Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: '10 Secrets You Should Know About Marriage'

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I used to be a columnist for Relevant magazine...

I check-in to see what they're talking about from time-to-time. Here's a good (S-C-A-P) read:

There are few people who really know what they’re getting into when it comes to getting married. We all have an idea of what marriage is all about. We have hopes, dreams and expectations of what it will look like. We watch movies, TV shows and even observe marriages in the world around us to try and get a glimpse of this thing we call holy matrimony. But we don’t really know until we’re there, do we?

There are some things about marriage that I understood going into it, but there are so many things I could have never fully imagined. To this day, there is still so much that I’m learning. I write about this concept in my new book, True Love Dates—specifically regarding the things marriage can’t do. But marriage can also do a lot. Here are 10 things I have learned about it.
 

1. Marriage is more intimate than sex 

Often, one of the first things singles think about when it comes to marriage is sex. But while there is so much value and closeness within the sexual relationship, a good marriage is what makes for good sex, not the other way around.

Before marriage, I don’t think I grasped the real intimacy that comes with committing to this one person for the rest of my life. Marriage is an amazing opportunity to allow another person a look inside your life, your mind, your heart and your very soul. Now that is true intimacy.
 

2. Marriage reveals selfishness, but can also cultivate selflessness

I didn’t know how selfish I was until I got about six months into my marriage (probably more like six hours, but I’m being generous). From the silly moments of choosing where to eat and who gets the remote, to the more significant things like apologizing and putting your spouse’s needs before your own—you learn that true selflessness is something that has to be lived out. It’s a hard lesson, but also a beautiful reminder of a God who selflessly gave His all for me.
 

3. Oneness literally means one

We all think of the deep spiritual and physical benefits of oneness, but we don’t always consider the inconvenient parts of it. One house. One bed. One bathroom. One mirror above the bathroom sink. One bank account. One budget.

In marriage, you learn to let go of the “mine and yours” mentality, because everything is truly “ours.” There’s something really hard, but something really beautiful about that. It’s a reminder that at the end of the day what’s mine is yours ... but everything we have is actually His.
 

4. At some point, you will be disappointed

This one was a hard reality. I am fully aware of my and my husband’s humanity, but for some reason this truth doesn’t really hit home until disappointment hits home.

My husband and I have loved each other deeply, but we’ve also hurt each other deeply. When you allow someone to bury their heart in yours, there’s no doubt that one day, you will feel an ache. Whether In the form of an unkind word, a thoughtless action or a selfish moment, marriage will hurt. But by God’s grace, each wound paves the way for grace, forgiveness and restoration. Each wound is a reminder of our need to love better and more deeply.
 

5. Like it or not, you will learn the meaning of forgiveness

With the certainty of being wounded comes the reality that you will need to learn forgiveness. The biggest lesson is that true forgiveness comes not because the person standing before you is deserving. Rather, it comes out of a heart that understands how much we’ve been forgiven though we, too, were undeserving.
 

6. Marriage will cost you

The truth is, you lose a part of yourself within the glory of marriage. You exchange a little bit of who you are for a little bit of who your spouse is. You learn to give and take. You learn to let go of the things that don’t really matter. And in the end, you realize what you’ve given is far less than what you’ve ultimately received. Love is good like that.
 

7. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a series of decisions

Before marriage, you can’t really comprehend the strong feelings going anywhere but higher. Then one day you realize that feelings can’t really be trusted, because some days you feel you may not even like each other. Feelings come, but feelings also go. They are a compass, and sometimes a guide, but they are never to be followed.

The test of real love is what you do when you don’t feel like loving. Marriage is constantly choosing to love, to give and to serve because of the commitment you have made. It’s choosing the other instead of choosing yourself. That’s the very definition of love in it’s truest form.
 

8. Marriage will require you to learn how to communicate

No matter what your communication bent, marriage will require you to take a good hard look at your opinions, beliefs, ideas and feelings—and share them with another. It will cause you to answer the hard questions and speak the difficult truths. Communication is the lifeline between two people. There’s no way around it. It will cause you to take responsibility for not just what you say, but how you say it—tone, body language, sarcasm and all.
 

9. Marriage is not the end of your destination.

Before you’re married, it’s easy to see marriage as the grande finale. It’s the thing we dream of and live for. And then it finally comes! Now what?

This relationship God has blessed you with is a fraction of the grand scheme He has for your life. Your purpose and passions will extend far beyond the reach of your relationship with your spouse. And God will use the relationship He has given you, too, as the love between you and your spouse is reflected to the world. Marriage is not the end, it’s only the beginning. God has so much more up His sleeve.
 

