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

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— he.left.me. 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.

FILL YOUR HORN WITH OIL AND GO.

The One He Kept

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

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…

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

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!

You yo daddy’s son John 8:44

I really hope that this is understood. I sincerely hope that my heart is heard in this. I know some people may get offended by this, and good. Hopefully those of you that find yourself in this category, get offended enough to do one of two things: 1. Start coming correct OR 2. Stop coming at all.

Many of y’all may not be ready to be this real, and still say Amen, so if that’s you, then you might want to stop reading right now…for the rest of y’all…leggo.

Here’s the thing…

There’s a worldly term called a ‘Fboy’. Yep, you know what the F is for. This is a guy that literally comes for himself, he has no intention to do right by you, and maybe not any girl at this point, but he still lurks into your life, stirs up your emotions, get you sucked in and attached, and then catches ghost. It’s like his sole purpose is to see if he can get you, and he will often pursue the heck out of you to get your attention. Work overtime to prove that he is worthy of you, that is – until he gets you. Then a switch flips, and the things he did to get you become a foreign language and it’s like he does the opposite, all the while trying to convince you that YOU are the problem. Like your expecting of him to even remotely live up to the man that he pretended to be to get your attention, is preposterous. In this case, the F has now changed to, Bruh, get the… yeah, you understand me.

So recently I was trying to come up with a word that would describe a Fboy but a man that’s in the church. Talking to friend, we came up with an ‘Lboy.’ L stands for Lucifer. I don’t think there’s any other way to describe a dude that is in the church supposedly loves God, maybe a minister, but definitely serving in ministry, yet he’s coming for girls knowing he has no intention of actually developing a relationship with them. John 8:44 says ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’ Bruh, if this don’t hit the nail right on his slimy puny head! Lies flow freely from his lips as he woos you with his servant’s heart, but serpent tendencies.

What I will never understand is why do the Lboys come for girls that they know are looking for a relationship? They prey on the women looking for a man to pursue them, those looking for the promise of what Christ tells us to wait for — an example of what the church tells us to wait for. Why do these dudes come for these girls? Why not try for a girl that just came to the church to get a form of godliness but denying the power of it? Why not seek out the girls that don’t really want you because you’re Christian but they want you because they can tell Mama that you Christian, but they really know how you are behind closed doors?  Here’s the answer I’ve come up with. Because these girls are too easy. They don’t require a challenge and they don’t satisfy that innate pull that says ‘this is the girl you SHOULD be with, even if you aren’t man enough to be worthy of her’. The girls that these Lboys should be going for would accept them for who that are, and not call them to be something different, something more. Those girls would accept your inconsistencies, your lies, your lack of pursuit, your broken promises and dates, your ‘I’ll call you right back’ turning into 2 days, your ‘my phone died, but I just saw you post on Snapchat’ thinly veiled tactics. So of course you won’t come for them. They know that they are an option and not the priority, but these women (God bless their hearts), haven’t realized their worth yet, so they accept this because they have believed the lies of your father that tell them that they can’t do better than you. B, please.  

So on behalf of all the tired women that know their worth, and are exhausted with your foolishness, go get you a chick that ain’t talking bout nothing, and leave us the hell alone. Real talk. With everything in me, leave me the hell alone. If you not talking about pursuing us, if you not talking about putting forth the effort and  the time that it will take to actually get to know us, leave us be. I mean this with every fiber of my being. I’m tired of hearing women, my friends and loves, talking about meeting a dude that supposedly loves God, I mean love the Lord and serving in church and doing all this and that, and getting her hopes up, not due to created fantasies, but actually believing that a guy would actually mean what he says. Then turn around a couple weeks later and this dude has either tried to sleep with her, or is talking to several other girls at the same time or treating her like an option and not a priority. He’s started to not honor her, not pursue her, and now she is doubting herself and trying to find the warning signs that she missed. Many times, we do miss the warning signs, but sometimes, y’all jokers show up like a traffic jam at 2am, completely unexpected. You hide yourself well, and then when it’s time to showup, we realize all too quickly, that you have absolutely no substance.  Bruh, how do you go to sleep at night? How do you stand up and minister in the morning, knowing that your lifestyle is not conducive to what you’re saying? You don’t feel any conviction? Like nothing? I don’t understand and to be honest I really don’t want to understand, may I never be able to relate to that mentality. But I must say it and please listen to me…if you not talking about nothing if you don’t really want a woman worthy of the man that you pretended to be…

LEAVE.US.THE.HELL.ALONE.

