Category Archives: Relationships

Really Bad Advice On Your Love Life From a Good Friend

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A wise perspective…

CROSS-SHAPED STUFF

Bad Advice
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When it comes to your love life, let me offer you some friendly advice, don’t take friendly advice, because your friends give the worst. Let me explain.

Tyler’s relationship guarantee: Someday, before you die, you’ll have at least one … ehhhh… maybe two “disagreements” with your significant other. I know that’s hard to believe for you folks dating out there (and I know you’re out there, you compose a significant percentage of our readership), because you found Mr. Right. And she’s perfect. He’s amazing. Cue Canon in D and call Stephenie Meyer because you two aren’t vampires, but your love is something to behold.

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Should I make the first move: I don’t even chase my shots, what makes you think I’ll chase after you?

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In the cat and mouse game of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and they live happily ever after, we see that the gentleman tends to be the protagonist, it is rarely ever girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, and then they live happily ever after. I stress the importance of looking at this traditional model of how a couple comes to be, because it seems that our ladies want to take charge of what should be male dominated and motivated chase for love. If a guy is interested in you, you won’t have to do anything, he will let you know, it is innate in a man to hunt and that characteristic does not only apply to hunting for food, but also with respect to hunting for the woman who will be his life long mate. Ladies, men enjoy the hunt, the chase, the pursuit of their female counterparts, some are even more motivated after having been rejected. The male species accepts the challenge presented to them when their particular love interest does not give into their charming words and suave demeanor so easily, rather it puts them on alert, they feel challenged to step their game up, and this is when they tend to show their best hand. Besides wouldn’t you prefer a man that thinks you are worth it enough to work hard to get your attention? I say if he is not willing to make the effort, then he certainly is not worth my time. God instructs us,”Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.” – Ecclesiastes 9:10. Given those words of wisdom, these men should very well know if they are pursuing a love interest, they should do so excellently (yes that’s a word). So ladies don’t waste your time trying to win the affections of a man who does not even notice you, instead continue to grow into a virtuous woman, complete with all the Godly characteristics which The Lord requires of you so you can be the wife and companion God desires you to be. Remember, the right plan forced to happen at the wrong time, could turn out to be a disaster  re: Abraham and Sarah.

                                                      

Let’s do a case study of some successful unions of long ago:

When it was time for Isaac to marry, he didn’t go, but he sent his servant loaded with fine gifts, silver and gold to present to his wife to be, he sent his servant to proclaim his intentions and explain his family’s background and reputation as servants of God, his servant made it clear  that God had led him to her. Important to note is that Rebekah and her family were impressed by such an elaborate proposal but more so by the fact that this was God-directed more than anything else, so she said yes. Upon their return Isaac greeted her and immediately they were married (Genesis 24)

 

Now let’s look at Jacob and Rachel, this was a man who really loved a woman, you know the song says “When a man loves a woman, he’ll trade the world for the good thing he’s found.” Well Jacob traded 14 years of hard labor to be able to marry Rachel even after her father duped him into marrying her sister. His love for her was so great that fourteen years seemed like days (Genesis 29). What a labor of love! Now that’s a man who showed true determination and effort to win the love of his life. If Jacob could do all of that, why would you…yes I’m talking to you women out there, settle for less??? Stop letting these men who make no effort to impress, pursue, or woo, and who bring nothing to the table, come into your hearts. In the words of Sweet brown “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

 

Last but not least we explore the joining of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz was a kind and thoughtful man, he showed Ruth great kindness as she worked in his fields, he provided her water when she was thirsty, food when she was hungry, and protection as she worked. He even took the time to learn about her and her family’s history. Boaz showed himself to be an honorable man, first talking to the other suitors of Ruth before pursuing her himself, he let them know he was serious, and that he intended to marry her (Ruth1-4). There was nothing shady about Boaz, he kept true to his word, he did not tell Ruth one thing in the dark then profess something contrary to the public; rather he stood by what he said and took care of the woman he thought to be virtuous and worthy of his love.

So ladies, do not undervalue yourselves, you are a child of the king thus you are a princess and should be treated as such. If a gentleman is genuinely interested in you and has good intentions for beginning and maintaining a relationship with you, he knows what he has to do. Do not be fooled, even players know how to treat a woman right, they just choose not to. So bottom line DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS, because we all know anything worth having requires hard work. 

Love Ms. B

Marriage Isn’t For You

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Not what I expected…. very true though 🙂

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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To Cheat or not to Cheat!!!

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When one cheats, someone always gets hurt

This morning you made me cry
Not because something was stuck in my eye,
but because I realized you were interested in another guy
It started off as innocent conversation and jokes between a mutual friend and I
But I soon got caught up and began to entice
My mind wandered with thoughts of what could be, and no sooner creeped the thoughts of infidelity
My thoughts they were stronger now, plaguing my brain all the time
That no later had I seen her face, had I wished for a sweet embrace
I could no longer tell which girl was mine to be faithful to,
Mine to hold dear and true
Soon my true love or what she should have been
Caught a hint that someway, somehow, I had grown distant
She pondered, she questioned, and tried as hard as she could
To please me in anyway that was imaginable
But you see my brain so confused by what started out as innocent
Could not give her a hint of my allegiance
To our love, our story, our happily ever after
So she sat there sad and alone wondering what If she too found some new attracter
Slowly but surely she drifted away, this is when I started wondering had I made a mistake?
Entertaining all that The Lord had not ordained
My, my, my why did I have to start that conversation with my buddy that day
Now what was once a happy home has a distorted end
I’ve lost my love, I’ve lost my wife, I’ve lost my true happy end
All because I because I just had to entertain my friend.

