RELATIONSHIPS

Behind The Veil: Hidden In Singleness

veil
I’ve been single for a little over three years and sometimes I feel like I’m in hiding. Not on purpose or by choice. I just don’t get approached my men who are looking for relationships. I’m not going to lie; singleness can be lonely and even frustrating. I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions. The highest point is when I was Miss Independent. You know the kind. The type of woman who claims she doesn’t need a man. She’s good on her own. Then at my lowest point when I was feeling down, insecure and believing the enemies lies that I was unlovable. Then I’d have months of coasting going through the days of singleness trying to “cope.” I’d sometimes pray for my future husband to appear the next day as if God was a genie in a bottle.

In a women’s Christian conference I attended called Pinky Promise, one of the speakers, Allyson Rowe, did a sermon about singleness. One thing she said that hit me was that “there is a spiritual attack on the identity of a single women.” Society may look at single women as if we are defeated or pity singles for the lack of a companion.

This causes discontentment and I sometimes find myself trying to fix myself as if I am defected. In an attempt to “fix” myself, I signed up for an online dating site. I knew the minute I finished my online dating profile and went “live” that I was working outside of God’s will. It was solely my flesh and my discontentment that got me to this website to begin with. My flesh convinced me that I was missing out and I needed to put myself out there. The first night I got so many likes, messages, and views. For me, someone who was in hiding for three years, this was an overwhelming experience. My spirit was unsettled and I was not really at peace, but I decided to test it out a little longer.

I got messages from men who were not looking for anything serious, just a good time. Heather Lindsey would call these men – randoms. These are men who were set in my path to cause distraction and to get me off track with God. I had my profile up for two weeks before I deleted it.

Then I realized God did not just hide me from these randoms, He was protecting me from the enemy’s distractions, lies, discontentment, lustful desires, sexual immorality, fornication and ungodly dating. He was covering me from all the spiritual turmoil that comes in an unequally yoked relationship (2 Corinthians 6:14). These experiences also made me think of 1 Corinthians 10:23:

“‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.”

This made me think of a wedding veil. It hides the brides face during the wedding until her husband lifts it up to seal the vows with a kiss. Just like that veil, God is covering me until my future husband finds me. Until then, I will trust and wait patiently for my Mr. Right.

XO,

Patrice
patrice@areyoushe.com

Check out Allyson Rowe’s YouTube Video on singleness-


Pic credit- Unsplashed

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Out Of Hand Desire.

So I hate to say this, but I gotta get it off my chest.

Our insatiable desire for a man is part of the curse.

Yearning for a man entangles us in bondage.

And the sad thing is, most of us don’t even know it.

This revelation came to me while I was listening to Bishop Donald Clay release a powerful word about fear connecting us to the curse.

When Adam and Eve ate fruit from the forbidden tree, not only did the sanction of sin come down on humanity, it crippled the woman with painful childbirth and always longing for a man

“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 (NKJV)  

This verse isn’t about submission — but our state of subconsciousness in relation to a man.

The Hebrew word used for desire in this scripture is “tesuqa” which means longing or stretching. 

Curse

If you think about it, women do all kinds of things to stretch for a man.

Bend over backwards, sacrifice standards, and remai unequally yoked.

He may be lukewarm but we justify the relationship anyways.

It’s better to be with someone than single right?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a man.

It’s just a problem when the desire gets out of hand.

Wendy Alsup, blogger of “Practical Theology for Women”, sums up this point perfectly:

“The problem with our desires is always that they are either for the wrong thing or for the right thing but out of proportion of what is appropriate.

That’s why so many women are struggling.

The desire is out of proportion of what is appropriate.

How many times have you been on your knees begging for a Boaz?

Or felt like you’re missing out because you’re living a wedding band?

Ladies, we can no longer allow the enemy to have the upper hand.

Too many of us are looking to men for affirmation and provision.

But men were never intended to have that position.

They can’t supply all of our needs physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The truth of the matter is, only God, not man can handle that.

So let’s get out under that curse and trust Christ with the desires our hearts.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com
Photo: flickr.com

Tim Tebow, I’m Dealing With A Breakup Too.

Anyone who’s been through a breakup knows that they suck.

And there’s nothing more heart-wrenching then trying to give up the idea of  what used to be.

So when I heard the news about Tim Tebow’s girlfriend dumping him because he wouldn’t have sex, I knew it was time for me to open up.

