book review, Men, Women

My Wait

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The Wait is a honest depiction of celibacy in the modern age. Devon Franklin and Meagan Good give personal accounts of their journey, individually and as a couple. Whether your choice or consideration for celibacy is one of a commitment to God or not, The Wait offers so much  confirmation and assistance to one practicing the lifestyle. Devon and Meagan began their journey of celibacy separately and at different times. Each walking through life seeking God’s will. They did not know at first that they were for each other, but began a friendship that did turn into a marriage. I am approaching close to 3 years of celibacy and waiting in God’s time, knowing He is writing a beautiful love story- better than I could ever imagine.

Right away, the question of Why gets answered for us.

“But why? Why did we consciously delay gratification – not just sexual but emotional and spiritual- that would have come with diving headfirst into a passionate relationship? The answer is simple: we wanted God’s very best for our lives, collectively and individually, and we wanted it in whatever way he intended. This required patience (pg.xvii).”

“Because we waited, we exchanged immediate gratification for what we really wanted and who we really wanted to be. Because we waited, God was able to reveal things that we would have missed if we had been blinded by the white-hot light of lust, desperate to fulfill our own desires. Because we waited, we were eventually ready (pg.xviii).”

The authors clarify that the Wait is (sort of) about sex. Sex is always around us through tv, movies, music, blogs, magazines, talk shows, billboards. Lets to be real- sex is in our own minds and memories. When you decided not to have it [sex], not to entertain it, even fight against thoughts of it, now that is what stirs up curiosity and controversy. Singer, Ciara Harris and now fiance Seattle Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson stirred up media with their commitment to doing it Jesus’ way. Congrats By The Way!!!!

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God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.  

1 Thessalonians 4:3

Waiting is not passive. I’m not waiting for a prince to rescue me from some high tower of a castle. The authors, tells us while we wait we should be working on ourselves, “…letting love and purpose manifest in your life as result of you working on becoming the best version of yourself (pg.11).”It’s about focusing on becoming our best, the best God intended for us to be. Trusting God that He is working on your behalf at all times. This allows us to fill free from believing that we’ve got to make things happen NOW, “God has His hand on your life during this time, rearranging the scenery in order to set you up for good things to come (pg. 13).”

Waiting is not about ridding yourself of sexual urges. They will always be there because of our human nature. However, “your sexual urges lose their power over you. You gain power over them (pg. 16).” You have to want Plan A over all other things. Plan A is the very best God has in store for you, though based on our decisions we may miss out on Plan A.

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Chapter Two: Getting What You Really Want (Hint: It Isn’t Sex), reminded me of The Purge – my own struggle of discovering what I really wanted. The Wait is about removing yourself from that toxic cycle, running towards the things and people that continue to break you each time.  Are you suffering from post-traumatic relationship disorder?

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It’s about personal growth. Growing up. Improving yourself. Praying that God not only send you a spouse, but He work on you. Pray that God teach you how to be that spouse. Relationships, situationships all distracts us. Most of us. Most of us don’t do it God’s way (at first). We’ve gotten the person of our affection in our grasp and just stopped focusing on our priorities. In the past, its always been difficult to take care of priorities when there’s some guy I’m pining for.

Waiting reduces drama, conflict, and expense….Then there’s the post-sex conflict, expectations, and crises (pg. 64)… who wouldn’t love to say good-bye to the walks of shame, morning-after scenes, waiting on the call that doesn’t come, and feelings of being used?…. Waiting gives your better knowledge of your partner. When you’re not blinded by lust or the counterfeit intimacy that can come with premarital sex, you can see the person you’re dating for who they are (pg. 65).”

Temptation…something that I really loved was, “Sometimes wisdom means knowing when you’re not strong, ****so that you don’t have to be strong**** (pg.88).” WoW! I had never thought of temptation in this way!

Funny (but pathetic) story I recently recalled to a friend. I remembered years ago, I was on my way to see a guy [the one from The Purge]. It was a summer night around 10pm or 11pm or ??? While driving there, I was telling myself I wasn’t going to hookup with him. I wasn’t going to stay long. I prayed to God, done let me hook up with him- don’t let me have sex with him. The outcome? I was in his bed sooner than I realized. Easily melted into our sin and I never resisted. What a dummy. What a fool. I went knowing I wasn’t strong that’s why I included God at the last minute. Grabbing God at the last second isn’t enough. I was being unwise.

Knowing your triggers is extremely important. Page 99 gives us some good examples: Late nights, emotional trauma, intimate contact, alcohol, sexting/snapchat, travel. There can be more and we all have our own combination of triggers. Just like any behavior that you’re trying to keep in check, over-eating, gambling, shopping, drugs etc. We all have triggers that if not examined can lead us to acting out our weaknesses. This is about being smart, not putting yourself up against temptation- believing that you can outwit your own flesh.

Chapters Five and Six divulge deeper into why women and men don’t wait. In short, women tend to have a fear of being alone, “Scratch the surface of a lot of unmarried young women and you’ll find a layer of fear just below the surface. Fear of being alone. Fear of not having children. Fear of being judged and found wanting. Fear of being less of a woman. Fear of being inadequate, insufficient, not good enough. Fear of not being all you were called to be by the time you think it should happen (pg.110).” I wont go further because I think this is an easy concept.

Why men don’t wait is something entirely different and worthy of deep exploration. Men tend to prescribe to “The List… unspoken inventory of must-haves that plays on a 24-7 loop (pg. 141).” The List is as follows: Wealth, Power, Position, A hot car, Great clothes, A huge crib, Big toys, A beautiful, sexy woman on your arm.

The List is a placebo. 

