Thursday, August 30, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY...AND...


Actually...

That quote tickles me because there are some women I know who in the course of a year's time have claimed to find "Mr. Right" more than once. *Every possibility is not supposed to be received as an opportunity*. That's brought me to the conclusion that they are not looking for Mr. Right or a husband. They are simply desperate to be in a relationship. That's a horse of a *totally different color*.

However, today's "Quote of the Day" comes off of the heels of what another "On Fire" sistah (thanks Sheila!) sent me just a little while ago. You can check out the woman's blog here. Yet, it was something in the blog that I read that *really struck me*:

"I recently hung out with a longtime college friend who is a newlywed. We laughed about the exes, the past, and concluded that the right man, brings out the right you...When a woman is loved the right way, it makes her want to do everything for him, and he’ll never even have to ask, including the stuff she’s never liked doing before."

Right: in accordance with accepted standards of moral or legal behavior, justice, etc.; in accordance with fact, reason, or truth; correct or true; appropriate, suitable, fitting, or proper; in a satisfactory condition; orderly; indicating or designating the correct time; sound in mind or body; healthy or sane 

You have to BE RIGHT...to be able to discern who IS RIGHT.

Thanks again, Sheila!

tmm,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: "It Matters Whom You Marry"


Well...

It looks like the Universe is *really in agreement* with this current focus on the "On Fire" blog because information is coming left and right (literally). As I was praying about/for the women this morning, I got an "Ouch!" response.

You see, I have a friend whose father died about 10 years ago. She's never been married and although she wants to be about as much as any of the rest of us, she has found herself in *quite the predicament*. To put it mildly, she had an *excellent father* who set a *fabulous* biblical standard of what it is to be a man, husband and father and so based on what she has experienced and seen when it comes to men, in this season in her space, the pickings are mighty slim. Simply put, not only does she not want to settle for less, she doesn't really know how...so she doesn't.

So, what does this have to do with what I was praying about? Simple. After praying, the Lord brought her to mind and then said, "I love all of my daughters, yet the predicaments that many of them find themselves in as it relates to men, speaks to how they feel about me: How much time we spend together, how much faith and trust that they *really have* in me. How much of a priority that I actually am in their lives. Bottom line, the better the relationship with me, the higher the standard they'll have when it comes to men. If they're in a relationship with a guy with very little character, it's because they are lacking in their time with me to show them how a man is supposed to treat them. A lot of women want to act like shocked victims in their relationships when really they are simply receiving the consequences that come with putting some guy before their God. If they really loved and served me, a lot of men, even men who they have dated or are currently dating, wouldn't even show up on their radar."

Whew! And I'll leave *that* there. Yet, to complement that, I *just* received an email from one of the "On Fire" sistahs (thanks Lisa!) entitled "It Matters Whom You Marry". It's another straight up copy and paste. It's pretty good too:

Unless someone married is very frank with you, you can’t understand how much a husband will impact your entire life. Next to salvation there is no other long term event that will change so many areas of your life so deeply. Here are just some of the ways that marriage will impact every aspect of living.

1. It will impact you spiritually. If the guy is not a believer, you can stop right there. You have no business yoking a redeemed soul with an unregenerate one, even if he seems open to change. Christ has bought you with a price and it is not an option to give away that blood bought heart to someone who doesn’t know and love your Lord. It will cripple your spiritual development, open up a host of temptations, stifle your prayer life, make regular church going difficult, and cause massive parenting conflict if you have children.

If the guy is a believer, is he a strong one? Will he lead you in prayer, Bible reading, family devotions, and public worship? Or will you be on your own? Is he going to make spiritual growth a priority or do other things come first? Is he going to ask you how it’s going with your soul so he can help you grow in holiness and love for Christ, or will he leave that to your pastor? Is he going to lead the children in this, or will you have to spearhead that? In church, is he going to help the kids sit well, pray, find the hymn, or will you be the one pointing out what is happening next and helping the family keep up? Many women have married spiritually immature men, thinking that it wasn’t a big issue, or that the man would change, and they were wrong. They bear the scars.

The health of your eternity is at stake. Think carefully.

2. It will impact you emotionally. Is the guy you’re thinking of going to encourage you, love you, be kind to you, and seek to understand you, or will he want to go out with the guys when you’re having a hard night? Will he listen when you are struggling with something or will he be preoccupied with a video game? Is he going to be annoyed when you cry or will he get you Kleenex and give you a hug? Is he going to going to understand that you are probably more tender than he is, more sensitive to issues and comments, or is he regularly going to run rough shod over your feelings? One woman was struggling to breastfeed her new baby, believing that that was the best thing for her, but it was very difficult. Instead of giving support and encouragement, the husband would make mooing sounds whenever he saw his wife working at it. We have to get rid of princess complexes, but we do have emotional needs. Any guy who is uncaring about your feelings and self esteem is selfish and should be left alone.

Be careful – a husband can cripple or foster emotional health.

3. It will impact you physically. Is the guy you’re with going to provide for your basic needs? Will he be able to shelter, clothe and feed you? At one point in our marriage, I was worried that there was no employment opportunity. My husband assured me that he would work at McDonalds, dig ditches, clean up roadkill – whatever it took to provide for the family, regardless of his gifts and training. That’s the kind of attitude you want. A man who doesn’t provide for his household is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). You might have to help ease the financial burden, but unless your husband is disabled or there is another unusual circumstance, you shouldn’t have to carry it yourself.

Will the man you are with care for your body or abuse it? If he gives you little smacks, kicks, etc. when you’re dating, get away. It’s almost guaranteed that he will abuse you after marriage, and stats show that’s especially true when you are pregnant. Is he going to care for and protect your body or will he hurt it? There are women in churches across America who thought it was no big deal to have little (sort of friendly) punches or slaps from their boyfriends, but who are covering up the bruises from their husbands.

