Saturday, September 29, 2012

"On Fire": NO REFUND POLICY


Yeah...WELL. ;-)

So, it's Tennessee State University's Homecoming Weekend here and as I was doing a "run through" in the mall (it's a good place to power walk without feeling like you're *power walking*), it was interesting how the Spirit presented a lot of the women walking past me...to me. The bodies were more like hangers and it was the clothing that was, well, illuminated.

I promise you that I saw more shorts that looked like panties and tops that looked like negligees. As I was processing what the Spirit wanted me to see, I heard him say: "When you dress like sex, you get treated like sex. People go into lingerie stores 'to play'. People go into clothing stores to actually live their lives...out in the open."

I got the hint. When you go into a department store or a Ralph Lauren or Ann Taylor, you're thinking of rocking those clothes out in public---ou want to be taken seriously. When you go to Victoria's Secret or Frederick's of Hollywood, well, you tend to have something more "Let's keep this between us" in mind.

Hmph. I wonder if women/girls actually think about that when they get dressed. That when they are wearing "not much", they are like the lingerie store: a guy may approach them, but he has the "Let's keep this between us" (SEX) on his agenda. But when they present themselves as "take me seriously", that, more times than not, is just what happens.

You know, more and more I get why the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1) tells us this: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God..." (I John 3:19-NKJV) As the world promotes casual sex (the ultimate oxymoron, by the way), women seem to line up for the misconception, the myth...*the lie* that they can devalue themselves by participating in fornication/adultery (Hebrews 13:4) and yet a man somehow a man will "appraise" (play on words) them in response. More and more, I get why grandma said that if you want a man to respect you, *to really respect you*, you shouldn't have sex with him outside of marriage. And, on this side of healing, I also get it doesn't really matter what you *say*. When you value you, *when you really value you*, the Roy Disney quote will ring true in your actions: "It's not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are."

IT'S NOT (AS) HARD TO TELL A MAN "ABSOLUTELY NOT" WHEN YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE VALUABLE---THAT JUST AS THE WORD SAYS, "YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE AND SO YOU SHOULD *HONOR GOD* WITH YOUR BODY." (AND YOUR HEART, MIND AND SOUL-I CORINTHIANS 6:20, MARK 12:30)

Besides, just look at what casual sex is *really saying* (I pulled this from an article about the so-called "10 Commandments of Casual Sex"...bless the author's heart-LOL...SMH):

1. Booty Not Brains: Do not choose a casual sex partner on anything other than physical attraction and sexual chemistry.

2. Best friend? Don’t even think about it! If you’re sleeping together and you’re best friends, you’re in a relationship. It is impossible not to mix the emotional, mental and physical in this situation. The friendship will NEVER be the same again.

3. Know Your Motives: Casual sex because you enjoy sex and want to get laid = awesome. Casual sex because you have something to prove = skanky.

4. Orgasms Only: Should you be an ice [fill in the blank] and show him the door as soon as you’ve finished? No. But be careful with cuddling. There’s nothing nicer than being wrapped up in affection, but that’s the attention you get from a boyfriend. Orgasms should be the only thing you want from the casual man.

5. Don’t Introduce Him to Friends: Unless he is coming to meet you at 3am and your friends are still around, he doesn’t need to meet them or be integrated into your life in any way.

6. Be naked 97% of the Time: This is about sex! No need to plan an outfit (unless you’re getting theatrical -- see commandment 8), because it should be almost immediately stripped from you.

7. Don’t be Selfish: Casual sex can only exist if both parties want the same thing. Using someone for sex who has real feelings for you makes you an [fill in the blank].

8. Thou Shalt Get Freaky: Why the [fill in the blank] not? You literally have nothing to lose. Send inhibitions to the wind, try out new moves and play out your naughty fantasies. 9 times out of 10, he will love it. And if he doesn’t, he’s not serving his sexual purpose. Replace him.

9. Wrap It Up: By definition this relationship is NOT exclusive. He is more than likely sleeping with other people even if he is polite enough to lie about it. Better safe than sorry.

10. Straightforward, Direct Communication: Casual relationships are designed to be temporary, so there’s really no harm in full disclosure if/when one of you meets someone else. If you follow the 10 commandments, no one’s feelings should get hurt.

Wow. OK. Um...well...see, there's a few points that need to be made here:

1) I have written two books that put that last point to shame. Most of my partners were "casual" and *each time*, one way or another, someone's feelings ended up getting hurt (even if it was simply due to the fact that the friendship was ruined, so yes, she does have a bit of a point with #2). That's because the Word *clearly tells us* that "There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never 'become one.'” (I Corinthians 6:16-17-Message)

2) Casual sex is a dumb term. It means "without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing". Giving your body to a person who has no definite or serious intention with and for you? That's entering really closely into "I Corinthians 7:23" territory in the sense of putting yourself through a lot of energy for basically...nothing: "You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men." OK, and for the gals reading this who are on some, "I'm not promiscuous *like that*. I only have sex with my boyfriend or fiance'", sorry but you're not exempt. When I Corinthians 6:18(NKJV) says, "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body", there is no number attached to that *or* relational status.

FORNICATION IS FORNICATION WHETHER IT'S BETWEEN A PROSTITUTE AND A CLIENT OR TWO ENGAGED PEOPLE.

GOD *IS* GOING TO JUDGE IT EITHER WAY.

3) The *same* body parts that it takes to engage in "casual sex" are the *same* body parts that engage in covenant intimacy. Although one's emotions can *heighten* a sexual experience for sure, just because you decide to call it "casual" doesn't mean that your body gets the message. If you want to jack your emotions up, sex without covenant will sho 'nuf do it because your body is thinking, "Oh, so we belong to this person. OK. I'm here...I'm hooked...*I'm all in*." (I Corinthians 7:4) Even once the other person is *all out*. (Pun intended, actually.)

Yeah, but that's not all that the Spirit downloaded into me.

See, the reason why this message has the title that it does is because as I was walking some more, I heard the Spirit say, "You know, fornication is so *tacky*." I asked for him to expound and *boy...did he*:

"Shellie, you've worked retail before. When someone goes into an expensive shop to purchase something that they can't really afford but they just have to have it and so they buy it and then bring it back, what do you call that? Tacky, right? When women fornicate that's *just* what they're allowing the man to do: Have them and then return them once they're done because they either can't afford or don't want to pay the price for covenant. And because a woman didn't value herself enough to say 'no', they end up being disillusioned at best and devastated at the worst. They come to me wanting me to get involved when they didn't really consider me and my laws, my standards, *my boundaries* to begin with. 

You see, a part of the reason why I require marriage is because with it comes a *marriage license*...paperwork. In the retail world, that would be the equivalent of a receipt. If a woman did things my way, then a guy wouldn't be able to get away with that kind of scheme because the receipt, *the marriage license*, clearly says: "'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:5-6-NKJV) When I get involved, when *marriage* takes place (not engagement, *marriage*), when there is some paperwork, I make sure that in the spirit realm, it translates into 'No refunds and no exchanges'. In other words, then a man cannot simply sleep with you and then swap you out for another 'fit'. He cannot treat you so casually. I won't let him."

That's some pretty powerful stuff right there, y'all! That fornication is basically like saying that a man can "put you on", "take you off", "turn you in" and *move on* while marriage is saying, "You joined to me in covenant. There are *no refunds or exchanges*."

It's like God is saying, "This girl? You got under *my conditions* and we don't have return policies in here. You married her, you're going to be responsible to and for her before during and after sex."

In keeping with the analogy, when you know that you can't take something back, you tend to be more discerning about "purchasing it" in the first place. *Good*. Sex is powerful enough to deserve some *real thinking* beforehand.

YOU DESERVE A MAN WHO *CONSIDERS YOU* MORE THAN HIS LIBIDO.

Well, I'm gonna get off of here and enjoy the rest of my day. I just wanted to make sure to send out this little "spiritual PSA" before...one more person has sex without covenant.

You're better (so much better) than that.

You're *precious enough* to come with a *NO REFUND POLICY*.

Body, mind and spirit.

tmm,

SRW


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY


The only part that I would change is "Find a guy" to "Be brought to the man" (Genesis 2:22). Oh, and I've taken an unofficial poll before: Hanging up in someone's face is rude (I Corinthians 13:5) and a lot of strong men are not going to call you back when you do that because it enables pretty childish behavior (I Corinthians 13:11), but other than that...this is a keeper. ;-)

tmm,

SRW

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY


GREAT. QUOTE.

So is this by actress Salma Hayek on her marriage:

"I have a master of decision-making helping me out, so of course my life and my career are better," she explains. "I really enjoy having somebody that I can be weak with. If I'm insecure or afraid, I can talk about it, and he'll give me strength and courage. With us, there's no power struggle. I don't mind doing things for him because he does so much for me, and he feels the same way."

A *master* at making a decision. Yeah. I'll leave that *right there*. ;-)

tmm,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: "10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person"





LOVE THIS ARTICLE.

It's actually from a Muslim website (so if you are a Christian or Jew, etc. inject the appropriate word for you where needed) and was inspired by a Rabbi (yep, covering a lot of faiths here) yet the truth in it is quite profound. Gonna straight copy and paste it:

There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage.  The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility.  One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone.  A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are.  The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them.  The problem with that premise is that no consideration is given to how that time is spent. Increasingly, young Muslim couples are engaging in “halal dating,” which is basically socializing with each other in the company of friends and/or family. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing some sport or other leisure activity, etc.  Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised. When you consider these  limitations it makes one wonder when exactly, if ever at all, would the critical conversations take place?  Unfortunately, for many, the answer is never and they live to suffer the consequences.  If you or someone you know is in the “getting to know someone” phase,  the following guide offers advice on exactly what to look for and avoid:

1) Do Not Marry Potential:  Oftentimes men consider marrying a woman hoping she never changes while a woman considers marrying a man she hopes she can change.  This is the wrong approach on both accounts.  Don’t assume that you can change a person after you’re married to them or that they will reach their potential.  There is no guarantee, after all, that those changes will be for the better. In fact, it’s often for the worse. If you can’t accept someone or imagine living with them as they are then don’t marry them.  These differences can include a number of things such as ideological or practical differences in religion, habits, hygiene, communication skills, etc.

2) Choose Character over Chemistry:  While chemistry and attraction are no doubt important, character precedes them both. A famous quote follows, “Chemistry ignites the fire, but character keeps it burning.” The idea of falling “in love” should never be the sole reason for marrying someone; it is very easy to confuse infatuation and lust for love.  The most important character traits to look for include humility, kindness, responsibility, & happiness. Here’s a breakdown of each trait:
 

Humility: The humble person never makes demands of people but rather always does right by them. They put their values and principles above convenience and comfort.  They are slow to anger, are modest, and avoid materialism.
    

Kindness: The kind person is the quintessential giver. They seek to please and minimize the pain of others. To know if a person is a giver, observe how they treat their family, siblings, and parents. Do they have gratitude towards their parents for all that they’ve done for them? If not, then know that they will never appreciate what you do for them. How do they treat people they don’t have to be kind towards (i.e. waiters, sales associates, employees, etc)? How do they spend their money?  How do they deal with anger; their own anger and their reaction to someone else’s anger?
    

Responsibility: A responsible person has stability in their finances, relationships, job, and character.  You can you rely on this person and trust what they say.
    

Happiness: A happy person is content with their portion in life. They feel good about themselves and good about their life. They focus on what they have rather than on what they don’t have.  They very rarely complain.

3) Do Not Neglect The Emotional Needs of Your Partner:  Both men and women have emotional needs and in order for a partnership to be successful those needs must be mutually met. The fundamental emotional need of a woman is to be loved.  The fundamental emotional need of a man is to be respected and appreciated.  To make a woman feel loved give her the three AAAs:  Attention, Affection, & Appreciation.  To make a man feel loved give him the three RRRs:  Respect, Reassurance, & Relief.  It is the obligation of each partner to make sure the other is happy and this extends to intimacy as well. As long as each partner is fulfilled by the emotional needs of the other, the intimate relationship will thrive.  When a man takes seriously the emotional needs of his wife she will feel more encouraged to fulfill his sexual desires. Likewise, when a woman takes seriously the emotional needs of her husband he will feel more encouraged to give her the affection, love and appreciation she wants from him. Working together in this way encourages both giving and receiving.

4) Avoid Opposing Life Plans:  In marriage you can either grow together or grow apart. Sharing a common purpose in life will increase the chance that you will grow together.
 

You must know what the person is into. In other words, what are they ultimately passionate about?  Then ask yourself, “Do I respect this passion?” “Do I respect what they are into?”
    

The more specifically you define yourself, i.e., your values, your beliefs, your lifestyle, the better chance you have of finding your life partner, your soul mate, the one you are most compatible with.

Remember, before you decide who to take along on a trip, you should first figure out your destination.

5) Avoid Pre-Marital Sexual/Physical Activity:  Recognize that there is incredible wisdom in why God has ordered us to refrain from intimacy before marriage; they are to prevent great harms as well as to keep sacred what is the most blessed part of a relationship between a man and a woman.
    

Aside from the obvious spiritual consequences, when a relationship gets physical before its time, important issues like character, life philosophy, and compatibility go to the wayside. Consequently, everything is romanticized and it becomes difficult to even remember the important issues let alone talk about them.
 

Intellectual commitment must be established before emotional or sexual commitment.

6) Avoid Lack of Emotional Connection:  There are four questions that you must answer YES to:


Do I respect and admire this person?  What specifically do I respect and admire about this person?
    

Do I trust this person?  Can I rely on them?  Do I trust their judgment?  Do I trust their word? Can I believe what they say?
    

Do I feel Safe?  Do I feel emotionally safe with this person?  Can I be vulnerable?  Can I be myself?  Can I be open?  Can I express myself?
    

Do I feel calm and at peace with this person?

If the answer is “I don’t know, I’m not sure, etc.” keep evaluating until you know for sure and truly understand how you feel. If you don’t feel safe now, you won’t feel safe when you are married.  If you don’t trust now, this won’t change when you are married!

7) Pay Attention to Your Own Emotional Anxiety: Choosing someone you don’t feel safe with emotionally is not a good recipe for a long-lasting and loving marriage.  Feeling emotionally safe is the foundation of a strong and healthy marriage.  When you don’t feel safe, you can’t express your feelings and opinions.  Learn how to identify whether you are in an abusive relationship.  If you feel you always have to monitor what you say, if you are with someone and you feel you can’t really express yourself and are always walking on eggshells, then it’s very likely you are in an abusive relationship.  Look for the following things:
    

Controlling behavior: This includes controlling the way you act, the way you think, the way you dress, the way you wear your hair/hijab and the way you spend your time.  Know the difference between suggestions and demands.  Demands are an expression of control and if the demands are implied, than you must do it or there will be consequences. All of these are clear indications of abusive personalities.
 

Anger issues: This is someone who raises their voice on a regular basis, who is angry, gets angry at you, uses anger against you, uses put downs, and curses at you, etc.  You don’t have to put up with this type of treatment.  Many people who tolerate this behavior usually come from abusive backgrounds.  If this is the case with you or someone you know, get help right away.  Deal with those issues before getting married or before even thinking about getting married.

Beware of Lack of Openness In Your Partner:  Many couples make the mistake of not putting everything on the table for discussion from the onset.  Ask yourself, “What do I need to know to be absolutely certain I want to marry this person?” “What bothers me about this person or the relationship?”  It’s very important to identify what’s bothering you, things that concern you, and things you are afraid to bring up for discussion. Then you must have an honest discussion about them. This is a great way to test the strength of your relationship. Bringing up issues when there’s conflict is a great opportunity to really evaluate how well you communicate, negotiate, and work together as a team. When people get into power struggles and blame each other, it’s an indication they don’t work well as a team.  Also important is being vulnerable around each other. Ask deep questions of each other and see how your partner responds.  How do they handle it?  Are they defensive?  Do they attack?  Do they withdraw?  Do they get annoyed?  Do they blame you?  Do they ignore it?  Do they hide or rationalize it?  Don’t just listen to what they say but watch for how they say it!

9) Beware of Avoiding Personal Responsibility: It’s very important to remember no one else is responsible for your happiness. Many people make the mistake of thinking someone else will fulfill them and make their life better and that’s their reason for getting married. People fail to realize that if they are unhappy as a single person, they will continue to be miserable when they are married.  If you are currently not happy with yourself, don’t like yourself, don’t like the direction your life is going now, it’s important to take responsibility for that now and work on improving those areas of your life before considering marriage.  Don’t bring these issues into your marriage and hope your partner will fix them.

10) Watch Out For Lack of Emotional Health and Availability In Your Potential Partner:  Many people choose partners that are not emotionally healthy or available. One huge problem is when a partner is unable to balance the emotional ties to family members, the marriage ends up having 3 (or more) people in it rather than two. An example of this would be if a man is overly dependent on his mother and brings that relationship into the marriage; this is no doubt a recipe for disaster.  Also important to consider are the following:
 

Avoid people who are emotionally empty inside.  These include people who don’t like themselves because they lack the ability to be emotionally available. They are always preoccupied with their deficiencies, insecurities, and negative thoughts.  They are in a perpetual fight with depression, never feel good, are isolated, are critical and judgmental; tend to not have any close friends, and often distrust people or are afraid of them. Another clear indication about them is they always feel their needs are not getting met; they have a sense of entitlement and feel angry when they feel people should take care of them and they don’t.  They feel burdened by other people’s needs and feel resentment towards them.  These people can not be emotionally available to build healthy relationships.
    

Addictions can also limit the level of availability of the partner to build a strong emotional relationship.  Never marry an addict. Addictions are not limited to drugs and alcohol.  They can be about addictions and dependency on work, internet, hobbies, sports, shopping, money, power, status, materialism, etc.  When someone has an addiction, they will not and can not be emotionally available to develop an intimate relationship with you!

Additional Points to Consider:


The fact is no one looks 25 forever.  Ultimately, we love the person we marry for more than their appearance.  When we get to know someone we love and admire, we’ll love them for their inner beauty and overall essence.
    

Once we find someone, we consciously or subconsciously want so badly for it all to work that we decide not to question or see what is clearly in front of our eyes: they were rude to the waiter, speaks ill of others, is rude to you, etc.  We don’t stop to ask, “What does all of this mean about their character?”
    

Never separate someone from their family, background, education, belief system, etc.  Asking clear questions can clarify this.  Ask questions like, “What does it mean to have a simple lifestyle?” “What are your expectations of marriage?”  “How would you help around the house?” Compare your definition with theirs.
    

Be flexible.  Be open-minded!
    

Giving in a happy marriage should not be confused with martyrdom.  It should be about taking pleasure and seeing the other person as happy because of your connection with them.
    

Morality and spirituality are the qualities that truly define someone in addition to beauty, money, and health.  The morally upright and spiritual person will stand by your side during adversity and hardship.  If someone isn’t God-conscience and doesn’t take themselves into account with God then why should you expect them to fulfill their rights owed to you? The ideal partner is someone who considers giving a gain and not causing a loss. Having a mutual and shared spiritual relationship will foster a successful marriage. Furthermore, a successful marriage is one that keeps the laws of family purity which require a certain degree of self-control and self-discipline, as well as the belief that the physical side of the relationship includes the spiritual and emotional side as well.  Finding commonality and balance between the spiritual and emotional aspects of a relationship is a strong key to a healthy and thriving marriage.

The above article was [in part] inspired by and adapted from a presentation by Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A.


Pass along! *For real*.

tmm,

SRW


"On Fire": DON'T "Man Up"



Yeah. Well.

Will Rogers once said, "All television is children's television." I thought about that when my curiosity got the best of me and I checked out the premiere of Tamar Braxton and her hubby's new "reality" television show. Actually, in the grand scheme of things, it was pretty harmless. I'm just learning to make better use of my time is all. Tamar's got her husband (and *plenty* of money-LOL) already. I've still got work to do in my own backyard.

Oh, but all things do work together. I wish I could quote what Vincent (her husband) said just as he said it, but it would probably be offensive to some and so I'll tweak it...*just a bit*. If you know even just a little bit about Tamar, then you'll gather that a *quiet and gentle spirit* (bookmark that) is not really her, um, selling point (LOL). So, as she was talking a lot *again and some more*, her husband said to her, "Chicks with [a particular male body] part never wins."

*Boom!*

That really hit me because I thought about the fact that so many wives these days don't seem to act like the Word says they are to act:

"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."---I Peter 3:1-4(NKJV)

I also thought about the fact that so many women are reducing themselves to being basically a man with female body parts and perhaps that is just *one more reason why* so many marital covenants are not working the way that God *created* (Genesis 2:24-25, Malachi 2:14) them to. It reminds me of a T-shirt that I saw in a shoe store recently. Personally, I've never liked the "Anything guys can do, girls can do better" motto. I don't want to do *better* than a man. I simply want to be my *best* woman and that would mean following God's formula for womanhood.

That said, I have been a firm believer for some time now that when Proverbs 18:22 tells us that he who finds a wife finds a good thing, that it speaks to a woman being a wife *when* the man notices her as being his helpmate (Genesis 2:18). So, with that said, perhaps one of the reasons why some of us are still single is because God is using this time to, well, *make us wives* in the sense of having the kind of traits that *a godly wife* is supposed to have.

Submissive: of, tending towards, or indicating submission, humility, or servility

Chaste: free from obscenity; decent; virtuous

Gentle: kindly; amiable; not severe, rough, or violent; mild

Quiet-spirited: restrained in speech, manner, etc.free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful

This is how a wife is supposed to be. She's supposed to be humble and willing to serve. She's supposed to be free from obscenity and virtuous (which means that even virgins are to be pure in word and deed along with the rest of us). She's supposed to be kind and *not rough*. She's supposed to be mild. She's supposed to be restrained in her speech and a place of tranquility and peacefulness. In short, she's supposed to be what my last (ever) boyfriend says that a wife should be: a sanctuary in the sense of being "a holy place" and "a place of refuge". Indeed, a man should not be in warfare in the world (Ephesians 6:10-20) and then come home to another kind of battlefield. Indeed we, as women, are not just supposed to be a soft place for them to physically touch, but a soft place from them to emotionally land as well; that requires a lot more than a voluptuous body or some comparable sex skills.

I know that in my own life, I have been watching a remarkable internal transformation. Even without my king (yet), I am thankful that God thinks differently than I do (Isaiah 55:8-11)---that even though he created me to be strong and assertive and outspoken and driven, because Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) for the purpose of altering God's perfect will for our lives and our beings, God is taking out the time to love me, my future husband and my covenant enough to refine some areas so that I can be Shellie *and* a good, healthy and godly wife; that one doesn't have to come at the expense of the other. I'm glad that he has been washing the world's jaded perspective of "a strong woman" off of me by allowing me and the Holy Spirit to spend more time together so that I can learn from *the ultimate helper* (John 14:26-AMP) how to be the best kind of helpmate. And yes, as antiquated as it may seem, because God (and his Word) does not change (Malachi 3:6), that would include being a submissive, chaste, gentle and quiet-*spirited* person...even now. Indeed, some of the people in my life he is using to refine me...*even now*.

Another lie that we are told? That it's a man's world. It's not. This is our Father's world (Psalm 90:2) and in the Garden of Eden, he created *man* and *woman* for *distinctly different purposes* for the sake of coming together and making something really beautiful.

Maybe some of us are still single because God is like, "What do you need a man for? You already act like one and I have enough 'Romans 1'going on out here to deal with." Ouch! Oh, but I get it.

James 1:27 tells us that true religion is visiting orphans and widows and remaining unspotted from the world. This would include the world's influence. There's a lot of pressure out here to "man up". Don't do that. Be a woman, *a godly woman*, instead.

It's not like it's second place. Just think about it. We are *so powerful* that we are told to restrain it with submission.

A man can't even compare. (Nor should he have to).

tmm,

SRW

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"On Fire": Is Your Bed GREEN?


"Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also our bed is green."---Song of Solomon 1:16(NKJV)


For almost two weeks now, I've had one of my browsers open to BibleGateway.com with the word "Beloved" as the keyword search. I had a pretty good idea that it was for the "On Fire" women, but I wasn't sure where the Spirit was leading with it...at the time.

This morning, I got my answer.

Before this moment, what I knew for sure was that I *absolutely love* the word "beloved". It means "greatly loved" and "dear to the heart". What I also knew, based on a lot of the counseling sessions that I do, is that a lot of people see their spouse in a lot of ways but, unfortunately, *beloved* would not appear to be one of them. When you love someone greatly, if you're looking at it from a biblical perspective, this means that you are you are going to be patient with them to a *high* degree, that you are going to be kind to them in a *high* degree, that you are not going to be jealous to a *high* degree and that you going to be willing to bear, believe and endure *much* (I Corinthians 13:4-8). It also means that, because one definition of heart is "the center of your emotions" and another is your "affections", you are going to hold them dearly...they are going to be seen as "precious in one's regard; cherished" to you.

Now, before we proceed, it bears *special noting* that all throughout the Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman referred to the one that she loved with "beloved" but she was also called that as well. *This means that you should really assess if the one who is "your beloved" sees you in that same way*. Ideally, belovedness is to be a *mutual exchange*.

Also, I like how the Shulamite women praised her beloved for being handsome. I know that, traditionally, we tend to only associate being handsome with being "good-looking", but check out some of these other definitions:

Handsome: having an attractive, well-proportioned, and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength; exhibiting skill, taste, and refinement; well-made; considerable, ample, or liberal in amount; gracious; generous

So many women will fall for the "empty pretty packaging"---the man who looks good, but honestly, there's not too much more praise that can be given to him once the eye candy turns sour.

Recently, I saw a picture of one of my "past baby's daddies" and whew! I'll say this: In college, he was a *wonder to behold*. Now? Well, let's just say that I am *so glad* that God is the Alpha and the Omega (LOL-Revelation 22:13). He wasn't unattractive (it would be nearly impossible for him to pull of that feat), but if I had tried to *make that work* because I was so physically enamored, it probably would have made things really...taxing for us now. Our (future) beloved is to be a sign of health and strength for us (both physically and spiritually). He is to have skills and refinement (professionally, relationally, financially and when it comes to his *character*). He is to be *well-made* (only God can get someone to a state where they are *well-made*) and he is to be liberal in the amount of graciousness and generosity that he bestows upon us.

Oh, but it's that last part that really got to me. The Shulamite woman said that their bed was *green*. GREEN.

I spend time on signs and symbols quite a bit (Daniel 4:2-3) and so I have read about color psychology before. Green symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. Green symbolizes *safety*---more specifically, feeling *emotionally safe*. Green symbolizes healing. It implies *stability* and *endurance*. It indicates hope and strength. Olive green is the color of peace. Aqua is associated with healing and protection. It's also associated with money, of course. Shoot, who wants to be broke in their marriage? I'll take that too!

Yet, when you put all of this together, when you add the Shulamite's declaration with Hebrews 13:4---that the marriage bed is to be *pure*---do we not see *just one more reason* why sex outside of marriage is sex that is not pure, holy, righteous...*green* (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message)? Sex that is not going to promote spiritual growth and harmony, safety (especially emotional safety because you have given yourself over to someone who did not ask God's permission to have you in that way), healing, stability, endurance, hope, strength, peace, healing and protection?

In "unpacking" all of this, do you know what another "Ah ha!" is for me? Until I can get into a green bed with my beloved, my bed needs to be green *alone*. Singleness is a time for establishing wholeness. I need to *grow* spiritually and be *fresh* emotionally and *heal* relationally so that when my beloved and I do come together in our *big green bed* (you know I mean that *literally* now, right?-LOL) there can be fertility. Babies? Maybe. But more than anything, "producing an abundance" of LOVE. Godly love.

Yeah, that was *good*, God!

Personally, I can't wait until the day I am married and someone asks, "So how are you two doing?" and all I will need to respond with is "Our bed is green."

tmm,

SRW

Friday, September 14, 2012

"On Fire": Let Love Heal Your (Past Love) Pain



"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."---Psalm 147:3(NKJV)

Earlier this week...

I made a quick run out to a mall that I don't normally frequent. I made a point to go close to closing time because words can't express just *how under the radar* I am these days (oftentimes, you can move faster that way) and I didn't want to experience any impromptu run-ins. I'll tell you what, though, the Word rings true and when the Amplified Version of Proverbs 16:33 tells us that even what seems like accidents are of the Lord, it is so right!

On my way out of the door (give or take a few hundred feet), I saw this woman coming out of Victoria's Secret. I mostly only caught the back of her and so while she seemed really familiar, something about her appearance also seemed really strange. So much in fact, that I tried to convince myself that it couldn't be who I thought it was. She had on really short shorts and long false eyelashes. In my over two decades of knowing her, it was so not her typical look. It was all just...odd.

But as I got closer and I heard her voice, I realized that it was *exactly* who I was in denial that it was. When I caught up to her, while she seemed really glad to see me (we haven't seen each other in awhile), it was apparent that she was also pretty embarrassed.

You see, she knows that I know her...differently.

I've never seen that much of her body exposed (she's not 20-something, she's 40-something). I am aware that she's newly divorced (actually, I'm not even sure if she is officially divorced yet) and the guy that she was with was *clearly* not her (ex) husband or a relative (she even tried to keep him from telling me his name). She had several Victoria's Secret bags and from the neck up, she just seemed...time warped in a way. Not "aging gracefully" but regretfully.

"Old Shellie" would've either said something then or contacted her afterwards to find out just what the heck was going on. I did tease her and say, "I've never seen so much of you before" and she replied with, "I know, right? And you've known me...how many years?" Honestly, I think saying that, along with a hug, was all that needed to be exchanged. We want our separate ways (actually, it was more like I hurried to the door).

As I drove home, aside from being a bit shocked (because clearly, she was in the mall that I was in for similar "under the radar" reasons) and feeling kind of bad for her, I thought about how Monday is Past Loves Day and how, I believe God wanted me to see that entire scene. Not to denounce her but to remind me of something about myself.

Almost six years (SIX YEARS?!?) of having no sex, I think that it's honestly only been over the past year or so that I've started to see the true me. If you watched that video that I shared a couple of weeks back on here about how sex affects you *physically*, then you'll probably recall how the woman said that anytime that you *conceive* a child with someone, their DNA remains in you *forever*. I've had four abortions. Four men's DNA. In here. FOREVER. So, it's taken *quite a bit of work* to "level myself out" amidst their um, "contributions" along with all of the emotional residue left behind from 11 other men. You simply can't be joined to another person and it not change you. I don't care *what* the media tells you. The media lies. (I Corinthians 3:18-19)

And when you've given up pieces of your mind, body *and spirit* to individuals who committed to do nothing other than give you an orgasm (and honestly, you're pretty lucky if they offered you even *that much*), it can really do a number on you. So much so that while you may look like yourself in some ways, in others...you are almost unrecognizable---a mere shell of the woman God created you to be.

I have counseled enough divorcees to know that what I saw walking out of Victoria's Secret with some random dude was *pain*. Pain from a failed marriage. Pain from needing to feel beautiful again. Pain from...being brokenhearted. Shoot, I've been the girl with the too tight clothes shopping in Victoria's Secret before. I get it. Seeing "her" reminds me of *just how much* that I do.

It also served as another PSA to me that CS Lewis is *so right*. "We don't have a spirit. We are a spirit. We have a body." This makes sense being that we're made in the image of God to reflect his likeness (Genesis 1:26-28) and he, after all, is Spirit (John 4:24). No wonder sex is as much a spiritual mystery as it is a physical fact (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message). The facts, we get. The mysteries...they are a secret. Reserved for only married people to know.

Therefore, we can walk around in our broken (or brokenheartedness) all that we want and think that no one sees it. But you see, *spirits see other spirits* (how do you think that Satan gets so much accomplished?-Ephesians 6:10-20). If someone is looking beyond the "veil (or is it mask?) of flesh", it's amazing what is revealed.

Personally, I am a *huge fan* of Psalm 46:5(NKJV): "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn."---Psalm 46:5(NKJV) This morning, I was awakened with an old school Karyn White song (some of y'all don't know nothin' about KARYN WHITE-LOL). That said, I'll be penning my next devotional on "Do You Love the Way That You Are Loved?"

When a relationship comes to an end, especially one that we thought wouldn't, it is painful. Yet, I pray that if this is what you are going through right now that you will not try and find a "flesh solution" that will only bring about greater problems...and uncomfortableness and potential embarrassment. I pray that if you weren't loved the way that you wanted to be loved, that you'll choose to go to the Source of Love (I John 4:8&16) so that you can be *truly healed*. Sex, for a brokenhearted single woman is like a drink to a recovering alcoholic. When you come down off of your "high", you're going to be lower than ever. And what you'll have to do to "get back up" will require more than you ultimately have to give. That's what fornication (and adultery and porn addiction and masturbation and "everything but" sexual activity) is all about: stealing, killing and potentially destroying you (John 10:10), your self-image *and your wholeness* for the man who is truly worthy of it...*all*.

God knows that we're not always going to do it his way. That's a lot of what Psalm 147:3 is all about. But when your heart has been broken by a past love, if you want a brighter future, don't go to another man; that's a "quick fix" that doesn't really *fix* anything. It's the equivalent of using Scotch tape on glass. It's not going to hold anything together for long.

*Go to God*. He gets "it" *and you* better than you do. He knows just what you need to heal...

So that you can truly and fully love again---mind, body and spirit.

So that you can rock VS for someone who is *truly worthy* of the packaging and the present (James 1:17).

tmm,

SRW

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention: "7 Reasons Why Diamonds Are a Waste of Your Money"

OK...

So, while I've basically been like "Rock what you want on your finger" when it comes to other people, I have *never* been a diamond engagement ring fan...for few reasons.

1) I don't think a lot of people know what an engagement ring is actually supposed to symbolize, which is more of a "portable dowry" than anything else. And dowries go to *parents* not brides-to-be.

2) Thanks the my final ex-boyfriend (because he pointed it out for me), I get that the Word says that a virtuous woman is above *a rubies worth* (Proverbs 31:10). So the fact that women think that a diamond is to the "ultimate love expression" kind of throws me (perhaps they don't know about the DeBeers scam, which we'll get to in just a sec). They actually sold themselves a few (thousand bucks) short.

3) Far too many people find themselves in an apartment *paying rent* rather than a house *with a mortgage* while they are still paying for a ring on the wife's finger. Yeah. I'll leave that right there.

4) If diamonds truly are a girl's best friend, well, maybe that's why we have the divorce rate that we do (both in and out of the Church). Your *husband* should be your best friend. And top desire. And main priority. Even if it means going without the "blessed jewel".

5) And then there's this article. I've studied and come to a lot of this guy's conclusions many years ago, but maybe it will provide some of you with some food for thought. Now if you simply love a diamond and your beloved can afford it, then that's not who I'm speaking to. BUT if you're planning to or are making it an expectation, ultimatum or demand because "it's what everyone else is doing" well...yeah...check this out:

I've been in the diamond business for over 10 years. I've traveled all over the world buying and selling diamonds. I've passed through most of the major airports across the United States with about a million dollars worth of diamonds in a leather wallet stuffed inside my pants. I've bought and sold diamonds in Dubai, Mumbai, Moscow, Hong Kong, Paris, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Madrid and Barcelona. Even today I am involved on the fringe of the diamond business, running a diamond education site helping would-be buyers.

Considering my deep personal involvement in the diamond business, my opinion might surprise you -- diamonds are a terrible waste of your money.

Here are seven reasons why:

1) The most common misconception about engagement rings is that they're some kind of ancient tradition that's deeply embedded in human history in societies around the world. This is completely false. The idea of a diamond engagement ring is roughly a century old. Guess who invented the concept? Not surprisingly, it's the same people who mined the diamonds -- the De Beers diamond syndicate. How far did De Beers go in their quest to create demand for diamonds? Edward Jay Epstein notes in his famous investigative article:

"In its 1947 strategy plan, the advertising agency strongly emphasized a psychological approach. "We are dealing with a problem in mass psychology. We seek to ... strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring -- to make it a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services...." It defined as its target audience "some 70 million people 15 years and over whose opinion we hope to influence in support of our objectives." N. W. Ayer outlined a subtle program that included arranging for lecturers to visit high schools across the country. "All of these lectures revolve around the diamond engagement ring, and are reaching thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and informal meetings in our leading educational institutions," the agency explained in a memorandum to De Beers."

I have nothing against clever marketing campaigns, but this is different. It's not like with cars, for example. You know you need a car, so the car companies compete for your attention with their ads.

In this case De Beers spent millions upon millions convincing the public that they needed to buy a product that they basically created out of thin air (thin air that they alone controlled).

2) Diamonds are not an investment -- they are a retail product like any other. People explain away spending thousands of dollars on a little stone because they mistakenly believe that the diamond is a solid investment. Are there any other investment classes where the person selling you the asset makes a minimum 10 percent profit margin (usually much more)? Most people would be lucky to get half of what they paid if they tried to sell a ring the day after they bought it. Don't fool yourself into thinking that buying a diamond is a safe place to put away money for a rainy day.

3) The diamond jewelry market is a shark tank. Even consumers that spend hours online learning about diamonds can easily get screwed by one of the many unscrupulous dealers out there (both online and bricks & mortar). There's virtually no end to the various games dealers can play to help them eke out a higher return (and therefore giving you less value).

4) Spending a month's (or two!) salary on something so impractical -- at the exact same time you are beginning your new life together as a budding family -- is a very poor financial decision. I'm not only a very experienced diamond dealer, I'm also a father of six, married for 13 years. The expenses only grow with time, they don't get easier! Believe me, five years later, you'll be wishing you had a spare five grand lying around.

5) Men, you don't need to waste a ton of money to prove your manhood. If Mark Zuckerberg can forgo the diamond engagement ring, then you can too.

6) Women, you don't need your man to waste a ton of money to prove that he loves you.

7) If your man buys you a diamond as a means to keep you quiet for another year about marriage, he probably should be dumped anyway. Find someone more grounded who is excited about building a life together with you -- not someone who's trying to continue being single while taking you along for the ride.

I have consciously left out of this list any arguments about immoral practices in the diamond business (i.e., blood diamonds, unfavorable working conditions, and child labor). The odds of buying an actual blood diamond in developed countries are extremely low. There are checks and balances in place that would make it extremely risky for a dealer to sneak something in illegally.

I don't want to be perceived as hypocritical. If one takes a stance against poor working conditions, then I believe it should be done across the board. I don't believe the diamond business is any more guilty than any other industry that does most of its production in poorer countries on the other side of the world.

