Friday, July 31, 2015

"On Fire": You Should Be EASY and AMAZING (Yep. I Said It!)


I've been coming across some Bob Marley quotes on relationships that have had me be like "OK Marley, I hear you." Case in point:

It tripped me out, the first time I realized that cowards are on the list of folks that will be a part of the second death in Revelation (21:8)! Don't settle for a man who doesn't have the courage to love you and the courage to act on it (I John 3:18)!

Anyway, when I heard that Bob Marley was also the author of the "easy amazing" quote, I knew it was something that needed to be expounded upon.

Only, this is going to be with a bit of a twist...

If you've been reading these long enough, you know I'm the gal who believes that dating/courting tends to be a lot more complicated and dramatic than it really needs to be. In the Garden of Eden, there were no games or chasing or manipulation. Adam had a relationship with God (first) and a purpose (second). *God decided* it was time for Adam to get hooked up with a wife. He put Adam into a state of unconsciousness. He made the Woman. *God brought the Woman to her man (Adam)*. Adam acknowledged her as his woman. And it was a wrap. (Genesis 1-2)

So whenever women telling me about how much a man needs to chase her, my mind tends to immediately go to *the curses* following Adam and the Woman's disobedience. It's *because of sin* that Adam had to toil for provision (Genesis 3). For this reason, it's still my belief that a man shouldn't have to kill himself in order to get a wife; that things should be a lot *easier* than that.


In fact, one of my favorite love stories reminds me of all of this. Back in 2009, I did a blog of stories from various married couples. You can click on the link to read more "So, How Did You Know?" entries from husbands and wives. For now, I'm going to copy and paste Duawne's (the husband) and Carmen's (the wife) story of how they came to be. For the record, they're still married and Carmen is currently carrying their fourth child:

Wedding Anniversary Date: October 7, 2001

How he knew his wife was the one for him:

I met my wife at age 19. I had just transferred from a small college in Maryland, to an even smaller college in Alabama. What I noticed first about her were her eyes. Not so much the color, though they are beautiful, but more so their intensity. When I looked into her eyes, I could see my future. Funny thing is, I don’t remember becoming friends with her. I just remember being friends with her. Ours was a great friendship because neither of us was available. I was dating someone else back home and so was she. This allowed us to get to know each other on an intimate level without physical intimacy, which was the foundation for what we share today.

I remember feeling comfortable with her from the very beginning. Being with her was not just fun, but easy. Neither of us had to fight for the other’s attention. It was generously given. I did not know then that I would marry her because I would not allow my mind to think of her as anything but a friend. Remember, I had a girlfriend at home who I loved and respected. But I grew to love my wife on a completely different level than my girlfriend. I just loved sharing the same space with her. I loved knowing that this really pretty girl was so incredibly cool at the same time. I loved that I could talk to her about whatever, and I really loved looking out for her. I even told her once that my children would call her 'Auntie' because I knew we would always be in each others lives. But I’m glad that they call her 'Mommy' instead.

10 years would pass between our meeting and our marriage. Long story short, she knew I was hers before I knew she was mine. Most women do. But when I knew...I really knew. Having fostered a solid friendship, I was afraid of exploring a relationship with her. I didn’t want to risk ruining what we had. But when she began dating a guy she had known all of her life, a casual friend of mine, I then realized that the possibility of us ever dating may never be. That made me uneasy.

At a wedding of a mutual friend we reconnected. She was a bridesmaid and I was the singer. As she came down the aisle, I was in awe of her. Though we had kept in touch we had not seen each other for a few years. She was now a woman – a very beautiful woman. She was the first bridesmaid to enter and I was singing, 'I want to spend tomorrow here with you', as she walked in. That day God gave me a foreshadow of what was to come. I saw her dressed in white coming to vow herself to me. For the rest of the day, I could not be away from her and when it was time to leave I did not want to. I always missed her when either of us left but this time I felt like pieces of me stayed with her. That day she took my heart home with her and didn’t even know it. I was afraid to tell her.

Nearly two years passed before I asked God who my wife was. I wanted to be with His choice for me. I had been dating and up to this point, all of my choices had proven to be inadequate. Unknowingly, I had been comparing every relationship to the woman my soul loves.

When I asked God, He answered me immediately. He said, 'Carmen'. It was as if He had been waiting for me to ask. 'How did I know it was God?' you may ask? It’s just like when my mom calls me on the phone. I don’t have to check the caller ID to figure out who I’m talking to. Because I’m in relationship with her I know her voice. And even if we were in a noisy, crowded room, I would still recognize her voice above all others because I’ve spent years with her. Her voice is familiar to me.

The same is true of God. When you spend time with Him you get to know Him and how He speaks as it relates to you. Not only did God speak it, but He also confirmed it through the mouths of three others. It was made more than clear that Carmen was His choice for me. And when I reflect on the decade of friendship we shared prior to our covenant day, she had always been my choice for me as well.”

What he loves about her mind: It's sharp and ever-seeking to expand. It is attentive to whatever the task. Be it one or many, she starts smart and finishes strong.