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Many have experienced the emotional pain that devolves from infidelity or a cheating partner. If you choose to be in a relationship, you do stand the risk of getting hurt, but some hurts can be avoided. When two people commit to be in a relationship, they undertake the obligation and expectation of being faithful to each other. Being faithful requires a little more than the words, “I will be faithful” but more so requires great action and responsibility on the part of each partner. For instance, if I were to see an attractive man, and I see him actively trying to engage me with his eyes, I avoid eye contact and try to get as far away as possible just like my boy Joseph did in the face of great temptation with Potiphar’s wife. In some cases, one might find themselves actively staring at an attractive person, to you I would say avoid this! Simply program your mind not to look so hard, besides it being rude, such an action is just the beginning of the future manifestations of our sinful nature. 

God’s word already warns us of the consequences of such actions. In Matthew 5:28- But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. We must be careful what we allow our minds to dwell upon because, soon our thoughts turn into actions. I know you may think this is easier said than done, but if you take a step back, and really think about how much you value your spouse, partner, girlfriend, or boyfriend, and your relationship, you will not do anything or think anything that would threaten to destroy such. Before you take the step down the narrow winding road of infidelity think of the expected end, it never ends well. In the other hand, if you are the type of person whose eyes can’t help but stray, it just might be best for you to stay single. As the good book says, “do unto others as you would like them to do unto you,” – Luke 6:31. So my friends today I say go forth and flirt…not with anyone else but with your partner, do a double-take when you look at him/her, remind yourself of why you are with him/her, admire your partner’s physical attributes and say to them (and mean it), “Babe I’m hot for you and you only!”

Love, Ms. B

P.S. Please take our poll about infidelity below. It is anonymous. 

 

Potential

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Window to Dreams

It is Saturday morning. I’m standing at the window of our house. I had moved in one week ago; half unpacked boxes were strewn across my living room floor, bordering the heavy blanket and limp pillow where I had spent the past 5 nights. I bought the house one month ago, a short sale, the day after I accepted the supervisory position to the job I initially applied for. I guess the interviewers saw my potential. My monthly salary would be more than I had made in the past 6 months.

Three weeks ago I bought the ring. It was a simple band of Tungsten. The jeweller said it was scratch resistant and so hard that in case of emergency you would have to destroy the ring or destroy the finger to remove it. I remember thinking “Are you really trying to sell this ring?” Somehow his tactic worked.

Two weeks ago, I called my parents and told them my plan. I even called his mum and asked for her blessing. They laughed at the unconventional idea, but secretly began planning the details of our wedding.

One week ago, I packed the box in my purse, dressed in a simple white tunic and a clean face, and headed to his apartment. He had just come home from a three-week assignment abroad. I simply asked, without flare, without drama. He was an undemanding and straightforward guy. So straightforward that his answer was “No. I can’t marry potential“.

It is Saturday morning. I’m standing at the window of my house.

~o~

Just another short story… it’s been awhile. Leave a comment if you liked, leave a comment if you didn’t like 😛

Angie

Fifty Shades of Gray

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Fifty Shades of Gray—— I think these are the hues through which women see, we blindly enter into dark, uncharacteristic, I must have lost my mind, relationships that have no future, and during the relationship (-is sinking), there is no true depth or profundity, in fact there is a complete lack of quality. The relationship constitutes and reflects an overwhelming color block exhibiting a blur of gray areas that we make excuses for. Loneliness is no excuse to drop your standards so far below the baseline that your virtue electrocardiogram blasts the familiar loud monotonous sound of  one’s values and principles flat-lining. Women  have we lost our self-worth so that we are no longer objective, logical, or sensible for that matter when choosing our mates?  Rather than allowing such a crucial and potentially life changing decision be heavily influenced by a sure, firm foundation of guiding principles, we allow something as transient and capricious as our feelings to be the strongest determining factor in choosing the one with which we would invest large amounts of our time, we instead listen to our deceitful  and untrustworthy hearts as the compass through life’s inevitable season of useless relationships? The word of God warns us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.  

So ladies can you really trust your heart?

If we compromise our principles, values, and standards which we have held for the majority of our lives for the sake of someone who comes into our lives for a moment, a minute, a miniscule amount of time relative to how long we’ve lived with ourselves, it begs to ask the question have I really thrown  away who I am for what might be a visitor.  One can liken such behavior to breaking down your home of 10 years, even changing its foundation, to rebuild another one so as to fashion it to the standards and liking of an out of town visitor whom you have known for less time than you have had your home.  Our relationship choices do not only affect us, but it can certainly impact others of whose lives we are a part. Think about the examples we would be setting for  other young ladies and young men looking toward us for guidance? Messages that echo ‘women take what you can get while you can get it’  and “men treat us anyway you like, it won’t make a difference, we will still bow to your every whim just because we rather have a partner than our self-respect’. …well I sure hope after you ladies read this, the buck stops here, because it is a disgrace to see the acts of folly and foolishness we women are willing to tolerate today. When you find yourself altering your behavior and carrying out inconceivable actions as a result of the presence of a new mate to which your friends and family respond negatively and with deep concern, then you must take a step back and really check yourself.

