Thursday, January 29, 2015

Too Busy For God.

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“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 

What are you believing God for?

I think sometimes when we read this Bible verse we read it without a full understanding .  I used to spend time with God for the most part.  But all of a sudden life hits and I did not have time to spend as much time with God.  All of a sudden my job took precedence and the time that I spent with God was an after thought.

Unfortunately I was missing an important concept.  I wanted God to act on my behalf on things that I was believing Him for, but yet I was not putting Him first.  We have a purpose in this world.  God may have revealed your purpose to you and He may not have.  The one thing that I know is that if you are not putting God first then God is never going to give you what you want and He is never going to show you what He wants you to do.

I will even take this a step further.  God will even take the things out of your life that are taking you away from Him.  If by chance you are in a relationship that you know for a fact that you put before God, God is going to take it away.  If you are in a job that you know for fact that takes you away from God and your purpose then God is going to take it away.  If you have material things that you worship more than God, then God is going to take it away.
The reason being is because God wants you to depend on him and seek Him first and not the material things of the world as a way to validate you.

The Bible verse states

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

God is not against money.  He is not against people being rich.  What He is against is the love of money and when people make money their God. I know I have experienced this. At one time I loved money and hated my job.  But I stayed there for the simple fact that I loved the money.  I knew it was not where God wanted me to be, and I was willing to continue at the job solely for the money. This was my mistake.  With the changes in health care and the community mental health.  The money is no where near as much as it used to be.  I cannot for the life of me make as much as I used to make.

And this was my fault.  I was depending on the money instead of depending on God.  I felt like the money made me who I was and would take me the places I wanted to go and not God.  The problem with that is the things of this world waiver and when you loose the things of the world that you hold dear, then you are left feeling depressed.

There was a time I even filled my time with dating men.  Dating a lot of men and this is what made me happy, and filled my loneliness void.  But when the relationships ended my mood was down yet again.

I would cry out to God asking “Why me?”

I am sure this was a pathetic sight in God’s eyes for sure.  And then I had the nerve to ask God why He was ignoring me.  How selfish was I?  Looking for fulfillment in worldly things and then when it did not work out, I wanted God to come in and fix it.

My eyes were fixed on the wrong thing.  God had to take things from me so that I could see the bigger picture.

I was listening to Joyce Meyer today and she said something so profound that made me think.

“ If you knew that God would never give you what you wanted, would you still love Him”?

To this question I did not know what to say.  There have been so many times that I have been mad at God for not giving me what I wanted, arguing with Him like some selfish brat.  But I always believed that God would give me what I wanted when I got in the right place.

I always felt that someday I would get married.  I always felt that through hard work I will be able to have my dream career (which is to be a highly successful blogger, public speaker, and have my own online magazine).  My career dreams go way beyond that, I would be the next Oprah if I had my way.

But to imagine worshiping and loving God and never ever being able to get a fraction of what I wanted out of life, almost made me physically ill.  And this is bad because we should not worship God so that He could give us the life that we imagine in our heads.

We worship God because He is our creator and He loves us.  And it is until we can get it through our heads that when we unconditionally love God no matter if He gives us what we want or not; is when He truly give us what we wants.

The way I have come to understand it is that as a mother I have a son.  I want my son to love me because I am his mother.  Not because I am going to get him the latest electronic games and bend over backward to give him every toy in a nickelodeon commercial.  I want to give my son the things he desires, but I do not want to give my son these things so that he will love me.  The way I see it is that I take care of my son and bend over backward for him, so if I do not want to give him all the latest trendiest toys then he should still be grateful. This is not to say that I do not give him this things, it is just to say that as his mother I am not obligated to give him everything he wants.  And to do so would turn him into a spoiled brat, never feeling like he had to work for anything.

What I do prefer is to have a personal relationship with my son.  One in which we talk, play, laugh, and one in which I am able to build him into a man. Making him into a good God fearing man is my priority first and foremost.

I think this is how God sees us.  He will give us the things that we want, but it is not His priority.  You cannot take these things into heaven.  You are not going to be married in heaven.  All these things that we desire are Earthly desires and God wants to make us a person who will get to heaven first before He even thinks about giving us all the rest of it.

