Quick Read

Was Jesus an Introvert?

We are amazed when we hear of Jesus as a servant. When he washed people’s feet or when the woman washed his feet with her tears and hair. WoW. What an act of service. This act is even done in churches and weddings today. But keep in mind, Jesus’ feet were dirty. Yes the were dirty because of the footwear at the time wasn’t really full coverage and people were always walking in the dirt. His feet were dirty because he was always walking somewhere, walking towards people.

Jesus was not in some maxed-out conference arena. He was not standing and smiling at some merch table. Not to say conferences are wrong or bad. I LOVE going to a conference! Most of the time it involves travel near or far, cute freebies, powerful messages, great music. It is always a good time spent with friends and family. But, here it comes… my primary motivation isn’t really to get closer to the Father. My primary motivation is to be entertained. I’ll let that sit a moment.

I have my most treasured intimate moments with God in the privacy of my home, car, etc. The times he’s spoken deepest was when I least expected it or when I was alone in my room communing with him, just us two.

I think that’s how he prefers it. There are many stories in the Bible when Jesus made the effort to speak to people one on one. He went well out of his way to meet the woman at the well in Samaria. While walking in a crowd he made effort to stop and speak to the woman that touched the hem of his robe. While addressing the woman caught in adultery, He gave the iconic, “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” line and drove away the crowd. He got rid of the crowd to give us one of the most powerful moments (in my opinion) in the Bible.

Jesus spent a lot time telling people to not tell other people he healed them. He spent a lot time passing through towns not ever staying for too long in one place. He didn’t rally for a crowd to come together, they just showed in droves on their own. He preached against the pretentious and those that did things only to impress others. Jesus was highly selective when he chose his disciples. He often went off on his own to pray alone.

Jesus wasn’t a keynote speaker listed on an agenda of who’s who of the elite. Jesus didn’t sell out venues but fed tens of thousands on at least two documented occasions. He fed his disciples in the upper room. “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Mark 14:22

He gave us Himself on the Cross as payment and sustenance to move forward.

We need to be careful where we are placing our affections and treasures.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Is your treasure in sold out conferences, Christian bands, eloquent Bible teachers? Do you worship worship music and worship leaders? Do you go to the Christian bookstore more than you open your Bible? Do you seek answers in a traveling prophet but drag your feet with what the wise counsel in your local church told you to do?

I could ask a lot more questions but I’m sure you get the point.

What if Christianity was outlawed tomorrow? Would there be enough evidence to convict you of crimes against the State? Or would it be an easy transition for you to jump into the secular fandom?

If you could no longer have Christian books, music, paraphernalia. There were no Christian concerts, conferences, festivals. No Christian t-shirts, keychains, church bumper stickers. There were no Christian gatherings and no underground operations that you knew of, what would your relationship with Jesus really look like?

What if you didn’t have a Bible anymore? Would you even know what it had said?

Don’t lose sight of what is important. Jesus stands alone like no other. He never needed the crowd or flare.

Do you?

(Painting: The Rescue -by Nathan Greene)

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I’m so Pretty

Recently I was listening to “Betcha Gon’ Know” by Mariah Carey. It was the version that features R. Kelly. It made me think about how R. Kelly is now known for abusing women and how many were pushing for the mute R. Kelly movement, among other celebrities that are outed as abusers or pedophiles. I see why people want to shame these people and want to take away their star power. However, there are abusers all around us. There’s millions probably billions of people that abuse other people but we are only aware of the cases that make the headlines, nationally or locally. If we knew what literally everyone was up to in their spare time no one would be allowed to do anything in the court of public opinion. It seems that we have entered a new era in history. Pedophilia and abuse against women in general is taken more seriously in some ways. Despite the “anything goes” culture, the “consent” culture, there seems to be thirst to know the truth even about our supposed heroes or favorite celebrities. I cannot emphasize enough though that it shouldn’t surprise you that the World is busy being the World. That is, if you’re a Christ follower.