10. Marriage gives you a glimpse of so much more

On the same note, you learn a lot about God when you are rubbing up against someone day in and day out. There’s a reason God uses the analogy of marriage to describe His love for His Church. No relationship will ever compare to the intimacy that is exchanged within this earthly connection. God’s love for us magnified through the lens of a healthy marriage, but He also uses this marriage to shape us, refine us and put us through the fire—making us more and more like Him along the way. Reflecting Jesus is the greatest honor we can partake in when it comes to marriage, but more so, it’s the one and only thing that will keep our marriage alive.

There are many routes to holiness, and marriage is definitely one of those routes. I am a different person because of this sacred relationship, and I know God’s not finished with me yet. I’m so thankful for the blessing of marriage, and look forward to what lies ahead.


The points about oneness and forgiveness are things that several couples that I counsel could stand to keep in mind. Marriage is not about "roommates having sex". It's about sharing *every part of your life* with someone else.

And forgiveness? Well, if you can't forgive family members, friends and co-workers now, marriage is going to be a real challenge for you. Besides, you don't do someone a favor by forgiving them. It's actually a way of spiritually protecting yourself:

"For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
 

But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses."---Matthew 6:14-15(AMP)

God is using even now to prepare you. *Trust him*.

Luxuriant,

SRW

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: 'What I Learned Waiting for Mr. Right'

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Lately...

A few people have been writing me and sharing how weary they are with the whole waiting process. The Amplified Version of I Timothy 4:14-16 tells us that our testimonies (and personalities) save us and those who hear us.

That said, here's a (S-C-A-P) testimony that will hopefully provide some peace of mind in the midst of your "waiting storm":

Many of us have experienced, or are currently on, the emotional roller-coaster that is waiting for Mr. Right. Whether you find him at age 20, 25, or 30 [Shellie here: Wow. She stopped the age reference *very young*---or 40, 50 or 60, etc.] you will likely experience a time of singleness and that time will likely feel like forever. If you’re like me, that time is filled with longing, emotional lows and highs, insecurity, misguided bids for attention (from males), lots of awkward and, of course, mistakes.

It took me 5 years from the time I was of age to figure out how to handle this whole single gal thing and I want to share what I learned with all you single ladies out there while all the emotions and experiences are still fresh in my mind.

Is it wrong to wait for or “expect” a husband? God created us from a man with the purpose of helping a man. We, as women, are a natural complement to a man and the desire to help and complete a man is naturally built into us. It is not wrong to desire a husband but there is a right way to deal with that desire. This brings us to the first lesson I had to learn as a single: Faith.


God has promised us so many wonderful things. We are promised a place in his heavenly kingdom and Romans says that all things will work together for the good of those called to His purpose, just to name a few. One thing that God does not promise is that you’ll find a husband by 23, or even a husband at all.

To expect that or to make your faith depend on it is idolatry and is an attempt to play the god of your own life. I fell into this form of sin while in college. I grew tired of waiting for a man to come along on God’s timing, so I briefly turned my back on Him and went with a guy who fell short of the standard I had previously set for myself based on scripture.

As it turned out playing god over my own love life turned out pretty poorly and I lost 2 years of spiritual growth that was fraught with pain, disappointment and unnecessary emotional baggage. I learned my lesson the hard way. God’s way is always the best way.

I know being single can be hard and can feel lonely but trusting in God’s plan for your life will have huge benefits in the long run and will save you from needless heartbreak along the way. If you find yourself temped to go with a guy you know God wouldn’t approve of, stop and remember is isn’t worth it. Many times that temptation pulls us most when we are lonely and vulnerable.

The second lesson I had to learn is that God is enough and I must rely on him. We were created to have a relationship with God. We need and desire the unconditional love of our Savior and Creator. God and God only can fulfill that need for love that every human is born with. Even as Christians we can stray from Him and we can feel unfulfilled. If we are not turning to God to fill that hole in our hearts, we will desperately look elsewhere for that love.

Too often we think a man will do the trick. This leads to despair in singleness and desperation to find a man. Even if there is a man, to place the entire burden of your need for God’s love on him isn’t fair to you or him. He isn’t God and even a good guy will surely disappoint you. Figuring out how to be satisfied solely in God is a wonderful incredibly freeing thing.

Read His word and meditate on His love and promises and PRAY! When you’re feeling lonely, talk to Him and ask Him to help you get through all the crazy complicated emotions that come with being a single gal. He wants to be there for you, He wants you to turn to him and He will come through for you every time. This is especially important to learn before marriage.

Someday even a wonderful husband will let you down and that shouldn’t shatter your entire world. If your identity and self-worth is primarily in God, you will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of life and marriage. I regret that I didn’t learn this third lesson until 4 years into my singleness; don’t just wait. I always sensed that I wasn’t destined to be a bachelorette forever. The passions and desires that God gave me seemed to line up nicely with being a wife and mother.

