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

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 

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. 

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