Thursday, October 22, 2015
There's nothing that needs to be said other than 1) pray for recording artist Lecrae's protection. *Clearly* he's a spiritual warrior and Satan comes *hard* for those and 2) share this with men, especially single men, that you know and women, especially single women, who desire marriage. A bar has been set. Actually raised. Via this message.
GOD STUFF! GOOD SEED. LET IT TAKE ROOT!
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."---Psalm 147:3(NKJV)
I'm a signs and wonders girl (Daniel 4:2-3) and I've seen too much copy over the past few days on this topic to not "shout it out". If some of y'all read my piece on getting my heart pieces back this past June, then you already know that I'm a huge fan and supporter of *fully resolving the past* before ever trying to get into a relationship with someone else.
I'm also a firm believer that some folks aren't in new relationships because they are still, emotionally, in their old one. Like Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26), they are "paralyzed" because there is something within their past that...needs to be addressed.
Yep. Personally, I discern that far too many marriages are jacked up, right at this very moment, because more couples didn't...heal from their ex(es), forgive their ex(es)...make peace with their ex(es). That resulted in them either picking a partner out of their brokenness or bitterness (which is like trying to make a wise decision when you're drunk), not trusting their partner due to past unforgivingness or always causing drama because they're comparing their partner to someone else.
And real talk, if past relationships consisted of sexual compromise and disobedience (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message), even more praying, purging and effort needs to be put into the process so that *real healing* can take place. No matter how much the world lies (and it's *a lot), there's no such thing as "casual sex" in the sense of there not being serious consequences and implications, especially spiritually, to having sex with someone God did not give you permission to (Matthew 19:6). This is a part of the reason why the Word 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." (I Corinthians 6:18-NKJV)
I honestly think that's a big part of what my first book was all about; why God made sure that it happened. It was so that I could heal. Most of you probably know that I've had four abortions and before Inside of Me came out, I contacted the fathers to share with them what I had written. Their real names aren't in the book but it doesn't matter. I still wanted them to get a heads up and make sure that, as much as possible, they were at peace---that we had made peace. It was needed and necessary for all of us.
And then this year, I got a BIG CHUNK OF MY HEART back from my first. *sigh* Virgins reading this, stay not only "not penetrated"...STAY PURE. The loyalty that a lot of us had for our first "love" is exactly what God wanted our *only husband* to have!
I recently checked out an article entitled "6 Steps to Completing Relationships". I really like that the author used the word "completing":
Complete: having all parts or elements; lacking nothing; whole; entire; full; finished; ended; concluded; thorough; entire; total; undivided, uncompromised, or unmodified
So, ask yourself a few questions...
When you look back on your past relationships...
1) Do you feel whole and healed?
2) Do you believe that things are finished and concluded?
3) Is there anything that's been compromised at the expense of your peace of mind? Meaning, have you said/addressed everything that *you feel* needs to be said for the purpose of fulling moving forward?
One way to "gut check" that is to read the article. Here are the six things that he said needs to happen:
Appreciating What You Love and Will Miss
My process of doing this came in the form of a letter that was published in my first book. I'll share it at the bottom of this message. For now, reflect back on your own past relationships. Did you do all of these things? If not, take it from the author and myself that something has not been completed...*and it needs to be*. Otherwise, you'll find yourself doing what another author speaks of in "Overlappers: When they start a new relationship just before your breakup":
Overlappers, don’t gain any insights from their relationships. Instead they just ‘transfer’ and assume that new surroundings and a clean slate means problem solved, as if to suggest that they had no contribution and have nothing to learn.
No one has the whole heart of a non-forgiver or an overlapper. They are not healed or healthy enough for that to be the case. Perhaps that's a big part of the reason why the Word says "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:4-NKJV) As I was sharing in a devotional this week, patience isn't about simply waiting. Check it:
Patience: the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like; an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay
Are you waiting on a husband?
Or is God waiting on you to become patience with the process of becoming complete enough to be a wife?
And does that include resolving the past...so that you can really and truly move into your future?
COMPLETING. THE. PAST.
Here's the letter/poem that I was talking about earlier:
A Letter to an Ex-boyfriend
By Shellie R. Warren
"Though the companion of your choice were in all other respects worthy, yet he has not accepted the truth for this time, he is an unbeliever and you are forbidden of Heaven to unite yourself with him. To connect with an unbeliever is to place yourself on Satan's ground. You grieve the Spirit of God and forfeit his protection".
There's not much to say after that, is there? For months now I've been grieving the loss of you and begging a pleading with God to give me you. One day God led me to a passage out of a book entitled, Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery and Divorce.
