Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Thirsting

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She was a Samaritan.

She was promiscuous.

She was churchy.

 

This poor woman has been lambasted in pulpits everywhere. She is considered to be nothing more than a loose and undignified woman, yet we overlook the most vital elements of the story.

 

She was thirsty.

 

And all of us are thirsty for something.

 

It’s a fact that humans can live for weeks without food, but only three to five days without water. How much more will spiritual thirst drive us to seek relief from these so-called “tall drinks of water”?

 

I won’t go as far to say that I admire the Samaritan woman, but I do understand her. Five times married. Sixth man shacking up… She hoped in love, couldn’t find it, yet kept on trying.

 

I’ve been there. Well, only married once… But countless times I’ve sought for love.

 

Back at the well, a place where only single and unattached women were to be found, she met Jesus. Think back to when Abraham’s servant sought a wife for Isaac… where did he go? To the well, and there he found Rebekah. Where did Jacob first see Rachel? Again, at the well. Where do you go when you want some attention at work? To the proverbial water cooler…

 

So why would a woman who lived with a man be at the well if she was already “involved”?

 

For the same reason many of us run to the club. Or wear revealing clothing.  Or take new photos for Facebook and Instagram everyday. Or lay ourselves down in hopes that he or she will love us. Or tell someone we love them knowing we do not.

 

Many of us are unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and disappointed. We’re thirsty.

 

We have a deep desire to be loved and deeply cherished, not just “chose”. (Chose is twitter terminology for being good enough to be picked by someone to be in a relationship yet the term does not communicate anything about the quality of the relationship. It simply means you’ve got somebody which, to me, means very little.)

 

And here comes Jesus, with his smooth line…

 

“If you knew who is speaking to you right now, you’d ask me to give you water. And if you ask me, I’ll give it you and you’ll never thirst again.”

 

In hood vernacular, “You ain’t never met nobody like Me.”

 

Every time I read that line I smirk. Say what you want about my Lord, but He knows how to talk to a woman.  You can’t tell me that sister from Samaria didn’t melt. No wonder she had to come up with all that crap about where and how to worship. She was nervous!

 

But back to the story. Place yourself at that well for just a moment. Look deep down and consider whether the thing you’re desiring is at the bottom. You already know what’s there. You’ve been drinking from it for how long?

 

Now look at the bucket. Can such a small vessel possibly hold the fullness of what you desire? Certainly not!

 

Now turn your eyes to Jesus… He is the seventh man in the story. He is offering exactly what you need. He will fill YOU so that you need not come back to the well for something that temporarily satisfies! He will fill complete you, perfect you, and mature you so that you can help someone else.

 

I must leave the well. Single and unattached, I may be but there’s nothing at the well for me.

 

Your well may not be the same as mine. But consider… the lilies… and your secret longings. God is faithful to give you those desires, but not until we have turned to Him and allowed ourselves to be filled by His love and grace.

 

With sincerity, love, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

Scripture references: John 4, Genesis 24, Genesis 29

Photo by Kashif Mardani from Flickr

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: What You Won’t Do

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I grew up thinking men were the only people to ever do wrong in a relationship. By the time I was 25, I was fully convinced that men were incapable of loving a woman the way that a woman loved a man. I thought that men only felt a little something, maybe admiration, but nothing substantial or lasting.  I thought that those who were married were destined to cheat, leave or stay and cause unhappiness. I thought the only men who did right by their wives were those who were weak or motivated  by fear.

What a cock-eyed way to view the world… But don’t judge me. You’ve got some cock-eyed ways too. Nevertheless I can’t help you get the spot out of your eye with the beam in my own.

But that was my experience. My experience now isn’t totally different, but I definitely don’t think this of menfolk any longer.

After developing some genuine friendships with good men, I’ve come to learn that women also do HORRIBLE things to the men that love them. These stories, in some ways, were more shocking to me than the usual “girl-he-cheated-and-had-a-baby-by-another-woman” story. So at this point, I feel compelled to write to the ladies regarding what a submissive woman won’t do to her husband, or any man that she cares about.

Before I begin the customary list (if it ain’t broke…), I will say this. As women we have overcome tremendous challenges, and many of us are doing great things. We’re making six figures, running corporations, caring for babies, building businesses and ministries… We. Do. It. All. So as empowered as we are, why can’t we say and do as we please? Well, you want to keep your man, don’t you? Don’t you want him to be happy with the relationship? Or would you run him to the arms of another?

I know you answered “no” to that last question, because you’re still reading. These, ladies, are the things we must stop doing to our men… with a little anecdotal evidence of course.