Before one decides to date, they should carefully evaluate the character of the individual; ask some poignant and explicit questions that would remove the layers and reveal the true character. Inquire about his past record, observe his behavior around friends and family or if possible in the work place, observe how he treats you (of course) – does he open the door?- does he walk on the outside of you closest to the traffic?- does he speak to you with courtesy? But most importantly, does he have a relationship with God? E.G White says, “Listen not to the proposals of a man who has no realization of his responsibility to God.”   This is absolutely true, because if the person whom you choose to invite into your life is not led by God, then you just never know what you’re gonna get… “take heed, lest what you now think to be pure gold turns out to be base metal (1). Now ladies and gents that statement right there is overflowing with wisdom, no one ever wants to get a six for a nine, or cubic zirconium rather than a diamond so please avoid the shades of gray and carefully screen before you decide to date. Do not be fooled by a pretty exterior….many red apples look rosy and nice till you bite into the rotten core.

When we date, risk is always involved, but it can be a wonderful process connecting with someone with whom you never knew before, developing a deep and fulfilling friendship by sharing numerous enjoyable experiences with each other, however in the midst of cloud nine, be aware, be vigilant, guard your character, and consider if this individual will allow you to preserve your individuality (1) or will he or she compromise your very character. Avoid the shades of gray because when it comes to your character and dignity there’s only black and white.

Love,

Ms. B

(1) White, E.G. The Adventist Home. Review and Herald Publishing Association. 2001

Tapestry

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Detail of Woodpecker tapestry designed by Will...

My life’s a woven tapestry, I so often fail to see,

The perfect weaving of the loom at work inside of me.

Everyday, I look unfinished, and find it hard to understand,

My tapestry’s great splendor seeking all my Lord has planned.

In times of pain and suffering when trust and pain collide,

I long to see the finished work, but only view the underside.

A tangled web of knots and threads, caught up in such a mess,

I know His works unfinished, and in His tender hands, I rest.

His needlework is perfect, in every stitch His love is told,

The crafting of His handiwork in priceless threads of gold.

I must trust the master weaver, who knows my life’s great plan.

So I’ll let Him sow his perfect will, though I may not understand.

My life’s a treasured tapestry that I shall walk in faith to see,

As I feel the nails as needles sow his tender love through me.

And when His work is finished on the topside may I see,

The perfect image of my Saviour, on my life’s great tapestry.

– Allan Mitchell

Source: Our own transformation by Donna Mitchell

Battling over-thinking

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The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

Hi, my name is Angie and I’m an overthinker. 

I’ve always been an overthinker and it has been useful somewhat in academic situations. Up until now the only really bad consequence of this for me was indecision. After twisting something around in my head, measuring all outcomes, and most often mulling over all the negative things that could happen, I end up immobilized to act. The result is that I just don’t make a decision, or I avoid it long enough that I don’t need to.

Recently, however, indecision about something in my life resulted in getting me into a stressful and painful situation. Unfortunately, the stress and lack of control over my circumstances got me into a crazy cycle of over-thinking all over again. My thoughts (mostly negative about myself and the people involved) began to affect my mind, my emotions, my will and my faith. Over-thinking became for me a lack of trust in God, and left me trying to work out my problems on my own without Him. It became for me a fixation on everything that was wrong in my life, and not on the blessings I was still receiving. I isolated myself from God’s will and wisdom and ended up in the most spiritually dark place I have ever been. I allowed myself to feel hopeless and abandoned by God.

It took me months to get back to some semblance of normalcy but here are a few of the strategies I tried to avoid my disastrous habit of over-thinking.

Turn back your thoughts to God

I began to feel better when I started fixating my thoughts on God’s love and my desire to do His will, rather than focussing on my current situation. If I was going to over-think, I was going to do it on God’s terms. I consciously made an effort to think that God wouldn’t take away something from me unless He wanted to replace it with something better. It was tough believing it at first, so I wrote down a few affirmations and every morning as I woke up or when I went to bed at night, or anytime I felt negative thoughts rising, I would read them over and over until I felt inner peace.

Talk to someone…

I suggest talking to someone with similar values to your own who is willing to listen and support you in a positive way rather than being critical. For example, a well-meaning friend told me I was being irrational and I should just get over it. It was true that I was being irrational, but it only made me go back into over-thinking about how I could be rational. More helpful was when I was told it was okay to feel hurt, but not okay to dwell on the past or the future, neither of which I have control over.

… but avoid talking too much

In retrospect I think I talked to too many people. Constant talking about my problems only served to sustain my depression. In the same way, avoid situations that you know will lead to over-thinking. For me, trigger situations  included listening to love songs, watching romantic comedies or reading blogs on relationships (that was THE WORST!) Sometimes you may need to isolate yourself completely from the situation as well. If possible, take the opportunity to go on a vacation or stay-cation.