Moral issues aside, there are enough reasons not to succumb to the greatest scam in history. If you hang around a group of diamond dealers for a day, there's a word you'll hear passed around quite a bit -- "illusion." As in "I lost my illusion in that diamond." "He wouldn't sell me the diamond at my asking price because he still has tons of illusion in that stone." It's diamond dealer jargon for a projection of high value onto something. When you "lose your illusion" in a diamond, it means you have succumbed to the reality that you will be selling it for less than you had hoped for. When you "have illusion" in a diamond, it means that you still believe you're going to sell it for a great price because it's such a knockout stone.

It's rather amazing that the very people who buy and sell millions of dollars of diamonds a year acknowledge the ephemeral nature of their value at the same time that their lives are completely invested in them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please take the red pill. Don't believe in the illusion. Pass this article on to your friends. Share it, Like it, Tweet it. Lets start a new movement together.

If you find yourself not being able to fight the social pressure to get a diamond ring, it's OK. There are many like you. It's not a simple thing to resist. Just please do yourself a favor and speak to an expert who can help you make sure that at the very least you spend as little as possible on the illusion and still come away with something that serves its purpose.  

tmm,

SRW




"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY



"You don't stay married for whole years at a time. You choose marriage one day at a time. One blissful day, after one terrifying day, after one uneventful day at a time.

I don't think that long-term marriage is any kind of preferred state of being, but it's what I chose. And I keep choosing it--every day now for the last 6,590 days. I'm here, and that action speaks louder than words, even when those words are loud, unkind, or spoken through a confusion of tears."
---Lela Davidson

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY



Actually...

*That quote* was inspired by something that I read that Olympian Michelle Kwan said when she was asked about her recent engagement to a man by the name of Clay Pell:

"It was a simple decision and it made sense, that's what's so exciting to me," Kwan says of the proposal. "We are working together as a team, like in [pair skating]."

Adds Pell: "It was amazing from the very beginning how in sync our way of thinking is, our basic values and our sense of priorities. We just both got each other."


A *simple* decision.

Working *together*.

*Same* values and sense of priorities.

Excellente!

tmm,

SRW


Sunday, September 9, 2012

"On Fire": Sex Is to Be a Love CELEBRATION


Yes...yes.

Peabo and Roberta. Back to a time when you could sing a song about sex and not feel violated or like you lost your virginity (for some of us, um, *again*) after hearing the lyrics.

This won't be a long message. The song *speaks volumes* all on its own. Yet when it came back to me *just a second ago* (and I can't remember the last time I've thought about although I've *always* loved it) and I asked the Spirit why, I was encouraged to focus on the word *celebrate*; that they were singing about *celebrating their love*.

OK, so two definitions of celebrate are "to commemorate occasion, achievement". Getting a sex buddy or a "step up" in the form of a boyfriend, well...I'm not sure just how much of an *achievement* that is. But if you're still "on the fence" of agreeing with me, look at some of the synonyms for celebrate:

Celebrate synonyms: bless, ceremonialize, commend, consecrate, dedicate, exalt, extol, feast, fete, glorify, hallow, have a ball, honor, jubilate, keep, kick up one's heels, laud, let loose, lionize, live it up, make merry, make whoopee, memorialize, observe,  party, perform, praise, proclaim, rejoice, revel, revere, ritualize, signalize, solemnize 

Bless: celebrate , endow, favor, give, glorify, grace, laud, magnify, praise, provide 

And then look at the lyrics of the song itself: 

Tonight I celebrate my love for you
It seems the natural thing to do
Tonight no one's gonna find us
We'll leave the world behind us
When I make love to you

Tonight I celebrate my love for you
And hope that deep inside you'll feel it too
Tonight our spirits will be climbing
To a sky filled up with diamonds
When I make love to you, tonight

Tonight I celebrate my love for you
And that midnight sun is gonna come shining through
Tonight there'll be no distance between us
What I want most to do, is to get close to you
Tonight

Tonight I celebrate my love for you
And soon this old world will seem brand new
Tonight we will both discover how friends turn into lovers
When I make love to you

Tonight I celebrate my love to you
And that midnight sun is gonna come shining through
Tonight there'll be no distance between us
What I want most to do, is to get close to you
Tonight I celebrate my love for you
Tonight


How many of us would've saved our "party pack" if the marriage bed had been presented in this way? I said in one of my books that sex is about *celebrating love* not *creating it* and when you think of all that comes with celebrating and blessing another person with our bodies, when you think about spirits soaring and sex *transitioning* friends into lovers *and the world seeing something new* because of it, doesn't it seem a bit...like a let down to try and mimic this before marriage? Again, a celebration marks an *achievement*. *Anyone* can have sex. It's a *special occasion* to share your mind, body and spirit with your *covenant partner*.

Bottom line...if it ain't worth *celebrating* then it ain't worth *doing*.

Let this "Hebrews 13:4 lullaby for lovers" be a reminder to us all.

Nite y'all. ;-)

tmm,

SRW

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"On Fire": Other Perks That Should ONLY Come with Marrying You




So...

This morning, I was doing some praying for some of the "On Fire" women as it relates to what I call "cul-du-sac" relationships. You know, relationships that basically are a *dead end* but we use another word to make it sound (or is it feel?) better so that we won't deal with the *real reality* of the matter. Anyway, as I was finishing up my prayer, I read a quote from actor Shia LaBeouf about a past relationship that he had with a woman (who is now married to someone else, by the way):

"He told the Sunday Times magazine: 'She's happy as hell right now, and we wouldn't have been able to make it like that. She was chasing marriage, family, kids more than I was.'

LaBeouf - who is currently dating fashion designer Karolyn Pho - hopes to marry himself one day but won't rush into settling down as he plans to tie the knot for life.

He added: 'I'm not opposed to marriage. I just think I'm quite young. I come from divorce. I'm only doing marriage once. It's not a game for me. I'm not a religious person, but I have ethics.'"


OK, I've dated "him" before. Many times over, actually. And while I never thought any of those guys were *dogs* (Men are made in the image of God. I'm not going to call them a *dog*), I will admit that I allowed myself to be *dogged out*...again, many times over, because I didn't *listen* to what they said.  

Women stay in relationships for years with men who are not chasing marriage as much as they are. Women stay in relationships for years with men who are not rushing to settle down (rushing to have sex with you is not synonymous with rushing to marry you...nor does it make them want to rush to marry you after they get the sex). Women stay in relationships with men for years who will admit that they are professionally, emotionally, financially, relationally or spiritually *young* (I Corinthians 13:11). And what's amazing about ALL of these instances is that 12-24 months in, when the woman realizes that the guy *meant what he said* when he said that "I'm not ready for marriage", they end up being upset, professing that they got "strung along". 

