Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Everything I Know

.....I learned from not listening. I bet you saw the title of this and thought, "Well, this will be short and sweet". HA!! It's o.k. I understand.
A few days ago I went on a Biblical scavenger hunt for a story that I had heard at least a dozen times and read probably just as many. I could not for the life of me recall its reference. That's the thing about my lil' mind. It is great at holding all sorts of useless information and having the ability to recall it at the drop of a hat. But when it comes to actual, important, and useful knowledge it's like looking for a needle in a hay stack. I blame the dominance of my creative half of the brain. As I used Internet search engines, scanned through my Bible, and text a few of my Bible major friends the reference just seemed to elude us all. During this time of verse hide and go seek I had been in a rather foul mood. I wasn't as diligent about my time in the Word or in prayer. I didn't feel well and just flat out wanted to do nothing. I wanted brain candy (i.e. t.v., magazines, internet uselessness, etc.). But the idea of this story wouldn't and hasn't gone away. Finally a friend of mine found the scripture and sent me the reference I needed via e-mail. I was still indulging my laziness when the info was sent so it wasn't until this morning that I looked at my Bible and other devo items that I found it there waiting for me. I didn't even need the reference sent to me. As I sat down and opened my books and journal it sat staring at me. The verse I had been searching for somewhat diligently for the last 4 days was there waiting for me. I have a small devo book I read daily. I'm sure if you keep up with my writings, Facebook or twitter the title will come as no surprise, Come Away My Beloved by Francis Roberts. It is a book one of mentors used to aid in discipling me and another. It was so moving and specific to me each time that as a gift my mentor gave me a copy that was dated. Each day there is a specific Bible passage, challenge, encouragement, story, application, etc. And wouldn't you know it, had I gone against my flesh and sat down to do my devo's four days ago there it would've been. Waiting on me. Perfectly placed where I could easily find it. I plan to write on the passage, why I searched for it, and what I learned from it at a later time. I still need to gather myself after this heavenly version of "Punked".
I say all of this to say, do we have to learn the hard way? As I've gotten older I'd like to think I've also gotten a tad wiser. Learned from my mistakes and caught on to the advantage of taking advice from others. I'd like to think that my past mistakes will heal, without repetition turning them into scars.  Only time will tell if "what I'd like to think" about who I am, becomes or is the truth about me. I want to encourage those of you who feel a few steps behind to hear what those in front of you are saying. Those words they use that sound like Charlie Brown's teacher "wha wha wha wha wha", just might be something useful to you. It very well may be for your betterment, protection, and enlightenment. I look back at the paths I've taken and while I do not doubt that God was with me all the way. Guiding, looking after, and loving me with each and every step and mis-step I now see how many "mistakes" I chose to make. How many times I followed my flesh instead of the Spirit's leading and the pain or needless searching it caused me. I hear the words of guidance from those placed in front of me at different times in my life echoing still and I find myself thinking, "if only I had listened to them, than (fill in the blank)".  I choose to not regret the path that has brought me where I am today. But I do hope that this helps make your path much smoother. I hope it leads you to search in the right places for your answers. Perhaps what you're looking for is right in front of you?

2 Samuel 22:20 "He brought me forth also into a large place, he delivered me, because he delighted in me."
"It is the most stressful part of our lives to resist where we are." - Unknown
To purchase your own copy of Come Away My Beloved- Daily Devotionals by Francis Roberts - http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?isbn=9781616260941

Thursday, January 26, 2012

He'd Be Looking For Me If He Knew

Today I was in a meeting and a story was told concerning the hunt for the right employee. One of the employee's made the joke that if the employer had known they where out there, they'd been looking for them specifically instead of the "blind hunt" that comes with a sea of applicants. "If he'd known I was what was out there he would've been looking for me for sure!" As I laughed and agreed with the difficulties of "hunting blind" when it comes to work and workers, the idea settled in me about how true this "hunting blind" idea is in so may different areas of our life. I once heard on a T.V. show that "she's trying to get here as quick as she can". Suggesting that "the one" would get to her pursuer as quickly as possible if he kept looking for her in his world. Do we live our lives in such a way that our pursuers know we are who they are looking for ? Does the lady in waiting know that who she is waiting for isn't just a dreamed up ideal of a man/pursuer? We've heard the jokes that a neon sign would help. Something pointing and blinking to the right choice, direction, person, etc. How would either of these know considering what is being presented in today's world?

