Now before you kill me, hear me out! I can already hear you saying “That’s easy for her to say, she’s already married” or even rolling your eyes! Listen Linda, listen!! As I stated on a previous blog, I was single for 7 years. The photo on this blog was on my birthday on 2013 and I was very much SINGLE. Don’t I look happy? It is because I actually was. On that day my coworkers kept complimenting me stating I was glowing and looked happy … not all my birthdays were like that truth be told. The most important thing is at this point in the journey – I was content. It took me a long time to get to this place, but ultimately I believe this is the lesson God was teaching me.
Don’t get me wrong! I love my husband and thank God each day He saw it fit for us to be together. The lesson(s) I needed to learn had to be during my singleness and wilderness period. God had to refine me to be able learn & understand … “in every circumstance give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I had to give thanks when I wanted to be married and wasn’t, had to give thanks when I was frustrated with my job, had to give thanks when it seemed that the world was crashing around me. The thing is … in every season … life is beautiful. The moment you focus on your problems and what you don’t have, the BIGGER it becomes. Why not focus your energy elsewhere and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus? I look back on those moments I was worrying and just feel terrible. It was such a waste of time and emotions. Thankfully I always bounced back quick, but if you are not that type PLEASE surround yourself with people that will help you.
If you are single I want you to do the following – Take out a sheet of paper and follow these instructions:
First side of the paper
- Write down why being single worries you
- Rank each numerically from highest to lowest (#1 being the item that worries you the most)
- Next to each write down how that point adds to your life
- At the bottom of the page write down Matthew 6:27, Matthew 6:34 and Proverbs 3:5-6
Second side of paper
- Write down your top 5 goals
- Rank each numerically from highest to lowest (#1 being the item you want to achieve most)
- Next to each write how achieving the goal will make you feel
- Skip a couple lines – write down what you will do for FUN (at least one)
*Keep this sheet of paper near and refer to it on the days you are down*
In total transparency – I had to do a similar exercise and it helped me to learn to have a heart of gratitude.
I wanted to encourage my single followers as we embark on this journey of having an “Attitude of Gratitude” this month! Celebrate where you have been, where you are and where you are about to go! God has amazing things in store for you, and you DO NOT need a man for God to fulfill it! *finger snaps* Now… there will be other things God will want you to accomplish and He will place the RIGHT person by your side to achieve it. Relax! God got this!! Love yall!
For His Glory Only,
As we continue on this journey of “Self-Examination”, I wanted my final #WifeyWednesday posts for this month to be personal. Last week we discussed that marriage is instituted to glorify God. Today we will go over the fact that marriage is like a mirror.
An interesting thing that I have found in my 10 months of being married is that marriage is like a mirror. You ever look into a mirror and see your imperfections? Wrinkles, blemishes or age spots etc … the things we wish we could change, but for the most part have little control over. Mirrors can be real lifesavers, they reflect the present state and give us an opportunity to fix the imperfections.
Marriage at times amplifies our imperfections and our unresolved issues. Whether is issues of abandonment, trust or patience – this becomes amplified in marriage. Just as we look in the mirrors at times and see things we do not like, there are some characteristic traits that need an adjustment. By living so closely with another person, you begin to get a picture of what you really look like. You start to see where you need to adjust and change. Unfortunately, many expect marriage to be something that makes them look better, not something that reveals where they don't look so good. Rather than see where we need to change, we opt to project our own negative images on our spouses and point out where they need to change. Are you willing to accept criticism and make changes? In the Bible, Adam played the blame game like this: "That woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12). Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your actions.
Scripture speaks to us time and time again about reflecting Christ because we are made in His image. Colossians 3:10 states “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator”. When we accept Christ we know we are to reflect Him. There were moments in my marriage due to feeling overwhelmed that I would give very short responses or spend more time on work or getting things done for my organization. Being overwhelmed and frustrated did not give me a pass to not speak to my husband in love. I took time to reflect and sincerely apologize. There is a saying that my dad would always drill in my head as a child “Do unto others as you would have them do onto you”. At the end of the day, we are not only a reflection of Christ but we are to reflect our spouse.
To my followers who are single: What areas in your life do you need to work on reflecting Christ? Make a list of 2-3 things that you will be committed to work on before the end of the year. Place it on an index card or in your prayer journal and diligently work on reflecting Christ.