Will the man you are with care for you sexually? Is he going to honor the marriage bed in physical and mental faithfulness to you or will he flirt, feed his porn addiction, or even leave you for another woman? You can’t always predict these issues, but if the seeds or practices are already there, watch out. I recently saw a newly married couple and the husband was flirting openly with another woman. Unless something drastic happens, that marriage is headed for disaster.

Is he going to be tender and gentle to you in bed? An unbelieving co-worker once told my sister that after her first sexual encounter, she had trouble walking for a few days because her boyfriend was so rough. In other words, he wasn’t selfless enough to care for the body of the woman he said he loved.

Watch out. Your body needs care and protection.

4. It will impact you mentally. Is the man that you’re thinking of going to be a source of worry or will he help you deal with your worries? Is he going to encourage your intellectual development, or will he neglect it? Is he going to value your opinions and listen to what you are thinking, or will he disregard your thoughts? Is he going to help you manage stress so that your mind is not burdened that way, or is he going to let you struggle through issues alone? Is he going to care for you and be thoughtful of you if you are experiencing mental strain, or will he ignore it? I know of a woman who could handle pregnancy and child birth very well physically but postpartum depression took a huge toll on her mind. The husband overlooked it, continuing to have more children, until his wife ended up in a mental institution.

You might think that the intellectual or mental side of a marriage is small. It’s bigger than you think. Consider it seriously.

5. It will impact you relationally.
How’s your relationship with your mother? Your dad? Do you love them? Does your boyfriend? Fast forward ten years: You tell your husband that your mother is coming for the weekend. Is he excited? Disappointed? Angry? Making snide jokes with his friends? Of course, a husband should come first in your priority of relationships, as you both leave father and mother and cleave to one another. But parents are still a big part of the picture. Whatever negative feelings he has about your parents now will probably be amplified after marriage. Your marriage will either strengthen or damage – even destroy – your relationship with your parents. The people who know you best and love you most right now could be cut out of the picture by a husband who hates them.

It’s the same with sisters and friends. Will they be welcomed, at reasonable times, in your home? Will the guy who you’re with encourage healthy relationships with other women, or will he be jealous of normal, biblical friendships? Will he help you mentor younger women and be thankful when older women mentor you, or will he belittle that?

Don’t sacrifice many good relationships for the sake of one guy who can’t value the people who love you.

So how will your boyfriend do after the vows? Because this is just a sampling of the ways that a husband can bless or curse his wife. The effects are far reaching, long lasting, and either wonderful or difficult. True, there are no perfect men out there. But there are great ones. And it’s better to be single for life than to marry someone who will make your life a burden. Singleness can be great. Marriage to the wrong person is a nightmare. I’ve been in a church parking lot where the pastor had to call the police to protect a wife from a husband who was trying to stop her from worshiping and being with her family. It’s ugly. Don’t be so desperate to get married that your marriage is a grief. If you are in an unhappy marriage, there are ways to get help. But if you’re not married, don’t put yourself in that situation. Don’t marry someone whose leadership you can’t follow. Don’t marry someone who is not seeking to love you as Christ loved the church. Marry someone who knows and demonstrates the love of Christ.

God is speaking. *Loudly*.

Proverbs 28:9(Message) is worth checking out.

tmm,

SRW

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention: Things You Should Discuss with a Guy (at Least) *Three Months In*



So...

While doing a bit of research on another matter entirely, I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) and article that I discerned was a good fit for this "Let's rebuild our foundation" theme that we're embarking upon. Matter of fact, I found it to be so "on point" that I'm going to straight up copy and paste it; however, the original title of the piece is "Top Ten Things You Should Know About Your Mate Before Marriage". However, doing *a lot of observing* (and counseling) has brought me to the resolve that a lot of people end up emotionally and relationally battered and bruised because they wait until premarital counseling or proposing (preferably *in that order*) before addressing the things on this list. I'd venture to say that most *healthy and happy* married couples and *reputable* therapists would say that these are ten things that need to be discussed during the 3-6 months of figuring out of *that one* is THE ONE. Can you just imagine all of the *drama that would be spared* if people made getting to know *the facts* about a person before they started inserting them into their *fantasies*? Anyway and that said, here's the list:

One of the reasons that people don't have successful marriages is because they didn't have lengthy and serious conversation before they got married. Here is a list of questions that can help you confirm that you truly found the right person, or it can let you know that you shouldn't rush into that commitment. Honesty is really key, and if you know these things about your mate, and vice versa, it could minimize the chances of cold feet on the big day.

10. Personal hygiene.
This is important, but not as important as everything else. Cleanliness is more important to some people than others. Personal care is a very obvious thing to see when you are dating, but you need to know how they live. How often do they tidy their home? Wash dishes? Vacuum? People are either messy or tidy in general. Which one are they, and can you live with it?

9. Living Habits. Are you a morning person? What about your mate? How much television do they watch? Do they keep a budget or buy everything on impulse? How much do they work? For example, bathroom time, bedtime, and quality time are really important, and you need to know if there is major conflict with lifestyle timing. Handling money is also an issue that has to be agreed upon before the knot is tied. You also need to discuss who is going to cook and clean.

8. What gets on their nerves? If you are truly ready to marry someone, this is an easy question. Believe me, if you haven't gotten on their nerves yet, either they just didn't tell you, or you will soon find out. No matter how much you love them, I am sure you can think of something that you don't particularly like. Be honest about it with them, and practice not getting on each other's nerves.

7. Their love language. Gary Chapman has a great book called The Five Love Languages. Sometimes people feel the most loved when you say heart-felt things to them. Others feel the most loved when they get a thoughtful gift. The way a person feels the most loved is their 'love language.' It can be physical touch, quality time, or acts of service, as well as encouraging words or gifts. Make sure that you both speak each other's language so that you can touch each other with the deepest love possible.