How can you start off on the wrong foot and not expect to be on a crooked path's journey? You can't, not without God's help and I obviously was not inquiring of Him as of what to do. If I had, I wouldn't have experienced as much pain as I did.
I really loved you.
Despite the other women, the lies, the selfishness, the moodiness, the broken promises...I still loved you.
When God finally revealed to me what love truly was about, I became confused. You mean love's not supposed to hurt, I'm not designed to feel lack in a relationship and love is actually a healthy thing?
But I loved you and it felt anything but good. And if I'm really honest with myself the only time I felt loved, wanted, desired, appreciated was when you were in my bed. I thought we were making love, but what we were making was a mess. We used the illusion of sex to avoid pain. The pain of the disappointment from life's experiences, the pain from the abandonment of those closest to us and the pain of the uncertainty of our future. For the brief moments of pleasure in a sexual relationship, we could escape reality.
What we did not realize in the law of nature, is that sex is designed to bond you to another, despite the circumstances. The more we hurt, the more sex we would have, and the bigger mess of our lives we would make. Now I was bonded to something God never gave me, I simply took.
A year later I still get the shakes as if I'm a junkie getting off of coke. I know it's no good for me, know it will ultimately kill me and yet sometimes I feel like I will do anything and risk anything for that one last hit.
"God, I know he doesn't love me as I deserve. I know he has other women. I know he's not faithful to You, so how could I expect him to be faithful to me? I know all of this, God but please influence him---no make him love me."
God would remain silent and the eerie void was suffocating, so while an alcoholic runs to the bottle, I would run back to you. Just one last conversation, one last kiss, one last night in your arms and everything would be alright.
But it never was and it never could be, because I was asking God for love and you're not it. God promised to give me the desires of my heart, not the aid to my addiction. I was so fixated on you, I had forgotten what I asked God for way before there was a you.
Way back when my parent's divorced, when I was introduced to Barbie and Ken dolls. Way back when a guy I had a crush on for six years told me that I was ugly.
Way back then, I asked God for love and He has shaken heaven, Earth, my heart and this relationship to deliver just that...
True love, and this ain't it.
No doubt about it. You can learn a lot about yourself, you ex and the God of you both ...
By COMPLETING your relationship. *Fully*.
Do it prayerfully...
Do it responsibly...
Do it with the right motives (Proverbs 21:2&8-Message).
BUT BY ALL MEANS, DO IT.
Your future, including the future husband that God may have for you, depends on it.
Monday, October 19, 2015
It's kind of interesting...
That this article is something that I checked out today because I was just sharing last Thursday's "Marital Covenant Thursdays" devotional that oftentimes Matthew 19 is not properly taught. This part most importantly:
"He said to them, 'Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”---Matthew 19:8-9(NKJV)
First up. God did not *ordain* divorce. Marriage is a covenant and covenants are not made to be broken. Moses *permitted* it. That says a mouthful right there and you can read more about that here and here and here. Nowhere...NOWHERE does the Word tell us that divorce is OK. It says quite the opposite. It says that God hates it (Malachi 2:16).
Secondly, back then, when a couple got engaged, they were considered to be betrothed. And if the groom-to-be found out that his bride-to-be was not pure (meaning a virgin), he had the right to request a divorce leading up to engagement or after marriage (yep, back then they even took the intention to marry seriously). This is a part of what the Bible is talking about when it speaks of Joseph considering "putting Mary away" after finding out that she was pregnant (Matthew 1:19). He wanted to protect her character.
Third. Peep how it says sexual immorality *and then* adultery. If you do a bit of research, you'll see that sexual immorality is defined as being *premarital sex* while adultery is considered marrying someone other than your original partner. WHEW! You can read more about that here.
Not only that but...
If you do a bit of historical research, in Jewish, Islamic and many African cultures, something that would transpire after the wedding night was the bed sheet would be put out on display as a symbol that the bride remained pure for her husband. Check it:
One of the most fundamental aspects of Jewish tradition -which also may be going the way of other Victorian virtues- is the great significance attached to virginity. It appears in Judaism as early as the verse in Genesis, referring to Eliezer's encounter with Rebekah: 'And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her' (Genesis 24:16) and is a recurring theme throughout the Bible, especially with regard to the laws governing betrothal, marriage and divorce.
Virginity was so essential a quality in a woman that a man had an automatic right to divorce his wife if he found her to be otherwise. On the other hand, to suggest that a woman was not a virgin without adequate proof was the vilest calumny that a man could perpetrate against his bride.
