Being Smart, Uncategorized

Are You a Social Media Superstar?

This photo is a screencap of my Twitter mentions.

I cannot begin to point fingers in this arena because I have played a guilty part in overindulging in social media. For the late-70’s and 80’s babies  our lives have become embedded in smart phones and other devices that keep us synced to our “friends” and “followers.”

Social media is ever-evolving, so we must adjust accordingly. Facebook was originally purposed for college students. NOW, we have our grannies and nieces and nephews online with us. Annoying, right? Since the audience has changed, so should the content! Each social media site also serves a different function and so what we place on one site may not be right for another. I’m partial to Twitter where I can follow individuals who tweet about things that I enjoy… like food, love, Chemistry. (They fit together nicely, no?) Google+ indulges my geeky, giggly side, and Facebook is where I go for the warm fuzzies. That’s just my use, and if I should do any mixing— nah. That can’t happen. However you use your “superstar status” remember that it represents YOU, and you will be jud–critiqued– according to your posts.

Over time, my addictions have waned, and I’ve come to find the fronts of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ somewhat of an annoyance through no one else’s fault but my own. I doubt many of you would share my sentiments regarding your own behavior (no one likes to self-assess), but at the very least, you can reconsider a few points. Maybe?

  • The more friends you have, the broader the network. Share purposefully. Your network is broader than the couple hundred (or thousand) folks you call friends. The news ticker, subscriptions and sharing options of Facebook now make your influence reach farther than you may want. So make your posts count! People should look forward to reading what you have to say, and not skip over because they know it’s another vague and emotional “life lesson.” You are truly free to post what you want, but remember that it’s not YOUR page. Like it or not, it’s all public. You own nothing but the right to withhold your thoughts which should be exercised liberally. Copy/paste functions and screen caps greatly abound. I’m guilty of using them myself when I see foolish things. (One of you is lucky I didn’t make your silly posts my featured photo.)
  • As far as photos are concerned, LESS IS MORE! My Facebook friends’ list at one point only consisted of family and close friends. Now my friends list has a slew of people I don’t know, plus a handful of folks I strongly dislike. So while two years ago the baby pictures of my children were acceptable because aunties and cousins were enjoying them, they are are now totally inappropriate. And can we just talk about folks who have 100 headshots? Multiple angles. Multiple do’s. Multiple eye colors. Still the same you. I don’t have the heart to tell you that your bountiful photo albums serve as a beacon to predatory daters. I’ve deleted quite a few of my head and body shots and have many more to go. The number of likes I receive has no bearing on my self-esteem as it once did, so there’s no need for me to share 50 gazillion shots of my pretty face and… nevermind. Plus I don’t want someone fishing through my photos to determine if I’m right for their “agenda.” That’s nothing but bad business.
  • Add a little sugar to it! A wise woman (your momma) once  said “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I agree with this statement 99.999% of the time. Every so often, I need to write something about a controversial matter, but I do so in a positive way. So I put a little sugar on it. With every comment, I respond with a little sugar. You can literally say anything to a person and communicate your point, no matter how controversial if you filter it through love and respect… maybe not for the person, but at least for the Almighty. Sometimes I just type in the Holy Ghost because in and of myself– I just can’t.

The fact of the matter is that social media is a record for you, or against you. Every tweet is recorded and heads to the Library of Congress. Your posts literally are RECORDING history!!! (Can we say primary sources?) Only you can decide how it will be used. If you approach your posts with the mind that EVERYTHING that goes up can be shared, it should bring a pause. Plus your stardom may only exist in your head.

I know this post offends a core group of individuals who feel that any change or derivation from your natural impulses is not being true to oneself. I’m not telling you to NOT be yourself. Be yourself, just smarter.

 

[quote]A wise man once said “It’s better to remain quiet, than type with your thumbs and remove all doubt.” Well, that’s kinda what he said. But you get the point.[/quote]

 

 

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

Family, Uncategorized, Video Blogs & Podcasts

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Parenting Advice from B&B

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]I[/dropcap]’d be remissed to not give Brandon & Briana an opportunity to speak on parenthood. I will warn you. I was hoping for profound, thoughtful revelations, but I ended up capturing something that looks more like that popular TV show where kids tell all of what they think they know. Ah, well!

