by Morgan Fisher
Oh, how every woman desires a relationship like Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook”, a film I managed to avoid watching until my second year of college. After my roommates found out I had kept away from this enchanting love story for 19 whole years, we found ourselves, on a Friday night, with a crowd of college girls surrounding the television screen, falling in love with one of films utmost love stories.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” --2 Timothy 2:22
As I began following this love story, my eyes began believing in what media has defined as love. I slowly took a step back and thought of a close friend of mine who recently got married, a genuine love story. I desired so deeply to share my friends love story with the girls surrounded by this television screen. I was beginning to decipher the difference between the love that media has conditioned us to believe in and honest, sacrificial love that people pursue under God’s commands.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” --1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
I met Jamie and James about a year ago working in youth ministry. Jamie has a smile with the power to take all of your worries away. Her heartening, inspiring, joyful personality compliments the beam of light that she is to this world. She is a crafty woman that humbly uses her gifts for the Lord. James is an absolute genius when it comes to technology and design. I think he’s probably just behind Jesus on the list of greatest carpenters, as well. Together, they could take on any challenge given to them through the youth ministry creative team and honestly, I think they could take on some of the world’s greatest superheroes as well. Watching them work together is absolutely inspirational. If you have every doubted God’s ability to hand pick two people for each other, your doubts will be demolished when you meet this pair. The most astonishing component of this story is that Jamie and James met at church when they were just 13 years old.
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” --2 Corinthians 6:14
Though Jamie and James were not in a relationship with each other at the age of 13, they were in a much more significant relationship. Each of them had a desire to grow in a relationship with God at a young age. Years of youth group together passed, they continued to grow in their faith and pursue their college education, and met again at a bon fire over summer break in their college years. When they began dating, they also began making sacrifices including years of being in a very long distance relationship. The beauty of their relationship is that they were able to grow separately, but not apart. Through any trials or tribulations, they continued to look to God for answers and never considered breaking up.
Coming to the realization that God may place your future husband or wife in your life at this moment, does not mean that He has intended for you to begin a relationship with your significant other.
The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing.
Growing in your individual relationship with God and praying that your future husband is pursuing a pure lifestyle and faithfully following God’s commands, will not only lead you to a love story like Jamie and James, but the love story that God wrote for your life.
My challenge to you is to pray for your future spouse and ask God to draw you closer to Him in times of loneliness, lustful temptations, and simply day by day in a healthy pursuit to a love story written by the Lord.
By Julie Caulder
I can't think of a single time in my life when falling in love was easy. Falling was easy, the love part not so much. It's been five almost six years since my last relationship and while singleness used to bother me to the point of depression, I now understand why waiting is important.
Love isn't the feeling of just 'knowing', it's a supernatural response to the work of the Holy Spirit. And it takes a lot of growth and transformation in our life through the work of the Spirit, to fully grasp what love is and isn't.
In the past year, I've sat back and watched successful Christian relationships and engagements end bitterly. These relationships were in the spotlight and people on the sidelines cheered them on as they approached their wedding day. From a distance I admired the relationship, I longed for the same in my own life. When the relationship ended, I realized the grass wasn't greener on the other side. But isn't this true for most of us in relationships? With social media, it's hard to resist the temptation of putting our business out there for the rest of the world. It even looks like a fairy tale on the outside, but in reality, relationships are difficult.
It takes two whole people to make relationships work and last. Not two perfect people, but knowing who we are in Christ individually and allowing our lives to complement each other, not clash.
This was a very difficult thing for me in past relationships. I was the one who carried the weight, I was the strong one. I fell hard and easily, and I thought it was love. It's only been in growing in my relationship with God where I've been able to understand what love really is and how it's meant to be mutual not one sided.
More importantly, I'm beginning to realize when each of our identities are rooted in Christ and we fully embrace the work and transformation of the Holy Spirit, true love occurs naturally, not forcefully.
Here's the thing, not many of us talk about the Holy Spirit. We don't mention it. We talk about God, Jesus, but we neglect the Holy Spirit's significance. Jesus told His disciples He would give us another helper who would be with us forever. (John 14:16) Jesus knew we couldn't do anything on our power and strength. And while we have God and Him as our 'go to', we needed something other than Jesus and His Father to survive every area of our lives'; the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit's power in our life and relationships, we learn to be more gentle, patient, self controlled, kind, faithful, and loving. The list seems pretty demanding, especially from the perspective of a woman. Our emotions can sometimes get the best of us, do I need to remind us of our time of the month? But, the truth is ladies, apart from God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, we can't have successful relationships.
I've settled a lot in my life. I settled for what was comfortable and seemed 'right'. I settled for the abusive relationship and the pseudo relationship where all the perks of the relationship were there, but the commitment wasn't. I've had my heart broken more times than I care to look back and reflect on. And I realize looking back what was missing from each relationship; God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We can't force others to love us unconditionally and forever. If either of our relationships aren't right with the Lord, it affects everything. We haven't become whole persons and we aren't complete in ourselves.
