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 

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

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

The (Mis)Classification of Menfolk: Why You’ve Been Friend-Zoned


[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]D[/dropcap]ear Fellas,

You absolutely must know why we limit our interactions with you to equal to or less than platonic measures. To be perfectly honest, it may be your fault. Then again, it may not be. This is going to hurt a little, but don’t squirm too much or others will notice.

No point in belaboring the introduction. Let’s get right to it!

 

We may not be dating.

It seems I’m not the only person on a dating sabbatical. If a woman says she’s not dating, let it be. I don’t mind answering “why”, but there’s nothing you’re going to tell me that will change my mind. God knows the time we’ve committed to Him, and if you’re the one, then you’ll wait patiently til the egg timer goes off.

 

We’re just not attracted to you in that way.

Incredibly witty, unattractive men greatly abound in this world. Let’s face it… attraction, subjective as it may be, is still very important to us (but not quite as important as it is to you). Fret not. We won’t tell you that’s the reason. We will keep our fingers crossed that someone will soon swoon for your looks and charm. I’d be remissed to imply that only physical attraction matters here. Sometimes there’s simply no common interest. So you’re big into Hip Hop culture? Cool. That’s not me. No need to hobble down that path…

 

You’ve talked yourself out of a chance.

Within two conversations some of you list everything that everyone has ever rejected you for. You’re too short. Too tall. You have really bad breath in the morning. Something’s wrong with your man meat. T–M-FREAKING-I! We care very little as to why someone else has rejected you, but we care very much that you still care. Women are attracted to confident, not cocky, men. We’re not asking you to brag or impress, but to show that you have a healthy love and respect for yourself. After all, if you make it to hubby status then you must love us as you love yourself. And if you don’t love yourself, well, the converse is true. There’s a time and place for transparency, but the first few conversations is not it.

 

Because when I called you “bro” you took it the wrong way.

If we address you as “bro” that does NOT mean, you don’t have a chance. It simply means we have not yet discerned the type of fella you are. We can’t call you “boo” without sending the wrong message about our intentions. I guess “sir” will do. But if you get upset over a simple “bro” then you will most likely get upset over something else just as minuscule. And let’s be for real– Not every woman wants you, and that’s ok too.

 

You’ve already made it clear that I’m not your type.

Everyone has preferences, and that’s fine. But if you constantly talk about the light-skinned, baby-haired woman who wears a size 6 with triple D cups…. Bro, that’s just not me or 99.999% of the women on this planet. Many of us are attracted to the very thing that will keep us in trouble. Sort out what you want and what you need. But I can’t be the person to help you bridge that gap. Once I’ve assessed that I’m not what you like, I will put you in a zone far from anything that resembles a romantic relationship. THIS is why you all get the pats on the backs during the hugs!! Farbeit from me to ask you to make an exception. Farbeit from you to make me your second, third, or fourth choice.

 

You’re far too aggressive.

I’ll be the first to say I love a manly man. But, sir, you cannot grab and kiss me the first time we meet. You cannot tell me what you want to do to me every time we chat. It’s far too much. Are you trying to conquer me, or get to know me? One will get you far. The other will get you in the SMS-zoned. (SMS zone is beneath the friend zone.) Keep it up, and you’ll land a spot on our Blacklist and receive an automatic SMS reply that reads “This text has been declined by the receiver because you are an @$$!”

 

One final thought… don’t take the friend zone personally. It’s quite alright if a woman doesn’t want to pursue anything more with you, and if you can’t handle that, then you really aren’t ready to date. If you are truly interested and your heart is in the right place concerning her, then you will wait and continue to pursue her until things change. In the meantime, be a great friend and show her that your integrity and charm is worth making her reconsider your (mis)classification.

 

What mistakes have led you to the friend zone of a woman you cared for?
What changes can you make in yourself to prevent this from happening time and time again? Would YOU date YOU?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future freedom from friend-zoning,

Alana

Image by Paul Goyette via Compfight

Being Saved, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

Ninety Down: Flies in the Ointment

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]I[/dropcap] hate flies.

They’re filthy, disgusting, annoying, and aggressive. Maybe it’s just where I live, but the flies in the burbs of Richmond will roll up on you, light up a cig, and blow the smoke in your face without thinking twice. And these nasty creatures–I’m not sure why God created them– were gathering at my back door.

Over 30 of these minuscule beasts were pressed against the glass panes buzzing “Give us us free.” They must’ve known I was coming for them because they hid in the blinds and soared around my apartment whenever I approached. And for an hour or so, the children and I took turns until every single fly revisited that window and disappeared into the swirling suction of my lavender vacuum cleaner hose.

Like any person with common sense, I looked for the source of the problem. There were no maggots in the trash can. (Thank goodness!) No gaps in the door. No gaps in the windows. I was at a loss…

…Until last week when I cleaned out the old clothes and toys from my daughter’s room. A foot to the left of her bed on the ceiling is a vent. Directly below the vent on the carpet– dead flies.