What he loves about her body: In her eyes is God’s reflection. In her smile there’s a radiance quite like the sun. In her arms there is such safety. In her heart is a special place for me alone.

What he loves about her spirit: It's free. It soars without any reservations and is always focused on the big picture. It sees the good in all things.

Duawne's advice to single men about marriage:  
"My brothers, your standard of perfection will never measure up to God’s. Some of you are afraid to trust Him with choosing a mate for you because you know He does not have the same hang ups that you do. When you realize the weight of a husband’s role, you will not want to make that choice based on your own intellect. The husband is called to love. Love is service. Love will carry the weight, and keep believing when everything looks hopeless. Love will not give up when your wife wants to. Love will be patient with her as she is transforming, and will be kind to her even when she’s not. Love seeks no glory but will take the back seat and let her shine. Love will keep you faithful even when it’s being thrown at you. The level of spirituality in your household is directly proportionate to your faith in God. If you don’t believe your marriage will be successful, how can she?

As well, a husband’s role is to lead. I guarantee your wife will follow you if you lead her, but you must first be led of God. I have noticed that if I don’t lead on some things, my wife will not. Not because she cannot, but because she’s not supposed to. I am responsible for bringing God into our home, not her. And as with Adam, if there is a deviation from God’s plan for our marriage, He will come to me and ask what happened. When it’s all said and done and the trumpet sounds God will ask me, 'Where is Carmen? Where is the family I gave you?' I want to be able to say, 'Right here next to me. You’ve trusted me with them and I’ve led them to You'.

A husband is the house band. You are the one responsible for holding it all together. Do not take that lightly. Do not allow yourself to be displaced or replaced. The enemy wants to ruin your marriage. Don’t let him. Cover your wife completely and never give her a reason to question your love and loyalty to her. When you do this, God will bless your union and your marriage will be a testament to the Kingdom and not a deterrent from it.


Bookmark that...

Wedding Anniversary Date: October 7, 2001

How she knew her husband was the one for her:

1990 - What’s funny is that I don’t remember meeting my husband. It’s funny because my husband is strikingly gorgeous and many of the women I know remember meeting him. I just remember knowing him.

We met at a Christian college in Huntsville, AL where many people go expecting to find their mate. Not me! I didn’t want to live in the States. I just wanted to go to school, get my degree, and then go back home to work.

My future husband and I had an immediate connection; a chemistry that others looking at us could see. This connection was strictly platonic, however, because we both had significant others. Yeah, we were attracted to each other, but neither of us crossed the line because we both took our commitments seriously. Watching this man stay faithful to his girlfriend only made him more attractive and would be the foundation for my faith in his commitment to me.

We were inseparable. We spent many hours laughing, talking and even singing together (we stood next to each other in the school choir). I felt like I could be myself with him. I wasn’t afraid to show him my frailties because he made me feel safe. I remember thinking, 'I want to marry a man like this.' I had never met a man like this before. He was not just trying to 'act' like a Christian, but really trying to BE a Christian. He was a man who would open car doors and try and run ahead of you to open doors to buildings. Now mind you, this man was barely 20-years-old when we became friends, but he showed such godly maturity. God heard my mind speak, and it was during this time that God began to tell me that he was my husband.

Then he left. He left our college to go and start his music career. I missed him like crazy. My friend was gone and there was no one to fill his place, even though my 'boyfriend' arrived soon after.

My friend and I still stayed in contact with each other. I went to his graduation (1994) , he went to mine (1996) and at each occasion people would say, 'When are you and Duawne getting together?’ I would smile and try not to respond, while thinking in my head, 'When God says so.'

Then there was the time when I came to visit him in Nashville and we went out to eat. We were talking and out of the blue, he said, 'Carmen, when are we going to cut the crap?' Well, I nearly choked on my dessert. 'What do you mean?; I said trying to be calm, while my heart was racing. Somehow he got out of answering the question. We both changed the subject and acted like nothing had happened.

I don’t know where the time went, but it was 10 years between the time we met and the time we got married. I take that back I do know where it went. It went to stepping out of God’s will on both of our parts. Making mistakes and learning life’s lessons. During these years I read a lot (even some of the books that Shellie has listed). I wanted to improve myself and get ready for my husband.

1997 – After growing in God and trying to better myself and just be happy with me, I wrote a poem about my husband and me finally being together forever. I shared this poem with no one.

2000 - I decided that I was tired of messing up God’s plan for my life and since this was a new millennium, I decided to reconsecrate my life to the Lord. I went to the beach and sang 'I Surrender All' and cried. I was tired…tired of trying to do things my own way. By October, I didn’t see any major things happening with my love life. I decided I would go on a 10-day fast. This fast was to give me strength. Strength to tell the guy I was dating, 'Goodbye' because nothing was happening AND 'Goodbye' to Duawne. At the end of the fast, I was intending to tell Duawne, 'Even though we haven’t dated, we aren’t going to. Goodbye.' I had finally given up on the idea of us ever being together. God knew that I was serious and that I had FINALLY surrendered ALL.

God said, 'Not so!'