This is a hard and convicting truth, especially as a single. It's a truth the Lord reminds me of daily. He reminds me apart from Him I can do nothing. He has to be the center of any future relationship and I have to stay in His will. While it's easy to want what 'used to be', He promises me the waiting is worth it as long as I stay plugged into my source; Him. He reminds me each time I'm tempted to look elsewhere for companionship and fall into old patterns of behavior, to grab hold of the helper He sent and let Him guide me.
Falling in love was never meant to be easy, it's meant to be fulfilled by God in our lives separately. When both individuals are secure in their identities and know who they are in Christ, love will be what it was supposed to be from the beginning; two identities becoming one.
We can be happy. We can be whole persons. We don't need men in our life to define our worth. Yes, we need prayer and we need each other. But we can't let others create our happiness for us. We need the love of Christ to renew our hearts, create a new Spirit in us, and reveal to us the presence of the Lord is enough.
All our needs are spiritual, including love. Falling in love was meant to be deep, spiritual, and intimate not easy. And this love is worth waiting for.
By Maria Breeden
If you have endured broken relationships and are in the process of becoming whole, it is very important to realize that you must have boundaries in which to live by in order to maintain the wholeness that you have received. The Relationship Laws for Ladies Who Love God are specific, detailed confessions that help capture the essence of your newfound personal wholeness and how to go about maintaining it. These “Laws” are intended to help you discern your motives for being in particular relationship, whether or not that relationship is consistent with your godly values, and most importantly, whether or not a relationship would enhance your wholeness or cause further brokenness.
1. I am rooted, grounded, fixed and founded in the Love of God
, not a position, title, having “Mrs.” in front of my name, not money, my looks, being cute, being smart or being seen.
2. I respect myself enough to lay boundaries in all relationships personally and professionally.
3. I am complete and whole in God; therefore I do not need outside validation or vindication from a man to see how wonderful I am, what a great and lovely lady I am, or what good wife potential I am. I already know that I am all these. I don’t have to compromise myself or be in a jacked up relationship to prove it.
4. I am a very wise, honest, faithful person of integrity. I am loving and kind. I am wise enough to now realize that not everyone is like me; therefore I exercise sound judgment, wisdom and boundaries in my daily life, especially when it comes to men. I no
longer naively assume that just because a man proclaims to be a Christian, a minister, a pastor, etc. that it means he has good intentions or is true. I realize that because a man can speak “Christianese
”, knows the Bible, can pray and preach does not mean he is “THE ONE”. He still got to past the basic character tests of honesty and reliability. I know people by their fruit not by what they say.
5. I attract creative, exciting, supportive, positive, godly, faithful, visionary, smart and wonderful people, both males and females in my life. I can now be friends with a man without thinking “IS HE THE ONE?” I can enjoy male friendship without the foolishness of weird feelings and questionings. I can just be my best self and let God lead, guide and order my relationships. I have a full and abundant life.
6. I attract emotionally, mentally and spiritually whole people in my life now. I have no need to have unhealthy, sick malfunctioning men in order to prove anything or to be their Savior. I am not responsible for their burdens, sins, issues, and brokenness and healing. That is between them and Jesus
. I will NOT relax my boundaries to accommodate their issues, thus damming up my own healing and blessings. Because I am fixed, helped and healed by Jesus, I no longer have the need to fix, help or heal a man. I am now complete in Christ
and know who I am, a Daughter of the King, living in His courts and will not go beneath my place of being seated in heavenly places to roll around in the pigpen to help someone and get dirty and hurt. I no longer need to fix someone else to validate my self-worth and value as a good woman. I know I am good.
7. I live very gracefully, very poised, very well pulled together and am continuously working towards improvement and order. I will no longer tolerate chaotic individuals, with lots of mess and unresolved issues operating that will spill over into my life. Thus I maintain a higher level of peace and order in my life.
8. I attract whole men who I would compliment and who would compliment me. We are icing on each other’s cakes, not two half baked cakes, falling apart attempting to come together, making a bigger mess. I am a Whole Loaf. Therefore I will not scrape around begging, looking and expecting for crumbs from a man, or live off past stale crumbs. I no longer attract crumby men. I attract Whole Loaf Men.
9. I make note of and pay attention to ANY AND ALL, EVERY LAST SIGN OF ANYTHING THAT IS A TRUE RED FLAG in relationships. I can give people the benefit of the doubt, but I now am more sensitive and quickly take heed to warning signs and signals, because I have learned to trust myself. I have learned that if I am praying in the Spirit, staying in the Word of God, trusting Him to lead me that He is indeed truly doing that and I can truly trust that warning or check in my spirit. I only have close relationships with people whose walk equals their talk and whose words and actions match. If I see otherwise, I leave them alone.
