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… 🙂

LOVE: is Patient (Unedited) Chapter One of Not ANOTHER Love Book

Suffereth long (KJV)

Endures long and is patient (AMP)

Patient (ESV)

Patient (HCSB)

Never gives up (MESSAGE)

Suffers long (NKJV)

Patient (NASB)

As Singles, patience should be something we have in long supply, but it often seems like its something we just keeping running out of. Or is it something that we keep running from? Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Yep, sounds like something that I’ve run from many times. If you are Single, delay may be something that you are painfully familiar with in your life. It is defined as #thestuggle. We struggle with accepting God’s timing, especially when it doesn’t line up with what we have planned for our lives.

Patience seems to come in small waves and doses. We are supposed to be patiently waiting for our spouse. Patiently waiting to be found as a female or to discover a woman worthy of being found as a man. Waiting. Patiently. Or at least that’s what we want the world to think, God forbid we look like we are thirsty or that we aren’t comfortable being where we are. So we wait, painfully, I mean patiently.

I want to challenge you, because there has to be an easier way. I think if we go back to the definition and get to the true essence of what is means to say love is patient, we will begin to find our peace. Accepting and tolerating delay are two different things, with very different outcomes. To accept delay without complaint is to understand that God is still writing your love story. It’s to know that though it tarry, your prince (princess) will come. And you not just wait for it, you anticipate it. It’s the beautiful culmination of a well-orchestrated journey. To simply tolerate delay relieves you of your power in this season. It lends to the notion that you are a victim of your circumstances and you have no control over what is, or isn’t, happening to you. Snap out of it. No one wants to be a victim. It’s not cute, trust me.

Patience is bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, and pain with fortitude (strength of mind), and maintaining calm without complaint, anger or the like.

 There is a difference between being patient as you wait for the Lord to present you as a woman or present the woman to you as the man- and simply not having the opportunity. You aren’t being patient in a drought, you are simply waiting for it to rain. Patience is enduring when your family asks again ‘when are you getting married, honey? Patience is enduring when all of your friends are getting married, and you are ever a bridesmaid but never a bride.

In Our Lives:

Because we love God (and more importantly, we don’t doubt His love for us)-we chose to trust His timing. We bear provocation from people who don’t deserve us, but we give a chance anyway. We face annoyance with being the ONLY single friend from our college group. We endure misfortune that seems like we will never get married all the while combating hardship in trying to remain pure. We overcome pain that sears our hearts but doesn’t touch our minds because we know that God has told us that He will withhold no good thing from us, so we understand that if we are not married, then it is simply not our time for this good thing. We show love in patience, because we haven’t just heard of Him, we intimately know Him.

In Our Relationships:

It is important to remain patience with each other, in love. Your significant other is not your spouse-or at the very least, not yet. There has to be a boundary line. When we start treating them like a spouse, with the same expectations and same benefits (stay with me), the love can begin to wear thin. Simple commitments are not built to withstand the same pressure of a covenant. Irritation usually rears its demanding head as a lack of patience. This comes from an expectation of perfection-not on our parts, of course, but on theirs. We love to judge their shortcomings, while justifying our own. When they don’t live up to expectations that even we can’t meet, we are disappointed, and disappointment leads to irritation. We find ourselves irritated simply being in their presence. In my broken engagement, (yep, plug for you to read ‘NOT Another Singles Book-don’t worry, this won’t be the only one), I got to the point where even his chewing annoyed me. He could do no right, and there was nothing he could do to fix my level of frustration. I had already projected expectations on him of my husband, knowing that he could never fulfill the role, so I became even more irritated. Vicious cycle, but one I couldn’t break, nor even recognize until I realized that I was not patient with him, because I didn’t love him. At least not in the way that would ever sustain an happily ever after.

It’s impossible to practice patience if we hold on to this ‘right person’ myth. We foolishly believe that we won’t need patience when we meet the one because they will never try our patience. This is a lie from the pits, and I challenge you to capture and rebuke it. Even the Disney princesses understood that Prince Charming was never perfect.

Lastly, remember that lust and insecurity rushes, but love isn’t afraid to takes its time. Lust has to dive in headfirst, run full throttle because it never knows when the butterflies will go away, when reality will sink in, and the honeymoon is over. But, love is different. It realizes that this thing will be a marathon not a sprint, that it gets a second wind, and a third and a forth, and it only gets sweeter with time.

