12 Days of MissMas

Day 2: Grace

On the Second Day of MissMas I give to me…Grace

On the second day of MissMas, I want to discuss the gift of grace. Many times, we are often quick (well sometimes not so quick, who are we kidding) to give grace to others but find it hard to give to ourselves. Why is this? Why are we our own worst critics? I think it’s because we haven’t really learned the rhythms of grace. The eb and flow of life choices and how beautiful the journey is. Grace has many definitions ranging from a period allowed before payment is due to a prayer during meals to goodwill to the free and unmerited favor of God. Grace gives the benefit of the doubt, it gives room to make mistakes and get back up to try again with or without the consequences of the error.

For Believers, we receive the free gift of Grace when we realize that there is nothing in and of ourselves that we can do to earn it from God, it’s recognizing and accepting that we serve a God of ‘another chance’. It is God recognizing the humans that we are and allowing us room to stretch out into our imperfections while keeping us safely within the boundaries of His protection. If a Holy, Matchless God could give us this wonderous gift for free knowing that we would repeatedly both willingly and consciously take advantage of it, even in our futile attempts to be worthy of such a gift – when will you, my Beautiful Queen, extend the same grace to yourself? When will you stop striving to be who you think the world wants you to be and stretch out into the Woman that you are? When will you realize that you are enough – you with your messy hair, chipped nails, immaculate eyebrows, tailored power suit and baby throw-up sweatshirt- just the way you are? God made you perfectly before the formation of the world and he knew every bad decision and blatant sin that you would commit – yet He still died with your name on His lips – to extend eternal grace to you.

So for today – let’s try to extend a little grace to ourselves. This isn’t an excuse to not leave everything you’ve got on the field, to actualize your life and reach your personal goals. It’s a breather when you don’t get everything right. It’s being ok with not cooking dinner tonight after working 15 hours and letting the kids pick their favorite cereal. It’s washing the clothes tomorrow and watching ‘Jingle Jangle’ for the 3rd time with extra butter popcorn tonight. It’s taking the day off work and surprising a friend with a social distance picnic instead of over preparing for the same meeting that you’ve been stressing about for a week. It’s being ok with not being ok, but not being ok staying there.

Grace gives you room to just be you today. Accept your beautiful imperfections and bask in the light that is YOU. We all see it, you can do great things beautiful girl, if you would only give yourself Grace to try again.

12 Days of MISS Mas…Day 1: Identity

12 Daily Blogs to my Single Ladies…

On the first day of MISS Mas, I gave to me… ME (Identity)

Getting ready for Christmas, or some symbolism of Christmas as 2020 has literally changed everything, I decided to write a blog from one Single lady to another. Each day we will talk about a different aspect of Singleness that affects many of us and I believe if you stick with me, you will surely find a topic that you can relate.

So for the first day, I’m gonna share a bit about my Singles journey – both before and after marriage. I believe that by sharing my journey in this way, you will be able to glimpse into my life and possibly gain a better understanding of why I’m so passionate about loving and actualizing your Single life.

Most of my adult life has been spent attached to a man. I was always in a relationship, coming out of a relationship or heading into a situationship, but I was never truly Single. Like no potentials, no +1s, no guys hanging in the background hoping I choose them, or even worse I spent some time being the girl hanging in the background hoping the guy realized how amazing I was and decided to love me. Sad, right? I agree. Looking back on that girl, I don’t feel sorry for her because every one of her hardships helped shape me into the woman that I currently am, but there is a huge part of me that wishes I could just reach back and give her a good shake, tho.

If you haven’t read NOT Another Singles Book, you might not know much of my journey so I definitely would recommend grabbing this book and journeying with me. But as a synopsis, I discuss that I played a role in every relationship I was in. I didn’t have a clear view of my identity, so it became easy to pretend to be whoever the person needed at that time. Naturally they would fall in love with me, because I was everything the needed, the perfect woman for them in that moment…but I wasn’t me. So I couldn’t sustain the façade of being everything to everybody. As you can tell from the title of this blog – it didn’t work.

Then I took some time to get to know me, like the real me – not the one that shows up on interviews and first dates. And I found out that I love me. The authentic me, without the bells, expectations and identity crisis – but the woman that is confident in herself, bold about her purpose and passionate about her vision. The woman that isn’t afraid to spend time alone, because she’s comfortable in her own skin and enjoys her own company.

