Archive | March 2016

The Goal of Marriage

A week before my 33rd birthday and I am my usual contemplating self. It has been warfare in my mind and emotions for unrelated reasons, but all things are related when we are His. Though I am still in the battle I’m coming out and have received some insight into this experience. For much of my journey with Christ I did not understand His ways and the path He was having me follow. Now having walked some time I can look back and see that much of His intention towards me was to develop me. The definiton of develop:To bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state.

​That is exactly how I feel this journey has been with Him. God is always working on us, especially if we are called to bear Him much fruit. We must first be pruned to bear fruit.​ When He works on us He is bringing forth the best version of us. He is so patient that while the process can seem so long to us He is considerately, kindly, and gently molding us through it. He is with us through it. 

For a while there I would say marriage was a goal. I’m sure it still is for me in a sense. When you have done this much work on yourself in the area of surrender and waiting on Him you can’t help but feel some sense of accomplishment when the promise manifests! But before I would have looked at marriage as a definion of identity. Now I see it as a bi-product of identity. Now the true goal is wholeness.

Everytime I think, “What is it that I want from Jesus for my 33rd b day?” (Because I believe He loves to give us good gifts) the answer comes swifly to my heart :”I want wholeness Jesus”. I want wholeness because I see now so many of my mental and emotional battles have been a result of my own brokeness. So many of my weaknesses have come from my own dysfunction. The interesting thing about Christ is that He doesn’t do things overnight; He enjoys the journey. He enjoys the day by day manifestation of what already is; the slow unfolding of what He promised. Sometimes its hard to see when it happens that way. It’s like noticing a nano second passing by. You hardly notice b/c it’s so miniscule, but when a whole hour passes by, you definitely take notice! 

We should be able to look back on our path and see the development. We should see the evolution of who we are in Him. If we can’t, something is wrong. We are not progressing forward in our purpose and calling. Sometimes we will have slow seasons or times of distraction, but overall we should be moving forward by His grace.

I admit my dissappointment there is not a ring on my finger by 33. I admit my difficulty with accepting the fact that it has taken this amount of time to reach the level of wholeness I am currently at. I am reminded that Christ is not dissappointed. He knows us through and through. He knows the development process we are in. He knows the best timing to bring about His promises in our lives.

Random selfie…

  
SHALOM

The Choices We Make

Last night I had the opportunity to have dinner with an old friend. It had been nearly ten years since our last dinner but our connection had not changed. We updated each other on career, relationships and faith. We talked about how weird it was that not too long ago we were in our early 20s and now we are in our early 30s. Time flies and things change. But neither of our relationship status’ had changed and that wasn’t on either of our agendas.

I found it interesting how we had responded to God’s timing in this. We had both learned to wait on the Lord. We are still learning.  The food was amazing and the conversation flowed easily as if it had not been interrupted by a ten year gap. And then came the question that made me smile and almost laugh. “Have you heard from your ex?” She said. Even now I smile writing this.  The ex she was referring to was the one I wrote my first book about. The one I fell head over heels for and thought my life would end when his betrayal punched me fiercely in the gut. “Its been a few years since I’ve heard from him” was somewhat of my response. She proceeded to update me on his life and I was surpised and not so surpised. It seems we, he and I, had made very different choices along the path of life. It seems his choices, atleast in the area of relationships, were still as self destructive as they were 10 years ago, when I thought I couldn’t live without him.  When I thought he was my whole world. Then I learned Jesus was. 

While reflecting on our paths I thanked God for His protection. I’m so grateful that he helped me to make the hard choices. And they were so hard. This path of surrender has been so hard, but atleast now I see more of its purpose.

I told my friend I never knew how much I needed to be alone. I still need to be alone. It has become very clear to me this time of being alone and making the hard choices is a calling on my life. I have been able to overcome heartbreak because I was called to and I therefore I had the grace to.

I realize that even though we are called and chosen, we still have choices.

When we follow Christ and listen to Holy Spirit, we have the ability to choose well.

I pray that you choose well.

In other news, my blogger friends and I will be discussing sex and celibacy from a Christian point of view. Below are the details. I hope you can join!

 
SHALOM

Why I Hate to Talk About Sex…But I’m Going To Do It Anyway

Hello there!  I’m sure you were very intrigued by the title of this blog post!  While I hate to disappoint, it actually does not belong to me. It belongs to a very good blogger friend of mine, Simone.  Please check out the full blog post here.  Simone, myself and 3 other fabulous female authors will be discussing topics of celibacy and waiting on the Lord March 29th and we would LOVE to have you join us!  Check out details on the blog post.  Hope you can join in!!

 

SHALOM

Walking Through The Fire

A long time ago there were three men who were so full of faith they risked their lives to prove it. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were thrown into a fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar because they refused to bow down to his golden image. Even with the consequence of disobeying the King their belief that God could deliver them from the fiery furnace prevailed.  This type of faith is definitely impressive! But what is even more remarkable is their belief that even if they were not delivered, even if God allowed them to suffer at the hands of this man, they refused to forsake Him!  For months now I have sought the Lord to move on my behalf. I have asked Him to deliver and fight and heal. I have experienced His movement on my behalf so many times in these ways prior to this season. I did not understand why this deliverance was “taking so long” to manifest. It was during a moment of brokeness that instead of asking Him to deliver me I instead asked Him to walk with me through this season. Instantly I was reminded of the 3 Hebrew boys.