Love is characterized as patient first, because I believe that it will drive everything else we do, in love. If we can’t be long-suffering in this time of purification, then we will never be able to grasp the other aspects of this rich chapter that is righteously named God’s Love Chapter.

Let patience have its perfect work, so that you will be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Love is patient…and so are we.

Love Ain’t Just for the Married Folks: Not ANOTHER Love Book Introduction

Love activates everything within us. It is the most powerful motivating force in the world, and even outside of this world, if we are to believe John 3:16. For God so LOVED the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that those that believe in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. God loved, and then He gave. He teaches us that love is action. It is not stagnant. It sees a problem and immediately makes haste to correct it.

Love is beautiful and universal. You don’t have to speak the same language, or even have to speak at all to feel it. In the far away land of Ashdown Forest, Pooh Bear and Piglet were having a profound conversation. Piglet inquired, ‘How do you spell love, Pooh?’ Pooh contemplated and then responded in only his fashion, ‘you don’t spell it, you feel it.’ Well said, Pooh, well said.

So if love is this powerful, why do we assume that it is only to be experienced in marriage? Why don’t we believe that as Singles, that we can and should experience this emotion? I think because we don’t know how. We haven’t been taught that we are required to express this kind of love in this season. Prayerfully, that’s what this book will give you, the permission to love as a Single. The purpose is to give you an in-depth look at this beautiful, unmatched action and a chance to allow it to play out in every area of your Single life.

What do the Lonely Do At Christmas

 

This morning I woke up with such cheer and excitement for Christmas. I love the holidays. Although my family aren’t really into big holiday festivities, in my heart I’d celebrate every holiday on the calendar, and others just because. But Christmas is different. It’s special. It has the charm and sweetness of expectation that comes with our promise of our Savior. I.Love.Christmas.

Then something happened. I have been watching holiday movies since Thanksgiving. You know the ones, really cheesy acting and the guy always gets the girl in the end, all centered around some Christmas dilemma. I enjoy watching those and they always leave me in a great mood. But as I started to get dressed, the tears started to fall. The worst part was that at first, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized… at the beginning of this year, I didn’t anticipate spending Christmas alone. I didn’t really think about it or plan it out, but I realize that this isn’t what I had in mind. In the plan for my life, I didn’t anticipate being 34 and still not spending Christmas with my own family, or at least heading in that direction. I had to come to grips with, although I’m satisfied with Christ, I do want a family of my own. Today was the reminder that it’s not happening on my timeline.

I figured that if I am feeling this way, there are probably at least a hundred other people feeling the same way, but only a few brave souls will admit it. So…what do the lonely do at Christmas? I’m glad you asked. They remember the true reason for Christmas. Journey with me.

  1. C – Confess

Admitting that you are lonely at this moment is hard. You are trained to believe that if you complain or show that you are unhappy in one area, as Christians, we are are looked at as being dissatisfied with what God has given you. This isn’t always the case. You can be happy in your season, but still want the next one. Or (gasp) you can be unhappy. It’s ok to not be ok. Confess that to Christ and trust that He is strong enough to handle your fears, worries, hurts, disappointments.

  1. H – Here

Don’t forget to focus on the here. Don’t miss out on what you do have, while looking forward to what you have. You are blessed. You are loved, by family and friends. You are having a lonely spell…confess it and then get back to your here. Don’t allow it to steal the joy that you have in this moment

  1. R- Reevaluate

Why are you sad? Lonely? Disappointed? Because of a promise that God didn’t keep? That can’t be it, because God’s promises are yes and amen. So it must be because you haven’t received something that YOU thought you should have right now. You aren’t disappointed because God hasn’t shown up, you are disappointed that He refuses to operate on your timeline. Re-evaluate your expectations, and realign your will with His.