6. What about children? Do you want children? How many? Do you and your partner want the same amount? It is also extremely important that you both agree on discipline methods. Raising children should be at least discussed and outlined before you say 'I do.'

5. Family relationships. What is their family like? How do they treat their family? How does their family treat them? It is not necessarily true that they will treat the new family you are creating in the same way, but knowing this can help you understand them better. Much of their personality is probably bits and pieces that come from the way they were raised, and how their family acts. All families have issues, but make sure that you are comfortable with the closeness, or distance, of their family to your new lives.

4. How do they handle hard times? Marriage is not always easy. There will be disagreements. You and your partner will be tired after work sometimes. The both of you might even end up needing some personal space. Besides the minor conflict, sometimes major problems come up. The loss of a job, unplanned pregnancy, miscarriages, death in the family, car accidents, and serious illness are all factors of life that you can't always predict. Will your partner, or you, fall apart? Will you be able to comfort and encourage each other? Will you be committed to each other, even if the life you are planning doesn't happen the way you pictured it?

3. Moral standards/religious beliefs. Religion can be something in the back of a person's mind, or the central focus of their lives. Most people are in the middle of the extremes. If you have different religious beliefs, how will you raise the children? You don't necessarily have to agree on every minor moral issue, but you should agree on the ones that you are most passionate about.

2. Expectations of marriage. From household chores to checkbook balancing, what does your partner expect you to be responsible for? What do you expect from them? Do you expect gifts and romance all the time or do you figure that once you are married you're 'passed' all of that? What about the frequency of sex? How does your partner feel? You both need to come away with a definition of marriage and will help the both of you understand what you really expect.

1. Life goals. The moment you are so in love and you are so sure that they are the one for you, the first thing you should confirm is their life goals. It is the age-old question that everyone should ask: "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" Take it a little further and ask: Where do you want to be in 20 years? What are their career goals? Where do they want to live? Are they goal oriented or do they flow through life going wherever the wind takes them? Everyone should have a basic plan and a dream. Find out if that is really what you want to share down the road.

You just can't know everything about a person. The years ahead will challenge you, and you will learn much more about them and yourself as time goes on. If you cover the basics and both stay committed, you should have a long and happy marriage.

Amazing how much time is spent (or is it wasted?) wanting to make a certain guy be our husband without thinking about the fact that what comes with that is *compatibility*.

Good stuff right there.

tmm,

SRW


Sunday, August 26, 2012

"On Fire": Is Your Boyfriend...Your FRIEND?






OK...

This has been an unexpectedly tripped out weekend because there has been *a lot* of what I call "married words" used by *single women* in their relationships with *single men*. I can detect it because I used to be pretty guilty of abusing the verbiage myself...*redundantly* when it came to words like:

Cheated
Faithful
Covenant
Sleeping only with me
Not seeing anyone else
Vowed
Shouldn't be talking to other women
Spends the night
In love with me
Forever

And not to get on my "boyfriend soapbox" (again), but this is one of the main reasons why I don't plan on ever having another one. It seems to blur *way too many lines*. So, we're not at a place where we're ready to get married, but we're going to do things to *pretend* like we are? Married people make vows of covenant that last forever. Married people *earn* the right to spend the night with one another and not sleep with anyone else. Married people are who are supposed to be *faithful* to the point that if there is a physical/emotional breach in the relationship, they can say that someone actually *cheated*.

Honestly, if I were a guy, I won't be too big on marriage either if every single "girlfriend" treated me like a husband and acted like they were my wife anyway. I mean, if two people are doing all of the "marriage stuff" while they're single, yes....*why get married?*

And so, since a few women wrote me over the weekend with ultimatums for their boyfriends (threats usually only irritate if not anger men, by the way!), I thought that we should deconstruct a few things over the next couple of weeks/blog entries.

First, starting with the fact that "boyfriend" actually has the word *friend* in it. It seems that some women are so busy trying to make a guy their husband, that the friend part almost seems completely irrelevant to them. Honestly, I discern that's a *huge part* of the reason why there are so many dissatisfied unions: *people didn't marry their friends*. So, if you have a boyfriend, here's some signs of he is a good *friend* that's a *boy* (hopefully, he's more like a *man-friend* if you're reading *this blog*, though!-LOL-I Corinthians 13:11):

Recognize what constitutes a healthy friendship. 

It is important to look at things in the positive light as well as the negative situation, to help you balance your feelings and the interpretation of the situation. A good, healthy friendship involves feeling like you are supporting one another, acting as a sounding board for each other. Good friends don't compete negatively; if there is competition, it is openly acknowledged and each other's achievements are lauded and appreciated equally. Good friends care for one another, and keep secrets between each other. Good friends spend time helping each other overcome adversity rather than creating it and maintaining it. Good friendships are relationships that make both people feel good about themselves and feel natural. Even though a friendship needs to be worked on as much as any relationship, a good friendship doesn't feel like work; it feels like building foundations, and growing a garden; pleasant, worthwhile, rewarding, and filled with give-and-take in equal measure. (Ecclesiasties 4:9-10 ~"Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!") 


What are the benefits of friendships?

Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:

    Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
    Boost your happiness
    Reduce stress
    Improve your self-worth
    Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
    Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise


 A Healthy Friend:

Guards my positive perception of another
Doesn’t assume motives—either mine or another’s
Holds me accountable to my own values and God’s workings in me
Refuses to sabotage any of my other relationships through gossip or criticism
Doesn’t believe it is his or her call in life to “fix” me—the “fixing” is left to Jesus
Knows how to laugh and have fun
Expects all of the above from me


Being Real and Honest

Good friends keep it real. Honesty doesn't have to be brutal. It is only brutal if you don't want to hear what is being said. When you can rely on your friend being honest with you then they are truthful about any situation. Be aware that they are expressing their view from their own perspective of the world. This personal perspective will differ from your own.

