Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Right Way to Go Dutch

Last week some time I watched a video where the speaker proposed that women should insist to pay for their own food the first date to test a man’s character. Ultimately, the man’s ego should kick in and he should pay. The speaker then said that if a woman really wanted to make a man want her, she should pay for the first 2 to 3 dates to say “You have to earn the right to pay for my food.”

Interesting, no? While I get his point and subscribe to the general theme of inquiring into a fella’s character, I feel like the tactic suggested is a little too game-y for my personality. Some of you more liberated women might feel comfortable doing this, but I’ll need to find out about his character in other ways. Plus I’m not going back and forth with anybody… Ain’t my cup of tea.

Am I saying I’m unwilling to pay for a date? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But under MY terms. I’m a  little more old school than most women my age. I date for the purposes of finding a potential mate, not so much for fun, but it does have to be fun if I am to continue. And if a fella can’t afford to date me, then he can’t afford to provide for me in marriage. Somebody just called me a gold digger, but it’s the same woman who entertains free-loading men, so ma’am, your opinion doesn’t count here.

So back to going Dutch… let’s look at how this thing could actually work…. or not.

 

“I pay for my order. You pay for yours.”

Between platonic friends, going Dutch is appropriate. But if there’s romantic interest involved, the gentleman pays UNLESS the woman has asked him out (which is another blog in and of itself). If a man wants to spend time with a quality lady then forking over some cash is not too much to ask. He should plan a date within his means (use Groupon & LivingSocial to up the quality) should she agree to go out with him. Why do I think this should happen? Well for one, a man’s money is close to his heart. If he won’t spend money on the her, then he values himself more than the time she’s shared with him. For the fellas– if you plan a date within your means (with her desires in mind, of course) and she is disagreeable, then she’s not a match for you or she’s there for the wrong reason.

This day in age when women are so liberated and men are so— ummm— like women, it might be a good idea to clear the air before you go out. Throw in a little jokey joke… “Oh, I love their grilled Mahi dish? Do I need to bring my own $15.99, or nah?” Fellas, if you believe a woman should pay for herself, then be bad enough to tell her before you go out. Don’t wait until the check arrives.

Might I also add that it doesn’t hurt, ladies, to pick up a portion of the date. After he whips out his Black card for my Mahi dish, I may offer to pay for dessert. Some guys are perfectly content for you to leave the tip. It doesn’t hurt to offer something, but don’t let your offering be misleading. I’m not a liberated woman. You, sir, must pay for my meal.

Split the bill.

The only thing I can imagine more disrespectful than a man asking me to pay for my own meal at the table is his asking me to split the bill evenly. This was on a movie, but I can’t recall the name. The woman ordered a salad, and the man ordered a Porterhouse. He demanded they split the bill 50/50 because it was only “fair”. I would have to put my sweet demeanor away if that ever happened to me. Even if my meal cost more than his, I feel something about it turns me the wrong way though I can’t put my finger on it. A friend of mine once commented that whenever she goes out, she orders according to the amount in her purse. Ladies, until we know a guy’s willing and able to “cover” us, this may be the smart thing to do.

A positive way to split the bill, however,  might involve planning in advance. I’ll pay for dinner, and you pay for the movies. You buy the groceries, and I’ll cook. Or you pay for this movie, and I’ll pay for the next one. A beautiful partnership can develop between two people when this approach is taken. It’s kinda like saying “I’m interested in spending time with you, and I’m perfectly capable and willing to share the cost to build this relationship.” I like this method for splitting the bill, but ONLY after I know a little about his character, and I actually LIKE him.

One out of four.

Ladies, if you’re continuing to see a person and things are blooming, then it’s a good idea to pay for a date every so often. You can either surprise him at the end of a meal, or ask him out after 2 or 3 successful dates. Tell him it’s your treat. Stay within your means and plan something you’ll both enjoy. If you’re a woman inclined to giving too much, then limit yourself on purpose. Mr. Ford was right. Once a fella knows you’re wrapped around his finger, you lose! Might I add, if you’re a great cook, then it might be a good time to show that off a little.

 

If you find dating burdensome financially or otherwise, then you might join me in sitting at home on Friday nights watching Netflix and tweeting til exhaustion sets in. Dating should be an expression of your freedom and maturity as an adult, not an activity that demands others to pass a test to keep moving forward. We all have our preferences, but there’s no sense in gaming and inciting a response when everything you need to know God will reveal.

Our methods for finding a match have become far too convoluted and messy. If we could just look back a few generations when love and marriages stood the test of time and find out WHY they did things a certain way, then we may be better off for it. Be transparent. Be truthful. Be respectful. Be Christlike.