See the positive

It’s hard to foster a good attitude if all your thinking is negative. However, it’s easy to find a little blessing in a tough situation if you look hard enough. I tried to view my situation as an opportunity for growth rather than just a loss in my life. It was a wake-up call for me to acknowledge that I can’t keep going through life avoiding making tough decisions or they will be made for me. Perhaps God is preparing me for a big decision in the future with high stakes for success and needed me to address this fault in my character.

Distract yourself

My distractions tended to turn into blog posts. If I was going to over-think, then I may as well be productive about it. If you like writing, allow yourself a short time just to document your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be a blog post. It could be a small notebook or even scraps of paper that you don’t have to keep. Don’t spend all day writing though.  Get out and get fresh air, exercise and eat well. I found exercising helped a lot too because it helped me sleep at night. If you are not tired at bedtime, your mind is going to race. I made sure to work super hard at the gym so that my body will need the rest more than my mind would need to think. Other things you can do are to try a new hobby or do an activity on your bucket list.

Over-think the right things

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 

Ask yourself if what you are thinking about is true, noble, right, pure lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. If your answer is “no”, ask God to replace your thoughts with these things and rely on Him to work that change in your heart and mind.

So those are my strategies so far. Feel free to suggest in the comments any ideas you have for battling over-thinking. I love to hear from you guys 🙂

God bless,

Angie

I’ve been hurt before – well get over it!

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“I’ve been hurt before”

How many times have you heard this statement used as an excuse for trust or commitment issues? How many times have you used it? Frankly, people, it is 2013 and it’s time for us to GET OVER IT!

love hurts

S…………………….

After a certain age, or after we’ve been in a couple long-lasting relationships, chances are that we have ALL been hurt before. But it truly saddens me to know that people are unwilling to let themselves love someone else or be loved by someone else because they are so caught up in the fear of a repeat of being hurt. As Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to be ruled by this fear!

God does not want us to be afraid

2 Timothy 1:7 says For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Fear should have no part in a Christian’s (love) life. God has given us the power to choose, and to ask Him for wisdom in choosing, a significant other. God has provided the perfect example of love so that we can love others. God has given us  the sanity (discernment) to stay away from those unfit to be our significant others. If you find fear cropping up in your relationship, pray on this Word and ask God if it is truly fear or if it is the Spirit of God telling you this person is not God’s choice for you.

God wants us to forgive

Hebrews 8:12 tells us that God will not remember our sins. So if we are to emulate God, why are we holding on to what someone in the past has done to us and using that as an excuse to not commit fully to someone else? We need to forget in order to get past our hurt, and the only way to do this is to forgive. Sometimes we think we have forgiven the person who has hurt us. We should examine our hearts and determine if this is really true. If years later we are still holding on to the fact that we’ve been hurt in the past, then we probably have not truly forgiven them. And besides, it’s not fair for someone to suffer for someone else’s sins. (Jesus did enough of that!) We should give them a real chance to prove that they can treat us better.

God wants us to move on

God does not want us to live in the past. Phillipians 3: 13-15 speaks of a mature person having a mindset of “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”. Our past should not be brought up as a tool or defence of noncommittal behaviour in the present or future. Our past should not imprison us so that we cannot enjoy what newness God wants to bless us with. And our past should not keep us from a more blessed future!

Hurt comes with the territory

Finally, if you want to love and be in a relationship, you have to be willing to risk being hurt and hurting someone. Only God can love us unconditionally – a true love that involves no hurt, after all God is love (1 John 4:16) and God will not hurt us (James 1:13). The phrase “love hurts” is a lie. Only the consequences of our inevitably imperfect attempts at love will hurt. It’s only when we do not behave in the perfect Biblical loving example (1 Cor 13: 4-10) that we hurt or get hurt. We need to accept that hurt will happen and it’s how we deal with it that is important.

Caution versus fear

Now I’m not saying that you should not to be cautious when you are forming new relationships, but don’t give a half-hearted attempt of commitment because you are afraid of being hurt again. If you’ve observed the person you like long enough and see that true Christ-like qualities are there, give them a clean slate to work with and not one covered with the markings of your past. Pray to God about your choice and ask God to let the desires of your heart be in line with His desires for you. Ultimately, we do not want to end up with someone who will hinder us from growth in Christ.

I hope that God blesses any new relationships in store for you this year, or matures the love in any current relationships you are in. 

And remember to love like you’ve never been hurt!

Love,

Angie

A prayer for a crisis of faith

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English: David's Joy Over Forgiveness; as in P...

Have you ever been at the depths of despair and everyone offers pacifying statements like It will be okay or Don’t worry? Well, I usually feel better at that moment, but then later when I’m alone and start thinking again about what’s upsetting me, the peace I felt earlier dissipates.

Today, I decided to write a Bible-based prayer and meditate on it every time I felt an inkling of sadness. So when my mind drifted back to my problems, I whipped it out of my pocket and read it through once. So far today I’ve probably read it about 7 times. However, today was THE BEST I have felt for an entire month.

