Monthly Archives: April 2015

Still I Rise

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I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, or as it is affectionately called, Charm City.  I often referred to my family as a band of gypsies because we practically lived in every quadrant of the city.  But the majority of my childhood was spent in West Baltimore.  I am very familiar with North Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Lexington Market and Mondawmin Mall.  Baltimore is my hometown and even though I left (for the second time) in 2005, Baltimore is still home.

So today, as I write this blog I am disheartened by what is taking place in my hometown.  I am appalled.  I am sad. I am angry. I am hurt. I am also baffled by how anyone can justify the behavior of the youth and associate it with protesting for the murder of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore City Police.  The actions of these youth are not protesting.  It is destruction. It is opportunist thuggery at its finest.  This not the example that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others set when they protested racial injustices during the 1960s.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” 

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Do we not understand that? Do we not understand that what is taking place in Baltimore has now overshadowed the death of Freddie Gray? What happens when the destruction stops, the smoke clears and the dust settles? Businesses that the community relied on are now gone.  People are out of jobs.  A city is left in ruins, and for what?  What message is really being sent….and received? America is watching.  America is being shown angry black teenagers destroying the city in which they live.  America already has preconceived notions about black youth and with the portrayal of the riots in Baltimore through the eyes of the media, America is saying, ‘we knew it all along.’

My heart aches for the family of Freddie Gray.  On the day that they laid their beloved son to rest, the city that they too call home is thrown into total chaos.  The family called for peace.  They asked protestors to not protest on Monday, April 27 2015 and while protestors adhered to the wishes of the family, criminally minded children did not, and now we are here.

But the human spirit is resilient.  The human spirit is tough. The human spirit is strong.  Baltimore like other communities who have experienced riots in the past, will bounce back.  This will not keep the city of Baltimore down.  The residents will rally together and rebuild.  They will come together and begin to take back their communities.  It will take a concerted effort though.  We also need parents to be parents and not friends to their children.  We need our men to step up and protect our communities of women and children; and the people of God must humble themselves, pray and seek his face that our land may be healed.

Baltimore, I am praying for you, HON. You will bounce back. You will be better than you were.  We will survive.

Human Spirit

Apologize Already!

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sorry

My final blog for the 10-day blogging challenge is inspired by a conversation I was privy to.  While the details of the conversation are not important, what is important and what was a clear reminder for me is that in life we all must learn the importance of an apology.  Apology is defined as, “a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure” and consists of three simple words, ‘I am sorry.’ But if they are so simple, why do so many of us struggle with saying them?  Are we afraid to admit that we have offended someone? Are we so proud and arrogant that we feel regardless of whether or not the person was offended what we spoke was “the truth?” Whatever the reasoning, we cannot simply go through life without ever learning the art of apologizing.

To err is human” ~ Alexander Pope

At some point on this journey called life we will have to apologize for something.  Whether it be to a colleague, a customer, a family member, business associate, friend, or partner; we will all have to apologize for something.  Why? Because if you are like me you will find that there are times when you will stick your proverbial foot in your mouth and wish you could take back something you said (or did).

Death and life are in the power of the tongue’ ~ Proverbs 18:21

Unfortunately, once the words have been spoken into the atmosphere there is no taking it back and whatever damage it’s going to do has already been done.  This brings me to another lesson I learned this week; pause before speaking. ‘……Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).  However, a sign of growth is when we are able to see that we have made a mistake and do what is necessary to correct our wrong.  This is not only a good thing; it also keeps us humble and less prideful.

So what are some key elements of a good apology?  Well for starters, be sincere.  Please do not apologize haphazardly or with the feeling like you are doing the other person a favor.  Also, don’t wait too long before apologizing.  The sooner the apology is rendered, the quicker the relationship can move towards healing.  Granted there are some situations where an immediate apology may not be possible.  But if it is, please do so as quickly as possible.  Third, take complete responsibility for what you did.  Even if both parties were wrong, take responsibility for the part that you played in the mishap.  You know the saying forgiveness isn’t for the other person it’s for you? Well the same holds true for an apology.  Don’t waste precious time arguing over who was right or who was wrong. Apologize for the crazy part that you played and move on, if for no other reason than to clear your heart and conscious.  And finally, acknowledge that what you said or did hurt the other person and ask for their forgiveness.