After my divorce, I rejoined the land of Missdom. And I realized that I missed me. I had spent such a long time getting to know me, and then I lost that identity in the struggle of trying to keep my marriage together. All my energy and focus was poured into not only keeping up the false image that I had built of my marriage once it started to really fall apart, a warped sense of loyalty to a man that wasn’t loyal, and the overwhelming grip of shame when I realized divorce was the only option for me. I had nothing left, for me.

And now I’m back to who I’ve become. I’m stronger, better, with deeper roots and a more secure identity in Christ. And I believe that because of the struggle that I endured and came out of, I have moved from knowledge to wisdom in this area.

So why start the 12 Days of MissMas with this story. Because it’s the identity for me, sis. If you don’t know who you are, you will settle for an imitation of yourself that the people in your live inadvertently build to suit their needs. COVID-19 has provided us a unique opportunity to slow down and declutter our lives, physically-mentally-emotionally-spiritually. Use this time wisely, Queens. Really get to know yourself during this time and get secure in your identity as a WHOLE, party of 1. It’s truly the best gift that you can give yourself.

What’s next? Would you like to journey together in this time and have me come alongside you and share my journey, so you don’t have to live the lessons? I want to offer you to join me on Sunday, December 20th 2020 at 5pm CST as we chat, laugh and discuss these very things together. I want to share a new experience that will start in January and I would love for you to be a part.

Here’s the link to register for the FREE Convo session!

Single, Not Alone – understanding the difference

In my first book, NOT Another Singles Book, I discuss in great detail the difference between being alone and feeling lonely. If you struggle with understanding this difference, you aren’t the only one. We’ve never been taught the fine line of being alone and being ok with it. Being alone is a matter of circumstance – it simply means that you are in your own company. Being lonely – is feeling like you missed out on something because of it. I personally know what it’s like to be lonely while in a marriage, and if it’s any consolation to your Single heart, you’d much rather your cup than mine. I struggled so long in understanding how to be alone with myself and comfortable, that if I can spare you of that – this will be worth it.

So how do I be alone without being lonely? First step is to truly get to know yourself. When you are comfortable in your skin and your identity, being alone can serve to refuel and recharge you. Being alone with yourself gives allowances to self-assessment – what’s working for me? What’s no longer serving me? Where can I improve? What accomplishments can I be proud of in this day, week, month, year? All of these are self-reflective questions and great starting points in getting comfortable being alone.

The world, society, and social media all give us the indication that being alone is either something that we shouldn’t be ok with, or something different than what it actually is. For example – if you search the hashtag #alone on any social media site, you will most likely see posts with people being anything but. We all know that social media can be a great thing, but it can also be the thief of contentment, by trapping us in a whirlwind of comparison. Being alone doesn’t have to be some perfectly poised and staged photo worthy moment, it can simply be enjoying your own company.

Once you take the time to truly get to know yourself in this time, then being alone is a welcomed break and reset from a busyness that has become the norm of our society. We are always coming from one thing, heading to another event, just got out of a meeting or off a call. When do we actually just sit and be still with ourselves? Check in on our emotions and feelings – cause we know those jokers can get carried away when we don’t monitor them. Truly choosing to spend time alone gives you room in your life and day to evaluate things, instead of just going with the flow.

Here’s an activity – and it will feel weird the first time you do it, possibly the first few times but the more you do it, the better you will feel. I will even make you a promise – do this for a week, starting today and if you don’t begin to enjoy it, then I will refund the money you spent on this blog post 😉. Stop, get quiet – turn off Tiktok and IG (another promise, the withdrawal symptoms will pass) and ask yourself – “How are you today?” Then do something that we never do when we ask that coworker or person that we pass on the street, listen. Really listen. How are you feeling:

  1. Physically – is anything hurting or out of alignment? Any health concerns that you need to take care of sooner rather than later?
  2. Emotionally – have you healed from that last disappointment? Are you giving someone free headspace that hasn’t earned it? Are you in control of your feelings or do they control you?
  3. Mentally – where’s your focus? What’s keeping you up at night or what’s driving you to get up early in the morning?
  4. Spiritually – are you connected to your God, Source Energy, Chakras – whatever your higher power? Are you in tune, in balance, in purpose, in identity and alignment with the principles and lifestyle you claim to believe?

Do this a couple of times a week, and as it becomes more familiar, a couple of times a day. You don’t have to go through the entire list each time, but enough that you can do a quick ‘me scan’ and check in with yourself. This habit will change the way you see your free time and allow you to look forward to free time so you can work out some of those self-checks that have come up since you are now more self-aware.

