Being Smart, Pursuit of Purity, Uncategorized

Reveal the hidden places where we’ve run to instead of You, Lord. Show us the height from which we’ve fallen into ourselves and not into You.  (From “We Return” by Alberto and Kimberly Rivera)

I marched… more like hobbled… out of the neurologists’s office with my orders in hand. MRI’s, blood work, and other tests had to be completed in the coming weeks, and even though it all sounded like torture, I felt comforted. My doctor’s was kind and knowledgeable demeanor put my mind at ease. I held on to those papers tightly over the next few days… a little TOO tightly. They reminded me of his promise that he’d find out what was going on. For days I flipped through those papers looking things over as if they had the answer. I would’ve made them a blanket if I thought they could keep me warm.

The Holy Spirit sharply rebuked me. “Take comfort only in MY Word!” I had exalted the doctor’s orders over God’s Word without even realizing it. Somehow the comfort I received from man caused me to switch off my “now” faith in exchange for a sympathetic and hopeful “We’re gonna find out what’s wrong with you.”

Being taken care of feels good. Something about addressing an uncertainty brings a bit of comfort. But at the most the doctor can only do what man can do, and this situation is spiritual. I’d be a fool to let these papers, much less a diagnosis, replace my faith for divine health.

I had to quickly counter my steps towards unbelief. I grabbed one of the three empty journals in my bedroom and a fresh ink pen. I began listening to sermons about divine healing and health from the Copelands, Hagin, Joseph Prince, and anything else I could find on YouTube. I’ve started to write all the scriptures I can about the nature of God, healing, and finances (because medical bills– YIKES!).

I read through these scriptures ALOUD three times a day. I’ve found a prayer that I shout at least three times a day. Instead of holding on to the doctor’s orders, I’m holding on to words of life personalized by my hand and God’s voice. The orders from the Great Physician are far more powerful and life-changing than anything a doctor can do.

My daughter, attend to my words. Read and say them over and over. Incline your ears to my sayings.  Be ready to hear from Me at any point in time. For they are life to you because you’ve found them. They are health and medicine to your flesh. Proverbs 4:23

I will hold fast the confession of my faith for my complete and total healing without wavering because my God is faithful Who promised. Hebrews 10:23

With long life will You satisfy me and show me Your salvation. I’m not satisfied with only 35 years of life. My children need me. I have more work to do. Save me! Psalm 91:16

Let Your hand be my help for I have chosen Your precepts. You have laid the foundation, but I can’t see the end. I will trust what You’ve given me so far. Hold my hand and help me to obey and trust Your Word. Psalm 119:173

What does any of this have to do with purity? Well how many times has life pressed you into the wrong person’s arms or into some substance to find comfort? While God provides us many ways to enjoy our lives, He desires to meet our needs before any other. That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit who is known as THE Comforter. Have you ever noticed that when you’re having a crisis, no one is free to answer the phone? Fill up with His word, and turn to Him first in times of need.

There is situation so urgent that we cannot first acknowledge God! 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Recovering from Infidelity: Three Myths & Corresponding Truths

It happens. Somewhere along the line someone (or two) stepped out of the bounds of a relationship and made a connection elsewhere. Whether that connection was emotional, physical, or sexual matters very little because trust has been betrayed. The commitment is broken. Faith is lost. Love itself hangs onto the side of a city skyscraper while anger threatens to crush love’s fingers under its steel-toe boots– or pointy stilettos.

I don’t make light of these matters. Having been cheated on and done some cheating myself, I know full well what the consequences entail. In a marriage, infidelity is devastating. To have someone you give your life to step out and betray that bond…. words can’t express. Honestly, it’s what I feared most in life. When it happened, I thought I’d die. But here I am kicking and nearly ready to love again…. Shando!

In courtships and engagements, the consequences are less severe, but the pain is just as real. We wonder if the cheater ever really loved us. We try to figure out where things went wrong. Can we can fix it? Can we cause equal pain in return? Very few of us are resolved to totally walk away if someone cheats. If we do, we didn’t really love that person all that much in the first place which makes for easier recovery. But what if we’ve invested time, energy, money, promises, sex (oops!)? It’s not so easy to let go! Instead we dance the line between forgiving and despising. We want to make things work, but we’re wounded and unable to trust even though we want to.

I guarantee if you’ve been the cheatee, you’ve been told or thought these three things which I call myths. And of course, I tack on a bit of truth.

Myth #1: It’s all the cheater’s fault.

Our best friends and family will often tell us it’s not our fault. No, we can’t make a person be faithful to us, but we must consider if our actions contributed to their desire to step out. Long before infidelity creeps into a relationship a lack of respect and/or dishonesty reared its head. OR something changed in the relationship. Many times young Christian couples will start a relationship in the worst kind of way. Boy and girl are so strongly attracted to each other that sex becomes a regular part of the courtship, but before long one party (usually the woman) feels guilty and wants to do things the right way. By this time the man is used to having sex AND has formed a soul tie, so he can’t figure out why it should end. Trouble ensues. Who’s to blame here? Just the cheater? That’s hardly true or even fair. Yes, the sex should stop if you want a Godly relationship, but we must realize if we’ve contributed to someone else’s bad decision and ask forgiveness from God for ourselves particularly if you knew better. I’ve been in this sinking ship a few times over now.