Nasty, filthy, stinking flies crept in unaware through an area that I had not considered because it was out of my reach. And because of my ignorance, a small swarm of flith-laden creatures had defiled our living spaces. (I thank God for the makers of Lysol and Clorox Anywhere Spray.)

And the old phrase, incomplete as it may seem, came to me…. “A fly in the ointment.”

Flies are attracted to anything with fragrance. They buzz around looking for the juiciest piece of fruit, hottest piece of chicken, or your finely-fragranced body butter. If we are diligent, we cover our wares and swat the flies away. But if we turn our backs for a moment, they contaminate, and something that was good just moments before ultimately gets tossed into the garbage.

And so it is with us, when we take on the lifestyle of a Christ-follower. We. Smell. Good. And the enemy knows he cannot get us to turn back to our life of sin, so he sends in the flies.

He sends in the annoying, the nit-picky, the continual harassment from people and circumstances. There’s a buzzing of my bank account on low, the texts from the guy who won’t kick rocks like I’ve asked him so many times, the forwarded emails with Tweety bird at the end!!! They all aggravate me to the point where I meditate on the wrong things, leaving my fragrance uncovered. Then the flies settle in making whatever beauty and grace I had completely distasteful and repulsive.

Aggravated. Frustrated. Exhausted.

 

[quote]Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour . (Ecclesiastes 10:1)[/quote]

 

A few flies have crept in over the past ninety days… By God’s grace I’ve found the sources and closed some of them. I’m cleaning out the remnants of disappointment and bitterness as I type. And I’ve managed to hide myself enough to discourage them from landing anywhere near me and mine. I’m guarding my heart and my mouth to no end.

So the bank account matter… I trust Him. The texts… Google Spam works wonders. The Tweety Bird forwards… Headed to the trash before they even seen my inbox. I’ve closed the vents.

Because what good is it for me to have suffered what I’ve suffered and lost what I’ve lost and gained what I’ve gained all unto God’s glory yet I bear a bad attitude and lack discretion? Why would I allow my precious relationship with Christ to become anything but by allowing small, nagging situations to enter and remain unchecked. We all have those rough days and weeks, but we cannot continually allow these matters to settle in our heart because they take away from the beautiful fragrance that God places on his people.

After all, flies aren’t the only ones attracted to us. So are the lost and the hurting. Who will embrace them if we don’t? And what hurting person ever seeks comfort from one who bears a bad attitude?

What negativity has been buzzing around you lately?
How can you be free close the vents even in situations where you have little control? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Uncategorized, Video Blogs & Podcasts

Overcoming Sickness

This is my first podcast, and I hope to jump on the iTunes bandwagon soon. Here are the Scriptures used to support this teaching.

[button link=”http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/overcoming-sickness.mp3″ type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Play MP3[/button]

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Luke 13:10-13

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

 

Isaiah 53:5

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

 

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

 

Luke 1:37

With God, nothing is impossible.

 

John 9: 1-3

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

 

2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!]

 

[button link=”http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/overcoming-sickness.mp3″ type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Download MP3[/button]

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Overcoming Temptation: Tipping the Struggle Scale

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W[/dropcap]e fall into two categories when it comes to temptation: “Struggling” and “Not Struggling”. To dig a little deeper those who are classified as “Not Struggling” are either totally delivered from a situation OR have no desire to fight against the very thing that’s keeping them bound. For those of you who see no wrong in indulging in your vices, this post is not for you.

I’ve struggled. In some ways, I’m still struggling but I’m definitely not falling like I used to. So you’re in good company, and I won’t tell your secrets if you won’t tell mine. Here’s what I had to learn about myself in regards to my weak (read “sinful”) areas.

[quote]But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14-15[/quote]

Lust brings forth sin and sin brings forth death. And lust, in this case, is not just a sexual term. Lust is any desire that takes you outside of God’s perfect plan for your life. It may be sexual, abuse of substances or people, cursing/cussing/complaining, gossip… fill in your blank.

So how do you tip the struggle scale to your favor? Start here.

 

READ YOUR BIBLE!!!

If I don’t offer any other steps, this piece alone is sufficient. Prayer does not work once you’re “in” the situation because your will is already compromised. The only way to stand in trying situations is to strengthen your spirit by reading the Word of God. As your spirit becomes stronger, your will becomes more aligned with God’s plan for your life and your desires start to change. You won’t see yourself or those shameful situations in the same light after some time. The Word is a lamp to show us where to go (and where not to go) and a light to make the truth evident. If you don’t read your Bible, you’re navigating your life in the dark!

 

Know your weakness & avoid it. 

Remember God does not tempt us (James 1:13). Temptation comes from within us. For example, put a fine chocolate-y, muscle-y brother in front of me, and I might be tempted. Pour a glass of Crown Royal and dangle it before my eyes, and I won’t blink twice. My lust is not for alcohol, so I cannot be tempted by it. I plead the fifth on the former situation, however. So until I’m able to stand, I should not put myself in those situations. So many folk have criticized me by saying “Don’t you have any self-control?” Well, no, I don’t. And bless God, I’m honest with myself and therefore I can avoid trouble.

