Replacing Him with ‘them’: Intimacy transference in relationships

Published April 18, 2017 by lavoniartryon

Image result for word hugging girl

Intimacy. In-to-me-see. Intimacy is defined as a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group; a close association with or detailed knowledge–deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc. We will discuss both of these definitions and how they relate to Singles as we transition into a romantic relationship.

We crave intimacy. Even if you are an introvert, you still long for that close connection with another person, and you will protect that bond. It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight, and it represents something that is forged on the foundation of tears shed, joys shared, and secrets told. It’s a merging of hearts, emotions, sometimes even dreams and futures. It is a rare phenomenon to share a kindred bond with another in such a way that in many areas, you can’t tell where you end and the other person begins.

As Singles, we share intimacy with friends and families. Those connections that last through various trials and tribulations, that bring you closer together. We are blessed when we are born into an intimate family, even more blessed when we can choose it through friendships.

But, ultimately we share we are meant to share true intimacy with Christ. Paul states in 1 Corinthians that an unmarried person has undistracted devotion to the Lord, not worried about the cares of the world that marriage brings. I believe that this is true for relationships in general. When we are unattached, we may spend hours in our Word, listening to podcasts, volunteering, serving in several ministries, etc. Oh, but when we get a boothang, how the story changes. Priorities get twisted. We are still staying up late and getting up early, but the object of this intimacy has changed. We are now making efforts to get to know this other person, and that takes time. We shift our time to shared events, sync schedules to spend more time together, and cultivate the intimacy of this new bond, while inadvertently neglecting the other one.

This intimacy used to be how we felt about the Lord, now we are transferring it our new interest. It’s fresh, it’s new. Its.Tangible. If we can take the time to be transparent, and any of you that know me, know that I don’t operate any other way-sometimes it’s hard to build intimacy with an Unseen God. The drive to get out of the bed in the morning to get in the Word, or stay up at night to have quiet time, gets pushed to the side when your phone rings. I’m not saying that getting to know someone new is bad, I’m saying it’s dangerous when the time we used to spend with the Lord, is now devoted to a (wo)man.

In-to-me-see. When we try to imitate the closeness that can only be filled with Christ, with a potential mate, we will end up draining the other person and disappointing ourselves. We were created with a God-sized hole in our heart, but because He is a gentleman, He will patiently wait while we try to fit someone else in that spot. Only when we realize our mistake, and make a conscious effort to place Christ back on the throne of our hearts, are we ever able to achieve real intimacy with anyone else. It’s impossible to see into someone else, until you can truly see into yourself. And the only way to see who you really are, is through the One that created you.

In my relationship, I am still finding the balance. I sometimes find myself lacking in my quiet time, and in those moments, I lean on him to fill a void that he was never created to fill. I start to expect more from him, be more needy and clingy and can’t really pinpoint the source. My soul is thirsting for Christ, but I’m trying to fill it with a cheap imitation. This is not a slight on my man, it is an acknowledgement of my Savior. Any person pales in comparison when up against the Lover of my Soul. Only when I reset my eyes on Christ, can I take the pressure off my relationship and then I’m free to enjoy the love affair as it is, not as it can never be.

The intimacy that we share with Christ can be transferred to a man, but we will always feel empty, because a man can never compare to the Son of Man. When you find yourself running dry, or when you feel the strain of a pressure that shouldn’t be in your relationship, check your connection with Christ. As long as you are full of Him, then you will always have room for the one He created for you. See yourself in Christ, before you see yourself with anyone else.


DAY 24: I Never Danced With my Father Excerpt: Through My Eyes

Published February 22, 2017 by lavoniartryon


MEMORIZE: When my mother and father forsake me then the Lord shall take me up.  Psalm 27:10

READ: Psalm: 27

Challenge #24: Briefly describe your relationship with your father and how you believe it has affected your romantic relationships. If your father is in your life in any way; call, text, email or tweet him just to tell him you care.

Daddy’s lil girl. Every young lady longs to be one, but the reality of over 40% of children being born out of wedlock and raised by a single mother, or even the grandparent, makes this a far-fetched dream for many of us. I was that dreamer. For over half of my life, my father was a stranger to me; I knew his name and face, but not much else. At the ripe, impressionable age of 15, my father told me never to call him again, then changed his number and moved to Virginia, just in case I didn’t get the message. That was over 15 years ago. His brother, my uncle, tracked me down in 2011 and told me that he had passed away. With the recent passing of my father, God showed me that I was still holding on to some hurts that I never knew I had. Because I now realize how it affected every relationship that I was ever in, and how it would have affected every other relationship that I would ever begin, until I had dealt with it—I think it’s important to share within this challenge. There may be a man or woman dealing with Daddy issues who needs to hear how to gain the courage to face and heal them.