“The man who recklessly gives himself over to his sex drive denies and distances himself from his divine nature. He courts chaos, drama, legal troubles, illegitimate children- everything this side of the plagues Moses warned Pharaoh about in Exodus. Worst of all, he becomes manipulative and callous, willing to do or say anything to get a woman into bed. He becomes addicted not just to the physical feeling of sex but also to the psychology of how sex makes him feel- and the game he must play to produce this feeling (pg. 147).”

God was telling me, “Don’t play with my daughters’ hearts.”  – Devon Franklin

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Are you ready to change? Are you ready to pause and heal your wounds? Are you ready to relinquish your sad imitation of power to the One that made you? It’s not easy. It took me one day a time to stop making the same mistakes. It took me opening up to a trusted group of young women in a small group and them praying audacious prayers over me. It took me getting on my knees crying out to the One that made me, and humbling myself to repent of insecurity. The reasons we do what we do all differ, but sin is at the core. Sin wheres a mask of insecurity and pride, even power and selfishness. Jesus took these sins to the cross. Stop taking them down and putting them again.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:30

Related Reading:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/i-gave-sex-three-years-ago-heres-what-happened

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Gender Issues, Men, open letter, Quick Read, Uncategorized, Women

FW: Screw Off, Feminists: An Open Letter to Men from a Real Woman

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From Louder with Crowder. I couldn’t resist sharing!

“Dear Men,

Everyday there’s news/outrage about the latest female tragedy, the “war on women” the #SJW feminist women, the body-shaming women. Then there’s “rape culture” and “male privilege,” and “micro-agression.” Seems to me, if you’re a man in this world, there’s nothing you can do right. If you tell a woman to smile, you’re a sexist. If you tell a woman she’s pretty, you’re reducing her to just her looks. If you tell a woman she’s smart, you’re a sexist for being surprised that she’s smart and more than just her body. If you vocalize that you think a hot woman is hot… oh geez. Bar and lock the doors, the feminists will stab you with their steely knives.

Well as a woman (yeah, it’s Courtney Kirchoff here, not Steven Crowder), here’s something you need to know: women love men. For being men.

Okay, several feminist keyboards have been reduced to dust. Chicas are hammering their keys like the old cavemen hammered their women before dragging them into the cave. Oh that right there? Joke. I know you feminists don’t think it’s funny. Nothing to you is funny. That’s why it’s funny.

Yes, I know you’re out there, SJW feminists. You’re going to call me a bitch. You’re going to call me a sell-out. You’re going to say I’m an ignorant this, that, and plenty of other four and five letter words because I dared to write “women love men,” despite the glaring proof women do love men. Proof? The perpetuation of the species. You know, men and women getting together, doing the deed, having and not aborting their babies. I can hear you all yelling, “PATRIARCHY” and “RAPE,” out there. Yell and scream and stomp all you want. I don’t care. Background noise.

This letter is for the men who go out and do. Who build, who create, who pursue excellence, who make the world a little better by being unapologetic MEN. I’m not talking to the jerks and the creeps. They get too much attention and they do NOT represent all men. Okay? Okay.

Sorry guys, I had to address those harpies first, because they’re shrill and annoying. Where was I? Right, women love men.

Millions of women, myself included, celebrate you guys for being dudes. We may joke about how you annoy us with your one-thing-at-a-time focus, but we love that too. Life is simpler and better with you in it. We love how you say what you mean. You’re uncomplicated, straightforward, and easy to talk to. And we usually don’t have to issue disclaimers before we do speak with you…so thanks for that.

We appreciate that you want to protect women. Despite what all the feminists say, millions of us know you care for women. We know you would pound a punk into the ground if he tried messing with us. We know you love children and want to protect them. We know you want to call your daughters “princesses,” and you’re not being patriarchal when you do.

We celebrate your ambition. One of my favorite qualities in a man is his drive to be his best. He likes to take risks because he likes to push his limits and test his strength. He likes to be challenged both in his career and in his personal pursuits. Every day he is working to better himself to be a greater man than he was before.

We love your competitive drive. Women might mock you for needing to “out do” the other guys, but *this* woman at least, enjoys it. What’s life without a little competition? Thanks for the sarcastic back and forth, for trying to one-up your buddy at the gym. Rock on. We’ll watch and cheer you on. But you better win…

We love your self-deprecating humor and how you want to make us laugh. This one should be self-evident, but sadly it’s not. Even when we don’t want to be cheered up, you still try. You’re a soldier who loves his woman. Even if your woman gives you “the look” I’d like to think that deep down she’s not plotting to smother you with a pillow when you snore; she’s appreciating your good humor. Okay, maybe she wishes you didn’t snore so much. Hey, she’s human, too.

Oh SJWs, give it a rest. Are all men like the ones I’m describing? No. But a lot of men are, and not everything is about you and your micro-agressions and fat-shaming. Stop taking up all the attention, this shouldn’t be about you.

Ahem.

We love how you pursue us when you like us, and we like you. Three feminist’s brains just exploded right there. Yes, men, we LIKE IT when you call us. We like it when you show us how much you care for us by actively pursuing us, even when you have us (7 more feminist brains have exploded). We like it when you open the door and treat us like queens. We like it when you make the plans, when you have direction.

So guys, when you’re constantly bitch-slapped by the loud, modern feminists for “man-spreading,” or whatever other new term they’re going to pull out of their uptight butts, know that millions of women cherish you for exactly who you are: Men. The world is a better place with men in it. Yes. I WROTE THAT. Millions of us support you. We support your careers. We support your choices. We love you for being masculine, and we celebrate you for it.

Now go chop some wood and make us a fire.