10. I stay away from anyone who would attempt to cause me to compromise myself or values in any way, shape form or fashion. I flee from any individual or circumstance that conflicts with:
a. Godly laws, principles, values and morals, including sex before marriage
b. Common Sense
c. Cause immediate harm and damage
d. Cause emotional, mental, spiritual pain, anxiety, torment or turmoil
e. Compromise the call and purpose of God for my life
11. I stay in fellowship and accountable to people whom I know truly love and care about me and who will tell me the truth. I walk in reality and not fantasy. I am able to distinguish and discern truth. I immerse myself in the Word of God; I stay in tune with the Holy Spirit
who is also known as the Spirit of Truth
. I heed wise counsel, realizing that I do not know it all. I heed wise counsel even if it hurts my feelings and makes me mad at first. This means I stay humble.
12. I refuse to allow myself to be self-deceived in the name of Jesus because I am too proud, ashamed or embarrassed to face the truth about any situation. I no longer have to isolate myself in shame or embarrassment. I have nothing to hide anymore. I can live again.
13. I have no need to get in a man’s head, obsessing, analyzing, over thinking, and immersing myself in his world, trying to figure him out. It does not take all that. If it does, something is wrong.
14. I work for myself first. This means that I allow God to work in me and through me to #1, heal and restore me FIRST, then others. My work blesses ME FIRST, then others. This means that I will utilize the gifts and talents I have for God to benefit others and myself in a Healthy
and Balanced way. This means that I will not allow myself to be used by someone in the name of fixing/helping/healing/proving/validating and following a fantasy and still left with nothing to benefit me. I am discreet and cautious and wise about giving of time, talents, money and myself to anyone not in my immediate family, but especially to a man without the true commitment.
15. I end relationships immediately when I can clearly see that it is not working. I learn the lesson and LET IT GO.
By Danielle Erwin
We’ve all been there.
You rush in the house from a long day of work and life and we are absolutely famished. It seems as though lunch was years ago and you’re so hungry, it’s as if your stomach is touching your back! All you want to do is sit down and eat but dread the preparation and cooking process.
As you’re moving about the kitchen, the smells of what promises to be a deliciously satisfying meal begin to fill the air. Your stomach begins to growl with anticipation; longing to be finally be satisfied and full.
Ignoring the rumbling from your belly, you continue moving about and preparing your meal. Finally, you can’t take it anymore. You’re watching your meal form before your very eyes, yet, your hunger can’t seem to wait a second longer.
So, you make a small snack to tide you over until the meal is ready.
No big deal, right?
When your meal is finally done, you sit down to eat and suddenly…you’re not as hungry as you were before. Your “small snack” filled you up more than you thought it would and your appetite for your well-prepared meal has been diminished. You can’t fully enjoy your meal because you’ve filled yourself up off something else.
Waiting on God to introduce us to our husband can be a lot like the above analogy.
We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is an amazing man out there being prepared for us. but … our loneliness and impatience gets the best of us. So, we “snack.”
We need something or someone to tantalize our taste buds or just to “hold us over” while we wait.
We find someone who we know won’t meet the same criteria that our future husband will but, he’ll do for now.
We rush into the arms of someone; anyone…just so long as we don’t have to be alone.
We think it’s harmless.
After all, we go into the relationship knowing that this won’t last. He’s not it. We’re just having fun…right?
What happens when God does bring our future husband onto the scene? Will we be too full from entertaining “seat fillers” that we can’t fully appreciate our future spouse?
You cannot have your hands in both pots.
You cannot say that you are waiting on God yet simultaneously operating off your own agenda.
Snacks are not meant to satisfy you like an entire meal will.
Snacks are designed to quiet your hunger, for a time.
A meal is meant to nourish and to fill.
Snacks are meant to keep small children quiet and occupied.
Meals are meant to bring people together and to create memories.
If you are living your life off snacks…you will never be satisfied. You will always want more and worse, you won’t have room for your meal.
Meals are worth the wait, the preparation and worth ignoring or fighting off the hunger pains for.
Don’t settle for a substitute, be patient enough for the real thing.
By Marquisha Harden
The definition of ‘hating’ is the act of being consumed by jealousy and envy. Some people are categorized as haters because they feel insecure about their current situation, so they gossip and slander other people’s accomplishments. Some speak badly of others because they are ‘hating’ on their status, ministry, personality, relationships, jobs, car, you name it. It is time to embrace our brothers and sisters in Christ, instead of pushing them away because you desire to be in their shoes.
You never know what a person has gone through to reach their current season in life. The question is if you were in his or her shoes, would you be able to walk in them? Would you be able to pass the tests designed for him or her? Would you be able to meet the needs to obtain everything he or she has? The answer is probably no.
