Still dating at 46…

So today is my birthday and I’m spending it as a day of reflection. You may have read my blog last year “Still dating at 45” which expressed my experience returning to online dating. Since that time, I have not found my next mate. Yes I have dated and even come close to entering relationships but I’m so discerning that hasn’t happened. 

The things I used to ignore or call cute are now red flags. I run for the hills when I see male aggression or your sole conversation is sexually focused. I’m looking for a black unicorn. If you watch the show Being Mary Jane you know what this means. And no he doesn’t have to be black. I take the name as an emphasis on his uniqueness because most portrayals of unicorns are white. 

I’m not looking for anything I’m not willing to give in return. We are living in a different time where men are allowed not to fully mature. A man who can articulate his feelings and hear mine out without an emotional response could probably get me to the alter again. I am truly looking for something special. I don’t care if he thinks I want too much as one guy said, I want what I want. The fear of being alone no longer drives me to ignore undesired behaviors. I can continue on my journey of finding a suitable mate. 

I still don’t have a list nor do I intend to create one. I know the core values but it’s also the little things. Finding someone to love you unconditionally is probably the best summary I can give you. Knowing someone will do right by me even on the days he doesn’t like me so much is what I want. Someone I can be vulnerable with and know he won’t use it against me when he’s angry. Yeah you guessed it, I have a knack for picking jerks but ☝🏽 I can walk away now. 

I used to make so many excuses for them. I would question myself like maybe it’s not so bad, maybe he didn’t mean it that way. It was all a way to justify my fear of being alone. I used to hear love yourself first, love you, respect yourself, etc which all sounded great but I thought I was doing those things. Since no one put their hands on me I figured I was batting 1000. Well verbal abuse, mental abuse, manipulation when allowed does not say I care about me. I’m no longer afraid to put myself first until I find a husband worth putting before me. I will do this because he in turn does it for me. It will not happen until that criteria is met. I insist on shared love and respect for each other. And I will not settle until I find it. 

I’m not giving up hope. In fact, I’m more convinced than ever he will find me. Note: he will find me! As the Bible says, it’s he who findeth a wife not she who searchith a man. No I’m going back to basics. I continue to work on my RBF and being more approachable. I speak with no intentions because they are all my brothers (not brothas) in Christ. I’m hopeful and thoroughly convinced, it will happen but only in HIS timing not mine. You may see this blog for several more years. Who knows?! The point is for me not to stop believing or doing the work in preparation. 

Stay strong ladies and gents…patience is seriously a virtue! 



Advertisements
Posted in Dating | Leave a comment

Growing in Grace – Brokenness 

I was very hesitant about this particular week because I like to consider myself whole. The truth is I still have some broken pieces. I wasn’t in the mood to tackle them so I knew it would be a struggle for me. 

Thank God for healing though because it started on Valentines Day and I wasn’t a mess. It started last year but this year I was 100% at peace with my single season. When we’re broken, we find healing in God’s word. He is with you in your pain and your brokenness even when you feel you’re alone. Your job is to remain in His presence. You cannot get to wholeness without going through the process of pain. It’s just not possible. There are some short cuts in life, but this is not one of them! The healing you seek is only found in the hands of God. 

“He Whispers…” says that continual pain and suffering are sometimes part of growing your faith. Other times, the issues that require the most attention are brought to the surface. At first glance, I struggled with this section. I couldn’t see how allowing my to suffer would increase my faith. I had to meditate on that for a minute. And it hit me…long suffering with no vision for a way out draws you closer to God. Then when you are inexplicably pulled out, you have no choice but to know it was the Lord. And if you made it through aaaalllllllllll of that, you are stronger in faith for the next challenge. God is so remarkably brilliant. When you are broken, you know your way didn’t work. You must lean on the Lord. Don’t rely on yourself because your knowledge and resources are limited! ☝🏽 Oh but not God!!!! There are blessings waiting for you so wait with expectancy and hope. 

It hurts so bad sometimes you think it’s the end. You can’t see beyond your circumstances. RUN TO GOD! Turn your worry into worship by thanking Him in advance for working it out. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not done. And cry sometimes…. not that pretty girl cry either.  Im talking about the gut wrenching ugly one. Purging releases the stress in your body. It clears the path for strength to move forward. And don’t think for a second God doesn’t see your tears. He hears you but you have to believe. He will give you beauty for your ashes. Most importantly, all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. 