I’ve seen this too often and it needs to be addressed. I sincerely wish more men that are truly living Godly and looking to pursue a wife, would stand up and say this. Because the truth is, they aren’t just messing with the women’s hearts, they are messing with your future wife’s heart. They are causing pain and wounds, that God will have to heal, before she can be ready for you. They are causing trust issues that, even after getting healed, will still fight to try to show up in your marriage. They are making women skeptical of giving YOU a chance, because her heart has been mangled more in the church, than in the world. Speak up, grab a young man and teach him. Don’t look away and dismiss it as ‘I would never do that’, because real talk, this Lboy is just as much your problem as he is ours.*

*Grammatical errors intentional to add emphasis*

I’m no longer waiting…

 Got away

God said Yes.

I said Yes.

He said No.

And I’m OK.

In 1 Samuel 10 Saul is anointed as King of Israel and oh what a joyous occasion this is. God has chosen him as King over the people and he is officially announced in chapter 11. Then a lot of stuff happens where Saul is disobedient, arrogant, prideful and breaks Priest laws (read Chapters 10-14 for all the juicy details) so we get to chapter 15 and God has had enough. Verse 10 states ‘I regret I have made him king for he has turned away from me and not carried out the Lord’s instructions’.

And this is where we pick up. The Sovereign God that we serve loves us so much that he has created a plan for our lives. But in that love, He still gives us the choice to choose His plan over our own. He will not force His will on us, even we He knows our own plans will get us rejected. He is there to pick up the pieces, IF we return to Him. If not, we are replaced.

Many of you have been following my #ivewaitedforyou story, the fairytale reality of the guy I was dating, how we met and the journey of our romance. One thing that I didn’t plan for, or that you could never seen as a twist, was if he said ‘no’. If he refused the plan, and instead chose something else. At this point, I thought about doubting and saying ‘maybe I heard the Lord wrong,’ ‘Maybe my will was stronger than God’s in my life and he wasn’t God’s choice, but my own.’ I could say all of that, but it wouldn’t be true.

I did hear God. Distinctly. But I didn’t factor in his choice. I never thought that he wouldn’t be on the same page as me, that he wouldn’t want the same things I did. But, if I were honest I would say that there were warning signs. Throughout 1 Samuel 10-14, there are several indicators that Saul is not on the right track, that something is off, but yet he keeps going down the path of destruction. Samuel actually rebukes Saul in Chapter 13, but doesn’t reject him. I had this moment a couple of months ago where there were indicators that he was no longer who I thought was ‘it’, but I was already invested. I had made a decision and I wanted to honor it, even though I could feel it slipping away. I had lost my peace, one of the most important elements in the pursuit of a relationship.

Then a friend asked me a question that shook me to my core: ‘Are you fighting so hard for this because it’s what you really want or are you fighting so hard because you want to avoid going through what you will have to, if you let it go?’ Was I staying because it was easier than letting go and having to deal with the questions, hurt, disappointment and feelings of rejection? At that moment, I knew the answer.

He was my imagined best. He was what I had been waiting for, but I realized that I had been waiting for the wrong thing. Have you ever been in a line and when you get all the way to the front, you are told that you have been in the wrong line all this time, and what you actually need can’t be found there? You waited, only to realize that what you were waiting for, wasn’t what you thought it was. He was what I wanted, but not what I needed. I couldn’t see that, so God exposed both his and my heart issues, to get to the conclusion that this wasn’t working.

In Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker – he tells the story of a Sage named Honi that prayed for rain in a drought. He drew a circle and prayed with authority only born from a belly-deep relationship for rain to come. It started to drizzle and he refined his prayer to ask for rain that would meet the needs caused by the drought. It started hailing, and he refined his prayer even more to model the Lord’s grace and favor – a consistent, steady downpour of refreshing. He prayed, God met the need and he realized that God rewards specific prayers. #ivewaitedforyou needed to be refined. I wasn’t specific enough so I got an answer but it turned out to not be what I needed. I have now sifted my request and it is now #iveprayedforyou. I spent time waiting in the wrong line, only to realize it was no longer what I needed. The one that comes, will be an answered prayer not just the end of the line.