The area most people are guilty of hating’ on, is other people’s relationships! Men and women try understanding why someone marries a person of a different ethnic background, complexion, social status, build (skinny vs. not so skinny), etc. Some have received a memo there is a shortage of men or women of the opposite sex, so they scheme and plot against their brother or sister to ensure there is someone left for them. Fortunately, there are no shortages! God has designed the perfect mate for you. Stop ‘Hating!’ We are all in this walk together! It is bad enough we have to fight against powers and principalities in the unseen world; we should not succumb to ‘hating’ on each other. We are all charged to build each other up, not tear the other down with words and dirty looks.
James 3:16, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
Although we try to conceal our thoughts, the truth comes out when we hear our sister has lost weight, but we have yet to compliment her. Our best friend is now engaged, but we have yet to offer congratulations. Our co-workers earned a recent promotion, but we have yet to acknowledge their accomplishments. While worrying about the why’s and how’s of their journey, we neglect our own.
If you’re consumed with jealousy, then you aren’t focused on what God requires, because your physical and spiritual development has been compromised.
Proverbs 14:30, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
David desired Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and committed adultery, as a result. He ordered Uriah’s death, by placing him on the front line during combat. Later, he married Bathsheba and she became pregnant, but God told him their first born would surely die… and He did. They were later blessed with their son Solomon (II Samuel 11). Is your jealousy worth a life? There are plenty of fish in the sea and God has designed the person for you. You don’t have to lust after someone else’s spouse, or get jealous of the fact that you are still in your single season. Just wait for God to deliver.
Think about the story of Naaman and his leprosy. After Elisha healed him and sent him away, Elisha’s soldier desired to have some of Naaman’s possessions. Against Elisha’s instructions, the soldier, Gehazi, followed Naaman and requested some of his treasures. (Naaman previously offered, but Elisha refused to take his treasures). As a result of Gehazi’s greed and disobedience, he and his family were plagued with the same leprosy Naaman was cured of (II Kings 5).
Like David and Gehazi, we can easily get consumed with having someone else’s riches without fully understanding the price he or she had to pay; let alone the price we’ll pay to obtain their lifestyle. We see our friends with what we believe is the picture perfect marriage, but we aren’t fully aware of the “behind the scenes” issues they have overcome to have a successful marriage. Or those who were recently promoted even though they were previously passed over multiple times during their process and had to work extra hard and have faith in God that he would promote them. David could have had any SINGLE woman he wanted, but he chose to fall for a married woman. Naaman was rich, but what good were his riches if he didn’t have his health? His riches couldn’t even pay for healing!
Everyone has to go through their own processes. We can’t be consumed by wanting what others have, because you just may have to go through their storm. We have to be content with whom or what God has given us. Get consumed with God’s word and use it to build your brothers and sisters up. Get consumed with walking in your purpose and use it to give God glory. God knows your needs and desires. Walk according to HIS will and allow Him to reveal which people, places, and things you should desire. And please, Stop Hating!
Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Guest post by Chanale Propst
We (or maybe just me) have all been driving on the highway, and through careless driving we’ve weaved off the side of the road, and become startled by those loud nerve-wracking grooves. But it is that noise, that disturbance that gets you back on track and gives you a sense of appreciation. The Federal Highway Administration explains that Shoulder Rumble Strips were created to prevent off the road crashes, and to notify the driver that they had drifted from their lane. God puts the same type of strips in our lives, warning us that we have drifted and it is time to get back in our lane. It is very effective and can immediately wake you up (if you take heed), making you aware of the situation in front of you. I have had several occasions where God has used events or normal occurrences to get me back on board; even though it was nerve-wracking at the time I appreciate it now. This last time, God used a devastating breakup my senior year of college, my rumble strip, to force me to see what I hadn’t seen for so long; a hole, a gaping hole within my spiritual nature.
My dependence on men had become evident. I used their words, their actions, and the lack there of to define me, to VALIDATE me, to fill me. I was like a drug addict, addicted to the feeling that came with those actions, and words. On cloud nine one minute, and feeling worthless the next. Without those words…those actions, I felt like a speck of dust, floating in the air with no purpose.
My soul, my heart, and my whole being craved and longed for love, and a void that had been created and maintained by this world needed filling. So I tried filling it; I chased after, “you’re cute”, that long stare from across the way, and the “selection” in the club for a dance. Not realizing that each time I grabbed at that placebo filling it not only didn’t make me whole, but it also enlarged the void. I was pushing myself further and further away from where I needed to be, pursuing and craving something that always left me searching. I didn’t realize that God so desperately wanted to fill that void, and to become my everything. So He used a “rumble strip” to put me face to face with my hole. He made me realize that I was EMPTY, and no relationship would make me whole or give me complete satisfaction, except for the relationship that I needed to form with Him.