As I watch different television shows that highlight the struggles of single life, dating, & relationships  I become more and more bothered by how singles are portrayed. The males are portrayed as "players" or "emotionally unattached" with little intelligence or concern about anything other than attaining multiple physical "relationships" and the avoidance of a "committed relationship". The females aren't portrayed much better. Usually some sort of emotionally damaged, mentally fragile, talk tough, but cave at the first sweet word spoken version of "today's woman". I have specific examples in my head as I write. Where are the handsome, intelligent, put together, know what they aren't just as much as what they are men ? Where are the beautiful, balanced, not waiting for a man, o.k. with no second date if it wasn't a awesome first date, ladies ? Have they gone the way of the dinosaurs ? Of course pursuers have no idea how to find who they are looking for, look at who the single females are being portrayed as. The idea for these portrayals of men and women had to come from somewhere. Right? I would feel defeated before the battle too!!

Here's the challenge....to quote Maya Angelou, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." I go back to the idea of graceful singleness. Be a gentlemen, be a lady, be the person others could emulate, write about, and portray on television. Do not lesser your faith by making these depictions of hopeless, heartless and helpless singles factual. Your pursuer can not know you are who they are looking for if you do not carry your self in such a way as to cause the neon sign to go off ! Do not cling to someone simply for the idea of  a "relationship". I've said it before I'll say it again, trust that the Father has a plan for you. If He is so big as to know every star in the sky and every grain of sand on a beach, I believe He is big enough to know our every want and need for a successful and healthy relationship. Be honest with yourself and possibly someone else too. If you aren't ready for a relationship.....don't be in one. Singleness is o.k. If it is what you've been called to, EMBRACE IT. Not everyone was made for the role of husband or wife. I'll close with this quote from Come Away My Beloved by Francis Roberts, "I have stood beside you through the times of endurance, and I smiled knowing what was in store for you. "

Smile, He has something great in store for you!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm In Love!!!!!!!!!!!!

.....with being single,"I'd rather be alone and in the Lord's will than in a relationship and out of it." Wise words shared with me by someone vital to my life. Considering I slammed on the men folk in my last post I thought I would attempt to take a little heat of of them in this one. It's time for us ladies to do our share of the heavy lifting. A few weeks ago I was talking with a close sister in Christ about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Of course for me this includes boy talk as well. HA! She was sharing about her struggles, encouragements, and life before and after she and her husband married. It was very eye opening to hear from a young married Christian lady the work that sometimes marriage can be. Even when it is totally right and you have dated or "courted" in a way that was honoring to the Lord, and continue to follow Him with your days and nights. I knew before this that marriage wasn't only fun it is also work, but it never hurts to hear it again. Keeps us singles from romanticizing it too much. One thing she mentioned to me about their courtship was the chapter of his life before he finally asked her on a date. At some point her now husband shared with her that prior to dating her, he had been praying for a long time. He had been asking the Lord repetitiously for permission to pursue his "Juliet", but the Lord kept telling him "no". The Lord eventually told this young "Romeo", "yes" and they are now married with three beautiful children after a very sweet courtship.

I can't help but linger on the idea that she had no idea her "Romeo" had been asking permission from her heavenly Father. Also, she had no idea her heavenly Father was telling him "no". Would she had carried herself any differently had she known what her soon to be husband was asking the Lord ? Would her patience had been any different ? Would her interest in him waver at all ? Would she seek her own peace about the relationship or rely on "Romeo's" surety that they where to marry ?