~Written by Courtney Kirchoff”

http://louderwithcrowder.com/opinion-dear-men-women-actually-love-you-
0for-being-men/ 11-27-15

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Gender Issues, Men

Am I my Brother’s Keeper?

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know, ” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

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Woman was made for Man. She was made of Adam. He is the innate leader. When men and women step out of that dynamic relationship, everything else falls and fails. Adam was created in the image of God, we need to honor that.

Crime is a gender issue. The majority of crime, and specifically violent crime, is perpetrated by men. Men are the majority of the incarcerated population all over the world. In the majority of domestic violence and rape cases, men are by far the aggressors.

Fatherlessness is a pestilence that we will never recover from. You could argue that fatherlessness cause the hurts of society. Those without fathers are more likely to commit suicide, commit crimes, drop out of high school, be incarcerated, be homeless and suffer drug and alcohol addictions. One thing begets another and another. There seems no beginning and end to what happens when fail our boys.
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Recently, I stumbled upon an article, “1,000 women of color want women and girls included in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’” via The Washington Post website. This drew me in and prompted me to learn about MBK. This initiative was signed in from President Obama last year. The initiative strives to better the lives of young men and boys of color (Black and Hispanic) here in America. It focuses on children entering school, completing high school, attending secondary education and entering the workforce. This plan aims to decrease the “cradle-jail” program that is currently in place. Our President challenged our nation to step up and create community tasks forces and take action. I am in full support of MBK as is. Male centered, for men by men.
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Trying to include women and girls in MBK defeats the purpose. I see this as another way we are feminizing our boys. Feminizing America and feminizing our society. Our boys deserve to be honored as boys. Something separate and different than us. Boys have gotten lost in our society. Boys are not made to feel good as boys. They learn that to be masculine is to be aggressive and crude. That to be masculine is to go after money no matter the cost or means. To be masculine is to have sex with women with no commitments or responsibilities to them. That to be masculine is to impress other boys or men with bravado and fear.

I take these ideologies personal because I have worked with fatherless boys involved in the juvenile justice system. I see this firsthand, I see the aftermath. These boys have no way to relate to others unless it’s through retelling stories of fights or other violent times, times they got high or drunk. Reliving a crime they committed. For some it’s even worse. They have no way to communicate unless it’s through spoken rap lyrics. They have no conversation skills, especially towards an adult woman. Their idea of having a conversation with an adult woman is to attempt to be flirtatious. Or if you are an adult woman that takes a few moments to attempt a conversation, they take it as she wants some. To get even more personal, the men that I have “fallen for” possess the fatherless trait. Either fatherless or the bond essentially just not there due to other issues. My first boyfriend ever, his father died when he was two years old. The second boyfriend he didn’t know who his father was until he was a teenager already committed to gang life. Another man, I have no information on him ever having his father in his life. The fourth, after his parents’ divorce around age 10 and prior family dysfunction, there was no effort on his father’s part to stay engaged. In fact, it made for a very awkward lunch we had with his father, father’s wife and child. ONCE. So, still working out? As my boyfriend’s muscles bulged out of his t-shirt. Yea. Still at the same job? Yup. Cricket*Cricket. These fellas all succumbed to drugs and alcohol as part of their everyday life or coping. One unable to keep a job, high school dropout, dead. One juvenile delinquent with felonies; father to about 5 kids by different women. One unable to commit to a woman, multiple DUIs, some jail time. The other overly attached to his mother, at the cost of our relationship. This isn’t to discredit them, be negative, or put all their business out there. I am simply stating what can be found in texts books, what can be found etched into the heart of every man.
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Our boys are in trouble.

Men must begin to invest back in their community, in their homes. It starts with investing back in their boys. Raising and training up boys to be men, to lead in a righteous way. Lead in a way that leads to more marriages, Fatherhood, employment-not to fatherlessness, crime, incarceration, and death.

We need to let men solve men-problems. Women, stop thinking you can solve a man’s problems (especially when you think of him as such, a problem). Allow men to bestow their masculinity on the next generation. Men won’t lead unless you step out of the way. You want to tame and domestic the man because you have no trust. Because you have no faith.

“In short, women and girls of color are not doing fine, and until they are, men and boys will not be doing fine either.”

This is wrong and backwards. When men are taught to be men, they will lead us in the right direction. I again tell you, Woman was made for Man. Adam was the one that was granted dominion “over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26 God didn’t say well let me get Eve what she wants and then, we will get you started Adam.

Now, I relate the state of Womanhood with this horrific state of Manhood. Women are ratchet because men are lowering their standards. So women follow their lead, they expect less, accept less and continue to do less themselves. This mirrors what men are doing. They do less because we expect less. They do less because we accept less.

If you truly want things to change. We need to expect and accept MORE. I will expect men to train up men and expect nothing less. You wont even step aside to allow the President of the United States of America to bestow masculinity on his American boys?

I want a generation of young men of color, boys that look like my nephew to be trained up well. To live past the age of 18. To bring joy and comfort to his family. To bring protection to his wife and children. Please step aside and let these men be men.

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Related Reading:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/06/18/1000-women-of-color-want-women-and-girls-included-in-my-brothers-keeper/

http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-1

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/15/how-not-to-become-your-absentee-father/

Related video:
http://roseynews.com/10-yr-old-brings-drill-instructor-to-the-brink-of-tears-with-just-2-words/

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book review, Gender Issues

a Warrior & the Beauty

ax(Popocteptl and  Iztaccihuatl)

“In order to understand how a man receives a wound, you must understand the central truth of a boy’s journey to manhood: Masculinity is bestowed. A boy learns who he is and what he’s got from a man, or the company of men. He cannot learn it any other place. He cannot learn it from other boys, and he cannot learn it from the world of women.”