To my followers who are married: If we believe our spouse is present in the marriage to make us look better, instead of being a mirror to help us see who we really are, we will think our marriage is inadequate whenever one of our faults is revealed. Be open to receive criticism. Open the lines of communication to allow your spouse to feel comfortable to speak to you about imperfections.
My prayer is that God will help us in our imperfections. In the area(s) that we are not reflecting Him, may He refine us and mold us into who He wants us to be. No one is perfect, but we can strive to reflect Christ in every aspect of our life.
For His Glory Only,
As we continue on this journey of “Self-Examination”, I wanted my last two #WifeyWednesday posts for this month to be personal. Just wanted to share what I have learned and experienced in my marriage thus far. I was going to save this for the end of the year, but it fits perfectly with our blog series this month.
Marriage was instituted to glorify God. One of the main things I have witnessed as I have counseled others and have even struggled with, is the notion that marriage is to glorify God. Our idea of marriage has been misconstrued over time & not in line with God’s purpose for marriage. We have turned marriage into “what’s in it for me”. Hard lesson: it is not about you. Marriage is more than a than a contract, a piece of paper, or pledge. In marriage you are not only committing to each other in companionship, you are committing to each other in everything. Nothing comes before your spouse.
In a nutshell, marriage is to represent how Christ loves the church. Marriage unites two sinners and shows the relationship between Christ and the church. It is put on display in front of the whole world to see. Ephesians 5:25-27 states “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.”.
My husband and I grew up with great examples of a healthy marriage. Both sets of parents have been married for over 30 years. We understood that marriage would take “work” and “sacrifice” in order to be successful. One of my mentors drilled into my head that marriage is about sacrifice, not compromise. There would be moments ahead where we would not be able to compromise, and would have to sacrifice.
Prior to getting married I knew that marriage would take “work”. As I described to one of my mentees, marriage is the type of work you enjoy … not the 9-5 job that you hate. With that in mind I was aware that there would be days where I would feel overwhelmed but I would need to push through. I have heard people say “marriage isn’t what I expected”. The question is what did you expect (moment of self-examination). Are the expectations you have for your spouse fair? Can you live up to those expectations? I learned from the beginning that I could not place my happiness in the hands of my husband. That is so unfair. He is human just like me. There will be moments where he “fails” me.
In the beginning we struggled because my love language is “quality time”. My husband works late nights and due to his photography business, he also works weekends. In that instance I felt as if my “needs” were not being met. I had two choices: 1) Be angry and hold it against him 2) Communicate and work through it. “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1). I choose to be wise. Instead of nagging I prayed that he would work less hours, prayed that I would continue to love in tough times and sacrificed my own time for him. After some time, he is the one that came to me with solutions. We made sure we did our best to never skip a date night (#FridayNightDateNight) and established good communication when one felt “neglected”.
Let’s be real. That small incident could have grown into something much larger. If I chose to be angry .. everything he did thereafter would make me want to explode. If he left the cabinet doors open, forgot to take out the trash or did not help me cook during the week … my anger and frustration would just build. I wouldn’t love him with sacrificial love. This is what self-examination is all about. Looking at yourself and understanding what you are capable of doing, BUT choosing to do the right thing.
For my followers who are single: Please remember a man who will lead you to God and not to sin, is always worth the wait! Be patient in your season of singleness. The person that God wants for you will bring you closer to the God. You will see biblical traits in them (fruit). You have to examine their lives because that is the person you are going to be with until death. You need someone who is going to run the Christian race and keep up with you. If you think that you have found the one keep praying and God will tell you in prayer and thorough confirmation. If you are waiting for a spouse, keep praying that God sends someone your way. While you are praying for someone, someone is also praying for you. Trust in the Lord.
For my followers who are married: Is your marriage a reflection of God? Since we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27 ) your marriage should reflect Him. Are you being selfish, stubborn, belitting? Always ask yourself if your actions are glorifying God. Learn to makes sacrifices and love in that manner. Stop thinking about the things you aren’t getting, and focus on what your spouse does very well.