  1. Harboring unforgiveness and anger in your heart. We are all guilty of this in some way. Any time two lives are shared with any degree of intimacy, feelings will become hurt. But just he as makes mistakes, you will make them also. An old wise man once said “Keep a short account with God and man. Quickly repent. Quickly forgive.” Holding on to unforgiveness will cause you to become bitter and resentful, and anger will eventually be displayed through one of the following actions and sickness in your body. Forgiveness TRULY is not about letting the other person off the hook. It is about keeping your eyes on the cross and allowing God to move you forward regardless of their actions. Forgiving is not easy, but it is simple. It starts by making a choice. I shall blog about this more at another time.
  2. Talking down to him. Even if a brotha needs a rebuke or to be tightened up a little there’s a way to do. Never attack his masculinity or refer to him as a child to make your point. You might address character flaws, but let a man have his pride. If you take that away, he is bound to get it elsewhere. And if you know the devil like I do, he’s already got the right one lined up to step in… If you’ve got a sharp tongue, ask the Lord to bridle it and deal with your heart issues. Over time you will be able to speak the truth in love. Until that happens, it’s best you keep quiet.
  3. Doing the opposite of what you’ve agreed to do. I’ve been on the business end of this, and it’s no fun. If we agree that we won’t visit the homes of our single friends without each other, then don’t do it. Your story as to why you thought I’d be ok with it is irrelevant. Every relationship has boundaries. Boundaries are good, healthy, beneficial. If you and your boo have agreed to do (or not do) certain things then ABIDE by it! If you’re calculating what you can get away with or predetermining what the “punishment” will be, then you’re immature and are unlikely to maintain a healthy marriage. A double-minded woman is unstable in all her ways. .
  4. Being selfish and ungrateful. I’ll admit. This is common among women. We’re programmed with the “take-care-of-me” gene and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if we love the man, and not what he has, then we must live within the means provided. A quick fix for ungratefulness is thankfulness. When my children start to complain, I have to shift their thinking. As we go through our day I ask them to think about the things they’re thankful for and yell them out. So wherever they are… grocery store, park, car, at home… they’re forced to think through a different filter. And there’s power in the spoken word. When you hear yourself say what you’re thankful for, a heart change begins to take place. So start saying “thank you” to the Lord aloud, and then to your husband. ‘Thank you” is truly something you can’t say too often.
  5. Denying him. I don’t understand why married women are still doing this. Unless he’s abusive, cheating, or degrading to you, it’s your duty to pop that… let me chill. If you’re smart about it, you can win an unwieldy man with your womanly charms. If he has a tendency to look at other women, then show him WHY his eyes should only be on you. Outside of sex, I think it’s important that a woman also meets the other needs of a man. For example, if he needs an ego stroke… “Oh, sweetie, your arms are so strong. Teehee!”… then DO IT!!! Get over yourself, and do it!! If he needs a hot meal, don’t hand the man a sandwich. You’ll quickly drive him home to mama for a meal and to the computer for a quick sexual fix. And while we’re on the topic of sex, BE FAITHFUL!!
  6. Talking bad about him to others. We all need to vent, but daaaannngggg! Some of ya’ll are telling so much I’m contemplating whether I ever want to get married again. Some of the stuff that happens in relationships needs to stay there. Other things you may want to discuss with a close friend, but be sure it’s someone who won’t judge you or tell your business. But I was bad about this, and I’ve learned. And the scriptures tell us that the power of life and death is in the tongue.  A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. You shall have what you say.
  7. Usurping his authority. We’ve all heard the sermon. God took woman out of man’s side to be his equal. But the concept of submission is that one must come under the other so that order can be established. You, woman, have been appointed the submittee… There is no shame in this role when you realize that you had to be equal to (or in some cases above) to be placed under him. So know who you are, and recognize who he is. Taking away your husband’s authority is the worst thing you can do to your family. Love, honor, and obey. Don’t talk about him or argue with him in front of the children. If he’s wrong (and they can be wrong about a lot of things), address it privately. Your children won’t remember the one time daddy made a mistake, but they will remember that you called him on it and added a few nasty names to it as well. Yikes… how often we forget to be kind to those closest to us. By the way… your pastor is not the priest of your home. Your mister is…

 

I sincerely hope the menfolk feel vindicated at this point. I don’t think one would argue that they are proud of our accomplishments, yet many wish their wives would come home and be just that. One more submission post may be in me, but we shall see. I have so much to share! And I pray you enjoyed reading…

 

If this post has incited you in any way, please comment below or send me and email for more personal items. Also… if I haven’t asked enough… please join my email list or subscribe to the RSS feed. I’d hate for you to miss any of the good stuff I’m going to write. And… oh…it’s juicy!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

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By Richard ‘Tenspeed’ Heaven

Being Saved, Family, Guest Posts, Uncategorized

Overcoming Loneliness by Demontae Edmonds

Blessing us this week is my beloved cousin, Demontae Edmonds. Demontae shares several mini-sermons via Facebook and email during a week’s time, so I decided (with his permission) to pass this post along because it is so relevant to the CTL mission. I pray this post blesses you. And as always, comments are welcome and wanted!!!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/d.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Apostle Demontae Edmonds www.freeinva.com[/author_info] [/author]

 

Last night while in prayer God impressed upon me to write on the subject of “Overcoming Loneliness.” Often we hear Sunday messages on faith, salvation, tithing but there is a legitimate issue people wrestle with called loneliness.

 

First, being alone does not necessarily mean that one is lonely. Loneliness according to the dictionary is a condition where a person is “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone.”

 

God does not want anyone to struggle with or be defeated by loneliness. Many people hate to have this feeling and place themselves prematurely in wrong relationships in an attempt to overcome these feelings. BIG MISTAKE!  Just because you are with someone in a relationship (even a marriage) does not mean that you may not still wrestle with loneliness.