Now I know someone reading this blog right now is saying, “well what if the person does not accept the apology?” I’m glad you asked.  If you find yourself in this predicament remember, just like forgiveness is not for the other person, but you….so is an apology.  Not only does apologizing clear your heart and conscious, it is also the right thing to do when you know you have done something wrong.  Knowing you have done your part in the reconciliation process will free you in the most unimaginable ways.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.’ ~ Matthew 5:23-24

“To err is human; to forgive, divine” (Alexander Pope). My ability to forgive and to apologize comes only from the strength of God. Because I know all of the horrible sins that He has forgiven me for, I remind myself daily that there is no way I can expect God to forgive me when I refuse to forgive my husband, friend, family member, etc.  I also know that the same Mercy and Compassion that God shows me which gives me leeway when I do mess up, I must extend to others.  The bottom line for me is what is more important, “Being right, or being happy?”

Beware of the Red Flags

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Red FlagsOne of my latest guilty pleasures is watching the television show Being Mary Jane. If you are not familiar with the show allow me to give you a brief synopsis:

The show is about a character named Mary Jane Paul (played by Gabrielle Union) who is beautiful, successful and well educated.  She is the host of a popular news style daytime show on a CNN like network called SNC.  Extremely good at what she does and very personable, Mary Jane seems to have it all.  However, despite the trappings of a well-heeled life, she is looking for love in all the wrong places.”

How many of us can relate?  We want so much to be loved that we settle for less than we know we are worth. Or as I read yesterday, ‘we remove jewels from our crown to make it easier for the man.’  But praise God we have been healed and have returned to our rightful position as the Queens we are and expecting nothing less than a King.  But while we are waiting for our King and navigating through the dating scene, we must also be careful of the red flags.  Red flags are the warning signs that are exhibited while dating that we sometimes ignore.  Some red flags that I have experienced while dating are, (1) I could never go to his house; (2) Every time we spoke the conversation centered on sex; or (3) He can only be reached by phone during the day.  These are red flags that signaled to me that something was afoot and to run in the other direction…quickly!

Red flags can appear early on while dating (as in the three personal examples I gave) or they can become more apparent the longer the relationship goes on.  We see all of the amazing qualities this person has but there can also be some less than desirable traits that they possess which leave us unsure.  When we first begin a new relationship we are excited about it!  Our new beau gives us goose bumps and leaves our heart fluttering.  Every moment with them is like a beautiful summer day and they can do absolutely no wrong in our eyes.  It is at this very moment that it is so easy for us to overlook the red flags.  We want to be married and this person makes us feel beautiful and special; as though we are the only woman in the world; and even though we are scratching our head over those less than desirable traits, we begin to make excuses for him or filling in those areas that we question with ideas of what we want him to be like.  Then one day those excuses we have been making turn into bombs detonating all around us.

So what are some key red flag indicators that we need to be looking for while dating? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Lack of communication. This is the man that finds it hard to talk about certain issues or has a difficult time expressing how he feels. Difficult conversations cause this type of person to become distant, leaving their partner confused, hurt, and having to deal with the problem on their own. Because this type of person finds communicating tricky, they will often give their partner the silent treatment. I dated a man similar. The ironic thing was that early on in the relationship he expressed that one of the things that bothered him in his previous relationship was the woman’s inability to communicate.  But after 4 1/2 years of dating I realize that he had just as much of a problem as he…or he was REALLY the problem.
  2. Irresponsible, immature, and unpredictable.  I think I’ve dated this person before!! Some people have trouble with basic life skills—taking care of themselves, managing their finances and personal space, holding onto a job, and making plans for their life and future. When faced with a seemingly small crisis this type of individual may shut down thus leaving very little time for you.  This individual may also be still in the “growing up” stage, which signifies you may not be able to rely on them for anything.
  3. Lack of trust.  Trust or lack thereof is a relationship killer!  When a person has a hard time being honest…when they are habitual liars, the relationship is headed for failure.  They may not even know why they lie. It’s just like breathing for them.  Whatever the reasoning, being lied to blatantly is a no-brainer. You will always feel like something is being hidden from you.
  4. Significant family and friends don’t like your partner. How many of us have had loved ones tell us they do not like the person we are dating? I have! And how many of us have ignored what they said only to find out that what they said was true? I have!! While I believe that regardless of what well meaning people will say about your new beau, until you are ready to see the signs and walk away, they are just wasting their time.  But it doesn’t mean that you can’t take their opinion and put it in your back pocket.  Pay attention to what is being said.  They only want what is best and often times when we are in a new relationship, hearing criticism about your new beau is often seen as jealousy or people just not wanting to see us happy.  But others may see things more clearly from an outsider’s perspective.
  5. Controlling behavior. At no time is jealousy or a controlling behavior a sign of how much a person loves you.  A new partner may attempt to separate you from your family and friends; those who care about you the most.  Your new beau may be jealous of the relationship that you have with others and will attempt to control your interaction with them.  And in more extreme cases, they make you choose them over other significant relationships in your life.  They may even try to control what you wear, where you can go, etc. Beware of all signs of jealousy and a controlling behavior.
  6. Feeling insecure in the relationship.   Feelings of uncertainty, being uncomfortable or anxious in a relationship are a serious red flag.  You seek reassurance from your partner that you are on the same proverbial path in the relationship but that reassurance only lasts for a short time.  Because of it you find yourself constantly try to prove yourself, doing extra with hopes that he will choose you. This was a HUGE lesson learned for me. I was constantly dealing with feelings of uncertainty.  Let me tell you, it is draining! If you have these same feelings ladies, please do yourself a favor and walk away!
  7. A dark or secretive past. We all have a past. But some things should not be overlooked.  Behaviors that are suspicious, illegal and addictive are obvious red flags. Please do not ignore anything that seems strange or makes you feel uncomfortable. God gave us the gift of intuition. Always trust your gut feeling.
  8. The relationship is built on the need to feel needed. I fell into this trap.  I was in a very vulnerable place and I looked to my partner to meet my emotional needs…to fill a void.  But what I learned is that only God can do that.  Putting that much pressure on a person…especially one who is not capable or ready…is unfair.
  9. Abusive behavior. Finally, and most importantly, ANY form of abuse is a red flag.  Be careful not to make excuse for any type of verbal, emotional, psychological and definitely not physical abuse.  Seek help and get out as quickly and safely as  possible.

Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” Often times at the end of a relationship we can look back and see the signs–the red flags that we ignored. But by then its too late. We have already wasted time and find ourselves hurt and damaged.  But this can all be avoided if we, “Learn to trust what we feel. Our hunch is probably right.”

My Dirty Little Secret

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FreeI have an announcement to make. Listen carefully because I may not admit to it again.  Ok, are you listening? Are you sure you are listening? Ok, here it goes….I am afraid.  There, I said it.  I finally got it off my chest.  I feel so much lighter.  So much freer.  Whew….thank you for allowing me to unload that secret on you.

Now you may be saying, “What is this crazy woman talking about?”  Well, I will tell you.  With all of the blogging about not looking back and healing and waiting for my husband, I also needed to share that in the midst of all of that, I have to admit that there is a small piece of me that is afraid that I will be single for the remainder of my life.  Yeah, I know God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  I know Jesus tells me to fear not for he is with me even until the end of time (Isaiah 41:10). I get all of that and I know it in my heart to be true.  But this is my raw honest moment and yeah, a piece of me is afraid. In the midst of my hope, belief, and faith, I am afraid that I’ll wake up one day and I’ll be 60 years old, still single…living alone….coming home to whatever pet I may have at the time.  I was pretty sure I was the only person that feels this way.  You only have to spend a small amount of time on social media before you will start thinking that everyone’s life is great and your life just sucks.  But as it turns out there are studies done on persons who are single, whether they have never been married, divorced, or widowed, who also fear growing old alone.  Surprisingly enough, or not so much depending on your perspective, the concern is greater for women than it is for men.  Experts say it’s because women are living longer than men and men tend to be drawn towards younger women. Whatever the reasoning, it’s real and a small piece of me is relieved to know that I am not alone in my thinking.