My prayer is that God will teach us how to build up our relationships, friendships and marriage, & keep us from tearing it down. Whether in word or in deed, we need to seek to honor each other and glorify God daily. May we have the strength to walk in sacrificial love, and a deep desire to press on in faith. Even on the days when it doesn’t feel good to do so, may we continue to walk in His will.
I will most likely do a video at the end of the year to celebrate my one year anniversary of marriage and share some more insight on the things I have learned.
For His Glory Only,
As we continue on our path of “Self-Examination" in the following areas: physical, mental and spiritual – I wanted to speak on addressing our thoughts and emotions.
At times we are truly emotional beings. We get upset, hold grudges and remain in the bondage of unforgiveness. Ephesians 4:26-27 states “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”. In essence we are not to give the devil any opportunity. This means within our relationships with others, friendships and marriage. We need to protect our thoughts, actions and emotions.
God gives us the best example. He isquick to forgive, and fast to forget. We need to learn to follow His example of forgiveness and grace. A wise man takes control of his anger and gives it over to God, but a foolish man lets his anger control him. He invites it in to stay. We are not perfect, we never have been–we never will be. We’re bound to hurt each other and say things that sting. That is a part of life. The important things is to recognize the moments we do this and apologize.
We need to pray that God will help us understand one another, and to view each other through a veil of grace and apply this in every aspect of our lives (including towards ourselves). If we let each other down, we will also be the hand that picks one another up. Scripture tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath (being upset). We need God’s help, and pray that He teaches us to examine our hearts and to calm ourselves down.
My God guide and protect our thoughts & emotions. May He help us to stay positive and to remove negative thoughts before they take root. Scripture after scripture tells us to take our thoughts captive, to keep our bodies from sin, and to guard our hearts according to His Word. The smallest temptation can turn into sin and take root when we allow it to step through the door. What may start out as a simple argument can grow into something far worse if we invite these thoughts in and allow them to grow. There’s a war that is waging inside us. The best way to calm that war is by guarding our thoughts, kneeling in prayer, and admitting that we need God’s help.
May God give us the strength to let go of anger and any grudges we hold. Remind us to count the many blessings we have, and to find. May He help us to heal from those things we have lost, to be content with the things that we have, and to dwell on our future together instead of the past. With Him and through Him, we become a mighty force, set on fire, filled with His Spirit, and ready to fight for our marriage.
For my followers who are single: Ask God to examine your heart, thoughts and emotions in this season. He is yearning for you to be a reflection of Him in your daily life amongst friends, family, peers and coworkers. With His help you will be able to put all of this in check and create healthy relationships.
For my followers who are married: Think of ways that your thoughts and emotions may have been an obstacle in the past. Address those deep rooted issues in your life and put it before God in prayer. Ask Him to help you keep your thoughts and emotions in line so you can have a healthy marriage and maintain good standing in your other relationships.
For His Glory Only,
This month we have discussed the theme “Harvest” and believe that our season is changing.
There are times within our friendships, relationships and marriage that the season may change. It can be hot like summer, or extremely cold like winter. This doesn’t mean that we stop sowing. The Bible tells us to sow our seeds in the morning, and how we never know which ones will succeed. So it is with our effort, our prayers, and our service to sow seeds in and out of season. We can’t change each other, and we can’t expect always expect growth, but we can love, pray, and walk in obedience to God’s will.
This means we need to apply that phrase “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. It is in the “cold” or “dry” season that we get frustrated and troubled. We may look back to the joyous summer or spring days and wonder how we landed in drought. You must first experience poverty to really understand prosperity. You must first understand walking in the wilderness to appreciate the harvest.
Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 (NIV) states “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”
If we were to pay attention to how people are towards us we wouldn’t sow seeds of love. There would be continued strife amongst us. When you make a decision to speak words of kindness, take the higher road and show love – God gets the glory. You are acting in a way that pleases Him.
To my followers who are single: Learn to sow seeds even in tough seasons. This means in the face of adversity, sow seeds. In circumstances where you could “speak your mind”, sow [positive] seeds as well. This is the training season where you need to perfect the art of sowing good seeds in times of difficulty and drought.
To my followers who are married: Make the extra effort each day with your spouse. Even in those moments when you are not in “the mood”, feel overwhelmed or tired – sow seeds of love, speak life over your spouse and shower them in kindness. You will reap a great harvest in doing so.