It is an honorable and biblical calling for a woman and statistically it’s in the cards for the vast majority of us. I don’t think it’s wrong to make plans for your life that will line up well with being a wife and a mother even if you are currently single. Unfortunately, I took what God had planned for me and made it an excuse to be unproductive as a single. “Why try hard at work and school when I’m just going to give it all up to be a stay-at-home mom?” “When I’m married and have kids that will be my ministry.” It can feel like your whole life is on hold when you’re single.

The change that marriage and family brings to a woman’s life is logistically more drastic than it is for a man. Our entire career and way of life can change in a few short years after meeting Mr. Right. It might seem a little futile to invest in work, ministry or the people around you when you might have to drop it all at a moment’s notice. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When I finally accepted that God was in control of my love life and I just wasn’t going to know when Mr. Right was going to come along, I stopped looking so intently at the future and I started looking around in the present. There is so much good work to do as a single. From self-improvement and character building to evangelism and ministry there are endless opportunities for single women to do God’s work.

When I finally threw myself into ministry it was a huge perspective change for me. There is so much need in the Church and in society and there I was wasting all my talents in worrying about the future. During just a year of ministry I saw several women come to know the Lord and I was lucky enough to play a role in their discovery of Christ. If I had been sitting around waiting for some guy they might not have found the truth! It wasn’t just ministry either, I was able to pour myself more into my family and work as well.

Don’t let your single years go to waste. My hope is that you’ll be able to look back on them and be thankful for the things you were able to accomplish during that time. All you need to do is try your best to do what is right by God and he’ll take care of the rest, including your future husband. Ironically enough I met my Mr. Right through one of the girls that I saw come to know Christ during my time in college ministry.

There I was, finally focused on the right things and God decided it was time for me. This is the last lesson I learned; it will happen when it happens, in God’s perfect timing. I’ve heard it said “it will happen when you least expect it,” or “you should get involved in ministry so you can find a husband.” The first one is just wrong and while the ministry is a great place to find husbands, we must be careful about our motivations.

I don’t believe it’s wrong to be on the lookout for worthy God fearing guys or to be interested in good ones that come along. We certainly don’t want to ignore Mr. Right when God brings him into our life. However, if you’ve been waiting and you’re impatient and you feel like you’re ready remember this; God knows you better than you know yourself, He knows your future husband and He knows exactly when, where, and how He will bring you two together.

Looking back on how I met my Mr. Right we can both see how God brought us together at just the right time when we were both ready. Just about every other Christian couple I admire has told me they saw God’s hand in how they were brought together as well. Remember that you can trust God completely with your future and He’s got your back in every way. Even in your loneliness you are not alone and if you simply follow God he will have amazing things in store for you.

The path may be difficult but it is always rewarding, even if we don’t see those rewards on earth. I’m praying for all you single gals. Stay strong in the Father.


With love,

Charity



Amen. So be it.

Luxuriant,

SRW

"On Fire": QUOTES OF THE DAY



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Sunday, July 27, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: 'I Think I Married the Wrong Man'

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Over the weekend...

I read an article that had me rolling my eyes as high as they can go. It was entitled "Millennial Trend Forecasting: Beta Testing Marriages". Uh-huh and what is that foolishness? Drum roll:

"We're in beta right now," may one day be used to describe a newlywed couple instead of a new app. Time, on a roll this week in the love department, argues that millennials may change the game when it comes to how we approach marriage.

This comes from a survey given in conjunction with the new USA Network drama, Satisfaction (so not exactly the Brookings Institution). Led by a team of trend researchers, the survey asked 1,000 millennials about their feelings towards, and expectations for, marriage. They also provided a number of "marriage models" and surveyed the millennials on which options they might consider. The models, which would essentially be contract agreements between couples, include:

Presidential: Vows last for another four years, but after 8 years you can elect to choose a new partner.

Real Estate: Marriage licenses are granted on 5, 7, 10 and 30 year terms, after which the marriage must be renegotiated to be extended.

Beta:
The union can be formalized or dissolved after a two-year trial period.

Twenty-one percent said they would be open to the Presidential option and 36% agreed with the Real Estate model. The most popular option was the Beta model with 46% of those surveyed saying they would being willing to consider the option. One of the arguments is that since millennials are used to having many options in every other area of their lives, why would marriage be any different?  


Ugh. Something that I tell people in counseling sessions (when they tell me that they have exhausted all ways to make their marriage work) is "I bet if there were prison sentences for divorce you'd figure it out." Honestly? A hard heart ain't too much better than incarceration; in fact, it's basically just a different form of it: "Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." (Proverbs 28:14-NKJV) Which is why divorce was allowed in the first place. A HARD HEART (Matthew 19:1-12).

The world is crazy. And delusional. And selfish. They don't do *anything* they way God intended. Marriage included. So, of course, I get why they would come up with some "beta marriage" ridiculousness.

However...