My Daddy issues ran deep. And they ran rampant. They controlled so much of me. But the most troubling part was that I didn’t know I had them. This is what made them dangerous—they tainted all of my relationships, even my platonic interactions with males, without my knowledge. I faced abandonment issues, insecurity issues, and self-image issues. I was a mess, and it takes a lot out of me to be this transparent. His choice as a man affected the woman that I would become. I don’t believe men truly understand the damage they can inflict on their children when they decide to leave. It leaves a wound that only God can heal, but many don’t suspect it’s there, so they will never get the healing they need.

Man or woman, no matter how much we may try to downplay or minimize the role, we all need to feel the love of a father. This is not meant to slight the love of a mother, because her love is incomparable, but I believe that the father’s role in our lives may, in some ways, have a more direct impact on how we grow up to have other relationships.

A father is the first person that chooses you in your life. There is never doubt of the maternity of a baby because a mother physically carries it — it can’t be denied because she gave birth. However, the father has the unique choice to acknowledge that the child is his, verbally and by action, before a paternity test is given. I believe this is what gives the dynamics of the relationship with the father a different perspective. Whether you have ever thought of it this way or not; if your father is in your life, was in your life, or has ever acknowledged you without proof, then this is the first earthly example you have of a man choosing you because he wanted you, not because he couldn’t deny you. This is vital in the foundation of how you view relationships, whether you are male or female. As a female, a standard (even if you are unaware) has been set for the way you will relate with men and how they should treat you. As a male, it plants the seed of responsibility and leadership in your female relationships. Because you chose her, you love and accept her out of free will, not obligation.

So what happens if you didn’t have an earthly father to choose you? I believe it manifests in different ways in different people, but I wholeheartedly believe that it will manifest. In a man, maybe it rises up when he finds it a bit easier to deny his own child or to negatively treat the women in his life. On the other hand, he may choose to use it as an example of what not to do. He may become the protector of his mother, treating every woman the way she should be treated because he refuses to be like his father. For a woman, it may subconsciously affect her trust in men or cause her to be bitter towards men without realizing the root cause. She may seek to find the acknowledgement and acceptance she never received from her father in any man she can find to fill the void.

I was the latter. I searched for acceptance in men specifically, and in people generally. I didn’t know how to be myself, because I never got a true definition of what that meant. I was taking care of two kids at the age of 16, while my mother worked nights and slept days, and my father wasn’t there. My younger siblings needed me, so I worked full-time throughout my high school years to pay bills and buy groceries. I don’t use this as an excuse or a ploy for pity; it’s simply fact. I grew up fast, and without a self-image. Even at a younger age, I remember dating older men; I guess I was looking for that father figure, even then. I tried to fill that void with being everything to everyone, I needed to be liked, I craved acceptance, because I had been so starved for it.

Until recently, I would tell people that I never had a father in my life. But that’s a lie. I did have a father, until the age of 15. He wasn’t much in the way that I now know what fatherhood is, but he was mine. Because I was his only daughter, I thought that made me special, and for a while, I believed without a doubt that I was. So, the devastation was all the more real when the one man that was supposed to love, cherish and protect me, the only man that couldn’t have a hidden agenda in loving me because his own blood ran through my veins, told me he didn’t want me anymore.

Because of his rejection, I never had a man that made sure any other man who sought my affections was worthy of my attention. I didn’t know there should be a standard. I didn’t know that I shouldn’t and didn’t have to waste time kissing all these frogs, because one day my prince would come. How can someone learn unless there is another willing to teach? They say, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” I disagree. What I didn’t know did hurt me. The love and affection I should have gotten from my daddy, I desperately sought in men. And when they couldn’t live up to that role or fulfill the hole I had, I would move on to the next one. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t be what I needed them to be, so once I drained them, I would move on to my next victim… I mean relationship.