In Genesis 6:9, the Bible tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” He [and his immediate family] was the only one selected to survive the Great Flood. Literally, no one else.

As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. God took one look and saw how bad it was, everyone corrupt and corrupting—life itself corrupt to the core. Genesis 6:11-12 MSG

Further in Genesis 18, the Bible tells us that Abraham interceded for the town of Sodom. He asked if God would spare the city if fifty righteous people are found and God said he would. However, I think Abraham knew there wasn’t fifty righteous people so he kept bargaining for less. He stops at ten. He asks God if he would spare the city if there are ten righteous people found and God gives His word, “for the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” We read just one chapter later that God did not find ten righteous and only allowed Lot, his wife and two daughters to flee as God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Heaven. Out of the four fleeing, three made it to the next town.

Skipping ahead to the book of Daniel, we learn about a young man named Daniel that was trafficked to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. Daniel became known for maintaining his purity in the midst of the Babylonian culture. Daniel refrained from the foods and drinks they served as to not defile himself. God gave him favor and Daniel was allowed to not partake in the lifestyle. Daniel continued to see favor throughout his life while living in a different kingdom.

Just as in the times of Noah, Lot and Daniel- these men were counter-cultural. Within their generations and throughout history, their names and stories were written down to be known forever for their righteousness. These are just three examples, but three out of the billions of people that have gone to the grave before us and will go after us… THREE stands out to me.

We are living in modern day Babylon or Sodom or Gomorrah. These cities are basically cliché in 2019. But if you are a Bible reader, you need to acknowledge the time in which we live. Our culture is a secular one. Our country didn’t begin that way but as history repeats itself, Secular is what we have turned into. That is why there is so much hostility towards the Christian life. Real Christians standing for Biblical Truth in the Post Modern Culture.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain how I’m so pretty and what that has to do with R. Kelly, historical and biblical references.

[I apologize if you’ve lost interest already. Context is one of my top strengths and I feel compelled to give the context to help lead you from one idea to the next. It’s just how my mind works! ]

While we live in Babylon just as Daniel did, we are called to stand out. We are not to participate in everything that the opposing culture offers. Daniel could have forgot his identity and dismissed his God but he did not. He could have sold out to the dominate culture, a foreign culture. Time and time again God warned his people to not worship other gods or idols. To not become like those around them. In the Old Testament, God very clearly gave those instructions repeatedly. In the New Testament, God gave us his only son to give us the grace that we might finally obey his commands. He allowed Jesus to come to love us by allowing us to see our hearts are knitted together with His. That we see ourselves and others with His gracious loving eyes. We have to distinguish what is the culture permit and what does God command? They should not be the same. We are to pursue Christ and aim to be Holy not assimilate to a culture that rebels and rallies against our God. It can feel uncomfortable but if our eyes are on eternity with Christ, saying no to permissive cultural practices should become easier over time.

Earlier that day I was running errands. I went to a Target for one thing. That one thing was not in the store so I decided to walk around a bit. Dangerous, I know! I walked through the women’s clothing, accessories, bedding, back through the accessories and women’s clothing. I tried on a lot of sunglasses and touched many handbags. I left the store only buying one t-shirt!

As I was driving away, I began to think about how much I desire to buy new clothing and accessories. How much I desire to join in the beauty and fashion trends taking place. How the pull of obtaining more clothes, more accessories, longer lashes, specific nude colored lipstick permeate my mind. I follow a lot of online boutiques on social media so I constantly see the clothes I don’t have and decide very often that I need thirty new tops every month. Social media is now interwoven with ads of all types. These ads are catered specifically for you through algorithms. Its easy to get caught up in striving to look a certain way or follow current trends.

I often feel I need to be prettier. Prettier and prettier. I have to achieve more as far as appearance. I have to improve my appearance. I have to aim to look better than I do today. Its feels like a beating drum…. Prettier….prettier….prettier. A pounding drum.

For men, it could be you feel you need to make more money, improve your wages, get a bigger paycheck. More money…money….money. A pounding drum.