It’s hard to accept a no, when I first heard a yes. Today, I choose to trust Christ and follow peace. I know what I heard and what I wanted, but I also know that there is no longer peace there. The strength is in me now realizing that my needs weren’t being met, and walking away. I realize that if it started this way, it wouldn’t get better, I would just get more tolerant. This would become my normal. But I am no longer that girl. I fought too hard to get out of that mentality and NO ONE will ever take me back there.  It was time to choose me. So I chose to walk away, tears streaming but shoulders lifted. You can’t fight if the person won’t even get in the ring. And there is no point fighting, if you no longer desire the win.

The hope is in Chapter 16. Samuel is mourning over Saul and God gut-punches him. “Why are you crying over someone I have rejected? Get up, wash your face – pop your curls and your lip gloss, and be on your way. The King that will fight for you and not with you, the Priest that has been praying for you, not just waiting on you, the Kinsman Redeemer that is waiting to restore your heart – is being prepared for you.” (my interpretation of God’s oration).

God thank you. I want what you have for me. I trust your promise. I’ll get through the pain. I’ll survive the struggle of starting over. And I will love. Stronger. Better. Right.

 

One Day My Prince Will Come. And I will be ready…

 

Breathing with No Air… Resuscitated

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2 weeks. I took a moment to unplug to recharge, and I didn’t know how much I needed it. I equate it to being dehydrated but never knowing it until you taste water again. I was running on empty, operating on fumes, even though I was spending time with the Lord daily.

 

How did I get here?

Why was I staying here?

 

My time with God had become routine. Every morning between 5:00 and 5:30 am, I awoke with a desire and hunger to meet with My Father, but I realized that I was showing up to the table, but not really being present. It had become one of those family dinners, that everyone HAS TO attend, but no one really wants to be there, so you sit and eat without talking, waiting for the moment that it’s ok to leave without seeming rude. This was what my quiet time had unknowingly become. I have been reading through the Old Testament this year, and I realized on one day, while surrounded by my Concordance, Bible Dictionary, Commentary and Bible, that I was not growing. I was coming to the table, but not eating. I never meant to be here, but somehow this is where I woke up.

 

The operative words are I.WOKE.UP. And once I realized what was happening, I refused to stay there. I had to do something different. So I took a break from my social media, and I fell back in love with My Savior. It is possible to feed everyone around you, while starving yourself. I had begun to get a Word, so that I could give it away, all the while never stopping to get refueled myself. I would hear a Word and immediately think, ‘This is for somebody’, so I would post it on Social Media and someone always remarked how this was exactly what they needed to hear. But during the past two weeks, every Word has been for me. Every unmasked spiritual truth, every revealed revelation, every divine manna word – has been for me. It wasn’t meant for me to share, it was meant for me to be Mary and just glean at the Master’s feet. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good…I.AM.SO.FULL. The journey of this time away has been a start of unexpected prayers and indescribable blessings.

 

During this time, due to some overactive imagination ‘mind monsters’ and miscommunications, I had to refocus on Christ and take my hands and expectations off of my budding relationship. After my broken engagement, I made a covenant with the Lord that never again would I place a man in His place, never again would I idolize a relationship, and never would I place faith in a man that should only be placed in Christ. We serve a jealous God and He takes His covenants seriously. So unbeknownst to me, He orchestrated it in such a way that I would keep this vow to Him. He gut-punched, open palm slapped me. The blow stung so much that my eyes smarted, but that pain was so far outweighed by the glory of realizing where my wide open nose was taking me. I  was heading down a path that I vowed I wouldn’t go again, and because God will sometimes, most times, save us from ourselves, He set a roadblock there. The Bible says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

Aren’t you tired of being the simpleton? Aren’t you tired of praying a prayer for God’s will and then getting upset when Christ has to demolish your own, just to get you to recognize His? I know I am. I can’t pray for God to use me for His glory, to have His way in my life, and to direct my path – and then get up, dust off my knees, and go on about my day according to my will. No more.

 

I realized that I was placing expectations on something that hadn’t solidified in the foundation to sustain them. I was saying I wanted this to be different, but I was unknowingly treating it the same way. I was approaching it the way I approached every other relationship, yet praying for God to do something different. Insanity. But the beautiful thing about unplugging your flesh, is the recharge your Spirit gets. His Word is a lamp unto my feet. HE reminded me to forget the former things (the old ways that I approached relationships, the former ways in which I would determine if this guy was ‘the one’), and to recognize the new thing springing up (to accept pursuit without controlling it, to allow God to speak to him and me, not through me to him).