That was back in December of 2011, and I STILL face a daily battle to make God my sustainer and no one else, but making Him my source has been so rewarding. How many of us today are trying to play handyman and fill our void/hole with man-made things? Whether it is a man, material things, or yourself, I want to be your rumble strip today and tell you that those things will NEVER, EVER fill you up! You will end up back at square one, trying to figure out the thing that you think will fill in that missing piece. God is the only person that can satisfy that craving, and that desire. We must learn to seek God, and the purpose he has for our lives. Embrace God, and get to know yourself through Christ. I’ll admit it is a hard battle. I had been addicted to that way of life for so long; I didn’t think that this new way of life would give me what I needed. I was scared that I wouldn’t have what I needed to keep going each day; what would I be living for? But God has proved to be more than enough! Psalm 16:2 highlights it all, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
A well-known scripture, John 4:13-14, was highlighted at an event I was at a couple of weeks ago, and it helps to bring to focus that Jesus can fill any void: 13 “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
Jesus was speaking to a Samaritan woman who had had five husbands, and the man she was currently with was not her husband. He told her the water that HE would give her would quench her thirst forever; she would no longer have to jump from man to man to feel valued or worthy. She would know that her worth comes from Christ, and only Him.
What I was chasing left me thirsty, and I was constantly searching for something to satisfy that desire. However, like Jesus said He is the only source that can make you whole and put your searching to an end. So I challenge you today to look deep down inside and see your reflection. Ask yourself who is your SOURCE, who is your well, and what are you chasing after? Christ wants to fill that void for you, I encourage you to let Him and relinquish all control to Him.
Ephesians 3:19, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (nlt)
Chanale Propst is a young adult who is truly starting her walk with God, and has realized how amazing that walk can be. Her aim in life is to put God first, and to remove any distractions that will prevent her from doing this. She is in love with Christ, and desperately wants young women to embrace this love as well. She spends her free enjoying her family & friends, and journaling.
By Dominique Currie
"Chase after the heart of God and watch Him fulfill the very desires of yours. "
Have you ever been pursued by someone so hard that it seems as if they would move Heaven and Earth just to be in your life? No matter how hard you try to fight it, how fast you try to run, how much you try to persuade them that you are a MESS and need time to get yourself together, they still relentlessly vie for your heart?
That is how I felt as Jesus Christ was calling me out of bondage, out of darkness, out of the miry clay that held me captive. He is the model gentleman. He wasn’t pushy, he wasn’t overbearing…He simply kept whispering in my ear that He loved me and that I deserved so much more out of life than being bound in chains by a sinful lifestyle. The funny thing is, I thought I was already living a Godly lifestyle. I would go to church every Sunday, I would say my prayers, I would pay my tithes, I would volunteer my time and service to the church…. I had religion down to a science. I was in essence what I called a “good person”. I thought that because I went through the motions that God would honor that and somehow wink at my behind-closed-doors sins since I was a “good person”. I loved to say that His Grace would cover me in my sin, and all I had to do was habitually (though insincerely) repent. While this was partially the truth since His grace does cover us in those times of ignorance (and sometimes those instances where we are not so ignorant), He said in 1 Peter 1:16 Be ye holy for I am holy”. He doesn’t want us living in iniquities with the belief that we can just holler, shout, cut a step, or wail at the altar in fraudulence and man won’t know we are trying to cover our hypocritical lifestyle. God knows our hearts and it gave me a reverential fear to know that He could see past my sideshow. He KNEW what I was doing. He knew I was in denial and headed down a path of destruction.
That’s when God asked me to be His exclusively. He showed me that He wanted a bride, not a girlfriend. He wanted a full-time commitment, not a relationship of convenience. He wanted me to love and honor Him in Spirit and in Truth, not by lip-service. He wanted me to actually live the life that I boasted of instead of being a hypocrite. He completely slayed any self-righteousness that I THOUGHT I had and showed me that I cannot just be a hearer of the Word; I must also be a doer. And that meant obeying every single thing He instructs me in His Word. Instead of cherry-picking through the parts of Scripture I thought were appeasing, He wanted me to die to self completely. Instead of trying to rank sin into categories of severity according to my self-made delusions, He wanted me to acknowledge my sin for what it was (SIN) and allow Him to take it away. He wanted me to cast down all of my idols and serve Him and Him only.
My Christian walk has not been easy. I have lost friends, lovers, and sometimes have been ridiculed for being too “spiritual”. But Christ gave His all for me and I am determined to do my best to live for Him to the best of my ability. He didn’t compromise his sacrifice for me to try to please man and I will not compromise my sacrifice to Him to try to please man. In the end, Christ was there for me when nobody else was. How could I ever do anything detrimental to the man who holds my heart? Christ is such a sweet, compassionate and loving Father. Having a relationship with Him is second to nothing in this world.
Some women spend their entire lives desiring to be pursued by a man that would move Heaven and Earth for them. Some of these women will never know that they already are being actively pursued by the ultimate gentleman; the one man who sees you for who you are and loves you and who cares immensely about your soul and your eternal life. His voice and call is gentle, yet firm; His arms are the safest place to be in the world.