You get the point!

 

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for lots of giggles in your near and distant future,

 

Alana

Family, For the Brothers, Guest Posts, Uncategorized, Video Blogs & Podcasts

3 Things I Learned as a Father

When I say Chip Dizard is a God-send, I mean that before I even began to pray about building a new blog, Chip was already sending me information on why and how to do so. He was even willing to share with me tutorials and to answer the silly questions I had on a daily basis. If you haven’t seen on of Chip’s videos, you’re TRULY missing out. This fella is multi-faceted, but today we celebrate his fatherhood of three very precious, very lively little girls. 

It’s amazing what fathers can do! 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/chip.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Teacher. Mentor. Husband. Father. Video Director/Editor. Co-Founder, Web Video Chefs and Praizevision.com. Also check out http://www.ChipDizardWeddings.com.[/author_info] [/author]

 

Connect with Chip!

Twitter: @ChipDizard

ChipDizardWeddings.com

WebVideoChefs.com

ChipDizard.com

 

Featured photo credit: Lyle Daniel

Being Smart, Family, Uncategorized

All the Bad Things I’ve Done As a Mother

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]E[/dropcap]veryone has an opinion about how children should be raised. Outside of two resources that I can recall, a blog titled Raising Godly Tomatoes and a book about raising strong-willed children (scroll all the way down to my footer to see the book info), I can’t really think of a resource that’s given me such great advice that I’d swear by it. And there’s the Bible of course. Not all of us are nurturers by nature, but I want to share all the bad things I’ve done as a mother to my children just to prove to you that what’s bad for one may be great for another. And all the research may be chalked up to someone’s dissertation hours instead of actual parenting…

  • I nursed one longer than the other.
  • For the past eight years, they’ve slept in the bed with me more often than not. They’re just now starting to venture out on their own.
  • We skip school sometimes to stay home to rest or worship.
  • I let one go to school knowing he had not brushed his teeth or put on deodorant. He needed to learn his lesson.
  • I let the other wear pink nearly every day.
  • I believed Brandon when he told me it was dress-up day at school and let him wear his Batman costume. It was actually “Sunday’s Best” dress up day hence the featured photo.
  • I tell them about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
  • I totally forgot the kids lost teeth. At one point they were falling like dominos.
  • I took the tooth and forgot to leave the money.
  • I left the money and forgot to take the teeth.
  • I got a divorce.
  • I spank them when they tell each other’s business.
  • I don’t always spank them when they lie.
  • I can’t say no to school fundraisers… not because I want to buy the crap… but because they want that stupid prize at the end.
  • I let them do the current dances provided they aren’t impure. I don’t know the dances myself, but I like to see exactly what they know.
  • I talk trash when we play games, especially any Wii game that involves dancing.
  • I’ve removed some family from their lives, but I let strangers show them affection. Sometimes all the little lady in the mall needs a hug.
  • I allow them to make observations about people and tell me what they see, and we privately address it.
  • I follow their lead.
  • I say “no” to things and “yes” to experiences.
  • I put them out of my room.
  • I let them question my dates.
  • When they’re being punished, I never ever ever send them to their room alone. I keep them closer to me and give them things to do.
  • I make them scrub the carpet with Resolve, wash the windows with Windex, and dust with Pledge. They just wash their hands afterwards.

I”m sure you can find something research-driven and maybe even experiential that says my list of 21 things makes me certifiably crazy and therefore a bad mother. But my children are bright, happy, healthy, well-balanced… outside of being messy and moody sometimes, I cannot complain. Everything doesn’t work for everyone.

By the way, I feel guilty for NONE of the above!

Which unconventional methods do you practice with your children that contribute to their well-being?
Tell me about them in the comments section. 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

 

 

Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized

Seven Songs Every Little Saint Must Know

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]S[/dropcap]o as I shared last week, THIS week we’re celebrating the art of PARENTING!!!

Being a mother has to be the most challenging, yet the most rewarding experience of my life. There is something about my little people that just makes them a thousand times better than everyone else’s… Teehee! You should feel the same about yours, but if you don’t, perhaps you might instill some qualities into them to help them become more enjoyable. We know that children can be terribly unpleasant if they are fearful, disrespectful, and disobedient. So the songs I’ve selected below will guard your children’s hearts against issues that have create problems in our homes. To be perfectly clear, B&B haven’t always been as delightful as they are now, and still aren’t always beams of sunshine, but over the years, along with the help of family and the Almighty, I’ve been able to train them… and what better way to teach a child something than through a song!!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Few songs are more powerful than this simple tune. Every child raised in a Christian home knows this song, and it’s so deeply embedded in us that as adults it pops into our spirits when we need it most. I remember a friend (I use the term loosely for blogging’s sake) telling me about a nightmare he had. And just when it seemed he was going to die, he began to sing this song and his attackers fled. Just a few weeks ago, I could not feel God’s presence as I usually do. So I sat down and began to search for Him and this song bubbled up from my spirit. Immediately I felt His presence wash over me to the point where I could barely sit up. All that to say, there is NO weapon more powerful against the enemy that knowing of Christ’s GREAT love for you. People who feel unloved soon begin to do anything to seek validation and inevitably hurt others. Arm your children with this song. Remind them daily that there’s nothing they can do to make Jesus stop loving them.

O, How I Love Jesus!

As a toddler Brandon used to croon this tune as he rocked side to side in his giant Pull-Up. He’d sing it for anybody that came around. His worship would stop an adult in their tracks and provoke them to jealousy. Children love deeeeeeply. And who better to love than God? And why love God? Well the song says it… BECAUUUUUSE HE FIRST LOVED MEEE!! And children get that. They totally understand that mommy and daddy love them and take care of them, so the appropriate response would be to love mommy and daddy in return. For children, loving is simply not an option. And loving falls right in line with obeying…

Children OBEY your parents in the Lord, for this is right!

Ok, so this isn’t a song, but who says you can’t make it into one? From the time B&B began speaking I had them repeating this little phrase as we marched and clapped our hands. Did I provide them with a Biblical definition of what obey means in the Greek and Hebrew contexts? Of course not! But they learned quickly, that if they obeyed, good things would happen, and if they didn’t, other consequences would be in store. Obey simply means “Do what mommy says right away.” Another scripture we learned involving this concept was “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Two reasons your kids should know this— one, because it’s so darn cute to hear them try to say sacrifice, and two, because at some point children will start to weigh their options. I don’t want my kids to think about whether they’re going to obey or not. I want them to immediately choose obedience. All this crap about counting to three… nah. That’s called a power struggle. They don’t get to choose whether they’re hit by a car if they run into the street. So, yes, OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE! Little ones can learn this easily if parents are faithful to reinforce it.

I Command You Satan in the Name of The Lord….

To pick up your weapons and fleeee! For the Lord has given me authority to STOMP all overrrr THEEE! Who says our babies can’t fight for themselves? Children are exceptionally sharp when it comes to spiritual matters which is why so many have bad dreams. So how do we handle this? Well arm your little soliders for the Lord by teaching them to rebuke the enemy IN JESUS’ NAME! I remember my mother teaching my siblings at 2 and 3 when they became afraid of the dark or storm to say “Go in Jesus’ name!” And they did it. And their little butts learned not to be afraid. Children must be trained to fight against the enemy, and often because of their unadulterated faith, their prayers and commands accomplish more than our own. You wanna see some prayers answered? Tell your baby to pray about it!

The B-I-B-L-E!

I was absolutely mortified when four-year old Briana put her pink Bible on the floor, stood on top of it, and sang this song to the top of her lungs. Her father stopped me from tapping her legs and suggested that she might be learning this sort of thing at school. Duhhhh… I STAND ALONE ON THE WORD OF GOD! Lol. I gave myself a facepalm. Yes, we STAND on the Word, so we want our children learn to love the Word so that they are able to stand in the day of testing. This brings me to my next song…

Father Abraham

This song isn’t one of my personal favorites, alas kinesthetic learners in Sabbath/Sunday schools everywhere are enthralled with the corresponding movements. So what’s the point of the song outside of the flailing of arms and legs everywhere? BIBLICAL HISTORY!!! Kids loooove Bible stories, and I must admit this is my weakest point as a Christ-following mommy. I’d rather teach my children about prayer and hearing God’s voice, but knowing the Word is even more important particularly at an age when their minds are so open. So yeah, we’ll do a Father Abraham or two, but more importantly, we’ll talk about who Abraham was. And Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jonah… the list goes on. These stories serve as a point of reference for their lives later down the road.

Grace

So I know there’s a song floating out there that kids sing to bless their food. I don’t know the song though. I do know the sing-songy “God is great. God is good. And we thank Him for our food…” You know the rest. I’m not a fan of anything particularly sing-songy, but the message is clear. WE THANK HIM!!! Thankfulness is one of the most beautiful qualities a child can have. Should you teach your child what true thankfulness is, he or she will learn to eat up all the yummy food you’ve taken the time to prepare for them.

Ok… last story about my kids. When Brandon was two I put him in a daycare, and he wasn’t there for two weeks before he came home and confidently blessed our dinner with the following prayer:

Father, in the name of Jesus, we thank you for our food. We bless it and SANCTIFY it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

My baby boy said ALL of that. His father and I were stunned and I laugh and giggle uncontrollably through the entire dinner. Not long thereafter Briana began to pray this very prayer with him. They’d fight over who got to bless the food first. To this day, we still use that prayer, and they have noooo problem demonstrating their thankfulness by cleaning their plates.

What songs from your childhood experience have helped you through adulthood?
Share in the comments below!

With love, sincerity, and hope for your children’s bright and shining 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, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized

A Holy Visitation: I Promised Never to Tell It

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]B[/dropcap]ut He’s making me do it because truly– no one would tell a story like this to people who don’t believe in spiritual things.

This is not a story of tormenting secrets or even of travail and disappointment. This is a story of blissful rest and comfort with a moderate amount of (good) spiritual spookiness.

If you’re a nonbeliever, skeptic, or critic, this story is (not) for you!

 

Two years ago in October I traveled to Cardiff, Wales for business. I’m an educator, but I had been selected as the US representative for a very prestigious educational organization. At the time, I was reading a book about a very famous minister, Rees Howells, who was actually from Wales. I’d also been praying for an encounter with the Lord, and by encounter, I mean that I wanted to SEE HIM! I’d heard so many stories about people seeing Jesus and how His eyes are like oceans. I was literally provoked to jealousy and began to plead for my own opportunity.

So to Cardiff I went praying all the while.

And home I returned praying all the while.

No Jesus. Not even a glimmer that He heard my prayer.

Glad to finally make it home after 17 hours of travel, I snuggled up in my pillow top king-sized bed. I must have passed out because I wasn’t even IN the bed. I remember lying sideways with my head close to the side pleasantly bundled up in my beige foamy blanket. I. Was. Tired.

And in my sleep I heard voices. Now I’m one heck of a lucid dreamer, but this was no dream. I couldn’t have made this up if I wanted to. These voices were unfamiliar, but friendly. I could feel the speakers perched at the head of my bed. There were three. Two of the three inquired about my whereabouts while the third answered. I remember thinking “He sure does know a lot about me. He must be my guardian angel. But who are the other two?” I didn’t feel any danger, so I made a mental note to ask someone who knows more about these sorts of things.

The voices chatted it up to the point where I wished they’d be quiet so I could rest. Then I felt another Presence at my bedroom door. And what do charismatic Christ-followers do when they feel something unusual going on? They get to binding and rebuking! But this Presence didn’t go. It kept moving toward me. I struggled in my sleep to wake up, but was caught in that place between. I knew it couldn’t have been my mother. The Presence was far too tall… and quiet. The footsteps were heavy to the point where I could “see” footprints left in my carpet. And as this Presence came closer to my bed, I heard the voices halt into a holy hush and my spirit began to stir. I wanted to jump out of my skin and clutch my eyes closed all at once.

He stood at the side of my bed over my head, and my being felt as if it were about to explode. It was as if light beams were shooting from my belly. The angels must have felt the same because I could feel light emanating from them as well, and I heard a “whoosh” as their wings extended from their bodies. I was terrified and in awe at the same time.

Then I felt my bed lean on that one side, and thus my head with it. As His nail-pierced hands pressed down against my mattress, He leaned into my face close enough to kiss me. Those few seconds of closeness were far more than my soul could bear, and I was enraptured by a force of love that weakened me to the point of… I don’t have a word for it. Then the pressure lifted, and I felt Him walk out.

I wanted Him to stay, but I knew the intensity was greater than what my sinful soul could bear. I wanted to open my eyes to SEE Him, but I was far too afraid the holiness in Him and the lack thereof in me would send me to an early grave.

I’m not sure how long I slept after that, but when I awoke, I was eager to seek out what had happened. So to my Bible I went. Undoubtedly He who entered my room was the Lord. Who else would elevate my being to such a high and intense place of worship? And who else would silence those voices commanding them also to worship Him? Angels don’t worship devils.

But I began to question things. Nothing wrong with questions as far as the Lord is concerned. He gives us mysteries to uncover!

Two days later, walking through the house, I saw a printed copy of an ebook about hearing in the spirit. And there it was… Several stories from believers who had heard angels speaking in their sleep. And confirmation, that angels, powerful as they might be, have information on a need-to-know basis. Two of the angels stood watch at the window over my bed. I was doing a lot of warfare at the time so I was grateful to know that they protected me and my children as we rested. The third angel, in fact, was my guardian angel. In his voice I could hear that he was proud to be released and that I was moving into my destiny. Our angels WANT to work for us, but often they cannot because of our lack of faith in God’s Word.

So while I didn’t SEE Jesus, I know beyond a doubt that He came to see about me.

Can you imagine, my friend, being in a place of such intense fellowship with Him? I could not then, and even now, the thought of looking into His eyes brings a reasonable amount of fear. But He loves me. Enough to answer my prayer. Enough to just gaze at me lovingly. Enough to make everything that had ever happened before that day seem totally and completely insignificant.

I don’t have a moral for this happening, nor do I have a thought-provoking rhetorical question. I won’t dare exaggerate or romanticize or even try to add anything to it by making points. Take this for what it is…

Should the Lord visit me again, I pray that my spirit will be ready to gaze upon Him just as He did me. Maybe next time I’ll remember to give him the kiss He came for.

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your own encounter with Christ whether you believe in Him or NOT,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: John “Jay” Glenn via Compfight

 

Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

Married to a Madman

Driving down Laburnum, I watched my baby girl sit in a beautiful white dress as she gazed out the backseat window. My son was several miles away ready to be picked up. I was in the passenger seat wearing a just-above knee length sundress. He was driving my car leaning against me with his right arm down my leg. This woman’s husband was touching me and was in full and total control of me and mine. How did I get into this situation?

A nasty storm cloud booms over us, and in the distance I see a tornado descend from the clouds. I start to pray and rebuke the cloud commanding it to go back up in to the sky. It yields to my prayer, and we continue driving. I asked him to prepare to pull over in case we ran into a tornado. I asked him to drive faster so we could rescue my son. All he did was leisurely drive the long route, never acknowledging my requests or concerns. He just kept rubbing my leg.