 

A second definition I found for loneliness reads, “destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, or support.” Many have found out the hard way that even after marriage their spouse may fall short of their expectations. This is especially true if they married a person God has not intended for them or an immature spouse. If your spouse does not know how, try, or care about fulfilling emotional and physical needs for attention and companionship you may STILL suffer from loneliness. Even worse rejection, hurt, distrust, low self-esteem etc. may result from a broken relationship. Add these with loneliness and you have an emotional wreck.

 

To help you avoid falling into these traps and overcoming loneliness I prayed and asked God for some points to share:

 

#1 REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE    

 

Our natural mind and the enemy (Satan) often try to trick us to believe we are alone and also the only person dealing with certain situations. This is certainly not true (see 1 Kings 19:14). Proverbs 18:24 tells us, “There is a friend who sticks CLOSER than a brother.” This refers to God Himself. He is always watching us, with us, and for us. We are often unaware of this and He is the last person we focus on. The more you recognize and “in all your ways acknowledge Him” (Proverbs 3:6), He will be that much more real to you.

 

James 4:8 says, “Draw close to me and I will draw close to you.” The more time, energy, and devotion you spend toward God in the Word, prayer, and casual conversation He will draw closer to you. This means He will reveal more of how ACTUALLY close He is. This may come through dreams, visions, discerning His presence, His taking away loneliness, grief, depression, etc.

 

Both of these acts require faith. When you first begin to confess “God is a friend  that sticks closer than a brother” you may feel nothing at first. But over time “by faith” the reality of this truth will become more apparent in your life. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit as a “Comforter”. Because God created your heart and mind He is the ONLY person who has the blueprint to them. He knows exactly when and how to comfort you and re-energize you even when you allow yourself to get beat down, defeated, discouraged, or wresting with loneliness.

 

#2 DISCERN YOUR GOD-SENT RELATIONSHIPS

We are admonished to be friendly & kind to everyone but not everyone can be our friend. There are specific people appointed by God for you to be in relationship (friendship) with. You cannot get to your destiny without them, and they cannot get to theirs with you. There is a mutual dependence. God specifically chose Prince Jonathan for King David. They loved each other like brothers. God specifically chose twelve disciples to accompany Jesus. We see this throughout the Bible.

 

Many times people struggle with loneliness but neglect to trust God that there are specific people He has already hand-picked for their lives. When you pray, trust God will send these people into your lives. Very often we miss them because they may not look, talk, or think like you. They may come from very different backgrounds and have different interests but there will be common ground that will serve for a higher purpose.

In the Book of Ruth, Ruth lost her husband and had a choice to start a new life or remain with her mother-in-law. Our minds would say leave and start over, Ruth. But she chose to “cleave to Naomi” her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14). After losing a spouse or leaving a bad relationship a person is often vulnerable and sensitive. She chose to stay in friendship with someone who she had known and trusted through the years. Often there is security and comfort in familiarity. The story ends with Ruth marrying the right man at the right time, and he was gentleman and very WEALTHY! So it worked out for her.

Many miss friendships because of defensive walls that are up due to past hurts, fear of being rejected or judged, or simply they don’t know how to be a friend themselves.  Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.”  This means there are some things you need to do on your end to make and maintain friendships like not being jealous of others, not competing, showing humility, avoiding selfish actions, not being condescending, and not backbiting. Also, don’t wait on the other person to initiate friendship. You must, “show yourself friendly.”

 

#3 GET & STAY CONNECTED WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST     

 

Hebrews 10:25 commands us, “Forsake not the assembling together of yourselves.” Another version reads, “Don’t stop meeting together.”

 

What better place to make friends than a place with people with the common ground of Jesus Christ as God and that have the same belief systems? In theory anyway… lol. That is the way God ordained his earthly kingdom. Often God will use someone in the Body of Christ to comfort us or meet our needs of companionship, finances, inner or outer healing, etc. No one can grow into their full spiritual potential being disconnected from the Body of Christ.

 

#4 A GIFT FROM GOD

 

Being alone is not always negative. Often it is a gift of God. Only when we are alone can we discover our true identity. Moses discovered that He was to be deliverer of Israel from Egypt when he was ALONE on the backside of the desert and encountered the burning bush. Jesus spent 40 days ALONE in the wilderness when He begin to walk in the power of the Spirit and perform miracles. John the Baptist was “in the desert places [ALONE] until the day of his showing.”  Many others throughout history have discovered their potential, identity, strengths, weaknesses, life goals, and vision for the future while in their time of singleness or solitude. You can be alone but not be lonely. Enjoy your gift from God UNTIL……..

 

Apostle Demontae Edmonds
www.freeinva.com

 

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License Some rights reserved by Invisible Lens Photography

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: Serving Two Masters

This entry is for the married ladies and those in serious relationships. For several reasons, I’ve neglected to write about my experience as a married woman. The Bible says a poor man’s wisdom is despised, so I thought no one would want to hear how you should or shouldn’t interact with your husband from a woman who doesn’t have one anymore. There’s no shame on my end, but certainly, people have said they didn’t want my opinion because I failed at it. 


But where I may have a void in your eyes, I’ve got a wealth of experience and understanding in my own. So take it or leave it… just read it, and decide later. 🙂


Life, for me, is better on this side. And some of you ladies are married to a man with the same or similar *ahem* demeanor as my ex-husband. You need to know how to handle him whether you choose to stay with him or not.