I read an article this morning that speaks that God's intention for marriage and how to stay committed to it entitled "I Think I Married the Wrong Man". It's a S-C-A-P:

Just to quickly clear this up, I definitely didn't marry the wrong man. I am married to an awesome man by the name of Cornelius and he truly loves me like Christ loves the church. He's not PERFECT by any means. but he is sure working on being a better man DAILY as I am too. He's an amazing leader, husband, father & all that other good stuff. He really considers our family and puts us first after God.

But, have I ever thought that I married the wrong person? Um. yes. How many times? Maybe 40-50 times in our 4 years of being married. Especially during our first year of marriage. I thought, Oh, God! I wish I would have married someone that was more like this or that, which was a lie because everybody has an issue so if it's not that issue, it's something else.

Let me just give you some background- as most of you know, we
waited to kiss until our wedding day.  So, you would think that BECAUSE we waited that things would be strawberries and flowers everyday afterwards-- psh, please. I realized even more that first year how IMPORTANT it is to marry a man that really loves Jesus because your marriage is going to get hit with attacks and if you don't have that solid foundation, your marriage may not make it. I seriously believe the ONLY reason that we are married to this day is because of the cross. If Jesus came and died for our sins and gave us an opportunity to be in the right relationship with Jesus-- can we not take on that same example and die to ourselves in our marriage?

Our first year was a rough year. I honestly didn't think we would make it. No, we didn't cheat on each other or anything crazy but we sure went through IT and back.
While courting, my husband worked full time at a "megachurch" and he pretty much was the chief of staff. He ran multiple departments, we had a "special" parking spot at church and had a "reserved" front row seat of a 10,000 seat church. He made great money, had a house, car and purpose. I didn't marry him for those reasons-- I married him because I believed in him, respected him, loved him and because the Lord told me to marry him. I knew that we would eventually leave and start our own ministry, I just didn't know it would be so soon.


While courting, my husband worked full time at a "megachurch" and he pretty much was the chief of staff. He ran multiple departments, we had a "special" parking spot at church and had a "reserved" front row seat of a 10,000 seat church. He made great money, had a house, car and purpose. I didn't marry him for those reasons-- I married him because I believed in him, respected him, loved him and because the Lord told me to marry him. I knew that we would eventually leave and start our own ministry, I just didn't know it would be so soon.

Three months into our marriage, my husband got extremely quiet. For about 2 weeks, he didn't say much of anything to me and it was SO hard! I quickly learned that when he gets really quiet for periods of time, it's because the Lord is dealing with him about something and it's not me (that was a huge struggle, because I didn't want him to be mad at me!). So, by week two-- I got the memo. 

Then, he came to me and told me that the Lord wanted him to quit his job and to move to Mississippi. Huh? Wait, huh? "Well, babe-- I support you. I am excited and I will go find me a pair of cowboy boots and enjoy Mississippi." You see, Cornelius could have told me that we were moving to Alaska and I would have been online looking up snowsuits. I simply believed in my husband and that He is constantly led by the Lord. So, leaving "everything" wasn't the hard part. The hard part was when we actually GOT to Mississippi. No church. No friends. Our old "pretend" friends were talking about us for leaving the church & saying that we missed God

Still trying to figure out how to leave your past, family and whatever else and become "one flesh." It was plain hard. We would get into huge fights because it was just him and I in this tiny 1-bedroom apartment and we weren't used to being together 24-7. I was working from home for a Software Hedge Accounting firm and he would pray and study 7-9 hours a day. It was a huge difference from our life before because our finances really became ONE. Then, we got pregnant. I cried because I didn't want to get pregnant (which was so selfish, but I came from the New York mindset of career first) and Cornelius was super excited. Then, 6 weeks later we miscarried. Then, my step dad suddenly passed away. (My father passed in 2000) Then, my nephew committed suicide, then, my friend suddenly had a brain aneurysm and died. All of these things hits me like a brick. Then, we had to cut back on everything because we were living on one salary so we would argue about money. All of this happened within 6 months of being married. I still didn't really trust him because I was crazy and had been lied to and cheated on by so many guys in my past, I felt like I had to keep tabs on him. He felt the same way and couldn't trust me either. We BOTH didn't do anything to make the other feel this way.. it was just an attack from our old mindset.  We were both a TRAIN WRECK to say the least. After one huge argument, we both screamed at each other, "I WANT A DIVORCE!!!"

As I balled my eyes out in the closet, I started to ponder where I could go. We live in Mississippi. I have no friends. I have nowhere to go. I can afford a hotel room for a night, but we don't really have it, so I felt trapped. I felt like I had no where to go and I felt like nobody understood me. I am stuck in this marriage and we waited to kiss.. & all we do is FIGHT. I learned that becoming "one flesh" wasn't a fairytale and because we had so much crap in our past-- that when we "work out our salvation.." it's going to be HARD sometimes. So as I sat there.. I questioned:


Did I marry the wrong one Lord? Show me God!