 

A friend was God’s mouthpiece and said ‘He can’t hear from God, if he keeps hearing from you’. I was trying to control the dialogue instead of allowing God to dictate. God reminded me that He didn’t need my help in creating the Universe, He shole don’t need my help in orchestrating a relationship. So He removed me from the picture. He froze me out. And he began to speak to his heart as He continued to heal mine. He showed me that if I couldn’t learn to trust him in the little things right now, that I will always second guess him in the big things in our future. God gave me the strength to submit to His Will, yet the freedom to choose my own, then sat back and waited to see which I would choose. Of course, I failed a couple of times- but then I got it right. I surrendered and submitted, and I saw a glimpse of what marriage will look like, IF I allow God to direct it. And just that vision, is enough to tie my will to the altar and pick up His. I can only imagine that love, and now I have the opportunity to experience it.

 

As I listened to his heartbeat in a hug, this was the conversation shared:

Me: I can hear your heartbeat.

Mister: It’s beating a bit faster than normal, huh?

Me: Yeah…because of me?

Mister: Always.

 

And mine skipped.
Let patience have her complete work…Love, I’m yours. 

I’ve Waited for You…God’s love story

Pursuit is the evidence of desire. I don’t know who penned this statement, but this is where it starts. Pursuit. I thought I knew what this word meant, but Webster is void of the emotions, the energy that this word evokes upon the person of which it takes hold.

In 2014, I posted this:

“I used to be a man-chaser. And what I now realize is while I was chasing the wrong one, my right one couldn’t catch me. I’d thought by now that he would be tired and stop pursuing before I stopped and waited. Then I remembered: they that wait on the Lord… shall run and not grow weary. He will continue to pursue and now that I’ve stopped chasing substitutes and am waiting on his pursuit, I thank God for second winds.” And what a beautiful second wind he is. I waited for him, but in reality, I truly believe he was kept for me. I couldn’t have imagined this story, yet God stepped back into eternity and reached into my timeline to orchestrate our paths to meet at what I would believe to be the most inopportune time.

 

We met through mutual friends in a kind of weird, roundabout way. The details aren’t as important right now, but I noticed him immediately. He is gorgeous, yet his quick smile is what captured me first. I remember that I couldn’t remember his name, which is weird for me, because I have a great memory for names and faces. About our 3rd interaction, I finally remembered it, and the smile that it earned me was worth it. We only interacted in crowds and groups and never spent time alone. We begin to build a friendship. I enjoyed the quick banter and he could match me wit for wit. Even in a room full of people, it would feel like we were the only ones in the conversation. He made a point to directly address and interact with me each time we crossed paths. He was intentional, even in the initial friendship stage. I never had to guess that he was interested in my opinion or feelings, because he made sure to directly express it. He wanted to know me, so he pursued my attention first. This was the first glimpse of what would begin this love story.

I remember being almost intimidated about how intentional he was, and because I’ve been here before but never quite like this, I laced up my Nike’s. About 3 years, I made a vow that my next boyfriend would be my husband, and God and I made a covenant that I wouldn’t date placeholders and He would remove all the impostors that might get through my initial defenses. When I first started to notice that I was more than ‘girl, he’s cute’ attracted to him, I started to back off. I made sure to invite other people into our conversations, to not initiate interactions and to act like I was always in a hurry when he was around. I know, I know. But hey, when you have done this wrong as many times as I have, you get a bit gun shy. But yet, he pursued. He made it a point to linger around until I had ran out of things to say to everyone else, lol. He positioned himself next to me in groups, made sure to ask me direct questions and actually pulled out stuff that he had noticed about me that I had never told him. “That boy good”. So, I prayed and asked God to remove him. And…I started seeing him more often. And he begin to make sure that I knew that this wasn’t a passing fancy, or a little crush.