I then wondered what if I replaced that beating drum with the beating drum of God’s love? What if I put that appearance drum on mute. I believe I would hear the pounding drum of God’s fierce love. I Love You. I Love You. I Love You. DEEPER. FIERCER. That sound would be overwhelming and no other sound could replace it once I heard it truly.

It made me think of how I long for a husband. A husband that would take delight in me. That would be excited when I walked into a room. Or if I were doing something like the washing dishes a very mundane activity. My back is towards him as I zone out in the task before me. He, on the other hand, very much intently watching me. Radiating beautiful thoughts towards me.

So, if I take this vision and transplant it on the Lord…

Can I fully grasp how much he loves me already? How much it isn’t about my appearance? The clothes I wear, the makeup trends I choose to follow or reject, my hair style, my weight. When I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and instantaneously think “ugh,” when I don’t measure up to the standards I decided were important… NONE of these influence God’s love. God has been radiating beautiful thoughts on to me since before he knit me together in my mother’s womb. For every beat of “be prettier,” God beats “I LOVE YOU” louder, “I LOVE YOU DEEPER,” “I LOVE YOU FIERCER”….its a beat more steady and full than our own heartbeat. Its a rhythm with origins in Heaven that God gave us the grace to tune in to.

Havilah Cunnington posted this the other day on her Instagram. I thought it fit perfectly into the revelation I had.

Related Reading:

Sister, Your Worth is Not Found in Your Size

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hookup culture, Men, sex, Uncategorized, Women

Surviving R. Kelly and Everyone Else

This weekend I discovered the docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, on Lifetime. I was horrified, shocked, confused but also very much jaded. I kept thinking backwards to try to recall when all of these accusations were circulating in the media. I guess I missed all of it because I was a teenager myself and not a huge fan? Yes I can name some of his most popular songs but they weren’t ever my favorites. At that time in my life the only older man I had eyes for was Brad Pitt! (That’s another blog post LOL).

I know many right now are grieving and angered by the stories in the series. The stories of Robert Kelly’s predatory behavior, his own sexual abuse as a child, the countless underage girls he preyed on, the manipulation, the intimidation, the domestic and dating violence, the deceit, the power plays, his Hiding In Plain Sight, and much more. Watching women cry through the painful memories that haunt them is in itself painful to the viewer.

I’m not glad any of this has happened to the individuals involved. I am hopeful that through the handful of stories shared by these brave women that people will begin to take sex seriously.

Sex wasn’t made for a power game. Sex wasn’t made for manipulation. Sex wasn’t made for control.

If you are having a sexualized relationship with someone and power, manipulation and control are a dominating the experiences – then you need to remove yourself. Leave, ask for help, reach out at all costs. It will destroy you.

Sex alone is a powerful experience. The God of the Bible created sex as a powerful experience to glue a man and women together in a covenant. The covenant(marriage) is two becoming one, not one enveloping the other.

The only visual representation I can use to warn you against is that of Symbiote. The symbiote comes from the Marvel comic book world used to identify a fictional species that bonds with their hosts. Wikipedia states, “They also are able to slightly alter their hosts personalities, by influencing their darkest desires and wants, along with amplifying their physical and emotional traits and personality, granting them super-human abilities.”

Think of the Venom taking over Eddie Brock. In this clip Eddie meets Venom.

Its all fun and games when it’s a movie, a comic book movie, a movie with my Bae(Tom Hardy)- but its your demise when your mind and body are conquered by another entity.

Outside of God’s will, we will come in contact with these other entities. I do believe just like Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

That is why we have to be born again like Jesus tells us in John 3:3-6. Before we are born again, we are operating in the flesh.

John 8:44 tells us, You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee at this time, because they refused to acknowledge Him as the Son of God, refused to accept the Truth and because of this rejected His authority. This goes the same for us in the here and now. When we believe ourselves to be our own authority then anything goes.

Aleister Crowley, made famous ‘Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” in the early 1900s but its message goes back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. The serpent introduced “do as thou wilt” to Eve and she welcomed it.

