Monthly Archives: November 2016

Singleness: Curse or Blessing

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Singleness:  Curse or Blessing

This morning as I scrolled through my timeline on Facebook I came across this post from a friend that I admire.

“Singleness is not a curse or a sentence. It is an opportune time for you to reflect on your past relationships and question if you were really relationship material at that time. We all have some regrets and some have even found the right one through patience and obedience. For those of us who are still single, the test is how many times you have to say “No” to you. Our blessing is right in front of us, but because of a defective picker, we made decisions based off of feelings instead of the spirit. I refuse to be guided by sight anymore. I surrendered my life to Christ and in Him I walk by faith regardless of my flesh seeking what it wanted in the past. Singleness may feel like a curse or a sentence but it is the best thing that you can do for yourself as God shapes and molds you and the right person that has already been handpicked for you.”

My friends statement received a lot of amen’s but also some push back. As I thought about his statement I found myself able to give the Amen but I also understand how singleness can be seen as a curse or a sentence.  Not long ago I believed that my singleness was God punishing me because of my transgressions.  I believe that because of what I did God was withholding marriage from me.  And it has only been within the last year that I have come to terms with the fact that God forgave me, I just needed to forgive myself.

  • Point 1: The bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our sin…past, present or future…does not surprise God. God knew more than 2000 years ago that we would need a Savior because our relationship with him was damaged. And therefore gave the best gift ever, his Son Jesus Christ, who took on the sins of the world (that includes me and you) that we may once again be in right relationship with the Father. God says, “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. So if God, the creator of the universe, the great I Am forgets our sins then why can’t we? I’ll tell you why, because we have an enemy that seeks to kill, steal, and destroy us and he wants to keep us bound. But the devil is a liar. God has forgiven me….God has forgiven you….we no longer need to live a life of defeat bound to the sin that God has clearly forgiven us for.

As I considered my friend’s statement some more I had to be honest and admit that I do question why I am not and have not ever been married. I struggled for the longest with something that my pastor said, “Every post does not have a lid.”  I remember going up to him after service one day and saying to him that every time he said that I wanted to stand up in church and just start screaming because it angered me just much.  Why?  Because I look at some people who are married or have been married and I think, “How in the heck are they married and I am not.  What is wrong with me? “  Hearing him say that challenged me because I know what I heard God say in May 2011 and yet marriage had not come in 2008 when I first heard my pastor say that and marriage still has not come in 2016.  AND God has not said anything else about it since.  So I find that I question whether or not I really heard God say that or is his silence a test of my faith.

  • Point 2: God says that his thoughts are not like our thoughts and that his ways are far beyond anything we can imagine. At some times it can feel like God is speaking nonstop. Answering prayers and waters our faith. And then there are times when it seems like God has turned his back on us. Times when it seems like God has forgotten us. Times when it seems like our lives are spiraling out of control and God doesn’t say a mumbling word. He goes silent. He’s absent in our life and our situation. But God is never absent. We only need to look around and see him displayed so brilliantly. AND God promised that he would never leave us nor forsake us and the bible tells us that God is not a man that he should lie. So since we know that God can’t and won’t lie, then we know that he’s not absent, even when he’s silent. I find that in the moments of silence is when I need to praise God the hardest. I find that in the moments of silence I just need to go back to what I know. Go back to what was the last thing I heard God say and hold on to that. Go back to the very basis of my faith. Go back and remind myself of the promises of God. So I encourage you that if you are at a point in your life where it seems as though nothing is going right and God is silent, praise him! Worship him! Go back to the basis of your faith! And remember and speak the promises of God over your life and situation. Remember, Jesus was led into the wilderness and for 40 days he was tempted by the enemy. It seemed like maybe God had forsaken his son but he hadn’t. It was a test. And God’s silence in our life is a test. Are we going to trust God? Or are we going to lean to our own understanding?

