Monthly Archives: September 2016

Guard Your Heart

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During my prayer time this morning I heard, “Guard your heart.” It was an E.F. Hutton moment, God was speaking and so I listened. I immediately googled “Guard your heart” and my search netted a very familiar passage of scripture found in Proverbs 4:23; “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Was God warning me of something? Or simply sending a gentle reminder? I continued to dig a little deeper in my search and found an interesting commentary on Proverbs 4:23 as it pertains to dating. I am, after all, single and hoping to be married someday. So maybe God was sending me a gentle reminder to “guard my heart” in this crazy, disheartening, and sometimes tragic world of dating.

You see, I don’t let people into my heart space easily. And men have an even more difficult time. My heart space is sacred. My heart space is precious. My heart….is special. So for the few men that I have given access to my heart space, know that you are special.

As I considered the message I received this morning I had to be honest with myself and confess that I have not always been successful in guarding my heart. I mean, quite frankly, those I’ve allowed into my heart space probably should not have been allowed.  It wasn’t like I said, “Hey God, should I allow this person into my heart space?”  If I had I’m sure he would have said, “No!”  But as I purposed to do this dating thing differently, I also have to purpose to be intentional about “guarding my heart.”  But what does that mean?  What does that look like?  How do I do that successfully?

As I searched Google some more on “guarding my heart” I came across an article by Phillip Bethancourt that was interesting and offered some sound advice.  In the article he too asked the question, “How do you guard your heart.”  Mr. Bethancourt explained that there is only one other place in the bible that warns us to guard our hearts. In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Light bulb moment!! idea-light-bulb-clip-art-black-and-white-mtlenkbtaThe key to guarding my heart is through prayer. Before I make decisions regarding relationships I must talk to God first! Not after my heart is involved (which by then it’s too late) but before I involve my heart.  Yes, didn’t do that at all.  Maybe if I had I would have saved myself from unnecessary heartache.  But all praise to God for healing my heart and allowing the experience to mature me and bring me to this place.  This place that says before I give my heart to anyone again I must confer with God.  Before I allow myself to be vulnerable I must confer with God.  Before I put my all into a relationship I must confer with God.  God is not going to lead me to a place where my heart will be broken, but my flesh will.  My flesh can’t be trusted.  It’s lied to me over and over again.  So I must not lean to my own understanding but trust God in every situation.

God truly does know best. He told me that he knows the plans he has for me.  And he promised that his plan is never to harm me.  So as I navigate through 21st century dating, with Netflix and chill, online dating sites, and social media, I must keep at the forefront God’s warning to “guard my heart.”  In the words of Phillip Bethancourt, “Guarding your heart is the one of the most important yet least understood facets of Christian dating.  It can paralyze you, or it can liberate you.  Guarding your heart is the key to saving yourself for your future spouse in a way that honors God.”

 

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What Pigeons Taught Me About Following God

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national-bank-of-washingtonMy journey to work is usually a relatively uneventful one. There are days when the occasional rowdy passenger, or delayed train, or even a mouse greeting me at the elevator entrance provides content for my #CommuterChronicles.  But for the most part, my ride to work every morning is uneventful.  This morning proved no different.  That is until I departed the elevator and stood waiting for the light to change so that I could safely cross the street.

Directly in front of me was a square where locals and tourists alike sit and eat lunch, meditate or people watch. On occasion the local skateboarders can be found in the square attempting the latest daredevil feats.  This morning there wasn’t too much activity as most people were hurrying to get to work.  In addition to the people that enjoy the square there are also statutes and historic buildings that offer opportunities for great photography.  One such building is the National Bank of Washington. This historic building, which was constructed in 1888, sits proudly in Washington’s old financial district. I learned that for more than a decade now, there has been talk of turning the building into a museum to commemorate the victims of the American genocide of 1915-1923.

As I waited patiently for the light to change I noticed that perched on top of the National Bank of Washington was a slew of pigeons and almost instantaneously they all took flight at the same time. I stood mesmerized by the pigeons.  I watched them fly in a circle, all in unison, never missing a beat.  As I stood there and watched “the flight of the pigeons” or as I learned is called a Murmuration, I thought to myself, ‘this is how God wants my life to be.  Perfectly in step with His.’  I continued to watch the birds fly in a whirling pattern for approximately one minute.  And then as quickly as the flight started, it ended with the pigeons landing back on the top of the building.