"No Heather, you didn't "marry the wrong one. Through this marriage, I will teach you what it means to love the way that I love-- and that is unconditionally. I will use Cornelius to show you your true self so that you can repent of your sin and truly be made in my image. And did you know that I created Cornelius and I can give you the insight on him? On how to deal wisely with him and how to win him over? I created him."

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

God, YOU know Cornelius. I'm over here trying to figure out this man.. and you can show me how to have a peaceful marriage. At WHAT point did I pick up my life Lord? Oh Gosh, I'm so sorry. I repent. Teach me how to be a woman after your own heart in every single way.

Galatians 3:3: How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?


I had picked up my own life at some point and then I started to see the fruit of it. I was operating as a wife in my own human effort and ability and constantly came up short in submission, in loving him, in respecting him and a peaceful marriage. I nagged him, tried to control what he ate, how he dressed and just about everything. What's crazy is this:: I contemplated, "God, did I marry the wrong one?" AS I NAGGED the mess out of my husband. Isn't it ironic how we focus on what the other person "should" be doing while we totally reject and ignore our portion? Even in my selfish prayers of "asking my husband" to change-- God began to really deal with my heart. And, finally I let Him. He began to show me where I was wrong and that he reveals weaknesses in my husband-- not for me to bash him, but for me to pray for him. 

Did you know that when you PRAY for your husband, you're actually praying for yourself? You are one flesh! How beautiful is this? So, I started to bind some things up & I went before the Lord about BOTH of our weaknesses. Instead of bashing Cornelius, I started to pray earnestly for him and I stayed on my face before the Lord. During the day-- if he tried to argue or there was an opportunity to nag-- I would just shut up. I would silently cry out to the Lord and I would go to the bathroom or my quiet time space. "Lord, you know what I've been praying and that conversation didn't line up with my prayers. So, God, give me the grace to love him. Give me the grace to understand him. Show me my ways Jesus. Help me to live for you in everyday." You may be screaming, but "WHAT about YOU Heather?! Why is it that WE always have to change." Well, honey-- somebody has to change. And because you're reading this-- maybe God is encouraging you to be the bigger person & exercise that love muscle? Satan is AFTER your godly relationships. He's AFTER your marriage & you're just letting him tap-dance on your life. STOP it. LOVE back & HARD.

When you get married, you are CLOSE to another person. You see all of their weaknesses, flaws, problems, joys, strengths and struggles. So, what do you do when you're that close? Beat them up and criticize them, or do you get on your face on behalf of your spouse and cry out to God? Some of you are so mad at God because of your marriage that you don't even spend time with Him anymore. You have all together given up on your marriage and God. Sis, it's time to get back to the heart of worship. If you feel far away from God-- someone moved.


James 4:8: "Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world."

So, draw close to God. AND then, He will come close to you. Know that He is always, always, always there. But if He feels far away, you most likely pushed Him to that position while placing things over him. As you continue to read that same verse, it says that your loyalty is divided between God and that wedge is what is separating you from His sweet presence and wisdom.

You may have questions.

1. But Heather, I married an unbeliever. What do I do?

 

Now, this isn't an excuse to marry a unbeliever. If you're dating or engaged to someone you're unequally yoked with-- I encourage you to end that relationship. Don't make excuses that "you're going to save him" because you cannot save him sis. There's a chance that he may never get saved and that he will resent the God you love so much for the next 40 years.

Back to the question-- I know it's hard, but "Win him over with your quiet & gentle spirit." based on 1 Peter 3:4. It won't be easy and it's easier SAID than done but if you want a great marriage, we must do what the bible says in regards to bringing peace to the home.

2. You don't know my husband. He's crazy! He refuses to meet my needs!

 

I can totally understand how you feel. I have felt the same way before. My husbands love language is acts of service & my love language is touch. So, for a LONG time-- I felt like he was ignoring my love language as he ran around doing "acts of service." We have to remember that when we get married, it no longer becomes about "my needs." My best advice would be to stop focusing on what you think he needs to do and focus on Jesus. Yes, its that simple. I watched my marriage change when I stopped nagging my husband, having stinky attitudes, and complaining all the time. Ask the Lord to help you, He's not surprised by whats happening.

3. My husband is cheating on me. What do I do?

 

My heart breaks that you're going through this huge test. I couldn't imagine what you're going through right now. My advice to you would first and foremost is to believe God for reconciliation. If your husband is repentant, try to find counseling collectively & separately. The biggest hurtle with this test is trusting and and forgiveness. FORGIVE people when they sin against you. If you do, your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive people their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14, 15). This may seem impossible, but with God's grace, the victim can make it an act of the will in obedience to God's Word. To carry bitterness will affect attitudes, emotions, and the desire to obey God, and it will negatively affect everyday decisions. But the grace of God will greatly minister to your needs. We must let God minister to our needs-- running from your marriage into the arms of another man for payback or quitting on God will get you nowhere. Not forgiving & casting your care on God will birth a unforgiving heart that will soon be tormented with vengeful thoughts, anger, wrath, etc. Then, as God leads, forgiveness and reconciliation can follow. Even if this takes time, every effort must be made to forgive and reconcile. (See Matthew 5:23-24.)