During my fast, Duawne called me. What?!? I had been in Bermuda for four years and we had spoken infrequently, but that night Duawne asked me all sorts of personal questions about life. How many kids I wanted...where I would live if I didn’t live in Bermuda...if I knew who my husband was...if I thought he was a godly man. What?!? Where was all of this coming from? At the time I didn’t realize I was being 'interviewed', but I woke up the next morning singing Fred Hammond’s 'Thank you, Lord' in my spirit.

Two days later, he called me back and asked me to spend his birthday and Christmas with him. That was the beginning of a rapid and wildly exciting time in my life. We spent seven months dating, three months engaged and our day of destiny is celebrated every year on October 7th. We got married in 2001.

What she loves about his mind: My husband is a creative genius. He’s a great writer. He writes and sings songs given by God to bless this world.

What she loves about his body: EVERYTHING!!!. OK...OK seriously. My husband is gorgeous. He is 6'4”, with dark chocolate and fine. I love his eyes; they are dark and deep. I love his hands; they are gentle yet firm. I really love his lips, too.

What she loves about his spirit: My husband is a God chaser. He is always seeking God’s will for his life and direction from the Holy Spirit.

Carmen's advice to single women about marriage:  
“Prepare yourself to be a woman of God. He has to be your first mate. Wait on the Lord. It was completely out of character for me not to tell Duawne how I felt about him. I have messed up many relationships telling people how I felt. God knew that if I had told Duawne I knew he was my husband in 1997 he was run, very fast and very far. Tell God how you feel about your husband---your future mate. He’ll honor you if you are honoring Him, and if it is the right one. Some more advice is that you make sure he is your friend. There we will be times when you get right on each other’s last nerve. But when he’s your friend you always make up. And with benefits, now.”

Because my late fiance was friends with Duawne back when we all were attending MTSU (Damien, Duawne and myself, not Carmen), I remember when Duawne was in the "She's amazing...and just my friend" stage. I also remember Damien being like "Dude. Have you *seen* Carmen?" There was a suit that Carmen used to wear that, let's just say earned her major (MAJOR) props with Damien (LOL)!

And as I became closer to Duawne and Carmen following the passing of Damien, I also witnessed a lot of the transitioning...more from Carmen's side than Duawne's. And you know what? If someone were to ask me how to sum up their love journey leading to the altar, I would have to say it's a true testament of *timing* (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Acts 1:7-Message) and that things shouldn't be *hard*. When God's doing the matchmaking, things actually should be *easy*.

Uh-huh. What was it again that Duawne said about being with Carmen?


Here's a video of them today (well, back in summer of 2014):
That's why, when I read a quote like Bob Marley's, I tend to see it through a different kind of lens.

A woman should have standards.
A woman should not give a man what is only her husband's.
(Proverbs 4:23, I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message)
But she still needs to be easy to be with!

Easy: not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effort; free from pain, discomfort, worry, or care; providing or conducive to ease or comfort; comfortable; fond of or given to ease; easygoing; not harsh or strict; lenient; not burdensome or oppressive; not difficult to influence or overcome; compliant

Just this week, I was talking to two single guys who are pretty hot commodities around these parts about why they're still single, what it would take for that to change, etc. One of the things they both said is sometimes they get weary of women because everything is always so dramatic. One even said that he's starving for female companionship in the form of friendship but so many women have an "all or nothing" approach.

I'll stand up and say that it took me a while to realize that a man wanting to be friends is not *a demotion*; it is *foundational*. And when things start from an organic place like friendship, *if God sees fit for the relationship to become more* (get your eyes and expectations off of "dude" and point them both towards the Lord!--Philippians 4:6-7), it will be a healthier kind of love and connection.

Bob Marley is right in the sense that a woman who knows that she's the temple of the Holy Spirit will not allow a man to desecrate her via sexual sin. A woman who knows her worth is not *easy* to bed up and yes, she is amazing.

But as you're praying (I Thessalonians 5:17) and pondering (Proverbs 4:26) about your own journey towards your "Ish" (Hebrew for man and husband simultaneously), take out a moment to think about if you've been making things *easier* or *harder*.

Do you have a habit of making things difficult?
Can men feel comfortable around you?
Are you easygoing?

Do you help to cause burdens or lift them?

Men are not just looking for women who are amazing...

Wait. Let me start over...

One of the things that makes a woman truly amazing is that she's drama-free...

She's not difficult.
She's comfortable.
She's easygoing and not filled with burdens.

As you're continuing to pray about you and "him"...

Let Duawne and Carmen's journey remind you of the importance of friendship...
The purpose of hearing from the Lord...
And the beauty of his timing...

And then get on your knees and ask God to help you not to make things hard...
To be(come) the kind of woman who is both EASY and AMAZING!



1 comment:

  1. Whew Shellie! I've been waiting on you to post a blog because some of the things I emailed you about were confirmed in this blog! I got so used to hearing another blogger I follow say "God wouldn't reveal who your husband is to you without revealing to the husband first" which is where I got the whole 'man should pursue me first' mentality, so seeing this was very refreshing! Thank you for your insight and I will use this as a reminder to make some things 'easy' :)