What kind of love story would you want to tell your kids?  Think about that.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for you future,

 

Alana

Featured photo by Creative Commons License Dan4th Nicholas via Compfight

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #5: The Man IN My Dream

I’ve been a bit unsettled the past few days, and the only reason I can think as to why is because I tend to feel the energy and thoughts of those around me. What do you word-loving folks call that? An empath? Meh. It’s not quite the right word, and I’ll tell you why.

I dreamed that a man was in my personal space so much that I could not escape him. He wasn’t abusive, violent, or unkind. He was just very very very present. I couldn’t leave the space in my dream, but I do remember finally sitting on the floor tired from trying to kindly escape him, only to have him sit at my feet. I dream in color, but this particular instance, I saw shades of sepia, black, and gray. I knew this wasn’t the guy for me.

The VERY next day, someone invaded my space over and over again to the point where I became annoyed & exasperated. For the rest of the day, I felt his energy and thoughts. Empath? Kinda. Spooky? Definitely. I didn’t shake the ickiness til Saturday morning.

So the man in my dreams was smart, motivated, well-meaning, successful– had great qualities. He was even handsome. But because I knew he wasn’t for me, none of that mattered. The man I encountered isn’t much different. Had I dreamed something like this two years ago I would’ve thought “Oh Lord, you gave me a dream about him. He must be the one for me!”

Starry-eyed, stupid, and shameless I would’ve begun a relationship with someone with whom I was supposed to avoid. My littered soul would’ve prevented me from seeking out God’s purpose for revealing this man to me. This time, I knew better.

I knew better because God has spoken clearly to me about a few things regarding my future boo that makes several candidates easy to cross off the list. Here’s what I know.

I know that God has chosen a mate for me who will see me as a gift. 

I know the time frame in which I will meet him.

I know he’s not pushy, self-serving, or arrogant.

I know he won’t be sitting at my feet like a lost puppy.

I know he will love God more than he’ll love me.

I know he’s going to be physically attractive to me, and I won’t have to squint my eyes and look at him sideways to want to look at him.

The person IN your dreams is not always the person OF your dreams if the latter even exists. Sometimes God will present us with a person to see if we really want what we’ve asked Him for and if we’re willing to wait on it. I have six months left on my dating sabbatical, so should this person ask me out, it’ll be super easy to say no. It’s just not my time.

But for those of you who are actively dating, courting, seeking, waiting– Ask God specific questions to help you navigate. If you know that your future mate will be a doctor, ain’t no sense getting caught up with the construction worker unless he’s in med school. But surely the construction worker will cross your path and you’ll have to say no to his rippling abs and chiseled arms. And when you know he ain’t the one, it should be (relatively) easy to keep it moving. Don’t stick around to find out why he’s wrong for you. This is how many of us ended up heartbroken in the first place.

 

Dating Precaution #5: Soul issues often cause us to misinterpret what God is trying to reveal. The man IN your dreams and the man OF your dreams may be two different people. They are not to be confused, so seek God before making a move. 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

I Moved for Love

Many proposed that I was being foolish and running from my problems.

Others thought I was being overly ambitious.

A few thought I was pregnant and hiding it.

The truth is that I moved for love.

I started packing in June and for two and a half months my children and I lived on the bare minimum while our nicer things remained in boxes. I had no money some days, and so I sold a few of my belongings to make ends meet. I did this all for love.

I quit my job before I had another. I submitted my 60-day notice before I had a new home. What kind of man would ask a woman to leave what she has to join him in another place with no certainty, no promise, no guarantees? Only trust. I did it anyway for love.

I drove to an interview and was certain the job was mine. Two weeks later– two weeks too late– they offered me a job, but not the one I wanted. He told me to come anyway. He needed to have me there. So I took the job for love.

Twelve hundred dollars was the cost for moving my things. If you don’t give me this money, then I can’t come. Someone came along and charged me six hundred. I paid them for love.

For weeks I was bound by fear wondering if He were telling me the truth. Was He being honest, or manipulative? Could I trust Him? If I moved my life… my children… my belongings… my career… my ministry… would He support me? Or would He leave me? Would He stay to mock me? I fought my fears for love.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that I would never move for love, but here I am in a new city, my kids in a new school, working the job that I’ve wanted for years (they changed their minds), with plenty of time in the evening to do whatever I choose to do. I choose to spend that time loving Him.

And to be perfectly honest, I did run from some things. Even the animal kingdom knows that when a river dries up, it’s time to move.

And maybe I was being a little ambitious. I hate to be bored.

And, yes, I am pregnant, but not with a baby. With purpose.

And I did the thing I swore I’d never do…. I moved for love for One who is not a man that He should lie, nor a little boy that He should change His mind. He promised it, and He performed it. He spoke it, and He’s making it good.