The 'tokens of virginity' were the blood-stained sheets that the bride presumably handed over to her parents after her first night of marriage. Among the Jews of North Africa, the elders of the congregation waited outside the bridal chamber until the groom emerged with the sheets. A similar custom existed among the Jews of Kurdistan, but in Persia, the female relatives waited about the chamber, until invited inside to examine the bridal bed. The sheet was then passed around for closer inspection and finally deposited with the bride's parents. This was no empty ritual: a woman other than a virgin (unless widowed or a divorcee) was not thought to be a fit member of a Jewish household. There is a natural male instinct to explore new worlds and unknown lands, and marrying a virgin is about man's only hope of doing so. That is why almost every society, especially those dominated by men, has laid particular stress on female chastity.
Virginity has had its defenders also on plain social grounds. It was believed to strengthen marriage and establish a sense of mutual respect that formed the basis of family life. A virgin, it was suggested, often falls in love with the first man she sleeps with, and her virginity thus establishes an emotional bond that might not otherwise exist.
The tradition of premarital chastity, moreover, gave to marriage an intense sense of liberation, the sudden freeing of yearnings long suppressed. One possible reason for pre-arranged marriages having worked out so well was the complete innocence for both and their mutual discovery formed a firm bond. Premarital chastity was regarded as one of the elements basic to marital bliss.
So with all of that said...
MAZEL TOV (Hebrew for "good destiny") to Tim Bowman Jr. & Brelyn Freeman!!!
Reportedly, something that Brelyn offered her father was a Certificate of Purity:
There is some "social media press" that is taking issue with that but here's where I am with it:
1) The world is full of nothing but *lust* and pride. (I John 2:16)
2) The Word speaks of man's wisdom not being anything close to spiritual discernment. (I Corinthians 2:14)
3) I Corinthians 7 speaks of a single woman being a virgin. Yep. ALL OF US WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN MARRIED A VIRGIN.
4) 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." Again, sexual immorality, above all else, is premarital sex.
5) I recall telling an ex of mine, after talking about my abstinence, "I can't believe I'm going to have to go through that (physical) pain all over again." Guess what he said back: "Shellie, what's the purpose of pain? It's to help you to remember and you should remember giving yourself to your husband." AMEN!
All of this taken into account, here's Tim and Brelyn's love story as I've pulled from this blog:
I met Tim at the Stellar Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. Although he was one very respectful man he was sending me hints and signals that he was interested in me. I remember thinking of him often and wishing we had connected on another level. It was clear God knew exactly what I wanted, because I had another chance to spend time with Tim and his aunt on a very special occasion. My friend Lhauren came to pick me up that night and all I could talk about is Tim; how he had this killer smile, amazing personality, and this incredible singing voice.
He truly was my dream guy. After that night, Tim and I became really good friends. Tim began coming to my church once a week to assist with the music department. At that time I was attending a local college over 30 minutes away, but I would press my way to see Tim at the Monday night rehearsals.
When the choir training was starting to end, we mutually knew that we never wanted to be without each other. It wasn’t long after that when Tim asked my Dad if we could date each other, and after his approval, it became official. I was so excited to be with the love of my life. It has been difficult at times because Tim lives in Michigan and I’m in Maryland but we have learned that you fight for what you love!
Unbeknownst to me on December 23, 2014, Tim asked my parents for my hand in marriage. They said yes! Two days later on December 25, 2014, I texted my friend Sharice a picture of my covenant ring jokingly saying, “this is the last time you’ll see this.”
Of course we had no idea that, that would actually be accurate! After arriving in Michigan at Tim’s Aunt’s house he proposed! He got up in front of his family, expressed his gratitude to them for loving and building a relationship with me. Then Tim called me up in front of everyone saying the most beautiful words I have ever heard. My favorite part was when he got down on one knee and said, “I can’t imagine my life without you. You would make me the happiest man alive if you’d become my wife!” With tears flowing down my face I said, YES! When I saw the ring, I was in awe…He didn’t do good…he did great!!!
The next day we traveled to Las Vegas with his family to celebrate and then traveled to Maryland with mine to bring in the New Year!
(As told by Timothy)
I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on Brelyn Mya Freeman. Looking back, it felt like all of heaven and earth stood still in that moment. That day at the Grand Ole Opry hotel I had an encounter with the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.
My swag was operating at full capacity and I knew that she was thinking the same about me. After introducing myself we had a brief conversation, and I could see that she was just as beautiful on the inside. I was in awe by how well she carried herself. I remembered thinking “beauty and brains”…. just like my mama. (hahaha).