As a Single, especially if you are a Single woman, you should use this challenge to examine your own relationship with your father, or lack thereof. Don’t let it go neglected, because it will manifest at some point, and I can tell you from experience that its timing SUCKS. Get to the root issues and allow God to replace your rejection with His Son’s acceptance. As a Single man, don’t allow your father’s mistakes to make every woman you date your victim. Use your experiences to heal, not to further inflict wounds. A woman that had a daddy to teach her how worthy she is, won’t accept your issues, especially if you aren’t willing to work on them. Allow God to heal and restore you during this Single season so you don’t go into your marriage looking for your mate to repair a fatal wound that could eventually kill it, if not fixed by the Master Physician. Healing is available, but only to those that ask for it. Many of Christ’s healings required the person to first acknowledge what needed to be healed. He’s still healing, but you have to ask the question, “What do I need to be healed?”

My healing is here. It was and still is a long process, but God is healing my wound, because I need to be whole for my purpose. He can’t allow that rejection to interfere with His Son’s acceptance. I’ve completely forgiven my father, because I’ve been completely forgiven by My Father. If you have Daddy issues, I encourage you to seek to resolve them and not give them the power of controlling any more relationships in your future.

I now know a Father’s love.

Day 23: If I Ain’t Got You…dealing with “the one that got away” Excerpt: Through My Eyes

Published February 21, 2017 by lavoniartryon

Image result for woman holding on to a man trying to leave


MEMORIZE: They came out from us because they were not of us. If they had been of us, they would have stuck it out with us.

1 John 2:19

READ: Psalm 91

CHALLENGE #23: Write a letter to the ex that you find yourself still attached to. Express everything that you have been too afraid, too doubtful, too “whatever” to express. Then, pray over it and destroy it. Setting someone free, truly sets you free.

Everyone has one. The ex that you feel like is the one that got away. That person you truly thought you would spend the rest of your life with, yet something went wrong and you are no longer together. I have two such exes in my past. One was an on-again-off-again long distance boyfriend in undergrad and the other, more recent, was a few years ago.

Surprisingly, I have been in other relationships since first writing this challenge, yet they don’t make this list. This says two things: 1) I probably shouldn’t have dated them in the first place. 2) I’ve recognized what love should look like, and anything that doesn’t even measure up to the “one that got away” isn’t going to be the “one that stays.” God never gives us less than, in fact, He is a Nevertheless God. If the one that left was amazing, the one that He has planned to stay will make the past ones look like a third grade crush.

The most recent of “the ones”, let’s call him John, shook me to my core. If I could have picked what I wanted for my husband out of a catalogue, he would have surely stepped off the pages. That’s how perfect I thought he was. He was sweet, caring, protective, honest, covered me spiritually and emotionally, and he not only respected my vow of celibacy, he had his own. He had vowed not to kiss another person’s wife, so he wasn’t kissing again until the alter. I was in bliss, but he only had one flaw— And when he left, he took a piece of something vital inside of me. How do I know? Because breathing hurt. Even crying hurt. Nothing helped…BUT GOD.

I remember the process of getting over “John”, and it wasn’t a fun one. I can distinctly remember dates, phone calls, and interactions with him. I realized I had never felt so valued, or so worthy of love from a man. Sidebar: This is a responsibility that my father would have and should have taken care of, but he wasn’t in my life, so I didn’t get it. You will read more of this particular testimony in this 30 day challenge, and also highlighted in my first book). So that’s what got me hooked. Never receiving the acceptance that I should have from my father, I longed for it in a relationship. I put the pressure for a man to supply me with what I had missed from my father, the epitome of “Daddy Issues”. Losing John wasn’t a good experience, but it was a God revelation. The end of this relationship, was the beginning of the realization that I was looking for something in a man, something that no man, could ever give me. I was destined to destroy every relationship I was in because I was an incomplete, troubled, insecure (although no one else knew it) woman, that hadn’t learned her value in a relationship or in life. I thought I knew it. I thought I had it all together, but I was so wrong.

I share this because this is a very real situation; dealing with the one that you thought was going to be a permanent fixture, but apparently only applied for a temporary position. I never want anyone to think because I have gotten to a certain point of satisfaction in my Singleness that I don’t relate with just about every scenario that you can think of on this journey. Yet, I’ve survived—so can you.