So, now that I know I am not crazy what am I to do with this fear that I have?  How do I keep this fear from taking control of my mind and eventually my life?  Well, the first thing for me to do is to pray.  I believe that I can tell God anything.  I believe there is nothing that I can say to God that will shock him.  I believe that because the bible says, ‘O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord’ (NIV Psalm 139:1-4). God already knows that I am afraid and when I go to him with my fear I know that he will give me peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).  He will replace my fear with peace.

Secondly, I must avoid the trap of allowing panic to set in.  Do you know that there are people who are actually afraid of being alone?  There are women who will return to a bad relationship simply because they cannot bear being alone.  I would dare say that panic governed their decision and they more than likely made a bad decision.   I learned an acronym from a sister friend that I always try to apply to my life – H.A.L.T. The letters stand for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired; and I was told to never ever make a decision when I was feeling one of these emotions.  So before I allow panic to set in…before I allow the fear of being alone to grip me and cause me to make a bad decision, I will remember Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Before I was even born, God knew what his plan for my life would be.   He has already walked out the path called My Life and he’s leading me along that path reminding me that he has me every step of the way.  So since God promised that his plans for me are for good and not for disaster; since God promised me a future and a hope, I can rest assured that should I not get married and find myself alone for the rest of my life, God has already made provision for it.  And I can say boldly that I trust Him!

Finally, to overcome the evil monster called fear, I will live my life like its golden!! My life is golden. Your life is golden.  Every single day that God opens our eyes to see is a miracle and a gift from God.  Why would I squander it by living my life in fear of something that I have no control over anyway?  See, only the devil would have me to do that.  The bible says, “The thief (devil) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV John 10:10). The devil wants to steal my joy. The devil wants to steal my peace. The devil wants to steal my happiness. The devil wants to destroy my mind. The devil ultimately wants to kill me.  But JESUS…..Jesus came and died that I may live the abundant life.  What is the abundant life? Well, first let me tell you what it is not. It is not a big house. It is not a new car. It is not designer clothes. It is not diamonds and gold.  It’s not even a husband.  No, the abundant life is not STUFF! It is an abundance of PEACE! It is an abundance of JOY! It is an abundance of LOVE! It is all of the Fruits of the Spirit (Kindness, Patience, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control) These are the things that make up the abundant life.  These are things that define me living the golden life.

We are relational by design.  God did not create us to live a life of solitude.  But even in that, I will not allow a fear of growing old alone to cause me to make a decision that I may end up regretting.  I believe that I will be married to a wonderful man.  Until that happens though, I will fill my days that God gives me by participating in my favorite hobbies, volunteering, spending time with those that I love and who love me, traveling, and just doing the things that make me happy! I will continue to learn to be content in whatever state I find myself.  I don’t know what lies around the corner for me.  The one thing that I can be sure of though is that I will age and yes I will die.  But as I steadily approach half time in my life, I will stomp self-pity (the devil) on its head by celebrating the amazing years I have already lived and looking forward to the years that I have left as a wonderful, miraculous gift from God.

How I Need To Be Loved

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5 Love Languages

I have great conversations with my friends; and sometimes those conversations can be challenging.  I recently referenced one of my favorite books, The Five Love Languages, and that sparked an interesting conversation with a girlfriend.  Sadly, my friend and her husband are having marital problems and while I pray that God will save their marriage from demise, it’s not looking good.