Arguing in a Healthy Way

Friends don't always agree and being able to argue in a healthy is good communication. Friends argue because it of them feels strongly about a subject and try to explain it in such a way that the other person is convinced. Respecting that your friend has a different view does not make either of you right or wrong, just different.

Encourage Other Friendships

Friendships with other people help keep a friendship fresh. Interaction with others brings new perspectives into your life. Healthy friendships are not jealous of new friends spending time together. Each friendship has its own strands of common understanding. It is possible to share different interests with different friends. For instance one friend might like playing sport and the other friend prefers the movies. Healthy friendships do not make you choose but are all embracing.

Trust

One of the most important components of healthy friendships is trust. Trust that intimate conversations will remain confidential and not be used as gossip. When we share intimate details of ourselves with another there is an implied trust. The keeping of this trust without having to be asked is a healthy sign of friendship.

Respect Boundaries

Respecting personal boundaries is so important. Sometimes we are not aware that we have crossed someone else's personal boundary on an issue until it has happened. Healthy friendships acknowledge that a boundary has been crossed and the boundary explained so that the friend can understand what it is that has caused the distress.

Nurture Each Other

People in healthy friendships care about each other and nurture each other. Allowing each other to grow as individuals and share the happy times and the sad without hurting each other.



Six Traits of an Unhealthy Friendship 

Jealousy
Destructive Feedback and Communication
Selfishness
Lack of Reciprocation
Incessant Negativity
Judgment: Friends should let you be true to yourself. Each of you are individuals and although you may be friends, what might be right for your friend may not be right for you.
 

So, in thinking about your relationship with your boyfriend, after reviewing all of this information, *be honest with yourself:* Are you your boyfriend's friend? Is he yours?

I'll be back with more in a few days.

Here's to the *foundation* being right before building on it. ;-)

tmm,

SRW







Friday, August 24, 2012

"On Fire": VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Yeah. Well. ;-)

You can thank my dental hygienist who *insisted* that I watch this today. She said it was going to make me cry. It didn't do that (although I can certainly understand why it would move some), but what it did do is make me think. These two people are only friends and what you're about to watch is an audition for a talent competition, but I encourage you to look a bit deeper. In the spirit realm, I think this is what a marriage is supposed to look like. Charlotte helps to bring out the best in her friend and Jonathan doesn't settle for moving through (this part of his) life without her. And together, they surprise you. Beautiful:


It really is...a great spiritual lesson wrapped up in a British talent show.

tmm,

SRW

Monday, August 20, 2012

"On Fire": Does He YEARN for You?



"Before I realized it, my desire for you made me feel like a prince in a chariot."---Song of Solomon 6:12(NCV)

I really dig the Song of Solomon for a lot of reasons and so every now and then, I will revisit it. I'm pretty sure that a big part of what draws me to it is because I got my start as a writer as a poet and it's some of the best romantic poetry that I've ever read---*hands down*.

Anyway, when I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) the particular line above in Song of Solomon 6:12 late last week, I found myself at a pause. Did this man actually say that his desire for the Shulamite woman was so strong that it made him feel like a prince on a chariot?!? OK, not *having her* but simply *desiring her* made him feel this way? His wish for her...his longing for her...*his craving for her*...made him feel like royalty. That within itself is pretty powerful! But let's keep going.

If you've been reading these long enough, then you know I tend to look at things well beyond the surface and so, in pondering this particular verse, it translated to me that his desire didn't just make him feel royal but *progressively royal* because, indeed, who just gets up in a chariot for no reason? Back in biblical times, a chariot was a mode of transportation, was it not? More specifically, it was a two-horse drawn carriage that men of prestige rode in during warfare, racing and hunting. So, you could almost translate this to mean that just the mere craving of the Shulamite woman made this man feel like a royal person who could handle just about anything! And yes, that says a mouthful too!

Now here's the thing: For a man to crave you, for a man to greatly and eagerly desire you, for a man to yearn for you, this means that there are certain things that will be apparent in the way that he acts towards you. How do I know? Because the very definition of yearn is "to have an earnest or strong desire; long" and "to feel tenderness; be moved or attracted". A man who yearns for you will be tender, he will be attracted...*he will be moved*. HE WILL MAKE A MOVE.

And then there's this commentary that I read on some of the synonyms of the word on Dictionary.com:

Yearn, long, hanker, pine all mean to feel a powerful desire for something. Yearn  stresses the depth and passionateness of a desire: to yearn to get away and begin a new life; to yearn desperately for recognition. Long  implies a wholehearted desire for something that is or seems unattainable: to long to relive one's childhood; to long for the warmth of summer. Hanker  suggests a restless or incessant craving to fulfill some urge or desire: to hanker for a promotion; to hanker after fame and fortune. Pine adds the notion of physical or emotional suffering as a result of the real or apparent hopelessness of one's desire: to pine for one's native land; to pine for a lost love.  

A yearning is a powerful desire. A yearning is a passionate desire. A longing is a *wholehearted* desire. A hankering is an *incessant craving to fulfill an urge*. A pining is a physical or emotional suffering that comes at the mere thought of not being able to have what is desired.

Hmph. Is it just me or does this sound a lot like one of my favorite parables in the Bible:

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."---Matthew 13:45-46(NKJV)

We are to *yearn* for the kingdom of heaven just like that merchant *yearned* for that one pearl of great price. He wanted it so much so, in fact, that he sold *all that he had*...he was willing to give up all that he had in order to have it.

TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, WE MUST BE WILLING TO GIVE UP *ALL* THAT WE HAVE IN ORDER TO OBTAIN IT. (MATTHEW 19:16-22, LUKE 9:23-27) WE HAVE TO WANT IT *WHOLEHEARTEDLY*.