Dealing with a breakup is hard. Especially if it’s one that you didn’t want, and you realize there is nothing that you can do to fix it. The hardest part about letting go is…actually letting go. I was so afraid to give that relationship to God because I was knew He wouldn’t give it back to me and it was my will for my life. But as Jeremiah 29:11 comforted me in that time, it still comforts me. He knows the plans He has for me, and they are for my good and not for harm. This breakup did not BREAK me. It taught me that I still needed to learn balance. I needed to truly realize that the only man I can’t live without is Jesus. A Godly man/woman can’t replace your God. You may desire an earthly spouse, but you only need an Eternal Savior. Sometimes this is a hard pill to swallow—it requires washing down with the Word.

Letting go is hard. There is no getting around it, no “easy button” to just make it pass. The only way to let go is by intentionally placing that thing on the altar, and deciding to walk away and leave it there. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take long days, sleepless nights and some gut-wrenching hard cries if you truly loved this person. Separating from someone that you are attached to can feel like being wounded. And as discussed in an earlier Challenge, you will just have to deal with it. Many people mistakenly believe that the only way to get over one person is to get with another one. This is so untrue and so not a good idea. What you end up inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally if you are ready to be really honest), doing is transferring your unresolved feelings onto the next poor, unsuspecting soul—if you haven’t dealt with the messy emotions of letting go of the first. You will have to deal with these issues eventually, or these unresolved emotions will taint every “next” relationship that you have in the future. Sorry love, I wish I had a prettier or more butterflies-in-the-wildflowers answer for how to get over a breakup, but I don’t. You will just have to deal with it. You must deal with it.

You have to realize that a person can have all the qualities that you may think you want, but still not be the one that God has for you. Remember, we can’t know the thoughts of God, but we can be assured that we serve a “nevertheless” God. If God tells you, he/she is not the one — even if by what you see they fit your criteria — will you still be able to reject them? Your knee jerk reaction is to say yes, but if you are honest, how many exes do you have that you knew God didn’t want you to be with, in the first place? Say Ouch. Say Amen. Now, read on. You have to decide if you want God’s created best or only your imagined best. Or, does the answer depend on which comes first? If you are tired of waiting, and haven’t done your homework to commit to wait, this will be a hard question to answer, honestly. I can almost guarantee that your top pick will come before God’s, if for no other reason than to test how much more you will trust God and wait for His provision.

God still has a plan for you, but you have to let go of your past, and your plan, to get to your future. This reminds me of the passage in 1 Samuel 16. The scripture opens up with the Lord confronting Samuel about his continuous mourning over Saul’s rejection. God asks, “How long will you mourn over Saul when I have rejected him? Fill your horn with oil and go… for I have chosen another king.” These two verses are so important and speak to holding onto something that God Himself has rejected. Samuel was so focused on mourning who God had said was no longer for him that he had to be persuaded to go find the one that God was bestowing favor on. The thought of holding on to something even a moment longer than God’s Spirit is resting on it seems ludicrous to even write, but in our lives, we do it all too often. We sit and re-read letters, and hold on to old pictures and movie stubs in a shoebox that we pull out when we are feeling lonely, which is stupid and self-fulfilling prophetic, because it only intensifies our loneliness.

I can imagine Samuel remembering all the “good ole times” with Saul and weeping. I have always heard that hindsight is 20/20, but I think in relationships, sometimes the rearview mirror is a bit cloudy. I know when I was afraid of being alone (because I didn’t understand the difference between it and loneliness), I would think back to old relationships and remember all the good times, while conveniently forgetting or sometimes even reworking the details of the bad times.

I bet if you go back in your relationship rolodex, you have had a couple of “Samuel” moments as well. Vow to break that cycle. There was a reason she/he was rejected—don’t forget that. Do what it takes to let go of past relationships. When God closes a door, if we allow, He will paint over it so we can’t find it even when we try, cause Lord knows, we will try. Let them go, and free yourself. Allow God to fill your horn with oil and be on your way. Your “David” is waiting for you while you’re wasting valuable time on a rejected “Saul.” Clap your hands.

Realize that no one who can or will leave you is tied to your destiny. If a person is ordained to be in your future, they will be there, even if they temporarily leave. So if they decide to leave you now, just know that they will be swinging the door the other way at some point, if ordained. It’s OK to mourn a past relationship, but don’t allow that to blind you from learning what God always meant to teach you in it, and then move on. Christ needs you whole to complete His vision and your spouse needs you whole to complement theirs. Don’t keep the two real relationships in your life waiting while you hold on to something that has been rejected.


The One He Kept

Published January 23, 2017 by lavoniartryon

PhotoGrid_1485143526660.pngThis blog won’t be long. It won’t be drawn out and poetical. There will be plenty of time for that. I’m now realizing that I had to fluff up my other situationships, because they didn’t have any true essence on their own accord. I was convincing others while trying to fool myself into believing that the end wasn’t in sight.

Until him. He is my safe place. There is no pretense, no representative, no put your best foot forward. He simply accepts me and loves me and shows me more grace than, outside of Christ, I have ever seen. He is kind, gentle, strong, sure. He tells me I’m beautiful more with a head scarf on then he does when I’m in 5 inch heels. He protects my virtue and my heart. He heals the areas that I didn’t even know were broken.

God sent him. There is no other explanation. Right at the appointed time, he walked into my life and unpacked his bags and my baggage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled my eyes at married couples when they say,  ‘you’ll just know. I just knew this was it’. That’s not me, I need practical. Like, HOW? How do you know? What do you feel, what does he do, what does she say? Until he made me a believer. I just know. I think I knew the first day we met.

I have been found by the One my soul loves. When I was ready to give up, when I was content to go back into my hiatus, God had a different plan. My last breakup was one last trial, a practice lap to make sure that I was ready to endure the marathon that this love will be.

He is Ephesians 3:20 personified. I couldn’t even have imagined him. His actions have taken the place of any words that I could ever say. Journey with us…

DAY 18: Too Close for (or due to) comfort: Stop playing with the line

Published January 5, 2017 by lavoniartryon

Image result for toeing the line

MEMORIZE: I have hidden your Word inside my Heart so that I might not sin against you

Psalm 119:11

READ: Psalm 76

CHALLENGE: Think about that ‘line’ that you have been manipulating, walking just  close enough to touch it without actually crossing over into “sin”. Write it out and commit to pray over it specifically for the remainder of this challenge, asking God to give you strategies to resist it.

Before the actual challenge, I would like you to do some background on the topic. Read Judges 13-16 for the story of Samson. Use this as backdrop for today’s challenge. We often talk about Samson just in light of Delilah, and we will get to her, but I want to start before that. Samson was a Nazirite. He was instructed not to drink alcoholic beverages, not to touch anything unclean, and never to cut his hair as a show of his vow to God. These three chapters are so full and rich, but I just want to touch on a few components hidden in them. The Bible records Samson breaking at least two out of three of these vows, before the covenant with God was broken.

Why did Samson do it? Was he not aware of the guidelines of his vow? Did he forget in the heat of the moment? I doubt it. I think Samson had gotten used to playing with the line. What does this mean? Samson was an Old Testament manifestation of Paul’s admonishment in Romans 6:1, “Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Surely not!” Samson had become accustomed to breaking his covenant with the Lord without noticeable consequences, so he kept doing it. He first married a Philistine woman, when up to this point, they were forbidden to intermarry with non-believers of the True God. Then, he killed a lion with his bare hands, and on his journey back home, he ate honey from the dead carcass. As if that wasn’t enough, he then gave some to his parents without informing them where it was gathered, forcing them (especially his mother because she had been commanded not to eat anything unclean in chapter 13) to participate in his sin with him. Next, he slept with a prostitute, which was defiling his temple. Finally, since he had gone this far, he told Delilah the final vow that would break the covenant with the Lord that he had yet to break. And lo and behold, she used it against him. For money.

Where do I even start?! I remember when God first revealed this divine Word and gave me insight while reading the story of Samson with my mouth hanging open. All I could think of was, “Really, Samson, Really?!??” Samson married an—as his mother called her, “uncircumcised Philistine” because he wanted her. Singles, this word is for us. Our desire for marriage is valid and may very well be from the Lord, but it is not without parameters. Whether you believe in “the one” or not, you must understand that there is a very real command to not be unequally yoked. God desires you to marry as a symbol of His covenant between Christ and the Church, to fulfill a purpose in the Kingdom, and to birth and raise mighty children that will turn to Him, making a Heavenly impact on this Earth. You cannot do that if you are dabbling in the forbidden pool, looking for a mate. Your marriage can’t symbolize the covenant of Christ, if both of you are not in covenant with Christ in the first place. Samson knew this, and his parents reminded him of this, yet he allowed his fleshly desires to get him what he wanted and ignored what God knew he needed. And we can read these chapters and see how that worked out for him. Disastrous!

This could be a lesson about Samson’s poor choices in relationships, but I want to talk more about him playing with the line. Samson had gotten away with sin for so long that he had begun to be insensitive to the Holy Spirit.. As you read the chapters, when Samson participates in sin, the Spirit of God is not resting on him. What does this mean applicably? I believe we can allow unchecked and unrepented sin to separate us from hearing from God. We allow it to dull our spiritual ears and the quickening of the Holy Spirit (what others call conscience), so that we no longer call sin what it is — SIN. Samson had eaten from a dead carcass and nothing naturally happened. He slept with a prostitute and nothing naturally happened. So he was getting away with sin, right? Wrong! We must understand that when something naturally manifests on earth, it has already manifested spiritually. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”. It has already happened spiritually. Each time Samson sinned, I believed he spiritually weakened and quenched the Holy Spirit’s control on him. How often do we pull a Samson: Play with that line until determining what is permissible and beneficial is blurred, or continuing in a sin until we get caught?

If you didn’t get convinced or convicted in that last paragraph, read it again. We have to be more concerned with the spiritual consequences of sin: separation from God, then the natural consequences that we may or may not experience, due only to grace. Samson should have learned a lesson from his first wife that women would be his downfall, because she was lured away from him by money. His weakness was a pretty face, and unchecked, it brought him to his ruin. With his wife and Delilah, he gave in due to their nagging and begging. He told them both his secrets, and they used them against him. In the first scenario, God’s grace extended to him and Samson was not consumed.

But he did it again. Why? Because many of us don’t learn from grace, we are only taught by justice. We are not spiritually sensitive enough to understand that grace is getting what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do. We never attribute God’s mercy in not allowing a physical consequence to manifest, foolishly thinking we have gotten away with something. So we keep doing it. We get closer and closer to the line, until we don’t even realize when we have crossed it.

We miss the mark of grace in our lives so much! We miss it by believing that no one knows what we did or thinking we got away with it. We miss it. We forget that our heavenly Father sees all and knows all. We keep going until we do get caught in the natural, then we are so spiritually desensitized that we believe the only consequence that we have faced for our fornication is an unplanned pregnancy. Then, some of us try to cover up even that with ending the child’s life by abortion. Lord help and forgive us. We miss it. We have grieved the Holy Spirit and made our relationship with the Lord nothing more than a carnal act of religion with no real relationship. Maybe fornication isn’t your line, maybe it’s your finances, spiritual life, call to ministry, call out of a relationship. Don’t miss the message by justifying your sin, you know what your line is.

Samson first told Delilah things that had no relation to the truth — the fresh ropes and bowstrings — in order to appease her. Now, pause. Samson, if you see that everything you tell her, she tries in order to subdue you, why do you KEEP telling her? Why do you stay with her? Obviously, she doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Just stupid. But don’t judge him too quickly; you have stupid moments too. Dating a guy that not only doesn’t respect your vow of chastity, he doesn’t even believe it, so he keeps pushing the boundary. And you continue to let him. Or, you date a woman that has no respect for you or your vision, coupled with no intention of ever submitting to you nor helping you achieve your dreams — but you keep her around because all your boys are amazed that you pulled someone that looks like her. Hollow, shallow, flesh-serving desires, Lord Help us.

Going back to the text, Samson then starts playing with fire, instead of just blowing smoke. He tells her that his strength has something to do with his hair. Too close, Samson! You are getting too loose with your anointing. In 2017, this is manifested in those late night movie sessions, heavy kissing and making out, spending excessive time alone, when you have vowed to keep what rightfully belongs to your spouse sacred until your wedding day. Now, you are tainting it. You are seeing how close you can get instead of being focused on how pure you can stay. It was only a matter of time before Samson told her the truth, once he had gotten this close to it. And it’s only a matter of time before your clothes come off, once you have played with this line so much. Say amen or ouch, whichever applies.

Read those last two paragraphs again, and really let this word soak in. This is a hard area, and one we would rather not discuss. If we are honest, it’s one that the church doesn’t discuss enough, so it’s weak in our armor. The enemy keeps attacking the same spot, because we haven’t done the work to get strong enough to resist him. Stop being his punk, and stop using your temple as a playground. Get out of your feelings, and get back to your anointing. You’ll thank me later.

Learn from Samson’s life. Don’t repeat it. Mercy is not a “get out of sin free card”, it is a by-pass so that you can get it right the next time. It’s God way of giving us another chance to prove to Him that our commitment is not based on outward manifestations but grounded in inward convictions.

Draw the line in every area and commit to stay as far away from it as possible.

Like Fire…

Published December 10, 2016 by lavoniartryon

Sometimes I wish God would miss me with this ministry. Like, miss me bruh, miss me. Maybe I’m being a bit too transparent, but I owe it to you and myself to say what many are too afraid or self-righteous to admit.

Ministry is hard. Having a calling on your life that is meant to not just touch the world, but drastically affect YOUR piece of the world is hard. And there are times that I really wish that God would let me sit this one out. Testimonies only come after tests, but I sure wish I could miss a few exams. Then I am reminded of Jeremiah. In chapter 20, verse 9, Jeremiah gives a beautiful imagery of what it’s like to not proclaim the Word the Lord has given him…

9 If I say, I will not make mention of [the Lord] or speak any more in His name, in my mind and heart it is as if there were a burning fire shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot [contain it any longer]

The backstory of this is a beautiful tragedy. Jeremiah was anointed a prophet and his prophecies usually involved death and gloom to the people, a call for repentance, or just a regular ole FYI that they were about to be given into slavery AGAIN. Jeremiah was tired. In his flesh, he was tired. He didn’t want to be the person declaring what ‘thus saith the Lord,’ because it usually wasn’t met with red carpets and golden robes. Even at the beginning of this chapter, he was beaten and jailed due to his messages. Jeremiah wanted a break, an opportunity to not have to go through all these trials in order to proclaim the Word of God. I would go so far as to say, Jeremiah just wanted to be ‘normal’, to not have this heavy burden, this Cross to bear. In his flesh, he was Jesus in the Garden. Crying out to the LORD, that this.THIS…was simply too much to bear, and pleading with God to please give him a way out. And even as Christ knew, as Jeremiah knew, and as the Lord has to, sometimes, embarrassingly, I admit— daily remind me – I know, that this is my Cross to bear. I would have it no other way, because through the pain, tears of blood, fire in my bones- I have tied my will to His and my heart’s cry is, ‘Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours O Lord, be done.’

Jeremiah couldn’t not answer the call on his life. When he tried to ignore it, to fit in, to just be normal, it burned inside him. Once God has taken hold of you, and you know without a doubt what your purpose is, it’s impossible to not walk in that calling. You might fight it Jacob, you might even run from it Jonah, but you can’t escape it. Philippians says it like this, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” 3:12. Christ has taken ahold of me, and my Spirit is stronger than my flesh, even when I don’t know it.

I am Jeremiah. I struggle with understanding why I am called to this ministry, this niche and I worry that my very calling is what is keeping me Single. For all the super saved people, please put down your concordance for a second and just hear me. Listen. I know that I have a calling on my life, that I have a platform that I haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg of what it shall be. And I am humbled that God has chosen me to speak in such a transparent and relatable way to Singles, a group that is often forgotten in the world, and especially in the church. I was made for this and I am so excited about the audacious faith that it calls out of me each day. But my flesh, is frightened that as much as I desire marriage – that this is not a desire that God has placed in my heart, but one that the enemy has cruelly seduced me into believing, to keep me living in doubt. I’ve seen visions of my family, children both adopted and birthed from my womb and a husband that is both my physical and spiritual covering. Even this at times, seems like a ‘what if’ scenerio and not something that is actually obtainable. Maybe this is fear talking, maybe it’s doubt. No matter if it is real, or imagined- it still gives me pause.

But I am reminded of the Davidic psalms that always end in praise. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will lift up a standard against him. That standard is my unwavering trust in the Lord. It is the fire that is shut up in my belly, the sweetness of His scroll, the salvation of the Cross and the grace of the resurrection that reminds me, that He loves me. He gives good gifts to His children. I will not allow fear or doubt to quench the living water flowing from my belly. I’ve written the vision and I can still see it clearly, even through my doubts. Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours O Lord, be done. I am your servant. Have Your way.

Intro to “Through My Eyes: The 30 Day Experience” December 2016

Published November 30, 2016 by lavoniartryon

ARE YOU SINGLE? At times this can seem like a four-letter curse word. When you get this dreaded question from family, friends, the random guy at Starbucks, it makes your insides cringe. What’s worse, is the dreaded response that usually follows your hesitant affirmation. Have you ever heard this response, “Oh…you’re SINGLE? Oh, ok. Well, just keep waiting, your someone will come”?

So that’s what we do. We wait. And we wait. Then, we wait some more. Until hopefully, one day, we wake up and decide to ask the determining question: WHAT am I waiting for? In the answer, I believe lies our freedom to enjoy this time. When we begin to look at our lives and decide that “waiting” requires action, we will start to look for the things that we should be doing in our Single Season.

So, why is this journey prolonged, or why does it often seem like stop and go traffic? Just when we think a lane is opening up and we are making progress, we inch back to a standstill. From my extensive experience, I think for a couple of reasons. One reason could be that our first single spell (or if you are like me-spells), only matured us to a fraction of our potential. We see better than we did before, yet everything is not as clear as it could be. We can recognize some red flags, but we are still missing huge yellow caution signs. Next, they (no one ever knows who “they” is) say that repetition is a key component of memorization and internalization. That’s what we want to do: internalize the Word and allow God to make us whole. I don’t know about you, but I was so fired up and ready to experience the fullness of this season with God, before my last break-up, and after the healing of the one before that, and…well, you get the picture. My utmost desire was to wholeheartedly serve the Lord while I waited. Little did I know that this period would be challenged. 

Let me explain. I felt the urge to do a 30 day cleanse, a dating detox. A time where I tuned out everything and tuned into my everything, Christ. But right before I started my own personal  30-day challenge, I met a guy. During the challenge, I was so excited and in communion with the Lord that nothing progressed with said guy, because I was focused. Shortly after the challenge concluded, he made his move. He began to seduce me. (Note here: the Lord woos, the devil seduces- there is a big difference.) I’m not saying this guy was the devil-far from it. Maybe. But he was used as a distraction, or maybe even a test, to see if I was truly ready to live the life I had just spent a month challenging myself, and inadvertently others, to live.

This guy seemed to be great. At the beginning, who isn’t, right? But, in retrospect he wasn’t that great at all. He had flaws and a lot of them, but I refused to acknowledge them. Due to circumstances and me reading too much into just normal occurrences, I had deemed him “the one”, with no input from God. I saw signs early on that he didn’t treat me the way “the one” would, but I excused them and wrote them off as “he’s not there yet, but he’s trying.” I hadn’t internalized the fact that he needed to be fully submitted to God before I could submit to him. Needless to say, that’s over. As they say, ‘let God make a man out of him, before you try to make him a husband.’ But I never listen to they, so this was a hard lesson to learn.

My struggle-your lesson.  Obviously, I am that blind man in Mark 8:22-24 that didn’t become whole the first time around. I saw, but it wasn’t clear. Challenging myself to re-do The 30 Day Challenge gave me the clarity that I need to come out seeing everything more clearly. I didn’t just want to be better, I wanted to be my best. What your reading right now is the challenge that was done on social media, now compiled into a book.

Each day you will read a different insight and lesson along with the challenge for that day. In Mark, Jesus was brought a blind man to be healed. He spit on the man’s eyes and asked him, ‘What do you see?’ Here the blind man had a choice. He was better than he had ever been in his life, he could see something when before he couldn’t see anything. Surely, this was good enough. But, the same crossroads that he stood at is the very one that I challenge you to see. “Do you want to just be better, or do you want to be whole?’ The blind man, realizing he was in the presence of The Answer, decided to be honest about where he was. Don’t be fooled, Jesus knew that he wasn’t fully healed yet, but He wanted to know what was in the man’s heart. God wants us to admit that we still need Him, that although we have felt His touch before, we need more. Are you bold enough to ask Jesus to touch your season again, so that you can see everything clearly?

When Jesus healed the blind man, he spit on his eyes, touched them and then touched them again. Your healing will be a process as well. I look forward to the way that God will deposit fresh manna into your life through this challenge.

My only requirement is that you pray and open your heart to what God has to say to you. Even if you don’t think that a particular day applies to you, meditate on it. I believe that God is going to share something fresh with you each day, just as He did for me.

All 30 days will include a brief devotional, a key scripture to memorize, a Psalm to read, and a challenge or task to do and evaluate about Single season. Some may be new to you, and some may just be confirmation of a Word that the Lord has already given you. 

Let’s go!

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