The epiphany I received today was that the hurt I was feeling for the past few weeks was based on doubt! I doubted that God could possibly turn so much pain into a positive. I let Satan plant a seed of depression in my heart instead of letting God plant joy and peace. I am so happy that I realized this before I caused irreversible damage to my relationships or became dysfunctional. So without further ado, here is my prayer:

Dear Lord

May your unfailing love be my comfort (Psalm 119:76)

Help me to hide your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

Help me to abandon this path of depression, vengeance and fear, and turn my steps to your statutes..(Psalm 119: 58-60)

For you have asked me simply to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer, and I have failed on all three accounts. (Romans 12:12)

Help me to meditate on your word and not on the things of the world. (Psalm 119:78)

Help me not to be anxious, and to remain prayerful and thankful as I wait on you. (Philippians 4:6)

Lord, help me not to try to reason or overthink this situation and to just trust you. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Help me to remember to stay strong, courageous and fearless because you will never forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Help me not to worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)

Help me to continue to love as you intended, with patience, without jealousy, without anger, and with trust. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Help me to never stop thanking you for your love that endures forever. (Psalm 107:1, 136:26)

Help me to love you back by obeying your words and believing your words. (John 14:21-24)

Help me to remember that I can never be separated from your steadfast love. (Romans 8:37-39)

And that all your plans are good and beneficial. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I pray all these things in Jesus’ name

Amen

Waiting on God

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shadows and reflections

There always comes a time in life where you have to wait on God. Whether it’s waiting for a result, waiting for a directive or waiting through a season. Waiting on God is not easy. It’s hard to let go of the reins, it’s hard to wait for a long time for a sign and it’s hard to resist the temptation to just do it your own way. Here are a few of the thoughts I had about waiting on God.

  1. Joy, patience and prayer I’ve been waiting (very reluctantly I might add) through a challenging season. I was talking to my mum yesterday and she said to me “If you say you are trusting God, then you are flying in his face when you walk around moping. So look on the bright side. Even though the message may hurt sometimes, God is in it and he is allowing it for a reason”. And it’s true. I am not really trusting God if I continue to worry and cry and be miserable just because God wants to teach me something through a painful situation.

    Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12It’s no coincidence that while I was at church, praying or reading my Bible, I always felt better. I was only using one of the three elements of the above verse. Despite remaining prayerful, I was letting my self be unjoyful and impatient with God. I thank God that my faithless attitude was not making my prayers ineffective, but I’m sure if I continue with this negative mindset my prayers would have become faithless and go unanswered.

  2. Relinquish control In the early days, when Abram was over 75 years old (Gen 12:4), God promised him he would have an heir (Gen 15:4). Years had passed and Abram’s wife Sarai remained barren so she suggested that he sleep with her maidservant Hagar. I believe that Sarai did not doubt God’s promise to Abram, but she didn’t believe she was the one to fulfil it and therefore tried to fulfil God’s plans her own way. Confusion is what came out of this situation: Hagar despised Sarai (v.4), Sarai mistreated Hagar (v.6), Hagar and her son Ishmael were sent away (Gen 21: 8-11) and the whole matter distressed Abra(ha)m. All this could have been avoided if they had just let God work His plan. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) and would therefore be clear in what part he requires you to play if any.
  3. God’s time is not your time Still on the above example, Abraham and Sarah were over 100 and 90 years old when the true heir Isaac was born (Gen 17:1, Gen 17:17, Gen 21). This is after almost two decades since that promise was made! God may promise you something now and he is faithful, but he will only fulfill the promise when He knows you are ready for it. God also reminds us not to be anxious while we wait, and again to pray and give thanks during our season.

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

So these were just a few of the things I want to keep in mind this week and I hope these reminders have helped you out as well. No matter what you are going through trust God, and don’t just have faith, be faithful!

God bless,

Angie

Related articles
Let go and let God – a survivor who found a blessing in cancer
Five Things I Have Learned Waiting on God (reflectionsofgracehome.wordpress.com)
When God Says, “Wait” (theinnersoulofme.wordpress.com)
How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard (ptl2010.com)

Finding Nemo

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SCHOOL

“There are plenty other fish in the sea”

I cringed at my best friend’s summation of the matter. I’m so fed up of that stupid saying. He’s my fish! I went to the shop and picked him. He was perfect for me, and then… someone stole him.

I turned to her and sulked. “I don’t like fishing”

“Well hun, we need to fish to eat” She smiled smuggly at what she thought was cleverness.

“That’s easy to say when you’re done fishing…”

My best friend was engaged for 5 months now. Her relationship seemed perfect from the outside. They loved passionately, they fought fairly and they were like-minded in their fundamental beliefs.

“Oh hun, you thought it was easy to find my perfect fish?” Her eyes lit up as she talked about her fiance. “Do you remember Mr. Goes Nowhere, Mr. Buys Nothing, Mr. Trust Issues, Mr. Selfish pants, Mr. Church, Mr. I-am-God’s-Gift-to women and worst of the bunch, Mr. You’re-the-only-one? I’ve had a lot of rotten fish hun, and learnt from every one of them what I shouldn’t stand in a relationship!”

I sigh. “Yeah, I know… but this guy… he’s not a rotten fish. He’s … ” I couldn’t finish. I felt the burning in my cheeks again. I was determined not to cry anymore.