 

Photo credit: Creative Commons License Atilla Kefeli via Compfight

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Another Sneak Peek of “Late Nights on the Straight & Narrow”

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed my absence lately. I miss tweeting with you all, but I’ve focused my writing efforts on my first book “Late Nights on the Straight & Narrow.” I’m hoping the book will be finished and ready for sale by Sunday!!! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this short snippet, and the previous excerpt that I’ve posted.

Ladies Only: Are You Help Meet Material? 

…But for Adam there was not found a helper meet
(suitable, adapted, and complementary) for him.
Genesis 2:20b

And now the unveiling of the cybermirror of introspection! Look at yourself, woman of God. Are you help meet material? I’m not asking you, my sister, if you’re willing to cook his dinner, clean his undergarments, and contribute fifty bucks to the cable bill. I’m asking if you are strong enough and willing enough to stand face to face with a man of God and assist him in his calling. And are you wise enough to choose the right man who will also help you with yours?

Some macho man somewhere painted a picture of help as one coming behind you and cleaning up what you messed up. That’s not help! That’s a maid. Maids are blessings in their own right, but alas, that is not my calling. Whenever God and Adam met, they talked face to face. When God created Woman, He intended her to be that type of help that would offer wise counsel and comfort. I think of my best girlfriends who are a help to me. We talk with like minds but they bring out the best in me. Whatever I miss, God reveals to them and we both grow in the process. When Adam cried out for help, Woman would come to him, look him in the face, and say “Baby, what do you need? What can I do for you? Help you turn this soil? No problem.”

God designed you to be a strong consolation and gift to someone, but if you haven’t submitted to His plans for education, career, ministry, etc., you can’t help the man to whom you’ve been called. What will you have to offer him besides sex, a hot meal, and a hot ironed shirt? Some of us can’t even do those things.

Fellas Only: Would You Submit to You?

I tweeted once “Women aren’t that complicated.” Needless to say I was retweeted into oblivion and lambasted by men who thought I was insane. I started to backpedal, but by the time other women jumped in, my point was made. We are NOT that complicated.

Any woman who is truly in line with God’s will (and most that aren’t) is willing to submit to a man who meets a certain set of qualifications. And I’m not talking six feet tall, making six figures, with zero children and all that nonsense. I’m talking about a man who loves God and serves Him faithfully, and then, of course, loves the woman he chooses as wife. A woman knows that if a man truly loves her, he will not make a choice that will bring harm or danger to their family. It’s EASY to submit to a man like that. And should he make a wrong choice… well, nobody’s perfect!

Your demonstration of love for your future wife is a seed sown. You will, in turn, reap her respect and willingness to submit to you. So I would also ask you, brother, do you love yourself? Not in the cocky, arrogant way… but do you value who God has created you to be? The Bible teaches that you must love your wife as yourself, and so it follows that if you hate yourself—well, that’s an ugly thought. I’ve lived through a marriage where my husband did not love himself. I began to have suicidal thoughts, but I knew they weren’t from me! If you have room to grow in this area, then please allow your heart to be healed before taking a wife and making more babies.

Take a glance into the cybermirror of introspection and ask yourself the following… Are you a good leader? Are you patient enough to learn about her, or will you assume that you know her, or worse, attempt to make her what you desire? Do you make decisions based on what you think is best, or do you consider the well-being of others? Are you gentle and forgiving? Is your swag sanctified? Tell me about your character and integrity. If your wife-to-be so happened to pick up your phone, would your stomach turn inside out? Do you require a “foretaste of glory divine” before marriage even though she is kept a secret from your family and friends? Unless you live out the right answers, no REAL woman of God will submit to you. Any woman who does is silly and foolish.

[button link=”http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/An-Excerpt-from-Late-Nights.pdf” type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Download PDF[/button]

 

 

I’d love to hear your comments!!! What do you hope to read in this book? Let me know what your concerns are before I finish. 🙂

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Carlos Porto via Compfight

Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Getting to Know You…via SMS: The Don’ts


Earlier today I shared six appropriate actions for getting to know someone via text. I shall not belabor the intro, so here are the corresponding DON’Ts!!