When it comes to dating, I feel God has me on mute. You know someone talks too much so you mute them and do other things? Or on conference calls you continue working? Yep! That’s how I feel when asking for a help meet. I have been muted. It’s only the devil. I know God hasn’t abandoned me. It just feels like it because He is silent. I hear Him in all other conversations but that one. I have come to accept that He is waiting on me. There is something or some things He wants me to fix first. I have to keep seeking Him until I figure it out. Delays shouldn’t cause disappointment because they are purposeful. Trust Him more than you want to because this is where the healing happens (no magic). 

In darkness, it’s common to feel unworthy. Honest moment – I have found myself praying for that mate I didn’t believe I deserved. Could I be any more counter productive?! So since discovery, I have been scratching the surface of why? And I’m acutely aware I will have to go very deep to heal this broken part of me. I must remember that I only need to please Him. Think about it… doesn’t that relieve a tremendous amount of pressure knowing you only have to please one. He’s already made us worthy and He is there to provide comfort and support. 

One of the ways we get stuck in brokenness is focusing on what we don’t have or we had. What is that going to do for you?! Absolutely nothing! But focusing on your blessings will lift your spirits. It will change your thinking and keep you moving forward. Zeroing in on the lack diminishes your faith. If you ever question whether you’re loved, think of God’s sacrifice to free us of our sins. He didn’t have to do it but He did because Je loves us so. 

You may feel empty and depleted. No one but God can fill you up. Our pastor preached on this yesterday, you can’t have other idols. We serve a jealous God. He wants you to put Him first in every area of your life. He is working behind the scenes to grow your faith and increase your relationship. It’s so much easier to fill that void with men/women, alcohol, drugs, the list is endless. It’s insatiable because it’s a God filled hole only. Get rid of things keeping your focus from Him. If you don’t, He will create a way to make you crave Him. It’s never pretty or fun. If you are in need, go back to Him voluntarily. It will save you time and further heartache. He loves you enough to bring you back either way, your choice! Seek Him and his promise is that you be satisfied. 

Have a wonderful week! The next subject in “He Whispers…” is overcoming obstacles so stay tuned. 
*This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill* 

Posted in Encouragement, Gratitude, Life, Love, Relationships, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Growing in Grace – Trials and Troubles 

Funny thing about trouble…it always manages to show up and show out! I’m sure you’ve heard the same thing about God. How ironic?! When it does happen either two things will occur: 1. God will take you over it or 2. God will bring you through it. I don’t know about you but my most troubling times have taught me the greatest lessons. My biggest trial to date actually brought me back to God. I never fully left Him. I honestly don’t think you can once you’ve given Him your life but I definitely was not actively participating in our relationship for a very long time. 

There’s nothing like darkness where only His light shines through. You know the times when you can’t see any possible way out of a situation but you have a mustard seed of faith?! Yep! You know what I’m talking about. It’s earth shattering!!! Well “He Whispers…” reminds us to view obstacles as opportunities instead of difficulties. If you don’t, you may try to get out of it and miss how the same struggle that could bring you blessings. 

I have always wondered about folks who commit suicide. I think what could be that bad? I now realize pain can be debilitating. You feel alone but you’re never ever alone. When you fully accept this, you will see that it’s true. I remember feeling desperately lonely once but I didn’t want to call any loser exes. I decided to talk directly to God. I mean I was upset with Him anyway so why not?! I started telling Him how I felt. I mean really having a transparent conversation about it all. Before I knew it, I was no longer lonely. I had God and always do. I just have to remember this fact because out of sight is out of mind for me. 

When you give your life to Christ, you are certain to be met with opposition to your faith. The key is not to become angry but thank Him in all things. This gratitude will prove that you are holding on to your promises of victory. You will not remain in this trial. “He Whispers…” reminds us there is a limit to our pain. We are expected to patiently go through our trials until God says it’s over. He will not end your trial until it reaches its full potential. It is only for a season. Any lingering trial is due to Him wanting it to bring an enormous amount of forever glory. I experienced this a few years ago, I was unemployed for 8 months. I thought I would lose my mind. 3 months prior to that my husband and I separated before filing for divorce. I had two major life events in less than six months. The pain was unbearable. I thought I had finally hit my quota of support from God. I wanted to throw in the towel. I dinstinctly recall being in gut wrenching pain but I still didn’t want to end it. I just wanted to get through it. I called God out! I said this too shall pass and you said weeping may endure for the night but joy come in the morning. Literally I woke up restored and renewed. I survived! I held on to my faith and relied on Him like never before. As I mentioned above, I have eternal gratitude. I never want to be without Him again. That trouble….changed my life! 