“Well hun, you need to let him go. Let him discover whatever he needs to discover with her. If he’s really your fish, he’ll come back and appreciate you more; And if he doesn’t, well like I said… ”

“Yeah, I know… there are plenty other fish in the sea…”

“Yup! Let go and let God girl! He led me to my perfect fish after all those losers. Who’s to say he doesn’t have one for you?”

Hello again. Here’s more fiction with a tinge of truth! Hope you like it. I tried to make it less morbid than the other two short stories, though people seemed to like those ones LOL!

Have a great day!

Angie

Learning to be lonely

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Lonely tree

I’m at that age where practically everyone seems to be in a relationship, getting married or having babies. It’s hard not to lose sight of the season I’m in. I’m in grad school, I’m female, and I have postponed my life in the quest for a Ph.D. at the end of the day.  From the outside it’s easy to say “Make the sacrifices now, later you can do everything you want” or “Focus on your work, relationships can come after”.

But honestly after 4 years in a pseudo relationship (read: Waiting on someone, in my case someone in a whole different country) I am fed up. Honestly, waiting only works if in the mean time both parties make an effort to keep in contact, to share joys and sorrows and laughs and tears; in my case that scenario was far from the truth. Now that I’m done waiting, I’ve realized there was someone right in front of me that I fell in love with. Unfortunately, that realization came too late, for they have someone else.

Now I’m in a position where I am truly single, something that I have not been for over a decade really. And I am severely out of practice because I’ve realized I don’t know how to keep my own company. I tried to embrace my new-found single-dom by pursuing artsy-fartsy projects. It’s a temporary distraction. And that’s where I am now. I know it’s sad, but I’d appreciate suggestions on how to enjoy my own company.

On another note, I can say I’ve learnt some things from this situation:

  1. Never make your love interest your best friend/confidante. I’m not saying don’t share things with them, but if you break up or are not speaking to each other, then who do you talk to when you need someone?
  2. If you’re unsure of a choice you need to make, flip a coin. While it’s in the air you’ll probably realize where you want it to land.
  3. Ambition is good, but if it costs everything including relationships with people, it will leave you successful but lonely.
  4. Working long hours can easily cut you off from family and friends; make an effort to keep in touch.
  5. If you are heartbroken to the point where you cannot function at work/school, seek professional help ASAP. It is the beginnings of deteriorating mental health (and nothing to be ashamed about).

I know this isn’t my typical type of post. I just had to get things off my chest…

Angie

Update: Check this out… someone who indeed managed to be alone!

Jars of clay

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English: pots made of clay.

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you would have noticed that I’ve been writing a lot this past few weeks. The truth is I’ve been going through a very difficult situation with a close friend of mine. It has been a really low point in my life and only by God’s grace can I wake up everyday and still function.

So when I can’t sleep, or am tired of crying, I research and I write. Based on some of the responses I’ve got, people have been blessed by what I have to say, and I thank God for that despite the pain I myself am going through.

Today at church, the speaker discussed 2 Corinthians ch. 4. What particularly touched me was verse 7.

 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Cor 4:7.

The treasure Paul was referring to was God’s word. What he was saying was that his ministry wasn’t about him but was about God. Paul considered himself just a jar of clay, a servant, carrying the gospel to the world. The symbolism was fantastic. Think of a clay jar: functional yet fragile, possibly cracked, not necessarily a work of art.

I was so attracted to this message from God. These past few weeks I have felt so broken. If I was not working, exercising or praying, I was crying …. or writing. But like a clay jar, through my cracks, the light of God was able to shine to bless others. It’s amazing that God can still use me despite my flaws and despite my constant struggle with keeping faith that my situation will work out in time. I am not a special person, I am a regular person just like you. I have done things I am ashamed of but God’s forgiveness is real and He can use me and you even at the lowest points in our lives…

Keep your head up,

Angie

Surviving hurt in relationships

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A friend of mine recently found out her fiancé had an affair and decided to call off the wedding. One thing I admired was how strong and faithful she remained. I remember, when one of my exes cheated on me, how much I blamed myself. Ugly thoughts inundated my mind. She’s so slim and beautiful and fun. You’re so blah – boring, unattractive and fat. No wonder he wanted to be with her… Honestly, there were times I wanted to go further than emotional self-hurt. I wanted to physically hurt myself. It was a low point in my life and out of shame, I did not talk to anyone for a long time. Eventually, after many nights of secret tears, I turned to the Word. I wanted the reassurance that no (hu)man should make me feel this way when my perfect God has my back.

Human: “God please protect me”
*Stone hits him*
Human: “Why God, why?”
*Turns around to see Jesus protecting him from a storm of stones*
Jesus: “I’m sorry, did I miss one? Are you alright?”

You are not worthless

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Cor 16:19-20

I had to remind myself that thought I didn’t deserve it, God allowed the death of His Son so that I could have eternal life. No one is worthless to God because this gift is for everyone who will receive it.