Soon after, I started working with the music department once a week at Brelyn’s father’s church, Spirit of Faith Christian Center. Although Breeze (Brelyn) was in no way involved with the music ministry, she found a way to make every single rehearsal. During that 4 month time we became very good friends. She was “THE ONE”. I found someone that honored God, her parents, and herself. Not long after that, I found myself back on a plane to Maryland. This time I was on a different mission.
My purpose was to ask Dr. Mike Freeman (Brelyn’s father) for permission to date her. Talk about being nervous…I remember that day it like it was yesterday, it was roughly a one-hour conversation, riddled with reminders that he owned a gun. (hahaha) I got the green light from Bishop! I felt like the happiest man on earth. I started dating my best friend.
Although I live in Michigan and Brelyn lives in Maryland, we always made our relationship work. We found ways to keep it exciting and fresh with surprise visits, weekly iChat dates, and about 1 million dollars spent on edible arrangements and flowers lol. On December 23rd, 2014, I found myself on yet another flight to Maryland with another mission.
This time I was going to ask Dr. Mike and Dee Dee Freeman for Brelyn’s hand in marriage. I can remember myself sitting on the plane, in a full suit and tie, a diamond ring in my pocket, and thinking…“What if they say no?”
Well after a 2 hour meeting (notice the meeting time increased lol) I got the green light once again!!! On December 25th, 2015 I got down on one knee and asked my best friend and the love of my life for her hand in marriage. She said “Yes!”
There are some details on the wedding here.
Here's a GMA video:
Nice. Special. Sweet. Sacred. GODLY.
Look, I'm not a virgin and even though it's been almost nine years since I've last had sex, I don't use the phrase "born again virgin" either. I personally am at peace with "pure". A big part of the reason is because I know a lot of virgins who watch porn, engage in oral sex (which *is* sex, by the way), masturbate...do everything but penetration and *that's not purity*. Yes, virginity (physical state) and purity (spiritual condition) were created to be one in the same. That's need to be taught a lot more. Therefore, *purity is my goal*. After all, the Word says what about the marriage bed? That it's *pure*, right?
"Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."---Hebrews 13:4(AMP)
Anyway, I'm saying all of this to say that not all of us are going to be virgins on our wedding day. Some, by choice. Others, not by choice (due to sexual abuse, rape, etc.). Yet purity is always possible and it does my heart good to see a couple who, as my mother says about my abstinence, *made the sacrifice of praise*, by remaining sexually pure until their wedding night. Oh, I can only imagine how much...shoot, TRUST and SECURITY exist between the two of them by putting God's will before marriage above their desires. *Sexual purity is foundational for a strong marriage*. I'm a firm believer of that because as I've shared before, I've yet to counsel a couple who waited before marriage to have sex before marriage. And if the couples that I do know who waited, although they have challenges (as all marriages do), they don't go through nearly the amount of drama or trauma as couples who fornicated did.
Why do you think God doesn't want us to do it? (AND HE DOESN'T...)
Why do you think Satan wants us to so badly? He seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), after all?
Whether you're a virgin or not...
Whether you're in a relationship or not...
Whether you're convicted about sexual purity or just considering it...
My hope (Romans 5:5) and prayer are that you'll take the testimony (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP) of Tim and Brelyn to heart and think about the *power of purity*. The purpose of it too...
It's a gift to give your husband a pure vessel on your wedding night.
And yes, I find it to be very precious to be able to look at your father and say "thanks" for training me up in the way that I should go (Proverbs 22:6). If not your earthly father, your heavenly one. ;-)
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
[ Hymn to a Good Wife ] "A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden. First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks. Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!"---Proverbs 31:10-31(Message)
A couple of days ago...
I read an article on People's website about football player Devon Still and his fiancee' Asha Joyce.
If you're not familiar with who he is, he and his five-year-old daughter Leah have become pretty well known because they have been open about her cancer battle. Below is a picture of Leah walking a runway during New York Fashion Week last month and reportedly (praise the Lord!), she still remains in remission:
The amount of love and affection that is expressed between Leah and her father has always captured my attention. However, the reason why they are being mentioned on this blog platform is because of some things that Devon said about his fiancee':
Accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2015 ESPYs in July, Still recalled the "nightmare" of first receiving Leah's diagnosis, and how he found solace in praying with Asha, also 26, during the long nights that followed. "You stood by my side, you let me know that you weren't going anywhere, that you were going to be there for me," he said, later adding, "I promise you I'm going to try and give you the wedding of your dreams." ...