When you experience life altering pain, you feel as if you did something to piss God off. He has to be mad to let you have this kind of long suffering. It’s simply not true. “He Whispers…” says God uses this time to grow your faith against anything that plans to destroy it. Now it all made sense! Everywhere my faith was lacking, God sent His grace to pull me through. All the challenges are to prepare us for eternal life. 

The biggest epiphany this week, was reading faith is not developed by certainty but by going through it despite your doubts, fears, and the severe unknown. God is not doing any of this for entertainment. He is not punishing you but developing you for your purpose. Whatever He takes in the process will be returned abundantly. When you feel the most defeated, believe it or not, He is the closest to you. Never underestimate what God can do. He is the Creator! Have hope that you will come out victorious. Enter your trials without fear because it wears on the soul. Stand on His promises. If He can control the world, surely He has your little problems under control. And I know they don’t seem little to you but in the grand scheme of the world, they kinda are! God is the protector and meets our every need. Your trials and troubles aren’t about how you live life in this world. They are preparing you for thee eternal life! 

ALL YOU SHOULD SAY IS….HALLELUJAH!!!! 

*This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill* 

Posted in Encouragement, Gratitude, Life, Relationships, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Growing in Grace – Peace

Sorry for the late post! It has been a tough two weeks but I’m committed to this series so I will catch up! 

This week was focused on obtaining and sustaining peace. I have heard perfect peace stated more times than I can count. As I grow in my walk with the Lord, I realize that peace is a choice. It’s not a provision. You increase your odds of executing peace if you are consistent in your walk with the Lord. 

Life is challenging! There are times when you will become overwhelmed by the chaos of it all. This is when you have to remember you are not alone AND God is your wonderful counselor. Seek Him for all of your decisions so you will have peace of mind. Typically we do this in the big decisions but you can do this for the small ones too. He is here to listen and guide us but you must go to Him first. Don’t forget He already knows the end. If He is silent…don’t move. You must exercise patience until you hear from Him. Go rogue and you may cause yourself more trouble. 

The greatest lesson this week for me is reading that “peace is not a feeling but a place of being”.  What a revelation!!! You are going to feel fear, anxiety, etc. but you choose to not to stay there and go to a place of peace. It takes effort and work.

There will be times of hopelessness but you must remain focused on God. Your relationship with Him does not guarantee trouble free times. Your faith and hope is what activates change. The trials are used to draw you in towards God. Unfortunately, the deliverance is only promised. The how and when is strictly up to Him and His timing. 

Peace is something you also have to pay forward. Operate and communicate in love i.e. give folks the benefit of the doubt. Have the same mercy and grace you are given for others. The pursuit of peace is living the way God wants you to live. 

With peace comes your obligation to obey! Walk in the spirit not the flesh. I know first hand this is easier said than done. Your flesh and your spirit are consistently at war. You must choose the spirit and ask God to help you obey. 
You will struggle in this area but ask Him to reveal your short comings. You can’t work on what you don’t know is a problem. When you know better, do better! Repent when you know you weren’t your best self. Your acknowledgment and repentance is what will help you experience life to the fullest. 

Next up, we will talk about times of trouble. 

*This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill* 

Posted in Encouragement, Gratitude, Life, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Growing in Grace – Spiritual Battle

When I first became a Christian many years ago, I was in my early twenties. I had never been an overly wild child. I am my mothers only child and my fathers only daughter. Needless to say, I was and still am very much spoiled. They were overprotective but it kept me out of harms way. They taught me the difference between right and wrong and about God but we didn’t attend church regularly. For such believers, you would think I would have been baptized but no. So I said all of that to say, I had some huge misconceptions about what being saved meant. I thought I would have less problems than those that were not saved. Talk about being lost….

I now know that being a Christian could very well mean you have more adversities. You see, being a child of God makes you the enemy. You are in the world doing God’s business but Satan is not happy. He will come after you but you have to be prepared for battles. Don’t think for a second they’re not coming. There are physical and spiritual battles headed your way. The devil will tell you lies about yourself especially in tough times. He may try to convince you that you have no one. LIES!!!! You always have God! He will provide you strength for battle. Trust…because with Him, you will win! You also have to utilize your faith because you may “feel” like you’re losing. 

One thing you have to realize too is that your battles are customized for you. The devil is smart and knows your weakenesses. He will not only expose but magnify them to get to you. What you must know from “He Whispers…” is he can’t steal your spirit BUT ☝🏽he can harass you. That’s exactly what’s happening when one bad thing happens, after another, after another. You are so caught off guard and under attack, you forget this is his purpose. Oh but I have news for you….the same God that defeated Satan, is thee exact same God that lives inside of you!!! For the people in the cheap seats… it means your team is going to win no matter what it looks like in the third quarter. 

