Please stop telling me I need a man… Rant for the day

 

The other day at work one of my coworkers told me I needed a man. This of course is not the first time someone has told me this. Yet I have gotten so tired of hearing people tell me that I need a man. That if I had a man my problems would be solved. A man would make my life better. I wouldn’t be lonely if I had a man. This list goes on. I do not hate men but I also do not see them as a solution to my problems. I also know couples where one or the other feels lonely all the time. They are not happy, and these are more than likely the ones who thought getting married would make their lives better. They only deceived themselves and now they are miserable. Some only fantasize about being with another to escape their marriage, and others act on their physical desire to feel better. The problem is they looked to the wrong answer.

I have chosen to stay single while I work out my relationship with Jesus. I have to work out my own problems and become a person who is complete In Christ. I also need to learn how to trust God and not keep turning to other people for my needs to be met. I will not say this has been easy and that I do not spend my nights alone. It has been over five years since my last date, but I started seeing that dating is not found in the Bible. Isaac and Rebekkah are my go to story in the Bible of how God brought two people together. Paul also discusses the problems of marriage but says it is better t marry than to burn. “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 RSV)

Paul has words for the unmarried and the married…1 Corinthians 7:25-40

The Unmarried and the Widowed

25Now concerningf the betrothed,g I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26I think that in view of the presenth distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed womani marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that.29This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.33But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

36If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,j if hisk passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

I do not need a man I need Jesus and i need to grow in Christ and become a woman worthy of a man God can choose for me.

I Fell In Love!!!

I have fallen in love. I never knew that I could do this. Love seemed to be a fairy tale that only lived in the imagination. The funny thing is that the one who I have fallen in love with has been in my life all along and still loves me. They have definitely seen me at the worst parts of my life. They at times without my knowledge kept me from being harmed. They never even pointed out what they had done but was content in knowing that I was safe. They never demanded my time but sat quietly on the sidelines of my life watching me with loving eyes.

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I lived my life as a grew from a rebellious teenager into a strong willed adult. Yes life had not been fair to me I lived through abuse, physical, sexual and emotional most of my life. I was angry and bitter. I wanted love but all I knew was hate. I hated my self for being weak. I hated what was done to me. I looked for comfort in the arms of those who would never love me and who would eventually hurt me more than any comfort I thought I had found being with them. I tried to escape my mind through drugs and parties.

Yes many thought of me as kind and giving. A caring person. I believe this was true because I wanted to be loved so badly that I would give all that I had in hope of kindness to be returned. Unfortunately the more I gave the more I was used and the more bitter my heart became. Yet in the shadows f the dark world I lived in he silently waited for me to turn my attention to him.

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I even found religion and began changing my behavior to fit in with the rest that I went to church with. Though my outward appearance had changed and my speech was cleaned up it was only a play that I was performing in even if I had not realized that was all i was doing. I thought I was living a better life. My heart and mind were still filled with angry bitter and unforgiving thoughts. I would eventually get hurt by those I went to church with. I married a man he had come to my church. I thought he was perfect. It did not take long for my eyes to be opened to who he really was. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. When the abuse and the cheating happened I was then blamed. They told me it was my fault because if I had been a better Christian wife he would never have to do what he was doing.

Yet even while this was going on he was sending people to me to tell me about his love. I did n’t know it but he was there every time my husband had sent me to the ER. He had even listened to my prayer. I had been asking God for six month that if He knew my husbands heart would change and the abuse would stop, that I would forgive my husband and be the wife He wanted me to be. If however my husband was going to be the end of my life to free me as only God could. The answer came back in September 1996. My husband left me. I was free. I would like to say that this is when I found my true love but like I have said my love had always been there I just did not know he was there waiting for me.

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I went on with my life filled with bags of hate, regret, unforgiveness, blame,resentment, bitterness, and rage to name a few of the things I had kept packed away in my heart. In all of this he still loved me. Unbelievable I know. He never forced his will upon me, and never made any demands. I slowly traveled the road that would eventually take me to a place where I could unload some of this baggage. As my load got lighter my heart began to soften as he chiseled away at my hardened heart.