The secret to getting the life that you want, is putting God first and becoming the type of person that God wants you to be.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dresses And Skirts In The Winter

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So I live in Virginia and it can get cold.  The trouble is I hate winter clothes, long sleeves, and things that are heavy to wear.  In my state it can get cold, BUT it can fluctuate between 30 degree and 55 degrees in just a matter a few days.  In any case, my favorite things to wear are dresses and skirts.  They are easy to wear and when I am feeling fat, they always fit.

One fashion tip that is a go too, especially for us single mothers that may be on a budget is that you should always seek to buy and wear things that can be worn through multiple seasons.  The trick is to know how to transform each piece of clothing so that it can be worn in both winter, summer, fall, and spring.  So today I will show you how I do just that.

The first rule for wearing skirts in the winter time is to get stalkings.  You can wear a skirt in the winter but if you have your bare legs hanging out then you are going to look stupid.  I get fashion, but do not risk getting hypothermia for the sake of wanting to wear a skirt in winter.  You can use tights depending on the dress, but I think fishnets are less boring and add a better feel to what you are wearing.

In addition, depending on how cold it is, you still need to cover your legs even if you are wearing stalkings, which is why I feel like knee high boot combined with stalking give you enough coverage not to be cold and it looks like you are winter ready.

With each skirt that I wear I always will put on a jacket, scarf, hate, beanie, or layers shirts so that I do not get cold and once again to dress appropriately for the winter weather.

   For this brown look I was feeling like I did want to get dressed.  This skirt is actually a tube top maxi dress but since I could not go outside like this, I added a hate (that i got from the beauty supply store for less than $7) and a light jacket.

And of course as always, 99% of my clothing came from the thrift store.  Mommy on a budget what can I say.

Too Old To Get Married?!?

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I was having a conversation at church about two weeks ago with a fellow single mother that was in her 30’s.  Her main fear was that she was not married yet.  When speaking to her I can get her fears.  I have lived her fears.  But realistically, since when is being over 30 old?  And even if you are beyond 30 and you are not married yet.  So what?  Are you afraid of the dreaded old maid reference to being an adult woman and not being married yet.

I will tell you like I told her.  God’s timing is God’s timing, either you are going to trust it and enjoy life or you are going to get up everyday and kick and scream over the fact that you are not married.

If this is not convincing enough for you, let me spout out some fun facts.  In the United States the divorce rate is roughly 50%.  That is literally about half.  So what it is that one can do to make sure their marriage survives?

When you look at the facts, getting married when you are older actually works in your favor. Variables like age, education, socioeconomic status, and even the time of year all play a important role in if you marriage will last or not.  Things such as having an education, being 25 and older, and being financially secure, all play apart on if you have a better chance at marriage or not (see reference here).

With that being said, you have to look at where you fit into all this.  While you are waiting for the one, you can became a one.  Where is your education level, perhaps you want to go back to school?  If the one for you is college educated, then the last thing you want to be in someone who cannot keep up with intellectually.

Even if college is not for you, get secure in your career.  Find your purpose and work toward it.  This way that when you find the one, you actually have something to offer the person.  Or you can try to save up some money so that you can in a better place financially so that perhaps when you do find the right one you can move into that dream house you always wanted.

There is nothing wrong with waiting, but while you wait it is better to perhaps do something productive and actually improve yourself so that you can look like the ideal candidate to your potential partner AND you can decrease your chances of divorce.

As your grow older, you have an advantage believe it or not.  But that it only if you are willing to take advantage of your age and be able to progress through life instead of staying stuck in one place until your knight and shining prince comes and rescues you on a white horse.  Who do you think he is coming to rescue? A princess or a raggedy Ann?

I once read an interesting concept in the Steve Harvey's book Act Like A Lady and Think Like a Man.  Steve says that men are ready to get married when they feel they are in a good place career wise and that they can provide for a family.  A least a good man anyway, which it what you want.  Right?  So you need to be equally yoked with the man you want to attract (see blog here on being equally yoked with your partner).

Woman can stand to learn from this idea.  Before you get married be secure in all areas.  Marriage is not the fit all fix to your dysfunction.  If you get married as a dysfunctional the person will only bring out and highlight all your insecurities.  Sometimes with age brings wisdom, purpose, and life security.  And these three things are a great recipe for a successful marriage.

That and keeping God first.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Feeling Singled Out For Being Single?

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So I wrote a blog (seen here) to name a situation in which I really felt single. As I thought about more and more about it, there were many times in which I was singled out for being single followed by other people giving me this look like they feel sorry for me.

