Being Saved, Uncategorized

So I’ve got this little crush. I don’t see him often, but when I do, I get a little goofy, giggly, and swoony. I AM, after all, very much a woman. The chances of this crush blooming into anything more is unlikely, and I’m fine with that. Sometimes just gazing upon a handsome face and frame is all I need to keep me from hopping over to  homely mom status.

Having said all that, it’s easy to get caught up imagining things…

Oh, don’t play dumb with me, sis! We are notorious for taking a mental skip, hop, and jump to wedding day when a fine brother pays us a little attention. We long for intimacy, but we don’t want to wait long so fantasizing creates a pleasant scenario in our minds in the meantime.

But here’s the problem.

While you’re off in la-la-land rehearsing the what-could-be’s, your soul is busy connecting to someone who may or may not exist. And even if he is all of the wonderful things you hope, shouldn’t the tie be formed through natural human interaction over time?

Any time we indulge in vain imaginations, we become subject to deception. I started to imagine this and that with Mr. Crush, but the Lord quickly arrested me. “Is that REALLY want you want from him? He can’t give you what I have in mind. This thought pattern is exactly how you opened yourself up to be fooled before.”

Not to belabor  the point, but I’d like you to check your track record. How many times have you…

  • Moved the relationship along faster than its natural flow?
  • Made unreasonable demands?
  • Expected or hoped for too much too soon?
  • Shared too much too soon?
  • Bought gifts and provided services (clears throat) outside of the proper covenant?
  • Held on when you should’ve let go?
  • Made excuses for someone you knew wasn’t any good because you didn’t want to your imaginations to be wrong?

Now how many of those times did you make those choices because you were engaged with a figment of your imagination instead of the real person? And if you allowed yourself to get to know the real person without interference from your desires, would you have done those things? Probably not.

Full disclosure… To get my imagination under control, I have to read the Word DAILY and fast once a week. That way my soulish desires can’t outweigh the Word of God that is alive in me.  I know your preacher has told you that whatever you think about, you’ll eventually do… so uh, yeah. Let’s guard our thoughts!

Read: 1 Peter 5:8, Matthew 5:28, 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Pray:

  1. Father, help us to sanctify our thoughts and bring every vain imagination under the power of Your Word.
  2. When it comes to potential relationships, help me to be sober-minded and watchful.
Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Notice I didn’t say I found forgiveness because forgiveness is always available for the repentant…

But my heart was so entrenched and in love with the sin, I could not stop. Even when I was able to maintain my celibacy, I still dabbled in other areas of impurity. Because I was not totally pure I believe the Lord allowed me to become involved in what I thought was a Godly relationship, but within a few months became very tumultuous.

I’m telling on myself so that I don’t go back to that lifestyle. So there’s step one. When you’re struggling in sin and you KNOW you want to come out, expose the sin. Find someone to tell what you’re struggling with and that you want to be free. The enemy dwells in secrets, and as long as his agenda is hidden you’re bound. I remember calling up one of my guy friends who is married and mature. We had a mutual friend who would come by and “see me,” and I was tired of being used. When I spoke to my friend and told him what was going on, not only did the shame leave me, but the will to continue to allow this guy use me left as well.

That takes me to step two. Yes, I believe in accountability partners, but I also believe choosing that partner should be a Spirit-led process. I also don’t think it’s wise that one person know ALL your business. I have one girlfriend that I’ll call and report to when I see temptation on the horizon. She calls me in like manner. When pressing situations arise, I ask the Lord who I should trust with the matter. Usually He has prepared that person’s heart with a merciful word and guidance. Telling the WRONG person is one of the worst things you can do, so definitely be led by the spirit of God in this. If you’re in a situation where the person you’re involved with, wants you to keep the sin a secret (because men can be like that… chile) tell anyway. He can remain in his sin, and will likely do so. But you, my sister, must come out.

Step three… I’m so sorry for this one because it will turn you upside down. Pray this prayer: “Father, in the areas of my life where I don’t love you enough, teach me to love You more.” Not only did praying this cause me to become more aware of HOW the enemy was working in my life, but it also gave me the will to stand against the enemy because I became more confident of God’s love. This prayer forced me to obedient to what the Lord commanded or suffer the consequences. Consequences are horrible, but I will stay the Lord was gracious when I suffered.

Through these things the Lord worked TRUE repentance in me, and not just the sentimental “I’m sorry” or even the faux remorseful “I’m sorry I got caught/pregnant” repentance. Over time my opinion of the sin actually changed, and what was once so enticing has now become repulsive to me.

One last note… Someone needs YOU to be mature so they can trust you with the trouble going on in their life. Stay in the Word and in prayer so when they come (because they WILL come) you can encourage them to get back on track (Proverbs 25:11).

Believing God’s opinion and being able to walk it out is the true measure of purity. 