There are cases, however, where one party does everything in his or her power to take care of their mates needs, yet the person is still unfaithful. In this case, both are still to blame. The truth, at the very foundation, is that the cheatee chose the wrong person. Get out, get healed, and choose better next time. *pops self on hand*

Truth: Both parties play a role in cheating. The cheatee may be guilty of neglect, unkindness, or changing of his/her mind. When issues arise and BEFORE infidelity occurs, each individual needs to decide whether the relationship should be continued with changes or ended. If you want something the person is unwilling to give, then why remain? Show the other party some respect and make the choice that’s right for you. If you love each other and are struggling with sex, then take your butts to the church and inquire about marriage. If you part ways, that’s fine too. Next time around, do what’s right from the beginning.

 

Myth #2: Breaking up is the only option.

When I suffered my first (known) case of infidelity I went to a counselor and she told me to consider staying. I’d just had a baby and was in school full-time, so while I was taking care of my small children and getting a degree there really wasn’t a need to run out the door. What good would it do? Who would it benefit? She counseled me  to stay and to try to win him over to the family lifestyle. I tried. Didn’t work, BUT at least I gave it a shot.

If you truly love a person and love what you’ve built together, then it’s worth taking a step back and considering whether you should go or remain. The Bible does clearly state that sexual infidelity is grounds for divorce, but it doesn’t say you HAVE to divorce. As far as courtships go… well… how can I put this? If I can’t trust you now, I probably won’t be able to later. Just the same, be Spirit led. One false step does not always indicate a bad person, but there are character issues present. And who doesn’t have those? Chances are God didn’t put you with a person who’s cheating. We make those kinds of choices on our own. Timing is also an issue. Don’t say the words until you’re ready to follow through. Too often we speak out of feeling or from what we want only to realize later that we’re unable to follow through. This goes for breaking up and staying together.

Truth: Whether you choose to stay or go should NOT be an emotional decision. Be quiet and still until God directs, and then obey.

 

Myth #3: They’re indebted to you.

We read stories about how valiant knights would slay the dragons for a princess before even casting his gaze upon her. The long and short of it for 21st century is this… People ain’t about that life anymore! Oh how I’d love a man to vanquish my foes, but alas, I don’t have one that will and if I asked up front, I’d never make a fella mine. Lol. I fight big battles, you understand. Still, ladies and gentlemen, we find ourselves feeling that the other party owes us something when the cheating becomes discovered. And perhaps they do… in marriage they certainly do! But there comes a point where we must choose to forgive, i.e. cancel any real or perceived debt or obligation. And after we forgive, we stay or let go.

At the end of the end of the end of my marriage, I was advised to give my soon-to-be ex-husband some tasks to complete before I would consider reopening my heart to him. I did. You know the end of it, but honestly, he didn’t really need to do any of the things I asked because my mind was already made up. Was it wrong of me to ask? Not really because he insisted on proving his worth… (I’m trying hard not to laugh here.) Outside of a marriage relationship, I strongly feel that it is wrong to make a relationship conditional. “If you do these three things no matter how bad you hate it, we can get back together.” No no no! This creates unnecessary damage. Decide that you’re either going to reconcile and take steps together to move forward (agreed upon conditions) or part ways. If-then ultimatums are manipulative and damaging to both parties. If a person truly loves you, he or she will prove it without your requests or demands.

Truth: Some debts are better left unpaid. Forgiveness is not optional, so start there. Unless you’re married, conditions for reconciliation are NOT the way to go. You’re only hurting yourself more by expecting what someone else may be unwilling or unable to provide. Love is best expressed of its own accord. 1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” If you’re afraid of what will happen, seek God’s love first, then the outcome of the relationship won’t matter.

 

I write this for my friends that I love dearly, and for those of you I don’t know, that I love dearly. We are losing love because we make bad choices from the start and make worse ones during! Einstein says you can’t solve a problem with the same mindset you used to create it. The sooner we let go of these fallacies, the quicker we will find healing.

Selah.

What’s worse than losing love is that we’re damaging each other. Our selfish motives and self-righteous attitudes deepen the scares that both parties feel. If I could go back in time, I probably wouldn’t have done anything differently because of the depth of the hurt, but going forward, being matured in Christ’s love, I know that NOTHING can separate me from Him. It’s time Christian folks put away selfishness, receive the Lord’s love, and pour it out on each other the way He intended.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Photo credit: Creative Commons License dustyrhodes2012 via Compfight

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

How I Got Over (Him)

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

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

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

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

 

I submitted to God’s will.

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

I repented.

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

I suffered.

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

I fell in love again.

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

I closed the doors.

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

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

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

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

Selah.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #4: Put Away the Grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it dawned on me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Selah.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Photo credit: chandrika221 via Compfight