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“We think you’ll find that every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That’s what makes a woman come alive.”

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After reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge (2011) and Wild at Heart by John Eldredge (2001), I decided to write a good old fashioned book review. I am so fond of these two books and have learned so much from them. I didn’t want them to end, but grateful for what was spoken to me through them.

In each book, the authors invite us as men and women to reclaim our hearts. Purposefully masculine and feminine defined in the image of God. I love that John and Stasi affirm an innate longing that men and women have. I long to be romanced and to be a part of a great adventure. I have begun to be open to see how the Lord romances me. I believe He sends me love letters through beautiful displays of light.

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I have taken with me that my feminine heart is needed. That beauty is inviting and risky. But I can risk being vulnerable because it is in Jesus that I find my worth. That Jesus will thwart our plans so that our ways will not fill the holes in our heart, and so we will turn toward Him. That we have mishandled our wounds and allowed strongholds because of it.

I have taken with me that only masculinity can bestow masculinity. That a young man must go away to find his strength and come to offer it to a woman. That a man must find what his heart is made in order to truly live. Otherwise he will settle for cheap imitations. That God is wanting so badly for us to choose Him, to stay and talk with Him.

The questions we seek to get answered are directly reflective of the nature of our Creator. God is strong and firm, all powerful, fighter, warrior. God is a tender lover, Father, friend with open arms. He is the Lion and the Lamb. The piece that is missing is whats only found in Him. When we seek Him. When we open the door to His knocking. I often envision sitting at His feet like Mary did. She chose to stop, sit and listen. Luke 10:38-42. She simply chose to Stay.

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The two main themes discussed in each book are Questions and Wounds. Each man and each woman have a question that is to be answered. Sadly, the first person to give us an answer to our question gives us our wound also.

In Captivating, Stasi tell us that a woman’s question is Am I lovely?
In Wild at Heart, John tell us that a man’s question is Do I have what it takes?

These questions are to be answered by God only, but we always make the mistake of taking these questions to each other. We will never be lovely enough, nor have all of what it takes for each other.

Little girls play dress up. They play with frilly dresses, plastic glittery shoes, toy jewelery. Maybe they twirl around in front everyone at family gatherings. Maybe they put on a show in their living room. Do you see me? Am I beautiful? Do you delight in me? Am I lovely?

Little boys play superheros. They kill dragons, bears, or they are dragons and bears. Little boys turn anything into guns or swords. I was once cut in half with a tube of chap-stick my nephew was holding as a sword. Am I strong? Can I succeed? Do I have what it takes?

It may be easy to understand when comparing these questions to a child’s life, but are you struggling to see it from the perspective of an adult? Adult women want to be seen, to be noticed, to viewed as lovely. What are all the fairy tales, and Pretty Woman stories about? As women, we love a good make-over. In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the main character Tula is longing be delighted in. To beautiful. You know that feeling when a friend notices your new earrings or a new sweater, or when you wear your hair differently?As women we compliment each other on those small things because we know what it means on a deeper level. Adult men want to know if they have what it takes. Am I going to be successful? Can I come through? Can I pull it off? A man longs for an adventure, a battle. I mentioned the movie Gladiator in my previous blog post. For every Notebook, or Officer and a Gentleman, there is a fast-cars, shoot ’em up, blow ’em up, booms and bangs movie that men love. The movies that my dad watches and describes scene by scene to me are very different than what I would have picked to watch myself. Even sports, are geared towards men. It is all action based, win or lose. Push your body and your mind, work hard, play hard, accomplish the goal, succeed.

When we as women and men are not getting our question answered through our relationship with our Creator, we are left to answer it on our own. Our answer to the question is No. We have internalized this answer from even further back in our past. Our fathers and mothers were the first people we took our question to. There may have been one particular moment when you received your answer or it may have been a series of moments. The answer to our question may have been delivered with abuse or just poor selfish decision making.

“There’s a young boy named Charles who loved to play the piano, but his father and brothers were jocks. One day they came back from the gym to find him at the keyboard, and who knows what else had built up years of scorn and contempt in his father’s soul, but his son received both barrels: “You’re such a faggot.” ……”Charles, the artistic boy, the piano player whose father called him a “faggot”–what do you think happened there? He never played the piano again after that day. Years later, as a man in his late twenties, he does not know what to do with his life. He has no passion, cannot find a career to love. And so he cannot commit to the woman he loves, cannot marry her because he is so uncertain of himself. But of course– his heart was taken out, way back there in his story.” (Wild at Heart)

“As many little girls do, Lori took ballet lessons. She felt so pretty in her pink leotard and tights that she asked her father to please come and watch her dance. He answered her that when she was on a real stage, then he would come and watch her. As you might know, dance classes end with recitals, and so, they day did come for little Lori to dance on a real stage. Pretty in her shimmering costume, she eagerly waited and watched for her father’s arrival. He never came. Later that evening friends of her father had to carry him into the house, as he was too drunk to walk in by himself. Lori’s little-girl heart believed her dad had gone to great lengths in order not to have watch her dance.” (Captivating)

“My mom was a lonely and busy woman. When I was young I had to pretend to be sick in order to get a morsel of her attention. I remember sitting at the kitchen table as a young girl watching her make dinner when she told me for the first time–but not the last—how devastated she was when she learned that she was pregnant with me. I was the last of four children, too close together, and she wept when she found out that I, the daughter of an overwhelmed mother an absent father, was coming. You can imagine the effect that has on a little girl’s heart.” (Captivating)

What is your answer to your Question thus far in life?

Who answered your Question when you were a child?

Have you taken your Question to the opposite sex or a person you had a relationship with?

How have you mishandled your Question?