Recently I have been hearing a reoccurring theme…watch your thoughts! The mind is so powerful. You must take control over your thoughts. “He Whispers…” teaches you that losing the battle is all in your mind. You have to rely on promise and His word, not fear and thoughts of failure. You must also control your emotions. I have a hard time with this outside of work. I think it’s because I want to preserve my image but I can choose outside of that arena. The heart is deceitful! I learned this through many failed relationships. I made so many decisions with my heart when my head knew better! It’s the same on the battlefield…put your feelings aside and go with what you know which is, you will be victorious in the end! 

You will hear some Christians say…”don’t leave the house without your armor!” Basically they’re saying stay clothed in the word of God. Be prepared for battle. Don’t walk out unaware and exposed. I stay prayed up so to speak. I thank God when I open my eyes for another day. I ask for covering and protection throughout each day. I do not go into the world without Him. I cannot fight alone. When doubt and discouragement creeps up go back to your salvation! Rest assured you will win every battle. 

Oh and fear… let’s talk about that for a second. I don’t know about you but I never learned to fight. I was raised to resolve conflict with my words. The few times I was threatened with physical altercations I was afraid. I’m a person who doesn’t start fights, would never hit first, but baby if you touch me…you literally poked a bear! I don’t have technique but I hit hard. You will regret you ever touched me. Those lessons taught me I had nothing to fear then or now. Just as I came out of every situation more knowledgeable about myself, the same applies to spiritual battles. No need to fear because you may have to go through it ALL to get the lesson the Lord wanted to teach you. You will want to give up or even demand that God fixes it. Don’t judge…you too have gotten upset with God for not responding fast enough. You have to trust His plan and His timing. Yours may not reveal all He has in store for you. Trust me when I say, some lessons will take you to the next level. Honestly, each major lesson of my life has taken me to a higher level i.e. my career, my education, my relationships, etc. 

Don’t get me wrong, I will not say this is easy! In fact, all is quiet right now which means a storm is brewing. I may forget every word I’m typing to you when it happens. I too will have to read this, get grounded, and hunker down for battle. Tools are useless until you pick them up. “He Whispers…” says to remember you are either living for God or against God. I’m sure you know which one has a better success rate. If not, you need more than this blog can provide.

Storms are sometimes so dark you can’t see straight. You do not know what to do but this is when you surrender. Call out to Him and He will guide you and keep you. If He sees fit, he may completely remove your obstacles. And like mentioned earlier, sometimes He will just walk you through the fire. Either way, there is purpose in every situation. Your faith will bring you the patience you’ll need to receive God’s battle plan. Trust in Him is key! 

Next week we will delve into Peace which Cherie placed perfectly behind the battle. 😉

*This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill* 

Posted in Encouragement, Gratitude, Life, Love, Relationships, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing in Grace – Prayer 

Prayer is an important component to your personal relationship with God. It is how you communicate with Him. What I didn’t know, was how often He wants to communicate. I reach out to God with gratitude for another day of life, worship, and in extreme times of need. What I learned is prayer is continual. God wants to talk about the minute details of your life. I always assumed He had more important business to tend to. The truth is He loves me so much that He could never be too busy. And the things I think I’m keeping from Him, He already knows because He is the great I AM! He is the Alpha and the Omega! I feel so foolish not understanding this sooner. As I educate others without judgement, I must do the same for myself. I have changed the conversation and we talk about everything! 

Talking to God hour by hour and minute by minute keeps me in His presence. I have immediately noticed the impact on my day to day life. I pray before difficult conversations, I pray before presentations, I pray to reassess what I’ve witnessed. My mind is at peace and my decisions are clear. I don’t doubt after I have made a decision. I feel freer than I have in my entire life. “He Whispers…” taught me to talk to God. I always reach out to those I trust in times of confusion. I had it all wrong. I needed to talk to God. What kept me from this, was not hearing the answer. I’m learning God doesn’t just speak back in a still small voice. Sometimes He sends others with confirmation. They will answer the very question you asked God, not them. You have no choice but to know the answer came from Him. This type of revelation comes from relationship development. Walking by faith and not by sight gets easier with prayer. If you are focused on God and always talking to God, you have less time and energy to worry. There is a knowing that things will be alright. We think that God is not answering our prayers because the task we asked for was a plan. When the plan doesn’t work out, we think we were denied. I have found that God’s plan was always better and my plans limited His grace. Don’t place limits on the Lord. Talk to Him and share your needs but do not plan for Him. In other words, tell Him the what and not the How!!! Besides, if your plan is approved you may take the credit. When God does it, there is no confusion about who was at work. 