It's kind of sad how low a lot of our standards, as women, have dropped. We spend (or is it waste?) more time trying to decipher a man's feelings or even compensate for what's lacking rather than accepting the fact that men in the the Bible, when they wanted a woman to be their bride/wife, they made their intentions *clear*. Jacob did it. King Xerses did it. Boaz did it. Rachel, Esther and Ruth didn't put themselves through any "I wonder if he likes me. Let me look in a relationship magazine for 10 signs of how to know or call eight of my girlfriends to get their vote so that I can feel secure." Back then, a man's intentions was not like a ridiculous game of "Where's Waldo?" in the romantic form of asking him "What are we doing? Where are we going? What are your intentions with me?" Jacob, King Xerses and Boaz (to name a few) let the women lives know what their intentions were. They desired them, they yearned, longed, hankered and pined for them and took the steps to have them as a direct result.

Yet, there is another part to this. The reason why I chose the quote that I did up top is because it speaks to *the kind of woman who is deserving of being craved for*. It's not a chick with a cute shape. It's not a chick that simply wants a man. It's a woman who is proud of herself. It's a woman who is hopeful. It's a woman who has a dash of inspiration and a dabble of endurance. *It's a woman who knows God*.

A GODLY MAN CRAVES A WOMAN WHO KNOWS GOD BECAUSE WHAT HE IS REALLY DESIRING IS THE SUPERNATURAL ABILITY THAT SHE HAS BEEN GIVEN BY GOD TO HELP (GENESIS 2:18) HIM TO BECOME AN EVEN GREATER GODLY MAN.

And that's what I pray that the "On Fire" women really grasp. When a man is ready for his helpmate (and God determines that; *not they guy or you*), you won't have to wonder. I have stated many times over that I'm *so thankful* that the Spirit (John 4:24) made it evident to me years ago that the Garden of Eden shows us how courtship is *supposed to go* in Genesis 2:18-25. A man has a relationship with God. A man has a job/purpose *and is operating in both*. God *then* decides that its time for him to get some divine covenant female help. He puts the man in a state of unconsciousness as he prepares his helpmate for him. And then the Lord presents the woman to the man and the man acknowledges her as being a part of him...as being *the one for him*.

THE WOMAN DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN FOLLOW THE LEADING OF HER HEAVENLY FATHER AS HE FORMS HER TO BE THE WOMAN THAT HE PROUDLY AND CONFIDENTLY BRINGS AND PRESENTS TO THE MAN, HER MAN, AS A SACRED AND SPECIAL GIFT.

I love it! A man yearns for the helpmate that will fulfill his craving to be more like God and for that to transpire, a man has to already have some godliness in him, a relationship with God that exists, first. We help to develop the relationship that a man has with God; not to create it. Creating it is God's responsibility, but once that happens, then we as women come in to help to further cultivate the spiritual growth by providing support. As I was telling someone just recently, "Women are not an afterthought, they are a solution."

YOU ARE NOT A CARNAL MAN'S AFTERTHOUGHT.  YOU ARE A GODLY MAN'S SOLUTION.

A GODLY MAN IS A SOLUTIONS-ORIENTED INDIVIDUAL!

The man who God has for you will desire you because you will cause him to feel like a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9). You will remind him of his place in God. You will inspire him to want to be more and do greater things. A godly man's wife comes when he is ready to become greater in the Lord and God desires that she is just the *solution* to help him to do that. (Hence the *bangin'* quote that is under this post!)

So, the man that you're desiring, does he yearn for you? How can you know?

Well...

Have you ever craved some ice cream or cake before? If so, think about the (oftentimes great) lengths that you went through to have that craving satisfied...

Meeting adjourned. ;-)

SRW



"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY


I'm sayin'...

SRW

Friday, August 17, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE(S) OF THE DAY

Y'all know I love me some Jews. ;-)

I saw this on one of my favorite websites. It's from an article entitled, "Top 10 Dating Myths Part 1".  Myth 1 and Myth 2 (debunked) are *stellar*:

1. The more you make yourself available, the better your chance to find the right one. Not really and actually maybe the opposite is true. People value something that isn't so readily available. Gold and diamonds are valued because they are scarce. So don't go out with every person your mother's hairdresser suggests. Do some homework to make sure this fellow or young lady is in the ball park. (And puleeze don't tell us what you are doing every moment of your day on Facebook. Most of us don't care and it just makes you look silly and/or insecure.) Date for quality, not quantity. Don't view yourself as a piece of merchandise where you have to get your name out there as much as possible to be bought.

2.The longer you date, the better you will get to know him/her. There comes a point where the economics idea of "law of diminishing returns" kicks in. It always pains me when I hear that a couple has been dating for two, three or more years. I recall the time that a couple told me they had been dating for a very lengthy time. I asked them, "What more information do the two of you need to have before you can make a decision?" They broke up soon after. (He ended up finding someone and is happily married; not sure what happened to her.)

Assuming you are not in a long-distance relationship, you can gather enough information about another in 3 - 6 months to know if you can make a happy life with this person or not. It does not mean you have to get married right away, but if you date properly - actively and not passively - you can get to know a person quite well pretty quickly. What I mean by actively dating is that your dates are not about fun or hanging in Starbucks but doing those things where you can see the person in real life situations so you can properly assess their personality and see what makes them tick.

The belief that living together to get a proper sense of another is falls into this myth. Your goal is not to examine every idiosyncrasy of another. Actually it will just give you plenty of reason not to marry another. As Rebbetzin Heller of Jerusalem remarks, given that every human being has faults and it is endemic to the human condition, deciding whom you are going to marry is just as much about deciding which faults you are willing to live with for the rest of your life.