Something else that stuck out for me in my friend’s statement was “Our blessing is right in front of us but because of a defective picker, we made decision based off of feelings instead of the spirit.”   When my last relationship ended God said to me, “Are you ready to do it my way now?”  I had been doing it my way and it clearly was not working.  God was just waiting for me to come to myself and surrender.  I go back to; God’s ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.  His ways don’t make sense to the world and in a moment of honest, don’t make sense to me a lot of the time.  But his ways are perfect.  His ways will keep us from a lot of heartache.  If only we would do things his way.  God said, “I know the plans I have for you and my plans are to prosper you and not harm you.  To give you a future and hope.”  God has amazing plans for each of us but we all have at some point thought that our way was better and so off we went to do things our way.  Only to find out like the prodigal son that our way only landed us in a world of trouble.  But God, who is full of mercy and grace and love for us in spite of us, receives us back with open arms.  He heals our broken hearts and binds up our wounds.

  • Point 3: I spoke yesterday about trusting God with every area of our life. When it comes to matters of the heart and waiting on my husband I have to give complete trust to God. I have to know that God knows what is best. I have to know that there is nothing that I can do on my own merit to land a husband. Well, I could but it could be so much more costly that way. Trust God enough in whatever area you are withholding from him to know that he knows best. He created you. He knows what you need and what you don’t need. He sees what you can’t. He knows what you don’t. And if we would just surrender, what he wants to bless us with will be so much better than anything we can do our own. He will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could think or ask.

I no longer view my singleness as a curse or a sentence. I’ve begun to look at it as an opportunity to grow.  I see it now as time spent with God to prepare me to be a wife.  You see, I don’t just want to be a wife.  I want to be an excellent wife.  I want to be the type of wife where my husband’s friends look at him and say, “God favored you.”  I want him to be proud to call me his wife.  And to quote Cheesette Cowan, I want to be my husband’s crown.  So I’m putting in the work now.  I’m not concerned with the wedding or the ring. I’m focused on the marriage.  And….and I thank Cheesette for this as well…..I believe that God gave me this desire.  And I believe that as I delight myself in him he will give me the desires of my heart.  But until then I plan to continue to lay the foundation.  I realize that not every marriage is the same and everything won’t work for every couple.  But I do believe that there are some basic foundational truths that work regardless and I am feeding off all of the information that I am receiving; learning, gleaning and praying.

Finally, I’ll be 50 in five months. If anyone had told me in my 20s or 30s that I would be 50 and not married I would have told them they were crazy.  But here I am.  I would be lying if I did not say I do think about what if it does not happen.  I do think about that.  I think about how I will feel.  But more importantly I think about who will take care of me if I get sick?  Who will be there for me as I age?  When you’re married and have a family it’s assumed that your spouse and/or kids will care for you when you become sick or as your age.  I understand it doesn’t happen that way all of the time but it should.  But for someone like myself who is single, it is something that I have to think about.  And it’s something that I pray about.  But even if that “what if” happens, I believe that God will be with me then.  Again, he promised to NEVER leave me.  So even if I find myself in the last quarter of life and I never married I know that God is with me.

  • Point 4: Regardless of where life takes you, God is there. He was there in the fiery furnace and he will be with you and with me as well. We just have to trust him. See how everything goes back to trust God? God loves us so much. And if he didn’t leave us when we were in our mess, surely he isn’t going to leave us now.

Hotep

 

 

 

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There Is Something To Be Thankful For

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There Is Something To Be Thankful For

On this Thanksgiving Eve, I just wanted to share a few thoughts. We all, regardless of our station in life, have much to be thankful for. I do not know what you are going through. But what I do know is, there is something to be thankful for. Maybe there is an empty chair this Thanksgiving representing a loved one who has gone home to glory. Maybe a marriage or relationship has failed. Maybe there are health challenges or financial uncertainty. Whatever it is, I beseech you to find that one thing you have to be thankful for. 

 It’s not as hard as you may think. And it really doesn’t require much searching. It only takes a mind shift. That’s right, a mind shift. A different perspective. You see, I was there. I was at a point in my life where the enemy was trying to convince me I had nothing to be thankful for. My mother was dead. I had health challenges. I was unemployed. My dad was diagnosed with cancer….and then he died. I found myself borderline homeless wondering where my next meal was coming from. All in a two year span. So yes, I struggled with finding ANYTHING to be thankful for. But God……..he said, “daughter, inhale. Now exhale. That is breathe I put in your body this morning. That is proof that you are still alive. THAT is what you have to be grateful for.” 

 So if you are reading this and you are wondering what is there to be thankful for when so much is going wrong in your life, I want you to do this:

Inhale.

Exhale.