 

Check your fellowship.

Somewhere in the Bible it says that we should not fellowship with brethren that we know are fornicators (in the KJV) and acting against God’s ordinances (1 Corinthians 5:11). By brethren the Scripture refers to those who identify themselves as Christ-followers. There is a two-fold purpose here. We cannot condone the continual sin of a person who calls him or herself a Christ-follower, so they must be given some space to allow God to change their hearts. A STRONGER reason is that eating with a person (and fellowshipping in general) is a way in which soul ties are formed, and wherever there are soul ties spirits and desires will transfer. (Bad company corrupts good manners, don’t you know?) Though your friend may not be malicious, the enemy certainly is. You’ll have to limit your ties with such a person to preserve your own soul.

 

Love God MORE!

Who I am to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like? Feelings in and of themselves are not evil, but actions are what bring  judgment. You might like to smoke a little “reefer” (that word makes me snicker), but you have to love God more to find your freedom. There are times in our walk when we find ourselves halfway between a place of sin and a place of prayer. Just choose to love God more, and He’ll handle the rest. Remember where sin abounds grace SUPERABOUNDS!!! (Romans 5:20– This is truly one of my favorite Bible verses.)

 

Consecrate yourself.

No one likes to do this, but nothing will break your nasty habits better than fasting and praying. I can fast for 3 days and see major changes in my most basic desires. Sometimes you have to literally starve your desires, and you do this by overruling your flesh with your spirit. BE HUNGRY FOR GOD!!! This also means that any influence that glorifies your lust issue should be cut off until you can handle it. Personal example… I haven’t watched music videos or listened to most secular music regularly in years because I cannot handle its content. It drives me want to sin, so it must go! A proper fast will bring about a lifestyle change ultimately transforming your desires so you don’t even want to do the same things anymore.

 

All of these steps will help you to resist the enemy as opposed to falling and repenting multiple times. Just last week, I had all these crazy thoughts come to mind that didn’t seem like my own. I wasn’t able to rest because I was so busy thinking and worrying over small things. I heard in my spirit “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). So I rebuked him and all the thoughts went away. The enemy is legally obligated to run from you the moment you choose to shut him down. You are not helpless. You do not have to succumb to his advances.

I think back to a certain relationship when the person kept wronging me in the same way over and over again. After some time, sorry didn’t mean anything to me because I realized he was making a choice to give in to temptation. How much more does God hurt when we continually choose our lustful desires over Him, knowing that in the end we’re still broken and unsatisfied?

Selah.

What’s your personal struggle?
How many more times will you allow yourself to be defeated
when you’ve been given the commandment to overcome?!
And what good thing is waiting for you on the other side of victory? 

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Family, Uncategorized

Parenting Whoa’s: I Did NOT See This Coming

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S[/dropcap]chool let out eleven days ago, and life with my children has been fast-forwarded. We’ve spent some time in karate class, at the gym, in the pool, and at home in front of Netflix. But other things are taking place. These jokers are growing at an alarming rate, and I can’t seem to keep up.

Here are the top three WHOA’S of my first 11 days with B&B and some of what you might be encountering with your children too.

 

They eat EVERYTHING including my healthy, mommy foods.

In one night after a dinner of BBQ chicken wings, boiled potatoes, and green beans, they knocked off some popcorn, milk, chocolate and strawberry syrups, a bag of grapes, bananas, and Doritos. They also finished off my imitation crab meat (left Old Bay sprinklings on the table) and giardinera. What six-year old likes to eat pickled cauliflower, carrots, and banana peppers?

Where did all these doggone toys come from and WHY are they mixed with clothes?

I’m not a cusser, but I feel a big, fat juicy one coming on when I ask them to put their clothes away, and drawers are left open with clothes seemingly vomited across the room. Then I take a step into the room and step on a Beyblade or a missing Barbie doll heel. Dagnabbit!!! Tomorrow we’re tackling the boy’s room. If I don’t post again in 24 hours, somebody come rescue me.

And the biggest WHOA of all… The first stages of puberty have emerged in one of the children.

I blame it on the hormones in our food (and genetics). But nothing prepared me for the conversation I had to have with my son today… God bless his dad for following up because some things I just can’t say. I figured as long as my son is still wearing his Thor helmet, cape, and carrying his mjolnir, all is well. (Thanks, Duana!) In the meantime, I’ll just hide all the pairs of scissors around my place to keep the kid from following through with his crazy idea. He’s truly my child because I remember thinking about snipping things away back then…

Shortly after we made this discovery, Brandon earned himself a popping on the arm. For a split second I felt like I’d popped a grown man, but when he looked at me with his baby eyes I was assured and comforted that he’s still my eight-year old baby. Oh the games our minds will play!

Somebody pass me a pamphlet and a box of Kleenex!

What unexpected surprises have you encountered with your children so far this summer? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana