Single Blessings

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 It’s been a while, and man oh man have some things been put on my heart. I’ve been delayed in writing as not to release too many topics that will be in my upcoming book! 

But I’m back!!

My church recently re-launched its Singles’ Ministry, and it left a huge imprint on my mind. At this meeting there was a panel of about five women, ranging from 28 to well-seasoned, and there were two men as well. Each person had a lot of insight to give the group, and most importantly, it was Godly!

The older gentlemen gave us the scripture 1 Corinthians 7:32 (NIV)

“…An unmarried man (woman) is concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he can please the Lord.”

This really struck me because how many times do we, as unmarried people, complain about not being married. Not having eye or arm candy? How many times do we covetously look at others wanting what they have in their relationship? And wanting it right now!

The bible tells us right here that we should be concerned with pleasing the Lord. Not sitting around complaining about what we don’t have.

If we were busy doing the Lord’s work, we’d be thankful that we don’t have to worry about someone else’s feelings. That we don’t have to turn the light out late night because someone else is trying to sleep while studying, or worry about turning the lights on early in the morning as we begin our quiet time with Him. We don’t have to worry about giving someone else part of our 24 hour day, that for some reason never seems long enough!

So why are we complaining again? 

There are many people in relationships right now, that are just holding on for a ring. Literally, barely holding on! As if they think that marriage will solve their relationship issues, or their life issues.

Honey, that couldn’t be further from the truth! 

Marriage will only amplify the problems you already have, especially those personal issues you haven’t allowed God to handle yet.

One thing that is so important to remember is that God is not going to give his prized possessions (whether it is His son or daughter) willingly, to someone who is just going to tear them apart! We need to spend this time asking the Lord to heal us from past hurt, break previous soul ties that we have created, and to overall renew our spirit from anything that has broken it. Those slight insecurities that you have now, don’t just disappear. Instead, you now have someone in your mix, in your space a majority of the time. And THEY have to deal with them. Are they going to want to put up with those issues? You can end up emotionally harming your relationship, and the results of that can be very hurtful to both parties. 

All of these social media quotes talk about how men emotionally hurt women and leave them scarred… Well women have a tendency to do the same. No statistics necessary, women hurt men too. So it’s not just about a man being prepared to be a husband, women also need to be fully prepared to be a wife. How do you prepare? By wholeheartedly giving your life to God and allowing Him to break down all of the walls you’ve previously built up, and allowing Him to rebuild you into a spouse that will be genuinely loving, helpful, but most importantly, someone who will not create a god out of their spouse!

I can say for a fact I’ve had so many issues in relationships by making the person I was with ahead of God. My relationship with Him would always suffer when I was with someone. I had to really think about that, and understand that God is not going to give me someone that I am going to love more than Him. He’s jealous, remember? God should be the head of our lives regardless of whether we are in a relationship or not. If we don’t honor that structure, God can, and will send us a wake up call, that’s usually not so pleasant (a breakup is a great example.)

God loves us too much to bring someone into our lives that we are not ready to fully appreciate and to honor as He has instructed us to honor.

Notice, I’m specifically talking about God intentionally bringing someone into our lives to be a spouse. Not talking about the cute man/woman you met at church, are attracted to, and you pursued without approval from the Lord… Now that’s a completely different situation.

Nonetheless, it is so important that we spend this time of unmarriedness (yes I am fully aware that is not a real word) wisely. Being unmarried should be the least of our concerns because we should be participating in ministries, spending time with God, learning more about ourselves and what we love. The fact that we aren’t married should be something that we rarely think about!

Well I want to change, but I’m afraid…

Is it going to be a little uncomfortable at first? Yes. Change usually is. 

But it’s not impossible, because we can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength!

Being unmarried is not a curse, a death sentence, or anything to be ashamed about (don’t let ANYONE tell you differently either!) 

This too, is a very special and important time in your life that is so purposeful! This is YOUR time to learn about God, and yourself in a way that you will miss when the season is over (at least that’s what married people tell me.)

Be encouraged.

Breaking Your Own Spirit

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How many times have you heard:”Don’t break their spirit”?

Referring to a child, or anyone for that matter. Usually because they’re not doing something “right” or by “normal” standards…

Did you know you can break your own spirit?

Well you can.
In my experience, breaking your own spirit hurts more than someone else breaking your spirit. You’ll continue trying to justify why you should put up with lowering your standards and morals. Versus someone else breaking your spirit, you can disregard what they say.

Let’s just say over the last year I have done a lot of breaking my own spirit. Settling for significantly less than I deserve in several areas of my life.

You may ask, but how did you break your own spirit?

One way was engaging in relationships that didn’t build me up. Friendships, dating, things like that. Holding onto people that don’t deserve to be in my life because I felt I needed them, or they needed me, so I thought.

I’ve learned that people who are needy will prey on those who need to be needed to satisfy their selfish desires. While those who need to be needed will prey on those who are needy to fulfill their selfish desires.

Did that person say they needed you? Or did you assume because they lack something you have, they needed you to teach them that quality? Did they actually ASK for your help, or are you handing out your help because you want to feel important, or like you saved them from themselves?

These are questions I’ve been asking myself lately since I fall into the “need to be needed” category.

There have been several times where I was not asked for help, but I will ask if help is needed anywhere or I’ll just step in if I saw lack. I’m wasn’t being led by God, no shove from the Holy Spirit, it was just me.

This eventually led to self destruction.
I never gave myself an opportunity to rest, causing a horrible snowball effect.Not having a chance to rest affected my ability to be available to my children, as well as my overall enjoyment of life. Everything became a chore. It wasn’t a matter of me having hobbies and taking time out to do things that made me happy, but everything felt like it HAD to be done! My selfish desire of needing to be needed took over my life.

Generally I love to cook. I would find joy in it. That too became a chore that I didn’t want to do.

So I didn’t.

That resulted in us eating out frequently, gaining weight and overall feeling the affects of not properly nourishing our bodies.

I wasn’t properly resting.

I stopped praying.

My kids were getting on my nerves every second of the day.

I didn’t find joy in anything!

My spirit was broken… by ME!

God wasn’t leading me to do ANY of the things I was doing, I just did them because I felt I needed to do them.

I had to check myself…

I said “You used to love this! The activity hasn’t changed, so you must’ve changed. What is wrong?!?”

What was wrong was my lack of contentment.

I want things that it’s not God’s timing for me to have…

*clears throat* my own home, a husband…

That translated into doing SEVERAL things that should bring joy, but didn’t because I wasn’t doing them for the right reasons.

As soon as I stopped being satisfied with what I have been blessed with was the moment everything began to fall apart. Not overnight, but very gradually.

When I was previously able to keep things together, it was because I was content in where I was in my life! Content in my blessing, and content in the things I lack because I knew God was aware of the desires of my heart, and He wouldn’t withhold those things from me if I was righteous (Psalms 84:11.)

But thank God for revelation…

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭33-34‬ NKJV

The moment I started examining the “happiness” of others, over the will of God for my life, is when selfishness and discontentment settled in and I broke my own spirit.

Be Kingdom minded and enjoy the season YOU are in…

Don’t break your own spirit.

Be encouraged.

Open House

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Recently I felt a strong urge to get closure in a relationship that ended, but didn’t have the typical “I hope I never have to see him again” ending.

I reached out to him and expressed what I was looking for, and he gladly decided to help me out.

Now, mind you, he has moved on. Although at one point there was a possibility that we could have reconciled. It just didn’t happen.

After speaking with him, and getting a few things out in the open, as well as learning a few things about my actions in our relationship I felt relief, but at the same time, it felt like my heart was broken all over again!

How weird is that? I wanted to feel better, not worse, right?

After the discussion, I felt horrible about myself!

Am I not wife material? Am I not pretty enough? Smart enough? It’s the fact that I’m a single mother, right? Or is it because I’m not as financially stable as a man would want his future wife? What does she (or they – as in other women who have similar stories to mine) have that I don’t?

All of these thoughts just rushed into my head and I couldn’t control all of the emotions that I was presented with.

I prayed.

Cried.

Prayed some more.

Cried some more… you know how that goes…

Then, when asked how I was doing, I responded with “I’ve been better.”

After being asked (although I really didn’t want to talk about it because just the mention would make my eyes well up with tears), I briefly summarized, and I got this amazingly encouraging response (yes I got permission before I shared it)

“If you want new furniture in your house you have to remove the old furniture. Or it all won’t fit. It doesn’t diminish the value of the home, it’s just meant to enhance the comfort of the home and be a reflection of the owner. Even with a house, there is a time when the land is cleared, the foundation set, the frames, windows, walls and paint are put in place. Then there’s a time when the house is shown to potential buyers. The buyers are allowed to visit, but not stay to imagine what living in the house would be like. They evaluate if the home is suitable for their life plans. This process can take time and the house can be empty for years. But when the right buyer comes along, the house will be filled with items, memories. It will be a shelter, comfort, a landmark for the family. It will grow, change and maybe even have some unplanned additions. This is the house becoming a home.”

Being honest, I had to read the whole thing before I connected my situation to the analogy sent to me, because I am not a house… but one day I would love to be a home.

That amazing analogy was followed up by this:

“People are just like the house becoming a home process. There is no need to judge the empty house for what it is. You look at the potential for what the home could be, and if that home is what you need. Our emotions make us feel out of control, but we are ALWAYS in control. The devil just takes the opportunity to create confusion to challenge you and give you struggle. This is the process of growth. ‘All things work for the Kingdom.’…”

It was then personalized for little ol’ me:

“It seems you are a great house and many see the value, but it looks like you’ve had some squatters occupying your property. And as long as that was happening, you could not find a family to make it a home. It also sounds like the eviction process was painful. But now when you look at the value of the property (you) and the house (the woman you are), all of a sudden your stock rises. A vacant sign (single) is out and you have an amazing broker (God). Before you know it your experience will be used to keep your home together for the family that lives in it.”

WOW! Can you say the nail was hit directly on the head!!

Now, this is coming from someone who doesn’t know the full extent of the relationship or my feelings.

When I thanked him, he said he’s just the messenger.

LOOK AT GOD!

My mind was so distracted with emotions that I wasn’t listening to what my Father wanted me to know.

As I’ve mentioned before, breakups are hard. They take time to get over, and you can’t rush the recovery process.

After a season of harvest, in order to make sure the land can nourish another harvest, farmers have to let the land just sit. They don’t plant anything, it’s just an empty field, that way when it’s time to plant, their product will be healthy and plentiful.

We are just like that!

We need that time to rest, recuperate, and review. Everything in life is a lesson, and unless you’re taking time to review the material, you’re going to end up in the same situation once again.

Those words touched me so much today (and yes I got teary eyed – don’t judge me it was much needed).

So on top of telling you that just because you’re no longer in that particular relationship that you are still valuable and there’s a better fit for you, I also want to encourage you to encourage someone else.

If the Lord has put something on your heart to share with someone, be obedient. You never know exactly what they are going through and how your words can deliver them from what they are going through.

Be encouraged.

A Man is NOT a Financial Plan

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Being a mother is tough! Any mother will tell you that.
Being a single mother is even more tough! Especially if you’re not getting financial assistance from your child(ren)’s father.

That struggle in itself can make you feel a little desperate…
Now get out of your feelings Sis!

I used to think the only way things would get easier for me was to get married. You know, a two-income household is stronger than one. He’s a man. He’ll work hard to take care of his family because that’s what he’s supposed to do according to the bible, right? I would be able to be a stay at home mother and only work if I wanted to, no pressure though.

Then I had to check myself… I was about to settle for a man who had the financially stability I wanted,

BUT…

His spirituality was lacking significantly.

Unless I was on his back about reading, studying, going to church, paying tithes, he wouldn’t do it…

Wait! Doesn’t the bible say the man is to lead the household to God?!
Why am I doing that?

Yea, he wasn’t my Adam, but I was so set on his financial stability I was willing to allow the spiritual inconsistencies to take a back seat to his bank account.

Now the bible tells us “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21.
So if I treasure his bank account, over his relationship with God, I love his wallet more.

The thing about loving your (or someone else’s) wallet more than God is: wallets get lost, stolen, taken away. People get fired, laid off, demoted.

ANYTHING that’s not God can change! So if you’re valuing something other than his love for God and his ability to lead you and your children/ future children to God, then you’re already starting off on the wrong foot.

Marriage is for a lifetime.
What would happen if:
You got married to this financially stable, yet spiritually inconsistent man, and he lost his job?

The reason you decided to marry him is no longer there, do you divorce him because he’s no longer able to provide? Or are you no longer attracted to him?

Well God also doesn’t like divorce, so what do you do?

Resent your husband? Talk bad about him to your friends? Hold out on intimacy? Cheat?
See, that escalated pretty quickly. But it happens.

If your marriage has a foundation of God and nothing more; rain, hail, sleet, snow, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, whatever will not tear your marriage apart because you’re bound by the ONLY unchanging force. God.

Yes it’s tough being alone (not lonely for God is ALWAYS with you), but imagine introducing your child(ren) to a man, only to have to explain to them what divorce is. Or have them see you unhappily married…

God knows your needs. He provides you with what you need. Make sure you’re being a good steward over those things (often times we think we are, and we’re not).

Don’t become desperate because things are tough or you’re tired of doing things on your own. Stay patient and in expectation of God’s best, because we know God won’t hold out on His best for the righteous.

Allow God to lead your every step and He will not steer you wrong. Yes it may take some time,
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord, one day is a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us” 2 Peter 3:8,9 NKJV.

Don’t allow this so called “biological clock” to overrule the Author of Time Himself.

Be encouraged.

Single Ladies: Stay In Your Lane

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Ok, this is going to be short, but exciting…
 
Is it just me, or does it feel like when you’re single EVERYONE is in a relationship, getting engaged or getting married?
 
To be honest, my flesh makes sure to become full of discontentment because I’m single.
 
BUT…
 
We are all created with an individual purpose. God has already decided what we are to do while on earth. It’s up to us to listen to His instructions and fulfill that plan. Who am I to say what season someone else is in? 
I am not God.
I have no idea what He is instructing them to do.
I do not know if they’re being obedient to His instruction or not.
I can’t be jealous or upset.
 
By getting upset, I’m not showing that I’m upset with people for being in love. I’m showing that I’m upset with God because He hasn’t given me a companion.
How can we be upset with God when He has done SO MUCH for us?…
After all, if you’re reading this, He woke you up, you’re breathing, your eyes can see, and you know how to read! There’s no reason to be upset! We are so blessed!
 
Our youth minister said “There are a lot of us that would be further in life than we are, had we not entertained a certain someone we had no business entertaining…”
 
Ain’t that the truth!!
I can definitely attest to that!
 
Our disobedience is what has caused these long, uncomfortable seasons… That’s not God’s fault!
 
Then, we watched this spoken word.
 
 
Let’s just say… I will wait!
 
In the meantime:
I am focused on becoming the Ruth for my Boaz, the Rachel for my Jacob, the Eve for my Adam, the Proverbs 31 woman.
 