You see, the problem is that my friend’s needs are not being met, and her husband seems uninterested in meeting his wife’s needs.  As I’m speaking with my friend we began to talk about what our love language is.  Everyone has one and it’s important that couples know one another’s love language because everyone feels love differently.  Before I go any further, let me tell you what the five love languages are that Gary Chapman discusses in his book:

  1. Words of Affirmation – Spoken praise and appreciation
  2. Acts of Service – Goes beyond saying ‘I love you’ to actually helping and doing things that show love and appreciation
  3. Receiving Gifts – The gifts need not be expensive or elaborate; it’s the thought that counts. Even something as simple as a homemade card or a few cheerful flowers will communicate your love to your spouse. Little things mean a lot to a person whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
  4. Quality Time – Giving undivided attention is one of the best ways you can show your love.
  5. Physical Tough – In marriage, the love language of physical touch includes everything from putting a hand on your mate’s shoulder as you walk by, touching his or her leg as you’re driving together, and holding hands while you’re walking to kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse. If physical touch is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing communicates love more clearly than for you to take the initiative to reach out and touch your mate.

Ok, so now that you are up to speed on what the love languages are, I will tell you that my top three love languages are (1) words of affirmation; (2) acts of service; and (3) quality time.  Sadly, my friend repeated that her needs are not being met in marriage and she was frustrated.  I immediately thought of what Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said about Emotional Bank Accounts.  He fashioned our emotions to that of an ATM.  He said if we constantly withdraw money from our bank accounts without ever making a deposit, eventually the account will be depleted of all funds and the account goes into an overdraft status.  Mr. Covey says the same thing happens to us in our relationships.  If we are constantly giving…giving…giving; giving our time; giving our love; giving our attention and not having the same deposited back into us, eventually our emotional bank account goes into an overdrawn status and we feel depleted.

Surprisingly as my friend and I continued to talk she tells me that she is no longer angry at her husband for not meeting her needs.  She said after a lot of prayer, soul searching and counseling with her pastor, she came to the realization that it’s not that her husband does not want to meet her needs, he has no idea how.  That statement blew me away…and challenged me at the same time; ‘He has no idea how to my meet my needs.’ I’m challenged by that because my tunnel vision perspective says he does not want to.  People do what they want to do and if he really loved his wife and was really committed to making it work, he would do whatever was necessary to ensure that his wife’s needs are being met.

But maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe he really doesn’t know how.  I immediately thought of my last relationship.  When I was homeless and jobless and had nothing but my faith, I looked to my friend (whom I was living with at the time) to fill the void I was feeling.  To help me to feel better about myself and my situation.  I was looking to him to be my emotional rock but he was not doing that.  I remember lying on the sofa crying and praying about my friend not doing what I thought he should have been doing, when I heard God’s voice say, “I Am He who is your everything.” Talk about an AHA moment!!! So while I was challenged by my friends revelation, I get it…her husband, like my friend, is not able to meet her needs.  Sadly, he has no idea how; and that has nothing to do with his wife, as it had nothing to do with me.

My friend said she feels free now that she realizes that her husband is not able to meet her needs.  I understand completely as I felt freed as well.  Talking to my friend though has caused me to change my prayer about my husband.  I now pray that he will also take the time to learn my love language(s) and love me in a way that fulfills me.

I’m To Be Chased….Not Chase!

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He who finds a wife………

woman pursuing a man

Times have changed, wouldn’t you say? Everything is different from when I was growing up in Baltimore.  I remember going outside with my friends and jumping rope or playing hopscotch. Or how about dodge ball, which was my all time favorite.  Then there was softball, red light, hide and go seek and tag.  Remember penny candy, jacks and the hula hoop?  Even food tastes different now.  People are different. Children are different. Everything is different; to include how people date and who pursues whom?

Maybe I’m old school.  Maybe I’m out of touch as the young people would say. But the thought of pursuing a man and God women proposing to men, just does not seem natural.  As a single woman in the year 2015 I want to be pursued.  The scripture says ‘he who finds a wife.’ Now I’m not a theologian and I’ve never claimed to know a lot (if anything at all), but those five little words indicate to me that my husband is suppose to find me.  It means he is to actively pursue me.  Any other way just seems odd and since I’ve decided to stop doing this dating thing my way, but rather do it God’s way, I expect nothing less than what God says I deserve.