It is like I should forget all the other accomplishments I have done in my life, but since I am single I am a loser. I would like to share my top 5 singled out moments, to let all single ladies out there know that I feel your pain.

 I was visiting my grandparents home in Georgia during the summer a few years ago.  I came in contact with relatives from Alabama that I had not seen in quite some time because they were visiting too.  They greeted me and after saying hello and getting an update on what I have been doing in life they said “ Well maybe the next time we see you will be married.”

During my master’s program we were doing an exercise.  It was a room of about 30 people.  They asked many questions and if your answer was yes to a question then you step to the other side of the room.  After a few questions the dreaded question came.  “Are you in a relationship?”  Everyone promptly went to the other side of the room.  All 28 people and the only ones still standing on the original side was myself and another person. Everyone on the other side had this “aww sorry your still single” look on their face.

I ran into an ex that I used to date during college who was happily married with children and making a crap load of money.  Shortly into the conversation he asked “ So you are not married? I do not see why, your a nice enough looking girl.”

 Oh and let’s not forget the cheap shots that an ex took at me months ago, telling me I was always going to be single because no one would want to put up with or marry me.

And the constant reminder from family.  Asking when are you going to get married? Even the question from grandpa telling me that perhaps I needed to go golfing more or to a country club, I never know who I might meet.

You know it is serious when grandpa is handing you out dating advice.  I say that all to say this. There was a time in which people telling me these things were embarrassing.  Not anymore.  Counseling couples I have seen the insides of too many marriages that should have never happened to get married all for the sake of not being alone. And through counseling them, I learned that marriage it hard work AND doing it the wrong way I can have lifetime effects that you have to live with.

If you are single like me, or ever better if you are over 30 and single like me, and you are tired of getting singled out the advice I would like to give you is this.

No one can make you feel bad about anything.  If you harp on the fact that you are single and feed into the idea that others want you to be married, you are going to lead yourself into depression or worse like I did at one point going on date after date, online dating, dating anyone for any reason to cure yourself of your single person’s disease.  Once I went though plenty of bad experiences and relationships that way (see blog here and here and here and here).  I decided to stop punishing myself.

  And pray about it.  |

I believe that God has someone for me.  God has been a matchmaker all through time (see my blog here for more).  And I rather have Him choose my man then lean on my own understanding on what I think I want.  I have been there and done that and guess what it has gotten me no where.

There are alot of good things about being single.  You can do things and be free while being single.  Heather Lindsey has a great blog on this (see here).  Once you realize this idea and take advantage of it you will be a lot more fulfilled.

I can tell you what God told me.  I would not have attracted the same type of man now that I would have 7 years ago.  I am not the same person.  I am a better person,.  Sometimes you have to grow into a better version of yourself so that you can become the right person for the one that God has planned for you.  Trust the process.  Being single is not the end of all eternity and no matter what other people say and how they make you feel.  It is just a relationship status, not a personal identity.

Think about it.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

God is Always Working Behind the Scenes, Even When You Cannot See It.

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The book of Esther is a account in which we can learn that God has everything under control and that He is always working in our favor, even when we cannot see it.

Let’s start with the beginning of the book. There was a King who had a queen named Vashti. His queen refused to appear before him which made him mad and cause him to banish her from his presence and take her role as queen away from her.

But lets look deeper.  It was because Vashti was banished from the King’s presence that gave Esther the opportunity to be Queen. Which she may have not had before.

Now let’s go deeper than that.

The Bible states

“Later when King Xerxes' fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about he.” Esther 2:1

Once the king’s anger subsided he remembered Vashti, remember that he had no queen and he was regretful that he sent her away.

This is where the kings attendants suggested that the King find another queen better than Vashti. But if you look carefully the King learned an important lesson in sending away Vashti.  He learned that he acted too much in anger and he learned that perhaps he should not make a decision in his anger that can have permanent effects.

This lesson I am convinced had a direct influence on his interaction with Esther.

The Bible states

“Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:17

The king loved Esther even more than Vashti.  So when Esther decided to go before the king uninvited and could possibly get her head chopped off I think several things went through the king’s mind.  He could kill Esther the woman he loved and later be sad about how he acted in his emotions, and then would have to find another queen.  (Like he did with Vashti)  Or he could take time to think about what he was doing, how much he loved her, and not make the same mistake twice by getting rid of another queen to save face.

And so he chose to extend his golden scepter to her and save her life.  He chose to soften his heart and even grant her whatever she wanted up to half the kingdom.