  1. Text about things like goals, dream, emotions, etc. It’s super easy to say whatever you think a person wants to hear via SMS. Master manipulators will suck you into a heart-wrenching conversation via text and leave you to your emotions. There’s far too much room for romanticism and misinterpretation. Should someone do this to you, redirect the conversation until a more appropriate time.
  2. Bombard them with multiple texts or ask them why they didn’t respond. How needy are you??!! Stop it. If you notice a negative pattern, then more the likely he or she is disinterested and/or playing games. Move on.
  3. Just stop texting. I am bad with this. If a response is dry or remotely arrogant, I tend to let the convo drop. Bad business, I know. But I’m making strides to improve. Won’t you join me? Even if they don’t deserve the courtesy of “ttyl,” I’m a quality person nontheless and so I should offer it.
  4. Respond to anything meaningful with “ok” or “lol” or “that’s what’s up” or any other dry response. Despite what you may think, a lack of interest is discernible via SMS. It’s relatively cold to draw someone into a conversation, entertain them, and then go cold. Where’s your personality? Where’s your heart? If they’re excited, at least feign excitement for the moment. If you’re not interested, just say “ttyl” and nip it in the bud later.
  5. Text recklessly. You can be yourself and show your personality without being irresponsible or downright rude. Put your mobile device away until you can demonstrate maturity.
  6. Break your plans to speak on the phone via text. Call in advance to say you’ll have to reschedule. Show some consideration for the other person’s time! Otherwise you’re making it a point to show that person their interactions with you are limited to just text messaging, and no one likes to be put in the text zone unknowingly.

Let common courtesy be your guide!!!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Sippanont Samchai via Compfight

Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Getting to Know You… via SMS: Six Do’s

I’m not sure why I’m on this social media, mildly techie kick lately but I guess my single self has the time to explore the idiosyncrasies of conversation through several filters.

I loooooves me some text messaging. Talking exhausts me, but a few swypes of my mobile keyboard can get my point across quickly and easily. But with text messaging I’m able to quickly determine whether a person is even worth continued conversation. Let’s face it… I’m a nerd and appropriate (not perfect) grammar and spelling are important to me. Cuz if yhu rite like dizzzzz… I can’t. And an even more importantly, out of the abundance of heart, the finger strokes speak! A person with impure motives won’t stay in hiding for long.

So here are five do’s for those of us who use SMS to play the get-to-know-you game… The don’ts will be shared tomorrow.

Do!!!

  1. Keep the conversation simple. SMS’s are 160 characters for a reason. If you can’t fit what you need to say in that space, then another tool would be more appropriate.
  2. Allow the person time to respond. We have jobs and families and businesses. Afford the person some grace with responding, but take note if they are only available during certain hours. This may be a sign of something “else” going on.
  3. Close the conversation with “Gotta run, but have a great day” or the like. Be gracious and show that you look forward to your next mini-chat.
  4. If answering a question, ask another one in return. For a conversation to take place both parties have to be engaged. Ask questions in return to keep things flowing. Most folks won’t ask your selfish butt five questions in a row as if you’re some demigod and not expect you to show some interest as well. (Could you hear the salt in my commentary there? Yeah.
  5. Syntax is important, but not nearly as important as correct grammar and spelling.There’s no ticking-time bomb going off in your conversation, so make sure auto-correct isn’t making you seem like a complete idiot or pervert. A few misspelled words ain’t so bad, but the there/their/they’re and you’re/your struggles are unreal. Tidy up, please.
  6. Make plans for a phone conversation.  One simple phone conversation might clue you in to the person’s mannerisms and habits. How many times have you heard the familiar Walmart beep in the background and only to hear your buddy berate the cashier for making a simple mistake? Or talked for a solid forty-five minutes only for them to have to suddenly jump off the phone with half a goodbye? Or listen to them order a #10 with a large milkshake and fries and add a few apple pies with two ice cream cones for dessert? Listen! Save yourself months of minimal emotional investment by (randomly) picking up the phone.

 

While the course of getting to know someone may begin with a few SMS’s, it certainly shouldn’t remain there. Over time the depth and nature of conversation should lean more towards phone and face-to-face conversations. If, for some reason, a person is only willing to offer SMS luhv to you, chances are, he or she is emotionally involved elsewhere.

Are you a texter? What do you love about it?

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

How I Got Over (Him)

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]T[/dropcap]hose closest to me know the kraziness that has occurred in the past few days. I cannot recount the tales because of the concern I have for one involved party. The other can kick the biggest darn rocks one can find in Central Virginia, and I may offer him some via stoning should God be willing. But many times, in this situation and others, I’ve been asked “How did you get over him?” People seem to think I have this uncanny knack for recovering from bad relationships, and they’re right. I have LOTS of experience getting over these situations… (snickering at myself). When I’m in the trenches, it’s ugly. But once I’m out, that’s it! I’m not going back.

I laugh… With fullness of joy and confidence, I laugh at the enemy and every lie he’s trying to sell you. You cannot imagine the defeat I’ve carried in my soul for years thinking that I was unlovable, unattractive, unworthy to be treated with respect and kindness. Every predator within a five mile radius could smell the stench of my bloody, broken heart. Vicious cycles greatly abounded in my life.

So yes, I “got over” every last him… The ex-hubby him, the him who used my heart to wipe his–, and this last him who may find a few pebbles flying at his head when our paths cross. I’ve shared about forgiveness and grief recovery, but I guess this is the missing link. This post embodies the transition from a place of pain and guilt to a place of rest and promise.