First off, it’s just not natural for a woman to pursue a man.  It goes against God and his word.  God has designed women to want to be pursued and in the same way has designed men to want to pursue.  It is in their nature.  They are natural born hunters.  I want to be romanced.  I want the man to come in and sweep me off my feet.  So I’ll wait.  I’ll let God handle it.

“The man leads the woman onto the ice and initiates each part of their routine.  She receives that leadership and trusts in his strength.  His raw physical strength is more on display than hers; he does all the lifting, twirling, and catching.  She complements his strength with her own—a more diminutive and more attractive strength of beauty, grace, speed, and balance.  His focus as the head, or leader, is to magnify her skills.  Her focus is on following his lead and signaling her readiness to receive his next move.  He takes responsibility for the two of them, and she trusts his leadership and delights in it” (John Ensor, Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart). 

Secondly, and this may seem strange, I’m really not waiting on a man to pursue me.  I am however waiting on God.  I’m in a great place in my life right now.  I have been through the fire and He has brought me out as pure gold.  I have peace.  I wake up every morning with joy.  I have people who love me.  God is bringing out the best in me.  He is preparing me to be a wife and in his perfect time he will allow my path to cross with my husband.

Third, I believe that as a man actively pursues me, he is demonstrating to me that he is capable of leading me and loving me well after the pomp and circumstance of the wedding, but for better and worse.  It is in his active pursuit of me that I will see those all important characteristics; (1) Stewardship, (2) Love, (3) Leadership, (4) Service, and (5) Communication.

Finally, and most importantly, I am already loved completely by the Greatest man who has ever lived.  In my growing, one of the greatest lessons I learned is that I do not have to search for love, or seek to find my worth in a man.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3)

God loves me unconditionally.  He loved me so much that he gave his Son as a sacrifice for me.  He died that I might live. He died for me!!  He loves me through my best and my worse.  He loved me when I was his enemy and he loves me when I act like his enemy.  I’m reminded in his word “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Because I know who I am in Christ, I no longer need to find myself in a man. A husband being added to my life will only complement it.

God, Is This Man My Husband?

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‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you’ (NIV James 1:5).

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In 2002 my parents packed up and moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Greenville, North Carolina.  That left me with a home to sell and a decision to make; do I stay in Baltimore or do I relocate as well? I really wanted to leave.  I had no social life and really had just outgrown the city.  I needed a change of scenery and I needed it bad!!  But instead I moved into an apartment and continued to die a slow internal death because I really wanted to leave.  My mommy wanted me to move to Greenville naturally, but I wasn’t feeling that either.  Well three years later, May 2005 to be exact, I had the opportunity to be put on active duty orders (I was still serving in the military at the time).  So I packed up and headed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I was already familiar with the area as my long term beau was from Philadelphia, so I had spent a lot of time there.  I knew people there and for the first time in a long time I felt like I had a social life; I felt alive.  Every weekend I was getting into something and it was fabulous.  So, I decided to stay.  In January 2006 I resigned from my position with the Maryland State Government, packed up my apartment and never looked back.  I tell that story because one of my favorite scriptures says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path’ (NIV Proverbs 3:5-6).  I wish I could tell you that I asked God if I could or even should move to Philadelphia, but I can’t.  I followed my own mind and did what I felt was best for me.  Thankfully it worked and even though I did not ask God if it were ok, I felt a peace in my spirit that said it was.

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So here I sit, single and desiring marriage and the question I ask God a lot is, “Who is my husband?” I haven’t yet gotten an answer to that prayer but I wonder, will God really tell me who to marry?  I use to think he would.  I’ve heard many pastors say that persons who were thinking of marriage should ask God if it were ok to date/marry a particular man/woman; and I suppose in my mind I was expecting to hear a booming voice from Heaven say, ‘Yes Shannon, he is your husband.’ But now, I’m not so sure.