Strung along, maybe. By the guy? No. The guy didn't say that he minded being the benefactor of whatever it is that you wanted to give him. He simply said that what he would not be *giving you* is a ring and a proposal any time soon in the process. *That's not being used nearly as much as it's volunteering*.

Then, when the Spirit led me to revisit Proverbs 31, things really started coming together. There are so many women I know who are doing the things on that list for men who they are not married to. And when I looked at the title again, the Lord was like, "You see how it says 'The Virtuous WIFE', not the virtuous girlfriend. Why women who are not married are killing themselves to act like they are is really unfortunate. There are other perks to a man marrying you other than only getting to sleep with you."

Then I thought about women (around) my age who claim to be in abstinent relationships, but they are doing *so many of the other things* that a wife does for her husband. When I asked the Lord how to differentiate, even that response was "profoundly simplistic": "If you wouldn't do 'it' for a friend, you don't need to being doing it for a boyfriend, either. And I don't know a whole lot of grown women who have slumber parties with their platonic friends often." 

I do love the Lord. He tickles me sometimes.

So, in the effort to "clear the path of understanding" as it relates to things that you really need to "put on the back burner" until you jump the broom, I have enclosed a list of 7 perks that should *only come* with marrying you:

1) Sleeping with you. Whether it's spending the night after sex, spending the night without sex or finding some excuse to share your bed for a few hours (a couple of times per week), if one of your girlfriends was asking to do that, you would probably think that something got lost in translation re: the relationship, that she was a leech or that she was simply crazy. Hebrews 13:4 says that *the marriage bed* is pure. This includes having sex in bed, but also sleeping in it with your covenant partner as well. 

2) Being "on call" for him. I have some really close friends, but sometimes when they call me, they still get sent to voice mail and sometimes when they want something, the answer is "no". This goes for them with me as well. When you take the vows of "for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and in health, 'til death do us part", that is when you make the commitment to *become one* (Genesis 2:24-25) with someone; when your "oneness" needs you, that is when you should be readily available. After all, how do you split yourself in two? Until those vows are taken, though, you're pretty much riding solo. "He: can get sent to voice mail and told "no" too.

3) His family becoming your family. My mom has this running joke with me and my brother that until it's time for her to wear her "big hat", she doesn't want to get emotionally involved in our dating situations. Some people may think that is odd, but personally, I find it to be *extremely healthy*. I've "divorced" boyfriends that I've never married before and it wasn't just hard on me and the guy, but our family members as well. Can his mom still call me or not? Is it OK for him to still be my brother's close friend or not? Will either of us cuss the other out for sending a Christmas card? It's just too much drama. When you get married, you don't *marry the family*, but you do become a part of one another's family tree and when that happens, that's when it's both safe and appropriate to spend tons of quality time with each other's folks.

4) Sharing each other's bills. Do you know that in one of my relationships, I was actually paying a bill on a monthly basis? That's ridiculous on a number of levels with one of them being, if you can't pay your cell phone then *who knows* when you'll be able to pay the rent (and preferably, the mortgage!)? I have platonic friends who I have helped out from time-to-time (that's what *friends* are for), but none of them are on my payroll and I don't have a ton of information about their financial issues, either. Married people share credit histories and bills and such. Roommates might, but in the context of this message, if that's taking place between you and your boyfriend, that's referred to as "shaking up", right? Bottom line, if you are checking "single" when you're filing your taxes, then *you* are solely financially responsible for *yourself*.

5) You dealing with his deep-rooted issues. I've said it before, a few times by now: "What wives do is called 'commitment', what girlfriends do is often called 'settling'." I work with a ministry that deals with porn and sexual addiction and it blows my mind how many *girlfriends* will stay around simply because "I want to marry him someday." When it comes to addictive behaviors, if you are single, you'd better thank your lucky stars that you don't share the same last name and address with him! A guy who is addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sports, work, fame, money, *religion* or anything else (including his ego) doesn't need a girlfriend. *He needs therapy*. How would you deal with your girlfriend and her sexual addiction? If you're a *good friend*, you'll probably pray for her and keep a safe distance as she works through her issues. Yeah. My point exactly.

6) You compromise to the point of sacrificing. OK, even when a woman becomes a wife, she shouldn't lose her sense of self. But, because I know that the Lord hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and he takes *vow keeping* VERY SERIOUSLY (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7), I totally get why a wife who risk just about anything to make a marriage work. A girlfriend? Not quite so much. In other words, moving to another state to be with a *boyfriend*, giving up a great job opportunity to be with a *boyfriend*, choosing a totally different path in life just to be with a *boyfriend* is not what being single is all about. Singleness is a time to be whole and cultivate your *individuality* (Psalm 33:15). Do you think that God is not BIG ENOUGH to have you two meet (back) up at the right time if it's truly meant to be (Acts 1:7-Message)? If you don't, that's even more of a reason why you should spend some more time being single (Hebrews 11:6). Ask any (godly) wife and she's tell you that *BIG TIME FAITH* is needed to make *any marriage* work!

7) He knows everything about you. Being "naked and not ashamed" is not just about someone seeing your body parts (there's a pretty good article about marital intimacy here). It's about knowing all of your secrets and strongholds and vulnerabilities. Many women have found themselves devastated after a relationship ends because they literally gave a guy *their everything* without any real guarantees. When a guy stands before God and promises to love you like his Son does the Church (Ephesians 5:25-28), what he is basically saying is that he is committed to taking *all of you on*...the good, the bad, the ugly and the *extremely intimate*. Until someone signs up for that, setting up emotional boundaries is not just something to consider, but it's *extremely recommended*. A man pays a price by way of his marriage vows to have full access to your mind, body and your spirit. Make sure that he *pays accordingly*. If he doesn't, you'll probably find yourself in emotional debt, with very little of his interest left (it's a play on words by design).

God is great. Good is good. ;-)

Pass this list along to a single friend of yours when you get a chance. It might spare a(nother) "non-divorce divorce" that can be just as painful as the real deal. *Trust me*!

Oh, and let LaBeouf be a reminder to us all that unless a man says, "Yes. I am ready for marriage", then he's not. If you feel like you are and you stay with him anyway, he's not a "bad guy". You're just a woman who either is willing to wait, didn't listen or is severely settling. In all cases, that is *quite a gamble*.

Stay prayerful! (Proverbs 28:9-Message)


tmm,

SRW

Saturday, September 1, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention: "Women Having Sex with Many Men"

Yeah. Well.

The Message Version of the Bible puts it this way:

"There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never "become one." There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body."---I Corinthians 6:16-20(Message)

Oh...but if you need this presented another way...*this video will do it*:


THIS. WILL. DO. IT.

tmm,

SRW