Now give thanks. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Hotep 

A Joy That Can’t Be Taken 

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In just a few short weeks families around the world will come together to break bread and give thanks for the many blessings God has so richly bestowed upon them. Not more than twenty-four hours later the shopping frenzy begins as the world prepares to celebrate Christmas through the giving of gifts. Soon, the radio airwaves will be all abuzz with Christmas carols such as Joy To The World, Jingle Bells, Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, and Silent Night (soulfully sung by The Temptations of course). And finally to culminate it all, the world will bid farewell to the old and welcome the new through New Years Eve festivities. Yes, the 2016 holiday season is upon us! 

But as awesome as all of that sounds; as festive as it all sounds; to me it’s just another reminder of another holiday season that I am single. I have heard it said that during this time of year the number of suicides in this country rises. I am sure there are a myriad of reasons as to why this is, but if I were a betting woman I would say one of those reasons is because as festive as this time of year can be, it can also be a reminder for many that they are alone. I know it is for me and it is disheartening. So disheartening in fact, that as I was reminded today that the holidays are steadily approaching, I prayed to the Lord, “Lord I cannot believe the holidays are here again and I’m still single.” My eyes even watered as I said but not one tear fell. And then I received notification on my phone that Cheesette was live on Facebook. 

I tuned in just in time to hear this anointed woman of God conduct bible study on the importance of renewing our minds. The Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) God, knowing just what we need before we do, knew that I needed to be reminded that I needed to renew my mind as it concerned spending another holiday season alone (single). 

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.” That b part though…..and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ! Yes I am single. Yes this is another holiday season I will spend alone. Yes it does have me in my feelings. But what I know is, that thought, that reminder that I’ll be alone another holiday season was a seed my enemy tried to plant. His plan was to have me feeling defeated. To have me feel sorry for myself. To have me crying, feeling sad and depressed. But God had another plan….a better plan. Just at the moment my prayer ended, God used Facebook to send me notification that Cheesette was live! 

Not only did Cheesette remind me of the importance of renewing my mind but she also explained that a high thought is those thoughts that contradict the word of God, and in order to bring those thoughts captive I/we must speak the word of God. She then had the members of the group do a simple yet powerful exercise. She had us count to 50 silently and then at her prompting say our full name. I had counted up to five when I was instructed to say my name. I was counting silently, in my head, when I was instructed to speak my name. 

You see, that thought….that reminder that the holidays are coming and I’m still single was a thought that came in silence. No one spoke it to me, it came just like that and changed my entire mood, briefly. But what Cheesette empowered me to do through her teaching was to renew my mind; to go to the word and find out what God says about how I was feeling and speak that word over my life! And so I did.

And what I discovered is that there are more than a half dozen times God says in his word, “I will neither fail you nor forsake you.” In Deuteronomy 31 the Lord tells me to “be strong and courageous….do not be afraid….do not be discouraged.” God promises that just as he was with Moses he will be with me as well (Joshua 1:5)! So why would I allow my enemy to plant seeds of unrest, discouragement, and fear when God promises that he is with me? 

I have read Isaiah 54 a few times before but tonight I read it for the first time. As I did research on Isaiah 54, one writer called it God’s special love letter to single women. The writer pointed out that it may have been written for the nation of Israel while in captivity, but many of God’s promises in Isaiah 54 speaks to the special situations that single women face every day. As I read it I was reassured of a few things:

* Regardless of whether or not I’m with someone or alone during the holiday season or any other time, I still have joy and I can still be fulfilled because I have God!

* God has a plan for me! 

* I am not alone! God is my loving partner and redeemer, the One who is always there for me!

* God can use this to strengthen me for his purpose. He promises to fight any weapon, accusations or lies that my enemy tries to use against me! 

See, the enemies job is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). In this particular passage of scripture the enemy is called a thief. The thief tried to steal my peace and my joy with the lie that I’m alone and that I’m going to be alone during the holidays. But the devil is a liar and the truth is not in him! The truth is found only in God and he said, baby girl, I am here and I’m not going anywhere!!

So I encourage everyone reading this blog; whatever you are going through; whatever lies the enemy has told you; find out what God says about the situation and speak the word! No longer give the enemy the keys to your peace and joy. Jesus came that we may have life and that more abundantly! He snatched the keys of death and hell from the enemy! He rose with all power in his hands! And because he did, we no longer have to live defeated or in fear! 