Chase after Him and His righteousness. Chase after Him with more determination than you chase the things of this world. Chase after the heart of God and watch Him fulfill the very desires of yours.
By Carla Cannon
As a single woman I know what it’s like to long to be held, loved and cared for. I have been single for over two years now and it has not been an easy road however, what keeps me is my relationship with the Lord. I can remember experiencing one unhealthy relationship after another and finally I surrendered and told the Lord I would not go on another date until He released me to do so.
Sometimes we have to steal away and get to really know our first love, which is Jesus. We must know that God is our spiritual husband and until we can learn not to cheat on Him and be faithful to Him, we will never be ready for our earthly husband. The only reason I can speak with you about this is because I used to really struggle in my flesh and found myself in the sin of fornication as well as masturbation. It wasn't until I began to realize just how much sin pushed me further away from God that I no longer wanted that to separate me from Him.
We must understand that although God is a loving God, He also hates sin and that is what causes a barrier between Him and us. Now, understand we are not perfect and that is why His grace is sufficient however, we must truly repent and turn away from what was once a sinful nature to embrace the will of God for our lives and allow Him to teach us in His word how to live holy.
I know holiness is not a term that many of us especially as young women like to hear. But it is very necessary. I want to encourage you that no matter what took place on yesterday, know that today is a new day and you can begin again no matter how bad you may have previously messed up. Know that if you desire a mate, God will send one to you in His timing, but you must trust Him and know there is Power in Waiting.
I encourage you to get my new book: The Power in Waiting
for in Chapter 4 I have entitled it Single But Not Alone and I dedicated this chapter to singles only. I openly share my previous struggles of battling being single and trying to live holy and also how I overcame in those areas. My book is now available on Amazon.com and will be sure to bless your life! I would love to hear from you feel free to email me at Carla@womenofstandard.org
By Marquisha Harden
Have you ever tried slipping your foot into a shoe that was already tied? The last time you wore it, you forced your foot out of the shoe by stepping on the back, using the opposite foot and walked away. You didn’t untie – maybe because you were eager to get into something more comfortable. What’s even funnier is when you are in a rush and because you had not previously untied that shoe, the next time you’re ready to wear it, you are squirming and shoving your foot back into the shoe racing to your next venture. It all sounds crazy, but we all do it because we’re always in a rush. We’re always in a rush to get comfortable or race out the door.
Putting on and taking off shoes is a simple process: untie the shoe and put your foot in, then tie the shoe. When its time to take the shoe off, all you have to do is simply untie the shoe and remove your foot. It’s a lot easier than all the squirming and shoving. This process is very similar to releasing yourself from ungodly soul ties you’ve created, but have yet to be untied from.
Soul ties are created in various relationships because the spirit operating in you is attached to certain people, places, and things that you’ve opened up to. They can be healthy and unhealthy. Healthy soul ties can be created in families, ministries, and marriages that are led by the Holy Spirit. They operate in God’s anointing power because they reverence God and are constantly building each other up in accordance to his word. Healthy soul ties link you to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You receive confirmation and understanding regarding God’s plans for you. Ungodly soul ties are the complete opposite and can be one of the hardest things to get rid of. However, it is possible and like tying your shoes, it is a process.
You must be willing to go thru the process of being untied from the people, places, and things that go against God’s will. Most often, we remain tied to our exes long after the relationship has ended because we failed to untie ourselves from them. We argued and got upset and stormed out of the relationship, but find ourselves constantly praying they return or trying to rekindle a flame that needs to be beaten and burned for good. Just like that shoe we had to untie, we have to untie ourselves from relationships that aren’t prosperous, before we can move on with our lives.
We have to pray and ask God for clarity and direction. We have to be committed to the process of releasing them and being released from them. We can’t hold on to them and try to move on at the same time. It’s not going to work; it will bring more heartache and confusion. It will hinder you from entering into another relationship because you are still holding on to the past. It will also interfere with their future relationships because you refuse to let go.
I used to say, well, I haven’t slept with this person, so I’m not sure how I could possibly have a soul tie with them. Physical contact is not a prerequisite for a soul tie, your soul is. Unless you guard your heart and lean on God’s divine power to align you with the right people, places, and things, you will be at risk of an ungodly soul tie.
Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
I recently had to come to terms with the fact that my best friend and I (male of course) would have to release each other. We’ve never had physical contact and even expressed with our mouths that it was over, but we never released each other. We tried keeping in contact just to update each other on accomplishments and family matters, but we were only fooling ourselves. If there was something going on with him, I knew it in my spirit. If one of us was upset with the other, we already knew why. The pain of losing the other seemed far greater, so we held on to the friendship; we were spiritually vested in each other. He could tell if there was something I needed to ‘get off my chest’ and knew my thought processes and vise versus.