It poses the question, who might be praying for permission to pursue you that you aren't aware of ?  What should you be asking the Lord in preparation ? Hopefully, eventually, if you feel you are called to be a help meet and are seeking a man that seeks the Lord then both of these questions will be important to you at some point. Why wait to begin answering them ? While you may not be able at the moment to answer who might be praying to pursue you, the answer to how should you be preparing for pursuit is in your hands. Yesterday I shared a few books that I feel are a true assist to the single lady. I still support that idea and will add those links to this blog as well. I believe that those books can help you answer the question, "What should I be doing for the Lord and asking the Lord in preparation for "the one" who will pursue my heart with a heavenly pursuit ?" I've often heard it said that your friends and how you spend your time are a reflection of who you are. This idea persuaded me to believe that how time is spent, who time is spent with, etc. would also decide who might be "attracted" to the pursuit of you. How are you spending your time ? How are you praying in preparation for what you feel called to? If you dream of being a wife and mother some day then I don't know that you should wait until those titles are official before planning. It seems to me that when love strikes it is a whirlwind and all logic is at times tossed out the window. You don't wait for a tornado to hit before you fill water bottles and get batteries do you ? So, why would this be any different ?

I'd like to confront you with the thought that you might not know everything. You may have no idea how the Lord is leading "your man". Think about what could cause you to stumble, struggle, hurt, etc. as a single and pray on those same areas for your future "Mr.". I pray OFTEN for my future husband. While I am in love with single life most of the time, I do feel called as someones other half. I know some will find that thought simply archaic, but I think my fellow believers will completely understand.  I should not wait to meet "him" to begin praying for him. I have no clue what paths will lead us to one another. With that calling on my life and lack of knowledge on how we will get to one another, it is my DUTY to be praying, preparing, and even planning now for what my future may hold. No, I do not mean I have a dress picked out and bridesmaids on call. I do mean plan what will be important to a family. Can you cook? Should you learn ? Do you know how to grocery shop? What is your definition of a mother ? What is the definition of a family budget? What is known about a vary of things? I don't think any of those questions should wait to be answered. 

I want to encourage you to begin praying and preparing for what/who the Lord may have for you. I hope to bring to your attention that the one waiting for you might just be debating these questions as well. Allow the Lord, your heavenly Father to keep your heart for you. Trust that He will protect you better than you can until it is time for your heart to be shared with one of His sons. Be secure and graceful in your time as a single. Do not panic. If you have been called by the Lord to such an amazing task as wife and mother He will be sure to provide what is needed for that call in His perfect timing. And if you haven't, if His call for you is the life of a single....feel honored that He knew you could handle it. And finally, you never know what the Lord may be telling your "man". My hope is that the "man" will obey The Father.

Love y'all!!! 

Psalm 1:1-6
1Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4The ungodly [are] not so: but [are] like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Proverbs 4:24
23Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

Preparing to Be A Help Meet - Author Debi Pearl http://nogreaterjoy.org/blogs/preparingtobeahelpmeet/book/
Lady in Waiting - Author Jackie Kendall -http://www.jackiekendall.com/node/27
A Man Worth Waiting For - How To Avoid A Bozo - Author Jackie Kenall http://www.jackiekendall.com/node/24

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Single and Ready to......

Don't finish that sentence just yet!!! As singles, for the most part we seem to think we are ready for a relationship and for whatever reason it's just not falling into place. We find ourselves in this semi-something "relationships" that torture us until we or they fall apart and totally dissolve. And then the next day, we wake up, and do it all over again. WHAT THE HECK!!! Kiddies are we really so naive? Are we really so desperate for love, companionship, romance, affection, a person to share trash duties with that we do not observe the obvious?
I lean to the ideal that there could be more than one person for each of us, but it's a commitment and a choice to love one person for the rest of our lives when we marry. I do believe in romance, but I believe it takes effort and trust for it to really exist. It takes more than physical attraction or lust. In my years as a college student living in a female dorm, and then as a college professional living in a female dorm I have heard my fair share and probably yours too of girl drama based on boy drama. While I always want to be supportive, have a listening ear, and sensitive to the hurt of a young and wounded heart I also want to speak truth when and where it's needed. In my life I've had many heart aches. I think that most of them could've been prevented if those closest to me would've spoken a sensitive truth to my young tender heart. We arrive to this earth already broken and wounded as an after math to the choices of Adam and Eve. Then we have the after math of our current parents’ choices to add to our fragility, strength, and view of love, romance and relationships. With all of that considered it's a wonder we are able to love at all sometimes. The least we can do to help one another is be sensitive and speak truth when it's needed.

