Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Shall I Have Pleasure…?

Sometimes God waits entirely too long to fulfill His promises.

Sometimes it seems He just forgets and sits our prayer requests on the back burner with the heat off while other people’s requests are bubbling over with answers and blessings.

And sometimes you are 99 with crusty, dusty eggs and only memories of how your husband used to fondle you. Then here comes this BIG God with His BIG promises declaring, once again, that you’re going to have a baby. Sarah laughed in her heart and said “Shall I have pleasure seeing as I’m old, and my dear husband over there is older than me?” Yes, Mama Sarah. I understand why you laughed.

Sarah used her physical limitations to indict God. She was basically saying “Look, God. You waited too long. I stopped believing when my girly parts stopped working. I still love you, and I’ll still serve you, but there’s no point in believing Your promise any more.” Does your faith and willingness to believe have an expiration date or contingency clause like Sarah’s?

I’ve been praying that God would send one of my co-workers her mate. I won’t hash out any details about her, but I will say this. It’s clear that long ago she stopped believing for an answer to that prayer. If the greatest prophet walking on earth today told her that God was going to send her mate, she’d scoff and say “Shall I have the pleasure?” She has decided to no longer believe the promise for whatever reason, and her lack of faith hinders her expectation of something good.

I didn’t think I’d have pleasure because of my former nature. You may think you’re too old, too big, too skinny, too– whatever crazy things us women come up with to judge ourselves. God is moved by faith, not emotion or rational arguments. When God makes a promise, He’s able and willing to perform it. Don’t disqualify yourself with unbelief! Don’t frustrate your own destiny with doubtfulness and negativity! God’s Word is true!

Should you have the pleasure of a Godly mate?

Should you have the pleasure of bearing healthy, beautiful children?

Should you have the pleasure of divine health and fulfillment?

Should you have the pleasure of a bottomless bank account?

Should you have the pleasure of eating as much chocolate as you want never gaining a pound?

Yes, and amen.

May we submit our shortcomings and limitations to the Lordship of Christ and allow His grace to superabound in our lives. May we hold dear to the promises He’s made always trusting in His timing. I pray this post stirred up your faith to believe that you shall have pleasure.

Read and meditate on the following Scriptures to remind yourself of God’s goodness. You WILL have pleasure!

Isaiah 34: 16
Numbers 23: 19
Psalm 16:11
Psalm 84:11
Hebrews 12:2

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image courtesy of bee.creativesolutions at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

A Sh*tty Situation: Wedding Night Story

 

Beads of sweat formed on my lips and brow. My body quaked with pain as I tried to control the impending sounds of embarrassment. Oh, dear God! What did I eat? My stomach churned and gurgled. I arched my feet and pressed my toes hard against the bathroom tiles in hopes to minimize the pain. The baby flipped and kicked me in the lungs knocking the wind out of me. Oh, Lord! Help me not make a fool of myself. It’s not supposed to happen like this. My bowels shifted and dropped, and though I felt relief, I was mortified.

It was my wedding night.

Earlier in the day he had asked me if I could go away with him on a business trip. I knew my mother would refuse. Even though I was of age, I didn’t want to shame her anymore than I already had. I was great with child and fresh out of college. He and I wanted to marry, but my mother asked us to wait. One of us was willing, but the other wasn’t. We switched roles depending on the day.

So Mom gave in on the advice of a friend. “You never keep love apart,” she said. “If they love each other, let them marry” she said. Oh the woes of well-intentioned, uninformed advice! So off we ran to the courthouse to sign a marriage license. While there we found business cards for justices of the peace who could perform the ceremony and within two hours found a gentleman who was willing to oblige. We took our hasty selves down to the local mall, ordered a pair of wedding bands, purchased nice outfits, and drove back to my mother’s house to get dressed.

I found this lovely Chinese collar silk blouse and skirt set. I was never much of a fan of red, but the size 10 skirt fit nicely under my rounding belly. Chinese brides wore red, so why shouldn’t I? It was a sign. This was meant to be. He found a basic white sweater and black slacks, and off we went on a cold February afternoon to our 10-minute ceremony. I was certain he loved me. I was certain that the tear he cried would ensure me and my baby a secure future. I made my vows and meant every one. We paid and thanked the gentleman for his services and off we went on his business trip. Our first night together as Mr. and Mrs. in a small hotel… cheap dinner… no chance in heck at a honeymoon… was divine in every other sense. I didn’t mind what we didn’t have. I didn’t mind because our love was official. I had papers and a ring being made to prove it.

So after our consummation (if that even means anything considering we had so much practice beforehand), my guts began to stir. I. Was. Sick. And I sat on that toilet for a good part of the evening. I showered in shame and cheap hotel soap and climbed my bare, pregnant self into bed to sleep. Good wives don’t do that sort of thing.

The next morning his phone rang with a cheery chick voice on the other end. I ain’t like that heifer. I knew she wasn’t to be trusted. He shared the news and her high-pitched “oh-that’s-so-nice-congratulations” muffled past his ears to mine. It was phony. I knew because immediately after she cheered she began whispering again. I ascertained the following…

He hadn’t told his boys. He hadn’t even told his father.

Sh*t.

 

Photo credit: Gerard Stolk 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 Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

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

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

Ladies Only: Are You Help Meet Material? 

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

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

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

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

Fellas Only: Would You Submit to You?

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Carlos Porto via Compfight

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, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Letter to the Married Brother

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] D [/dropcap]ear Sir,

 

Need I remind you of the nights you prayed for the warm body that shares your bed?

Need I remind you of the countless dates with women who could not hold your heart or even a worthwhile conversation?

Need I remind you that Christian couples are divorcing everyday and there are consequences called child support alimony?

Yet you risk it all through emails, texts, and private messages. No, the  content may not be inappropriate but it is questionable. And the question to ask yourself is this…

 [quote]If your wife saw this, how would she feel? Your pastor? Your children?

Is this something you’d be proud of IF and WHEN it is revealed?[/quote]

Let me remind you that the Lord sees the intent of our hearts, and though you may be lonely…

Though you may feel neglected…

Though you may be searching…

You are still married, and I am not your wife.

 

Unless there is a defined purpose for a relationship AND that relationship is public, there is no need for us to communicate continually. I need not be welcomed into your life. I don’t need to answer all your questions. No “just because”, “goodnight” or “good morning” emails should cross my networking threshold.

Where is your integrity, man of God? Have you yet to learn that no one can satisfy your soul but God Himself?

Just as you seek to be comforted and entertained, the enemy seeks to destroy YOU. He doesn’t care about your job, your family, or your ministry. He wants your soul. And he will bring you a Delilah when you’re at your lowest point.

 

You’ve found yourself at a stand still and wondered why your prayers are not being answered, yet you do not serve God or your wife with fidelity. How could He bless you when you don’t protect the blessings you already have?

 

If you’ve got to send that message early in the morning or late at night…

If you delete every exchange of conversation…

If you’ve never expressed the objective of the conversation without identifying who you are (and being married is part of that)…

You’re wrong. And I forgive you for trying to use me to soothe your own insecurities.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your marriage,

 

Alana

 

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Love Your Wives: We’re Not THAT Complicated

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The morning after I posted “Love Your Husbands” I received an email from one of my close writer friends. He commented that he was interested to see what I’d come up with for the men. I responded saying that the men’s list would be much shorter and simpler.

His actual reply…. “So women’s needs are less complex (looking outside to see if it’s snowing Smile)?

At the risk of folk laughing me off Twitter, Facebook, and my own website I’m going to say YES… and NO! Shoot… I don’t really know. I just had to sucker you in to reading this post.

What I can say with CERTAINTY is that most menfolk are not about to read and implement 21 different things to do for their women… It’s just not part of a man’s make up. And to be perfectly honest, if you can do a few simple things in addition to being a provider, protector, and priest of the home, we’re good to go.

If your heart is right towards your wife, then the actions will follow. Keep in mind that the Bible warns against menfolk mistreating their beloveds. God explicitly says He will not hear your prayers.

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together.
She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life.
Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

Selah.

Having said that , here are five things you can do to show your wife (or maybe wife-to-be) that you do really love her. Many women know they’re loved in word, but not so much in deed.

  1. Train your eyes to be only for her. I made the heavy-hitter number one on this list. Men, you’ve got to understand that no matter how strong and secure your woman is she will never be ok with you looking (and lusting) after another. That goes for real life, social media, television, websites, porn, MMS’s, Instagram, imaginative SMS’s. Some of the things that I see posted by married/engaged men are downright disrespectful. (But if your woman is cool with it, who am I to pretend like it’s not acceptable?) While you may go home to her, another woman’s image is in your head. And scripturally-speaking, that’s adultery (Matthew 5:28). Love your queen enough to divert your eyes when you see “trouble” from afar. And when she says to you “Did you see what that woman had on?” you can honestly reply “What woman?” There is a great reward for the man who can grasp and practice this concept.
  2. Respect her feelings. We know that you’re logical by nature, and we tend to be a little more feel-y. Despite what you may think, our feelings are just as relevant as your reasonings. Have you ever come home late after promising to be on time? You had the best, most logical response planned, but it just wasn’t enough to calm her. No? Man, please… you don’t have to lie to me! Let’s really be logical. If you know something you want to do will bother her, don’t do it. One thousand reasons isn’t enough to explain why you caused hurt when the situation could have been easily avoided. Honesty means next to nothing, and you’ll have to endure more than just a argument if you continue. The flip side to that is that you may feel you’re losing out and it’s unfair to you. But you promised to lay down your life, and again, there’s a reward for being considerate and kind to your bride.
  3. Try something new. I say this jokingly, but on a serious note, stop doing the same wrong thing over and over and over and over. Sorry doesn’t mean anything after the umpteenth time. If you’re going to slip up, please do so in a different and very minimal way, i.e. not replace the toilet paper roll.
  4. Unlock your phone. This right here could rival number 1. Trust is a major issue in relationships. If you are, in fact, living a life according to God’s statutes there is no reason for your phone and email to be kept private from your spouse. You’re trusting that person with your body and soul, and so it is their obligation and responsibility to cover you in those areas. If you can’t submit to that, then perhaps some fasting and separation is in order. I realize this requires a serious heart change for some, but truly, what do you have to hide? It’s going to come to light anyway.
  5. Clean her car, and make love to her. This is a two-fer. Something about a man taking care of domestic things that we ourselves are too busy to do ignites the passion in a woman. I have a friend who often comments on the reward her husband gets after taking care of the family’s dishes. Don’t complain about not getting enough if you aren’t willing to help out around the house or with the children. It really can be that simple.

So gentleman, might I suggest you choose any one item from this list and test it out. See what happens when your queen notices a change in you, and trust me, SHE WILL NOTICE!

Ladies, let me stress this to you!! Do NOT send this to your man in hopes of proving anything without first sending the “Love Your Husbands” article. Let him see that you are wiling to make some changes for his benefit before requesting he do the same for you. I might even suggest allowing him to pick a few items with which you can start. It’s alright to be transparent because none of these techniques work by magic. If he knows you’re overlooking a snide remark because you want better and not because you neeeeeed him… you can figure out the rest.

 

What does your wife need most?
Your time? Affection? A greater demonstration of your commitment to her?
Which of these items could you implement first? 

If this blog has helped you in any way, please subscribe via the form on the right hand column, SHARE this with a friend, and leave a comment. I LOVE to hear from my readers, even when you all disagree.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your marriage,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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

So You Want a Ruth?

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I have to giggle when single men claim to be Boaz’s waiting on their Ruth’s. The sentiment is sweet and heart-warming. You’re on the search for love, but is a Ruth truly what you desire?

Last week some young, preacher-like fella was retweeted into my Twitter timeline proclaiming that he was a Boaz and demanding God to send his Ruth. This guy couldn’t have been more than 25 and quite immature which was made evident by the fact that he demanded anything of God at all. I thought, “Dude, you’re not even close to being a Boaz. What would you do with a Ruth?” I replied to his tweet inquiring as to whether he really wanted a woman who’d suffered loss, carried emotional baggage, and didn’t fit in with the crowd. His reply… “Well, maybe not a Ruth.”

In Scripture you find that Ruth was a woman from a foreign land who married an Israelite. Her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law died in her home country, a place known for abominable sins. She returned to Judah with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and took care of her until God sent her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. You know the rest of the story. (Just in case you don’t, you can find it here.)

While I originally intended to write this post for women, it seems I’m going to delve into the qualities that make a man a Boaz and offer you fellas some other options as far as women of God go. While Ruth’s are incredibly valuable and significant to the kingdom, this type of woman may not be right for you. More importantly, you may not be a Boaz.

Let’s break this down…

  • Boaz was a wealthy businessman. Don’t get upset with meeeee! It’s true!! Several men have approached me claiming to be my Boaz, yet I live better than they do. To be a Boaz, you must have reached a place beyond financial stability. If you’re still living with mama’nem, you cannot call yourself a Boaz… You may have some of the other qualities, but until you’re financially stable, should you really be looking for a wife at all?
  • Boaz was a man of authority and influence. He owned and managed fields, workers, threshing floors, and everything in between. He was a man of authority and influence because he built a name and reputation for himself. Not because he had a big ego– Sorry, Bey! What kind of leader are you? Are you humble or cocky and arroagant? Do people fear you or respect you? Do you take care of the needs of your workers? Or are you insensitive, cold, and demanding?
  • Boaz was compassionate. Woe to us who see a need and refuse to meet it when it is in our power to do so! If you’re not willing to give and provide for the woman in whom you have interest, you are far from ready for a Ruth. If you’re courting a woman, or even dating in some cases, to what extent will you give her help when she needs it? If her car breaks down, will you run to her rescue? If a family member gets sick, will you just pray with her and hope for the best, or actually make yourself available for emotional support? Compassion for another will cause you to give of yourself even when you may have to sacrifice.
  • Boaz was humble. I’ve never really understood why Ruth uncovered his feet or what that even means outside the literal sense, but Boaz says something to her that really strikes me as profound. “You have not gone after young men, neither poor nor rich.” Boaz was aware that Ruth could have easily found another mate. She was obviously very attractive or he would not have had to warn the young men not to touch her. Though he was well-suited to be  a husband, he respected her right to choose and was thankful that he was the one she chose.
  • Boaz was diligent. Once he was aware that Ruth was interested, he “made haste” to resolve the matter. He exercised wisdom in dealing with his shrewd family member, but secured Ruth as his wife. I wonder what Boaz might have gone through before the account of this story. There’s no record of his having a family prior to Ruth, but whatever challenges he had as a man prepared him to recognize the value in Ruth.

Are you prepared to do this for a woman who has suffered loss and needs protection and covering? Nothing wrong with saying “no” because you have to know where you stand on the matter. Perhaps a Mary would suit you better… sweet, mild-mannered, chaste. But are you a Joseph— Discerning, discreet, and self-sacrificing?

Or a Sarah who was submissive and had no problem calling her husband “lord”? But you’ve got to be the man who has no problem displaying affection for his wife.

Or an Esther who is mentally stimulating, beautiful, and brave? But are you sensitive enough to hear her heart on important matters?

Unless you’re seasoned, have been through some challenges, and find beauty in rare things, you probably don’t want a Ruth. And there’s nothing wrong with that… What type of woman is it that will suit you best?

Better yet… find what type of man you are.

 

Identify your areas of growth, and begin building up yourself so that when your bride comes…
whoever she may be…
you, man of God, are ready to meet her needs and cover her as God has ordained.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

Thirsting

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She was a Samaritan.

She was promiscuous.

She was churchy.

 

This poor woman has been lambasted in pulpits everywhere. She is considered to be nothing more than a loose and undignified woman, yet we overlook the most vital elements of the story.

 

She was thirsty.

 

And all of us are thirsty for something.

 

It’s a fact that humans can live for weeks without food, but only three to five days without water. How much more will spiritual thirst drive us to seek relief from these so-called “tall drinks of water”?

 

I won’t go as far to say that I admire the Samaritan woman, but I do understand her. Five times married. Sixth man shacking up… She hoped in love, couldn’t find it, yet kept on trying.

 

I’ve been there. Well, only married once… But countless times I’ve sought for love.

 

Back at the well, a place where only single and unattached women were to be found, she met Jesus. Think back to when Abraham’s servant sought a wife for Isaac… where did he go? To the well, and there he found Rebekah. Where did Jacob first see Rachel? Again, at the well. Where do you go when you want some attention at work? To the proverbial water cooler…

 

So why would a woman who lived with a man be at the well if she was already “involved”?

 

For the same reason many of us run to the club. Or wear revealing clothing.  Or take new photos for Facebook and Instagram everyday. Or lay ourselves down in hopes that he or she will love us. Or tell someone we love them knowing we do not.

 

Many of us are unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and disappointed. We’re thirsty.

 

We have a deep desire to be loved and deeply cherished, not just “chose”. (Chose is twitter terminology for being good enough to be picked by someone to be in a relationship yet the term does not communicate anything about the quality of the relationship. It simply means you’ve got somebody which, to me, means very little.)

 

And here comes Jesus, with his smooth line…

 

“If you knew who is speaking to you right now, you’d ask me to give you water. And if you ask me, I’ll give it you and you’ll never thirst again.”

 

In hood vernacular, “You ain’t never met nobody like Me.”

 

Every time I read that line I smirk. Say what you want about my Lord, but He knows how to talk to a woman.  You can’t tell me that sister from Samaria didn’t melt. No wonder she had to come up with all that crap about where and how to worship. She was nervous!

 

But back to the story. Place yourself at that well for just a moment. Look deep down and consider whether the thing you’re desiring is at the bottom. You already know what’s there. You’ve been drinking from it for how long?

 

Now look at the bucket. Can such a small vessel possibly hold the fullness of what you desire? Certainly not!

 

Now turn your eyes to Jesus… He is the seventh man in the story. He is offering exactly what you need. He will fill YOU so that you need not come back to the well for something that temporarily satisfies! He will fill complete you, perfect you, and mature you so that you can help someone else.

 

I must leave the well. Single and unattached, I may be but there’s nothing at the well for me.

 

Your well may not be the same as mine. But consider… the lilies… and your secret longings. God is faithful to give you those desires, but not until we have turned to Him and allowed ourselves to be filled by His love and grace.

 

With sincerity, love, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

Scripture references: John 4, Genesis 24, Genesis 29

Photo by Kashif Mardani from Flickr

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: What You Won’t Do

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I grew up thinking men were the only people to ever do wrong in a relationship. By the time I was 25, I was fully convinced that men were incapable of loving a woman the way that a woman loved a man. I thought that men only felt a little something, maybe admiration, but nothing substantial or lasting.  I thought that those who were married were destined to cheat, leave or stay and cause unhappiness. I thought the only men who did right by their wives were those who were weak or motivated  by fear.

What a cock-eyed way to view the world… But don’t judge me. You’ve got some cock-eyed ways too. Nevertheless I can’t help you get the spot out of your eye with the beam in my own.

But that was my experience. My experience now isn’t totally different, but I definitely don’t think this of menfolk any longer.

After developing some genuine friendships with good men, I’ve come to learn that women also do HORRIBLE things to the men that love them. These stories, in some ways, were more shocking to me than the usual “girl-he-cheated-and-had-a-baby-by-another-woman” story. So at this point, I feel compelled to write to the ladies regarding what a submissive woman won’t do to her husband, or any man that she cares about.

Before I begin the customary list (if it ain’t broke…), I will say this. As women we have overcome tremendous challenges, and many of us are doing great things. We’re making six figures, running corporations, caring for babies, building businesses and ministries… We. Do. It. All. So as empowered as we are, why can’t we say and do as we please? Well, you want to keep your man, don’t you? Don’t you want him to be happy with the relationship? Or would you run him to the arms of another?

I know you answered “no” to that last question, because you’re still reading. These, ladies, are the things we must stop doing to our men… with a little anecdotal evidence of course.

  1. Harboring unforgiveness and anger in your heart. We are all guilty of this in some way. Any time two lives are shared with any degree of intimacy, feelings will become hurt. But just he as makes mistakes, you will make them also. An old wise man once said “Keep a short account with God and man. Quickly repent. Quickly forgive.” Holding on to unforgiveness will cause you to become bitter and resentful, and anger will eventually be displayed through one of the following actions and sickness in your body. Forgiveness TRULY is not about letting the other person off the hook. It is about keeping your eyes on the cross and allowing God to move you forward regardless of their actions. Forgiving is not easy, but it is simple. It starts by making a choice. I shall blog about this more at another time.
  2. Talking down to him. Even if a brotha needs a rebuke or to be tightened up a little there’s a way to do. Never attack his masculinity or refer to him as a child to make your point. You might address character flaws, but let a man have his pride. If you take that away, he is bound to get it elsewhere. And if you know the devil like I do, he’s already got the right one lined up to step in… If you’ve got a sharp tongue, ask the Lord to bridle it and deal with your heart issues. Over time you will be able to speak the truth in love. Until that happens, it’s best you keep quiet.
  3. Doing the opposite of what you’ve agreed to do. I’ve been on the business end of this, and it’s no fun. If we agree that we won’t visit the homes of our single friends without each other, then don’t do it. Your story as to why you thought I’d be ok with it is irrelevant. Every relationship has boundaries. Boundaries are good, healthy, beneficial. If you and your boo have agreed to do (or not do) certain things then ABIDE by it! If you’re calculating what you can get away with or predetermining what the “punishment” will be, then you’re immature and are unlikely to maintain a healthy marriage. A double-minded woman is unstable in all her ways. .
  4. Being selfish and ungrateful. I’ll admit. This is common among women. We’re programmed with the “take-care-of-me” gene and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if we love the man, and not what he has, then we must live within the means provided. A quick fix for ungratefulness is thankfulness. When my children start to complain, I have to shift their thinking. As we go through our day I ask them to think about the things they’re thankful for and yell them out. So wherever they are… grocery store, park, car, at home… they’re forced to think through a different filter. And there’s power in the spoken word. When you hear yourself say what you’re thankful for, a heart change begins to take place. So start saying “thank you” to the Lord aloud, and then to your husband. ‘Thank you” is truly something you can’t say too often.
  5. Denying him. I don’t understand why married women are still doing this. Unless he’s abusive, cheating, or degrading to you, it’s your duty to pop that… let me chill. If you’re smart about it, you can win an unwieldy man with your womanly charms. If he has a tendency to look at other women, then show him WHY his eyes should only be on you. Outside of sex, I think it’s important that a woman also meets the other needs of a man. For example, if he needs an ego stroke… “Oh, sweetie, your arms are so strong. Teehee!”… then DO IT!!! Get over yourself, and do it!! If he needs a hot meal, don’t hand the man a sandwich. You’ll quickly drive him home to mama for a meal and to the computer for a quick sexual fix. And while we’re on the topic of sex, BE FAITHFUL!!
  6. Talking bad about him to others. We all need to vent, but daaaannngggg! Some of ya’ll are telling so much I’m contemplating whether I ever want to get married again. Some of the stuff that happens in relationships needs to stay there. Other things you may want to discuss with a close friend, but be sure it’s someone who won’t judge you or tell your business. But I was bad about this, and I’ve learned. And the scriptures tell us that the power of life and death is in the tongue.  A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. You shall have what you say.
  7. Usurping his authority. We’ve all heard the sermon. God took woman out of man’s side to be his equal. But the concept of submission is that one must come under the other so that order can be established. You, woman, have been appointed the submittee… There is no shame in this role when you realize that you had to be equal to (or in some cases above) to be placed under him. So know who you are, and recognize who he is. Taking away your husband’s authority is the worst thing you can do to your family. Love, honor, and obey. Don’t talk about him or argue with him in front of the children. If he’s wrong (and they can be wrong about a lot of things), address it privately. Your children won’t remember the one time daddy made a mistake, but they will remember that you called him on it and added a few nasty names to it as well. Yikes… how often we forget to be kind to those closest to us. By the way… your pastor is not the priest of your home. Your mister is…

 

I sincerely hope the menfolk feel vindicated at this point. I don’t think one would argue that they are proud of our accomplishments, yet many wish their wives would come home and be just that. One more submission post may be in me, but we shall see. I have so much to share! And I pray you enjoyed reading…

 

If this post has incited you in any way, please comment below or send me and email for more personal items. Also… if I haven’t asked enough… please join my email list or subscribe to the RSS feed. I’d hate for you to miss any of the good stuff I’m going to write. And… oh…it’s juicy!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

Photo Credit:

By Richard ‘Tenspeed’ Heaven