I’ve been in situations before where dudes dumped me because I wouldn’t put out. They decided to walk away because I wouldn’t open up my legs.

But thankfully, my most recent breakup didn’t end because we didn’t do it — it’s because God decided He wanted both of us to go different ways.

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I have nothing bad to say about my old boo and there’s no reason to throw shade. Things just didn’t work out the way I hoped and prayed.

My ex is a wonderful man of God and there’s nothing I regret about the relationship. I believe God sent him to me so I could learn some things about love but more importantly, about me. 

 

Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, once said something so beautifully about soul mates that never made sense to me until recently. She wrote, “A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake…Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.”

And that’s exactly what my ex is to me. A soul mate. A man God used to help remove the dross out of me so I could a better reflection of the King of Kings.

I’ll be honest — I thought getting over a breakup would be easy.

But I was wrong. And that’s why I found myself randomly crying or staying up until midnight playing old songs by Alicia Keys. (That’s a terrible idea by the way lol).

My mind would drift to the good old days when we’d play Jill Scott while I burned up food in the kitchen or when he drew me close into his chest while I wailed about my job or my parents’ marriage going downhill.

The truth of the matter is, he did his best to love me even though he saw the good, the bad and the ugly. But after things fell apart, there’s several lessons the LORD taught me.

Release the relationship. One of my cousins (and I won’t say who lol) once told me that you don’t have to accept a breakup. So what did I do? I adopted that mentality. But looking back, that did more harm than help me. Don’t cling on to something that isn’t there. While I was at a prayer meeting, an evangelist prophesied over me to release. And immediately, I knew exactly what God was trying to tell me. Let go of the relationship so it won’t overwhelm your soul. You have to release in order to make room for whatever God wants to do in your new season of singleness.

“Keep an oath even though it hurts.” Psalm 15:4 If you’re like me or Tim Tebow, you know waiting until your married is tough. And a breakup doesn’t make abstinence any easier. When I was struggling with my breakup, God put this scripture on my heart. Even though I’m single and dealing with a little bit of heartache, that doesn’t excuse me from my promise to remain pure. It’s important to maintain boundaries and accountability. I made a covenant with God at 14 to save myself for marriage. So it doesn’t matter how long it takes or how many breakups I have to go through — I’m going to wait until God matches me with the perfect mate.

Breakups should make you love more, not less. Those are the wise words my friend Carmen once said to me. If a failed relationship restricts your ability to love, then that’s the very thing that controlled you. You shouldn’t give up on love and relationships just because one didn’t go your way. Be patient and open to whatever God wants to do. But in the meantime, don’t focus so much on who’s going to come along next. Put your energy into loving others and discovering the Christ that’s within you.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com
Photo: imagebuddy.com

 

 

 

 

Courting vs. Dating: What’s the Difference?

I regularly get asked, “Why are you still single?” or “Are you dating someone? ” Summer time is the time for barbeques, parties and group outings –the perfect time to show off your significant other. When I go to these fun events, I’m there enjoying my barbeque alone. I know my family and friends that ask these questions are just concerned. They don’t want me to grow old and live alone. The end of June marked my two years of complete singleness. That means two whole years of no (serious) dating and no sex. I’m not going to lie– I sometimes get discouraged. But I know God has me here for a reason and doesn’t want me to settle.

Yeah, I know what your thinking “What 2 years!?!? That’s a long time!” I agree with you. Sometimes it feels like forever, but I have to remind myself I am worth the wait. And quick disclaimer: I don’t sit in my house all day. I’m actually very social. However, when I’m out, guys don’t approach me. This use to really bother me. I would question my appearance and my character. I used to think I was unattractive and not girlfriend material. But then I realized it was the devil tempting me, trying to make me discontent in my singleness. I had to rebuke that thinking and go to God. Then God told me He was protecting me. Protecting me from all the other Joes out there. He knew I deserved better and I have to believe that too. Thank God I was able to hear His voice!
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Last month, I talked to a few “friends” about dating. My “friends” encouraged me to sign up on Ok Cupid, Black People Meet and yes, even Tinder.
They told me these online dating sites aren’t just for hooking up. They assured me they know someone that knows someone that found their significant other on an online dating site. Then they’d say if I don’t find someone serious it’s ok to “just date and have fun”. Does this sound familiar to anyone? No shade to online dating. I do believe these can be useful outlets to finding a spouse. I’m talking about the people on those sites with the mindset to “just have fun.”