Ladies, we CANNOT expect to attract a wonderful Godly man, if we are not a wonderful Godly woman! Just as we aren’t able to change a man (like I’m sure we have all tried to at one point in life and failed miserably) a man cannot change a woman either. We have to be open and willing to submit ourselves to God, FIRST and allow Him to change us. If we cannot submit to God, we will not submit to our husbands – which goes against God’s instructions for families (Ephesians 5:21-24).
Do you see what will happen?
By settling for any man, instead of waiting for YOUR man, you are making a vow before God to submit to him. If he’s not worth submitting to, then you have a real problem on your hands… By not submitting to your husband and allowing Him to lead you, you’re back in that unnecessary season that could have been avoided with obedience. 
 
Don’t focus on what you don’t have, focus on what you strive to become – Believe me! Like the popular saying, “Stay in your lane” – if you’re busy working on your relationship with Christ and improving yourself, you won’t even notice what’s going on around you. 
 
Be encouraged.

God and Your Relationship

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I read an interesting question the other day from one of my favorite Facebook pages. It is dedicated to single Christians that are walking/ learning to walk in their purpose while trusting God and waiting for their spouse.
The question asked, “Does God really care about who we marry? Or does He want to be involved in the selection?”

My response: Yes and YES!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

In ALL your ways, not just some of them.

I’ll use this personal example:

I was in a relationship, it wasn’t bad, abusive, harmful or anything. It was actually going really well. Then it ended.

The REALLY hard part came when it was time to explain to my daughters why he wouldn’t be coming around anymore – I have learned some helpful lessons about dating with children, I’ll address that at a later time – I tried to break it down as easily as possible for them to understand, I simply said, “God didn’t choose him for me, I chose him.” When asked for more details, I asked them some questions:

Why do we pray? They answered, “To talk to God.”

I asked why are we supposed to talk to God, they said, “So we know what He wants us to do.”

I affirmed them.

We talk to God for direction, for guidance.

(as usual, while teaching them, I end up learning something myself)

Now although I was praying while in this relationship, I was praying that this man WOULD be “the one”, I didn’t start asking if he was until close to the end of our relationship… and guess what God said?

NO! He pointed out several reasons why he wasn’t my husband, but did I call things off? No… Had I ended things earlier (when I was told to) I wouldn’t have experienced the hurt I did because of how it ended.

Now back to the question: Does God care about who we marry?

ABSOLUTELY!

We have been given instructions on who we, as Believers, should connect with/ marry:

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthias 6:14

We have also been given specific instructions on how husbands and wives are to treat each other in marriage:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the savior of the body.” Ephesians 5:22-23

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,” Ephesians 5:25-26

Knowing this, why wouldn’t God care?

Marriage is a covenant made before God and He wants us to be connected to people that will enhance our relationship with Him. If our partner is hindering that relationship instead of enhancing it, what’s the point? Companionship? Sex? Children? – Those things are bonuses to marriage, not the purpose for it.

Now for the women, as a wife, would you submit to someone who is leading you in the wrong direction? Of course not! Especially when we know right from wrong. As a wife, we would be disobeying God by not submitting to our husband. Now, the fact that our husband is not someone we would want to submit to (for whatever reason) would be no one’s fault but our own. We weren’t seeking God’s approval of this person before we made our vow “’til death do us part.”

For the second part of the question: Does He want to be involved in the selection?

YES!

Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk in the Spirit. By walking in the Sprit we can avoid “fornication, adultery, hatred, envy, selfish ambitions, idolatry” (verses 19-21)

-Notice, I included characteristics that are usually present in relationships where God isn’t –

When God is involved, we are less likely to fulfill our own selfish, lustful desires, so we NEED Him to be involved in order to keep us focused on the task at hand – enhancing the Kingdom of God!

This can be a challenge, because we think we know what’s best for ourselves (or we get caught up by how they look on paper or in person), but as David said in Psalms 139:1-3 “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.” (The rest of this chapter is good too, but I’ll let you look it up yourself).

He knows us better than we know ourselves!! He knows what we NEED!

Not only what we need today, but what we’ll need tomorrow – we don’t. Let Him direct ALL your paths, not just some of them…

Be encouraged.