But, we have to be untied. No more trying to stay tied together and have an easy transition to our next venture. We have to sit down, untie the laces, so we can move on. We have to be fair to our future relationship. It’s so easy to want to hold on to what’s convenient, but its much more rewarding to stick to the process of letting go because you receive freedom. You afford yourself the opportunity to meet the right person. You also afford them with the freedom to move on with their lives, no strings attached!
If you find yourself constantly trying to reconnect with a relationship you know should have ended, its time to let it go! Get untied, be free, and walk away! Connect with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide you in every good work of the Lord. He won’t fail and you won’t have to go thru the process of Him leaving you no matter what you do. Once you receive Him, there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love.
Romans 8:39, “No power in the sky above or earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
What do you need to be untied from? Speak to God about your concerns and commit to the process he reveals to you!
Guest post by Jessica S. Tolbert
Are You a Wife in the Making?
I was on the shuttle bus on the way home from work when I overheard two friends (a guy and a girl) talking about relationship issues. It seemed that God knew what I needed to get inspiration for this article. I lowered the music in my headphones to listen in, though I only captured bits and pieces (I rarely ever eavesdrop, I promise you). The girl seemed to be having relationship problems with her boyfriend and the guy acted as her counselor, using examples from his own relationship with his girlfriend.
[Sidebar: I wondered, has the girl even confronted her boyfriend about these issues first? A word of caution: when you’re going through rough patches in your relationship, NEVER run to someone else to vent, or even to seek wise counsel, without first confronting your significant other with the goal of solving the problem(s) and committing it to prayer. If you both can’t agree, use discretion about WHO you seek to elicit advice (e.g., a close friend, mentor, or pastor).]
I overheard things like: “You’re in college; have fun!… As long as you’re happy.… She lets me have fun, but I know my boundaries.… Only if you’ll be together for a while.” Words like “control” and “manipulation” also came up. Hearing those words was like hearing screeching tires coming to a sudden stop.
Image via A Well Traveled Woman
"People often go from one to another, looking to fill a void that only Christ can fill, without first dealing with their own issues."
As Christians, we ought to view relationships in a different light. They aren’t just a fling or a substitute for loneliness. It’s not just about being “happy” or having “fun” without commitment. That’s why so many hearts are broken and the pieces never seem to fit perfectly the same way in the next relationship. People often go from one to another, looking to fill a void that only Christ can fill, without first dealing with their own issues. Allow God to step in and mend your hurts. Putting a band-aid on deep wounds won’t do. God desires to heal you from the inside out.
Understand that Christian courtship carries with it the intention to enter into a holy covenant with God through marriage. When you’re intentional about your future with your significant other, you don’t have time to play games. If you’re a Christian, you should realize that being a good steward means giving yourself and everything God’s blessed you with – including your relationship – to Him so that all can be used for His glory.
If you’re a Christian, when it comes to relationships, your mindset should not be to date around but to purposefullycourt each other – ultimately leading to marriage. Now I’m not saying that as soon as you get into a relationship, you start planning your honeymoon. This simply means that you purpose to be in a relationship ONLY because you mutually agree that marriage would be the next big step in your life together. You’re honoring God and committing to one another for a lifetime, not until you graduate from college or move to another city – convenient opportunities to call it quits prematurely.
If you’re in a relationship with someone just to try it out, you’re likely to run into some roadblocks that may lead you into a ditch. If you believe God will one day grant your desire to be married, become a marriage-minded single, rather than one who wants to test drive every guy on the street. Save yourself the time, energy, and emotional baggage.
However, I won’t sugarcoat this. You will struggle during this critical season of life, especially if many of your friends are already in relationships. Rather, see it as an opportunity to do more – for God, yourself, your family, your friends, your church, your work, etc. This is a time when you can focus more of your energy in areas that you may not otherwise prioritize if you were in a relationship. When you’re married, your priorities are divided, devoted mainly to God, your spouse, perhaps your children if you have any, and so on. When you’re single, though, you usually have more freedom to do the Lord’s business, to serve, to learn, to travel, to minister, etc. (1 Corinthians 7:34-35).
Learning to Plant a New “Relationship Garden” with the Right Seeds
I’d like to offer you some valuable tips that will last beyond this spring season, when flowers are not the only things in bloom. Uproot those bad habits and negative attitudes you have toward relationships and plant some new seeds in good soil that will blossom beautifully over time. Here are seven “must-haves” to start planting now:
1. Look to God, not man.
Putting God first and making Him the center of your life will reveal that He knows what’s best for you. Don’t allow the pressures of family, friends, and society dictate whom you’ll be with and when you choose to do so. Seek God wholeheartedly, being totally devoted to His will. If it’s in His plan, He will bless you with a mate in HIS timing. Most importantly, if you’re a Christian and you long to be in a relationship, your focus should be on the greatest relationship you already have – with Christ! Trust Him. Find your joy, peace, and satisfaction in Him and in Him alone. Ladies, you know how the saying goes. Your heart should be so hidden in God that a man must seek Him first in order to find you.
| |2. “No randoms, Pinky Promise*!”
