1800 Peanuts

I had been so worried about being safe, yet here I was with two guys I had never met, waiting for my college pastors to show up to what was Todd and I’s first date.

Never would have imagined.

Looking back now I am astounded at how peaceful and confident I felt.

Todd introduced me to his broken armed friend and we waited for my two to arrive. From the get go I noticed two things, 1. Todd looked straight into my eyes when we talked. He was a man of eye contact, and I didn’t feel weird looking back at him. and 2. He was straight forward.

“Are you done?” Todd asked

“Uhh yeah. I’ll take the rest home.” I replied.

“Ok good. Let’s get out of here,” Todd got up and threw our trash away.

I looked over. Our friends were still eating.

“Let’s walk outside.” He saw me hesitate, “Oh they can catch up. I just want to walk.”

I didn’t look for permission, I just went and followed him.

Our friends ended up catching up but it was obvious that Todd’s focus was on me.

We walked and Todd and I talked about all types of things. We were open. Friends. It was nice.

Like any good date we ended up at an ice cream shop.

“What kind of ice cream do you want?” Todd asked.

I looked around. “I’ll take the chocolate one, but you should know I’m extremely allergic to peanuts. Like I can’t be around them.”

Todd looked at me. “Really? Like how allergic?”

“Like I’ll stop breathing if I’m even around it. I have an Epi-pen in my bag.”

“Oh ok.” He looked really serious. “So no peanuts. Ok”

He paid for my ice cream and we sat near our friends. Naturally peanut reaction stories came up. We talked. Laughed.

“So,” Todd looked over at me. “I had a lot of fun. I’d like to hang out with you again. Would you like that?”

“Yeah, that’d be great.” I responded.

“Yeah? Ok great!”

Todd looked over at our friends, “guys, we decided we want to see each other again!”

Our friends were excited. We took a selfie and said our good byes.

Our next few dates Todd came to my area. We’d go to dinner hang and talk. A few weeks after our first date I decided to drive down to his area for the day. I was welcomed into his home with open arms. Met his family.

Todd went to grab something from his room before we were heading to lunch.

His mom looked at me with a smile and said, “You know Todd told me about your allergy. I got took out all of the peanut candy from our dish.”

“Aww thanks,” I smiled. “I really appreciate it.”

His mom looked back at me and said, “He hasn’t eaten peanuts since he came back from you guys’ first date.”

September

“Hey Monique, How are you?”

I nervously laughed and said, “Good, Todd. How are you?”

“I’m good too. I was just talking to my grandma about you. This is crazy that you called.”

His grandma? How sweet is that?

His smooth calm voice had a way of easing my nerves. We laughed a few times and started asking the real questions. You know like what’s your favorite color and all the soul mate stuff.

I walked away from that conversation excited. He wanted to keep talking. I wanted to know more about him.

Talking on the phone meant that we no longer had to message through Christian Mingle. I could hear his voice, see how he texted. I didn’t have to wait for an email and log on.

I still go back to the days where I did not know who this guy was. When I was simply moving off of preconceived ideas of who I thought he was. The feelings of not knowing still come. I spent too many hours looking for blogs, vlogs, testimonials, on if online relationships truly lasted. The fear that he would not be genuine and authentic were in the back of my mind. Yet there was a peace that stayed present with me through every step. I mean we weren’t going to be running down the aisle within the year, right? we had plenty of time. At least I thought we did.

Within a day, Todd was ready to move forward. We soon got to FaceTime during my lunch break. It was the weirdest yet greatest thing. To be able to see the human being that the words and voice had been this whole time. Facetiming brought on a new level. It made things more real. There was a man behind the messages. A man that was interested in me, and I very much so in him. Even through Todd’s steady forward motions, if I was uncomfortable, I would speak up and he respected that. Because of that, I respected him.

He then told me to think about meeting face to face. This terrified me in some ways, because 1. my family would think I was crazy for meeting up with a man that I met online and 2. because the more memories I made with him, the more hurt could be invested. But his green eyes and calm voice assured me that it could be exactly how I wanted. Friends, no friends, local, meeting halfway whatever. So I tested him, in some ways.

To be honest all of my friends were pregnant at the time and the ones I truly felt comfortable with, were my college pastors, which the husband happened to be a cop, but I left that part out.

Telling my mom was surprisingly ok. I decided to let her know a day before Todd was coming down *yikes*. She wasn’t thrilled at first but as I told her of how Todd came from another Assembly of God, how my best friend and mentor had been guiding me through this time, and how he knew the area because he kind of grew up in the valley, she calmed down, and was actually, dare I say, excited? TO the point of wanting to help me find an outfit and go to the mall. :O This excited me because my prayer is to be wise and I know that with a lot of things, the people around us that know and love us deeply can help point us in a wise direction.

Thursday came. I did not hear much from him that day until he told me that he was running late, thanks to the 405.

I drove a familiar uncharted rode. I didn’t know how this would end, but I was excited. Parking my car I exhaled, prayed, and turned my car off. The windy chill of the air hit my ankles, I should have worn socks. There was a confidence that was built in every stride. In fact I forgot that the whole point of bringing my pastors was because I wanted to stay safe with meeting someone from a website.

Todd was sitting down outside of the restaurant wearing a dark navy button up with anchors on it. That was my guy. Calm. Cool. Collected.

 

 

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Joy For the Season Part II

I recently posted the blog “Joy for the Season”. This blog had been sitting in my notes section of my phone for months. When I was going through my notes I felt I should go ahead and post it. Never would I have thought I’d wrote a part 2. It was just a blog. Nothing deep. An update on life in a lot of ways. Looking back I’ve grown from that mentality. I’m not angry with God. I don’t view His protection as a prison. Well I hope I don’t start to again.

What happens when you think your healing hinders you?

I know that’s a weird question. Last night I experienced an incredible moment of seeing how far I have grown from the person I was a year ago. I had a conversation with someone else that was going through similar things. This friendship between us had just started and I was excited to help them see that there is another side. I was excited to help them see that there is healing and that not all people are scared of those rough seasons. I was excited because this friendship held promises of new things.