  1. I – It’s not a Hallmark/ABC Family Movie

It’s a Wonderful Life. IT IS, but it’s also a movie. God doesn’t deal in fairy tales, He deals in divine appointments, subjected wills and promises that no man can break. That’s so much better than “Happily ever after”…you have eternity with your Lover. Stop wanting to look like the movies and go live your reality,

  1. S – Stop

STOP Comparing your life with others. God says “I know the plans I have for you”. He is a personal God. Don’t give the enemy your joy by refusing to rejoice with your friends and family that are getting married, engaged, having babies. ‘Tis the season. You will regret not celebrating with them. Instead of saying “God why not me?”, change it to “God you are not a respecter of persons, I rejoice with my brother/sister and look forward to the day they will rejoice with me”

  1. T – Time

If you need to get away, get away. Give yourself time to deal with your lonely spell. Don’t push it under the rug, bring it to the surface and DEAL WITH IT. Time puts things into perspective and gives you the opportunity to face everything that you are feeling. Respect it.

  1. M – Miss Me

Tell your friends, family to miss you with all that “oh, still single? when you bringing some babies here? what happened to …?” MISS ME. Pass me the cranberry sauce and miss me with all that…’nough said.

  1. A – Anticipate

Anticipate the new year. God was good to you this year, because he is a Good, Good Father. Don’t be afraid to ask for you want, pray and intercede for what you need, and commit to look for His hand throughout your entire year.

  1. S – Start

NOW.
It’s ok to be lonely at Christmas, but don’t allow it to make you miss the true reason and beauty in this season. Pray, cry if you want, then get it-wash your face, get dressed and go get full…Christmas is waiting…

Day 23: If I Ain’t Got You…dealing with “the one that got away” Excerpt: “Through My Eyes Winter 2015”

 

Got awayEveryone has one. The ex that you feel like is the one that got away. That person that 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 this experience 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 1st book). That’s what got me hooked, never receiving the acceptance that I should have been secure in from my father, I longed for it in a relationship. 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 me. 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 the 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 that you can 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. 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 will end up doing is transferring your unresolved feelings onto the next poor, unsuspecting soul, if you haven’t dealt with the messy emotions of letting go. 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 to get to your future. This reminds me of the passage of the anointing of David 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 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 s/he was rejected — don’t forget that. Do what it takes to let go of past relationships. In regards to old 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 all try it. 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.”

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.

Why I Stopped Running: The Pursuit of being Pursued

 

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I remember as a little girl growing up on a farm, we had a lot to do. Between feeding the cows, chickens, picking blueberries, and all of the other chores of living in the country, we spent a lot of time outside. I come from a family with what seems like thousands of cousins, and we loved to play outside. We would hide in the barn, go exploring in the trees, ride four-wheelers, pick pecans, climb trees and go fishing. We had so much fun outside, but one game that I remember fondly was Chase. I believe y’all city folk call it Tag. The game was rather simple, you were simply chased until you got caught. If I happened to be playing with my numerous big boy cousins, if they caught you, you better be prepared to be tickled until you couldn’t breathe — then released to be chased again. When we got wise, we invented a base, where you could go and catch your breathe, but you couldn’t stay there the whole time, you had to get back in the game. Oh, how fun this child’s game was.

This child’s game. So, why are we still playing it as adults? (Come on, you know me – there is ALWAYS a message in it). We are still chasing ambitions, jobs, cars, houses, IPhone 15’s and everything else the world tells us that we must have…until we catch it. Then it tickles our fancy for a few moments, and we release it only to chase the next fastest thing running past us. This scenario all too well applies to relationships, which is the reason for this blog. I’ve decided to stop running and stay on base. Here’s why.

I lead a Singles Connect Group at my church (HOPECITY Houston, Tx), which is basically a small group of individuals that are in varying stages of Singleness who get together once a week to discuss topics specific to the season we are in. I can’t tell you how much this group has become my family. We laugh together, cry together, worship together and do life together. Recently we were discussing relationships and the difference between dating and courting. It got me to thinking, which lead to me crying, and then worshipping while crying, then having the Lord download into me, while sobbing. I think you get the picture. What God revealed is what I share with you today.

I have never been pursued. Ever.

Even typing it right now, it stings. Stings is putting it lightly, because having the revelation was gut wrenching. I fought long and hard about posting this, but it really wasn’t my decision. For a reason far above my knowledge scale, Christ has chosen to use my life as a living testimony to Singles specifically, so there was no way that I could sit on the word that He is pushing out of me. I pray this helps you, like it is healing me.