I’m getting real nerdy here to drive home the message that outside of Christ, we will do harm to one another. Mark 7: 21-23 tells us, For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.

Is Robert Kelly guilty of such things? YES.

Is he guilty of crimes in our modern society? YES.

Is he guilty of being a human devoid of submission to Christ? YES.

Should we intercede on his behalf? YES.

A couple of years ago I attended a conference on a college campus. The topics covered were regarding campus safety, sexual assault and stalking, mass shootings etc. There was a breakout session led by a professor that presented us with the story of Nate Parker and his movie, Birth of a Nation (2016). The movie and Nate Parker were receiving mixed reviews. The film tells the true story of a slave rebellion in 1831. Nate Parker’s past had come to the fore front as the movie was released. During his college career, he was accused of rape in 1999. I will stop at those facts. Research more if you want. The purpose of the break out session was to discuss the issues of our heroes also being monsters. Do we celebrate the movie and give Nate Parker praise for directing and acting in this depiction of slaves rising up? In a story that has been minimized in our history. Do we protest the movie and Nate Parker? Nate Parker was acquitted of the charges. Does acquittal equal innocence? Is he still guilty of crimes committed even though a court of law found him not guilty?

This seems to be the defense of many Robert Kelly fans. Numerous times in this series, fans stated that he was acquitted of the charges against him and that is why they proceeded forward in their support or business with him.

My one question to throw out there for discussion is: In general, most Americans, could agree that the justice system gets it wrong from time to time. Innocent people are determined guilty and guilty people are determine innocent. The system is flawed whether it be judges, attorneys, or juries. If we start from this agreement, then why would we pledge our loyalty to someone brought into court with video evidence of them paying cash to a 14 year old girl for sex? The charges were child pornography. The existence of a video let alone fits the description.

Many voices in the series referred a lot to the Black community. Some felt the Black community failed the women and girls that were harmed by Rob Kelly. I would agree.

No matter the “community” you identify with, racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, political – it will fail you.

We cannot pledge allegiance to our demographics.

How do we move forward?

First, we need to welcome Godly sorrow and grieve our mistakes.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Our personal sins and the sins of others needs to bring us sorrow. We need to learn to blush again, we need to be embarrassed for our lack of self control and rebellion. We need to be grieved by abuse committed against others. By abuse, I mean all forms of sexuality that is not under the submission of the Word of God. Society’s standard for sexual behavior is that which is consensual. However, God’s standard is much MUCH HIGHER.

Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when they are punished,
says the LORD. Jeremiah 8:12

Second, we need to repent. To repent means to turn from sin. Feeling Godly sorrow is foundational but next is to turn away. Turn away and run in the opposite direction.

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

Third, is to pursue righteousness. How do we do that? Ephesians 5:1-20 outlines how we should live.

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, if a relationship is what you desire Paul has some amazing things to say in 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 and Ephesians 5:21-33. I encourage you to read it in the Message version. Please do read them!
Some highlights are:

Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 MSG

Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others. 1 Corinthians 7:7 MSG

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. Ephesians 5:25-27 MSG

Let me say again, if you are in a relationship that does not model the above mentioned scriptures, if you are having a sexualized relationship with someone and power, manipulation and control are a dominating the experiences – then you need to remove yourself. Leave, ask for help, reach out at all costs. It will destroy you.

The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Make the sure the Shepherd you are following is the Right One, the Righteous One. Jesus said that those that have come before were thieves and robbers John 10:7. Don’t let them steal your life.

Throughout the beginning of time, Robert Kelly and others have come in disguise to shepherd, but they were thieves. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is coming back for His people.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Psalm 90:1

We can mute Robert Kelly and others like him but 30 more will take his place. Evil was always here. The human experience and condition can be egregious and it often is. I feel fear for those that do not know who they are co-heirs with Christ Romans 8:17 and what is to come, But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father – Mark 13:32. What will you be caught doing when Christ returns? Will He recognize you or say depart from me, I never knew you- Mark 7:23.