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In conclusion, these are great books to be read by men and women. I recommend reading them back to back to get their full depth. If you are feeling unfulfilled with what the World is expecting of you, or even what you think you should be in the Church, these books will give you great insight. If you are recovering from a past identity or false self, these books will take you straight back to your core. There are plenty of real-life, real-talk examples from both Stasi and John there is no way you wont be able to relate. They also tell stories regarding their family and marriage. How their answers have effected their marriage and relationship with one another, good, bad and ugly.

I also recommend these books to those that are not “Believers.” Anyone that needs healing as there is much talk about our Wounds. Anyone that enjoys studying gender roles, identity, relationships, marriage etc. Anyone feeling stuck. Anyone that wants to explore more about the nature of God and Jesus. Anyone that wants to learn how we, men and women, fit together into God’s plan. How we fit together in His heart.

These books aren’t for the Religious, but whoever wants to get closer to God. Or those that are fed up with the mixed messages and mixed emotions that come from trying to function in the World.

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Below are some songs and movie clips that portray father and mother Wounds, and the answers we believe about ourselves. Remember, life is messy, but there is beauty in the struggle.

Related:

Bitter by Andy Mineo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4h7XT1JNwk

Reflections by Mariah Carey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z7Q_cm1Tc0

The Judge movie (2014):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XLP8exes_k

Precious movie (2009): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1FnPpU9s1w

Ransomed Heart Ministries: http://www.ransomedheart.com/

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-1

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Gender Issues, Men

10 #manproblems

I asked some men what “men issues” are to them. I have narrowed it down to this list of 10. These are their items but my thoughts on the topic.

Temptation
Response: When boundaries seem old fashioned and constant access to people is the norm, impropriety can take over if you’re not careful. Simple texts turn into all day conversations between two people. With social media its easy to look at profiles and unlimited photos of other people. Its easy to plan out in your head just how easy it would be to take things to the next level with someone though you may already have a Someone. Though most people value fidelity, there’s always those that are on the bench ready to be put in the game. There are women that don’t mind playing second to the wife or girlfriend as long as they get to play. As a man, understand that a woman after you may not be after You. It may feel that way but she could be after you as an escape from her own problems, and you are just a pawn in the game shes playing. She’s looking to fill a hole in her heart. The flesh is weak and its more than just carnal desires. Your emotions, your spirit, your thought-life, your wisdom—its all weak. You may be lusting for sex, and she may be lusting for love, affection, and attention.

“To put it bluntly, your flesh is a weasel, a poser, and a selfish pig. And your flesh is not you.”
John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul

Respect
Response: Men want to be respected. I’d like to think I respect men. I didn’t always. I have seen the negative effects of women Not respecting their husbands. Running them over with decision making, decisions for the home, decisions for the children and overall their relationship. Men want to know they are THE MAN! Like Maximus in Gladiator. Maximus has the respect of the Ceaser, the army, his family, and later the other slaves. He gains the respect of all who meet him. He has the respect of the Roman crowd. He does not fight for himself but always for others. It is plain to see and that is why he is respected. He values what is Right, and every move he makes shows that. He doesn’t shout Don’t You Know Who I Am?! He respects those around him no matter his circumstance. Women claim to want a man like that, but will not honor him in their average interactions with him.

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Leadership
Response: I hear often that men need to Step Up. Anytime something goes wrong, I’m sure there was a man somewhere sitting down. *sarcasm, kinda* We want men to step up but shut up. Do what I want you to do and don’t say anything while you do it. At one job, we acquired a new Lead. At first, there were mumblings that he was just what we needed, a Man. However, during the first week I heard something to the effect of Yeah, He was tellin everybody what to do. I kept my laughter inside. We wanted a strong male figure, but we don’t want to take directions from him. I almost made it a point to submit to his leadership, I wanted to be an example of a positive male (leader) to female (helper) relationship. There were many times when he had my back and came through for me. I didn’t require he do things my way. He also made it a point to say during my last week, “What will I do without you, Ms. Liana?” I don’t know what kind of praise and recognition others prefer. A simple statement like that proves to me my worth and value.

Failure
Response: Men are expected to perform. Just think, even sexually. If they cant perform in the moment with a woman its the ultimate fail. Even with the Independent Woman syndrome, a woman still holds high expectations for a man. After all a man needs to step up.Take care of his responsibilities.Provide for his family. Pay the bills, put food on the table. Make money. A lot of money. Be father of the year. Be my knight in shining armor. When a crisis arises, a woman looks at a man and says DO SOMETHING. Men are expected to pull money out of air, be Mr. Fix-It, solver of all problems and righter of all wrongs. We expect them to show up, but shut up until we need them. Until the boxes are too heavy, the tire is flat, or the bedroom grows cold.

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Being Enough
Response: Is he enough to make a woman happy? Probably not. I believe now only God can fulfill us. When we look to others to make us happy, they will fail us. I’ve spent many years waiting for a guy to make me happy.Thinking once I’m in a relationship, I’ll be happy. It seems as though when you hit one benchmark, another one surfaces, and another and another. The train to happiness keeps adding stops to the journey. Its seems we’ll never get where we’re trying to go. I can understand wanting your partner to be happy with the choice they made when they chose you. I get it, you don’t want them to regret that they chose you. We all want our partners to be proud to be with us. Not embarrassed.