I have physically been asked for my hand in marriage three times, but only said “yes” once. I say physically, because my body was present, but my mind was nowhere near any of those relationships. If you have read my first book (NOT Another Singles Book, 2014 Tate Publishing), you know that I have been in a lot of relationships, but never been “me” in one. I played roles in all of them, so there was no way that the guy wouldn’t propose to me, I was his perfect mate-because I MOLDED myself into her. I wasn’t me, I was whomever he needed or wanted me to be.

Obviously, this didn’t work. So, I decided to just be me. And transparency moment, sometimes the enemy succeeds in convincing me, this isn’t working either. He shouts, “you aren’t worth it, you will never be married, you lead Singles ministry- because you will always be Single, and the most debilitating  one: this is where you serve God’s pleasure the most, He won’t take you out of this season.” I would love to tell you past tense that I “used to listen to him”, but that wouldn’t be completely accurate. I still sometimes, let his shouts drown out God’s whispers. Which is why, despite my feelings and fears, I will stay on base.

How does this relate to Chase? In relationships, I have been chased numerous times. Spiritually stay with me. I have had male potentials chase me, in hopes of catching me. What does being chased look like? It’s several things, but I will share a few telltale signs:

  1. It’s when he calls/text you on a weekday, in the middle of the day, not to just tell you he’s thinking of you, but because there is no commitment in that. You are both at work, so there is no expectation on your part, or pressure on his, to give you more than just a little “tickle” to keep you interested. He is unavailable on the weekends, and evenings when a date could be pursued, or even a decent conversation could be had. There usually isn’t an explanation as to why he didn’t call, when you could have actually seen each other, or if he does have the decency to give one-it’s usually useless.
  2. It’s when he doesn’t ask for a specific date that he has planned. When he is available, with most times no consideration of your time, he texts “what you doing, beautiful? (he has no problem complimenting you, those are free to him, but sometimes everything to you) I’d love to see you tonight. Can I come by?” And what is your answer…”aww…you’re so sweet. I’m just chilling, sure.” It hurts, huh?
  3. It’s when he either doesn’t mind spending money on you, but is always busy. Or when he has plenty of time, but you seem to be cooking, instead of going out or doing anything that would require spending money, or even just an original thought.
  4. This one was probably the hardest for me to realize: it’s when you are unsure of his intentions. On Tuesday, you think he is really interested, but by Friday you are unsure if he is interested in anything other than just the chase, and he is doing just enough to keep you interested enough to keep guessing.

I remember in the game, one of my cousins would lock in on one of us girls, and chase us until we got too tired to run, and just let him catch us. The others would be chasing one of us, but if another passed close to him, he would give up pursuit of one, and go after the other-seemingly ‘easier to catch’ cousin. Relationship chases can fall into either one of these categories. He will chase you until you convince yourself that his tactics are ‘good enough’, that  he is really interested, and you give him more of your attention and time then he deserves. Or the other one, that realizes that there are others that are easier to catch, so he stops pursuit mid-stride and you are left thinking-what happened?

So what happens when he catches you? My cousin, Sherwin used to catch and sit on us so we couldn’t get away and tickle us, until we were gasping for air. He tickled the breath out of us. How many times have you felt like you were suffocating? Like you just can’t catch your breathe, there is no peace or security in it – just temporary satisfaction. The thing about a tickle is that it’s fleeting, once their hands stop moving, the sensation is gone. The same is with these empty pursuits. I was tickled until I realized that I’m no longer ticklish. These tactics no longer work. I’m not interested in losing my breath over another man, whom I don’t intend to lose my last name with. I’m no longer caught in the fancy of being chased, caught, ticked and then released. I deserve to be pursued, and I will settle for nothing else.

Pursuit is the evidence of desire. Those things that we desire, we pursue. We don’t chase until they stop running. We regulate our breathing, tie our shoes and endure the journey of achieving the thing we wish to acquire. You, beautiful Woman of Virtue, are worth the pursuit. You are the marathon that he has been training under the Great Counselor since before the beginning of time. He is running for the only prize — you.

We have taken off the timeline of Base. You stay on that porch, not waiting on an opening to dart back in the game, and trust me you will be tempted to do so. But stay on the porch, until a man, THE MAN, comes to claim you off it.  He won’t be winded, because he hasn’t been chasing anyone else. He only showed up because your Daddy called and told him you were ready. This is what I will pursue, and this is what I’m waiting for. The game may still look fun and exciting, but it’s no longer for me.