4. How long...do I have to keep doing the right thing until he changes?
 

Well, what is your motive for doing the right thing? For a cookie? I don't mean to be harsh sis, but if your motive is based on conditions, you've already lost the battle. We must do what we do out of real, unconditional love-- not out of a ".. he better respond this way or else" attitude. Although your words change, your demeanor may stay the same-- so he can sense your "funkiness." I'm always reminded of the grace Jesus gives me when I want to withhold grace from my husband.

5. Heather, why are you telling me everything I need to do and you aren't blaming this man!
 

Well, your man isn't reading this, you are sis. Again, lets get the focus off of you & put it on Jesus. Have you given up hope that the Lord can fix your problem? Remember that nothing is impossible for Him. He can restore, heal and give life again.

I love you all, I really do. I want nothing more than to see you joyful and fulfilling the will of God for your life and strife in your relationships could hinder that. If your hardened against your husband then you are also hardened against God. TRUST me that I am taking up my cross on a DAILY basis with my very STRONG personality-husband and praying for him to become more like Christ. You're not alone in this journey.


I know some married women check out the blog. I hope Heather's testimony (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP) reminds you that God is involved in your marriage with you.

Single ladies, marriage already brings forth it's own specialized warfare. Therefore, marry a good "fighter". Choose a man who is a believer (preferably a disciple-John 8:31-32), who does not violate you before marriage and who does not consider divorce as an option (not as a cliche'---literally). And then still hold this article close. I Corinthians 13:8 tells us that love never fails. So when a divorce happens, that's not love fault. Or God's will. Marital covenant is to be forever.

Because love is of God.

And God has no end.

Luxuriant,

SRW

Thursday, July 24, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: '7 Reasons Women Fall For The Wrong Man'

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I'll say this...

It's been my personal experience that the more you trust God and honor the mind, body and spirit that he blessed you with, the less "wrong" works. On any level.

Here's another S-C-A-P piece. From a man's perspective, by the way:

I often get questions from women who are deeply hurt or upset from the pain caused by a man. Now, I am of the belief that 90% of pain is self-inflicted from our own selfish choices, desires, and human weaknesses. However, more often than not, our selfish desires or an empty place causes us to be in the arms of people we shouldn’t be with. We have the story of wanting someone to be everything *we* wanted them to be… Instead of just allowing them to be who they are and making a choice to love them unconditionally or step aside so someone else can.    

When women reach out to me about falling for the wrong man over and over again I also ask, “Have you been honest with yourself about the condition of your life and heart?” Often men and women seek the opposite sex to do what only God can do. I’ve been guilty of this myself in my life on more than one occasion. We all have the tendency to do this if we are not careful about our motives and the condition of our heart. When we are hurting or healing from another relationship, we should never attempt to be in a relationship or allow our emotions to get involved with anyone. We have to understand choosing the wrong person is on us and not on the other person. Refrain from playing victim or pointing blame, but you should always judge yourself and make the corrections to usher in a healthy and happy ending for your love. We all deserve love and those who need it the most often deserve it the least. Love like you have never been hurt and love with everything God has placed on the inside of you.

Here are a few reasons why women fall for the wrong man:

1. Ladies, you know how people always say, “Actions speak louder than words?” Well, this very saying is getting a lot of you in big trouble. Yes, actions do speak, but please understand actions also lie and in some cases lie more than words. Actions only speak louder when the heart and motives of the person pursing you is pure. If that is not the case, then what you have is manipulation and womanizing. Many men already know they can fool you with actions and words, so stop believing actions mean anything unless it’s done consistently over a long period of time. Don’t forget this consistency also includes you. Your job is not to sit around and watch what he does while you do nothing. That is selfish and speaks of fear, etc.

2. You have sex with a man and become closer to him than you really think you are. Sex causes soul ties and makes you emotional, thus you feel closer to a man than you really are. I don’t have to tell you how to avoid this mistake you, because you already know. Good or great sex will always cause a woman to be with a man longer than she should and be with the wrong man.

3. Like Eve, women are moved by beautiful things like shoes, curtains, homes, candles and a handsome man. There is more to a man than his looks. If you fall easy for nice looking men, find out why and make the correction. Shallowness will lead you to shallow men.

4. You are a 30+ year old woman who is worried about being married, having kids before a certain age, or believing the lie there is something wrong with you being single. Of course there is nothing wrong with you being single and, if you’re truly walking in faith, you shouldn’t be worried about those things. When you do worry, you will settle for the wrong man or make the wrong choice in a man because your goal is marriage and kids versus hearing from God about who is for you. This can be so psychologically and emotionally draining. So, please don’t allow this to happen.