How much more amazing would my life be if I didn’t try to do everything on my own? If I truly lived my daily prayer of, “Lord, order my steps in your Word.”  How much mess could I have avoided if instead of trying to circumvent what the Lord was teaching or trying to do in my life, I simply followed His plan.  The Bible tells me that the Lord knows the plans He has for me.  His plans are to prosper me not to harm me.  His plans are to give me a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  Yet, in spite of knowing this and believing this, I oftentimes find myself traveling unchartered territory.  A road that the Lord never intended for me to travel.  Only to have to come back to Him and say, “Father, forgive me.”

But I marvel at the fact that even when I follow my flesh and think that I can do this thing called life on my own, when I fall flat on my face God is there to pick me up. He picks me up and takes me in His loving arms and welcomes me back to Him.  He cleans me up and fixes my tiara and reminds me that He loves me.  He loved me so much that He died for me.  And there is nothing I can do and no place that I can go that will ever change His love for me.  What an awesome God I serve!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the depth of your love that you show through your Son Jesus. I thank you that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from your love which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. Thank you Father that regardless of how many times I stray and you are there to gently guide me back to your loving care.  Lord words can never express how much I love you and how grateful I am to you.  But I thank you from the very depths of my soul.  Amen.

Why I Am Waiting Until Marriage To Have Sex

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Now that I have your attention, I have decided to wait until I am married to have sex. Let me be clear, this is my decision and I in no way judge or have any thoughts towards anyone who does not share in my conviction. This personal decision is one I made to God when my last relationship ended.

You may be wondering why I am writing a blog about this subject. Blogging is an outlet for me. And as my Sister-in-Christ so eloquently puts it, nothing in my life is a secret. I am transparent because God knows. So why am I keeping anything from anyone else. And when God uses my life to help someone else, then that is another slap in the Devils face. But I digress. 
My last relationship lasted 3 years 7 months. I did not ask God was this a relationship I should enter. Had I asked God I’m sure I would have heard a resounding NO! And so I went in….and I went in hard. At year two I said to a friend, “if this relationship does not go the distance (marriage), I am done with sex until marriage.” Well, they say be careful what you put in the atmosphere. I imagine Jesus saying, “That was all I needed to hear.” 

Around year three I began to hear God tell me to walk away. He was giving me reason after reason after reason to walk away. He even showed me that the relationship would end AND showed me the reason why it would end. But I ignored him. I was weak. And I said, “God, I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough to do it.” Again, I imagined Jesus saying, “I got you. When you’re weak I Am strong.” And so in a dream God showed me the reason again and it was confirmed. At that point God gave me the strength to walk away. 

I was “single” and determined to wait on my husband. An entire year passed. And then I fell. I gave in to my flesh. I heard the Holy Spirit say, “what are you doing? I was angry with myself. But what I knew was, while God was disappointed in me, my setback did not surprise Him and He was ready to forgive me and give me another chance. 

Not everyone understands. Most think I am crazy. But that’s ok. The opinions of others regarding this matter, no longer matter. Someone even said, “you probably don’t like sex anyway.” To that, I laugh. Nothing is farther from the truth. The truth is after doing a self-reflection, after reflecting on my past relationships, I realized I’m tired. I’m tired of giving myself and getting nothing. For me, it’s not that deep. For me, my desire for the covenant of marriage is greater than the feeling of a fleeting sexual experience. For me, I’m tired of lying down only to get back up and still feel the same way. I’m tired. And it was enough for me to say no more. 

Someone else said, “No man is going to wait until marriage for sex.” To which I respond, my husband will. The man whom is my husband will respect my decision and protect it. The man who only wanted to bed me….he won’t wait….and I’m good with that. 

And if you’re wondering what happens if after waiting the sex is disappointing; trust me, I’ve thought about that. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not enough to find myself again in the same predicament. I talk to God about that. And I believe it will all work out for my good. 

Now, hear me…..this is FAR from easy. I have good and bad days. But after reading #TheWait with my book club, I found the encouragement and determination to press forward. To find ways to keep my mind off the fact that I’m not having sex. I pray…everyday…for God’s strength to do this; to get through every minute of every hour of every day…literally. And all glory to God, He has kept me. And when I find myself missing sex or missing someone, I hear the Holy Spirit say, “what do you miss? Disappointment? Feelings of loneliness? Sadness? What?” And I humbly reply, “forgive me.” 

It’s not easy. I could fall again. I’m not immune and I will not act like I have it all together. But God…..He is my strength. He is keeping me. He is my help. With Him I can do all things. I have the victory in Jesus name.