Take this docuseries as time to reflect. Reflect on our culture and where we have arrived. Reflect on your own life, have you contributed to a culture that makes sex arbitrary instead of sacred? Reduced it to just consensual instead of Holy.

Romans 3:10-12:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Weep for the culture and be burdened to fight against immorality.

 

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[b] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-24

Related Videos: 

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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!!!!

ciararussell

 

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.

the wait

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?

meagangood

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

waitwedding

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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Journaling, Uncategorized, Women

My Life is Not a Telenovela

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My life is not a telenovela and yours shouldn’t be either. I got tired of telling my friends stories of this guy and that guy. I also got tired of hearing their stories about this guy and that guy.

Did I tell you about X?

Did I tell you what happened?

Did I tell you what he text me?

Did I tell you what he did?

Did I tell you what he said?

Re-hashing whatever happened two weeks ago, bringing me up to date on what happened last week, and telling me what happened this week.

So he text me this.

I texted back that.

Then he said this.

So I said that.

Showing my friend text after text or just handing over my phone to let them read the entire thread themselves. Watching their face in anticipation.

Over analyzing every text, word, move from the flavor of the month guy.

So he text me at 8:52pm. So I saw it but didn’t reply until 9: 26pm. Then he said that. So I texted back and said that.

Over and over the same story lines, the same play by play rhetoric.

Still single.

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After reading Don’t Let Your Journal Turn Into a Soap Opera Drama from Girl Defined, I decided to look through old journals and find good examples of my stories. Though I have numerous journals through the past 10 years, 2008 was filled with drama and endless details of it. In 2008, I was 22 years old and had quit my job at a restaurant. I had been on a “break” from school and just spent my time going to parties and bars. Hopefully some of that explains a percentage of the drama. Remember my post, 21 Before 21? Yeah, I didn’t know any of those things yet! The following entries centered around three fellas over a two month time frame. I blacked out names of all involved to protect their identities.

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I had one thing right, “I’m crazy.” Shake your head because I’m shaking mine too. I actually blew up someone’s one phone at 3 am. I don’t remember that. I was “so mad cuz he didn’t try 2 come over” ???

I read these pages and more- shocked. I cannot believe I used to be that girl. I remember a lot of stories but apparently I don’t have enough storage space in my brain for al the other stories. I must be remembering the main headlines, the highlights, the bloopers. Pages and pages of who’s and when’s, the tiniest details of anything that happened. He didn’t call back. He didn’t respond to my text. He didn’t go to the party or that bar. Sad to say these stories did die down but just continued at a slower rate up until 2-3 years ago. Maybe you’ll think its lame but I can’t remember the last time I had a story to tell.

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These years have been the most peaceful years. I’m not worried or stressed about some guy, what hes doing or not doing. I’ve got no time to become a detective or private investigator. Investigating, scouring the internet to “figure” him out. I can no longer analyze a picture posted on social media and decipher text messages. I can no longer decode a guy’s behavior to “figure out” how he feels about me. We’re definitely not called to be play special investigator even though we make great ones!

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God wants our eyes on him. If we are playing detective on some guy, then our eyes are not on God. If you consider yourself a Christian girl or woman, you should not be obsessed [and don’t use your own judgement to discern if you are obsessed or not]. You’re just going to rationalize every move you make. Talk to a mature friend and ask her if you’re a bit obsessed, even just a little. God deserves our full attention and a full-time relationship. I don’t judge you, I struggle with this myself. But we have to stretch our understanding of relationship and love. It’s not just a Nicholas Sparks novel. Whether its God or a guy.

Here is 20 Important Bible Scriptures About Priorities-http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/20-important-bible-scriptures-about-priorities/

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When it comes to relationships and love I have a new set of standards and guidelines, Proverbs 18:22 is verse that I firmly hold onto.

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

He who finds a wife….  I don’t need to be out searching my city for a man. I definitely need to be prepared to be found!

not She who figures out a man will get to marry him,

not She who finds a husband.