Racism
Response: For those of us that are not-white, Race is all around us. You always know if there are other people of color in the room, or not. You always analyze the relationships between people and understand if issues of race/color are taking place underneath the surface. As a woman of color, I see how often men of color are effected by racism. Men of color are over-represented in all levels of the criminal justice system. They are under-represented in official roles of leadership. These two truths give way to stereotypes and miscommunication. Men of color are fighting against what the world thinks they are. The overriding messages of what black men are, Latino men are, etc. In Heaven and Hell, there will be no demographics. But the enemy wants us to believe we are forever different from one another. With perceived differences, come injustices, superiority, inferiority, hate crimes, genocide, and more. A man carries a heavy load and race is often times what breaks his back.
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Authenticity
Response: Googling “knowing who you are as a man” is quite disappointing. I decided on a quote:
“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” -Muhammad Ali

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I had the privilege of visiting the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY. I learned more about him there than I had ever known. I learned that he took on some controversial views on race and women at one point in his life. He was steadfast in those beliefs at the time. Decades later, he admitted his beliefs had changed and that he hadn’t always treated women how he ought to have. Having gone through four marriages I would think he was the common denominator. Muhammed Ali, born Cassius Clay, was a boxing machine at the age of 12. As a teenage boy, he didn’t eat junk food. He set himself apart from the rest of the crowd early on. Muhammed Ali would not be the legend he is today, had he not decided who he was going to be. Every man must decide who he is going to be as a man. During this time in America, everything was black and white. Muhammed Ali gained respect, notoriety, and fame because he sold everyone on who he was. He was a force to be reckoned with.
“I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fast, I’m pretty, and cant possible be beat!”
There was no doubt who he was and he didn’t waver even when others didn’t back him up. When his beliefs became too controversial, he stayed true to his beliefs until he decided to change. Even upon changing his beliefs, he was not regarded as fickle, but still a Man.

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A Woman’s Needs
Response: If women got together to write a list of what they need, I’m sure it would be never ending, and there would be constant revisions. As I mature, my list shortens but deepens. I need to know that whomever I choose to be with, will in fact, BE THERE. I need to know that when we approach a crossroads, he will CHOOSE to continue with* me* wherever we may go. That he wont decide I’m just too much trouble and this is where we end. I need to know that we are on the same TEAM, and you will not conspire against me. You will not make me look stupid. That if I’m pulling away, you will come closer, even its uncomfortable for you. That you can be strong enough to hear my doubts and my problems and HELP. I don’t know how well you can always give a woman what she needs, but trying is half the battle.

A Woman’s Perception
Response: Let me quote my friend, ” A woman may want a certain type of man, that she has in her head. And if a guy doesn’t meet that perception then something is wrong with him and he either has to change or he isn’t a “man.” When in fact he could be a good man for you.” I admit I have done this repeatedly in my life. I broke up with my first boyfriend because I realized he didn’t deserve me being disappointed in him all the time. He deserved for someone to love him all the way through; something I could not do or, was not willing to do. I hold the belief that a man should be who you want him to be when you meet him. If hes none of the things you are wanting then that most likely wont change once you get involved. A year later, you will be upset that he never changed. But it will be your fault that you continued against your own standards.

The Scumbag
Response: Why do women choose the scum bags? No girl plays dress up and says “I cant wait to grow up and be disrespected by a man!” I have heard other women’s stories and am amazed at the BS they put up with. He doesn’t have a job or car but he sits around your house all day? You buy him clothes and shoes? He cheats on you? He hits you? Hes rude, demeaning, and patronizing? But if they heard the BS I’ve put up with. We all have our stories so I try not to judge. Our “bottom lines” vary. I know that in the back of my mind, I like to be the Good one. The Good Influence. I may choose to spend time with a guy that is rough around the edges so that I can look good. The same reason I don’t care too much for a white collar man. He looks more important than me. He looks better than me. It is because of my own selfishness, my own self-centeredness that decides I need to look out for myself. That a man cant come through for me so why pretend that there is more out there for me? Its easier to put the blame on a man, then it is to CHANGE yourself.

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And, Scumbag Steve meme just for fun….

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Related Reading:

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-2

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/why-do-some-women-prefer-jerks-for-boyfriends/

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Gender Issues, Men, Transformation

one for the Boys

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When I watch my nephew “play” I wonder what life is like through his eyes. He is often in the middle of an intense battle between The Hulk, Spiderman, Ironman and often switches in and out of roles. He could also be present in a land of dinosaurs and dragons, he is most often a T-Rex. He enjoys pretending to fall down, or acting out a failed jump from the couch to the floor. He is loud and the source of brash noises that seem to only make sense in his context. He turns simple crayons into rocket ships as they burst through the sky. He loves to explore and offer up his small courage to a “haunty house” [any dark room] and transforms himself into a spooked sense of self while in play mode. Between these scenarios, there are spurts of eating. He eats a variety of foods and yet, quite nothing at all. If you haven’t caught on, I take pride in studying his every move.
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As a woman that grew up with no brothers with male cousins seen sporadically, my nephew’s methods are appealing and adventuresome. At times, he gets to jumping on me too much and I put my hands up in surrender. Okay, that’s enough I say. And he seems unaware of how I don’t like this activity anymore. I offer some of my own preferred activities like coloring, drawing, reading a book. I’d like to take time to brag that now he finds enjoyment drawing his vicious characters and exploring another version of his imagination. I also have adapted my normal way of doing things to ask him to help me. When I ask him “hey can you help me?” his response is of great willingness and attention. He tries to lift the heavy box, he tries to find the item I am looking for. He loves to help at the grocery store by putting items on the counter for me to scan at the self- checkout. This is not a fast process. I name the item and what he offers me may or may not be that item. But I love to see him listen and search, trying to match words to real life pictures. This is a challenge for him and it’s exciting. Did I get it right?! What is frozen green beans again? Most of all, he wants to DO. He doesn’t want to sit and shut up, and I like it that way.
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A backlash of feminism has produced an assault on men.