So don't think you need years upon years to be a 1000% certain that this is the right one. Rather do those things necessary to allow you to see the true nature and personality of another person.

tmm,

SRW

Monday, August 13, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY

“You think because he doesn't love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn't want you anymore that he is right -- that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don't. It's a bad word, 'belong.' Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn't be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain? They circle all around it; sometimes you can't even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through, because the clouds let him; they don't wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him. You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself.”---Toni Morrison

An Ounce of Prevention: "Cheap Girlfriend Syndrome"



So,

I was talking over the weekend to one of the "On Fire" gals about some things and she shared with me a piece that she recently posted to FB. I dug it and so I wanted to share it with you gals. If you want to connect with the author, look for her under "Julie Jeschke". She's definitely onto something as you will see below:

"I am a firm believer that books 'find'  us, when we most need to read them. One such book that I’ve been dabbling in for the past few months is The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, by Timothy and Kathy Keller. I tried and tried to get through it, but I would inevitably get distracted by home-buying or moving or unpacking, and I wouldn’t progress more than a few pages, which I would then have to re-read the next time I picked it up. I finally finished it last night. The following excerpt really spoke to me, exactly when I needed it:

'However, also don’t become a faux spouse for someone who won’t commit to you. While some couples may get too serious too quickly, there are other couples in which one member in particular has a deep reluctance to move forward and commit to marriage. If a relationship has dragged on for years with no signs of deepening or progressing toward marriage, it may be that one person has found a level of relationship (short of marriage) in which he or she is receiving all that is wanted and feels no need to take it to the final stage of commitment.
    
Kathy and I observed this phenomenon while still in college. We dubbed it the “cheap girlfriend syndrome,” because it most often was the woman who was interested in marriage while the man was not. Sometimes a man and a woman would spend a great deal of time together. This meant the man had a female companion to accompany him to events (when he wanted one), a woman to talk to (if he felt like talking), and a supportive listener (to his troubles, should he feel the need to unburden himself). If the relationship did not involve sex, the man would insist to others that he and the girl weren’t even dating, that they weren’t “involved.” If she ever chanced to question this, he might protest: “I never said we were more than friends!” But this is unfair, because they were more than friends. He was getting much more than he would out of a male buddy relationship. He was getting many of the perks of marriage without the cost of commitment, while the woman was slowly curling up and dying inside.
    
While congratulating ourselves on this insight, we never thought it would apply to us.
    
However, there came a time in our relationship, after we had known each other for several years, when 
Kathy saw that this was exactly what had happened, and so she gave me what has come to be known in our family as the “pearls before swine” speech. Though we were best friends and kindred spirits, I was still hurting from a previous relationship that had ended badly. Kathy was patient and understanding, up to a point, but the day came when she said, “Look, I can’t take this anymore. I have been expecting to be promoted from friend to girlfriend. I know you don’t mean to be saying this, but every day you don’t choose me to be more than a friend, it feels as if I’ve been weighed and found wanting-- I feel it as a rejection. So I just can’t keep going on in the same way, hoping that someday you’ll want me to be more than a friend. I’m not calling myself a pearl, and I’m not calling you a pig, but one of the reasons Jesus told his disciples not to cast pearls before swine was because a pig can’t recognize the value of a pearl. It would seem like just a pebble. If you can’t see me as valuable to you, then I’m not going to keep throwing myself into your company, hoping and hoping. I can’t do it. The rejection that I perceive, whether you intend it or not, is just too painful.”
    
That’s exactly what she said. It got my attention. It sent me into a time of deep self-examination. A couple weeks later, I made the choice.'

I read that, and it was epiphany time: I have been guilty of subjecting myself to the 'cheap girlfriend syndrome.' And I can’t blame anyone but myself, because it was all my own doing. It’s not enough to just keep your clothes on and not get involved physically. Until you are in a committed relationship, it can be just as destructive to confide your deepest hopes and dreams or fears to someone, or allow them to confide in you, as it can be to go too far physically. Both are going to create a bond that isn’t supposed to be there. You want to remain unentangled. You certainly don’t want to be that girl or boy who has their meathooks in multiple people, just feeding on the energy that comes from this false sense of being “valuable” to them. How will you explain these too-close friendships with members of the opposite sex to your future spouse? You can’t just flip a switch and expect that it will all be undone. A certain kind of emotional nakedness and intimacy happens when you make yourself vulnerable with someone.

I haven’t even kissed anyone in two years. I’ve been waiting for the right guy for a change, but not just passively waiting -- I’ve been spending years, becoming the right girl. I thought I knew myself better than that. I didn’t ever consider that I could fall into the trap of becoming emotionally promiscuous. But that’s exactly what happened. I know this is a common thing, too, among my young and young-at-heart Christian friends. That’s why I’m posting this... The lines get blurred, when you have close friendships with people of the opposite sex. Is it totally platonic, really? Or is one of you hoping that the other person will change his or her mind? Are you giving little pieces of your heart away to someone who never asked for them? Are you throwing your pearls before swine, as Kathy Keller felt she was doing, in the excerpt I lovingly typed out for you, to snap you out of it? Or, could you be leading someone on, who you know has feelings for you that you can't return, even though you like the attention?

Snap out of it, my dears! Song of Solomon 8:4 says, “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.” You might feel like you are investing in something, by being emotionally intimate with that boy or girl. There will be a payoff someday, you hope, when they finally realize they have feelings for you. I’m sure people get together under circumstances like those all the time. But is it healthy? Is it honest? Is it true, pure, and lovely? I want someone to really SEE me, good and bad, and see the value in who I am, without my having to make a sales pitch. I refuse to give myself away again.

Here’s a little review of a book that addresses the concept of emotional promiscuity:

http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/avoid-the-heartbreak-of-emotional-promiscuity-11551996.html

There is a reason why we want to have someone to spill our guts to. It's a natural desire and a good thing to know and be fully known -- to have someone know all your deepest secrets and still love you unconditionally. This desire, though, ideally leads us to seek real relationships that will potentially lead to marriage. By being emotionally involved with multiple people, you probably won't be emotionally available when the right guy or girl comes along. And if you are getting your emotional needs met by friends-who-are-more-than-friends, what incentive do you have to seek a real committed relationship? "Why buy the cow...?" as they crassly say?

Guard your hearts!'

Good...good...*GOOD* stuff, Julie!

Keep on keepin' on. You're *definitely* leaps closer to your covenant partner with revelations like this for sure!

tmm,

SRW

Saturday, August 11, 2012

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: "Who's Pulling Your Strings? How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life"






Honestly...

This book had me at the title and first several paragraphs of the first chapter:

"Have you ever felt as though someone is pulling your strings---making you do things that you rather would not or stopping you from doing things that you would prefer to continue? Have you tried to untangle the strings only to find that you become more entrapped with each futile struggle?

Manipulation respects no relationship boundaries. It can invade your most intimate personal relationships with your spouse or lover. It can happen at work---with peers and non-peers alike. Manipulative relationships occur in families, organizations, friendships, professional relationships, and even at churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship. 

There are no age limitations or gender preferences. Men and women of all ages and sexual orientations can be manipulative and manipulated. And whenever life transitions---positive or negative---take place with their inevitable stress, uncertainty and anxiety, the red carpet is unfurled for manipulation....

When you participate in a manipulative relationship, you unwittingly collude with the person who seeks to control you. Every time you comply, capitulate, cave-in or otherwise satisfy your manipulator's wishes and purposes, you reinforce the toxic cycle that is compromising your self-esteem, co-opting your values, and corroding your emotional wiring. 

Being manipulated is a highly-stressful experience. It is unpleasant, demeaning and disturbing. And it is harmful to your physical health too---literally...

Manipulation is used because it works. As long as you allow a manipulator to exploit and control you, he or she will continue to manipulate. However, if you make manipulation ineffective by changing your behavior, the manipulator will be forced to change tactics or to seek an easier target elsewhere.

You are not likely to change a manipulator by pointing out that her tactics are unfair or that you feel unhappy with the way that the relationship is going. To put it bluntly, manipulators do not care about your feelings. They are out to serve one purpose: to advance their own interests and goals, frequently at your expense. If you benefit from a manipulative relationship, it's purely accidental

You can, however, exercise countercontrol to change the power balance of the relationship. When you stop rewarding manipulative tactics by ceasing to cooperate, comply, please, acquiesce, apologize or respond to intimidation or threats, you will unilaterally alter the nature of the manipulative relationship. Then you can stop or at least begin to reverse the emotional havoc that the relationship has wreaked."

EXCELLENTE!!! You can cop the book here.

SRW

"On Fire": "It's Complicated." (Or Are You Just Complicating It?)





“I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don't complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple —in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.”---I Corinthians 7:29-31(Message)


I'll tell you what. They seem to have a day for *everything*. For instance, I just learned that September 17 is "Past Loves Day" and you all should know me (as it relates to this blog) well enough by now to know that it has *truly inspired* me to do a little project with the "On Fire" gals (the ones who are willing, that is).

But let's start here first...

This morning, I was awakened to an interesting two-word statement after praying for the ladies on here. It's the status that I would oftentimes see people put on their FB (back when I was on FB) profile page under their relationship status: "It's Complicated". Trust me, in my past life (2 Corinthians 5:17), I was in enough "non-relationship relationships" to read the subtext of that statement. Translation: "I'm in something that's confusing as crap, but I'm thinking that if I stay in it long enough, it will start to make sense."

Um. Well. See...um...

And then I read these two sentences in two different articles in direct reference to "It's Complicated":

I am now fully convinced that the “It’s Complicated” relationship status on Facebook is a way of instantly declaring yourself as a serious Red Flag.

In declaring your relationship status as "It's Complicated" are things actually complicated? Or are they only confusing because you're still into him? There's no need to publicly mourn the loss of your relationship. If you're tempted to post sappy lyrics or bitter, pointed quotes, take a break from social networks until you've calmed down. 

Oh, and please allow me to add one:

If you have to explain your relationship as being "It's Complicated", could it be because while he is showing you that he doesn't want to commit, you are showing him that you will wait until he changes his mind? Even though, he never told you that he would. Or wants to. Or even should, for that matter.

Complicated. Just by its very definition, it means "composed of elaborately interconnected parts; complex" and "difficult to analyze, understand, explain, etc." Yet here's the thing about a *healthy love relationship*. In I Corinthians 14:33, although it is speaking in the context of the Church and believers, I also believe that it applies to everything about who God is. It says that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. This means that God does not *make*, *create* or *originate* ANYTHING that is filled with "chaos" and "disorder" nor anything that has a "lack of clearness or distinctness". *We do that all on our own* and wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 4:7) have *finally* taught me (because I have *finally* been willing to shut up and listen!) that love is not chaotic or unclear. So, if I find myself in something that I would define as being that way, then I need to step back (literally) and ponder (Proverbs 4:26) some things.

Next up.

I was *so thrilled* when the Holy Spirit (John 14:26-AMP) decided to explain the Fruit of the Spirit to me as a juice box some months ago. I believe that he did it for a couple of reasons. For one, it's not listed as the *Fruits* of the Spirit. In other words, you are not supposed to be able to separate the nine of them any easier than you can take a strainer and separate the ingredients in a container of juice. And the other reason is because whenever you read the ingredients on the back of any kind of food product, it's listed in the "order of importance". Meaning, if water is the first thing listed on a juice container, that is what the item has the most of. If high fructose corn syrup is, then it's sugar instead. So, in looking at the Fruit of the Spirit, let's revisit its *divine order*: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The Fruit of the Spirit "juice box" has love in it more than anything else, but right behind it is joy and peace.

So where am I going with that? Well, in our relationships with other people, there should be love present, yes. However, I Corinthians 14:33 tells us that God is the author of peace. He makes, creates and originates peace. Your love relationship should have *peace* as well. It's a clear indicator that God is involved in it. And the other "whammy" (LOL)? Do you see the "ingredient" in the Fruit of the Spirit that comes after "love" and before "peace"? It is *joy*.