My big sister Heather Lindsey
is a huge advocate of this. Don’t just date anyone who says you’ve got it going on. Learn to appreciate a compliment and keep it moving. With a “random,” you know you’ll never get married, but you expend all of your resources (e.g., your time, money, maybe even your own body) and allow your emotions to get entangled in a toxic relationship. Ladies, unless he’s actively demonstrated a sincere commitment to build you up as his sister in Christ and pursue a lifetime relationship with you, then platonic friendship is as far as it should go.
3. Recognize that your fiancé or boyfriend is NOT your husband.
That means they don’t get the same privileges as spouses do. For example, don’t try to see how far you can go sexually. Set boundaries to guard your hearts and protect yourselves from doing anything that wouldn’t please God. Be intentional about preserving your purity before the Lord. This is crucial because a little justification can eventually lead to a lot of sin. Have your closest friends hold you accountable in this area. Even when certain you’re going to get married, realize that you’re not there yet, so don’t open your “presents” too early. Your time to celebrate will come. Patience has its rewards.
| |4. Embody the qualities of a wife BEFORE marriage.
He who finds a wife
finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22), not a wifey or a girlfriend. This woman should already be exemplifying the qualities of a wife in her everyday life, a reflection of the woman in Proverbs 31. You should be busy doing the Lord’s work and not living to achieve the mere goal of getting a man. Are you focused on LOOKING for the right
kind of mate, or BECOMING the right
kind of mate? As you’re out there praying, serving, teaching, giving, helping, a man who’s diligently living out his God-given vision will be attracted to that. He’ll see that you’re serious about your faith and worthy to be his wife. Study the Proverbs 31 woman and take notes. Check out 31 Status
for some great resources.
5. Don’t settle. Period.
I can’t stress this enough. It breaks my heart to see women settle for less than the standards they’ve initially set for themselves, especially the ones God expects of us. Women often lower their standards perhaps because their hope of “finding” a mate fades like a chalk-written sidewalk on a rainy day. Ladies, you shouldn’t chase after men. A lady of grace chases after God while He blesses her along the way. She doesn’t make unnecessary stops that take her off course (aka settling). She’ll weave through traffic but with God in the driver’s seat, she will always reach her destination.
6. Understand that not every man who loves Jesus is for you.
Just because he has a cute face and says he’s a Christian doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research to examine his heart and character, to see if his standards and desires line up with the Word of God. Too many well-intentioned women settle for just “He’s a Christian.” You need to go deeper than that. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.Where does he see himself in 5-10 years? What spiritual gifts does he have that you could potentially support/complement? What has God been teaching him lately? If you think you’ve met your future husband, take the time to get to know one another as friends first. Prepare to be a lifetime best friend. Spend time together in group settings. This may help you to see different sides of him and observe his interactions with others. Above all, let God work out the details.
7. Don’t convince yourself that God is pleased when Christians get into relationships with non-Christians.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). This is a huge mistake people make, especially women. And don’t think that you or your church can try to “convert” him (aka missionary dating). You’re setting yourself up for more problems than you can count. None of that “He’s not a Christian, but he’s such a nice guy” mess. If this man is led to Christ through your friendship, that’s great! But don’t risk that by getting into a committed relationship with him. Let God do His work and keep praying for him. When you allow an unbeliever to influence you in such a way, you’ll likely have your standards corrupted. Two imperfect people who are spiritually incompatible is bad enough. Don’t make it worse by trying to justify an unequally yoked relationship.
Of course, there’s much more I can write about this topic, but this is an article, not a book. For now, start carefully tending to your relationship garden. Pull out those nasty weeds that have been choking up your beautiful flowers of grace. They’re waiting to sprout! Water your garden regularly with the love and wisdom of God. You’ll reap the benefits of growth in due season – that which God has already ordained for you.
This post is part of our monthly featured posts from B.L.O.G. Magazine. We are proud and honored to work with an amazing and positive ministry.
Jessica is passionate about life, love, and most importantly, her Lord. In 2009, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Florida International University in Miami. Her love for music and promotion landed her an executive position with a local non-profit organization (Employed By My Vision, Inc.) and record label. Jessica now works as a grant writer/editor at her alma mater, where she met her husband whom she married in August 2011. She has also appeared as a guest on NEWDradio discussing interracial relationships. Once a victim (now a victor) of sexual abuse, Jessica plans to one day write a book about true healing, sharing her testimony and the hope of overcoming brokenness. She currently serves at Christ Community Church, where she spearheads its marketing efforts, sings on the worship team with her husband, and co-leads Sunday School for the youth. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for updates on what God is doing in her purpose-driven life.