5. You allow your self-esteem or insecurities to allow you to settle for anyone who gives you a lot of attention. A man shouldn’t have to make you feel secure in yourself or about yourself. You should feel this way because you are a child of God. I know we all have insecurities we need to grow and work on, but don’t allow them to cause you to have bad relationships, push good people away, or cause you to fall for the wrong man.

6. Thinking you can change a man is a very common mistake and it will always cause women to stay with men who have no desire to change. Keep in mind there are men who do want to change and become better men, so I am not talking about those guys. I am talking about those who have no desire for anything more than they are already doing. Nothing.

7. You are afraid of being alone so you are with men for companionship, sex, a warm body, dates, etc… Of course, when you do this, you can’t expect anything good to come from it. Thus, when something bad is the outcome, you will result to playing victim and adding to the hurt or bitterness you already carry in your heart.

Of course this is not a comprehensive list, but I pray one or two things have caused you to judge yourself and start today with attempting to become a better human being. People need your best and not your worst. 

In his love, Quentin


Definitely a list worth praying over. And about. And through.

Luxuriant,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: 'The 11 Differences Between Dating a Boy vs. a Man'

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 Yeah...

Let me tell it, a really big difference between dating "a boy" vs. "a man" is that a boy dates. A man courts.

That said...

Here's a great copy and paste from the author who also penned the piece below this one. It's a S-C-A-P:

When I was in my early twenties, if a guy acted aloof, called back only sometimes and showed minimal interest, I would get hooked. You could say I was addicted to the bad boy/ unavailable boy/ player. I was drawn to what psychotherapist, Ken Page terms as “attractions of deprivation” – when we are drawn to people who embody the worst emotional characteristics of our parents. Basically, the theory explains that we are attracted to people who can wound us the same way we were wounded in our childhood, as our psyche tries to recreate the past void and save us by changing its ending.

“The child in us believes that if the original perpetrators — or their current replacements — finally change their minds, apologize, or make up for that terrible rupture of trust, we can escape from our prison of unworthiness. Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for, but our unconscious draws us to the qualities which hurt us the most as children.”  - Psychology Today

So games used to work on me because 1) I had unresolved daddy issues and 2) At the tender age of 20, I was trying to figure out who I was and to top it off, I was ridden with insecurity and a low sense of self-worth.

But somewhere in between the passing of a decade, something changed.

I learned to love myself. I became independent, confident, and started to value my self-worth. I went through hardships and heartbreaks and picked myself back up which built my strength and courage. Instead of relying on beauty as my source of empowerment, I focused on basing my empowerment on my intelligence, successes, values, contributions to the world and how I helped others. In a sense, I finally grew up. I went from being a girl to becoming a woman. And as a woman, you are attracted to very different things than you are as a girl.

A girl is attracted to boys. A woman is attracted to men. Now, this has nothing to do with the actual age of a person. I’m referring to maturity, life vision and stage of life. In fact, some people regardless of their age, will never really grow up. You can switch the genders in this post and most points would likely still apply. Or, read this post on
The 11 Differences Between Dating a Girl vs a Woman“.

If you are a girl (lack independence, are ruled by insecurity, lack self-respect, throw tantrums, have princess syndrome, don’t have strong values or boundaries and can’t hold yourself on your own) then expect that you will attract only boys. However, if you are a woman (independent, ambitious, knows your worth and value, has a strong moral compass, is considerate and an able communicator and doesn’t let insecurity dominate your psyche), then you should be dating a man. And if you can’t spot the difference just yet, here are some pointers.
 

A man knows what he wants, and goes for it. A boy may have somewhat of an idea, but not really. He doesn’t think too much about it, and even if he does, doesn’t exert much effort to get it. A boy is passive, a man is assertive.
    

A man plans for his future and is working towards building a foundation and infrastructure in order to have a family (at some point in his life) or another purpose or passion.  A boy lives only in the moment and his plans are mostly around which bar he’s going to hit up on the weekend.
   

A man looks for a woman with intelligence, who is supportive, grounded and encompasses a shared set of values when choosing a partner. A boy cares mostly only for girls who are hot, wild and exciting.
    

A man knows a good woman when he meets one and will take initiative to get to know her. A boy may make an attempt if you’re lucky, but gives up before ever really trying.
    

A man has the courage to have uncomfortable conversations. He is honest with his intentions and lets people know where they stand. A boy avoids. He ignores confrontation or any serious talks about feelings. Instead of dealing with a situation, he runs away from it or creates drama or excuses to mask the fact he’s not that into you or a relationship.
    