Cast off into the Deep End (Excerpt from Through My Eyes Winter 2015)

THE LIST. Everyone has one, even if you won’t admit it, you have one. Those essentials characteristics that you want your spouse to have. Some of them are very valid points and desires, and I don’t think that there is anything necessarily wrong with having these kind of expectations. For example, I want my husband to have a great relationship with his father because I want to dance with him at our wedding, and it would be nice to call someone Dad after 15 years of rejection by my own. This is a noble desire, and one that I truly want the Lord to fulfill, but I am spiritually mature enough to know that if God does not grant it, it’s because He has a better plan for me, not because He is withholding something from me. Our Heavenly Father gives His children good gifts. If he does not fulfill a desire that is on my list, it’s because it does not coincide with a need that is already on His list for me.

In Luke 5:1-11, Christ calls His first disciples, Simon Peter, James and John as they fish. Jesus tells them, “put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Peter immediately questions Christ (He was always questioning something, huh), and informs Him that they had been fishing all night long and still caught nothing. “But nevertheless,” Peter said that at Christ’s word, he would cast the nets.

I don’t believe that Peter decided to follow Christ’s directions because he believed Him, I believe he initially did it to prove to Jesus that He was wrong. Peter and Zebedee’s sons (James and John) were fishermen by trade so they had been doing this for a while and they knew all the tricks of the trade. They were experts, with two Olympic gold medals in fishing to show for it. They didn’t need no “preacher” telling them how to do their job; but yet, Peter cast the net. Even in Peter’s doubts, there was something about the nature of Jesus that made him do what Christ said, even though he knew it wouldn’t work. And lo and behold, they caught more fish than they could haul in.

How often do we consciously or subconsciously tell God we can pick a better mate for ourselves than He can? We do this by getting into a relationship that God has not ordained nor arranged, but one that we think meets the characteristics of our list, so we jump in. Then, we bring that relationship to God when it isn’t going the way we believe it should go and ask God to fix it. In my spiritual mindset, I hear God saying, “I didn’t give that to you, so I’m the reason it’s falling apart. I won’t fix something I didn’t ordain for you to have in the first place.” So we sit and watch our relationship crumble, and then we blame God for not bending to our will instead of repenting for not submitting to His. This “list” has gotten me into some bad relationships and I have the healed scars to prove it. Even if you don’t think that the path God is taking you on is right, trust that He is right as Psalm 119:68 says “The Lord is good and He does good things”. He knows what He is talking about. He wooed and captured your heart, didn’t He? You can trust Him to take that same care in orchestrating your union.

I’m sure you can understand how this translates into relationships. Many of us have been dating for a while. I have labeled myself as a reformed serial monogamist, because I was always in a relationship, coming out of one, going into another, or had a least three potentials floating around, waiting on their chance. Thanks be to God for deliverance. We often think we know what we want in a mate, those essential characteristics that a spouse has to embody in order for them to be compatible for us. In a way, we are telling Christ that we can pick a better mate for ourselves, when we don’t consult with Him before we pick out the China patterns.

We often ask God to bless our choice, instead of waiting on Him to ordain the meeting. What does this mean? It means that we will find the best man or woman that fits the characteristics on our list (whether it is written or mental), and then ask God to bless that relationship, as opposed to asking God to ordain the meeting of our mate. If we would ask first, we wouldn’t need to come behind asking Him to bless our will, because we waited for His.

Vow to do this with your next relationship and see the difference. Allow God to orchestrate the initial meeting and follow His specific directions throughout the entire relationship, and see how much deeper the relationship is.

Dig in deeper, forget those things that you think you want and allow God to give you what you need. If you hold too tightly to your own agenda, your hand isn’t open for God to give you His Will. Don’t spend any more time as the early disciples did, fishing all night and catching nothing. Use God’s Provisional System to direct you — then and only then, “let down your net” once more to catch the fish that He has waiting for you.

You’ve tried it your way this long. How is that working out for you? Why not try it His way now?