God cares for you, the individual you

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. Matt 10:29

There are countless sparrows on the Earth yet God has ensured us that every single one of them is cared for. We are more than sparrows. Not one of us will fall without God knowing. He knows your hurt. He knows your entire history. Sometimes it’s tempting to think God isn”t compassionate about our human problems:

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

You may not know the answer, but God does.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ Isaiah 46:10

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

We are not  privy to the knowledge of our future or how the situation will turn out. We don’t know what worse hurt God is saving us when we do hurt. But God assures us that he already knows and he has promised us that his plans are not for us to eternally suffer. This does not mean Christians are promised lives with no suffering. Even the Apostle Paul suffered so that he will not become self-sufficient and forget that God is the source of his strength and wisdom.

… in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 2 Cor 12:7

Sometimes these trials are necessary for the growth of our character. How do we learn if we are never tested. How do we remind ourselves of God’s Word if we are never asked to use it.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Do not be foolish

A deeper meaning to the following verse was revealed to me:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”… Psalm 53:1

I always thought this was directed at atheists/agnostics. But this message is for Christians too. When you disobey God, doubt God, curse God, you are essentially proclaiming in your heart that there is no God. Though in your mind you know God exists, you do not proclaim this in your actions when you say or do things that are outside God’s message about us.

Anyway, these are just a sampling of the messages from God helping us to realize that these times will pass, we will heal, we must keep the faith when the going gets rough!

God bless,

Angie

P.S. I’ve touched on different aspects of this topic in God’s trial or my trial? and Confessions Part II

So she’s not a virgin….

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Many times, when I go on Christian websites, the “abstinence before marriage” message is front and center. However, this advice precludes a presumably large group of Christians like me that I will refer to as ” the unmarried non-virgins”. In the context of this blog post, unmarried non-virgins are those unmarried Christians who have given up their virginity and even continued to have sex in the past, but have now repented and  become celibate until marriage.

After browsing a few Christian forums I think this group has been unfairly targeted by those who have kept their virginity. In this post I want to address a few of their most common negative comments.

Marriage

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“I will never marry someone who isn’t a virgin”

This statement puts too much focus on the sexual aspect of a marriage. There’s so much more involved in choosing a mate and so much more to having a successful marriage. The most important things are that he/she is a true, practising Christian, loves you as God defines love, and has a desire to obey God. A past indiscretion is no reason to discount a person who has already been forgiven by God and who is presently living the way God intended. Besides, EVERYONE has past indiscretions because no one is perfect (Romans 3:23). If you are a virgin and blessed with a significant other who has the above qualities, acknowledge that they have a past, but forgive them, and remember … “love will cover a multitude of sins” 1 Peter 4:8.

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“I kept myself pure, I expect the same…
we must be equally yoked”

I can fully understand this viewpoint in terms of mutual virginity. However, I believe it is a perversion of what is taught in the Bible about being equally yoked.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

The Bible speaks of those with the same beliefs, not the same experiences, as being equally yoked. There are so many examples where God used people whose past actions are seedy. For example, one of the greatest redemption stories of all time is the reformation of the persecutor Saul to the apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-19). My advice to a virgin in this situation is to be an imitator of God (Ephesians 5:1-2) and do not hold the past against the person (Psalms 25:7). Further, know that this person has made an effort to “keep themselves pure” since recognizing the error of their ways despite it being truly difficult to resist the temptations of the flesh they have already experienced.

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“I want the person I marry to be the first, the one and only”

Again I can understand how one will feel knowing they are not “the first”; how will one “rank” amongst all the other partners their wife/husband has had in the past? I think the focus should be on the fact that the person who is marrying you chose you to be their one and only life partner. The last thing on their mind when the marriage is consummated is going to be ranking you against Martha from high school or Brian from college who bear no significance on their current life.

Our responsibility as Christian non-virgins

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not removing all responsibility from the non-virgins. We must be compassionate and empathetic towards our virgin spouses. If they have hang-ups about our pasts, be understanding. Let them know that what is important is who you are now and Who you both serve now. Remind them that God, and not you (and your experience), will bring the intimacy into your marriage.

Finally, we need to forgive ourselves. There was some evidence of self-hate on those forums too! For example, I felt really hurt for a non-virgin who said that the virgin’s comments like the ones above made her feel “broken” and “unworthy of love”. As Christians, we must not succumb to the thought that “our sin is more than God can forgive”. No sin can separate us from the Love of God (Romans 8:38-39) and through His love we are forgiven (John 3:16).

Love,

Angie

More on this topic at Virgin Expectations (reneamac.com)

Lessons from Tupperware

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I like to cook and I love to share. When I give out food to my friends, I usually give them in those plastic storage containers with lids. But do you know there are some people that will NEVER return your containers… and be so  brazen as to bring their lunch to work in them!
Of course, now I know who to trust with my expensive containers (you know the nice leak proof ones with lids that actually fit) and I know who  gets the cheap knock-offs that I’m okay with never seeing again.

I wish I knew earlier to share my self like I do my Tupperware…

A Small tupperware container.

Be careful who you share your secrets with.

Samson was a leader of the Israelites and a fierce warrior. Unfortunately he “fell in love” with a woman named Delilah and told her the secret of his great strength. The funny thing is he lied to her twice before telling her the truth and he knew she tried to trap him both times. In the end, Samson paid for his indiscretion with his life. (Judges 16) These days a shared secret may not get you killed (depends on what kind of secret) but it can get you a ruined reputation or a lost friendship.