His actions made it abundantly clear that he could not care less for the emotional pain that I was suffering. He seemed to be enjoying it. He didn’t care when a smaller tornado hopped a building to our left, went directly over the car, and landed on a building to our right. He didn’t care that our son was miles away and terribly afraid of tornadoes. I tried to make conversation with the little one to ease my mind, but she was even too afraid of him to speak openly.

And then I woke up thanks to a text from Twitter. (I am not that scandalous!) And in this dream I was this man’s wife, and my children were also his children. His wife is my friend. I love her dearly, but I couldn’t understand why I’d dream such a thing, so I inquired of the Lord.

Quiet and still, He always speaks. “This is what she feels like.”

And so it follows, this is how many women feel when they are subject to a man who is insensitive and controlling. Some of these men have scars from childhood, some from other types of trauma, and others still are just big ol’ jerks. I’ve been single since December 2009, and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in that place. But when I was married I knew it very well.

This is what I’ve learned about these challenging and often terrifying situations.

  • He can’t stop your prayer from working. Despite how godlike he thinks he is, YHWH will hear and answer your prayer. Continue to speak the Word and pray in authority over the enemies attacks.
  • Take your concerns to God first. Too often we go to our men complaining and expecting a change immediately. This is especially dangerous with the abuser or controller. Go to God first! And sometimes go to God only! Don’t give him an open door to manipulate you.
  • Keep moving through the storm, even if you have to go it alone. Storms are symbolic of emotional torment. Oh the tornadoes and tsunamis I’ve dreamed about over the years! Don’t sit in a storm and allow it to overtake you. Yes, we become tired, so MAKE time to rest in the Lord, and get right back to fighting. And by fighting, I mean praying… We wrestle against spiritual forces, not people. I remember one dream I had when Jesus himself showed up on a horse with his sword drawn. If He did it for me, He’ll do it for you.
  • Trust that God will protect your family. In the dream I was severely concerned about the safety of my children, and rightfully so. But God is powerful and loving enough to protect them in ways that I cannot. Abusers will use your fear against you. They gain power from seeing you hurt. Be strong, and allow your faith to override your emotion.
  • Free yourself from sexual and emotional manipulation. This is a tough one, but I suffered both of these for YEARS! Sex tends to be more emotional for women, and though I know your preacher never told you this… If your husband is abusing you sexually or emotionally (cheating, lying, neglecting, physical/verbal abuse), you really should pull back (not saying stop altogether) on the sex. Here’s why. There is a deeper spiritual reason he’s doing these things, and you need to keep your head free to think and hear from God. Anytime two people have sex, spirits are transferred and you’ll start to experience some of the nasties he’s dealing with. For maybe a year, my ex-husband was struggling with suicidal thoughts. I didn’t know this until I started having them myself. Once I pulled back, the truth came to light and I was able to deal with it more effectively, and we were able to reconcile. The worst thing you can do is continue having sex with him thus allowing yourself to be tormented by him and a host of demonic forces. Be spirit led.
  • Understand that your husband is not THE bad guy. Undoubtedly your husband may be allowing the enemy to use him, but remember who the war is against. If there is history of mental illness, trauma, rejection, abandonment, etc., etc., etc., then KNOW that there is healing available. God will show you whether you should choose to stay to see your honey delivered, or to leave. Whatever God reveals, DO IT! When I sought the Lord as to whether I should remain married, He said to me “You haven’t had enough yet?” Eeep!
  • If you find yourself taking on his abusive traits, then you’ve stayed far too long. If you’ve learned to lie, cheat, steal, cuss, abuse like him, then you missed your exit time and you need to seek another ASAP. I know the church teaches us that God hates divorce, but your soul is FAR more valuable than a relationship. I believe that many people go to hell for an eternity because they were unable to forgive wrongs they suffered within marriage. If you are being poisoned, then get out and save your soul and the souls of your children.

It is not my intention to break up families, but to save souls. If you’ve ever been subject to someone who is reckless and uncaring, then you know the feeling of being insecure. And as women, we want to love them out of that place, but sometimes, we can’t. And so, it is my prayer that God’s will be done in your homes and in your hearts.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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