I remember when we had “the talk”. I was so nervous, that I couldn’t form words. He smiled and said ‘There’s something here and at first I thought it was just a physical attraction, but then I realized that I started to get nervous when I knew I might see you, and that I was disappointed if I showed up and you weren’t there. This is something more and something that I want to develop. This isn’t passing, and I want to pursue this, pursue you. What are we going to do about it?” In typical fashion, I tried to deny it. Honestly, looking back, I was an idiot. A lesser man would have ran at my insecurities, my doubts, my fears. But not the one that He kept for me. The more I tried to run, the more he became that safe place and no matter how much I ran, I was beginning to realize that I was on a track, not a road. Eventually, I would end back where I started and he.was.still.there. He came prepared, he was wearing his cleats too. As I was pursuing Christ in my Single Season, his lane had intersected with mine, on his own pursuit. He heals me. He knows the real me… Some men come to destroy, others are sent to restore. When it’s time, I will tell you the story of how he is truly my Kinsman Redeemer, your faith in a Sovereign God will be all the more strengthened. Hollywood ain’t got nothing on a love story written in Heaven and manifest on Earth.

He pursues my heart. Every look, every smile, is meant only for me. I have never felt this secure. Which is crazy, because for some untold reasons, we aren’t public with our relationship. We aren’t even in a typical relationship, but when God is writing your love story, there is nothing typical about it. In his eyes, I see a vision of the scar in his side, from where I was taken. I made the comment one day that we were cut from the same cloth. His quick response, “I’m pretty sure you have one of my ribs.” And you, Sir, have come back to claim it. I’m yours.  I might question the timing, but I don’t question the rightness of this. He affirms me in ways that go beyond a false physical bond, or whispered promises that we aren’t prepared to fulfill yet. I won’t pretend to understand all of God’s plan for us, or to know when or how this will all fit together. But I do know that my God does exceedingly, abundantly above anything that I could ever imagine. I couldn’t even fathom this. He is my beautiful Surprise.

I was created for him, but he was MADE for me. Every trial, struggle and triumph that he experienced was intimately orchestrated to form him into everything that I would need. God knew who I needed, so he fashioned him. I’m eternally grateful.

Beloved, I’m not ready to share you with the world yet, let’s just rest here for a while longer. Just me and you.

Until then, we will continue #journeyingtogether

With this ring, I thee…Justify

When we happen to run into someone that we haven’t seen in a long time, we often start with the same three questions, or some variations.

  1. How have you been? What have you been up to?
  2. Where do you work? What do you do?
  3. Are you married/dating/seeing anyone?

It never fails. These are the common “catching up” questions, and once answered, we feel like we have re-established a relationship, or at the very least, satisfied the courtesy quota so that we can walk away with a “ok, yes, we will meet up soon. Call/text/Facebook me!”

If you haven’t guessed yet, this blog will focus on the 3rd question. As a Single, this question is asked more than I want to answer. Even if it’s not asked, I always feel the subtle glance at my bare haunting left ring finger, and then the look in their eyes. Ok, maybe the look is perceived, but the judgement is more times than not, real. (if that word offends you – please follow me to Webster). Judgement is defined as the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought or consideration. This sometimes split-second judgement is the same one that many of us bestow on others: ‘Still Single, I see’. This doesn’t have to be a negative judgement, but it is a judgement that we make nevertheless.

As I write this, I am sitting at Starbucks, and I find myself glancing at the left hands of those people sitting around me. Unbeknownst to them, I’ve made a rash judgement on their lives, character and/or personality based on whether someone else wants, or at the least wanted them enough to marry them. While validating them, I subconsciously devalued myself.

As Singles, we think a ring will justify, validate us in some way. Many of us won’t admit it, so just keep on reading and we will pretend it’s just me. When we meet someone new, we will look at the ring finger, and don’t even realize that we have done it. I do believe that there is justification in the ring. There is a certain comfort and validation in knowing that you don’t have to face this world alone, that there is someone with whom you get the opportunity to do life with. In this case, the ring does justify that someone, somewhere in the world has made a public declaration that you belong. And we as Singles, sometimes automatically disqualify ourselves because we have yet to find that justification.

I’ve been sent to challenge that view.

A while back, Christ offered us all a ring. It wasn’t 3 carats, princess cut, high clarity, rose gold with a crown of baguettes surrounding it. It was brown, bloody, mangled and resting on the head of a Sinless Man crucified on a hill called Golgotha. It was a ring of thorns to symbolize that the King of Kings would not offer us things on this earth that can tatter and rust, but treasures laid up in heaven where neither moth nor vermin can touch. This justification is available to all, Jew and Gentile, Married and Single.

You are justified in Christ. You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. So I want to challenge the view that a ring will justify you to man. You have been made just in Him, everything else is just the icing on the wedding cake… 🙂

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