In high school, I recognized the similarity of many prime time sitcoms, the buffoon dad/husband. This image is different than a Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) or a Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), these are the Raymond (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Peter Griffin (Family Guy) and some others. There was a shift in the way the husband/father was portrayed in the evening TV shows from decades prior. These men are often displayed at simpletons that just always get it wrong. *insert mechanical laughs now* Without their wife, they would live as 40-something frat boys eating Doritos and sour cream for dinner. These men are incapable of caring for their children appropriately and safely. They are also inept at romancing their wives. I’m not married nor do I have children. However, don’t roll your eyes too far back. I was a child once, a child of two married people. With this image of a man or husband, what modern woman would want to be married? I feel bad this is the way men are depicted not just in TV sitcoms but also big picture movies. This image subconsciously draws us away from each other as men and women. This reiterates that message of I don’t need a man. I can do for myself. These messages are a direct result of feminism.
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Can we make bunkbeds? Soooo???

And so I see many, many men taking a backseat to the feminist agenda. If they speak up they are labeled as a sexist and misogynist. If they fall in line, they are tamed. They become passive. They become the man that just stands there when someone is disrespecting you as a woman. They say nothing. If they open a door for you, I can open a door myself. If they take you out, I can pay for myself. But if you sleep with him, can you call you yourself? By the looks of it, that’s the only time some women want a man. To lay in bed with and then obsess over the lack of texts and phone calls coming in. Some women assert their Independence, but cling to their phones waiting for the sad, majestic elusive text message. There’s no judgment here because I have been that woman. Scared to know a man by any other context aside from that which I can assure myself success. I believed that interactions between myself and men were of a win/lose situation. If you know that I like you, I lose. If I’m nice to you, I lose. I used to say I’m not an ego fluffer. I’m not his personal cheerleader. Some of you may be nodding your head like, Right! Let me finish, I now see those beliefs were being held by an immature and insecure woman. There’s a quote that circulates on social media:
“Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter.”

I tried to out-shine my fellow man. I was shallow and needed men to know that I was better. I used to believe a man could offer me nothing. The root of these beliefs are for another day.
Four years ago, I went with my pregnant sister to the doctor where we would find out the sex of her baby. When the tech announced there was a penis and that it was a boy, I said “I guess our man-hating days are over.” I have stuck by that statement. How could I welcome a baby boy into this world holding in resentments towards men? How could honor this new member of the family by subconsciously being repelled by all things masculine? How could I take delight in him if I disapproved of his nature?

These days I don’t trash talk men. I actually listen to a few. Men have so much to say and so much to offer us women. Allow yourself to be a woman, soft and beautiful. Allow a man the chance to come through for you. They want to. If a man disappoints you, I plead with you to not become bitter. Do not become prickly. I can only explain this transformation as one produced by God. Without a willingness to be corrected I could not have the heart I have today. We all have value, and I refuse to put down a man in order to self-soothed my own insecurities.

qwRelated Reading:

http://www.girldefined.com/the_trend_of_the_feminine_guy

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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Gender Issues, Men

a Nice Guy…

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“Well aren’t there any guys at your church?”

Asked by many a non-churchy friend. Yes,  I am 29 years old. Yes, my last relationship was two years ago.  Yes,  I “go to church.” And, yes there are guys there too.

There are three points I want to make clear with this post on this topic.

1. My faith is not a recreational activity.

2. Church is not Christian Mingle in real life.

3. I’m not looking for a Nice Guy.

When you ask me the innocent and dreaded question, you are implying all of the above. There are some men and women that I know that take their health extremely serious. They are in the gym everyday at 5am and/or every evening. They set goals for themselves and achieve them. They are constantly working to improve the function, strength and stamina of their bodies. Continuously pushing their limits. They eat clean, and prep their meals in advance for the upcoming week. Whereas I continuously skip meals, coffee is often my breakfast and lunch. I enjoy a frozen pizza and cold high-fructose corn syrup in a can. When I see a lovely donut, they see garbage. They ingest more protein in a day then I can in a week. They are usually well versed in food education and often are sought after for fitness advice from everyone. Some have chosen to not put poison into their body like drugs and alcohol. They are passionate and excited about their lifestyle and life system. They make jokes like “Does he even lift?” “Do you even squat?” *Insert laughter now* Calling each other BEASTS. They are Beasts for whatever joy they experience directly associated with their daily choices and progress. For these people, working out and “going to the gym” is not recreation. It is their way of life. They wake up and live and breath that stuff.

And so, please think of me as one of these people. But instead of the gym, I’m in a church multiple days a week. I set goals for myself and have achieved them. I continue to push myself spiritually and in my obedience to God. I prep my choices and attitude in advance by praying and engaging in like-minded conversations with others. Instead of being well versed in food, calories, protein, and vitamins, I’m working to be well versed in Scripture and all materials related to Christian reading. I try to ingest what is holy. When I see sexually explicit images (which are practically everywhere), I see garbage. I have chosen to not put poison into my body like drugs and alcohol. I am passionate and excited about my lifestyle and life system. I make jokes like “God sure has blessed him!” “I need a spiritual leader in my household!” “I’ll be his Proverbs 31 Woman!” *Insert laughter now* Now, I’m not sure I want to label myself a BEAST for Jesus but you can connect the dots. My commitments and priorities now outweigh those of the past. I am not who I used to be. Just as some of those people are no longer overweight or scrawny, but physical powerhouses. I’m striving to a spiritual powerhouse. So please understand if you haven’t heard from me in awhile or if I haven’t participated in extra curricular activities with you, I am in a different arena now. I’m living life in a grander stadium now. I’m not in the game to just find a male companion to have sex with, play house with, or to validate my beauty and value as a woman.