It’s imperative to remember that silence is not necessarily a no. It could mean not right now or ok but there’s a better way. Your role is in knowing the end is for your good and trust the process. Yes what I’m asking is difficult because it is believing what you can’t see and believing in answers you can’t hear. The peace is in perfect patience which is one of my greatest hurdles. But do not wait alone, seek God repeatedly. Just because He knows, doesn’t mean He doesn’t want to hear it from you. Praise Him for the ending even though you’re at the beginning or in the middle. 

God is with you! He will not leave you. He will keep you in times of trouble if you stay close. Relying on Him will show you His mercy. Expect to have your prayers answered without wavering. Be confident with your requests. Know that God hears you and will deliver in one way or another. 🙏🏽
Next week, we’ll focus on Spiritual Battle. The phrase reminds me of the fantastic movie War Room I saw last year. I’d never seen a film focus on the power of prayer and how to win the battle. Looking forward to the upcoming lessons. 
Stay tuned! 
*This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill*

Posted in Encouragement, Gratitude, Love, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing in Grace – Faith

Last week’s readings were all about faith which I thought I had until last week. I was forced to tell the truth about my faith level which has become an area of development. My first epiphany was realizing that I have selective memory when it comes to the Lord’s work. I have personally experienced miracles but I forget about them in times of trouble. The same God who performed the last miracle will perform the next one. “He Whispers…” reminded me that my faith must be built on the truth of knowing that His love comes with provision, protection, and present power.

Faith requires you to not focus on the chaos but on Him. When overwhelmed, I need to get still. Walk by faith not by sight! Yep…got it! I don’t know about you but you can’t just tell me anything. I need to see it for myself. This principle says ignore what you see and know it will all work out even when it appears impossible. I support the principle but believing in it is a struggle. Did I just admit that as a Christian woman? Yes because the truth shall set you free. If I don’t admit my areas of weakness, I can’t possibly overcome them let alone change them!

The book talks about how there are times you are basking in the light and darkness suddenly takes over. I remember times of absolute bliss and boom…something tragic happens. I mean the type of tragedy where the wind is knocked out of you and it feels like you won’t regain your breathing rhythm again but then HE swoops in and everything works out according to His perfect plan. The key is remembering you’re not in it alone and that it is temporary. One of my favorite passages says (paraphrasing) weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. The metaphorical night is sometimes long and the morning may take days or even years BUT if you just push/pray through it…the pain WILL STOP! During the “nights”, you are not by yourself.

God is with you and all you need is Him. I never quite understood this phrase until now. Have you ever been in a crisis and you reached out to so many people searching for one of them to make you feel better? You may feel a moment of calm but the conversation ends and you are alone with your thoughts and pain yet again. Do you know why this happens? Because all you need is Him! There is something about emotional pain that only God can carry you through. You have to know that all things work together for your good. It’s not just another cliche. When you take the time to truly reflect over an entire situation (when its resolved of course), you will see the artistically woven plan for that season. The intricate details of action and timing will overwhelm you. Lessons are learned here. Lives are changed here. People are delivered in this very space because you know you couldn’t see any possible way out in the thousands of scenarios you formulated and now here you stand…happy and whole! That’s our God!

He wants us to spend time with Him so we can learn to see beyond the surface. It’s about going inside yourself to hear His voice. You have to know whatever plan you have for your life is nothing compared to God’s plan. Stay focused on Him so you can have perfect peace in the center of a storm. The most startling revelation this week was learning that faith requires trust. Well I have trust issues so I’m already behind the curve. 😦 I somehow failed to make the connection between faith and trust. You have to trust in the promise which gives you faith when hope has escaped. The trust shuts down the negative voices that will show up in the valley, and they will show up, because we’re human! The goal is not to eliminate doubt but to face it head on believing that all will be well.

This coming week I will dive into prayer as I’ve learned thus far how to quiet anxiety and activate faith. “He Whispers…” is a gift and a tool to assist me in tapping into His power as I continue to receive His mercy and grace.

Until next time….

 

 *This series is a summary of my lessons from He Whispers Your Name by Cherie Hill*

 

Posted in Encouragement, Gratitude, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment