If you don’t know Jesus then get to know Him because marrying won’t matter if you’re going to spend eternity in hellfire anyway.

Before I jump into my points, I’d like to say that I DO want to be happily married, and I believe it will happen for me soon. I refuse to become preoccupied with I’m working overtime to maintain a Godly perspective on this thing so I don’t lose my everloving mind when my mister shows up. Everything written below is based in Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7.

Here’s why singles shouldn’t be so eager to marry.

Marriage is designed to make you holy. Happiness is a bonus.

I blame Disney for making us women think we’re was supposed to walk on rose petals and be lifted into the Heavens every day of our married lives. Good Christian men are being abused because women are demanding they comply with our girlish fantasies. Women are suffering because Christian men believe they’re rare and entitled to do as they please. If you find yourself with one of these types, RUN! They’re not prepared to serve in marriage, and you’ll do all the hard work.  Just speaking from personal experience though… take it or leave it.

Marriage is temporal, but has eternal implications. 

We spend a good portion of our adult lives seeking to validate ourselves through relationships HOPING to get married when we really should be focusing on eternal things. Colossians 3:2 says that we should keep our eyes on things above, and marriage ain’t up there. Furthermore who you choose to marry will get you closer to Heaven or keep you further away from it. You cannot join yourself to someone who does not honor Christ in their singleness and think your salvation will be easily maintained. So if you make the temporal decision to marry, make it with eternity in mind.

 

The only real purpose for marriage is because it’s in God’s will for you.

It’s not just because you want to have sex, or to have more money, or for him to take out the trash, or for her  to cook your dinner. Marriage stems out of purpose and calling, not purpose and calling out of marriage. Some of us are still single because we think we need that ONE to start a business. The only ONE you need is the Lord. I will say this regarding the need for marriage… if you have a strong desire for sex and have difficulty controlling it, I– I mean, you– might need to get married. Don’t let your loins be your guide. BE CELIBATE! But every so often look up to the Heavens and remind the Lord that He gave you those desires, so He’s gonna have to help you out in the marriage department. If you can control those passions, there’s nothing wrong with marrying, but the better life for you will be to remain single. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 7.

Once married you are bound to the other person’s needs and desires.

But at least you get sanctified sex, right? Dr. Tony Evans says this: “Marriage is slavery with sex. Singleness is celibacy with freedom.” If your selfish behind thinks you can marry for some sex but don’t think you’ll have to die to self a few times before you even get to the bed… HMPH. Thinking that marriage will make your life better is a trap. If you choose a God-fearing person it MIGHT make your life better, but never put your faith in people. Trust God. Even the strongest Christian will disappoint you sometimes. We’re human!

Marriage adds trouble to your life. 

I swear I’m not making this up. Satan has an agenda against Christian marriages, and he will come after yours. That’s not a reason to not get married, but we must understand that troubles come with the benefits. If you don’t believe me, call up one of your married friends. Don’t ask them outright what marriage is like. Just listen to them talk. It will spill. If your friends are anything like mine, it’ll gush out, make your skin crawl, and you’ll run home to your empty bed and embrace your pillows like the blessings they really are. Might I also add that serving the Lord is about a thousand times easier than serving a person? Selah.

 

I hope that you have a more BIBLICAL perspective on this matter of (in)significance. Bottom line, folks… Marriage is incredibly important if it’s in God’s plan for you but amounts to a hill of beans if it isn’t. As long as you seek Him first, you will fulfill your purpose and you will be satisfied in your soul.

To sum up, being single in Christ has benefits over being married in Christ. Don’t spend your singleness thinking about, worrying about, talking about, tweeting about marriage. Someone interested might be watching and be scared away by your compulsion. I’d also like to add that folks who put you down because you’re single only do so because they seek validation through romantic relationships. Let one little thing go wrong in their world, and they’ll crumble like silly putty left in the hot summer sun. Marriage is not a step up spiritually. It’s a lateral move assuming you were walking with the Lord beforehand. In most cases, people fall behind spiritually when they get married because they were not rooted in Christ beforehand. Don’t let folks and their foolishness make you feel that you’re less than what God called you to be.

Welp. There’s nothing left to see here. I swept up all the mess I made with that title. As always, questions and comments are welcomed in the space below.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your  future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Implications of Impure Christian Living

I can write volumes on this topic because only recently, after so many years of walking with the Lord, I can see where I lost ground in nearly every aspect of life. This, however, is not a pity post. This is a precautionary “you-might-be-living-foul-too-time-to get-it-right-or-else” post.

Let’s be clear. The enemy wants nothing more than to utterly destroy your life. For some of us, he’ll do so by catastrophic events. But most of us, he’ll dupe into a lackadaisical, que sera sera approach to kingdom living.  We’ll pat ourselves on the back for following rudiments that make us feel good, but won’t tap into the grace that God provides to make and keep us righteous.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart!
Psalm 24:3-4

 

Living an impure life amounts to more than just sexual affairs. It includes self-gratification, ungodly fantasies, emotional romances, manipulating and deceiving folks into being with you… need I go on? Anything that separates you from the presence of the Lord will  cause the following issues in your life if you don’t repent. We don’t eeem need to talk about hell fire here.

Impure living hinders or delays your opportunity to marry. 

Would you give a car to your child if they kept wrecking their bike? No? Then why should our Heavenly Father give us such a precious gift as one of His own when we we do not obey Him with our own bodies? Marriage is not “satisfaction guaranteed.” It’s an institution by which God makes us more like Him. This point stings a bit, but for every time I disobeyed, I believe I got sent to the back of the waiting line. No shame here… I’m in gooood company.

Impure living prevents you from maturing emotionally and spiritually.

The mark of a mature person is their ability to delay gratification. We walk around in our 30-something bodies acting like 5-year olds. You don’t need sex to live. You don’t need to touch yourself to relieve the pressure. Struggle. Suffer. Go without. Save your soul at the expense of your temporary body!

Many times men don’t “feel” the pain from the aftermath the way women do, but the Bible clearly speaks to the impact that it has. Proverbs 31:3 says “Do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.” Any woman that you sleep with that is not your wife has the power to RUIN you. Ask Tiger. And Kobe. And Mr. Clinton. Chances are, sir, you don’t have their money so just imagine the damage that  can be done. Sit on that for a minute. No… seriously. Meditate. On. That.

Likewise, ladies, I believe these encounters cause us to lose a little bit of our glory. After the last time I fell flat on my face I quickly repented. That night I had a dream that a dirty, old man chopped off a small length of my hair. What God was saying to me was that because I had sinned in this way I lost a little of the spiritual energy and glory that He’d given me. Can I get it back? Of course! But the cost is waayyyy too high for such an unfulfilling act.

Impure living shuts the windows of Heaven.

Tithe all you want, but God will not bless a disobedient child. His desire is not for you to have the best job, home, car, clothes, etc., at the risk of your soul. He requires obedience and rewards us with His favor, and then the blessings pour in. You can be super smart, super attractive, fashionable, and financially stable but without the blessing of the Lord, you will continue to be dissatisfied in your soul. God will withhold His blessings, and He will isolate you to get you back in line.

“It was good for me that I was afflicted so I might learn your decrees.”

Psalm 119: 71

Impure living blinds us to the enemy’s tactics.

Because I wasn’t living a holy lifestyle I married the wrong person. It was virtually impossible for me to make the right choice because I was so blinded by lust and sin. You CANNOT discern and hear the voice of the Lord when your heart is full of everything but Him. That marriage cost me years of heartache and turmoil and nearly sent me to hell. But God is gracious! He delivered me in every sense of the word. You don’t know what struggle is waiting for you on the other side of that bed. And once we’re in trouble, we run to God but the sin we were in damaged our faith. If you’re in this situation, trust Him anyhow. He can and will deliver you if you’re willing to submit to His will for your life.

Impure living creates permanent bonds to people that we have no business being connected to.

The original purpose for sex is designed to permanently connect you to another person. I won’t get into all the technical issues about the image of God and man/woman/etc. but I will say this… Having sex with someone is, in essence, marrying them. No matter what your mind says, what you agree upon, what your intentions are, you are making a promise to their body and soul to be unified until the parting of death. So how many people are you married to? Without the blood of Jesus and times of fasting and prayer we cannot be victorious in the breaking of these soul ties. I also believe we pick up each others’ internal struggles, i.e. devils. I’ve found myself grappling with things that were never a problem for me before I met and got involved with a certain person. I not only had to battle my issues but his as well and drive those devils out of my life. It’s just not worth the trouble.

My hope is that you not only take away the importance of celibacy (we get that in church allll the time), but also the importance of living a clean life all the way around. Even if we aren’t shacking up and putting it down, the pornography, masturbation, and emotional affairs still make us impure in the sight of the Lord.

It’s not how far you can go without sinning, but how far you can stay away.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for a pure and blessed future for you and me both,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Akiko Photography