Lord I thank you for your word which is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I thank you for your promises and I am grateful that you are faithful and I can trust you to do exactly what you said. Lord as we approach the holiday season, I pray in the name of Jesus that you will be a hedge of protection around us all. I bind up in the name of Jesus the spirit of fear, the spirit of depression, the spirit of discouragement; and I loose your peace, and I loose your joy in the name of Jesus! Lord, thank you for being with us as you were with our ancestors and thank you for never forsaking is. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

Hotep

What If I Fail?

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What If I Fail?

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a meeting with a dynamic group of women from varying backgrounds with different life experiences, all sharing one common thread…..they were all wives. Of the group of women who had gathered there were two of us who were single. I had really been looking forward to this meeting because the host is full of so much wisdom and she really speaks to my heart as a single woman desiring marriage.

The meeting was opened with an ice breaker. The host handed each women a card and we were tasked to ask three different women their respective answers to the question. The questions varied, but the one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is, “What are your thoughts regarding marriage?” My response to that question was, “it frightens me.” I do not remember if I gave a reason why but the more I’ve thought about it since the meeting, I have come to the realization that marriage frightens me because I am scared of failing as a wife.

The irony, right? I desire marriage. I want to be a wife. I’m working on me and building a foundation to equip me with wisdom going in; and yet I’m afraid of failing. Now, to some people that would be a good sign. Some may say that if I weren’t afraid they would question that. And then others may say if you are afraid then maybe you are not ready for marriage. I don’t know where you may fall on that spectrum, but what I do know is this girl is scared.

I hear the stories…good, bad, and indifferent. I’ve read Proverbs 31. I watch the Christian movies. I listen to testimonies. I write down every single piece of nugget that is dropped in my spirit. And yet I’m scared. Scared of failing my husband. Scared that I won’t be the woman he needs. Scared I’ll disappoint him. I know….it’s crazy. It’s crazy because God hasn’t given me the spirit of fear; but of love, of power, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1 :&).  I understand that and I tell myself that constantly. But still, there is a piece of me that can’t help but to be afraid.

I shared in another blog that I took my pastors words literally to not wait until I am a wife to start acting like one. I began treating my then boyfriend as though he were my husband. I cooked for him. I cleaned for him. I did his laundry. I did everything for him! And I remember one day we were talking after the relationship ended and he said to me, “you will be an amazing wife.”

Now if that is all it takes then I guess I will be an amazing wife. But what about supporting him (even when I don’t agree)? What about submitting to him (even when I don’t agree)? What about encouraging him when the world brings him down? What about praying for him (even when I’m mad as hell at him)? Will I seek every day to be a blessing to him or will I allow my feelings to get in the away of that? Will I be his biggest cheerleader or will I be too concerned about me?  Will he be able to trust me with his deepest secrets?  Will I honor and respect him as a man of God and as my spiritual leader?  Will I believe in his dreams and calling?  Will I honor him both privately and publicly?  Will I have a desire to please him?  There is so much more to marriage than cooking, cleaning, laundry, and sex. And I am afraid of failing the man that I have waited so long for.

Marriage, I’m assuming, is much like parenting, you never know what you will get. However, it is my prayer that my husband and I are both committed to seeing our marriage succeed.  The good news is that I am reminded that God never said we won’t fail.  Failure is inevitable and yes it happens even to this in Christ.  But, it’s not whether or not I fail my husband at some point in our marriage; it’s what I do after the failure.  Will I allow the failure to defeat me or will I choose to ask God and my husband to forgive me and try again?  I know that without God my marriage will not succeed.  I need to keep him at the forefront of everything that I do.  Keeping my eyes on my Savior, listening to and obeying his word, will help me to do as Hebrews 12:1 commands, “……let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

 Dear Future Husband, I am perfectly imperfect. I pray that we will always remember when we first met and the strong love that grew between us.  I pray that we will always remember to work that love into practical things so that nothing will ever divide us.  I pray that we always remember to ask for words both kind and loving and that our hearts will always be ready to ask for forgiveness as well as to forgive.  Dear Future Husband, before even meeting you I place our marriage into the Lord’s hands.