So what is “just have fun”? This means serial dating. Going out on dates with different men every so many days. Let them wine or dine you, then depending on how the night goes maybe you’ll see them again. If my only standard was they had to be a male and willing to take me out on a date, that would open the door for every man who walked by! Men and women who serial date are trying to fill the void of being lonely that only God can fulfill.

The more and more I take advice from these “friends”, I become discontent in my single season. But to just date around doesn’t seem like something God would want me to do. So as I seek God on this topic I studied His word, Christian articles and books to shed some light on dating and courting. Here is what I found.

Courting- Courting is dating with a purpose, with the intent to get married.

Courting is ideal in any godly relationship. Some people call it dating with the same preference as courting. This is a time where the two really get to know each other. They both can see marriage in their future and they usually spend a lot of time together. They do this while still keeping God at the center. The bible doesn’t talk about courting, but it does say, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness” 2 Corinthians 6:14. This scripture encourages believers to date believers and marry believers.

Here are a few books I read related to courting:

Dating- Dating is going out with multiple men with no real intention of marriage.

This is what people call “just having fun”. I know we’ve all done this at some point. This type of dating can also be considered “Just Talking.” Women, who do this to just have fun, typically are not in it for the long haul. They are in it for the temporary satisfaction of male attention. It can be fun for the girl but what about that man spending his money and trying to impress. They probably want something in return and if you’re not that type of girl, then you honestly just wasted their time. You may say “So what! He’ll get over it.” These actions are manipulative. Don’t string men along if your not interested. Don’t waste their time for attention, use that time and spend it with the Lord. Only God can make you whole in your emptiness.

Psalms 37 highlights two good points related to this topic-

Psalms 37:4 “ Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your hearts desires.”

 Psalms 37: 7 “ Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently from him to act…”

 To all my single Sisters in Christ out there- If you desire a spouse it will happen, be patient and know God is at work.

 

Patrice McKenzie
Patrice@areyoushe.com
photo: huffingtonpost.com

 

Why I’m Happy Russell Wilson Is Waiting For Ciara’s Goodies.

It’s not everyday abstinence becomes a headline.

But when it involves a Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawk quarterback and the Princess of Crunk — it gets everyone talking.

When news broke Russell Wilson and Ciara weren’t having sex, social media exploded. wpid-wp-1436295373225.jpeg

During an interview at The Rock church in San Diego, Wilson explained they decided to practice abstinence after God spoke to him. Wilson says God told him, “I want you and need you to lead her.” After he heard from the LORD, Wilson asked Ciara, “What would you do if we took all that extra stuff off the table and just did it Jesus’ way?”

And for many of us, that’s what we would love to hear a man say.

Just take the extra stuff off the table and do it Jesus’ way.

No sex just hand holding and a hug in between. Maybe a kiss but no humping and fornicating.

To some it may sound old fashioned, but it’s the way God intended things since the beginning.

In our culture, there’s so much pressure to have sex and do it right way so a man will stick around and stay. Could you imagine being with a man who didn’t want to work your body but get to know you, the fearfully and wonderfully made human being?

By taking sex off the table, it not only opens doors for a new way of dating, but it gives a man a chance to lead you in the right way.

And that’s the kind of love Ciara taught us to wait for back in the day.

When her debut single “My Goodies” dropped in 2004, it became the anthem for millions of teens and young girls. Her words not only empowered us, but taught us the importance of keeping our goodies in the jar and not giving into every man that we see.

Now sing along…

I bet you want my goodies

Bet you thought about it

Got you all hot and bothered

Mad cause I talk around it

Looking for the goodies

Keep on looking cuz they stay in the jar

Ciara warned us about the wolves and why we shouldn’t throw our pearls to the pigs. (Sorry fellas if that was a bit harsh). But even though a lot of us didn’t heed her wisdom when we went off to college and entered the real world, there’s no doubt there’s a lot of truth in that song.

And that’s the reason why I’m not surprised God called Russell Wilson to lead her to abstain from sexual immorality. God’s giving Ciara something back that she and many of us have lost along the way.

Faith to maintain purity. 