I’ve spent some time in my singleness wondering how this love thing is supposed to go. After applying the truth to my failed experience(s), this is what I believe.

A man and woman meet and become friends. Their friendship grows and neither person expects more from the other than they ought. They’re simply getting to know each other. Because they like what they find in each other, they decide to enter an exclusive romantic relationship where they can grow together with the future possibility of being one. As the couple becomes more committed to one another, the intimacy between them increases. They protect the relationship by never allowing the intimacy to exceed the level of commitment. In doing so, the man expresses his sincere, heartfelt, “I’ll die for you” type of love for the woman in constructive ways. Once she knows his love is real, she learns how to demonstrate her love for him. The couple marries, and the woman, as her expression of love to the man, willingly submits to him. She knows she is safe, that he won’t harm her, that he will always protect her because he has already demonstrated this WITHOUT marital benefits. So if he did it then, surely he will do it now. Woman says “I can trust this man, so I will love him and submit to him.”



Hindsight is 20/20. And you’se married nah….


Looking back to your courtship may help identify where things didn’t go quite the right way, but doesn’t tell you how to fix the situation you’re already in nor does it tell you how to change the future. You’ve exchanged those til-death-do-us-part’s and you meant them. But you may often feel that submitting to him just doesn’t feel right. You know you’re supposed to let him lead, but his leadership abilities may be in question. But first, let’s chat about what submission looks like.


Or better yet, what it doesn’t. Submission is not doing everything he says, being everything he wants you to be, giving when he demands that you give, and taking whatever he demands you take. It is not compliance, nor does it force one to become a doormat. You are an adult women with your own sensibilities, personality, and goals. Submission simply means you support his mission for building a life for your family. In submitting to your mate, you gladly defer to him and support him as the leader and protector of your home. 


At the risk of writing a blog that’s entirely too long, I will make the following statements and allow you to dissect them for yourself. 

  1. He’s your husband, not God.
  2. If he doesn’t demonstrate Christlike love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay.
  3. If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.
  4. Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well.
  5. If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you.
  6. You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. (I’ve got a story for this, but I’ll save it.)
  7. If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue… it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart.
Final thought!

Churchfolk tend to get submission wrong. Don’t mind them… It’s what mama’nem were taught by some passa generations ago. Passa couldn’t read, so he had to take his passa’s word for it. But now it’s time to get these things in order. 

Submission is not the laying down of your life. It is an attitude of gratitude, a natural response, to one who has already laid down His, and his, life for you….

Selah.

And with that, I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please post, share, tweet, retweet, and email if this has helped you! I look forward to reading your comments below! Take some time to fish through my previous posts as well… I’m as nutty as I am serious. 

Happy Sunday to you all!


With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,


Alana 

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Being Saved, Uncategorized

Keeping Your Heart

To be perfectly honest I had felt disqualified to write about spiritual things even though I was commissioned to do so. Well, last week I was rebuked for NOT writing, so I must do as the Lord leads.

False teachers are springing up EVERYWHERE today. They’re on my tv, in my ear, in my family’s ear inviting us to try their wares. Try my manna bread and holy spring water. It’ll heal your body. Try my little prophet friend who can call out your credit card number. Try my miracle while I promise you miracle money just for listening to how great I am. 

While some of these ploys are obvious and meager in their attempts, others are much more pervasive and, ultimately, more dangerous. You see or hear a so-called man or woman of God and they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the son of God. So they pass the first test. And they preach the written Word. They pass the second test. The signs and wonders follow… seems to be a bonus there. But your spirit man knows. Something. Just. Ain’t. Right.

In this dark spiritual hour, we must be cognizant that demonic doctrine has slipped into the church and even some of our most respected national ministers may teach falsities from their pulpits. Some of these teachings have passed down from previous generations because “mama and daddy and ‘nem” couldn’t read and had no choice but to believe “Passa.” Others, however, have turned their backs on the kingdom platform that Christ explicitly stated in the Word, and because of their influence, many believers still accept them as part of Christ’s body.



So how can WE as believers guard our souls from such artfully-crafted lies? Here’s what the Lord has placed on my heart.

