Through the Darkness

Two years ago I️ woke up to what would intensify an incredibly hard season. Trying to formulate the words of see you later to my dad was difficult. Seeing the pain from my brother was heartbreaking. The anxiety and grief was becoming a beast I️ couldn’t face alone.

I️ remember hoping that I’d never lose a close family member or friend until I was married, so that I️ could be comforted by my spouse. Yet 2 years ago I️ was single and faced 2 great deaths. This is something I’m thankful for. The road I️ was on seemed to head to more sadness, but the hand that held mine was sure.

It may sound crazy but there are days I️ miss that season. When you trust God and can’t find even a hint of satisfaction on anything else but Him His presence and faithfulness are so evident.

People often say I’m strong yet I️ feel so weak. The strength they see is something that is beyond me. When I️ chose to forgive my dad I️ had to rely on God. When I️ hasn’t seen my dad in 9 years and I️ chose to go see him because he was dying, I️ had to rely on God. When I️ had to see not only him but my grandpa die in the same week, I️ had to rely on God.

Even in the darkest seasons. The ones where anxiety seems to rule and depression greets you in the morning. In seasons where bitterness encases your heart. When it’s hard to forgive. The secret is found in going through those valid feelings with God. The natural thing we do is try to fix it ourselves. Yet God wants us to go with and through.

I️ know I️ wouldn’t have made it through all of the without Him. Every prayer from every person doesn’t go unnoticed. Even today I’m thankful for each prayer for my family during that season. I️ know there are more times than I️ can count that they carried me through.

Dear Sojourners,

Forgiveness is possible. Redemption is real. Guidance from Our Daddy is necessary.

Dad I️ know you’re enjoying heaven. I️ miss you but thankfully one day, we will be united again.

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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 

Graced Grief 

It’s been two months. Two months of chaotic thinking, anxiety, grief, darkness. Two months since I said goodbye. Two months since grief has been an everyday process. Two months of learning how to live without a father and grandfather. Two months of battles. Two months of hugs. Two months of waking up randomly and crying. Two months of talking and trusting and relying. Two long months. 

2015 was the hardest year of my life. The last 2 months wrapped it up in one giant word. GRIEF. there was so much grieving in the last year. And to be completely honest it is continuing. Losing two people has been enough but even before all of this there was grieving that I didn’t know what to do with from my own lack of trust in God and seeing others close to me go through hard times. The death of my dad and grandpa were just the cherry on top. 

This last week God has challenged me to start looking at grief through His eyes. In this season I am learning how to not see God as a being who has a stiff arm and soured look on His face when I come into His presence. He’s taught me that He is embracing me in this season. In the grief of realizing the unbelief I’ve cuddled up next to through out my life. In the grief of losing relationships, saying goodbye to passions and communities, and holding my grandpas hand as he took his last breath. He is embracing me. 

One of my favorite stories in scripture is found in Matthew chapter 14. 

“Herod had arrested John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison to placate Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery.” Herod wanted to kill him, but he was afraid because so many people revered John as a prophet of God. But at his birthday celebration, he got his chance. Herodias’s daughter provided the entertainment, dancing for the guests. She swept Herod away. In his drunken enthusiasm, he promised her on oath anything she wanted. Already coached by her mother, she was ready: “Give me, served up on a platter, the head of John the Baptizer.” That sobered the king up fast. Unwilling to lose face with his guests, he did it—ordered John’s head cut off and presented to the girl on a platter. She in turn gave it to her mother. Later, John’s disciples got the body, gave it a reverent burial, and reported to Jesus. When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:3-14‬ ‭MSG‬‬

When people say that God knows how we feel they truly mean it. Jesus walked this earth and had a real life human experience. He experienced loss and pain. He experienced grief. But this part of His life shows me more than just His grief but it also reminds me of God’s Grace. 



“When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick. Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.” But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.” “All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said. Jesus said, “Bring them here.” Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:13-21‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Jesus just found out that His cousin died. Not only was this a part of His earthly family but John was the one that prepared the way for Jesus. Out of everyone Jesus was around John the baptize understood what Jesus was going through to some degree. He too had been looked down upon and was responsible with a very high calling. I’m sure when Jesus heard that John had died, it hit him in the core of his body. Though the Bible doesn’t give us details of Jesus’ pain it does say that He tried to get by Himself but was met by a crowd of needy people. Many times in life I’ve tried to deal with a sudden set of emotions while dealing with others.

 This summer I said goodbye to a part of my life that I loved. Within hours of saying goodbye to an amazing set of people I was woken up with news that my grandpa had fallen. With a head full of questions I had to push through the crowd of circumstances that now encompassed me. Chaos. I’m sure Jesus felt chaotic. there were so many things out of control yet He was able to address the needs of the crowds around Him. How? Grace. Jesus stayed focused on the Father and He knew that if the Father was calling Him to heal the crowds that His Father would provide rest. 

