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

 

 

 

 

Celibacy: Two Things To Keep In Mind While Waiting

I recently started to share my journey with celibacy. Back in 2012 when I rededicated my life to Christ, I made the decision then that I wanted to remain celibate until marriage. Of course, my newfound sisters in Christ were happy for me because they were in the same boat. But when I told my longtime friends, they were confused. Instead of praising me, they questioned me. They asked, “Why are you doing that?” “How are you going to abstain?” “What if you never get married?” All questions I never thought of and never had to answer.  All questions that were difficult for me to answer at the time. So after that, I decided not to tell anyone about me being celibate. I remained quite. If it’s not out there, no one will know and I won’t have to explain myself. No harm done right? Wrong!

In 2013, I got in a relationship with Joe and if you’ve read my previous post, you know what happened. I fell. I never told him so he didn’t know. Then when I told him I wanted to be celibate again, he didn’t believe me because I kept falling. “Flee from temptation.” 1 Corinthians 6:18. Instead of fleeing I stood around thinking I could handle my feelings. I thought since I was now going to church and reading the bible, I was stronger than my flesh. The Bible says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” Galatians 5:17.

Sex and lust were two things I struggled with greatly and being in a relationship with a man that wasn’t a believer in God did not help. When I finally had enough courage to break things off with him and walk in my purpose, the decision to be celibate and remain celibate became a reality.

Celibacy

Now, I am not afraid to share my testimony with believers and nonbelievers. Believers are usually happy for me and understand I am doing this because I respect God with my body. Nonbeliever’s reactions vary. I still get the same confused looks, but surprisingly I receive admiration from non-believers as well. They call me a “strong woman” or “strong-willed.” I recently spoke to a girl who is an atheist. She was so amazed at my testimony of celibacy. She said I was awesome and told me she admired my stance of abstinence. Then I realized she considered my testimony not a resemblance of God or my Christian faith but a symbol of feminism. I explained to her that it was solely for my faith and knowing God’s purpose for me. My explanation didn’t sink in because in her mind it was a feminist act. This made me think: how many other people think of celibacy is a feminist movement rather than God’s word? Well, I found out a lot of people think this way. From TV shows to reality shows and social media. Celibacy is a resemblance of a strong woman rather than a kingdom movement.

This kind of thinking can be confusing and make people believe celibacy is an independent act and you can abstain on your own- meaning without God. This is absolutely false and you need God to get you through this season.

Here are two things I learned while remaining celibate:

1. Guard your heart! Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

 We must guard our hearts at all times. If you’re trying to abstain, you have to watch what you’re feeding your spirit. One example is music. Don’t listen to baby making music if you’re not making a baby. I love R&B music. So it was a hard to let it go. I went without it for months. Because at the beginning of my walk with Christ, I still struggled. Now I can listen to it here and there but I know if it takes me to that place I have to turn it off. Next example: TV shows and movies. I used to watch shows that portrayed adultery, lust and fornication. I thought it was just harmless entertainment. The plot was intense and engaging. I would justify the show or movie by telling myself that it’s ok to watch because everyone else is watching it. Well that planted bad seeds and soon I had to turn that off too.

This is not to say you can’t listen to music or watch TV. I’m just saying be aware of what you are watching and listening to. If the entertainment is not bearing fruit — then it’s not of God, which can hinder your walk in celibacy.

2.) Flee from Temptation! “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 

At the beginning of my walk, I thought I was Wonder Woman. I didn’t think I needed to flee from sexual sin. Before I would have remained silent about my faith until the guy came over. Then I would have tried to fight my flesh and my feelings, thinking that I could handle it on my own. The Bible also says:

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

 There are many opportunities for a way out. It can be just as simple as- staying away from the person that tempts you.

An example: Last month, a guy texted me from my Before Christ (BC) days. He said he wanted to come over and watch a movie. At first I thought – Sure. It’ll be cool to watch a movie and have some male attention. Then God convicted me and discernment kicked in! Immediately, I knew, he didn’t want me; he wanted my body. So to confirm this revelation, I asked the guy “What are your intentions?” He boldly and nonchalantly texted me exactly what he wanted to do. (Hint: It wasn’t just to chill and watch a movie.) My first reaction was to send him an angry text message telling him off. But I didn’t. I sat in my living room with my phone in my hand and I began to pray. I asked God for the words to put in my response. I responded something like this:

“I appreciate your honesty. I assumed that was your intention… I don’t do movie nights… I’m saved now so I don’t invite guys over to my house to chill. When I see you around we can catch up…”

 Once I let him know, he respected that.

I’ve come a long way. I had to learn these lessons over time. I hope my testimony and my celibacy journey will encourage you all. Walk in purpose, know God’s truth and continue to Strive for God’s Excellence.