  1. We must learn to identify and recognize the voice of God. How does this happen? First, by reading His Word, particularly the Words of Jesus. His words always revealed the heart of God as it pertains to love for the lost and hatred for sin and hypocrisy. Second, through prayer and by prayer I mean you send your requests, then stop and listen for His. The Father’s words have a certain tone about them. They bring peace, yet they turn your mind upside down. His Words pierce and convict your heart of wrongdoing, yet comfort you at the same time. Learn to recognize this tone, by inclining your ear and quieting your spirit. (John 10:5, Isaiah 55:3)
  2. We must do what the Spirit says. Have you ever helped someone through a difficult problem, but they didn’t take your advice? They just wanted to talk and talk and talk, but never come to a resolution. Some people don’t want to do the right thing. Some don’t want to do anything at all. So I’ve learned to stop talking to those folk. I believe God handles us the same way. To keep the communication open, you have do more than listen. Obedience is the key to keep the spirit speaking. (Isaiah 1:17-19, 1 Samuel 1:22, Psalm 51:11)
  3. We must deal with our personal lusts and any desire that leads us away from Him. We tend to think of sex as the only source of lust, but this isn’t true. Anything that we desire so much that it causes us to miss God MUST be put into its proper place. Lust is the result of an imbalance or lack of prioritizing. Put your desires in their proper place, so every seemingly good thing that comes your way doesn’t lead you astray. (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 37:4)
  4. We must have a solid spiritual covering. Without having the foundation of a solid church home, we are all prey to enemy. God gave us pastors as shepherds. Shepherds guard the door to keep predators out, AND they protect the sheep should a prey sneak in another way. If you are NOT in a Spirit-led, Bible-teaching, fire-baptizing, people-loving church where the pastor(s) seek the face of God, it’s time to search elsewhere. (John 10)
  5. Pride HAS to go! Nothing sets one up for deceit quicker than pride! How many scriptures warn us against thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought? The one that speaks loudest to me reads something like this…”God resists the proud.” Ouch! So you can be a child of God, loving Him, thinking you’re doing the right things, but because of your pride, He will resist you. And most people in this situation think it’s the devil. I check myself fairly often for this, and I always find that in some capacity I’ve gotten a big head even if I haven’t communicated it to others. (Proverbs 16:18, James 4:6, 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, Romans 12:3)
  6. Inspect the fruit. With so many proclaiming to be ministers of the Gospel, it’s no wonder people are being led astray. Jesus gave us ONE litmus test for these situations. You shall know them by their fruit. In other words, not everyone who claims the name of Jesus, preaches His Word, and operates in signs and wonders is a follower of Jesus. You must check their fruits of the spirit. It doesn’t matter how gifted a person is if they lack maturity, joy, peace, and love for mankind. Keep your hateful, squawking Gospel. It’s not true to form! (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 7:15-20, Jude 17-25)

Regardless of what takes place in the heart of others, God commands us to keep our hearts with ALL diligence. That means we must spend time questioning our own beliefs, casting down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Furthermore, we must keep our pastors, other ministers, and our brethren (and “sisteren”) in prayer when we see them starting to drift away.

I truly believe that God is not willing that any should be led astray, and for this reason, He will restore our lost loved ones to us. But in the meantime, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and to intercede for those who haven’t made it back home yet.

Thanks for reading. If this post has blessed you in any way, please please please repost, re-tweet, email, share, and forward. Comments are welcomed also. I’ll be glad to answer any questions to the best of my Scriptural knowledge and as the Lord leads.

Your sister in Christ,

Alana

 

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

Letter to the One that Got Away

It ain’t you, so just read the blog and don’t worry. LOL!

(Truth be told, he’ll never see this unless I send it to him.)

Dear Sir, 

I remember the first time we met. You were charming, and somewhat handsome… I was quite taken by your inner swag though I could’ve passed on your sense of style. No one, and I mean NO ONE, should’ve been wearing their hats two sizes too big. But just the same, you were very smart and very much a gentleman, and what woman isn’t drawn to confidence?


I don’t recall what we did on our first or second dates. If I did I probably still wouldn’t write about it. Those days…sheesh! (My readers are judgmental. Don’t mind them. Thank God for the blood of Jesus!) We had so much in common… both having passion for faith, family, and business. You were much further along in life than I was. We attended different colleges, so that drive up and down 64 was a killer. You had a good family background which was rare, and I held you in such high regard. We never made a relationship of it, and part of that is my fault… but it would’ve helped tremendously if you made it clear how you truly felt about me in a timely manner.


I remember sitting beside you on your sofa. We had just finished dinner. I rubbed your chest (always a sucker for a big chest), and you told me about your future goals. I thought for a bit that I could be happy settling down with you, but there was always something nagging at me. Most of the time you were gentle and kind, but sprinkled in were moments of insensitivity, almost to the point of cruelty.


In short, you reminded me of my father.


I remember the last time we went out. Another guy that was competing for my attention called while you and I were together. You urged me to answer the phone, so I did. You must have thought I was going to end it with him and choose you. 


Honestly, between the two of you he was better looking. And between the two of you, he was funnier. And between the two of you, I knew how he felt about me. But one thing you both had in common… You both were jerks! LOL… But I didn’t end it with him that night. I didn’t end it with him until four years ago. So that night, you left in a fit of rage which surprised me to NO END! And by no end, I mean I regretted that night for YEARS! But I eventually let go… Well, you got away.


No one should ever find out a person’s true feelings that way. Things could’ve been different. 


But I’m so glad they aren’t.


You are married.. happily… finally. Your wife is gorgeous. Honestly, if you didn’t have all that swag there’s no way you could’ve gotten her. I hope you keep her. I can’t imagine any other woman putting up with your biting sarcasm. For the year you two were separated, I pray our conversations helped you realize how blessed you are. Your children are beautiful and smart. Your business goals will come to pass.


I had fun seeing you from time to time… just friends checking in. Whenever we walked into a place, people treated us like we were made to be together. It was the strangest thing… But God kept us from doing anything shameful. I’m grateful.


The fact of the matter is I love you like a brother. I don’t miss you, and I don’t wish we had stayed together. I just wanted you to know that I appreciated you.