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:22 and Proverbs 22

Pray: 

  1. Father, even though I love this sin, help me to love you more.
  2. Show me who I can trust with this matter. Give them a word of mercy to encourage my heart to obey.
  3. In the areas of my life where I don’t love you enough, teach me to love you more.
Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships

You were fashioned in the image of Creator of the universe. In you is the essence of that Creator, and your expression of Him is unlike any other. Your fingerprints are unique. Your DNA is unique. Your quirks and idiosyncrasies… all embedded by the Master. You were curated to bless this earth with your beauty, grace, and giftings.

When you were born, you were pure.

In the context of Chemistry something that is pure contains only itself. Anything mixed with it may be physically present, but it is not part of that substance. You can mix salt and pepper, but salt will always be salt and pepper always pepper. Scientists care about this information for two reasons: they want to know how much of substance comes out of a particular reaction and how pure that substance is.

How much of you remains? And how pure is it?

I’ve narrowly focused on sexual purity because that’s the area I can write about most easily, but honestly, we contaminate our bodies with drugs and alcohol, both of which can open our souls to things  God never intended for us.

Every time you are intimate with another person you transfer your DNA, your essence, your uniqueness. You take on theirs. Without a God-ordained bond, you essentially lose whatever you gave. You take on something you never were intended to have. C.S. Lewis wrote that two people who have sex create “a bond that must be forever enjoyed or forever endured.” Selah.

Our words contaminate us. The things we watch and hear feed into our souls will eventually cause us to speak on and act in accordance with what we’ve taken in, rather than what God has spoken. (Matthew 15:11)

The enemy’s ultimate goal is to destroy you, and if he can’t do that, contaminating you will suffice. Outside of abusive situations, the one thing that stands between maintaining your you-ness is a choice to obey God and remain pure.

How much of you today is the God-curated you?
How much of you has been lost or taken in from wrong action?

Read Proverbs 4 and Matthew 15

Pray:

  1. Father, bring back the pieces of me that were lost in disobedience to you. Remove anything displeasing to you.
  2. Perfect Your image in every area of my life.
Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Chipped Polish & Panty Lines

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

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

Criticize her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That woman can dream.

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

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

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

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

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Image source:  towardsthesunset via Compfight

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marriage is temporal, but has eternal implications. 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Marriage adds trouble to your life. 

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

 

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

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

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

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your  future,

 

Alana

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

If you don’t know by now… seize this blog post!

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said “When I became a man, I put away childish things.” Instead of preaching to you what is or isn’t childish, allow me to walk you through the process of dating a 30-something woman…

Get your money together.

If you have to borrow from daddy, mommy, sissy, or Bruh Bruh, then you don’t need to take anybody anywhere. Have a seat in front of USAJobs.com and find yourself one, work a couple months, and then pursue.

Ask her out at least two days in advance.

This last minute willy nilly just won’t do. If she agrees, then ask her what she enjoys doing and eating. I’m not talking super specifics, but get some general information so you don’t take a veggie to the Brazilian steakhouse. No texting or emailing on this one, fellas. You might even want to write it down what she says.

PLAN the date.

Have you ever been in one of those “Where-do-you-want-to-eat-I-don’t-know-where-do-you-want-to-eat” conversations? Avoid the potential friction, and plan ahead. That means days BEFORE you even meet her, choose where you will eat and what you will do. If time permits, pick up a LivingSocial or Group On deal. Their couples activities are unique and have outstanding value. Unless you’re super shy, steer clear of the movies for a first date. The object is to get to know each other, and you can’t really do that in the dark… well, not in the Godly sense! Choosing a place to eat and one other activity, even if it’s just walking through a park, is appropriate.

On the day of your date, give her some basic details about your plan.

You could be Ted Bundy for all we know. To allay those fears give her a call and share some basic details . My daddy used to say “Always let someone know where you’re going, and be discreet.” If you play the wait and see game with some women, they might get up and go. Another point here… telling a woman a few details in advance will help her to prepare AND get her a little excited. She’ll be bragging to her girlfriends before you even go out. Cool points for you, Boo.

When you see me– uhhh, her– COMPLIMENT her.

DO Y’ALL EVEN KNOW WHAT WE GO THROUGH TO PREPARE FOR A DATE? Do you know how many hours we walk around with that wrap on our heads? Do you know we should be writing reports, but are taking beauty naps instead?! Do you know how many applications of powder pink lip gloss it takes to get the look juuuust right? How DARE you not compliment her appearance. I’m not saying you should gush, but come ooooon. You look niiiice. Your hair is pretty. I’m glad to see you. I’m looking forward to this evening. Pick any two of those. And pick up a flower too. If she feels a little icy at the beginning of the date, a genuine compliment will help your cause.

PAY for the date!

If she offers to leave the tip or pay for dessert, do whatever seems right to you, but the bulk of the financial burden is on you. No woman wants to marry a man that can’t afford to date her. Harsh, but oh so real… Hopefully you planned to eat a place you can afford. If not, welp… lesson learned, buddy.

Make some time for conversation.

I’m not a fan of telling life stories or asking a million questions, but choose three things to share about yourself and three things you want to know about her. Don’t checklist them, but have them in the back of your mind and slide them joints right into the regular conversation. Refrain from the following… Why are you still single? Do you think you’ll ever get married? Do you make your kids’ dad pay child support? And don’t you dare talk about yourself the whole evening.

Conclude the evening.

Be a gentleman from beginning to end. Walk her to her car or the door of her home. Thank her for the evening FACE-TO-FACE… not via text after she’s out of your presence. If a hug is appropriate, then share one. If you’ve known each other for months and you want a smackeroo, then kiss her hand, and gauge from there.

 

Your goal is to make sure she leaves your presence feeling valued and appreciated, and if you did that, then more than likely she’ll want to see you again.

Few sidebars… Don’t skip this info here!

  • If you’re looking for sexual entertainment, then leave the good women alone. There are plenty of hoodbo— others– that will gladly do your bidding. Some of us are trying to live holy, and we don’t need your drama. God WILL discipline those who abuse His children and manipulating a woman to sleep with you is abuse!
  • It’s best to keep your hands to yourself. The Bible warns that if you touch a woman, you ignite passion in her. You don’t want to start a fire in a woman you don’t really know, now do you? I know you some of you are nodding yes, but there are real life Jazmine Sullivan’s out there. Get to know her before you ease your hand on the small of her back. (1 Corinthians 7:1)
  • Lastly, make sure you look and smell good. At the very least, wear a polo and some nice jeans. A crisp white Oxford and some nice cologne will work many miracles for men of all statures.

Well, fellas… the rest is up to you. Feel free to let me know if I struck a nerve. I’m certain my inbox will be flooded with “I don’t agree with that part” to which I will reply “Well do you, Boo Boo.” You have been sufficiently warned.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for better dating experiences for me and my girlfriends,

 

Alana

 

 

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Swoon Factor: My Most Memorable Kiss

I love random SMS conversations. But today, this one took me by surprise…

Flex: Could you be with someone that you didn’t enjoy kissing? 

Me: Absolutely not! 

Flex: Just making sure I wasn’t crazy.
Me: But I would try a few times to see if it gets better.
Flex: Yeah, I would.  But if I CONSISTENTLY don’t like it…nah lol.
Me: Totally agree… 
Flex: So you wanna kiss me or nah? 
Me: X______X (I didn’t actually text this, but my eyes did cross.)
Flex: I kid I kid lol

That short (hilarious) exchange did two things for me. First, it sent me into a fit of laughter thinking about my friend being poorly kissed by a well-meaning, passionate, but unskilled woman. Can’t you see her closing her eyes, leaning in, tilting her head, and seductively pouting only to smoosh his nose in and chomp down on his lips? Second, it made me think about a few kisses I’ve had over the years. As we all know, 2012 has been relatively dry in the kissing department, so I had to dig deep to really reflect on the matter. (The things I do for you people… psssh…)

Some of ye olde kisses were awkwardly pleasant. Others were forceful and unenjoyable. Some I have to dig deep to even remember though at the time I was having a swoon-fest. But one kiss really stands out in my mind for all the right reasons.

Oh, how I wish I could describe the mechanics of this kiss, but Lord knows you super churchy folk would get all  up tight at the mention of kisses that don’t land on foreheads or cheeks. And this kiss was smack dab on the lips. There was suction. There was swooning. There were no consequential actions that led us into sin or regret. The kiss simply communicated “I care about you. I understand you. I value you as a person. Thank you for being you.”

Outside of the fullness of the fella’s lips– *dodges rebukes*– I can pinpoint three factors that contributed to the swoon factor.

  1. We were incredible friends, and I just didn’t expect it.
  2. He was respectful enough to ask but charming enough to not make it sound like he was asking.
  3. His kiss wasn’t a demonstration of other activities he might have wanted to do with me.

Immediately following this seven-second smooch, I turned my back towards him, crumpled to my knees, and fell flat on my face— in my mind, of course. In real life, I zombie-walked away in complete and utter shock. Once I was alone I smirked and giggled like a fool.

Many of us are far too careless with our kisses. For some that may look like kissing too many people or not kissing the one you claim to love enough. For others, we fail to communicate what matters most in such an intimate moment, and that is your respect and admiration for the person of interest.  We can’t be so careless to communicate our demands in hopes that the other party will be moved (coerced– whatever) to fulfill our desires. And selfish kisses are worse than bad breath kisses for one reason, and one reason only.  They’re totally forgettable.

[quote] “The mouth is made for communication, and nothing is more articulate than a kiss.” ― Jarod Kint[/quote]

Next time you want to make someone swoon, remember respect and compassion will help you win the cause, but at the very least, you won’t be forgotten.

With love, sincerity, and pack of Chap Stick,

Alana

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by _Zahira_

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #4: Put Away the Grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it dawned on me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Selah.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Photo credit: chandrika221 via Compfight

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

Why Can’t I Move Forward?

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sincerely,

 

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

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Plight of FB Relationship Statuses


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

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

Oh. Heck. To. The. Nah.

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

And what slides down my meager News Feed?

Alana is no longer listed as “married.”

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

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

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

 

“Single”

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

“In an open relationship”

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

“In a relationship”

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

“It’s Complicated!”

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

“Engaged/Married”

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Alana

Photo Credit: Constantine Belias via Compfight