"Having Asha by my side has definitely made it easier to travel down this path. Overcoming the things we've overcome … I'm just looking forward to what the future holds for us," Still says. "We'll make it through whatever is thrown our way."
Devon found solace in praying with Asha.
She stood by his side during some of the hardest moments of his life.
She was committed to remain...to endure.
She's made things easier for him.
It has made him confident that they can handle whatever comes up the road.
OK, I hope everyone caught that the first point is that *they pray together*. This means that they have a faith foundation and system (2 Corinthians 6:11-18). It's important that any couple who wants to enter into the union that GOD CREATED (Genesis 2:24-25) seek God for divine wisdom (James 1:5) about if 1) they even need to be together to begin with; 2) how to court based on biblical standards and 3) how to follow God's leading concerning timing, etc.
And personally, being that it's Christ who gives us strength to do all things (Philippians 4:13), I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Asha has said that it was her faith, *not just her love for Devon and Leah*, that got her through some of the most trying of times.
Yeah, there's no telling how many single women are in relationships that they have *absolutely no business being in* because they are not putting their faith where it belongs (IN GOD--Mark 11:22). And there's also no telling how many single women are not seeing who God has for them...basically for the same reason. After all, how can any of us become a good wife if we're not first striving to be an excellent daughter to our Heavenly Father?
Yet the main point of today's message is that although Devon and Asha are betrothed and yet not married, already he's speaking of her being a woman with strong wifely character. And personally, I find that to be both awesome as well as inspiring!
That's why I think it's important for all single women who desire to be married to spend time in Proverbs 31. In this season because it that says "a good woman is hard to find", "her husband trusts her without reserve" and "she's never spiteful and treats him generously all the days of his life". Oh, and that her husband praises her for well surpassing so many other women who do wonderful things. That she truly is above a diamond (and a ruby's) worth. She is priceless.
A good woman is hard to find...
The New King James Version of Proverbs 31:10 puts it this way: "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies."
A good and virtuous woman doesn't come a dime a dozen! Oh, quite the contrary in fact. And yet, there are so many single women out here who are talking about how hard it is to find a good man. Hmm, that's debatable. I actually know quite a few. And the bigger point is I wonder how many of the woman who make such a bold statement are making sure that they are what God considers to be a "good woman" and "virtuous":
Virtuous: conforming to moral and ethical principles; morally excellent; upright; chaste
Chaste: refraining from sexual intercourse that is regarded as contrary to morality or religion; virtuous; not engaging in sexual relations; celibate; free from obscenity; decent; undefiled or stainless; pure in style; not excessively ornamented; simple
It doesn't say that *a woman* is hard to find or that *a woman* is worth more than precious and expensive gems. It says that a woman who is morally excellent, righteous, pious (having or showing a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations), celibate and pure in style (nice) is.
If you aren't this kind of woman (yet), this is the kind that a godly husband deserves...
And if you are striving to be this kind of woman, this is a reminder that this is how you should remain.
Just as Devon saw the faith-full-ness in Asha before he proposed to her...
If your future husband is God's best for you, he's going to be looking for similar character traits.
Unfortunately, I know many women who have not treated themselves as if they were "above a diamond or ruby's worth" which led them to biblically compromise which resulted in relationally settling which ultimately resulted in them not gaining the man they wanted's heart or trust. It actually caused him to question her and distance himself from her (especially emotionally). In fact, not too long ago, I had a conversation with a guy who told me that he puts up emotional walls/barriers with women he's been sexually active with because although he knows that sex outside of marriage is wrong (keep a brotha lifted), he can never really trust the ones who are willing to engage him in that way.
Hmph. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent told the Woman to go against God's instructions, that she "would not surely die" if she did (Genesis 3). Today, he's still using that same tired line. Wanna cause severe (and I mean, *severe*) damage to your relationship? Focus more on "being good" *to* your guy physically over being good *for* him spiritually! Remember, Adam and Eve didn't die immediately. They did die though...and there was some suffering that came along the way as well.
God knows what he's doing when his Word tells us things like...
Do not be unequally yoked with non-believers...
Wait until marriage to have sex...
And to put him above anyone and everything else.
In many ways and for many reasons, it's preparation for ultimately becoming the kind of woman who is hard to find (which means you shouldn't just take "any date" or spend time with "any man" who asks), who her husband can call "blessed"...the kind of wife of godly character later because you are such a woman of good character (Colossians 3:12-17) now!
Amen? AMEN! ;-)