I am a sinner. All of us are. Even the “guys at church.” Knowing where I have been, I completely understand where some of the young men at my church could have been. Some cliche Facebook stalking has revealed the past of some of my male counterparts. They used to party like me. Some pictures reveal the same bars or clubs I used to frequent. We could have been in the same bar at the same time six or seven years ago. I’m sure they have slept with many women. I’m sure they struggle with sexual purity and a pure thought life like I do. I’m sure they contributed to disrespecting women by using them like I have used men. I’m sure they are still figuring out who they are in this newer life. Church is not our new bar scene. Its where we come together to practice being the Man or Woman God has planned for us to be. We begin to desire healthy relationships, boundaries, and Marriages arranged by God. We begin to see a relationship without God is doomed because we are too imperfect to make one last ourselves. Our desires for the Marriages and Families we never had are so strong we honestly put our fleshy desires on the back burner. We struggle with our exes, past flings, and attractive un-Believers popping up anywhere and everywhere, distracting us and even contributing to us falling back into our old ways at times. We are not perfect. Because we get out of bed on Sunday mornings and head to the same place does not mean we are emotionally and spiritually able to manage and tend to the responsibility of loving another person. If you think church is comprised of “just nice guys” you are naive.

The men that attend church can be adulterers, fornicators, liars, cheaters, manipulators, mama’s boys, lazy, selfish, controlling, abusive, ego-maniacs, shy, timid, quiet, fun, respectful, aloof, wealthy, musicians, entrepreneurs, sensitive, loyal, fast food workers, teachers, I could go on and on. They are some of the same men you have met before but you didn’t know they were “Christian” because they didn’t tell you or they didn’t live it. I am 18 pages in to Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I was destined to read this book because on page 12, he writes about Legends of the Fall (1994). *Side note: This is the year I fell in love with Brad Pitt* The author describes the movie and the three main characters briefly. He describes the more popular character of Tristan played by Brad. Tristan is the wild man, long hair-dont care. He spends long periods of time out of the house, independent of his family. Each time he returns to the ranch it is almost unexpected. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, he welcomes adventure and challenge. Hes tough and bold. He allows his wildness to only be tamed towards the end of the movie, this short lived though. In comparison to his older and younger brother, he steals the spotlight. Older brother Alfred, is responsible, sensible. He becomes a business man and later a politician. Younger brother Samuel, is boyish and college educated school boy. He dies in battle during World War II predictably unprepared for the grit involved. John Eldredge points out in his book, “I have yet to meet a man who wants to be Alfred or Samuel. I’ve yet to meet a woman who wants to marry one.” Please don’t take this the wrong way that politicians and school boys are not attractive to women. However, there is something about Tristan the wild one, the one untamed. Untamed by Feminism. Another character I fell in love with is Forrest Bondurant epically played by Tom Hardy from the movie Lawless (2012). Forrest is a bootlegger during Prohibition. He is a living legend during his day. He is myth and intimidates many. The other local bootleggers follow his lead. He goes to battle for his brothers and the beauty of the movie. He is tough and says, “I’m a Bondurant, and we dont back down from nobody.” Maybe I have a thing for outlaws. The inner most feminine parts of me are attracted to these men because they are untamed. They are bold, courageous, they are not “yes men.” They lead, lead at work, lead at home, lead in the community, and some coach little league. They don’t run and hide when things get dangerous. They speak with authority and aren’t afraid to put others in their place when needed. When they walk into the room you can know everything will be alright. These men may have long hair or short hair. He may be tall or not really. He may have arms of tattoos or wear a button up shirt. These men may have biceps on their biceps, or not so much. But these are the qualities I prefer in a man. I’m not looking for a smiling “whatever you want babe” kinda guy. I want to be overwhelmed by his masculine energy. A man that is tender when the time is right and ready to fight for me, God, family, the community when the time calls. Besides the only time you really seek out a Nice Guy is when the bane of your existence crushes your soul. You limp away from the horror and say “I need to find a nice guy” aka the safe guy. A guy that will remain in the friend zone with you while you recover and go out to find yourself another man to rip out your heart again. I don’t want a male BFF to paint my nails with. I want a man that will go to battle for me and take me on a great adventure.

*Dont drag this out and take away that women [or me] are attracted to criminals, bootleggers, or crazies! There are qualities that those characters embody that make them sought after.

More: Another non-Nice guy character I love is Frank Chambers played by Josh Brolin from the movie Labor Day. He is an escaped convict that commandeers a woman and her son over a Labor Day weekend. Over the weekend, he provides a tenderness, wildness, and brings an unmatched soulful masculinity to this desolate woman. I am captivated by their relationship and now long to make a peach pie with a man. Don’t judge me. Frank begins to complete chores around the house, he cooks, and fixes the broken things. He cares for the woman by making a difficult life easier for her. He teaches her son how to properly throw and catch a baseball. Though his future is uncertain, he provides a soft and safe place for her feminine heart to rest. For that is he brave. He begins a love and life with the risk of losing it just as quick as it started. He loves and delights in all the things her ex-husband threw to the curb. This character is a great balance of masculinity. Tender, protective, brave, wild, dangerous.
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Related reading:

http://www.faithit.com/10-things-christianity-is-not/

http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/04/07/jesus-didnt-care-about-being-nice-or-tolerant-and-neither-should-you/
http://theprayingwoman.com/2014/11/06/christian-dating-7-signs-theyre-not-willing-to-commit/
http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/im-looking-just-husband/#disqus_threadhttp://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/it-meets-my-needs-and-other-bad-reasons-choosing-church

http://www.girldefined.com/call-manhood-part-1

 

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http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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