Since it’s Christmas time, how does this relate to the holidays and being Single, yet again? Because Auntie Ann and Uncle Junior that got married at 19 fresh out of high school and started procreating your nine 1st cousins right away, never had to learn to be alone, so they more than likely won’t understand that you can be happy Single. They equate singleness to loneliness and can’t imagine that you would actually choose to be in your own company. This is where sensitivity and confidence come in. It’s easy to defend something that you are secure about. If you aren’t happy being alone, then be honest with yourself first and foremost, then fight to do what it takes to get there. If you need help, go to http://www.lavoniartryon.com to download your free abridged copy of the NOT Another Singles workbook (available early December 2020) which has tools and resources on how to learn to be comfortable alone.

Now that you are comfortable and content being alone or at the least more confident in how to get there, it’ll much easier to field the questions and comments about whether you are lonely, because you can actually answer honestly. Whether you choose to do so out loud or not, that’s up to you.  When the questions come about why you haven’t settled down, you can clearly and confidently state the advantages of your being alone and the things that you are accomplishing by yourself, for yourself. Unless you have a more than normally dysfunctional family; their goal and concern is typically for you to be happy. They know how awesome you are and believe that someone of the opposite sex should get the pleasure of your company. This should be perceived as a compliment to your character and how much of a good catch they know you to be. Take it as such.

When the infamous ‘You’re still single? Aren’t you lonely in that big ole house? When you gonna stop all that schooling and start having me some grandbabies?’, questions come – simply smile and reassure them that your being alone is a choice at this time and when you meet a person that makes you want to change that, they will be the first ones to know.

*We will be launching our Single, NOT Alone group focus calls in January – with an exclusive sneak peek coming soon! These are weekly calls that focus on 4 aspects of life as a Single – contentment, purpose and identity, dating and relationships, & change – which is call being different and unique, because you will be there. For more information – hit that subscribe button and enter your email or shoot an I’m interested in the SNA (Single NOT Alone) calls to lavonia@lavoniartryon.com to be added to the email list!*

What do the Single do at Christmas

How to survive the holidays without killing your family.

So it begins. You turn the calendar on your desk and eyes zoom in on the date. November 1st. Holiday season is upon us and no matter who you are -if you are Single (unattached, unmarried, and seemingly unapproachable) two thoughts go through your mind no matter who you are.

Dread…

Or

Excitement and Dread…

No matter how much you love your family and can’t wait to kiss your granny (post Corona), there is a part of you that feels uneasy about going home and facing the same questions that you faced last Thanksgiving or Christmas after you vowed to have a different answer this Thanksgiving or Christmas,   … with the same answer.

“Yes, I am still Single, Aunt Jan. No, I’m not crazy, Uncle Junior. I do have friends and a life, 8 year old Tameka that already has a boyfriend.”

So the thoughts start to race through your mind.

Am I too young to fake a heart attack?

Wait, this is ‘Rona… I can do a Zoom Thanksgiving! …but  – nope can’t taste Aunt Emma’s dressing through the screen, so that won’t work either.

So what’s left – wear a shirt that says ‘YES I’M STILL SINGLE, NO I DON’T WANT TO MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR’S SON’? but on second thought, if is he has all his original teeth and has a job, something might be arranged. What? I’ve done cute and successful and look where that’s gotten me. A reserved nameplate at the kids table.

If you can relate to ANY of this, then this minibook is for you. I wrote this book in a week, simply because this is a topic that I have lived for my entire adult life (short of 3 disastrous years – that I will tell you about later), and it’s one that I suffered through until I started implementing some of these strategies that you will find in these pages. Now let’s be clear – I didn’t know they were strategies when I started doing them – I just knew I was exhausted with dreading the time that should be filled with joy and happiness and turkey induced comatose, and something needed to change. The Craigslist ad for a new family didn’t pan out so well, so I was stuck with the one I had. If I wanted something to change – I had to be the catalyst.

And I will also add the disclaimer that this will not work for every family, and everyone in your family. This is meant to be a humorous, lighthearted read that could be very powerful if you let it. I will give you things to do and some things that you shouldn’t do, but you’re an adult sooo… do you, boo. Maybe some of the don’ts will work with noisy Cousin Shay. Govern yourself accordingly. Let’s get started.

So the Journey begins…

Singleness is not where we just happen to be; it is where God has divinely placed us. If God put you here then there is no way that He can forget or overlook you.

NOT Another Singles Book – Chapter 3

NOT Another Singles Book
A Guide to Living Single in a Dating World:
Love yourself and BECOME the person you are looking for

Are you tired of hearing that God must be saving someone really special for you?

Do you feel like you’re missing out on something or missing something within yourself because you’re still Single?

 

And most importantly:
Are you tired of married folks telling you to just be content in being Single?

NOT Another Singles Book is unlike any other Singles you’ve ever read. It doesn’t dance around the real issues that Singles are facing today, nor does it promise that you’ll get out of this season after you read it. What is does is allow you to take a real look at yourself and your season and realize that if you are not satisfied where you are, it’s up to you to do something about it.

This book combats the world’s (and often times the church’s) lies by helping you find your identity rooted in Christ and discover the purpose for this season. The love you’ve been waiting your entire life for, is right here. Let’s get started.

The book is live on Amazon now but you can get the first 3 chapters right now!

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Welcome Back to Me…

Evander Holyfield Quote: “A setback only paves the way for a comeback.” (12  wallpapers) - Quotefancy

It’s been 7 years. 7 years of growth, of setbacks, of trials, of heartbreaks, of triumphs, of seemingly insurmountable pains and definite incomparable promises.

7 years since I released my first book, ‘NOT Another Singles Book’. I’ve realized that I never allowed it to reach it’s potential because it was more powerful than I was ready to profess.

7. Years. I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus – Philippians 1:6.

7 is the number of completion. He wastes no thing.

NOT Another Singles Book will be rebirthing on October 16th, 2020.

NOT Another Singles Book: Workbook will be unveiled on October 16th, 2020.

Next book in Series COMING SOON…

NOT Another Devotional Book: Through My Eyes, The 30 Day Experience will be previewed in both books!

Subscribe to this web page before midnight Monday, September 21st to receive a free gift on launch day!

I’m Back.

 

process

Soooo… I’m divorced. For some, this may be news and to others it might simply be confirmation. First let me say… it’s not your business. But… it is my testimony, so I choose to share pieces that are important to my ministry and maybe help someone else in their journey not to repeat my same mistakes.

I will never contribute to the tearing down of another Black man publicly, no matter what his wrongs or mistakes, for the world does that enough. What I will say is that, we both made mistakes – as is our nature as a human. I always believe there is a choice in everything and that we are given free will from our Lord to utilize it.

I still don’t believe that I married wrong, or that I heard God wrong. I believe that my ex-husband had an opportunity to be Saul or David when faced with his sins, and he chose Saul. For those not as spiritualized, my ex had inappropriate relationships that didn’t involve me – on several occasions. Not bashing, just stating facts. So given the opportunity to repent and change, he decided to become more crafty with it. I could give you some deep high-dollared psychoanalysis and put these degrees to use about what deep-rooted pain or experiences would cause him to throw away the promises he made to me, but why? I spent the last 2 years literally driving myself crazy emotionally and making myself sick physically trying to figure out the who, what, when and why… and I. AM. DONE. WITH. IT. It’ll make sense in heaven, I guess. And if not, I won’t care up there anyway. *insert shoulder shrug and hair toss emoji*.

So I left. Could I have stayed and tried to work it out more? Maybe, but that wasn’t my choice. I’ve heard the stories about how ‘granddaddy was a rolling stone and he treated grandmama so wrong, but then he grew up and now she don’t want for nothing’. Or how ‘he was in these streets for years and I prayed and fasted and The Lord completely changed him and now he sings 3rd tenor in the mens assemble’. I hear you, sis and I respect that, but that ain’t my testimony. If I had heard stay from God or saw an actual remnant of remorse or change, maybe I would still be married. But, I didn’t, so I’m not.

I can say that I saw red flags before we got married, but who doesn’t? I can honestly say that I didn’t see THIS. I saw things that I marked as cultural differences, pride, etc. but nothing that concretely or gut level alerted me to what the last 2 years turned out to be.

I forgave and stayed when I thought it was just an indiscretion. I forgave and left when I realized it was a lifestyle.

The emotional pain that I went through getting over my marriage is hard to compare to the pain that it caused me to stay in my marriage. They are too different. One was based on the vision of the vows and covenant not being honored, being ignored, not knowing where my husband was for weeks on end and the hurt that all of that caused. But this pain, it’s more of a mourning of the life that I THOUGHT I would have, but it flows into a realization that God wastes nothing. So my sowing in tears, will produce reaping in joy. He wouldn’t have allowed this pain, if HE didn’t already have a plan on how He was going to employ it to propel me into another level of ministry that would bring Him glory and me good.

So I’m grateful. Grateful to be able to tell the story. Grateful to be at peace, when it has been so elusive for so long. Grateful that He trusted me enough for the pain, though He didn’t cause it, He repurposed it. Grateful for who I was to believe in love, who I am to walk away and choose me when the love was no longer there, and who I will be as I anticipate that God’s not finished with my earthly love story. I will love again. I will hope again and trust again and I refuse to make another man pay for wounds he didn’t inflict, but I’m trusting that God has already equipped him with a balm to soothe the aches, should they resurface.

This is my story and not even a third of it has actually been uttered outloud to one person in it’s entirety. But, God. Because of the righteous burden that I have been gifted, another book has already been started. I choose to live and tell the story of my Deliverance Through Divorce.

Journey with me…

In. Jesus. Name.

** I remember praying over the last year for God to ‘fix it’, and attaching ‘in Jesus Name’ at the end of it. I also remember the disappointment each time, I prayed this and then found another lie, another her, another ‘this doesn’t line up with Christ and His heart for me’. Only until I started truly praying The Word did I realize that when I attached ‘in Jesus name’ at the end of each prayer, I was giving Jesus permission to jack it all up if it wasn’t truly in His name. To pray His name means to accept His will, and to accept His will I had to let mine die with it.**

“Jesus at the center of it all. Jesus, take the wheel. Only through and by Jesus has anything ever been created and by Him it all holds together. IN JESUS NAME.” Do we truly know the power of these statements? I think we have only grazed the tip of the iceberg of understanding the Name, much less the person of Jesus. The Bible says that the name of the Lord (little ‘ord’ denotes Jesus the Christ) is a strong tower (a safe fortress, a defending army, an impenetrable, impassible wall), the righteous run into it and they are saved (protected, raised high, lifted above their circumstances).[1] So how do you run into a name? A cross-pollinated look at John 1:1-3 and Genesis 1 opens this scripture mightily for me. Prayerfully, the Holy Spirit will do the same for you.

            John 1:1-5: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 14: The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  3: And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 6: And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 9: And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 11: Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.”

Do you see the connection? Go to our Psalm for today. Psalm 33:6: “The heavens were made by the Word of the LORD (big ORD equates God Yahweh) and all the stars, by the breath of His mouth. 9: For He spoke and it came into being; He commanded, and it came into existence.”

The Word is Jesus, and Jesus is the Word. The spoken, living, breathing, and yes, written Word of God is Jesus, manifested. God used Jesus to create everything, by “speaking Him”  over the circumstances and allowing the Word to change it. So how do you run into a name? You got it –you run into the Word.

This is why it is so important to understand that when we pray ‘In Jesus Name’, it means nothing, absolutely nothing, if it is not a prayer that is in line and manifested in line with the Word. You can’t pray, “Lord send me a Husband, in Jesus Name, if the Lord has already spoken to you specifically, Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your Husband, the Lord of hosts is His name.” If God has told you that this isn’t your season of marriage, of moving from a job, of whatever you are trying to ask for, then your praying ‘In Jesus Name’- is wasting your life-giving breath, and seeking to abuse the power of the Name. I hear and have often prayed selfish, disobedient, flesh-ridden prayers and then put “in Jesus Name” on the end, like I was sealing something other than the image of how simple my thoughts are.

You can’t pray in the Word’s name, something that is not found in the Word. It’s a contradiction, and God has said “God is not man that He shall lie, nor the Son of Man that He shall repent. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?”[2] God can’t lie, but we can sure lie on Him. Vow never again to say “Thus saith the Lord” without feeling conviction or confirmation that this is the character of Jesus, the Living Word. We say a lot of things that aren’t manifested in the Word of God, but we expect God to perform it. God is only bound and required to fulfill His Word and His agenda, not ours.

Re-evaluate your relationship status, whether you are Single, Single and Dating, Single and looking, Engaged, or even Married. Can you declare your relationships to be, “in Jesus Name’ and not be lying? This is a hard Word and many won’t receive it, but God’s Word can’t return to Him void. It will do what it has set to accomplish. Those that have ears let them hear.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer”[3]. This Psalm just manifested as a Rhema Word. If life and death shall come out of my mouth, then the only way that it can be pleasing to the Lord is if I speak the Lord over it. Take a minute and let it sink in. The Word is what pleases the Word. Christ came to fulfill the Law because He is the living Law. What an awesome God we serve.

IN JESUS NAME.

[1] Proverbs 18:10

[2] Numbers 23:19

[3] Psalm 19:14

Replacing Him with ‘them’: Intimacy transference in relationships

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

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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.

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