A man knows when to invest in a woman and jump in with two feet. A boy is always “testing” – he doesn’t fully commit because he never knows if he is quite ready. But the truth is, because he is a boy, regardless of who he meets, he will never be ready due to the stage of life he is in.

A man knows how to have a good time and be social, but is often busy making strides in his career and building his life. A boy is getting crunk with his buddies at the bar every weekend.
    

A man takes the time to reflect on the type of man he wants to be, the example he wants to leave and the vision for his life. He has put thought into his values. A boy has not established his moral compass or values and consequently, is often inconsistent.
    

A man has integrity. He means what he says, and says what he means. He has follow through and actions his promises. And if he can’t he has the guts to tell you why. A boy makes promises but doesn’t follow through.
    

 A man is afraid of rejection but will put himself out there anyway. A boy is afraid of rejection and acts passive so that his pride and ego won’t ever get too banged up.

Now, a lot of these differences require taking the time to know someone to figure out if the apple of your eye is indeed a man, or a mere boy. However, one of the quickest filters that you can notice from the beginning is this:
 

A boy plays games. A man doesn’t.

*To clarify, when I’m referring to “games” I mean mind games.


Selah. And amen.

Luxuriant,

SRW

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Lust at First Sight'

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I've had a couple of people tell me lately...

That they are about to marry someone they barely know. To commit your *lifetime* to someone after only a few weeks or even a couple of months is risky on a good day, foolish on a bad one.

That said, that's why I wanted to share this (S-C-A-P) article. I feel her. Completely.

Amy: I’m in love. I met my soulmate!

Wise friend: But, when did you two meet?

Amy: Last week. But this one’s different…

Ahh, the words I used to proclaim as a love starved teenager. After mistaking lust for love time and time again, I think I’ve finally learned a valuable lesson: take your time.

It takes time for you to really know someone, to build trust and a foundation. When a relationship is still in its infancy, your brain is buzzing with feel good chemicals and your judgment can be clouded when making such bold statements yet alone drastic decisions. Studies show that when you first start to date someone, a chemical releases in your brain which is the same chemical released when someone eats chocolate or snorts cocaine. Simply put, it’s a feel-good chemical that leaves you craving the other person just like you would when taking an addictive substance. It’s argued that it takes approximately 8 months for these initial chemical reactions to wear off, which is why you may find that after such a period of time, things about your partner start annoying you although they never did before. The lust goggles are off, and reality starts to set in.

However, I’ve known a friend (or two) who has made drastic decisions like getting engaged or married within just a few months of dating without bothering to let the chemically charged phase to pass. Actually, just recently, a friend announced the news that she was madly in love and engaged just after two months of dating. And when a relationship is in fun mode, no serious talks about life goals, financials and all that other “adult stuff” that come with the decision of creating a partnership are usually had.

Call me a pessimist; call me a realist, but I don’t believe in love at first sight. While I’m sure it has happened for a handful of lucky people in this world, I think exceptions aside; it doesn’t exist for the general population. I do believe, however, in lust at first sight and validation by association- meaning you seek validation from your partner due to a self-deficiency or unfulfilled need you have within.

And maybe it is true love and that waiting a few months or a few years won’t make you (and in this case, my friend) any surer later versus now. But if that’s the case, then what is the rush? If you are going to spend a lifetime with someone, what harm does it do to be extra sure and wait a few months? I understand the feeling when you’ve met someone who you feel finally understands you, and you want to spend every waking moment with the person. and  by date five you already know the name of your future children. I’ve also been mistaken many times, after seeing my so-called prince in testing situations and seeing things break after an ebb.

I’ve learned that even in platonic relationships, it takes time, ups and downs and different situations to build a foundation and to understand the other person. Since I have a rather extremist personality, I have made the mistake of jumping to a conclusion way to early only to be disappointed in the end when you realize that the person wasn’t as great as you first imagined them to be.

We’ve all heard the adage, “easy come, easy go” and while it may sound cliché, I believe it to be true. The relationships that take time, investment and eventually have a history are a lot harder to break and come tumbling down when the going gets tough.  But the ones that are built on a whirlwind romance, they can come crashing down a lot easier since there was no foundation to begin with.


Indeed!

Luxuriant,

SRW

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEOS) 'Stop Praising Boyfriends'

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Uh-huh...

Most of y'all already know my views on boyfriends. One of my spiritual brothers (who also happens to be a relationship coach) sent this to me just now. It's always nice to hear a man share his views on the topic:

The longer (and older) version:




The shorter (and newer) version:




I dig it when he said "You're taking *yourself* off of the market. I say all of the time, women are playing a huge part in why men won't jump the broom. *Jump it for what* when you're already being a "wife"---without God's permission or a marital commitment from a man. Indeed, indeed.

"Close your legs and open your mind. Love yourself...stop praising these grown boys."

Truth hurts.  It delivers too!

SRW

"On Fire": QUOTES OF THE DAY

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