dating

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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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

He Hears Us.

If you don’t think God hears our prayers, think again.

While I was sitting in a car last Thursday night, praying for my sister in Christ Rebekah, God put it on my heart to pray for our two other friends sitting in the car across from us in a church parking lot. Seconds after I prayed to God to be with them as well, I got a phone call from one of them.

God’s message in that moment was clear: He’s with us and He hears us.

“And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.” 1 John 5:14 

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com

Worth The Wait: Testimony Of A Twentysomething Virgin

One of the most ridiculous things you could ever do is really believe someone is going to wait for you. But that’s exactly the vow I made when I was 14.

I took a pledge part of the Christian movement, the Silver Ring Thing. After I signed a paper and they gave me a bible, from that point on it was up to me to uphold my vow to God. Days after I did it, one of my classmates named Luke told me it was going to be too hard to do in high school. As my heart burned with anger, feeling the weight of his words crush against my soul, instead of retaliating with an outburst, my faith became the weapon in my words. I simply told him, “I’m going to do this, Luke.”

I didn’t know how much I was going against the grain until I got to college. During freshman orientation before starting my first fall semester at Temple University, a group of girls who were on the same floor as me got together and did our own rendition of truth or dare. One of the girls asked how many of us had did it and I was the only one without my hand raised in the room.

Bio PicThat’s when the reality sexuality had infiltrated our culture hit me. I wasn’t in Coraopolis anymore, surrounded around young born-again girls. These were teenagers on the cusp of becoming women who had already experienced the sexual threshing floor. They were unashamed and sexually free; they weren’t worried about abstinence or purity. That’s when it became so clear to me that waiting wasn’t going to be easy.

By the grace of God, I didn’t have sex with anybody even though I came close to doing it and was often times a tease. I would make out with men I got drunk with the night before and then think we could lay next to each other without anything happening. When they’d get blue-balled and pissed off, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t respect the God in me. I didn’t get why they weren’t thrilled or even excited that I was waiting.

I was placing an expectation on them that was unreal. They weren’t thinking about marriage or looking for a relationship. I — not them — made that a big deal. Looking back, I feel bad that I even put them in that predicament, expecting them to live up to something they didn’t even consider was a big deal.

I had my fair share of so-called love affairs and romantic rendezvous. Thank God, they never pressured me into doing something I never wanted to do. In that regard, they were respectful but they also walked away. Sometimes, even though I really liked them, I had to walk away too.

One guy told me he didn’t deserve to take my virginity. Another one said he would make love to me. Others would just stare at me awkwardly and act as if they didn’t care. It didn’t matter whether they were black or white, a believer or agnostic, the relationships between all of them ended the same way.

I spent many nights praying, asking God to change their hearts and follow His ways. One time, my friend Kelly even challenged me to ask the LORD to take them away if they weren’t a part of His will.

So over and over again, men would come and go, in and out of my life. I never really cried; I’d just go get drunk the next night.

I wanted to end the cycle but I wasn’t willing to accept that I was the one that needed to change. I was pretty much acting out of a space of insanity. My pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church, Brian Edmonds, says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. Even though I had a heart for marriage and wanted to be in a relationship, I wasn’t doing anything to change my situation. I prayed and read my bible every night, but there were things about my walk just not right. I struggled for years especially while I was single,literally giving myself away, trusting and believing in Yahweh.

It didn’t matter if candles were lit, the mood was right and the two of us were feeling horny; there was something inside of me that didn’t allow my flesh to rise up within me. Between college and post-graduation, I turned several dudes down for sex, even the ones who could have been my sugar daddy. Even the so-called Christian dudes did me dirty. I had to walk away from one guy I took to church with me because he said we wouldn’t be together unless I gave away my purity.  (At least he was honest, right? )

One of my biggest tests came when I was 23 and there were no men around to tempt me. I was walking down Broad Street, across from a subway stop at the corner of Cecil B. on the campus of Temple University. As I looked at all the people around me and tilted my head to crisp October sky, I felt as if I was missing something. Beginning to lose sight of why I took my vow of abstinence in the first place, I called my my best friend from college, Shannon, and told her why I didn’t want to wait anymore. It didn’t seem worth it to miss out on something that everyone talked about being so great. I wanted to get in on it and give it up even if it was on the first date. But my negative perception, got my head not thinking straight and caused me to lose sight of why I wanted to wait in the first place.

But thankfully, Shannon spoke some sense into me and her words at that moment changed my perspective on everything: “The right one is going to wait for you.” And that’s when it hit me. The man God had purposed for me was going to wait for me as much as I was waiting for him. He wasn’t going to feel pressured to fall into sexual sin because his life would already be yielded to the King before he met me. He would treasure and value the sacredness of marriage because God would have already spoken to Him. There would be no need for me to convince him of purity; it would already be something that’s been convicted in him.

By Sydni Grant
sydni@areyoushe.com

 

Naked & Unashamed: The True Definition Of Intimacy

The most intimate I have ever been with someone is with my man and we haven’t even had sex yet.

Some have questioned how we’ll work since we barely kiss and sometimes hold hands.

But through the abstinence, God has taught us a lot about the true definition of intimacy.

We all want to be like Adam and Eve, naked and unashamed, but that takes transparency.

Before they ate fruit from the tree of good and evil, they stood in front of each other, totally clothed in their truth.

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25 

They weren’t just literally naked. They were spiritually naked too, able to bare everything without disappointment.

But somewhere along the way, we got caught up in the fallacy that true intimacy means giving up a part of you so a man might take interest in you.

And that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

naked and unashamed

While I was on a plane heading to Dallas to meet my man, a Christian college basketball coach sitting next to me dropped this wisdom: women give sex in order to get love from men but God never intended for it to be that way.

What we learn from the Garden is that Adam and Eve didn’t have to have sex first in order to achieve intimacy. That was established before they consummated and their marriage was made complete.

Intimacy is you really knowing me. It’s an open space where couples share their hopes, dreams and even their fears.

But what God has taught me, you first have to be intimate with Him before you can ever reach that level of connection with another human being.

Before I could be naked and unashamed with a man, God wanted me to know the essence of His presence and the power in His name. When I cried out to Him about my abuse, He restored me. When I had to catch the bus in the middle of the night, it never snowed or rained while I was talking to God and looking at the stars. When I sat by the river in Fairmount Park, He told me to sow my seeds by every stream (Isaiah 32:20).

During those moments, I never felt so close and intimate with the the Father. I believe He allowed me to go through all those things not only to receive a revelation of His love, but an understanding of what intimacy looks like in a committed relationship.

Ryan has seen me at my worst and he’s seen me at my best. He’s been there when I’ve wanted to give up and when I barely have anything left. He’s held me as I’ve cried at church and has been right behind me when I’ve screamed out to God about my abuse. We’ve stood in a field, sharing our hopes and dreams. He points me back to the word when I doubt the gifts and promises God has for me.

So many of us are walking around like Eve, covered up in fig leaves, hiding the truth about our calling and identities because we have believed lies from the enemy. More than anything, the Father wants an intimate relationship with you. And when you receive this truth, He’s able to present the real you to the man He’s purposed for you.

Sex didn’t bring me and my man together. It’s the God who’s within us that’s pulling us closer together. We’re able to be naked and unashamed, transparent about the truth because we know intimacy is hidden in the light and reality of Christ.

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