Sometimes the Lord will not remove our obstacles, even when they are very difficult. Sometimes He will not remove them because we as believer’s are not exempt from the trials of this life. Instead, He chooses to hold our hand and walk with us through the fire.

Years ago while I was in a similar transition season God gave me a word that I was going through the fire to be delivered of some baggage I had be carrying. I needed to be refined before my new season. God may not start the flame as was the case with the 3 Hebrew boys (Nebuchadnazzer took care of that) but He will certainly use it.

Sometimes God gets the glory from immediately delivering you from a situation so that you dont have to go through it. Other times He chooses to allow the situation and be with you in it, keeping you from being scarred by the flames.

In either case He is faithful to make you as pure as gold when your season of testing is over.

SHALOM

Celibacy: The New Sexy

If you’re even just a little bit privy to celebs and entertainment gossip you have probably heard of some well known couples whipping out the celibacy card. Some very good looking couples I might add! These good looking couples have shared that their purposes for being celibate have more to do with their faith then anything. One couple actually released a book about their experience called “The Wait” written by Devon Franklin and Meagan Good. I have yet to read the book but a blogger friend of mine had the opportunity to interview them. Please check out the interview here.

I applaud Devon and Meagan’s efforts to help others become aware that God wants our bodies as well as our hearts. I appreciate that they have a greater platform than many believers and can even reach a more diverse group of people to share a message of purity.

Another couple that has been outspoken about “their wait” recently became engaged.  Russell Wilson and Ciara are on their way to the next step in solidifying their relationship. While I rejoice that this couple desires to honor one another and God in their relationship I understand by experience that celibacy is just one step towards the goal of a healthy, godly marriage.  Purity runs deeper than just physical boundaries and a solid foundation for a relationship must encompass mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual components.  I pray this couple gets that understanding if they don’t already have it. In my experience the body of Christ has done a poor job of preparing singles for marriage. The teaching has been very surface level and often times Christian couples modeled worldy couples, except without the sex and sometimes maybe they prayed together. They just kind of tagged Jesus on and moved forward functioning from a lot of self and immaturity. These teachers thought that celibacy was the key.

But I believe wisdom is the key.

Celibacy is just a byproduct of holiness and intimacy with God.  We respond to Him by laying down our desires because He is so good, but that is just one level of knowing Him. As we keep walking and maturing in Him we learn there are greater components to a covenant with Him and a covenant with a spouse.

I pray these couples who desire God’s best learn there is much more to the foundation of a healthy relationship than just abstinence. There is wholeness which cannot be cultivated easily. Instead it takes time and obedience and faithfulness.

SHALOM

Meeting Anna

I keep being reminded of my grandmother and my ancestors.  I keep being reminded that I am only where I am in life because of their sacrifices for me.  I met a woman named Anna today who reminded me of that.  I do taxes seasonally and the tax company I work for does mostly lower income tax filers’ returns.  This particular woman I met today was a stripper.  But she did not want to be called a stripper.  Even when I used the term “exotic dancer” she did not embrace it.  Instead, she described herself as “entertainer”.  There was a dignity there that kept her from even wanting to be associated with the word “stripper”.

I wondered what separated myself from Anna.  We are the same age.  We live in the same city.  I look back on my journey and see how the Spirit disrupted my life.  He said “not you”, and gave me living water.  Similar to the woman at the well.  I was one of those “well women”.  I may not have had experiences as devastating as some, but there was potential there.  Yet Christ gave me living water.  And I drank and drank and drank.  There were times I did not want to drink, but then He fed me with manna.

I pray He feeds Anna with manna.

“Come to Me Anna and I will give you living water.  I will show you many things.”  That is what Christ says to each of us.  That is what He says to the lost and the broken and the hopeless.

He is hope.  He is life.  He is wholeness.

He makes us a new creature and gives us 2nd chances at life.  And 3rds.  And 4ths…

Jesus caught me young.  I happened to be born into a family who knew Him and therefore I had a foundation to go to when darkness surrounded me.  But there are those who do not have that foundation.  And they are waiting for you to bring them the light.

To bring them the manna.

SHALOM

Turning Points

I had a bittersweet conversation with a friend today. Bitter because her boyfriend is dying from cancer. Sweet b/c God is in the midst.

cross

I have known this woman for some time and she has been instrumental in my career. God has used her as an advocate for me and used her to keep doors open for me. In return He has used me to minister the gospel to her, over nearly a 10-year period.

She came to faith quietly, in the day-to-day grind and sometimes hours of monotony; in her own way. Not in the over the top, zealous way I experienced as a teenager in college, but as a woman who had been through a lot, walked through a lot, and learned she had a Savior she could lean on. When her companion was diagnosed, I knew she would get to know that Savior in more ways than she ever had before. What better way to know the Man of Sorrows than when He holds your hand as you yourself walk through sorrow?

She was a mentor before she was a friend, but eventually our 20-year difference morphed into a relationship that lacked description, though once she told me I was like the daughter she never had. That daughter only lived a few hours and died prematurely. I’m honored she would compare me to her.

She called to tell me the job I’ve been waiting for, the job I felt was promised to me, called her for a reference. “I think you got it”, she said. Revelation flooded me. My mind found its way back to 10 years ago, when another door in my career threatened to shut; when God’s promises were being opposed by forces of darkness. Back then He used her to keep that door open and 2 months later I received what was mine.

Again, the door has been open, waiting for me…

“Those who wait on the Lord shall not be ashamed”.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint”.

May God receive all the glory from my life.

And from yours.

SHALOM