I felt peace.

It felt good.

Things were right.

Until they called back. I don’t remember the entire conversation. I talked in slow motion as they quickly told me how things wouldn’t work for us.

Click.

Done.

I shouldn’t have shared.

I’m too much for people.

God let you go through that and you’ll never engage in healthy relationships because of it.

I guess a better question is can your healing hinder you?

Lies. I know but they feel like truth.

I dont know why I’m writing this. It’s literally fresher than a cow that just got slaughtered.

I guess I want to communicate to you friends, and more importantly to myself that I’m not too much. That my story, even the ugly parts, are good because I’ve allowed healing in. Full complete healing. I want to remember that this isn’t punishment it’s not a prison. Maybe it’s protection. Maybe it’s just what it is in this moment.

I’ve been listening to the song “I won’t Forget” by Brian Johnson. In bridge he sings, “You came in the night and tore down the walls, you held my broken heart, when all I could see lay ruined and scarred, your light shattered the dark.” I love this because it reminds me of all He did. He saved me in that season. And He’s walking with me now.

I feel challenged to not forget. To not write off my story because God did the miraculous. And if He used it to encourage this person only He knows. If He used it to shut a door because we weren’t right for each other, then ok.

I trust Him.

So here’s to another season. A season where the promises felt closer than ever. Here’s another season where I get to choose joy. Fully and completely.

This I do know. The darkness I experienced has been shattered. There are remains but I refuse to pick them up. Instead I will pick up joy.

Joy for the Season

The desires of our heart have a way of making us impatient. Waiting can be so hard, so what do we do while we wait? This past year I’ve found my self I desiring things, some silly, yet they represented so much of my heart. And when I couldn’t get it, I did what ever mature 26 year old Christian does, I threw fits. I’ve told God I was done talking to him, was angry at the people around me, and bitter towards the ones I serve. This past year has been a mess. And I was ok with staying that way.

My mind goes back to one particular moment. In the midst of this cycle, I knew I should do one thing. Text my best friend and ask for prayer. Though I didn’t want to talk to God, I also knew my perspective was skewed.

As I talked to her I realized the lie I was believing.

Sometimes God’s protection feels more like a prison than provision. Sometimes His will feels horrible.

As I asked to her about this Jesus started talking to me about the time He was in the garden.

“Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?””

Matthew 26:36-39 MSG

Jesus didn’t want to die on the cross. He plunged in agonizing sorrow. He said, “This sorrow is crushing the life out.” He desperately sought God, hoping to find another way to save us. I’m sure thoughts and temptations invaded His mind, making it hard to think yet He pursued. He knew there was no escaping this. The promise in a sense was a prison. In order to save the human race, He must die a unthinkable death. Jesus was messed up.

In this situation I stayed grumpy for a few days. Realizing the lie I believed wasn’t enough this time, because it didn’t change. I know that no matter what, if I want to remain in God’s will I must go through this season that I am in. The constant going. The grading. The testing. The writing, work that I frankly didn’t care about. I was in it. I have avoided it, but He’s always brought me back.

Plowing through life emotionless is never worth it. To be alive is to be engaged. To be able to offer hope to those around you you must be alive. Choosing to do what you’ve been called to isn’t about simply doing it while you let your heart die. It’s about answering the call and finding ways to allow your heart to live deeper. Wider. Expand. Let more people in. Give more love out. To live this way is not possible when your perspective is to trudge through life not connecting.

When I finally let go of what I believed my life should look like and held onto the hand of the one guiding is when I found love for the calling. To be in the same physical place yet an eternity away from where I was spiritually astounds me. My mindset was bratty last year, yet God still blessed me. He still called me. And He gave me the joy for the season.

When Hopes Get Shattered 

I wrote this, this past summer after realizing that I had to let of a relationship. I hope that if you’re single that this posts give you hope and reminds you to trust our God. Love you friends 💛


After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:1-6

A few years back I found myself in the face of yet another moment of rejection. I remember just feeling like hopes were once again shattered and dreams would never come true. It was utterly depressing.

I walked into my friend’s office  and he looked at me and said, “Monique you need to go somewhere and just be with God.”

And he was right.

He told me that he didn’t want to see me until the weekend was over.  So the next day I hopped in my little Hyundai and drove 45 minutes to this  State Park. I didn’t really have a plan except for to read my Bible and journal. When I got there it was cold and I was alone in the middle of trees and lizards and bugs.

So I wrote and I talked to God I gave my heart and my desires.

God met me there.

I asked Him how I was going to get through this. I asked Him why there were things that I believed that He was giving me only to take them away. Why people chose to be passive with my heart?  Why relationships weren’t the way that I wanted them? I got down to the root of even questioning why I had to constantly face rejection and why this is something that I was born into.

He reminded me of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham had been promised a son and even in the moments of him questioning if God was going to fulfill that promise there were times when he decided to take it into his own hands, like I had also done.

“2And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.” Genesis 16:2-4

But God was still faithful.

God still is faithful.

“1The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. 2And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.” Genesis 21:1-2

God still gave him his son Isaac.

He fulfilled his promises.

But later He asked Abraham to do the unthinkable.

 “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis22:1-2

To sacrifice the very thing that He had promised him. To let go of the very thing that Abraham wanted the most.

I felt like God was asking me to do the same thing. To bind the very thing I have desired since I was a little girl and offer it as a sacrifice to Him.

So I picked up a stick. And for the longest time that stick stayed in my car.  I chose to believe that if God asked me to sacrifice and to let go of the very thing that I wanted most; not only that I wanted but the very thing that I believed He had promised , that I would choose to do that because I love God more.

Today I found myself at almost the same exact situation.  Projected hopes shattered, dreams and expectations not met, falling in love with the idea of a relationship but turning a blind eye to the reality of the relationship. To be honest it was a place where I put myself. 

No one to blame. 

Just me running ahead of God.

And so I went to go clear my mind. I went and traveled. I chose to do something that I love and hopefully get close to God.

