Encouragement

Behind The Veil: Hidden In Singleness

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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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“Can You See Me Now?”

There’s been several times I’ve wrestled spiritually. I was having feelings of doubt and I was feeling like I was just going with the motions with my relationship with God. I felt that in ways I was growing spiritually, in some ways I was not. I was caught up in routines. I wanted more of God. I would question God, like why am I here? I was struggling with seeing God reveal to others what their purpose is and I was jealous. I doubted God with Who He was and if He would ever reveal what He truly desires of me. So I asked Him. I simply asked Him for more of Him. I asked Him to take away my doubt and give me stronger faith. I asked God to show me His Glory, to show me Who He is, and He hasn’t stopped showing me since.
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When I went to Jamaica, I saw an entire new side of God and His Glory I’ve never seen before. I saw Him through His creation and His people. I felt His peace. Truly, He will reveal Himself in ways to you that you never thought He would. We have to realize not to look for the ordinary in our Extraordinary God.

I truly had a Job revelation.

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;” Job‬ ‭42:5‬ NASB

Through my being and through my eyes I saw God. He gave me peace that He is the Creator of all and He does have a purpose and a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11).

Not only does He have a purpose and a plan for me, but also for you.

Sometimes we question God to reveal Himself to us because our unbelief is such a struggle. Ask God to help you with your unbelief (Refer to Mark 9:22-24). Allow your faith and what God has shown you in your life to come against any doubt you’re facing. Stand firm on His Word. Combat any thoughts of doubt and anything that is unlike God and take it captive to the obedience of Christ.

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:5‬ NASB‬‬

God wants us to trust Him and He wants us to see Him.
Allow God to show you Who He is.
Allow God to show you His Glory.

By Ashley A. Johnson
ashley@areyoushe.com

Can You Laugh At The Days To Come?

Recently, I was making graphics with one of SHE’s founding scriptures, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25 NIV

Instantly, I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit and thought to myself, “Wow, can I really laugh at the days to come?”

I think about the past couple of weeks at work where I have taken on more responsibilities and it’s the peak season at my office. I was overwhelmed and stressed. I was asking God to help me through this. It was right after I got back from visiting my family in England and I was overwhelmed by the responsibilitieIMG_8426s and changes at my office. I constantly thought, “How am I going to get all this work done? How am I going to maintain it?”

I sought prayer and insight from my mom, my mentor, as well as my accountability partners. I started to realize I was magnifying my worries and not magnifying God.

I started meditating on the scripture Isaiah 26:3 (NASB),  “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” God will keep us in perfect peace when we trust in Him. I posted that scripture in my car and places around my home so I could be constantly reminded to trust in Him and know that He will give me peace and a steadfast mind. Allow that Word to soak into your heart and spirit. Meditating on His Word truly will soothe your spirit. I realize now that I couldn’t laugh at the days to come because I was worried about things I could not necessarily control. But knowing God is the One Who is Omnipresent, the Beginning and the End, He holds the future. While writing this post, God whispered in my Spirit Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB), “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” 

God is the One Who goes ahead of us. Knowing God is Faithful and He won’t fail us, we need not to worry. We can laugh at the days to come.

By Ashley A. Johnson
ashley@areyoushe.com

Pruned For Purpose

I fell hard in 2012 and God showed me how much I solely needed Him. I was in my senior year of college and things with my ex didn’t work out. I started dating a few guys trying to fill voids they could not possibly begin to fill. That same year, I graduated undergrad, moved back home, and transitioned into graduate school. That fall, I joined the teen ministry at my church. I realized how broken I really was from past hurts and relationships. The year 2013 was a transition year for me. God was restoring me day by day. I was learning to take Him seriously.

I can honestly say 2014 was definitely my yfocusear of pruning and growth. Toward the first half of the year I was struggling to find a job and God put on our hearts to start SHE. I started to realize God was taking me one way; whereas, I realized some of my friends another. It hurts sometimes to see people go left when God’s taking you in a different direction. Sometimes when God moves us, He shows us not everyone can go with us. That includes even those you thought you were very close to.

Separation may not be what we want to hear or deal with, but it’s not always a bad thing. Look at Jesus for example. He often separated Himself to go pray and spend time with God (Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12). Those scriptures were just a few examples of how our very own Savior knew He needed to separate Himself in order to spend time with God. Christ came here with a purpose, to pay a price we could not pay and die for our sins. When He rose, it was even more evident of how He beat death and fulfilled His purpose for us. We too have a purpose. You may be at a point in your life where you feel alone and separated. It doesn’t always feel good, but know we have to be pruned and developed to go forth in the purpose God has for us.

Although it seemed like I was losing friendships, God placed some awesome women of God in my life that are also striving after God wholeheartedly. God placed sisters in Christ in my life that can build me up in His Word, hold me accountable, encourage and pray with me and for me. While it may have seemed like I was in a lonely place, I was surrounded by love.

If you’re at a place where you realize you are being pruned, I recommend seeking God and praying for godly women to build bonds with (Proverbs 27:17). See if your church has a women’s ministry or young adult ministry. Know that you are not alone and there are many of us who have experienced this and are currently going through this season. Continue to allow God to lead you as you continue Striving for His Excellence!

By Ashley A. Johnson
ashley@areyoushe.com

Why Me?: 3 Things I’ve Learned When I Wanted To Give Up

Why me? I cannot even count the amount of times I’ve said that over the years. Whether I was heartbroken or struggling in a course, that was the first question I’d ask.

giving upStruggling with my grades in college and graduate school, I constantly wanted to give up. Looking around at my peers and seeing how it seemed so easy for them to ace exams, I questioned, “Why me? How come I cannot pass as smoothly as they do?”

So many events can take place in our lives that seem ridiculous or unfair. Sometimes it seems like a never ending story. One thing happens after the other, and it can be beyond frustrating. I know the feeling. When I wanted to give up God showed me it’s not about me, but it’s about Him.

3 Things I’ve Learned When I Wanted To Give Up

His Work is not finished. 

Although we can get easily discouraged when things do not go how we think they should, we have to remember what God’s Word says. It’s easier to look at everything going wrong around us rather than focusing on what we may not be able to see. In difficult seasons, we must remember the wise words King David said to his son Solomon who would be responsible for building the Temple in Jerusalem. Be strong and courageous. God will not fail you. His work is not finished.

“Then David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.'” 1 Chronicles 28:20 NASB

Let God Work.

While we may not realize it, God is continuously moving and working despite what we think. No matter what’s going on, it is important to trust in what He is doing. Trust in Him. Have the confidence that He will accomplish everything that concerns you.

“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NASB

God is in control.

We have a tendency to try and take matters into our own hands and sometimes create more stress than was intended. We have to remember to let God work and know He is in control. In the most difficult and stressful situations, when we are ready to give up, we must pray and give those situations to God. When we give our anxiety to God, we will have peace. God is in control and desires us to know that He is.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 NASB

After finishing school and looking for a job, God truly humbled me. It was all about His timing, not mine. I had my own agenda, but He had His. Sometimes in the most difficult seasons, God prunes us and shows us who He desires us to be. He wants us to trust Him and draw closer to Him. In stressful situations, I used to ask “why me?” God simply answered, “My daughter, Why not you?

In the midst of your trying times when you want to give up, allow God to show you His work is not finished. Let Him work and know He is in control.

By Ashley A. Johnson
ashley@areyoushe.com

Photo: Splitshire