When we were younger, it was cool to wait. (Okay, maybe at least at my school). But once many of us went off to college and got caught up in romantic rendezvous and relationships, we felt the pressure to give it all away. Many of us have regretted it and would do anything to get it back. Others feel they’ve messed up so bad, there’s no way God can restore their past.

But I think Russell and Ciara’s decision sends a very strong message to young woman: it doesn’t matter if you’re a virgin or had sex a hundred times; you’re still worth the wait and there’s men out there who want to lead — not lust after you.

This kind of leading without lusting is biblical, too. We see it in a love story between a prophet and a prostitute. God called Hosea to marry Gomer even though she ran off and cheated with other lovers. Despite these setbacks, Hosea’s love and commitment to Gomer didn’t change because of her choices and circumstance. And that’s the same kind of love God wants for Ciara and us, too.

For many people, it’s hard to believe why Russell Wilson wouldn’t want to go ahead and have sex with a woman like Ciara. She’s a beautiful and talented superstar. But I believe their decision to wait is creating a platform to show the world what Christ-centered relationships really look like.

Because at the end of the day, love isn’t about how many times you lay down with a person — it’s about how many times you lay down your life in order to do right by them.

So Ciara and Russell, I’ll be praying for you because I know how hard it is not to give up your goodies and remain intentionally abstinent in a relationship.

Here’s some words of encouragement I have for the both of you as you continue down this road of celibacy together:

Set boundaries. “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28. If you don’t want to have sex, you have to take practical steps to prevent it. Spending the night and spending long periods alone will only tempt you. The good news: the boundaries will build stamina that will benefit your relationship in the long haul.

Get accountability. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall.” Proverbs 11:14. Just because you’re grown, don’t think you can do this alone. Ask for pastors and other spiritual mentors to pray and check in on the both of you. Accountability will not only help you have respect for one another, but grow an even deeper reverence for God.

If you can’t wait, set a date. “It’s better to marry than burn with lust.” 1 Corinthians 7:9. It’s no secret waiting is hard. But if holding out is getting to be too much for you, seek the LORD on whether or not to move forward with marriage. There’s no denying men and women have needs. If God gives the green light to jump the broom, there’s no need for a long engagement. The wedding is a covenant and celebration of how God brought together the two of you.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com
Photo: people.com

Love Me Like The Gospel.

With wedding season in full swing, many of us are thinking about the day we get to say ‘I do’.

I know I can’t wait until I stand in front of a man and tell him, “I waited my whole life for you.”

Throughout my single days, I’ve made lists about my standards and how I hoped me and my man would live happily ever after.

But the reality is, love isn’t all what the media and music industry crack it up to be.

It takes a lot of work and sometimes, it can be a bit scary.

When I was in the middle of a rocky season of my relationship, a woman from my church once told me that I was going to have to learn to love my man unconditionally.

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I heard what she said but didn’t realize what her words meant until recently.

While sitting in a room having a conversation with God about why someone would want to marry me, the LORD dropped something in my spirit that changed my perspective on everything.

Too often when it comes to love, we try to find all the reasons why we should break something off instead of looking to the cross.

If we believe the gospel applies to ourselves and the rest of humanity, then why is it so hard for us not to have the same grace for a potential spouse? When we see the depth of their sin and shame, why do we question taking their last name?

Because the world doesn’t teach us to love that way. Everything is about attraction, chemistry and compatibility these days. Love isn’t measured by action but a level of affection.

So with that being said, I only have one expectation for my future husband:

Love me like the gospel. 

That’s what the bible says to do in Ephesians 5:22.

A man is called to love his wife like Christ loves the church.

And future hubby, wherever you are, that’s all I want from you.

Because I believe, if you love me like that, everything else will fall into place.

We’ll be equally yoked, in one accord and loving one another unconditionally because we’ll be following Christ and not what we want each other to do.

The bible breaks down loving like the gospel in this way:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

In marriage, that’s what we’re called to do. Loving beyond feelings. Looking beyond flaws. Staying committed to a person even when they fall. Loving like no end and to be an intercessor and a best friend. Marriage is not about the big house and big ring. It’s about life and death and everything that falls in between. It’s about sacrifice when it doesn’t feel right and turning the other cheek when you’re about to throw down and fight. It’s about totally loving beyond your means.

That’s what loving like Christ, loving like the gospel means.

And ladies, that’s the kind of love worth waiting for.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com
Photo: istockphoto.com