In listening to different stories of wounded hearts, poor choices, affection given and not received I've learned so much. I mean lets be real....all you have to do is turn on a reality show and see these things. You don't even have to leave your house and take time to hear people. It's everywhere. Facebook statuses, tweets, and magazines. People are more than willing to share their heart ache with the world. My heart ache is seeing people give their hearts and in some situations their body to others who have done nothing to deserve them. I should add in this section my belief of pursuit. It may attribute to my current relationship status, but I sternly believe that the male is to pursue the female in a relationship where frienship isn't the only goal, but possibly marriage. I believe the fella should take this step of faith with ZERO, ya, count em' on all of no fingers, ZERO, efforts of encouragement from the female. Gentlemen, I accept your hate mail. I know, it's a strict point of view. But I CAN NOT get out of my head the thought that if you need to be given a green light from the girl then she was the first to initiate pursuit. Consider us all blinking the yellow caution light....not green (go)....not red (stop), but yellow and blinking!!!! Yield, proceed with caution, slow the heck down, check your surroundings, school zone (or as I think of it "get school'd" zone), insert all other metaphors here. But that very first attempt at taking a friendship to a romance should come from the guy. I will not apologize for this point of view. But I do hate the fact it makes some of you men folk find it hard to breath. ;-)
I want to scream from the top of my lungs from the deepest part of my heart to those young ladies struggling to believe they deserve this pursuit, "YOU DESERVE GOD'S BEST!!!", "YOU DESERVE TO BE PURSUED!!! AND WON!!!", "YOU ARE WORTH SOMETHING!!", alas it seems the opposite of these truths are easier for our wounded hearts to believe. I also want to scream to the fella's, "BE A MAN!!!", "BE THE LEADER GOD CREATED YOU TO BE!!!", "ANYTHING WORTH HAVING IS WORTH WAITING FOR AND WORTH WORKING FOR!!!", "SHOW HER YOU ARE WORTH THE RISK BY TAKING A RISK TO PURSUE HER!!!" and "STOP BEING LAZY FOR HEAVENS SAKE!!!". 
I'll step off my soap box to encourage a few thoughts. I want to challenge the young ladies to stop planning weddings and start praying about being a wife. I want to encourage you beautiful young ladies that are waiting for their "prince charming" to be spending time doing something that reflects the love of the King instead of your love for the prince. I want to dare you to be praying for your future husband. If you think you are struggling imagine what he may be going through right now. When you think of the things you long for, desire, and see as traits of your future mate I wonder if you've compared yourself ? Are you someone that would be worthy of that kind of man ? Do you match your expectations ?
There are a plethera of books, websites, etc. that you can get advice from. Here are a few of my favorites. Preparing to Be A Help Meet,  by Debi Pearl is my latest read and perhaps my favorite so far when it comes to singleness, relationships and Christian womanhood. I feel she has some encouraging, challenging, realistic and Biblical information. While you think on all these things here are a few books worth investing time in reading. Love you all!!
Preparing to Be A Help Meet - Author Debi Pearl http://nogreaterjoy.org/blogs/preparingtobeahelpmeet/book/
Lady in Waiting - Author Jackie Kendall -http://www.jackiekendall.com/node/27
A Man Worth Waiting For - How To Avoid  A Bozo - Author Jackie Kenall http://www.jackiekendall.com/node/24

Again, Hope to be of help to you dear sisters in the faith!!!!

Afraid of The Dark.......