IN A LOVE RELATIONSHIP, IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE A *PEACEFUL* ONE, JOY SHOULD BE A PART OF IT. *MORE JOY THAN PEACE*, ACTUALLY!

And honestly, how many people do you know who say in reference to their relationships being *complicated* who seem to have a lot of *joy* about that fact? Let alone having any peace.

IF YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS UNCLEAR, *STEP BACK* SO THAT THE LORD CAN *CLEAR IT UP FOR YOU*. ONE WAY THAT HE WILL LET YOU KNOW WHAT PATH TO TAKE IS BY BRINGING LOVE, JOY AND PEACE INTO YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. SOMETIMES, THAT WILL COME AT THE EMOTIONAL EXPENSE OF LEAVING THAT PERSON ALONE. SOMETIMES FOR A SEASON. SOMETIMES FOR THIS LIFETIME. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT WILL HELP YOU TO KNOW WHICH.

And so, here's the project. In the honor of your future husbands having as few obstacles and hindrances to deal with in getting to you ('cause no godly man is going to remain in a confused set of circumstances), if you read this and you sense that either you are not over a past love or it's time to change your "It's Complicated" status to *Single*, shoot me an email (missnosipho@gmail.com). Between now and "Past Loves Day" we're going to work on a little something, especially crafted just for you. I have shared on many occasions that I *love* a particular love quote by an author by the name of Leo Buscaglia:

"As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming."

And when you look at your relationship *that way*...suddenly, it's really not all that *complicated* anymore, is it?

tmm,

SRW

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention: A LIVING REMINDER of I Corinthians 7:10-11

After all, just because *masses of people* do not acknowledge what the Word says in this manner, that doesn't make it *any less the Word of God*:

"Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife."---I Corinthians 7:10-11(NKJV)

Good for them!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

"On Fire": Being the Right Fit

"Now the Lord God said, 'It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.'"---Genesis 2:18(AMP)


Let me tell you...

The latest fast that some of the "On Fire" women have been on has been has been *such* a blessing! Maybe I'll be able to talk some of the women into sharing some of the blessings/breakthroughs/promotions (a couple, *literally*) that they have experienced since being on it. We have a couple of weeks to go. I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, I was led to purchase all of them a couple of tokens to commemorate the journey and where they are headed (Joel 2:3). Both are in the form of key chains; one of them is a "glass slipper". And while I'm not the biggest "fairy tale fan" (mostly because I don't like the *actual definitions* of the word and I've done a bit of research on Walt Disney...he was a trip!-LOL), what girl isn't familiar with some of the classics?

So, as I was praying over the women, in general, who follow this blog on this beautiful Shabbat, the Spirit (John 4:24) led me back to my favorite place in the Bible (the Garden of Eden); back to the time that courtship was done *in perfect order*; back to a verse that I find myself referencing often.

So many of us mess up courtship/engagement simply by not following this *divine formula*. Man doesn't decide when it's time for an Ezer Kenegdo (Hebrew for helpmate and lifesaver). *Woman doesn't either*. ADONAI DOES. And if there is one thing that the story of Cinderella actually got pretty right is that the prince (although I recommend you desire a *king* rather than a "Prince Charming" because *charm is deceitful*-Proverbs 31:30) did not settle for any less of a woman than they one who was *the perfect fit* (via her glass slipper in this case) for him:


And if you really pay attention to the story, *won't it preach?!?* (LOL) Evil tried to keep the prince away from his "perfect fit". Other women tried to keep the prince away from his "perfect fit". Unforeseen hindrances tried to keep the prince away from his "perfect fit" and yet, as life would have it, he and "his" were still united. Now, there are a couple of reasons why:

1) HE WAS ON A MISSION TO FIND HIS PERFECT FIT. A woman can't make a man want to a helpmate. He and God have to work that out.

2) CINDERELLA HAD *EVIDENCE* THAT SHE WAS HIS PERFECT FIT. Remember how when the Wicked Stepmother dropped the first glass slipper (on purpose), Cinderella still had the other one? *She was prepared*. I really love that part of the story because other women in the land had physiques and a desire to be married and probably even "wife skills" (although obviously some thought that all that they had to do was want a husband and not work on themselves...see the wicked stepsisters), but there was something that Cinderella and the Woman in the Garden of Eden had in common. They were both suitable, adaptable and complementary for their companions:

Suitable: such as to suit;  appropriate; fitting; becoming

Fitting: adapted or suited; appropriate; proper; becoming; qualified or competent, as for an office or function; prepared or ready; in good physical condition; in good health

And shouldn't that make us all want to eat a big ole piece of humble pie? (LOL) With humility comes exalting (Luke 14:11), right? Being that the Lord knows who he is *making suitable* for us and a lot of us don't, is it not a bit presumptuous (if not outright arrogant-Proverbs 16:18) to believe that we are *presently* suitable? That we are already appropriate for our future beloved? That we are already qualified for the office of wife? That we are already ready for our human king? That we are in the best physical health and condition that we could be in? (Way to support the marriage bed, Adonai!-LOL-Hebrews 13:4)

The Spirit sat me down quite some time ago and let me know that until my man comes, I have *plenty* of work to do; that if I simply wanted to "get married", I could've done that several men over and ago. Oh, but if I wanted my own lil' piece of "Happy Ever After" with a covenant, it would take some doing on my part; that for each day of *concerted effort*, I am getting just that much more prepared for what my eyes have not seen nor have my ears heard (I Corinthians 2:9)! That the longer it takes, the more joyful my expectancy can *and should* be (Romans 8:22-25-Message)!

Anyway, that's all I got today (LOL). But when you get a chance, check out the Cinderella clip and maybe pick up your own glass slipper along the way to serve as a reminder. God doesn't just want us to be "with a man". He wants us to become *suitable for our husbands*.

Here's to *becoming* just that...

SRW