As I was heading home I decided that I would stop at that park again and sit down and journal. I didn’t expect God to give me anything about this season that I’m in but more so I chose to work on dreams that were in my control right now.

But He still met me there.

As I was walking to my car I felt like I should go back to the spot where I had sat down and picked up a stick. 

So I did.

I felt a gentle prompting to remember what I did then and to do it again. So I  picked up a stick and once again He reminded me of Abraham and Isaac.

I rolled my eyes and told Him, “I know God. I need to sacrifice this desire again.”

Before I could continue, a different question hit my soul. 

 What happens when your Isaac?

 What happens when it feels like he’s binding you to sticks and raising a knife over your heart? What happens and it feels like He’s killing everything inside of you? What happens when you don’t feel like He’s being good to you yet everyone else is getting the very thing you desire?  Do you trust him?

 I’ve  never realized the perspective of Isaac before today. There are so many moments  when He’s doing things that feel like rejection but in those moments we have to choose to trust the heart of the Father. Isaac knew that his father loved him very much. Yet I wonder what questions ran through his head as he was being laid on the altar. I wonder what things he started to  remember about his father.  I wonder if he questioned  his father’s love for him. Why would he sit there and sacrifice his son to a God? But in Abraham’s trust in God and Isaac’s trust in his father God provided. The promise was still fulfilled. Isaac didn’t die that day.

So here I am driving home realizing that I can trust the heart of my Father. Realizing that even in the seasons where it feels like He has ripped everything away and the promise still hasn’t come, I can surrender myself to Him. I can choose to lay myself on the altar knowing that there are going to be things that He cuts away from me to make me better. Even while I’m in the fire He’s not allowing me to be burned but He’s allowing me to be refined.  To be able to scrape away the impurities that have settled in my heart for too long.

Dear Sojourner,

I know that when promises aren’t fulfilled the enemy is right there to speak lies of rejection. I know that sometimes it feels like God doesn’t care. But even in rejection, even in praying for unfulfilled promises choose to look back. To see how far He has brought you. And with that perspective you can choose to trust Him no matter what. Know that even in rejection God is thinking about your protection. 

💛

Mo 

Search My Heart

There’s so many answers offered when you ask the question why not?

For someone who is an over thinker (like I am) the endless solutions create anxiety self doubt and criticism in my mind. I’m not enough is a normal voice that sounds off. Believing I must do more or lose more then the desires of my heart will come. But what happens when you’ve done all you can do and there’s no hint of the desire fulfilled?

What happens when you’ve served and sacrificed yet things end?

What happens when you’ve given God your all, stayed faithful and instead of gaining relationships you lose them?

What usually happens for me is criticism. I begin to analyze and dissect the motives of my heart until there’s nothing left to show. Until my heart and mind are reduced to puddles on the floor. I rehash and replay looking for every ounce of bad that was in me. Looking for why God has rejected me from the chosen ones that get what I desire.

Criticism has taken me to some dark places because it has been rooted in fear.

For too long I’ve believed that I must criticize myself relentlessly instead of trusting God. I’ve believed that He asks me to examine my heart and mind, but today I felt like He was asking me, “Monique, did I ask you to search your own heart, or is that My job?”

To be completely honest I don’t know the Bible cover to cover to say that we are not to look at our hearts and make changes but heres what I have searched and found so far.

In Psalm 139 David talks about how God knows him intricately, fully. To remember that God is always with us even to the point of knowing and being where we are when we try to run and hide from Him. He knows us better than we know ourselves. David realizes this and ends his prayer with

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24

Then in Jeremiah we read that God tells the prophet that no one can understand the heart except Him,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind…” Jeremiah 17:9

I think there is a lot we can learn from these two passages. In Psalms we see that David humbled himself and asked God to do the searching. To try his thoughts and lead him in the right way. I think when we see that God is the one that searches our hearts and leads us our response should be to trust His leading. To lean on His understanding because He knows better than we do.

In Jeremiah God says that He is the one who examines and tests the heart and mind. He looks at our motives and does something about them. What does He do? I believe that He will bring things up to our minds about the way we think or the motives we have, not to shame us, but to show us a better way.

God has given us His Spirit. I think too often I believe that God is frustrated with me and has left me to figure out my own motives. Like we are playing this awful game of guessing if my motives were wrong and which motives were bad or worse or good and pure. I sit back and judge myself over and over and over again. But I am starting to believe that He hasn’t called us to do that. The Holy Spirit is the one who is in us and He will show us what we need to work on. Thats what conviction is. Its simply seeing that we sinned because He shows us, we repent and humble ourselves, ask Him where to go and go.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

God is in the business of exchanging. He wants to always take the old ugly mindsets and exchange them for something better. Instead of dissecting I need to ask Him to do the searching. But we can’t exchange the things that are ugly for new things unless we go to Him. He’s not asking us to clean ourselves up first. If so, Jesus’ death would have been pointless. He’s calling us to come just as we are. Messy. Broken. Hurt. Not even sure of what we really want. And in His hands He is holding a new heart.

He wants to give us new heart.

I need to remember to ask for a new heart more often instead of dissecting mine. To allow Him to clean and make it whole again. I need to believe more about the competence of God instead of the capability of myself. I need  to trade my scape for a sword. Not just any sword but the sword of the Spirit. The word of God. Thats where I learn to know Him and His character. From there the Holy Spirit can do His job and show me the things I need to work on in the moment. From there I can lean and trust on His understanding as He sets my path straight.

Dear Sojourners,

As you go through your journey I hope that the Holy Spirit’s voice becomes the voice you listen to more than your mentor, leader, pastor, author, parent etc. I hope you choose to elevate what He is saying above what circumstances say. I hope that you find yourself seeking His will above your own. And in the times when it’s tough, choose to humble yourself and ask Him to search your heart and give you a new heart towards that person or circumstance. Remember dear friends, He has you. He loves you.

Keep journeying dear friends. Until next time,

Mo

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Constant Surrender

Want to know what’s really hard? being all there.
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”‭‭ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭MSG‬

In life we go through times of fog. Seasons of not understating the circumstances we are facing. When I can’t see through this fog I find it easy to run to my imagination to escape the lack of knowing and create a world where I can control. Fantasy.

I was talking to my best friend last week about the difference between fantasy and dreaming. She was sharing how she believes that God created us as dreamers yet we settle to live in fantasy.

Fantasy arises when we don’t like reality so we create a world in our mind that feels better but isn’t because it’s not real. Dreams are things that too start in the imagination but are achievable. They are things you can put action to. Things you can choose to do.

Right now the circumstance I want to escape from is singleness. I know, I know you’re probably  thinking, “Really? Our nation is going down, people are dying, being sold as sex slaves, abuse is at an all time high, there are bigger things to want to escape from! And you’re biggest struggle is being single?!” Okay you might not be thinking that but the voice of criticism in me says that daily.

I’ve been wrestling with the belief that God doesn’t want to give me marriage. I think that He looks down at me as I struggle and sometimes (especially recently) grieve the fact that I don’t have that life long best friend to come home to. To dream with. To serve God beside. To just be with. I think God is once again up there throwing His hands in the air saying, “Really, Monique?”

But then I look at the choices I have made over the past 7 years. Choices of getting emotionally healthy, saying no to guys I know aren’t worth my time, and removing my heart from situations that cause hope to fade. I see people choosing to live in unhealth yet have the thing I want most.

So why am I desiring marriage if I feel that God is against me?  Why have I chosen to do these things? Because I dream of having a GREAT marriage. I dream of being married to the same man for the rest of my life. I dream of us serving God relentlessly together. I dream of our story inspiring those around us and seeing the God within us constantly working in and through us. I dream of those things so I choose to achieve those things.

And God put that in me. So He’s not against that dream.

He created the unique desire for me to be a wife. He sculpted and molded my very DNA with that desire. Not matter how many marriages I’ve seen ripped apart by addictions, affairs, petty drama, I still believe in marriage. I still believe that it is possible to have a marriage where a man and a woman are pursuing God together. I choose to believe that. And if God put it in me I believe He has it for me.

As I was talking to God about this, I felt Him saying that we need to stop treating singleness as if its a problem that needs to be fixed and look at it as what it is. A season to enjoy. People have told me that it’s when they stop looking their spouse comes. Or when they started pursuing God 100%, but often times that’s discouraging. Why? Because I’ve done those things and he’s still not here. I’ve served and pursued. I’ve taken seasons of not focusing on marriage or “looking”.

So where does that leave me? Where does that leave you?

It leaves us to surrender it to Him constantly.

Surrender comes when we choose to trust that God put the strong desire to be married in our heart when He made us, and trusting His timing to bring it when He wants to.

It’s found in the belief that He won’t put something in us that He’s not going to provide for, grow, and ultimately use for His Kingdom.

Surrender is found in laying down our agendas for someone else’s journey.

Surrender is found in letting go of building someone up in our heads to make us feel better.

Surrender is found in allowing God to continue to use us.

Surrender is found in not doing things (leading someone on, texting them, talking about them to your friends, etc) simply because we’re lonely and want to feel better about ourselves.

Dear Sojourner,

To those that are in hopes of finding that person to walk along side you, trust God. I’m not going to tell you those little cliche things because frankly I am tired of hearing them myself. But at the end of the day what people mean when they say those things is to trust Him. Building trust in Him is the best thing you can do in e v e r y season. Marriage will not satisfy every part of us. We will still need God. Instead of over focusing on the things you don’t have in this season choose to see things from the perspective of what you do have. If you have people in your life that are married ask them questions don’t feel disqualified because someone isn’t in your life. Marriage isn’t arrival. It is a season.

To those that are married, can I give you some advice? Pray for the singles around you. Share your journey with them. Show them things they can do now that will prepare them to be the best spouse they can be. But don’t forget how it felt when you too wanted that person by your side. Sometimes we make things feel small and forget how big the struggle was for us. Don’t shrink the feelings down but encourage those around you to trust God and see things from a new perspective.

No matter where you are on the relationship spectrum, trusting in Him and seeing His faithful character is a common thread in life. And one day we will look back and see that even in the fog He was there. Even in the fog He was leading us closer to Him. Through every season, circumstance, joy and trial He is doing something to bring you to a closer understanding of who He is and that dear friends is worth it all.

Keep journeying.

Adventure Awaits

Sometimes adventure is found in the waiting. 

In the times where answers are not clear and passions continue to burn.

It’s found in the choice of writing one more line even when you don’t feel enough.

It’s found in the letting go of expectations, daydreams, pressures you put on yourself and others.

It’s found in the trusting.
Adventure doesn’t always look like mountains to climb or new places and new faces.
Sometimes it’s found in the staying instead of leaving. 

Sometimes it’s simply in the waiting. 
Adventure isn’t always found in the random times full of new experiences. It is always found when a journey takes you to places where your perspective can’t stay the same. 

Truth is we are all on a grand adventure called life. It may not have billions of Instagram post worthy moments that cause thousands to follow you but your life should never be compared to those around you. Your life is just that. YOURS. 

So celebrate because you made it to the gym. 

Celebrate because you chose healthy relationships. 

Celebrate because you haven’t gone down the same negative cycles that those before you are stuck in. 

Celebrate because you are fully and perfectly loved by the being who created love itself. 

Take the pressure off. Your dreams will happen. 

Take the pressure off. You’re not alone. 

Take the pressure off. That person won’t satisfy you. But God will. 

Seek after His heart and I promise you your perspectives will change and you’ll find yourself living the abundant life He promised. 

If He’s Good why’d He let that Happen?

“And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.'” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.”‭‭Genesis‬ ‭37:15-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Once again Joseph found himself alone, looking for his brothers. They were never where they were supposed to be. They didn’t do what was right. Once again he found himself wandering. Tired. Frustrated. Isolated. But he still went. He obeyed his father and went to find his brothers. 

This was a daily thing. Joseph was highly favored by his Father Jacob. Joseph was a young man of character. Earlier in Genesis it says, “ Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭37:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve read this story a billion times but for the first time it occurred to me that Joseph would see his brothers doing wrong and would go back and tell his father what they did. This isn’t just little brother tattle tales type of thing. Joseph constantly witnessed his brothers doing wrong. I’m stuck on this in all of the best ways. In order for someone to know that people are doing wrong they must know the difference. Not just know the difference but believe in the differences. Joseph had to have seen his brothers neglect the flock, fool around too much or even choose a life of sin and but he didn’t join them. If he joined them his life would’ve been so much easier but instead he chose to be a young man of character. He chose to be hated by his brothers. Not just one of them, no all 10 of them. They didn’t just ignore him, they couldn’t even speak a kind word to him. Ever. But he chose his character. His character was brighter than the coat his father made for him. His character was his most valued possession. 

But his character was also the thing that cost him the most in his life.

I was at a coffee shop with one of my close friends and we were talking about this idea that Joseph would go back and tell on his brothers. As you continue to read this story you find that Joseph’s brothers abandon him into a pit. My friend looks at me and says, “I wonder how many times Joseph felt like he was in a pit before he ever was physically there.”

Mindblown. 

A lot of times we read about these humans in the Bible as if we have no experience being humans. 

When my friend said this I thought about my own battle. Since I was young, character has been something that was constantly instilled in me. When I graduated high school and went on to college the potential of having bad character was always on my mind. It has  caused more sleepless nights and fearful days. My senior year in college didn’t help. I was assigned books to read that were nothing about human depravity. I spent times weeping over the fact that people used their imagination to dream up nightmares. Creating more fear in this already dark world. 

The pit. 

Alone. 

Feeling like there is no one  that had been faced with intense darkness and made it out unscathed. 

I was once told that people have a great potential for good but they have an even greater potential for evil.

The pit. 

How do you get out of the pit without it affecting you?

 Truth is you don’t. 

No one will ever make it out of this world without it affecting them. So the real question is how will you allow it to affect you.  Will you choose to believe you only have the great potential to be evil. You will only be just like your alcoholic mother? Your angry father? Your bitter sister? Your impure past? Just cycle through brokenness? Or will you choose to do what Joseph did?
One of the things Joseph chose was his character. He chose to believe he was fully loved by his father on Earth and his Father in Heaven. He chose his character. 

He chose to obey his father. He went after his brothers. He chose to know what was right and pleasing in God’s sight. He went to Dothan. 

Dothan is mentioned in the bible 2 times. This time in Genesis right before Joseph and again in 2 Kings 6:13 when Elisha and his servant find themselves surrounded by their enemies. In this situation Elisha’s servant is afraid but Elisha is calm. 

“He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.”

‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭6:16-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here God allowed Elisha and his servant to see that as they walked with God, God protected them to the point of attacking what was attacking them. 

He did the same thing with Joseph. 

“They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.”‭Genesis‬ ‭37:18-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He allowed his brothers to attack him by selling him but He knew that He would attack the very thing that attacked Joseph. God knew that through Joseph’s brothers hate He could save generations. God knew what He put in Joseph was enough. And Joseph trusted God. 

Dear Sojourners,

I dont know what battle you face daily. Whether insecurity floods your heart and mind or fear steals your light. But I know that if you love God, you have an enemy and he hates you. He wants nothing more than to shut you up. He will make the darkness feel more powerful than it is. But there’s two sides to every coin. Know that whatever pit the enemy is setting up for you to be attacked in, God has placed character in you that will only get stronger when you stay connected to Him. He wants to overwhelm what overwhelms you. He wants to demolish what threatened you. He wants to obliterate very lie spoken over and about you. He wants to kill every once of darkness that sets itself up against you. But most importantly He wants the hateful things that have been done or said to you to bring you to Him. His word says that He uses everything for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28). Been abandoned? He will use it for your good. Been abused? He will use it for your good. Been rejected? He will use it for your good. Blatantly sinned? Repent, and He will use it for your good. No matter what. Every pit the enemy has set up whether you chose it or you were pushed into it, God will use it. 

And to that person who said, ” people have a great potential for good but they have an even greater potential for evil.” You are right. We do as people have a great potential for evil; without God. 

How else did Joseph choose his character above avoiding the pit? For that you’ll have to come back next week. Until then keep focused on the One who matters.
❤️ Mo
  

His and Hers

I’ve always heard the saying there are plenty of fish in the sea. But what happens when the sea water becomes murky and toxic because of the litter in the filth that the outside world is pouring into it? The fish have to become affected by it right? In this dirty world there’s so much toxicity that is poured into the minds of young adults. Both men and women. People who are trying to maintain purity. Did you get that? People who are trying to maintain purity. There are still people who are trying. There are still men are choosing not to take advantage of women; who are choosing to have standards above what the world is telling them to be. There are still women, insecure as they may be, that choose not to cave in to what the world is telling them they have to obtain so that they can have a good guy. I pray that this blog helps you understand how you can choose to have character in the midst of a toxic world. Purity is so much more than virginity. Purity is of the mind and of the heart. You can physically be a virgin but have the dirtiest mind in the world. You can not think about sexual things but have a mouth that spews toxicity. So how do we become people of character? Let’s look back on this beautiful relationship between Solomon and the woman whom his soul loved. 
His Name

“Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you.”
‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

From the beginning this woman says that Solomon has a name. When I first read this it was kind a like of course he has a name. What kind of person doesn’t have a name? But I came across a podcast about how this woman wasn’t saying that he had a name but she saying that he had character. He was a good man. Though Solomon was extremely handsome what truly attracted this woman was the fact that his character outshined his physical appearance. 

Regardless of what people of told you about your appearance in your masculinity, the thing that is going to keep a good woman is character. Choosing to be man of God. What does that really mean? A man of truth, a  man of honor, a man of your word, a man who is faithful and loyal, a man who listens he doesn’t want to just fix everyone but allows others to journey through the process of healing and chooses to love and have grace through the rough times. The truth is you don’t need a girl to become this man. Start with yourself. You and God. Allow Him to love you like the perfect Daddy He is. Then allow Him to bring brothers in your life that you can love too. That’s how you choose character over culture. 

Her Standards

“I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! 

  To be lovely

Do you have a favorite word that describes beauty? A lot of times people use the word pretty to describe something that is appealing to the eyes. But what about when it’s simply breathtakingly gorgeous? I think if we could have a heart to heart over coffee with this woman in Song of Solomon we would find that the word she loved to describe beautiful things would’ve been lovely. 

How was she able to boldly say to the man that she liked a lot that she had insecurities but she was lovely? This woman knew that though there were things about her outer appearance that she wasn’t fond of but her character on the inside was stunning. Because she chose to be a woman of character she knew that there were things she should and should not do. She knew that she must not only protect herself but also the one who her soul loved. 

His Pursuit

The book of Song of Solomon begins with the woman speaking. She is pouring out her soul in regards to how she feels about Solomon. Though this book doesn’t start with how Solomon pursued this woman, we can clearly see that he did. There is a relationship that has been ongoing and as the book progresses we see that Solomon is everything but a passive player. In fact, who Solomon was, was like medicine to her soul. Did you catch that earlier? 

The Bible says, “Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth;” Wow! And the other thing is that Solomon was known for this. He was a good brother BUT when he pursued the one He was attracted too he made it known that his affection was for her. He didn’t leave things hidden and uncertain. He made sure she knew that there was more than brotherly love for her. He pursued her heart to the point where she was able to trust him enough to say, “Here are my insecurities!” 

This isn’t meant to be taken as you are supposed to fix the girl you’re interested in, instead it shows that a man of character who pursues a girl in the right way can help ease those insecurities by reminding them of truth. 

You’re never meant save any one but you can always swim with them towards the Savior. 

Her Pursuit

“Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?”

I know I’ve written a blog about this before but once again I see the fact that a woman in a Bible chose to pursue man. It may not be the way that we think of pursuing but I think it’s smart to mention that after this relationship has built up a respect and a trust the woman has to start taking steps towards the man too. 

She wanted to be where he was. To see him even if it was in the middle of the most insecure days. She set it all aside and asked, “where will you be at noon?” Not at midnight when the sun isn’t shining and it’s easy to hide things but at noon. She even says, “for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?” The veiled women were prostitutes in those days. She chose to say that she wanted to be far from a woman that seduced him to get him to stay. Though there were insecurities she was very secure in two truths. 1. This was a man of character and she could trust him. 2. She could not trust her insecurities. 

Trusting your insecurities will always make you do things that you never wanted to do to earn a love that was never there. 



If you’re in the talks of dating and you keep finding yourself holding back from this guy that has proven to you that he is a good guy (and trusted mature Christians in your life agree) and that you can trust him I would take a minute and ask yourself why is it that you keep holding back? Pray about it. Choose not to trust your insecurities and hide. Go boldly into the light with your character and ask, “where will you be at noon?”

His Response 

If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents. I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots. Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels.”
‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:5-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I feel like Solomon is kinda saying, “I know you know where I’ll be, but I will tell you how to find me because I want to spend time with you too.” He knows that she’s seen him with his flock but he chooses to be intentional with what she’s asking because he doesn’t want to play games. He doesn’t want her to wonder if he thinks about her, or likes her. He wants her to know that she can follow his flock! Then he addresses her insecurities about her appearance and says, “I think you’re the most beautiful creature on earth!” He continues to pursue her through it all. 

To be honest sometimes us girls get a little crazy. Our tendency to overthink can make us not even know what’s going on. But sometimes we just need to talk and process. We have fears because of past experiences. We don’t think we are enough because we’ve fallen. As we continue to learn how to renew our minds and get new perspectives, we know we can trust the relationships that let us be vulnerable. Knowing that we can go to you as a brother or if the relationship is deeper as a boyfriend or husband means that we know you won’t judge us but you’ll remind us that we have Christ, is so assuring. But also knowing that you desire our relationship, honor us as people, and think our insecurities are junk cultivates more and more trust and honor. 

If you’re in a relationship with a girl and you realize she assumes or goes back to fear take a moment and ask her why and then listen and respond. Responding means telling her truth that God says. Pray for her and encourage her to continue on this journey of healing and restoration of those insecurities. 

Dear Soujorner

As you journey through singleness or dating I would challenge you to choose to be a person of character. 
As women we are told that we should be completely independent or overly dependent on a man. When we have these mindsets it shuts down the purpose of relationships. We have to find the balance. The balance is found in character. Choosing to be a woman who says, “yeah I’m insecure in these areas, but I am not only working on it through vulnerability and exchanging lies for truth but I am also choosing to still do what it right.” Choose to not be like the veiled women of our culture, hiding in shame and covering up their insecurities in sex and vanity. Choose to say yes to the future you will have with your husband one day by saying no to cheap insecurity fixes that only last a moment but leave wounds a lot longer. Choose to wait. To not be bored with singleness and accept this season. Choose to become the one you’re looking for is looking for, as Andy Stanley would say. 
Guys, we need men of character. Our world needs you to be a brother to the brotherless, a protector, and leader. But above all our world needs you to know that you are a Son of God and that is all that matters. From that realization God will form your character and you will slowly but surely become who He’s always known was in there. Keep choosing character over culture. 

Keep journeying dear friends

❤️ Mo

  

Good Guys are Extinct

I was recently at the gym and put on  Apple radio as I was getting ready to run. For those of you who don’t know me I am probably the worst person to keep up with music. Songs can be on the radio for months and I will have just discovered it anywhere from six months to a year later. The only exception is with Taylor Swift 😆. Anyways I am running to a pumped station only to find my heart was extremely sad by a message that is constantly asking for my attention. In no way is this post meant to condemn single ladies for feeling this way or is this post meant to give single gents an excuse. In fact I hope that God shows you through this post, and the ones to follow,  that the pressure is off. The pressure of finding the spouse to fill lacks that only God can, so that you can have healthy relationships.

As a single lady (que Beyoncé, if that’s still relevant haha)  I can’t tell you how many times I have been caught in the conversation, said it myself, read articles,  and combatted the lie that there are no good guys in the world. Though there are facts that seem to back up this statement, truth is it breaks my heart and I believe it breaks God’s heart too.

“I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?”

‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1:5-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Song of Solomon is a beautiful love story of two people. From the beginning of this book both the man and the woman are people of character. I have studied this book countless times and am always blown away by the fact that this relationship was everything but perfect. Even though these were both people of character they had insecurities conflict messy moments and a whole lot of unconditional love. I think we can draw a lot from this book as we approach our relationships and the pursuit of the marriage that we want to have one day.

The facts are the facts. <<<
he facts are that there are alarming numbers of men are incarcerated, haven't grown up with a positive male figure in their lives, or living other lifestyles that get rid of the desire to be in a relationship with a woman. Those are the facts but my question to you is since when did God ever work based on facts?  When was he ever limited based on what the circumstances were in the world? The answer is never. He has never been limited by the things that are going on in the world. He has never been limited by your circumstances or my circumstances. So to say that God has run out of godly man is kind of an insult to our Daddy and our brothers in Christ who are trying.

Ladies<<<
he times that I have heard or said the statement that "there are no good guys in the world" usually comes from one of two states of the heart.  1.) a heart that is afraid  or 2.) a heart that has been hurt. In fact all of the times that I can think of that have come from one of those two roots, which tells me that the issue isn’t that there are no good men in the world but that the perspective of your heart needs to be challenged.  In Song of Solomon the woman speaks about both of these.

“I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. “<<<
uring this time and in this culture having dark skin was something that wasn't beautiful; pale and white was what was considered beautiful. As the Woman speaks she's very honest with the fact that she doesn't even like people to look at her. I know that we can all relate to days like this; when our insecurities are so high that we don't even want to get out of bed let alone be around people. It feels like her insecurities are oozing out of her and are plain to see just like the color of her skin.  It's clear to see that this woman is facing the same questions that we face today. Am I enough? Am I beautiful? Do people see me the way that I see myself? Will I ever captivate a man's heart? She gets it! But we can learn so much from how she deals with her insecurities. Before we get to that though we still need to address the fact that sometimes our hearts speak out mean things because were hurting.

"My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!"

This woman also knew what it was to be hurt by people. She expresses how her brothers (whether literal brothers or men of the town) made her keep their vineyards. She was left to do what men were called to do at that time and it marked her.

Some times we say that there's a lack of something because we've put ourselves in relationships  and positions where we should've never been in the first place. We choose to date guys that our friends don't approve of and instead of letting go of the unhealthy relationship we let go of the healthy relationships, only to find ourselves wallowing back to our healthy friends letting them know that they were right. Sometimes we’re in a relationship and then realize that things are not as good as we thought  and instead of choosing to talk about those things we choose to ignore the warnings because we don’t want to be alone. I mean relationships take a lot of work and a lot of time and who wants to throwaway months or even years of work when we can either fix them or adjust and compromise our standards to become lower, right?

Truth is if we truly took time to get to know the guy we dated and chose not to leave community but allow people into our relationships more than we probably would be able to walk away from the wrong person a lot sooner and embrace the healthy person when the time comes.

Sometimes you’re hurting because all of your friends have dates and you’re stuck at home on a Friday night.  You put yourself around people, and do all the right things but you just haven’t met the one whom your soul loves yet.  It’s OK to know that you haven’t been on a date since you were in high school or maybe you’ve never been on one but that never makes you worthless. The hope I would hold onto is that you’re hidden for purpose. God has someone specifically for you. Never feel sorry for protecting your heart  and becoming the woman of God that He has intended you to become.

Being honest whatever the hurt is sometimes it is rooted in the facts that men haven’t lived up to be who we believe they are supposed to be to us. They haven’t protected, led, fixed, been patient. We have daddy wounds, but this woman responds in two ways first she doesn’t end her sentence with, “I’m dark.” She ends it with ” I’m lovely.” Where did she come to the conclusion? That she was lovely but she didn’t measure up to the world’s standards of beauty? She found that truth in Truth Himself. God.

In order to deal with the very real hurts from our dads, ex boyfriends, uncles, abusers, brothers, or fill in the _____________ we HAVE TO BRING THEM BEFORE GOD. He is the only one who will forever heal, restore, protect, and love our hearts. Everyone else is simply learning how to. <<<
have so much to say on this topic but ladies start here. Let's start with ourselves. Dealing with the hurt and fear from life. Truth is no man will ever be able to fix you. They can help pray for you, guide you to resources, and help you process but even your husband will fail you at times. God is the only one who remains. He is good and oh so faithful to heal even if the healing hurts trust Him right now.

Gents<<

I hoped to write more but post will end up being a series. At this point though I want you to know that those of you that are trying in pursuing God you’re doing a good job. Sometimes us girls can overreact and say things because we are hurting. In fact I think just as human beings when we’re hurting we make these huge general statements. Have Grace on us please? When you hear one of your sisters in Christ say that there’s no good guys know that it’s coming from the heart that is broken. The best thing you can do is choose to be a man of character.

Dear Sojourner,

I want to challenge you in this next week to take some time and examine your heart. Regardless of where you are on your walk with God and where you are on the desiring scale of being married, sit deal with things that feel like they’re lacking or hurting still. Allow Jesus to fill those voids. Be completely honest. He can handle the things you think you feel. He’s not scared. Thoough it feels like it sometimes the end all goal is not marriage but the end all goal is to love Jesus fully and finish this race called life with character that was birthed through faith, perseverance  and a hope in Jesus Christ that doesn’t ever disappoint. Let’s choose to go after the life He intends us to live.

Until next time keep journeying.

Mo< a href=”https://wheremogoes.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/img_0726-0.jpg”&gt;<<
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Taking the Glasses Off

Sitting in the optometrists office I remember him looking at my mom then me. His words surprisingly stung. “You no longer need to wear glasses!” He said with a smile. Most 8 year old girls would’ve been ecstatic. Not me. I sat there and cried. Was it because having glasses was better? Not really. I got teased even more when I had to wear them.

Last week I found that 8 year old girl again. We were filming my story for the U Matter Campaign this year. I had told my self the days prior that things would be okay. Great even. But there was still a huge part of me that didn’t want to film because I don’t like being on that side of the camera. That morning I decided to wear one of my favorite outfits that I felt comfortable in and had a millions apologies to say to Grant about how I’m just an awkward person in front of the camera and there’s not much I can do about it. (No of which I said). So I show up. I put on my extroverted mindset and try to be excited about it. I mean this is another form of adventuring right?

“So you can’t wear your glasses.” Grant said plainly. Those words kinda went straight to the soul. I reluctantly took them off but that’s when the thoughts really started going. Here I was filming about how I had broken out of the lifestyle of fear and now live in freedom yet insecurity plagued me.

This past week I found myself crying out to God telling him I feel like a mess. Most days if I allow my head to get kicked in I feel like an irresponsible 24 year old single girl who sponges off of her mom and will stay stuck in this cycle of life for all of eternity. yikes a little too personal? Maybe. But I always find that I am the only one who really thinks that about myself, seeing that I work 2 jobs pretty much full time, have kept and paid off car loans, have my BA degree, and everything else that’s done points to the inner drive of my being. A responsible person. This particular day I just told God, “I’m such a mess. I feel like everything in my hands is a mess. Ministry, finances, family, mind, running schedules, EVERYTHING”. In that moment He gently met me with, “Monique you are altogether”… Immediately mind mind finished the statement, “beautiful darling there is no flaw in thee. Ya ya I know God but I don’t know if you heard me. I’m not feeling ugly. I feel like a me–” “Monique you are all together. I didn’t make you incomplete”.

I don’t know if this even makes sense but I felt compelled to right this simply for you to know that even on your most insecure messiest unpleasant days you are altogether. Not because of anything that you have done but because of who’s you are.

To see how this story fully ends and to see the video of me without glasses, you have to come to the nearest U Matter Campaign Service or the Be More Conferene

The story of the Redeemed: Ruth 4

Kinsman Redeemer.

Lately I’ve been in this struggle of confusion when it comes to the journey of dating and marriage. For most the church teaches young people that they shouldn’t date until they find that one specific individual that lines up with who God has called them to be. This method has always taught me that just like in the fairytales that we grow up on, there is one person for you. The pressure that comes with that is immense. How do you know if someone is the One. what if you think they are the One but they don’t think you are? Or worse, what if they think you’re the One but you. don’t. what happens then?

So the idea of the One has its pressures. But what adds to this confusion is when people tell you that there is no One. You would think that is freeing but if you overthink it you now are worried that God doesn’t really care and you have to work everything in your own strength to get someone to notice you so you can have that marriage you thought God promised you.

Welcome to my head. At least that was how exhausting it has been until I finally went on a run and told God that I need clarity. And like always He is so faithful to provide.

Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” (‭Ruth‬ ‭4‬:‭1-4‬ ESV)

A kinsman redeemer was a person that was close to the family that would basically take charge of the “estate” and redeem them if they were in danger, need, or if someone had died. If you remember in Ruth chapter 3 she went to Boaz hoping he would redeem her. She chose to be vulnerable and let him know that they were in need and asked if he would redeem them but there was another in line before Boaz.

What is super interesting is that when Boaz Goes to the kinsman redeemer without skipping a beat says that he would redeem the land. Inheriting Naomi and her land sounded like a good idea. That was until Boaz reminded him that if he redeems the land then he must take Ruth the Moabite as his wife.

To this he replies, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance.” (‭Ruth‬ ‭4‬:‭6‬ ESV)

Here’s the clarity. He didn’t want to take on all that comes with having a Moabite wife because Moabites were looked at as sexually perverse and in his eyes someone with a past could never be redeemed without the redeemers reputation or inheritance being tainted or as he says impaired.

Where am I going with this?

There are two things that I believe whole heartedly. 1. No matter what every single person has a story and a struggle in that story. Whether that struggle is something that people can see or it’s something others cannot see there is something that they have had to or have to journey through. And 2. Married or single God redeems that struggle.

Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.” (‭Ruth‬ ‭4‬:‭9-12‬ ESV)

Boaz and Ruth understood this. They knew that Ruth came from a hard past but that didn’t bother Boaz because Ruth had alReady chosen to move forward and allow God to first redeem her. And He did.

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” (‭Ruth‬ ‭4‬:‭13-15‬ ESV)

This speaks truth and peace into the chaos that has been swirling in my mind lately. I believe God took me on this journey of discovering because He wanted to show me that He is the One and only that will satisfy the desire of being redeemed. He is the One that looks at it all and doesn’t wince. He is the One I can be a mess with and He never worries about His “estate” being tainted.

God wanted to do something extremely special because of Ruth’s obedience. Just look years later at the genealogy of Jesus, who’s name do you find?

and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, (‭Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬ ESV)

That’s right. Ruth.

Allow yourself to be redeemed by the One and whoever the character is that comes in the chapter of your story will be okay with who you are because they too have met the redeemer. Keep the pen in God’s hands he has bigger things planned than you could ever imagine.

So single one I will leave you with this: know that you are already accepted. Know that you are loved more than you can ever understand. Know that a long time ago a man took the biggest risk and came down from His throne to die for you, hoping that you would see that. Dying a horrible death, even going down to hell to take the keys from the enemy and being resurrected knowing people wouldn’t accept Him, still He hoped.

So be redeemed by the lover of your soul. Be all into the journey He has placed you on and have friends. There is nothing more attractive than a person in love with their Savior and passionate about the life they have been given.

“Dear child,
Just to love you is worth the hell I’ve been through.
Love,
Your Redeemer ”

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