You see, some men today don’t respect a woman’s choice. Despite the fact that you were the better man, you walked away with your dignity and left me with mine. I learned a lot about a man’s heart that night all of which I had forgotten until a few moments ago.


You love just as hard as we do. You hurt just as much as we do. 


And if… for some reason… any unforeseeable reason at all… I mean it’s very unlikely… but just in case the ish don’t work out between you and your wife….




You need to find somebody else! Because when I let go, it’s for good…




“Platonically” loving you from a distance,


Alana

 

Photo Credit:

Harry Rowed. National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque. Library and Archives Canada, PA-112824 /

 




Being Saved, Uncategorized

Goosebump Christianity

“See that your believing is right, and if it is, you have no reason to doubt.”     -Rees Howells

Welcome to the Belief System Checkpoint. Warning! Your toes will be stepped on. Please remove your Steve Maddens and secure your feet with a pair of steel-toed boots. Go ahead… I’ll wait. Actually I need to find my own because I’m going to need them as much as you.

Now I am not pretending to be a theologist, minister, or even a philosopher. I am simply an imperfect woman who is madly and desperately in love with Jesus. Does that qualify me to make some of the statements I’m about to make? Pretty much, because I’m tired of all the foolishness we do in Jesus’ name that has nothing to do with Him or His Word. Don’t like it? Get your own blog, talk bad about me, and redirect the traffic to me so others can follow me too. (I said all that with a smile.)

I read my Bible pretty often, not always everyday, but at least several times a week. I don’t just read the verses and keep it moving. I meditate on them… talk about it… ask questions… wait for the answers… on and on. Being a critical thinker means I have to verify that the Word someone is teaching me is the truth. Not to mention, God has blessed me with an AWESOME mentor… shoutout to Apostle Demontae… that promptly and sometimes painfully whips me into shape. He’s a very patient man. 🙂

Over the years I’ve heard some krazy stuff… and the only reason I can think people would say any of it is to give folks goosebumps. I like a good goosebump and spine chill as much as the next person, but is that really evidence that GOD is in it? Too often we get caught up and sensationalize a matter and miss the point. 

So here are my top seven favorite goosebump-giving LIES that have been told to churchfolk that need to be EVICTED from our doctrine…

  1. God knows my heart, so if I do this He’ll forgive me. I’ve said this so many times… and even now I catch myself. But if I’ve done something I shouldn’t have, that means something bad is in my heart. And, yes, God knows that. Does it exonerate me from the consequences? Nope. Does it mean God is tolerable of my sinful nature? Absolutely not! God’s grace is not a license to sin, but it will change our sinful nature to a righteous one. In the meantime, let’s just call sin what it is and repent. There’s provision through repentance, but not through manipulation and deceit. And the heart, above all, is deceitful. Yeah, that’s Bible. 
  2. If you don’t tithe, you’ll lose your job. I heard this when I was church-hunting a few years ago, and I was tempted to stand up and shout “The devil is a liar!” That would’ve been wrong of me, so I waited until things were settled in the service and grabbed my children and our coats and rolled out. What the preacher really meant was that if the people didn’t pay their tithes, he wouldn’t be able to put the four-dollar-per-gallon gas in his Escalade. Other than that, I will refrain from making commentary on tithing other than to say that what I tithe is between me and God. No one needs to know how much I make per year, so that part of the envelope is left ____________. (I just lost a lot of readers.)
  3. The “RAPTURE” in general. I have always been taught that there was a rapture and one day Jesus would crack the sky and all his people would be taken out of here. About three years ago, I heard for the first time that this doctrine is questionable at best. I debated with some folks until they finally helped me understand that the word “rapture” is NOwhere in the Bible. Yes, Jesus will return but we don’t know for certain if that’s before or after the tribulation. The problem with this doctrine is that it makes for lazy Christians. What reason do we have to war against the kingdom of darkness if the Lord is going to show up and zap us out of here in a blink of an eye? Why would he tell us to fight? “Peter, go buy a sword so you can hold it on your big comfy sofa and watch TBN til I come and rescue you from the world the devil’s made a mess of.” Nope… that’s not what He said. Granted, I don’t want to be here when all the water turns to blood either… but if I have to, then I need to be prepared.
  4. You’re not supposed to judge. I hear this so much because, yes, I’m a little judgmental. It seems the only people that know this verse are the people who don’t want to do right. Yeah, I said it! Stop quoting this one Scripture if you don’t believe the rest of Bible. And the Bible does say not to judge or you will bring judgment upon yourself, and, boy, is that true! But the Bible also says that we know each other by the fruits of the spirit that are produced in our lives AND one day we will judge the angels. So for me, I’m careful to pronounce my opinion as to whether a person is right or wrong, but I do speak to their actions. Simply put, some things are wrong, and I’d rather someone tell me and save my soul from hellfire than to turn their head and let me fall. Then there are folks who feel like you’re judging them just simply because you want to do what’s right. That’s THEIR problem!
  5. A prophet’s words will always confirm what God already told you. Again, I was raised to believe this, but the more I grow in the Lord, the more I discover that it isn’t always true. Then again, I’m not getting words from a parking lot prophet. Sometimes when I get a word through a prophet it does confirm what God has told me. Other times it’s something I’ve never even considered. Why would God do that? Because I’m a person that’s imperfect and may miss it unless my mentor tells me… I’m not looking for God to match what I already think and make me feel all gooey inside. I’m listening for guidance and direction to make the right choices in life so I can fulfill His destiny for me. And honestly, if someone tells me what I already know, they’re not much of a prophet anyway. JMHO…
  6. Name it! Claim it! Word of Faith has made this euphemism (in)famous. I grew up in a Word of Faith church. “If you want that car, go put some oil on it. Demand it from the Heavens!” But who are we to demand anything? Jesus didn’t respond to the rich man who demanded He perform a miracle. He responds to those who inquire of Him in sincerity, humility, and faith. When the Lord Himself needed a divine intervention, He gave thanksgiving to the Father Who opened the Heavens, and then Jesus made a request that was within God’s will. I can’t imagine anything stinking more in the nostrils of the Almighty than our self-serving sense of entitlement.
  7. God, give me a sign! Oh, I know… we ALL get weak. I would looooooooove a sign right now, but signs are for nonbelievers. You do believe right? Then walk by faith! Walk in the spirit, not the flesh. He is faithful to direct and guide. Just obey each baby step… (personal rebuke embedded here). You will find confirmation as you go, but there’s no sense in being a Gideon in every life situation. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for asking for a sign. Again, we’re demanding God to appeal to our insecurities when He’s asking us to grow up. If I asked my son to take out the trash, and he didn’t do it but told me he was waiting on a sign to see if I really meant what I’d said… You get my point.