The point that I am getting at is if Vashti did not get banish, Esther (a Jew would not have became queen). If Esther never became queen then when Haman tried to have all the Jews killed there would have been no one to be able to come to the king on the Jews behalf.  And last but not least if the King had not gone through his experience with Vashti and regretted sending his queen away, then Esther may have had a different fate when she went before the king unsummoned.  

Even though the King did not know it, God was preparing him how to act when Esther came into his life so that he could play his part in saving the Jews from inhalation  Even though we may not understand what God is doing and why God is doing it, He is always working on our behalf behind the scene making a way for us.  You cannot lean on your own understanding.  You may not know why you are not married yet, but you have to trust that God is preparing the one that you are destined to be with through their life experiences and not try to take things into your own hands.

Esther’s whole life was not some coincidence.  Each situation involving her and others, including her uncle Mordecai, was carefully constructed by God.  Even though it may have not seemed like it when they were going through it.  Mordecai was literally seconds away from being hanged from the gallows by Haman.  But God changed that in the matter of seconds because the king (with God’s help) remembered Mordecai had him saved him from being assassinated.  And instead of facing death, Mordecai was honored in front of the whole kingdom in the presences of his enemies (Haman).  All because God was in it.

It is not our place to understand all that God is doing, what He is not doing, or when He is going to do it.  It is not our place to wonder when God is going to bring the one for us, give us what we want, or take us out of our miserable situations.

In the book of Esther the Jews were literally days from inhalation.  They had no idea where their deliverance was going to come from or if it was going to come at all.  No one knew the Queen was even a Jew.  But God was always working overtime in this, making sure that everything was working out according to His plan even though it did not seem like it to everyone else.

That is the beauty of God.  We always have to trust that He is not going to harm us but that He wants us to prosper.  And even though we cannot see it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

God Will Have His Way!

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“And Paul said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.” Acts 9:5

Have you ever read this verse and wondered what it meant.  The meaning behind this verse can be very enlightening.

During the time in which this situation happened to Paul, there were cattle rods that were placed on the cows so that the owners could get them to go in the direction they wanted them to go.  The cattle rod had sharp pricks on them and when the cow went in the wrong direction or a direction that the owner did not want them to go, then they would be pricked by these sharp objects.

So you may be wondering, what does this all mean for you?

God was essentially telling Paul in this verse that the reason why bad things were happening to him was because he was going against the pricks.  He was going in a direction that God did not want him to go and therefore he was hurting himself.

So how does this apply to you?

Well, when God wants us to do something or has a plan for us and we decide to go in a completely different direction.  Then we are not covered by God in that direction leaving us open to be “pricked.”  Have you ever wondered why bad things continue to happen to you?

It could be because you are going against the pricks.  Meaning that you are not going in the direction that God wants you to go and therefore you are hurting yourself in the process.

I was listening to Joyce Meyer the other day and she said something that was very interesting.  She said when she was younger she wanted to be more domesticated like her neighbor.  She decided to grow tomatoes and garden like her neighbor and like a good Christian she even prayed over them.  But soon when it was time to harvest the tomatoes the bugs came in and ate all of them ruining her harvest.  When she called her neighbor, her garden and tomatoes were left unharmed.

Joyce got mad and asked God why He allowed for her hard work to go in vein.  And God told her that he never told her to grow tomatoes and therefore he has no obligation to protect her tomatoes.  At the time she was called to preach and that is what God wanted her to focus her attention on.  Not being like someone else and not doing something that He did not call her to do.  And since she decided to go her own way instead of God’s way, she was in essence hurting herself.

How many times have you wondered why your relationships are going bad?
Why you are not getting the jobs you want?
Why things in your life seem to be going wrong?

It could be that you are going against the pricks.  You are heading in a direction that God does not want you to go in and pricks are going into your side to get you to snap out of it and get back on the track that God ordained for you.

Make sense?
So in essence we can never really get mad at God but only ourselves because we are not paying attention to God and the direction that God wants us to go.

I have had to learn to stop hurting myself, stop going my own way, and trying to do things my own way.  It was only hurting me and then I blamed God for the hurt I was causing myself.  When in fact, He never told me to do or go in the directions that I was sending myself in. It is better to learn the easy way over the hard way to just go along with God’s purpose and save yourself a whole lot of pain and frustration.  Even though you may not understand.  God’s way for us is always best.  And He is God and will have His way.