He was in my heart and I did not know it. He often spoke to me but I had not known it was him. Yet those gentle words had soaked deep into my heart and were waiting for me to break free. You see I had not realized that I had become a prisoner of my own making. There may not have been bars of a jail cell but I had built walls around me and had allowed my self to harden so that I could survive in this world.

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Yet know matter how far away from him that I tried to run he was always there. Yet when I looked around all I could see was the pain inflected upon me and the mess I was making of my own life. The guilt and shame I felt made me feel unworthy of being able to be loved. I was so foolish. Yet as I kept walking on my path through this life he had not only been walking with me. He was guiding me with unseen hands. When I wanted to end it all he lifted me up and gave me the strength to take another step. Then another. Then one day I turned around and I could see him there in all of his glory. He loved me! I was loved. No guilt or condemnation, just love at its’ best. Then I let myself fall into his arms and felt his arms wrap around me. He cleansed me and took my filthy clothes and gave me clean garments. He received me into his family and made me a daughter of the true King. I finally fell in love with the One who has loved me all along.

 

Friend?

We all have someone in our lives who we love beyond their faults. We often excuse things they do and make minor of any hurtful behavior on their part even when it hurts us. They seem so fragile that any correction you would like to make you do not because you do not want to cause them pain or give them reason to do more harm. To be honest we may even be afraid of losing their friendship. Yet if we examine the friendship you will see that the relationship is more like a one way street. You are there for them whenever they need you. You love them unconditionally, yet they neglect the relationship, and may even make demands on your behavior.

You have allowed yourself to become a convenience to them. Compare your relationship with them, to a married man and his mistress. You only get acknowledged when no one is around and then it’s not about time with you but it is all about them. Then they always have an excuse to why they treat you this way. They say they love you and can’t live without you, and maybe that is true. You are always there for them. You accept them knowing their flaws, and that they will neglect and hurt you. They have been a part of your life for so long that you cannot imagine them not being a part of it. Yet are they really a part of your life, or are you some understudy in the play of their life? Are you just waiting off stage waiting to speak your one line, only to have to exit stage left? These friends don’t mean to be selfish we tell ourselves, but they are. Their only concern is about themselves, what they want and what they need and you are like a dog sitting under the table waiting for crumbs to drop.

So what do we do with these friends? To be honest I don’t have a magic answer to solve this question. I wish that I did, but what I will say is that if we continue to allow ourselves to be treated like second best that is all we will ever be. It goes back to the married man and his mistress. The old lie she believes is one day when all is right he will leave his wife and they can then be together then. Most of us know this will not likely happen and if he does leave his wife to be with another there will never be trust and he will more than likely repeat this behavior.

Loving your friend but does not mean that you let yourself get neglected or mistreated. Tell them how they treat you hurts, and if they are truly your friend they will begin to treat your friendship better and not just say they are sorry or make up more excuses. Unfortunately some of us might lose friends we love but the sad fact is if we do they don’t know how to love.  We will still love and respect them but we do not have to allow ourselves to enable the way the treat us. Loving and forgiving does not mean you must tolerate and allow wrong behavior. You just do not hold a grudge against them and do not let the behavior of others take the joy from your life.

I am not saying that you must end the friendship, but to respect yourself enough not to allow anyone to treat you less than you deserve. Eventually if you do not do this you will become bitter and resentful, or you will become depressed believing this is how you deserve to be treated because you may believe that you are just lucky to have someone call you their friend.

Remember Jesus loves you and He is the friend that sticks closer to you than a brother. He also laid down His life to save yours.

Psalm 55:12-14 (NKJV)

12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.

Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly,[a]
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

John 15:13 (NKJV)

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Looking for Love

Looking For Love

We all want to find love. Fairy tales and romance novels fill our heads with fictitious stories of unrealistic love. Harlequin novels and other romance companies have profited off of women who seek love and romance. I think of the song, ’Looking for love in all the wrong places’, and think how true this title is.

Both men and women want to be loved. We try over and over again to find love and some do, but too many of us do not. Failed relationships and marriages ending in divorce are proof that the love we say we find is not lasting or true. We confuse lust with love, and sex which was designed by God for husband and wives has long since been forgotten. I would say in this day in age it would be rare to find a couple who are getting married to both be virgins if either are.

Is it because we are not worthy of being loved? It is more likely that because of our own self worth that we accept what we believe is love or settle for less than true love because we don’t want to grow old alone, or feel obligated to marry. We try to fill the emptiness inside of ourselves with people, possessions, or work and titles, to name just a few things. Yet we fail in finding true love because we are in fact looking for love in all the wrong places.For the only true love is found in Jesus. He loves us perfectly, for He loves us more than His own life.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

A love that is patient and kind. Merciful and forgiving. It holds no grudge or record of your wrongs.  1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because even though I have not achieved this kind of love I know it is real and I strive to love like this more and more each day. Loving without expectation or demands. I am perfectly loved not because I am perfect but because that He is perfect in all things.Look to the One who gave His life for you, as you are. Who has loved you and will always love you. He never fails you, and will never lie to you or cheat on you. He will never abandon you.His love give you life. Passion and lust fade and die but His True Love is eternal.

People Who I Admire

There are people who come into your life in different ways and at different times. Some will have a positive influence on your life and others will not. Today I am going to be writing about a couple who has blessed me more than they will ever know. The first blessing is that God placed them in my life and me on their heart. They do not have a lot and they give what they really don’t have to give and she says she is sorry that it is not much. What I see is the woman with the two coins who Jesus sees and sees that she has given more than the others for what she gave was a true sacrifice. So the gift of sacrifice is another way having them in my life has blessed me because it has taught me that it is not the material value but the value of a giving heart. Now this blessing is hard for me to describe without getting too deep into sharing something very personal for them so I will say only this they suffered a great tragedy. Yet when you meet them you would never know this. It is not only that they don’t complain about what happened to them but you can visibly see a true joy about them. What God teaches me through them is so much that I could never repay all that they have given to me.  If you were to meet her the first thing you would notice is that her smile reaches her eyes and you will never know the pain of what broke her heart by just seeing her or spending time with her. You have to really get to know her to know she feels any pain at all and even then she will not talk much about it but talk about the goodness of life and of Jesus. She is beautiful inside and out and filled with so much love just spending a moment with her will have a very positive effect on you. He is gifted with knowledge and wisdom and speaks with authority that only comes from Jesus yet he does not boast of himself. He is not arrogant or puffed up but humble and gentle. Listen to him read the word and the revelation on what he reads you know comes from Christ. His heart is to train up new disciples and I know I have learned a lot from him and his wife. For they though  they know true sorrow live a life that shows the world the love and joy of Jesus Christ, and to me that is why I admire and love them and treasure the gift of their friendship. God bless them always and bless you for reading this. I know I did not mention their names but that is to respect them, but I hope that if there are people whom you have been blessed with like this couple I hope you will share what having them in your life has done for you here with me and the others who will read this.

Getting Off Track / It Is Easier than You Think

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Train track in Bridgeport TX / Photography by Julie Sheppard

Last year I had started writing a series of short stories that I wrote as fictional letters titled Letters from God. My inspiration was people and their stories in the Bible. I was so pleased to finish the first volume of 30 letters I had begun the second volume and had even posted readers to request a letter that they would like to see written to a specific person in the Bible. Which I did get a couple of requests. I however got off track and never finished the second volume. I won’t bother you with all of the excuses I could list but rather focus on how easy it is to let something get away from you if you do not make effort every day to work on anything you have started. It could be a writing project like I had started, or some other type of work related task, or it can be a relationship. Relationships can get derailed if the tracks and the train are not maintained. It takes work. Caring for anything is not easy but it is worth it. Our relationship with Jesus can get off track without us even realizing it, till one day you are wandering out in the dessert and wonder how you got there.Now you are lost and don’t know which way to go. The good news is once you realize this He is right there to take your hand and lead you back (even if He has to carry you on His shoulders) to the right path. You may get side track by something that gets your attention away from Him, but He is merciful and forgiving so there is nothing keeping you from getting back on board but you. Don’t beat yourself up if you have gotten off track just be thankful He will never leave you or forsake you, and get back on track.

God bless

I love God’s way of reminding me of how great His love is.