I don’t mean to take your goosebumps away, but bad doctrine is a faith-breaker. If you think that God is one day going to do something that His Word never promised He would do, then you will lose faith in Him. And really, the problem is your (my) belief system. Not God.

Goosebumps are often a by-product of feeling God’s presence, and the only way to guarantee that you feel it more (which is the only thing in this world that is ultimately satisfying) is to obey Him. Sometimes I don’t feel Him right away when I pray for others, but once I start, He’s there. He’s looking for growth and initiative… much like your boss. But God pays better!

So how can we fool-proof our faith? First, read your Bible and meditate on the Word. Second, become Spirit-filled if you haven’t already, and pray in the Spirit if you have. The Holy Spirit will trigger us to seek for truth when you hear something that’s not quite right. Third, trust the Lord to keep you. He is able to keep us from falling.

I know I’ve said a lot, and some of it may have hurt. I’m sorry… really I am. But the wounds of a friend are valuable. I don’t want you going through life believing a bunch of lies, then get to Heaven and see what could have been. No more kraziness, people… only the truth should reign in our hearts.

I’m coming out of krazy, and I’m bringing all the religious, uptight, stiff-necked, blessed and highly-favored, folks with me…. ya’ll pray for me! This might be my most difficult battle yet.

Your cybersister,

Alana
Photo by Glen Van Etten
Being Saved, Family, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized

The DoorMat People
So in yesterday’s post I didn’t really tell you THAT much about myself, but I’m not sure if today’s the right time. I mean, really… it’s only the second date. How much do you need to know? I’d much rather let you inside my krazy thoughts than to give you facts and let you stereotype me accurately. But for interest’s sake, you should know that I come across as unexciting and snobby, when inside my head I’m really having a party. If you could peek into my brain, my thoughts would probably make you blush or tick you off… thus, I try to remain quiet. But now that I’m blogging, BEWARE!

I was going to write this deep, philosophical narrative about the moments of uncertainty in our lives, but that will wait for a day when I have much more time to think. Instead, I’m going to tell a story… a nutty story… a story that will make NO sense to at least 70% of my readers… so 7 out of all of you 10 that actually cared enough to click the Facebook link won’t get it. Read it anyway! You may be able to help someone else… 🙂

Three years ago almost to the date, I was extremely worn out from full-time grad school, full-time teaching, extra responsibilities at work, full-time mommying of a two and three-year old, and full-time failing at taking care of myself. My husband at the time was away on business, and I was beyond exhausted. I let my tiredness slip into anger, and before long I was in a full-fledged fit of rage.

I was ticked at everybody. The kids were being… well, kids. I was mad at their dad for being wherever he was for a month. I was just mad! The dang laundry wouldn’t fold itself. I had been let down by friends and family, and the only thing I could think to do was to get away from everyone and everything. Spring Break was just a few days away so I booked a trip to Atlanta. (I had a ball while I was there, but that’s not the point.)

Through my continuous fussing, crying and pouting, I packed my bags and made arrangements for the little ones to stay with their grandmother. 

I started to blame God (silly woman that I am) for my feeling like a doormat. I felt totally unloved and unappreciated because of disappointment and hurt. People just kept letting me down, and the most recent wound made the last one hurt all the more. I blamed myself… I just couldn’t do anything right.

Now don’t get me wrong. I was to blame. I had made poor decisions on how people shared in my life. Too many were too close and demanded too much but provided nothing good for me. But they were wrong as well. There’s no doubt about that.

In a weak attempt to release my anger, I fired my cell phone across the bedroom. An “unmentionable” person had let me down for the last time. That same day I loaded up the little people to find to the closest Sprint store.  What if that “unmentionable” person decided to call me back? I should be available, right? (Put your judgmental finger away… you’ve got some “unmentionables” too.)