Here’s how my ashes were changed to what I’d like to think is beauty.

 

I submitted to God’s will.

We can want something sooo badly that we totally negate God’s will for our lives. We might even convince ourselves that it is God’s will for a person to be a part of our lives. When your desires supersede God’s will it’s easy to be deceived. This is why we’re dreaming about these menfolk and our possible futures with them as if the Spirit is leading. Be ye careful. These are tactics the enemy uses to create soul ties even when sex hasn’t come into play. Anything you hunger for more than God can and will be used to exploit and harm you. A simple “Your will be done prayer” can change things overnight.

I repented.

It doesn’t matter how badly he treated me, how much he lied, the fact that he cheated, on and on… I did something wrong too. And more often than not my error was making the choice to date the person in the first place. I won’t even dig in to the conversation about red flags. No need to revisit those things in your mind if you’re intent on moving forward. Just repent and get back in a place where you can hear from God. And stay there!

I suffered.

It’s childish to think that after repenting all consequences will be revoked. It just doesn’t work that way. If Christ really is the LORD of your life, then you’ll have to endure some suffering. If He’s not, then you’re likely to go the opposite direction and either sink into sadness and depression or act out your pain with reckless behavior. I chose to endure the suffering and allow Him to prune me so that I could become fruitful again. During these low points I battled with loneliness and horniness. (Was I not supposed to write that? Oop.) But I learned that those feelings come from an empty place that can easily be filled and overcome with worship. Think of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You’ve done more for lesser men. So why not lift your hands, sing to Him, dance before Him, talk to Him freely? All the intimacy I longed for with him, I found in Christ. Eventually the lack of body became irrelevant. Suffering doesn’t seem so bad… now does it?

I fell in love again.

This is the best part. I feel, even now, as though the Lord is courting me. Some days I just need to feel loved, and whether I ask or not, something significant happens in that day that reaffirms His love for me. And how can I not love Him in return? Just Saturday I felt His presence engulf my being while I was changing a trash bag. I know we fantasize about how great it will be to have a Godly husband, but truly… There is no physical body that can completely surround you and cover you from every angle. Only the Spirit of the Lord can do this. And how can you know the love of another unless you first know God’s love? We’d be much more cautious of the men we chose if we used God’s burning compassion and favor over us as the standard. So, yes, I’m in love with Him. But I’m also in love with me. Not the vanity type of love, but I have confidence and love every part of this bottom-heavy frame with which I’ve been endowed. My Twitter followers know this well as I’ve coined the term #LoveThighSelf.

I closed the doors.

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool to his folly. You ever wonder why they ALWAYS come back? Dogs can’t help it. Whatever they chew and spit up, they go back to lick it up. Nasty, right? So metaphorically-speaking, don’t continue to be vomit. Now let’s turn the tables, and say… I don’t know… maybe you are the dog, metaphorically-speaking of course. Do you really want to go back to that? Who cares how wealthy he is? How many inches he’s packing? All the stuff he said about getting married and making babies? IT’S ALL VOMIT!!! Here are a few options to help you.

  • Change his name in your phone to something like– oh, I don’t know– Asshole. Serves as a great reminder that he’s NOT who he claimed to be. Don’t delete him, however. You’ll get sucked into a “Who is this?” conversation.
  • Send all emails, calls and texts to Spam if you have Google voice or block them altogether. The last thing you want is a random “I miss you” to jar you in the middle of your workday. Until you can control your emotional response, put controls on your SMS, etc.
  • LISTEN to the spirit. They always come back. You hear me? ALWAYS! ALWAYS! ALWAYS! But God will warn you. And this, in fact, is a blessing. Over time, if you’ve allowed healing to take place, you’ll find that the pull he has on you will become weaker and weaker. God will warn you before he pops up… sometimes weeks in advance and sometimes hours.
  • Whatever you think you’re feeling may or may not be you. I’ve found myself “missing” someone only to realize I really felt them missing me. Women are sensitive to things like this, but be wise enough to know if it’s your emotions talking or his. Either way, a simple prayer of “Lord, redirect him to the nearest hoochie” should solve that problem.

So there it is. The quick-and-dirty of how I got over not just each individual, but the mentality I had which has drawn these piss-poor quality men to me. I now find that folks who’ve wronged me have a hard time looking me in the face or even contacting me. I’m different. I’m not available to be abused. I’m not open to manipulation. The very presence of God in me convicts them of their wrong, and so they’re faced with a choice to remove themselves from my presence or sincerely apologize for having wronged me.

One last point… God doesn’t take it lightly when His children are mistreated. However, until we behave as His children He is unable to defend. Yet in His mercy and lovingkindness, He permits us to be neglected by those who we think should love us. He’s jealous for you! And when you see the entire situation through that lens, you can’t help but thank Him for bringing a bad relationship to an end.

Selah.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #4: Put Away the Grief

I’ve written about this *ahem* man before, but this time, the story isn’t really about him. Just to indulge your curiosity, he’s the same fella who didn’t show up— ever. And when I say he doesn’t show up, I mean I recently got a call requesting a meeting to which I hesitantly agreed. You already know what happened. Bless that wonderful Name!

A month or so after the split, I was still in recovery. God knew this person wasn’t for me, and so I’m sure His mighty hand ran some interference for my good. But silly as I am, my heart continued to grieve the loss of one who was incapable of loving me.

Instead of pouring my heart out to my friends, I only told God how much the situation really disappointed me. My friends got the quick and dirty of it, but the Lord heard my heartfelt cry. Sometimes people can’t understand your pain, but I truly believe we can take everything to the Throne no matter how insignificant or foolish it seems. This joker was undoubtedly an insecure jerk, but my emotions had gotten involved, and I had hoped for the best. And hope deferred makes the heart sick. And on this day, I was siiiiick.

It happened on a Sunday. The children and I were getting ready for church, and I prepared a larger breakfast than normal. Because of the multi-tasking that I usually do… my hair, Brie’s hair, ironing, cooking, making Brandon shower… I burned the bacon. When I say burned, I mean it sizzled down to black, crispy nothingness. So in the trash it went, and I started again. The small cloud of smoke quickly dissipated, and I continued handling my motherly duties. An hour or so later, the children and I were ready to leave.

Just a few minutes before heading out, I ran back to my bedroom for something that I can’t recall. And in my bathroom doorway was a cloud, dense and white. I stared for a minute and thought, “Hmmm… no way that bacon smoke made it back here. I’ve never seen it do that before.” I looked back to the living room…. no smoke. The kitchen… no smoke. So why was there a thick cloud of it with no traces of bacon fragrance in my bedroom standing still at the bathroom threshhold? Chin-scratcher, right?

I shrugged off this unusual occurrence, and we left for church.

Still saddened, I belly-ached to the Lord all the way down I-295.

Lord, I don’t know why I bothered in the first place. Why’d he have to be such a jerk? If he was going to treat me that way, he should’ve just left me alone. No, I don’t want him back. I want to go back in time and un-meet him.

On and on I went… Ticks me off to think I wasted so much time whining over foolishness. But I did, and the only reason I’m telling on myself is because you’ve done it too.

We pulled up to the church, and headed inside. As I walked down the hallway I heard the Lord say “Are you so grieved over this man that you don’t even recognize Me when I visit you?”

Am I so grieved that I missed… WHAT? But where were you, Lord?

And it dawned on me…

The cloud! The strategically placed cloud that I could not miss in my bedroom. In Old Testament scripture, the Lord often showed up in a cloud. I’ve seen the cloud of His glory before… once as a child, and a few times since in worship services.

I repented. Repeatedly. And I worshiped and thanked Him for forgiving my ignorance. I laughed at my foolishness, and He must have laughed too because the heaviness broke off of me immediately.

Many times God’s blessing is in the breaking. He breaks off associations, things, relationships, finances (shando!)… you name it, and He will use it to break you. And I’m not talking about bad things necessarily. I’m also referring to friendships, homes, cars, family members… you name it. He’ll allow us to suffer ANY loss to bring us closer to Him. Doesn’t sound fair, I know, but truly He is God so who are we to question His ways?

Though He breaks us, His desire is not to leave us broken… which is why He visited me that morning. What might have happened had I turned aside as Moses did with the burning bush? I believe there would’ve been instant healing of my emotions and a return of joy, but alas…. I misjudged Him for an obstinate, stale cloud of smoky salty burnt bacon. Smh.

Beloved reader, we grieve our losses, and rightfully so, but after a time our grief is misplaced. Even if you lost everything and everyone, there is a blessing in the breaking, and you must remember that you have NOT been abandoned by God. Even David allowed himself time to grieve when his firstborn child was on the verge of dying, but when the results came, he got up washed his face, and ate.

I didn’t have a scripture for this, and I heard the Lord say “Put away the grief from you.” (He talks kinda funny, doesn’t He? Teehee!) So I Googled it, and in the Amplified version found this…

 

[quote]Therefore remove the lusts that end in sorrow and vexation from your heart and mind and put away evil from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity (transitory, idle, empty, and devoid of truth). -Ecclesiastes 11:11[/quote]

 

Dating Precaution #4: When we are young, we make stupid choices that land us in a pit of sorrow! But as we grow we must put away those foolish situations and the grief that comes alongside it, or else we miss the blessing that God may bring in the breaking. And never forget that you are NOT forsaken!

And God says to us, “NO MORE GRIEVING! You’ve thought about it long enough. There was nothing more you could have done. It was simply time. Be at peace in your souls. Settle yourselves. Rest in Me!! Are you so grieved over a person or thing that you cannot receive MY everlasting love? It was my love that delivered you. My love that separated the ties. Yes, they might have loved you. They might have been good to you, but they are mine just as you are mine. And, I am a jealous God. You will suffer loss for my sake and the kingdom’s, but you will NEVER lose Me.”

Selah.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Photo credit: chandrika221 via Compfight

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Guest Posts, Uncategorized

Why Can’t I Move Forward?

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]O[/dropcap]ver the past few years I have really enjoyed Mac products.  Macbook, Mackbook Pro, Ipod, Ipad, IMac, Iphone, etc; I just love the way that they work!  A few years ago Apple came out with an upgrade that allowed you to take off apps that you would have open.  You could now close down your twitter app or your weather app.  You could close down the ESPN app or a game app that you had open that allowed your battery not to drain as fast as well as allow your device to run faster!  So that once you close out things that you no longer have use for it allows your device to run a lot smoother.

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/noah-wash.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Noah Washington is a pastor at Bladensburg SDA church in Bladensburg, Maryland. Join Noah for relationship tweets every Thursday on Twitter using the hashtag #RTalkThurs. For more great posts visit Noah’s blog http://www.washsworld.blogspot.com.[/author_info] [/author]

 

I can’t help but to liken this to many of our relationships.  One of the reasons that some of us are stuck, stagnant, and extremely slow with moving on is because we have so many people, or apps, that are open in our lives that have not been closed.  There are relationships that we have had in our past that we have become attached to so much that even though the communication, recreation, and interaction between us and the other person may have ended…our attachment to them continues to be open.  Something still jumps in our spirit when we see their picture on Facebook; we still catch an attitude when someone tells us that they have seen the person with another person; and we continue to think in our minds what we may be doing with the person if we were still dating them.

Some of you reading this have been thinking to yourself: why am I having such a difficult problem moving forward in my life, my relationships, and in life in general? Why is it that I sabotage relationships?  How come I only feel normal when people treat me negatively?  Why am I attempting to move forward while still attached to my past???  May I suggest that even though two people have physically gone their separate ways doesn’t mean the relationship has ended.

Before I give some solutions on how you can truly move forward, let me give some suggestions on why many of us cannot move forward:

  1. The relationship ended sooner than we wanted it to.  We thought that this was the person that we would marry and spend the rest of our lives with, but instead of a wedding they walked away.  Instead of a marriage, you guys moved apart.  So you can’t move forward because you are still mentally thinking…what if?
  2. You guys got physical in the relationship.  During the relationship, there was not just hugging and kissing, you guys actually engaged in sexual activity; maybe even on a regular basis.  Scripture teaches that sexual activity leads us to becoming attached to another person.  That’s why the Bible even cautions people who are married-to agree on when they will abstain from sexual activity for times of prayer and then return to it.  Engaging in sex with another person is meant to be addictive, that’s why its best reserved for married couples.  However, with couples who are unmarried, you may not be able to move on because you are still attached to the other person.
  3. There was some type of abuse in the relationship. Some people can’t move on because there was sexual, mental, emotional, or physical abuse in a past relationship.  This may cause a person to either withdraw from having future relationships OR jump into many relationships.  Some people pull away from relationships in fear that what happened to them will happen to them again while others seek out many relationships in hopes to find that one person that will treat them right!  Still there are others who won’t allow themselves to move forward in a healthy relationship because since there was so much abuse they strangely only feel comfortable in an environment that allows abuse to continue, these people are extremely hard to love because when you love them…they kick you so you can kick them back because abusing them allows them to feel normal.

This is not an exhaustive list, but just a few things that won’t allow a person to move forward.  Now, let me offer some things that a person can do so that they can positively move forward.

 

  • To fully break free, its probably best for the time being not to communicate with the person you need freedom from for the time being.  You need time to heal, and oftentimes healing will not take place if you are still communicating with them.  If you continue to communicate with them, you continue a “what if” cycle in your mind about a future relationship with them.
  • Lay before the Lord!!! I honestly believe that the only way to be fully free and move forward is to lay it before the Lord.  Ask God for forgiveness of anything that you did in the relationship that caused problems.  Ask God to remove the unhealthy connection that continues to attach you to the person.  While I believe God’s power can, the breaking point usually doesn’t happen after we lay this before the Lord on one occasion.  It happens after continued prayer, fasting, and dedication to His will and way!
  • Don’t get in another relationship until you a free from the last! There are countless people who believe that they can just jump into one relationship after another.  Since you are often not free from the previous relationship, you bring the attachment from the last relationship into the present relationship.  So much so, that the person never meets the real you…they get connected to the countless number of people who you are attached with.