Everyone uses the term soul mate which to me implies that there is only one person in God’s vast universe for me or any of us.  However, there is nothing in scripture that suggests this and honestly in my humble opinion, that type of thinking places God in a box.  The same applies to me asking God if this is the man I am suppose to marry.  When people debate me on this I always ask the same question, if there is such a thing as a soul mate then how do you explain a widow/widower or a divorcee finding love again?  Naturally I always get the deer caught in the headlight look but when you think about it, the concept of a “soul mate” just does not make sense.  It sounds nice; very romantic and flowery.  But not realistic.  In Proverbs 31, men are encouraged to be guided by a woman’s faith and character when making the choice on who to marry.  In 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 Paul says, ‘Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.’  In Matthew 19:12 even Jesus says that some choose to be eunuchs-celibate; ‘For there are eunuchs, who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.’  So if the bible clearly says it’s my call whether or not I get married or even who I choose to marry then why should my skewed feelings and reasoning’s override living the truth of God’s word?

There is quite honestly nothing in the bible that commands us to marry one particular person.  Whether we marry and who we marry are referred to in scripture as God’s permissive will, something he allows us to choose.  Just as my decision to relocate to Philadelphia was God’s permissive will, so is who I choose to marry.  God gives wisdom to those who ask, and as I read and study God’s word for myself I will learn of the qualities and attributes the bible says I should be looking for in a potential husband.  Qualities such as:

  • Stewardship This quality speaks to one’s maturity and character and how they are acted out on a daily basis.  My future husband should be consistent with his role and responsibilities within our marriage.  Stewardship also represents how my husband will manage what God has blessed him with; wife, children, money, time, possessions, etc.
  • Love – This word is tossed around so freely now and often used to refer to romantic feelings or sex or physical attraction.  All of these are great. However, they are not unconditional and will not sustain the marriage.  True love is like the love Christ shows the church.  Author Stuart Scott says true love is “a selfless and enduring commitment of the will to care about and benefit another person by righteous, truthful and compassionate thoughts, words, and actions.” Biblical love is unconditional. It does not have ulterior motives nor is it expressed in a feeling.  True love….biblical love is always thinking about the needs of the other person.
  • Leadership – God makes it clear in his word that the husband is the leader in the marriage.  He is the head of his household.  Many women take issue with this and many more men have taken advantage of it.  This type of leadership is sacrificial in nature and involves the husband’s ability to be decisive and to take action when needed.  The purpose of a husband’s leadership role is to guide his family in righteousness.
  • Service – My pastor says that if a husband woke up every day thinking how to make his wife happy and the wife does the same then they have no other choice but to be happy! Hence, service is humbly putting my needs before his and consistently prioritizing me in the marriage.  Jesus is the perfect example of a servant and a husband’s focus should be on his wife without seeking recognition and or approval.
  • Communication – Poor communication is probably one of the biggest obstacles in a marriage and let’s face it, the quality of any marriage is only as good as their ability to communicate.  The important thing to remember is that communication is a two way street.  In addition to speaking there is also listening, which is probably the most important element of communication.  However, we must be careful to not listen to respond, but rather listen to understand.  We want to understand what our spouse is saying so we must concentrate on what is being said, refrain from interrupting and carefully consider all that is being said.

Of course this is not an exhaustive list of qualities that a potential husband should possess, but rather it is definitely a great a start.  It provides me with a blue print when choosing whom I will spend the rest of my life with.  God has gifted me with his word to make wise decisions while journeying through life.   Often times we can get ahead of ourselves because we think we know best so we make our own decisions without following God’s word.  But as a single person who hopes to be married someday soon I must understand that should I choose to not follow God’s plan, there are consequences-and in the case of marriage can be long lasting.  So I will seek God’s blessing but also seek his wisdom in scripture, apply biblical principles, seek wise counsel, be deliberate and wise in my choice, and consider my future.

love