The entire 15 minutes of the drive I cried. I sobbed and snotted… snotted and sobbed… until a sweet, tiny, squeaky voice behind me asked “Mommy, why are you crying?”

That threw me deeper into frustration. I wanted to reply “I don’t know why I’m crying!” like the women on the postpartum depression commercials do, but that would’ve been ridiculous.

“Mommy’s tired.”

Yep. That was the truth. I was beyond tired. You’ve been tired too, or maybe you haven’t experienced deep-seated disappointment on top of exhaustion and anger. Perhaps you’ve been the cause of it. If any of us think hard enough, we will find ourselves having played both roles.

So I get to stoplight on Staples Mill near the 7-11… I forget the name of the road there, but I’ll never forget that moment. To my left side I noticed a big white van. On the van was printed an ad that said “Doormat People. You can walk on us.”

My first thought… “I should get a job there. That’s something I actually can do!” My second thought was to my Maker: “Et tu, Brute?”

My third thought was a boisterous laugh, and it came out me so fast and so hard that it shattered the disappointment that I felt moments before. Was God going to walk all over me too? Of course not! But He was teaching me that if I tolerated foolishness, He would tolerate it for me. How could He deliver me out of something that I welcomed and permitted for myself?

What people fail to realize about God is that even though He is sovereign, He isn’t pushy. So in His infinite wisdom, He whipped my backside for blaming Him for my faults and for allowing others to abuse my kindness by arranging a few moments in time where He seemed to step His all-powerful, holy foot across my pitiful face. Then, I was able to ask Him for help, repent for foolishness, and laugh at myself…

Shortly after the giggling began I heard, “Mommy, why are you laughing now?”

Since that day, I’ve searched several times for the Doormat People… once just now. I can’t find them!  Maybe they went out of business because they let their customers get away with not paying their bills? I don’t know… I just can’t find them!

Creepy, right?

Just the same, I’ll hold on to the lesson. If we lay ourselves down at the mercy of those who have no interest in our well-being, we will always lose. No one can save you from yourself, but you… with help from the Maker of course, but the decision is still yours. Even though friends and family love us, the best will most likely dance around the ugliness of your face under other people’s feet, and the worst will exploit it.

Lesson learned.

And as soon as I find out what happened to the Doormat People, I’ll be one day closer to sanity. Until then I’m still coming out of krazy…

Signed,

Alana

 

Photo by Gregg O’Connell
Some rights reserved.


Being Saved, Being Smart, Uncategorized

Definition of Exceptional

 

All my life I’ve wanted to be exceptional. I’ve strived for perfection and excellence in almost every area since I was a small child. In grade school, I only earned A’s. In college, I relished in the fact that I attended one of the top universities in the nation and chose a difficult major. I joined the top sorority, maintained a decent GPA, graduated a semester early, married shortly thereafter, had two beautiful children, earned a Master’s degree while working full-time, and divorced my husband with every bit of dignity I could muster. Even now, as a teacher, I push myself and my students to the limit just to demonstrate that I can do anything short of impossible… not on my own, of course. But with the right help, I most certainly can do it!
Unfortunately, I’ve had this type of zeal in every area of my life… and yes, I do mean unfortunately. I really thought I could do anything until last April when I faced THE most difficult challenge of my life. I shall not blog about it tonight, but I’ll sum it up by saying that my relationship history is ugly. I mean it’s just short of whatever word might be illustrated by a hopeless pit of embarrassment, despair, and bad decision-making. Again, I tried to be exceptional… as in, better than the next woman… as in, I didn’t have to play by the rules to get what or who I wanted. If I was better than the one before me, then why couldn’t I do what (and by what I mean who) I chose?
In retrospect I’ve had two totally different approaches to becoming what I thought was exceptional. Academically, I played by the rules. I applied myself, studied hard, tested well… did what I was required to do and more. With the fellas, I made my own rules. I figured eventually the very next one would be the one that would truly love me forever and ever… because really, that’s what they all say. And why wouldn’t they have loved me? I’m smart, cute, and I cook! What more does a man really need? (Note: I am NOT male-bashing here.)
On my forty-minute commute to work one morning I decided that being exceptional has nothing to do with seeking exceptions. Think about it. Everybody knows that individual who is always looking for a way out. There’s the obnoxious family member that thinks the rules don’t apply. What about the co-worker that expects everyone to come to the rescue when their imminent demise actually does catch up to their foolishness? Picturing anyone yet?
Well, I saw myself. I had no one else to blame for my poor decisions but me. I knew the rules. I had been taught all of the “Thou shalt not’s” and witnessed the result in others just as hard-headed as I was. Yet, because I thought I was exceptional…
So what makes a person truly exceptional? For me, now, being exceptional is understanding the rules and guidelines set before me. If I want to be great, then I can work my magic within the framework and, against all odds, come out on top. When a situation is absolutely impossible, I pray. Honestly, I pray anyway.
What peace of mind I’ve gained in realizing that I’m just not that great! I’m not perfect, and I don’t have to be. And really, life isn’t about me. And rules, they’re just in place to guide me down life’s little paths of impossibilities. As a child, it was right of me to want to be the best. As an adult, it’s best of me to do what’s right.
I’m coming out of krazy, ya’ll. Join me on the ride.
Always,
Alana