The Long Way Around

A few days ago, I decided to take a different way to work, just to see if it was quicker. I had been debating this way for a while, since I moved in April actually, but I never made the decision to try it. So I finally got in my car and drove the other way, all the while timing it to see if it really was quicker. It takes me about 22-25 minutes to get from my home to work going my familar way. Taking the new way, I was pulling into my work parking lot in less than 18 minutes. Wow! All this time, I knew of a different way, but because I was used to the familiar or stuck in my old mindset, I was wasting at least 5 minutes of my day.

I hope you can see where I’m going with this. How many times in life do we know a different way, sometimes a better way of doing things, but because we are comfortable with our old way, we don’t change? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it-right? Wrong. Just because it isn’t broke, doesn’t mean it can’t run better. When will we get tired of living mediocre lives and begin to trust God with the exceedingly abundantly vision that He has stirred in our hearts? When will we stop settling for the known and trust God as Abraham to lead us to the unknown? These are questions that you can treat as rhetorical or ones that you can have a serious soul searching session and begin to change.

If we equate this to our Single life, as you know I do with just about everything, we can see how continuing to do dating the same way, will eventually waste a lot of our time. When we get comfortable in our actions, in our standards, in accepting less than because we don’t believe we are worth more-we will continue to take the long way around. I dare you to trust God with this. As I learned with my journey, I still arrived at the same destination-but I got there a whole lot quicker. When we trust God to send us the right person, we won’t catch all the red lights that our way leads us to. Trust Him.  He has so much more in store for you.

Glimpses of Him -Almost Does Count

I not so long ago* met this guy, let’s call him Mr. R. As you know, I am highly comfortable with being Single, as noted by the capital ‘S’. 🙂 I don’t think of it a grave sentence, but as a great opportunity to honor God with my whole life and no distractions of the world. I still desire marriage, but it is no longer on the throne of my heart, it is a healthy ache of longing for the future while being completely settled and satisfied in my present.

But I met this guy. And I was not looking. AT.ALL.. He began to show interest and I didn’t run. He was nice and sincere and had this sweet innocence in his pursuit that I had long ago forgotten existed. We talked and laughed and talked. I’m talking middle-school-5-hour-no-you-hang-up-first talked. We kept saying let’s focus on the friendship, but in our heads we knew that what we were feeling was taking wings. We made plans to see each other, we went on outings, we made every effort to let the other know that our intentions were to see where God was taking this.

Then it happened. No one knows what the ‘it’ is, but everyone has experienced it. The shift. The slight change in pull that makes it a bit easier to not call today, to not make plans for the weekend, when you usually had standing dates, to go an entire day and not realize that you haven’t talked to the person, although just a short time ago, you couldn’t go 10 minutes without thinking about this same person. Usually when this shift happens, only one person feels it-the other one feels the aftermath. It’s like you were analyzing the earthquake reading, but I was the one that felt the ground move from under me.

Such was this. There wasn’t a magical thing or an argument or something that stood out as a cause, it simply happened. Mr. R. was no longer the guy that I was starting to make an intentional decision to fall for, and what made it worse, he didn’t realize it. It came out as ‘I’ve been busy with work…etc, but I’m still interested’. This blog isn’t about going into the details or even all of the things that could of or should of happened, it’s simply to acknowledge that we are all trying to figure this thing called ‘love’ out. If accepting it from Christ, the lover of our souls is difficult at best, then we are sure to blunder it here with mere mortals.

It wasn’t Mr. R.’s fault. It wasn’t my fault. It just wasn’t meant to be, maybe not now, maybe not ever-only God knows. But as of now, I had to make the hard decision to let go of the almost. I could have let it drag out, and several years ago, I would have. I would have accepted his 4 day silences, and still anticipate the empty ‘hey how are you’ texts as if we hadn’t talked in a week or seen each other in 3. But I deserve more and so does he. I deserve the guy that won’t see me as a check of on his to-do list, but that will make sure that everyday I stay at the top. The guy that makes every effort to let me know how important I am to him, not make excuses as to how he is still figuring it out. I’m completely ok with Mr. R. figuring out what he wants, he just has to be completely ok with the possibility that when he figures it out, I won’t be waiting. That’s the risk we take. When we begin to pursue a relationship before we are sure we actually want that relationship, we will have to make a choice. Stay and figure it out together or walk away and not deal with the emotions of the unknown. I wanted the first, but he refused to do the latter.