 

[quote]Jesus told the Jews in the first century, whoever the Son sets free will be free indeed!  Don’t you want to be free today?  Allow Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to free you in mind, body, and spirit so that you can be all that he has destined to be![/quote]

 

Sincerely,

 

Noah Wash
Follow me on Twitter: @washsworld
Check my blog: www.washsworld.blogspot.com 

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Plight of FB Relationship Statuses


[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]I[/dropcap] first signed up for Facebook after my former husband and I separated. He had secretly acquired an account, and since everything was going downhill between us anyway, I decided to get an account of my own. Not for the purposes of meeting people or anything… I just wanted to see what the hype was about. I wasn’t very tech savvy at the time, and all I knew was that I could reconnect with folks from high school and college.

So I created my little account, plugged in all the requisite information, and looked it over. My life in boxes on white and blue background. The only other speck of color on that page was the red heart with “Married” beside it.

Oh. Heck. To. The. Nah.

I didn’t want to change it to “Single” and definitely not “It’s complicated.” So I deleted it.

And what slides down my meager News Feed?

Alana is no longer listed as “married.”

Before I even saw the damage I’d done, my phone starts to buzz and ring with the kind of tune we only give to our mothers. She was on “Team Soon-To-Be-Ex-Husband” and was livid that I’d post such a thing. I explained as best I could that I had no idea it was there or what I needed to do to fix it. I managed to delete that little tidbit from my news feed before anyone commented.

Since then my relationship status has either read “Single” or hasn’t been visible at all. Why? Because inadvertently, I’m an over-sharer. And this was one area in which I KNEW I could not lack discretion.

So this post is for those who feel that you should update your statuses every time there’s a change in your romantic status. It’s silly to think people won’t judge you based on what you post, and you may not care. But you should… After all, you will need job references, character references, friends in the future. Being a recovering judgmentalist (that’s a word now), this is what I try not to think when I see your updates. And it’s not all negative…

 

“Single”

And there’s that “Interested in…” box which tells us you view FB as a viable dating site. Nothing wrong with being resourceful!!! If you want people to know you’re ready to mingle, then you might as well advertise. When I’ve had “single” posted, I found I was hit on more often by men who were not on my friend’s list. I can do without the inappropriate comments about my features, so I don’ t even have my single status visible on FB. Anything posted welcomes discussion, and it’s no one’s business but mine until I’m ready to share it.

“In an open relationship”

What exactly is an open relationship? Dating? If this is the case, then why is this worthy to share with your circle of people? When you truly understand the process of dating and courtship, you know that when you’re dating everyone doesn’t need to know. You’re getting to know that person, and that process takes time. Assuming he or she is a great person, you don’t want to invite others in to ruin what you’re developing. Assuming he or she is less than stellar (i.e. shiesty, trifling), you’ve damaged your own reputation through association. This is one status that should never be posted.

“In a relationship”

I’m happy for you… really I am (even though you just told me last week that you wanted to hang out). I would not be comfortable sharing this tidbit until 3-6 months into the relationship. I know some of you fellas get sucked into because your lady absolutely insists, but let’s be wise. And if you have that “with….” phrase going on, you know we’re checking. It’s funny how some folks stream of boyfriends/girlfriends have the same look and demeanor. But y’all don’t wanna learn! Ah well! Should the relationship regress, get rid of the “with…” phrase first, then delete your relationship status altogether. Wait a month or so before posting “single.” A break-up is a dagger on its own. No need having your thousand or so friends comment on it… You might have lost a love, but keep your dignity.

“It’s Complicated!”

I could cuss every time I see this. Why is it complicated? Are you in or out? I’ve resolved to have peace in every aspect of my life, and I’ll be doggoned if I let a man come in and complicate things then tell FB about. You know how you fix a complicated relationship? Get out of it! Relationships are supposed to make our lives better, not worse. Alas, there is a host of folk who love drama. Carry on while the rest of us snicker at your indiscretion.

“Engaged/Married”

I love seeing these, but I have one request here. Please make this status visible to EVERYONE, not just those on your friend’s list. Love, in its true form, needs to be celebrated more!

 

The intent of this post is not to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do on “your” FB page, but to give you an idea of what message you’re sending about yourself.

One final note… should your status change multiple times within six months, just stop posting. Seriously… stop it. Your significant other should honor your need for discretion until a more appropriate time. After all, you’re going to post those subliminal updates about how much fun you had the night before anyway… We’ll know you’re taken. 🙂

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for tasteful social networking,

 

Alana

Photo Credit: Constantine Belias via Compfight