By Patrice McKenzie
patrice@areyoushe.com

SHE Spotlight: Christian Playwright Courtney Houston

A young playwright is using her gift to bring awareness to domestic violence . Courtney Houston is set to make her debut this weekend with her gospel play, I’m Good To A No Good Man. SHE sat down with Courtney to talk about what inspired her to write the play and the message she hopes to get across to women.

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SHE: How did you first decide to work on I’m Good To A No Good Man?

COURTNEY: I was speaking with a friend about relationships and she was telling me about her current situation with her significant other. As she was telling me her story, I was so shocked and appalled  of the things he did to her and in the relationship.

SHE: What was your inspiration?  

C: For this play, women are my inspiration. I understand the desire women have to be in that “ fairy tale” relationship. Women sometimes accept anything just to have that relationship title.  We all have been a victim to our own desires that we overlook red flags in the person we are interested in. Unfortunately, I can relate to this act but, gratefully I have learned from it.  I want to reach out to other women and let them know that if you just wait and trust in GOD, He will put you in the right arms of that significant other better than you can.

SHE: Do you have a playwriting background?

C: For public appearance I had the opportunity to write a skit for 106.7 radio for their event Women In Color.  There are many unseen things I written such as poems and a play for an inspiring singer called “ Junior” that I have also done.

SHE: What types of issues are confronted in the play?

C: The number one issue that is displayed is infidelity and domestic violence towards a woman who loves a man but doesn’t know what to do. What is confronted in the play is not the fact that there is domestic violence towards the woman but how she chose the LORD and the church as an outlet to help her get the strength back that she once had before she met her significant other. I see too many times women who are in similar situations who seek everyone and everything for help and advice but GOD.  The point of the play is to encourage women to get back in trusting the Lord or try GOD for the first time with any situation they may have.

SHE: What’s been the biggest surprise along the way?

C: The biggest surprise has been how women have responded and related to just the title of the play. It’s amazing.

SHE: There are a lot of faith-based plays out there. What sets this play apart?

C: Even though this play is centered on having faith and going to GOD like most gospel plays, my play is actually based on a person’s life.  The events in the play are based off situations that actually happened in their relationship and it will be displayed on a live stage.

SHE:What do you hope the audience will consider or think about as they watch the play?

C: I definitely hope that they will love the play and understand the message behind it. Also to know that the encouraging message isn’t to just help battered women but to also find inspiration with their own situations.

play

I’m Good To A No Good Man
Farrell High School Auditorium
Farrell, PA 16121
Saturday, July 25, 2015
7:00pm
$12.00 per ticket
$15.00 at the door

By Reva Forrest
reva@areyoushe.com

The Case Of My Ex

This isn’t a post to bash my ex. This is not a post to bash relationships. This is a post to shed light on dark situations we all may face. This is a post to shed light on my story.

I was in a relationship with my ex for about a year and a half. At the time, that was my first “serious” relationship. I was in college and thought my relationship was everything. It was all about me and him as we squeezed God in between where we thought He could fit. Our focus was simidolatryply on each other as we tried to build our relationship around Christ. We were unequally yoked. Also, we were trying to change each other to make our relationship work. For a period of time in our relationship, because our focus was extremely on each other, I would get sick during and after an argument. I literally got sick. I would throw up and I lost weight. I wanted the relationship to work so bad that it made me sick when I thought it might not work out because of x, y, and z.

At the time, my relationship with God was mediocre. I read my Bible because I thought I had to in order to be a “good Christian.” I did not have accountability. In fact, I didn’t even know how crucial having an accountability partner was at the time. When I learned about it, I figured it was important, but I thought my boyfriend and I could manage without it. We were only deceiving ourselves. We were in love, fell in lust, and it was all about us making it work. It didn’t.

Over the years, I’ve truly grown since then. It took some heartbreaks and plenty of mistakes. But God showed me HE is my priority. I think that’s what we can easily miss. God will humble us in order to make us realize anything or anyone we place before Him is an idol.

— “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8 ESV

It can be difficult because in this world today being in a relationship and being married are idolized. There’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship that God ordained or a marriage God ordained. There is an issue when it stops there. Being married is NOT the goal of Christianity. It does not stop there. That’s where my issue resided. I look back on my past relationships and being in a relationship and marriage was my idol.

As believers, we have to self-evaluate our motives and our hearts daily.

— “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV

Question yourself to see what it is that is causing this desire? Ask yourself, “What is it that is distracting me because I have a desire for _________ instead of being content in Christ alone?”

Sometimes the things we struggle to let go of the most are our biggest idols.

 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14 ESV

By Ashley A. Johnson
ashley@areyoushe.com

Photo: IM Creator