~ Mrs. Future

Hotep

A Need….Not A Want 

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A Need….Not A Want 

My mother’s death was hard. I experienced a ton of emotions to include being angry with God. It felt as though my heart had been ripped out. I suddenly found myself living in a world where my mother no longer existed. I felt out of place. I was smiling on the outside but on the inside I was dying a slow death. Eventually I had to see a therapist to help me cope with the grief of losing the most important person in my life. 
One of the things that I struggled with in the days, weeks, months and years following my mother’s death, was talking to any woman that was connected to my mother. Following my mother’s death my cousin and aunts and god mother would call to talk to me and check on me and it made my heart ache. I would literally burst into tears immediately following the call. I would cry uncontrollably as though I were reliving the moment I learned my mother had died.

 But why? Why did speaking to them bring me to tears? Why did I eventually find myself avoiding talking to them? It’s simple, because talking to them was a constant reminder that my mother was no longer here. And talking to any woman other than my mother was taboo for me. NO WOMAN was allowed to get close to me. I began to feel as though she was trying to take my mother’s place. And as far as I was concerned NO WOMAN would be able to take the place of my mother! 

But I’m being shown the importance of having a Naomi in my life. An older woman who can teach me and pour into my life. Titus 2:3-5 says, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” 

As I believe God for my husband; as I prepare a foundation for being a godly wife, I’ve come to realize I desperately need this relationship in my life. A spiritual mother. A woman who will teach me. A woman who will encourage me. But also a woman who will call me on the carpet about my junk. A woman who will tell me I’m wrong and challenge me. I need this woman in my life! But I also need a spiritual father. A man who will teach me and warn me and be an example for me.  

I thank God for revelation. And it is my prayer that God leads me to my spiritual parents. 

Hotep 

Asking The Right Question

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Asking The Right Question

I have a friend who admitted to conducting background checks on every guy she dated. She told me that she would thoroughly check their criminal background to ensure that he didn’t have any criminal behavior lurking in his background. By the same token I have heard of people requesting credit report information to learn how financially savvy an individual is (or is not) before entering into a marriage with them. And there are those in the dating pool that ask for medical information to include having tests done for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

But whoever thinks to do a generational background check? While we are asking pertinent questions of a potential mate, are we asking about generational issues that may be lurking in their family bloodline? Issues such as alcoholism, drug abuse, infidelity, incest, etc., that if not dealt with could manifest itself in our marriage or family.

Many people mistakenly refute the idea of generational curses. We look at someone battling alcoholism or drug addiction and we never once consider the possibility that the individual didn’t stand a chance because of their family background. Way back when, before the person’s parents were thought about, there was a close relative that also battled with an addiction, but no one attributes the battle today to that of yesterday. I’m reminded of a woman whose husband was a habitual cheater. As a woman it is easy to conclude that her husband was just a “dog” and not ready for marriage.  But what the woman discovered was that her husband’s father, grandfather, and uncles are all habitual cheaters.  Her husband, unbeknownst to him, was dealing with a family stronghold.  And until the stronghold was dealt with, it would forever manifest itself in his life.

I have to be honest, as a single woman I never thought to ask a potential suitor what family strongholds were in his background. At least not until a few weeks ago when a woman I recently met shared her testimony.  And now, with the other questions that I have for potential suitors I will be asking about family strongholds.  You see, I need to be prepared.  If there is a history of drug abuse, I need to know this.  If there is a history of alcoholism, I need to know this.  If there is a history of mental health issues, I need to know this. If there is a history of abuse, I need to know this as well.  After listening to this woman share her testimony, I thought to myself, it would be crazy for me not to ask these questions beforehand.  To simply ignore the fact that the possibility is there would be the definition of insanity.  As I look back over my own life I see the family strongholds.  Some have been dealt with, others are being dealt with.  But just as important are the other questions on my list, so are these question.  I would be crazy to take these things lightly or to continue to think that it could not affect my marriage at some point.

As a single woman, I can’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and to answer the tough questions. I cannot afford to continue to look at dating as something fun and worry about the hard stuff after marriage.  No, I want to go into this with my eyes wide open.  I want to know as much information about #DearFutureHusband before saying I do.  What his favorite move is, or what his favorite color is, or any of the other surface conversations that we tend to have when dating, can all wait until after we are married.  I want to have the tough and difficult conversations now so that I am able to make a wise decision when choosing who I will marry.

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese proverb

Hotep