He who finds a wife… I need to be asking God to prepare me to be wife.

not he who finds some chick,

not he who finds some girl that figured him out, that solved his inner mysteries.

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Instead of filling our journals with endless and mindless details of who’s and when’s, let us allow God inside those pages. God is thee author of all things. He created us and knows who and what we need in our lives. He is not the author of confusion! If we have to spend hours deciphering the hieroglyphics of texts messages, online messages and overall messages that are being communicated by a guy- most likely God is not involved in that situation. When you leave God out of your relationships, you also leave out his protection and provisions. When you act as if you can figure it all out with God and continue towards unstable relationships, you will not have the appropriate foundation that will be a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship. Sure you may have a relationship, but it won’t be from God’s design or have  his co-sign and it will not be blessed. You’re out on your own, leaning on your own understanding. We are told to lean NOT on our own understanding in Proverbs 3:5.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Trust in the Lord…

definition: one having power and authority over others. Welcome His authority over your life and know that you won’t have to strain and strive so hard for the right guy.

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Related Reading:: http://www.girldefined.com/journal-turn-soap-opera-drama

Related Music:  Write Your Story by Francesca Battistelli – https://youtu.be/ecV1NHmELuA

P.S. Don’t be this girl!

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Gender Issues, Uncategorized, Women

Why I’m Pro Life

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Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
For the Lord detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence. Proverbs 3:31-32

A war cry was sounded in July 2015 when the Center for Medical Progress unleashed 10 videos. The Planned Parenthood videos. In these videos we heard PP execs negotiate money for scalps. Oops! I’m thinking of The Revenant. I’m mean for baby body parts. I watched in disgust as I women cackled like hit-men; others watched in denial. It turned into controversy. You mean PP wasn’t truly helping sad-poor-women, but building larger budgets for their Lambos? Yelawolf thought he was driving daddy’s Lambo not your maternal ovum donor’s.

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I considered posting a blog on the topic last year as the videos continued to surface. I wasn’t sure of what to say. The videos said it all. The Pro Life pages I follow said it all. What would I say that wasn’t being said?

So here you and I are…lets begin.

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My parents weren’t married when my mom became pregnant. They were living at home with their parents. Working entry level jobs. They were in love. They weren’t ready to be parents. They even broke up for a short time. For the first few months of my life, I lived in two homes, the homes of my grandparents. The three of us into an apartment [a crappy one] and they were married 5 months after I was born. My parents never hid any of the this from me. I grew up knowing I wasn’t planned. Because my parents weren’t prepared for parenthood nor for marriage, lots of mistakes were made. I was witness to two selfish people push and pull on each other- not in a #relationshipgoals kind of way. It was ugly and I questioned why my mom even had me. As a child, I remember imagining this was my temporary family. My real family wasn’t ready for me yet so I have to be here until God gets them ready. There were good times but I grew up uncertain of many things.  It took years and by years I mean 20+ of them to heal. Families are not perfect. Parents are not perfect. Life, love, and sex are messy. It takes years to clean up the aftermath.

You may say that’s exactly what I’m saving my baby from. A bad life. But all I hear you saying is that you don’t want to grow up. You don’t want to change. You don’t want anything interrupting your life. You’re life is for you and you only. You’re wrong.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.   1Corinthians 6:19-20

A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.     Proverbs 21:2

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When my mom’s sister found out that she was pregnant, my aunt said, “Why don’t you just get rid of it?”

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I have never had the privilege of being pregnant. There have been plenty of opportunities. Thinking back to my first boyfriend- I lost my virginity when I was 17. We were in love. With our Romeo and Juliet Complex, we decided to get pregnant. He was moving away and in our teenage brains thought if only I were to get pregnant, then he’d have to stay! So I stopped taking my birth control pills for all of 6 or 7 days as we “tried” to get me knocked up. I knew it wasn’t the smartest decision as he was a high school drop out with no job and I was just a senior in high school. I didn’t see it as working in the long run- but I didn’t care to think it through.