I absolutely believe that as Christians, but especially as Christian ladies we must be just as real with our lows as we are with our highs. In order for the ones that will walk beside, behind, and even in front of us to get a true glimpse of what it means to be a Christian woman walking in this crazy world they MUST be privy to our highs and our lows.
With that said, it has been six months since I finished my ministry/job in Chattanooga. It has been close to ten months since I followed the Lord's leading in giving my word that I would not resign my contract for a sixth year at my prior position. At the time I was a type of exhausted that I'm not even sure how to explain. I suppose to say that even my eye lashes suffered from exhaustion would be a good statement. In preparing to leave my place there and plan for what was next I began praying for the things I knew I needed most. I was sure I needed a time of refreshment, REST, and renewal. I knew I would need a new job, ministry, and perhaps place to live. And maybe I wasn't asking for it, but I needed a time of revival as well. As I finished my work I absolutely believed that I was obeying the Lord. I trusted that He was going to provide everything that I needed and more. As the summer moved into the fall and I made some big choices I continued to feel His loving arms around me. Providing everything I needed and even some things that I wanted. I was given rest, fellowship, a time in His word that I hadn't had in a long time.
But as the days have turned into weeks and the weeks into months I had started to feel forgotten. Abandon. Uncared for by my Heavenly Father. Even as I type I feel outrageous using those words. How dare I accuse the One who loves me most with abandonment! But alas that is how I felt. And at sometimes still feel. In this time of some prayers being answered and some not I have gotten to know a lot about myself that I didn't before. It's frightening to realize the parts of us that lay dormant for so long. It's scary to know how the things that have upset us about others is a part of our self as well. God the Father is a strict parent who only wants what is best for His children. I at times question His really knowing what is best for me since He does not always give me what I want. As if I have a real clue. In the times of "no, you can't have that" I have come to recognize how dark and sad I can be. Maybe, spoiled is a better word. I've considered myself a bit fearless in most areas of my life. Mainly because I have felt so protected by my God!! Now, however recognizing my darkness I now know, I am afraid of the dark. We each have a capacity for deep, frightening, what I would be with out my salvation darkness. I've seen in it others. I've perhaps dipped my toe in the vast pond of "what if I ignore God".  But He has always pulled me back stronger than ever.  As I sit on the edge of that pond dry as could be I have found myself looking to God with so many questions. "Father, can You hear me ? Lord, are You taunting me ? Lord, have You forgotten me ?". I know that when He comes through for me, and He will come through for me,  I will feel like the smallest speck of junk on or under the earth's surface.  However, for the sake of being transparent, back and forth I have these questions. With every interview for a job that sounded too good to be true (let's face it there aren't that many) and with every "we went with someone else" that comes after them I feel taunted. In every moment spent with the people I feel make me better and in the good-bye that is sure to follow, I feel teased. As my heart finds little bits of hope when I dare to dream on what His plans for me could possibly be I feel ridiculed, provoked, and flat out mocked when these dreams of His possible desires for me do not come true.......in my timing. I'm so selfish! 
I don't have a "the end" to this story yet. It's apart of my current walk with Him. This is my  attempt to practice what I preach. I never want to convey to the world or anybody else that I have it all figured out. I am a work in progress, color outside the lines, hot mess as anyone can be. But, even in my darkest moments I KNOW that there is a Light doing it's mightiest to lead me out. I am sure my God will provide the perfect job, ministry, or whatever when it is time. I just wonder if He is gonna "wear me out", a term used in the south when one is about to get a "spankin'", in a new way before that happens.  No matter, I'm sure He will do what is best for this bratty daughter of His.

As I sat down to write this song came on. It is not a "christian" song from a "christian" radio station or artist, but I found it's words to be so spot on. In the darkness I can hear my Father speaking these type of words to me.
I Won't Let You Go -lyrics by James Morrison
When it's black
Take a little time to hold yourself
Take a little time to feel around
Before it's gone

You won't let go
But still do you keep on falling down
Remember how you saved me now
From all of my own, yeah
And this love, just feel it
And if this life won't see it
Sees no time to be alone, alone, yeah
I won't let you go

Say those words, say those words like there's
Nothing else
Close your eyes and you might believe
That there is some way out
Open up, open up your heart to me now
Let it all come pouring out
There's nothing I can't take

And this love, just feel it
And if this life won't see it
Sees no time to be alone, alone, yeah
I won't let you go

If the sky is falling, just take my hand and hold it
You don't have to be alone, alone, yeah
I won't let you go

And if you feel the flame of love tonight
And you're too week to carry on the fire
And all your friends that you cannot hide,
I'll be here night going, forever holding on

And this love, just feel it
And if this life won't see it
Sees no time to be alone, alone, yeah
I won't let you go, uh

If the sky is falling, just take my hand and hold it
You don't have to be alone, alone, yeah
I won't let you go, uh

I won't let you go, no
I won't let
I won't let you go, no
I won't let
I won't let you go, no
Won't let you go...