He didn’t want me, but he wasn’t ready to let me go. But that wasn’t his choice. At this point in my life, I will never give anyone else that power. You don’t get to ‘keep the door’ open, while you stand in it deciding whether you want to come in. As grandma says, you are letting out my good air and as my old friend used to say ‘you blocking someone else’s blessing with your indecision.’ So as much as I at one time wanted to stay, I chose to walk away and free myself.

This is not written to bash Mr. R., because he is a great, amazing guy. He’s just not sure if he’s my guy. But he doesn’t get the option to keep me around as he figures it out. This is written to encourage those ladies, and gents, to take back your power. You are a priority and you deserve to be treated as one. If they aren’t ready for that, you be ready to walk away. You have too much purpose and destiny to wait in limbo as a person decides if they want to share it. You have a choice too, don’t give that up.

As Brandy said, Almost Doesn’t Count. I used to agree, but I now think it does. It counts that you opened yourself up, it counts that you tried, it counts that you were ready to love even though you knew that it could end in heartbreak. Most of all, it counts that once you realized that you weren’t getting what you deserved…you had the power to walk away and not settle for less than your Daddy has said you deserve.

Don’t regret it. Don’t wish you hadn’t met your Mr. or MISS R. That would cheapen it. It was real. You felt something, you opened yourself up, and it hurts to close the door. Take the time needed to heal. Don’t gloss it over with hard words or hurtful accusations of the other person. Simply acknowledged that you tried and it didn’t work. Cry if you need to. Scream if you want to. Get you a pint of ice cream, chocolate and your favorite chick flick and give yourself a day. A day to mourn what could have been, but never was. Then get up. Fill your horn with oil (your lungs with praise) and move on to what God has waiting for you. He never intended for you to camp here, there was a lesson meant to learn-learn it and keep going.

My lesson was that I’m ready for love. I am ready to receive what I deserve and strong enough to walk away when I don’t get it. I recognize the favor God has placed in my life and I will not share it with a man that isn’t my husband. I’ve realized that I’m no longer that insecure girl that would stain a situationship, instead of freeing myself for ‘the relationship’. I was pursued and it felt good, really good. But once the pursuit ebbed, I didn’t pick it up myself. So I’m proud of the lesson, and I don’t regret it. You shouldn’t either.

I believe every relationship has purpose, some you just have to dig through the pain, hurt and broken expectations to find it.

*not so long= between 1 month and 3 years

**disclaimer: please don’t cheapen the testimony by being worried about the timeline

2 Week Notice

As many of you know, I am a writer by nature. I can turn pretty much anything into a poem, blog or book. God has gifted me with this talent, what I do with it is my portion to the Kingdom. My life is my testimony, so many things that happen are used as experience for someone else; my struggle–your lesson. Which brings me to today’s blog.

2 week notice. If you have worked in corporate America or any job that practices good work ethic, you are required to give a 2 week notice when you decide to find something new or pursue a new opportunity. I have had a couple of jobs that decided to use that 2 weeks to woo me in hopes of getting me to stay, when they knew that at the end, I was still moving on. It didn’t stop them from trying, it just stopped it from mattering. If losing me as an employee was that important, then my imminent departure shouldn’t have been the spark to make them realize what they would be missing. But it was. And so it is with us in relationships.

Once a party has decided that the relationship, or in my case ‘situationship’ isn’t working and begins to feel the stir of freedom, the other party will sometimes pull out all the bells and whistles in hopes of changing that person’s mind. But all it is…is smoke. An illusion of what could have been, but the time has already out. The person that has decided to move on has usually weighed all the pros and cons, counted the cost and still made the determination that leaving would be better than staying. Maybe if the other party would have tried a bit harder when the attention was there, the 2 weeks wouldn’t have been served.
I hope you understand the analogy and I challenge that if you are in a relationship or in pursuit of one, don’t wait until the other person has put in their emotional 2 weeks before you start showing your appreciation. It won’t be appreciated. No one wants to hear how much they matter, when it’s tied to ‘baby please don’t go’ or ‘if you would just give me another chance’. If you care, show it. If you don’t, let them go. Being in a piece of a relationship is not better than being whole alone.

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