My prayer is that God would teach us to do our part–to plant seeds of love and encouragement, and to pray for each other. Give us the faith to bring our friendships, relationships and marriage to His throne of grace and to leave it in His hands.
Put away any thoughts of discouragement, frustration and angst and walk in the confidence to rest in God’s strength.
For His Glory Only,
This week in our blog series we discussed “Seeds & Trees”. Today we will take it a step further and talk about having a gentle spirit. This is applicable to both women and men [as most of my blogs are …just saying lol].
A gentle spirit is in line to being meek. Meek means being to be quiet, gentle, and submissive. How many times have we had an opportunity to showcase a gentle spirit but we retaliated, argued or “spoke our mind.” The proof is in your actions. Are you reflecting God? We have the ability in many areas of our lives to show a gentle spirit. We can express gentleness towards our family, friends, parents, peers and coworkers. There is the ability to showcase Christ on a daily basis, and the decision rests on us.
James 3:16-18 states “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
When an argument arises, seek peace. The Scripture says that sowing in peace bringsa harvest of righteousness. Be sure not to be envious or seek after things due to selfish ambition. This is not of God. Everything that is pure, noble, peaceful, considerate, submissive and sincere reflects God.
My prayer is that God will give us a gentle spirit, and remind us to handle each other with care. Whether we’re having a good day, or the weight of the world is bringing us down. May we be tender and loving one to another. May our words be gentle, our actions be kind, and our thoughts always tender and pure in EVERY aspect of our lives.
For my followers who are single: Learn to be gentle with the people who are in your life currently. Yes, even those who "get on your nerves" ... show gentleness. Stop the habit of "speaking your mind" or acting out of character. Do your best to showcase Christ in every aspect of your life.
For my followers who are married: In the moments where your spouse may touch a nerve, choose gentleness. Learn to apply gentleness in the moments where it is the most difficult. This will enable you to pass the test in the all moments.
Let us be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, looking to Christ as our perfect example.
For His Glory Only,
This week in our blog series we discussed the “Wheat & Weeds” parable. I wanted to apply this logic of marriage and relationships.
It is up to us to recognize the schemes of the enemy. We need to remove anything that stands in the way of our marriage, or hinders our spiritual growth. As we are focused on the topic of “harvest” this month, we need to be able to discern the things (or people) that can hinder our “crop”.
My prayer is that God will help us to wisely handle our friendships. To discern which ones offer encouragement, and which ones are tearing us down. Surround us with friends who want the best for our marriage, and are willing to stand with us in prayer. The type of friends that are there to help us, and not hinder us. May our friendships reflect Christ in the same way or marriages ought to.
Ephesians 6:10-12 states “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
Our battle is not against one another. It is against Satan who is the ruler of darkness. He sends out “weeds” to destroy our “wheat” and harvest in different ways. It may come in the form of poor communication, lack of self-confidence, jealousy, lack of integrity, lies and deceit.
We need to weed through the messages that we’re constantly faced with– unhealthy relationships and ideas we see on TV, media headlines, the conversations we hear at work or amongst “friends”, or the ideas that flood social media. We need the wisdom to take what is good and to reject what is bad. This comes from knowing the Word. The moment something does not align to the word of God, that is your filter.
My prayer is that God will plant a hunger within us to not only rea the Word, but to live it out. May He give us the strength to turn away from opinions that aren’t in line with His will. I pray He grants us the strength to overcome negative thoughts that discourage us or set us against one another – in our marriage, relationships or friendships. My we remain humble and hungry.
To my followers who are single: Ask God to begin to reveal to you what can become a “weed” in your harvest. It might be pride, negative influence or poor communication. Learn from every circumstance that is presented in your life. Understand that the same way God has a plan, the enemy has one also. Be mindful of what is going on around you, and judge it against the word of God.
To my followers who are married: Pay attention to your surroundings. As you are planting seeds to reap a great harvest in your marriage, understand that the enemy has a plan against your marriage. He doesn’t like to see marriages succeed. Ask God to give you the Spirit of discernment. Read the Bible so you are able to judge actions against His Word.
My prayer is that God will reveal Himself in a different way this season and that our harvest is bountiful.
For His glory only,