Fast forward to some more guys later. Boyfriends or non-boyfriends. I took many pregnancy tests but all of them- always negative. Phew! Whether I wanted to be or Not.

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There have been so many times I was glad to never have had a child with someone from my past. By the Grace and Mercy of God he spared me.

I’ve envisioned telling my family and friends “I’m pregnant” to be bombarded with: But who’s the father? I didn’t know you had a boyfriend? But you don’t have a boyfriend? I didn’t know you were seeing someone? Is it  ____’s? Who? What? When? Posting a sonogram photo to my timeline, maybe I’d get lots of Likes. Hopefully everyone would keep those questions to themselves. I may not have ever had the courage to answer them. Every answer from mouth would feel like an earthquake to my heart.

Telling the guy I want to be with and accepting that he doesn’t want to be with me still. Entertaining the idea that I’m trying to trap him. Knowing this will most likely create more distance between rather than draw him toward me. Or worse, telling me to take care of it. Would he turn out to be that cold and heartless? A guy moving on with someone else and I would just be the girl he had a baby with. No one special.

Being another single mom. A baby momma. Dealing with a baby dad. Dealing with a guy that says: I don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s not mine. That’s your problem. I had never fantasized about being pregnant solo, who does? Setting up a crib in my one bed-room apartment. Coordinating with the “dad” [if he was involved] drop off and pick up times. Meeting him at the door or car. Pretending like there wasn’t anything else to discuss. Dealing with unmet expectations and disappointment on the regular. Reminding myself that I also had a hand in this mess too. I should’ve known better. I do know better. I should have used protection. I should have never slept with him.

Aside from all of that, I’ve always known if I ever become pregnant, I would become a Mother. There has never been another option in my sight. I may not have wanted to have a child with that guy or this guy- but I always knew it didn’t matter. I’d be a Mom and a great one. I could never imagine getting rid of my baby all because the situation with fell through. The results of a pregnancy test always put my relationships in perspective. I’ve never thought there to be a right time or wrong time to get pregnant. All the money and education cannot fully prepare you to be a mom [or dad]. We must eradicate this lie.  No one has the $300,000 [“that it costs to raise a child”] just sitting in their bank account. You’re heart prepares you. As a woman, your body was made for this. Trust me, its biology and theology. Divinely created to enrapture a baby.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.     Isaiah 1:17

I feel it in my heart. I feel it in my bones. I long for the opportunity. The privilege.

I am Pro Life.

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Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.        Romans 6:13

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=922582726158&id=149700362

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Transformation, Uncategorized

21 Before 21

As the year comes to a close in just a few days,  I thought I’d share 21 things I wish I knew before I was 21. What would I tell my younger self?

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1. Cockiness is not Confidence. Humble yourself.

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2. Don’t spend money you don’t have (credit cards, buying things before paying bills).

3. Guys will use you,

4. If you let them.

5. The bad boy is not who you want to marry and have kids with.

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6. You will need your friends.

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7. Trust God, not the world.

8. You don’t have to try so hard [titles, status, guys].

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9. Don’t give away your power. The worst times in your life are a direct result of giving away your power.

10. Feminism is a lie. An imitation. True female empowerment comes from Heavenly places.

11. Living solo is great.

12. There is a plan. God’s plan. You’ll take many detours, but God will always redirect you.

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13. Stop hiding your feelings

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14. and Stop trying to play it cool.

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15. You can depend on others, it doesn’t mean that you’re incompetent. Ask for help.

16. You’re ENOUGH.

17. You do want to get married, stop lying.

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18. People like you for you. Stop thinking you’re weird.

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19. Don’t let anyone come between your peace and joy.

20. God is not afraid to hurt your feelings.

21. When it doubt call Mom or Dad.

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In case you forgot what 2005&2006 felt and sounded like, here’s are some of my jams from back in the day! Proceed at your own risk LOL!





*Bonus* All you need to know about the old me can be experienced in these two albums!
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I could have saved this girl a lot of trouble… 5/15/06
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I’d love to hear from you! What would you tell your younger self?

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