Be careful who you share your dreams with.

Joseph was the favourite of the 12 sons of Israel (Jacob). For this reason his brothers hated him. So when he shared his dream with them they hated him even more:

6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” (Gen 37:6-7.)

Later in verse 11 we read “His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”

Joseph ended up sold into slavery by his brothers. The interesting thing about this story is that in the end Joseph ends up in charge of Egypt (Gen 41:41) and due to famine his brothers had to come to him for food for their family. God had made him the lord of all Egypt despite the actions of his brothers.

So when I wrote the subheading, I didn’t literally mean dreams but ambitions and plans. Once you’ve prayed over your plans, and God has given every sign of approval, be careful who you share them with. Some people spitefully create stumbling blocks, like Joseph’s brothers, and others, like Joseph’s father, will keep the matter in mind knowing anything is possible through Christ. The lesson in this tale though is that what may seem like a stumbling block could be the mountain path to your dream but it isn’t always so.

Be careful who you share your thoughts with.

This should really read “be careful who shares their thoughts with you”. It’s so important not to let the wrong people get into your head. This is especially important if you are in a uber-competitive situation for e.g. grad school. I can certainly testify to this. I have had more rejection letters in my short time in grad school than my whole life. This hasn’t stopped me from knowing God has blessed me with intelligence, the ability to work hard and a bright future in store. This concept is most succinctly put in Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Don’t let others put a value on you. Think about yourself as God thinks on you: He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you. (John 3:16)

Be careful who you share your body with.

I already wrote about your body being a temple (1 Cor 6:19-20) from a health and fitness perspective in Sweat it out! What I haven’t touched on is how you share your body with others. “No” is a very powerful word and when qualified is very effective.

If you’ve put in so much time at work as to compromise your health, let your supervisor know – “No, I cannot work this weekend because I need to rest. My productivity has declined and I can do a better job when I have recovered”.

If a guy friend has asked you to “put a good word” in with a girl he would like to get involved with, and you know he is a womanizer, you can say “No, I don’t think you guys are compatible and I would hate to see either of you get hurt”.

If your girlfriend thinks you guys have been together for awhile and it’s time to move to another level, you can say “No, I believe that God has made sex for marriage and I would rather respect and love you by not defiling your body.”

Who would have thought God could allow an experience with storage containers to inspire so many thoughts! Remember, treat yourself like the expensive, leak proof kind and not the cheap knock off because we are all paid for dearly!

God bless you,

Angie

God’s trial or my trial?

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03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

I have a friend who had an exam on Thursday. She spent the week finding any and everything else to do but study for this exam, including going to the cinema on Tuesday. On Wednesday night she crammed some notes and went to sleep. The next morning before the exam she told me “I know I didn’t study, but I am going with God”.

I was a little disappointed in my friend’s attitude – not only from the perspective of a teacher, but from a Christian perspective as well. I didn’t want to judge, but in my heart I felt she could have prioritized better. I told her I would pray for her, and I did, but when she got back her grades yesterday, it wasn’t pretty.

So what does this have to do with God, guys and girls?

Well, so many of us get into challenging relationships and then claim to have “faith” that it will “turn out okay”. Now don’t get me wrong; there are relationship trials that the Lord allows for us to be better, more complete people:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4.

And then there are trials we put ourselves in due to false faith. Take my friend who did not put in the work for her exam. God told her … “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 2 Thess 3:10. She did not put in the work, but thought if she prayed hard enough and had “faith”, God will reveal the answers to her and help her through her trial. Well, God is not a magic wand to wave when we go against His will and end up in trouble, and neither is He subject to our every whim and fancy.

We need to do our part: obey God and renew our minds by studying His Word. When we study his Word , we develop discernment – we are better able to answer the question “Is this trial from God, or from myself?” We are also better able to recognize what actions God wants us to take (Romans 12:2).

So if right now, at this very moment, you are in a challenging relationship or situation with your guy or girl, grab your Bible, find the relevant passage, evaluate the situation and pray. Ask God to guide you, ask him to reveal the truth of your situation – “Is it you Lord, that wants me to persist through this to the end, or am I holding on to something I am better off not having?”

And always pray as Jesus did “not as I will, but as You will“.

More on this topic: Faith or Presumption? (joequatronejr.wordpress.com)

All things work together…

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Ruth in Boaz's Field

The Book of Ruth describes one of my favourite Old Testament stories. There are such great aspects to it…

  • Conversion: A woman with pagan beliefs genuinely converts to belief in the one true God of her husband.
  • Tragedy: A mother loses her sons, 3 wives lose their husbands.
  • Loyalty: The friendship and love between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law
    (Mothers-in-law get such a bad wrap… thanks Hollywood :S ).
  • Sacrifice: A daughter-in-law stays and cares for her aged mother-in-law despite being a young widow herself, who could easily find a new husband.
  • Love at first sight: A man with good intentions notices a virtuous woman and cares for her.
It’s absolutely amazing how God worked a tragedy in these women’s lives into the genealogy of the most important man to walk this earth… watch and enjoy!

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 A special shout out goes to blogger davidpmathew.
I first saw this video on one of his posts.

Cheers,

Angie