Though this last year was full of grief I have to say it was fuller of God’s grace. I don’t deserve to have a faithful God. A God who believes in me when I don’t believe Him. A God that’s so gentle and patient when I want to hold on to old ways of thinking. I don’t deserve His peace of mind or strength but that’s the grace of God. I don’t deserve it and can’t arrive so that I do.  He freely gives His grace to those who love Him and for that I am forever grateful. 

Dear Soujourners,

I don’t know where you are in your journey as you read this but I pray that if you need to experience God’s grace that your eyes would be open to it. And if things are brighter for you today I pray that you would rely on God to help you extend grace to those around you. I pray that no matter what 2016 holds we would reach the end and see God’s graceful hand guiding us along the way and our steps becoming more secure on His path because His grace has found us just as we are. 

Until next time,

Monique❤️

 

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.

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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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Love is the greatest Risk: Ruth 3

I am sitting here listening to Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 as I write my next blog on singleness.

contradiction?

Maybe.

But I think Taylor has constantly hit on our culture’s view on relationships. Even the world looks at her as bold. but frankly she shows the consequences of allowing love of relationships without love of health in relationships to rule. Before you stop reading I promise I am not a Swift hater, I actually enjoy her music, but I think her album has allowed me to look at Ruth 3 in a clearer way. You see I read a article from TIME magazine and Taylor had said “I was thinking about this — boys only want love if it’s torture and a constant chase. Men want love if it’s real, right, healthy and consistent,”

Such wisdom from someone who is submerged in the world.

In Ruth 3 you find Naomi starting the chapter off. She thinks it is now time for Ruth to take steps towards getting married.

3-4 “Take a bath. Put on some perfume. Get all dressed up and go to the threshing floor. But don’t let him know you’re there until the party is well under way and he’s had plenty of food and drink. When you see him slipping off to sleep, watch where he lies down and then go there. Lie at his feet to let him know that you are available to him for marriage. Then wait and see what he says. He’ll tell you what to do.” 5 Ruth said, “If you say so, I’ll do it, just as you’ve told me.” (Ruth 3:-5)

risk.

She went down to the threshing floor (Ruth 3:6)

As women we desire intimacy more than anything. I walk through life simply desiring to be known. To be able to fearlessly put my heart on the table with all of the fears, hurts, pains, joys, desires, hopes, and for someone to unconditionally accept it, without giving the smallest wince.

Men desire a fight, a pursuit, to live an adventure. Men desire to protect, to keep something of value safe and provided for.

We see Ruth do something that is looked at as a HUGE NO NO in the “Christian” world, she went to Boaz.

I remember having this conversation with a dear friend of mine a month or so ago. She asked me my opinion on the whole women pursuing men thing. Before I answered from my own experiences both good and bad, I felt compelled to look at Ruth 3. Many different things can be said about this chapter but I believe when reading this chapter we often overlook a vital element.

Ruth went to the threshing floor. Boaz was already there.

The threshing floor was where the chaff and the grain were separated in the barley or wheat harvest. This symbolizes so much more than a place where grain was separated. It shows who Ruth was. A woman that grew up different morally but chose to neglect the former things and walk with God. Her character was constantly shown. 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. (Ruth 3:10)

It shows who Boaz was. A redeemer, a man of character, hard work, and was not scared of taking a risk. Before he even knew Ruth was available he took a risk in allowing her to work with his people. He took a risk in giving her favor because he could see that she was different; she allowed herself to be separated by the chaff so that she could be better.

Both Boaz and Ruth had allowed God to do a work in their lives. They met on the physical threshing floor but spiritually they met where God had made them better. Then it was left in the other redeemer’s hands. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. 12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I.

It shows who we should be.

Boaz and Ruth had to trust their relationship in another person’s hands. They could do nothing more than place their relationship in God’s (the ultimate Redeemer) hands and trust that His Will would prevail. But this was only done because not one but both Ruth and Boaz allowed God to make them people of character and when you know God has your best interest you are able to trust Him regardless of how bad you want something or someone.

Is it wrong for a girl to tell a guy how they feel? It depends on your heart. Because if the boy doesn’t reciprocate those feelings you will have to be okay with that. And you can only be okay with rejection, whether you put yourself out there or feel like you’re constantly being skipped over, when you believe you’ve been accepted by the only One who truly matters.

Ruth 3:11 reminds me of what Jesus told the disciples in John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John‬ ‭14‬:‭13-14‬ ESV)

This is important not because Jesus is a genie and he will give us anything if we say His name but in those days where rejection is surrounding your heart if you ask, He will remind you of your acceptance. It is important on the days where you feel alone, He will comfort you. It’s even important in the moments when your spouse has wronged you and things are chaotic, in those times your redeemer wants to bring you peace.

Ruth wasn’t scared of risk. And you shouldn’t be either, especially when it comes to risking your heart in God’s hands.