BOLD, FEARLESS, CONFIDENT WOMAN

Over the years, I have been tremendously blessed by Joyce Meyer’s books. Recently, I started reading her book, The Confident woman, Start Today Living Boldly And Without Fear. Chapter 4: Seven Secrets Of A Confident Woman, was an awesome read. I wanted to post of a few of the key points from each secret. I pray it blesses you for it certainly blessed me.  Because of our relationships with the Lord, we can ALL walk boldly and confidently each day!

Secret 1- A confident woman knows that she is loved.

  • She does not fear being loved because she knows first and foremost that God loves her unconditionally. To be whole and complete, we need to know that we are loved.
  • I encourage you to concentrate on those that love you and forget about those who don’t.
  • There are women who feel so bad about themselves that they get involved with men who will hurt them, because they believe that is all they deserve. You need to be around safe people, not people who continue to wound you. God will help you learn to recognize those people if you listen to His wisdom.
  • I urge you to take a step of faith right now and say out loud, “God loves me unconditionally, and I receive His love!” You may have to say it 100 times a day, like I did for months, before it finally sinks in, but when it does it will be the happiest day of your life.
  • Eph 1:4-5 and 1 John 4:18

Secret 2- A confident woman refuses to live in fear.

  • “I will not fear” is the only acceptable attitude we can have toward fear. That does not mean that we will never feel fear, but it does mean that we will not allow it to rule our decisions and actions.
  • 2 Tim 2:7 and Hebrews 10:38
  • We should strive to do everything with a spirit of faith. Faith is confidence in God and a belief that His promises are true. When a person walks in faith, Satan immediately tries to hinder her through many things, including fear.
  • Faith will cause a person to go forward, to try new things and be aggressive. Fear causes people to bury their talents due to fear of failure, judgement or criticism.
  • I encourage you to be firm in your resolve to do whatever you need to do, even if you have to “do it afraid!” To “do it afraid” means to feel the fear and do what you belive you should do anyway. The only thing we really need to do is fear God, reverentially.

Secret 3- A confident woman is positive.

  • Confidence and negativity do not go together. They are like oil and water, they do not mix. I used to be a very negative woman, but thank God, I finally learned that being positive is much more fun and fruitful.
  • Being positive or negative is a choice, it is a way of thinking, speaking and acting. Either one comes from a habit that has been formed in our lives through repetitious behavior.
  • Fear is the dark room where all your negatives are developed, so why not look at the brighter side of life? Why not believe that something good is going to happen to you? If you think you are protecting yourself from being disappointed by not expecting anything good, you are mistaken. Your living in disappointment if you do that.
  • Positive thinking can change your current reality. God is positive, that is His reality. It is the way He is, the way He thinks, and the way He encourage us to be.
  • Romans 8:28 and 1 Cor 13:7
  • It has been said that 90% of what we worry about never happens.

Secret 4- A confident woman recovers from setbacks.

  • A person is not a failure because she tried some things that did not work out. She fails only when she stops trying.
  • Most of the people who are huge successes failed their way to success. Instead of letting mistakes stop you, let them train you.
  • If you are doing nothing with your life because you are not sure what to do, then I recommend that you pray and begin trying somethings. It won’t take long before you will feel comfortable with something.
  • One of the greatest things about a relationship with God is that He always provides new beginnings. His word says that His mercy is new every day. Jesus chose disciples who had weaknesses and made mistakes, but He continued working with them and helping them.
  • Phil 3:13
  • Don’t be afraid of your past; it has no power over you except what you give it.

Secret 5- A confident woman avoids comparisons.

  • Confidence is not possible as long as we compare ourselves to other people. No matter how good we look, how talented or smart we are, or how successful we are, there is always someone who is better, and sooner or later we will run into them.
  • I believe confidence is found in doing the best we can with what we have to work with and not in comparing ourselves with others and competing with them.
  • Our joy should not be found in being better than others, but in being the best we can be. Always struggling to maintain the number one position is hard work. In fact, it’s impossible.
  • I found myself always comparing myself with someone, and in the process rejecting and disapproving of the person God created me to be. After years of misery, I finally understood that God does not make mistakes, He purposely makes all of us different, and different is not bad; it is God showing His creative variety.
  • Confidence begins with self-acceptance, which is made possible through a strong faith in God’s love and plan for our lives.
  • I encourage you to be content in who you are. That does not mean that you cannot make progress and continually improve, but when you allow other people to become a law (rule or regulation), you are continually disappointed.
  • Psalm 139, Exodus 20:17 & 1 Cor 2:16

Secret 6- A confident woman takes action.

  • I have heard that there are two types of people in the world. The ones who wait for something to happen and the ones who make something happen.
  • A naturally bold person has to overcome pride, excessive aggression, and false confidence, while the naturally shy person must overcome anxiety, timidity, the temptation to withdraw from challenges, and low confidence.
  • While confidence is a good thing, egotism is not. Thank God we can learn to have balance in our lives. We can benefit from our strengths and overcome our weaknesses through His help.
  •  I believe we must learn to step out into things and find out what God has for us in life. A more timid approach may protect individuals from making mistakes but the result is that they spend their lives wondering “what could have been,” Bold people, on the other hand, make more mistakes, but they recover and eventually find what is right and fulfilling for them.
  • God works through our faith, not our fear. Don’t sit on the sidelines of life, wishing you were doing the things you see other people doing. Take action and get a life!
  • Your attitude makes all the difference in your life. Have a positive, aggressive, take action attitude, and you will enjoy your life more. It may be difficult at first, but it will be worth it in the end.

Secret 7- A confident woman does not live in “if only,” and “what if.”

  • One of the biggest mistakes we can make in life is to stare at what we don’t have or have lost and fail to take an inventory of what we do have.
  • Matt 14:15-21 the story of the five small loves of bread and the two fish. The lesson was: If we will just give God what we have, He will use it and give us back more than we had to begin with.
  • It is not our abilities that God desires, but it is our availability He wants. He wants us to see possibilities, not problems. Don’t spend your life thinking, “if only,” you had something else, then you could do something worthwhile. “If only,” is a thief of what could be.
  • “What if,” can be as devastating as “if only.” Negatively anticipating a future experience is potentially more devastating than actually experiencing the problem.
  • Where the mind goes, the man follows. If you pay more attention to your thoughts and choose to think on things that will help you instead of hinder you, it will release God’s power to help you be the confident woman God wants you to be. Think confident and you will be confident!

Healing For Her Soul: Shining Light on The Darkness

“If the occurrence of rape were audible, its decibel level equal to its frequency, it would overpower our days and nights, interrupt our meals, our bedtime stories, howl behind our love-making, an insistent jackhammer of distress. We would demand an end to it. And if we failed to locate its source, we would condemn the whole structure. We would refuse to live under such conditions.” – Patricia Weaver Francisco, Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

 I wrote this poem when I was going through and preparing to receive my healing.

The Story of A Hurting Woman

7/7/02

As she looked into his eyes

She knew right then

That she’d never look at men

The same way again

He stole her innocence

He crushed her pride

But she told no one

Her shame she tried to hide

To this day the thought of it

Still makes her want to lose control

A friend she thought he was to her

Some of the events of that day

Are still a blur

For some reason

That night she did not yell

Because of the embarrassment

Her story she did not tell

He ripped at her clothes

As her mind went blank

Into a secret safe place

In her mind she sank

To hear his name

Still makes her want to cry

He had no right to violate her

But he did have the right to die

A part of her died that day

The part that thought the world was a safe place

The part that trusted men

Now avoids a strangers face

She hurts to this day

And there’s nothing anyone can say

To erase what has been done

But what she did not know was

She wasn’t the only one

By Joanna Willis

I was sexually assaulted in September of 2000. It wasn’t until 2002 that I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready to acknowledge what happened to me and deal with the effects that the assault had on my life. I was fearful, angry, bitter, hateful and distrusting of men. Once I was ready to admit that I had been assaulted, I had to deal with the emotional rollercoaster that followed. 2002 was the perfect year to begin my healing process because I rededicated my life to Christ in Jan of that year.  I was going to church, reading my word, applying the bible to my everyday life and attending counseling. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the hurt and pain during that season without the Holy Ghost.

Part of the reason why I did not seek help immediately after my assault was because I did not know what to do or where to go.  I’m not blaming my parents, college or church, but the fact of the matter is, I hadn’t been  educated regarding what sexual assault was, how to protect myself or what to do if I was victimized. My own ignorance, mixed with shame, fear and embarrassment kept me silent and allowed my attacker to go free.

It is vital for everyone to know what to do to if they or someone they know has been assaulted. Also, it’s very important for the loved ones of the survivors (I will not use the word victim) to know what they can do to support them. Please read the following info below.

If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted

  • Try to get to a place where you feel safe.
  • Reach out for support. Call someone you trust, like a friend or family member. You are not alone; there are people who can give you the support you need.
  • Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline (toll-free 1-800-656-4673) or a local rape crisis hotline are resources for you.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Medical care is important to address any injuries you may have and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
  • Most importantly, know that the assault is not your fault.

You have the right to…

  • Be treated with respect and dignity.
  • Privacy. That means you can refuse to answer any questions about the sexual assault, your sexual orientation, your sexual history, your medical history (including HIV status) and your mental health history.
  • Have your conversations with a sexual assault counselor/advocate remain confidential.
  • Decide whether or not you want to report the assault to the police.
  • Not be judged based on your race, age, class, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Have a sexual assault counselor/advocate accompany you to medical, law enforcement and legal proceedings.
  • Request that someone you are comfortable with stay with you in the examination room.
  • Ask questions and get answers regarding any tests, exams, medications, treatments or police reports.
  • Be considered a survivor of sexual assault, regardless of the offender’s relationship to you.

If you are considering filing a police report…

  • Try not to bathe, shower, change your clothes, eat, drink, smoke, gargle or urinate prior to the exam.
  • Seek medical attention for an exam and evidence collection as soon as possible after the assault.
  • Bring a change of clothes with you.
  • You have the right to have a sexual assault counselor/advocate with you during your medical exam.
  • Reporting to the police is your choice.

Remember, you are not alone and you are not to blame for what happened.

http://www.connsacs.org/seeksupport/assaulted.htm

A Word to Support Persons

The survivor of sexual assault has been through a very traumatic experience and it is important that she/he receive support, assistance, and accurate information. Your being there in a supportive way is immensely valuable.

Allow the survivor to make choices and remain in control. Give reassurance that she/he is not to blame. Listen as she/he talks about the experience. Be accepting of the survivor’s many emotional reactions including anger, fear, anxiety, and depression.

Believe what the survivor tells you. Know that revealing this experience takes a great deal of strength and courage. Letting the survivor know that you believe what they have told you and that the assault was not their fault is extremely important.

Be respectful of privacy. Don’t tell anyone about the assault without the survivor’s permission. The survivor has only chosen to tell you and it may be hurtful or detrimental to their healing process and recovery.

Be a good listener. Here are some things to keep in mind when a survivor chooses to talk with you:

  • DO concentrate on understanding the survivor’s feelings
  • DO allow silences
  • DO let the survivor know you are glad s/he told you
  • DON’T interrogate or ask for specific details about the sexual assault
  • DON’T ask “why” questions such as “why did you go there?” or “why didn’t you scream?” or “why didn’t you go to the hospital right away?”
  • DON’T tell the survivor what you would have done or what they should have done

Let the survivor make their own decisions. Always let survivors weigh their options and decide how to proceed in their own recovery process. Telling a survivor what you think they “should do” about the options available to them can contribute to a survivor’s sense of being disempowered. Instead of taking charge, ask how you can help. Support the decisions the survivor makes, even if you don’t agree with them!

Remind the survivor that you care. Being “there” for survivors is very important. You can do this in a number of ways; by being a good listener; accompanying them if they seek medical attention or walking over with them to get counseling or crisis support at the Counseling Center; making arrangements to have dinner or coffee with them; asking the survivor “how can I be helpful”; voicing your concern by saying things like “I’m sorry that this has happened”; telling them how courageous they are; or telling them that you don’t see the survivor any differently may all be tangible ways to show that you care about the survivor.

Give the survivor space if s/he needs it. Be sensitive to the fact that the survivor might want to spend some time alone. Don’t take it personally. Survivors may just need some time to pay attention to their own needs from time to time.  

If you are a romantic partner of the survivor, ask for permission before touching or holding the survivor. Do not rush sexual contact. The survivor needs to decide when it is right to have sexual contact and to pace the intensity of involvement. Accept the fact that the survivor’s renewal of sexual interest may occur at a slow pace. Discuss the subject of sex in a non-sexual environment.

http://www.oakland.edu/?id=6581&sid=208

The Dark Knight: A Case of Mistaken Identity

The majority of us know someone who has died of cancer, someone who lost a child, a couple struggling to conceive or a single mother who’s struggling to make ends meet because her saved husband decides he wanted a divorce. These situations are painful and hard to understand. No one likes to see good people struggle and often times the wrong person gets blamed for these circumstances.

Yesterday our assistant pastor brought an awesome message entitled “Don’t Blame God.” He reminded us of a few keys points that really opened my eyes on the subject.

  • The devil wants you offended at God so you will go to hell.
  • God doesn’t kill people.
  • God doesn’t “need” people in Heaven.
  • God doesn’t use evil to accomplish His purpose on the earth.
  • God sent the Holy Ghost to be our comforter in hard times.
  • Good=God and Bad=Devil
  • God does not use Satan’s tools to teach us His lessons.
  • Test and trials don’t come to teach you something, they come to take you out.
  • God does not use evil circumstances to develop your character.
  • God will send you on a mission where He knows you will be attacked BUT He will lead, protect and provide for you on that mission.
  • God will take the evil that’s been done to you and turn it around for your good. He didn’t cause the evil but He can make it your testimony because you made it through.

During my teenage years, both sides of my family lost many people to illnesses. My dad lost his father and sister. My mother lost her father, grandmother, aunt, cousin, aunt and uncle. Between 08-09 my father lost two of his brothers. The majority of those that died where believers and even though we were praying for their healing, they still passed away. Throughout all of this hurt, pain, grief and confusion, I NEVER heard my parents or family members blame God. Did we question him in our minds, were we confused when our prayers weren’t answered or we upset at the sight of our loved ones hurting, YES, but we understood that God wasn’t playing some crucial joke on us. The deaths weren’t his doing, he was loving us and guiding us through those hard times.

Sickness, disease and death are on the earth due to Adam and Eve’s fall, they are a result of sin being on the earth. God was NOT trying to teach us anything. He DID NOT kill my family members. What He did do was provide us with the Holy Ghost, who was our peace, joy and comforter as we mourned our loved ones. It was the Holy Ghost who helped us go on, who gave us the strength to push through, who sent other believers alone to give us an encouraging word. Jesus took our sickness and disease on the cross so why would He hand it back to us here on earth? It makes no sense because He wouldn’t do it.

My grandmother Ms. Rosemary Shaw, is one of my biggest heros. She was a faithful care taker to her husband as well as many of the ill family members that passed away. She got saved when my mother was in her twenties and she has been in love with Jesus Christ ever since. My grandfather suffered a stroke and hit his head on the pavement outside of his house when I was under ten years old. My grandfather suffered extensive health issues including being paralyzed on one side, memory loss and many other things. The doctor’s did not think he would make it through the night. My grandmother and family prayed and prayed and he lived for almost ten years after the accident.

Once he came home, my grandmother cared for him full-time, she changed her entire life to serve and care for her husband. She ministered salvation to him and he excepted Christ. She had nurses coming in the home and her pastor and church members came to the house and held mini church services and served them communion. My mother, her sisters and the whole family pulled together and supported my grandparents during that devastating time.

I know my grandmother as well as my mother and her sisters, struggled on the inside with all that had occurred. The daughters no longer had their healthy, active father and she no longer had her husband. My grandmother had a patient that she had to wash up, feed and clothe. She had to retire from a job she loved to care of him BUT she kept her faith and her relationship with God strong. She played gospel music and word tapes. She kept TBN on the TV. She knew were her strength came from. I know she had to question God at times but I never heard her blame him. She keep a positive attitude and she served and cared for her husband with all the love she had. I believe their relationship became stronger after my grandpa had his injury. My grandfather was a kind, smart, strong, intelligent man before the accident but he did not know God. His wife was able to minister salvation to him by her behavior, conversation and the way she cared for him. If she had been bitter towards God and him, she wouldn’t have been able to care for him like she did. She and my grandpa did not have the best marriage before the accident, but she honored her marriage vows and cared for him as unto the Lord. All of this makes her one of my biggest heros!!

So now that we know to stop blaming God for the hurtful tragedy that occur in our lives, I have one more point I want to make. As Christians, I know we need to speak the word and make positive confessions. I am a firm believer in that but when someone has suffered a great loss, we must let them grieve and let them know that it is okay. People don’t have to feel perfectly happy and joyful they day after they suffered a tragic experience or loss. We are to cast our burdens unto Jesus because He cares for us and we’re to rely on the Holy Ghost to be our comforter. Just because we do these things, it doesn’t mean we won’t go through some or all of the stages of grief and loss and that is ok. As long as while we go through the stages of grief and loss, we are continuing to read our word, pray our way through, seek godly counsel and know that God is not to blame. He loves us. He didn’t take your job to see how big your faith is. He didn’t give you cancer to teach you a lesson. Stop believing those lies and read your word. God loves you and that’s why He sent His son to die on the cross for you. He wouldn’t purposely hurt you.

James 1:13-20

 13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

1 Peter 5:7-11

7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

John 14:26

26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

 James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Eye Spy: What We Learn About Relationships From Our Parents

Last night, my husband and I attended a 1 year Anniversary Celebration for a group called Truth Parties. Truth Parties are a group of singles that meet once a month to discuss different topics surrounding healthy relationships. Mrs. Nneka Owens, the founder of the group, is my supervisor for my counseling licence. Nneka is a licensed counselor, an awesome woman, wife, mother and Christian who lives according to the word of God. The celebration included dinner, comedy, poetry reading and dancing. The special guest was Horace H.B. Sanders, a Christian comedian who was seriously hilarious!!

Nneka said something at the party last night that stuck with me. She encouraged the parents in the room to make sure they were demonstrating healthy relationships in front of their children. She reminded them that their children are watching and what they see will affect them as they grow up. Nneka asked the crowd what they remember seeing in their homes regarding their parents interaction as children. She had a friend of her’s read a poem that she wrote about relationships and how people are affected by the negative and positive messages that they see and hear growing up. In the poem, Nneka talked about messages people receive about unforgiveness, divorce, low self esteem, rejection etc. The end of the poem spoke of the truth that the women in the poem later embraced after learning to see herself how God sees her, after she received her healing from the past and made a conscious decision to do better and live better for her children. It was a powerful message.

Now I ask the same questions to you. What messages did your parents teach or show you growing up? Were they positive or negative? Maybe you observed a lot of arguing, domestic violence or grew up with an angry struggling single parent. Maybe you grew up in a two parent home but they were distant and rarely appeared to be happy together. Maybe your mom told you “Don’t trust men. They only want one thing and if they get you pregnant, they will leave you all alone,” or your dad told you “women just want your money. Never give your heart to a woman, just play the field.”  Whatever those negative messages may have been, you have to FIGHT to renew your mind and DETERMINE in your heart that you will not accept those thoughts and live in that mindset anymore.

My dad is the best dad in the world but his father was far from that to him and their family. My grandpa was not an active parent. He went to work each day, helped pay the bills and to my knowledge, that was pretty much it. He cheated on my grandma, he didn’t go to any of my dad’s sports events, he wasn’t loving, affectionate or encouraging must of the time. He was a nice man and he loved his family but maybe he was only doing what his father taught him about what it means to be a man, father and husband.

We must break the generational curses in each and every one of our families!! As a social worker, I see many families where the grandmother was a single mother, high school drop out with 8 kids. She did not teach her children about healthy relationships or the importance of getting an education, therefore her children dropped out of HS and had babies outside of marriage too. One of her children would become my client and have the same issues going on in her family. It would be up to that parent to make sure her children have a better life. She would need to make sure the children got up every day and off to school, she would need to teach her children about sex and the importance of respecting their bodies. If we don’t teach our children these things, who will????

My parents got saved when they were 19 years old and they decided that they were going to live according to the word of God and abandon ideologies of their past. They both made up in their minds that they would be better parents and better spouses than what they had seen. I say that to say this, we can no longer live in the excuses of “I’m like this because of what my parents did.” When you know better, you must do better. I’m truly sorry that some of us did not get the love, nurturing, affection, support, encouragement etc that we deserved BUT this is a new day and if God woke up you, He has given you all that you need to be successful!

If you are struggling with your past experiences regarding your parents, relationships, self esteem etc, you need to seek godly counsel to get restored, renewed and recharged. Make it a point to do that soon, don’t wait. Read your word, talk to a minister at your church, get with other saints and seek their support. Find out what the word of God says about you. You don’t have to be another statistic. If you are a parent, remember your children are watching the verbal and nonverbal messages you are giving them about relationships, life, men, women, parenting, religion, work ethic, etc.

As yourself, what would you like to have seen growing up regarding healthy relationships and then make sure you give that to your children or future children.

Here is a little more information on Truth Parties. Truth Parties are designed to bring  men and women together to discuss relationships in a candid and respectful manner.  The goal is to heighten awareness and promote longevity in relationships, while also exposing negative thought patterns, through purposeful communication. Truth Parties are not about men vs. women; it’s not about male or female bashing.  Truth Parties encourages individuals to assess where they stand in their relationships, and decide if they need to define or re-define their position.  Truth Parties are intense, educational, fun and sometimes entertaining!

Truth Calender:
May 21, 2010 – What would you do if…..? Part 2 Role Plays/Discussion

June 25, 2010 – Summer Kickoff – Grilling on the Patio (discussion to be determined)

July/August – Break

September – Back to the Truth

Location:
The Fairlane Club
5000 Fairlane Woods Dr.
Dearborn, MI 48126
off hubbard/across from fairlane mall

http://nnekaowens.net/TruthPartiesforRelationships.en.html

Nneka J. Owens, LPC NCC
313-999-9888
2312 Monroe
Dearborn, MI 48124

info@nnekaowens.net

Why Did I Get Married

 I know lots of people have seen the movies Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married Too. I saw both movies and thought they were entertaining. I can’t say they changed my life or taught me things about marriage that I hadn’t already heard before. The movies did stress the importance of forgiveness, communication, fidelity, honesty etc. I thought both movies had good messages.

When I ask myself why did I get married, the answers were pretty simple. I wanted to get married because I wanted companionship. I wanted a man of God who was faithful, loving and hard-working and fun. A man who I could share my life with and raise godly children with. I wanted to have a marriage that represented Christ and was an example to others. I wanted a wonderful husband to go to bed with each night and wake up next to each morning. I wanted to get married to a man who would make me better and a man who I would make better. These a few of the my reasons.

It always confuses me when I see married couples who act like their still single. In those situations I ask myself, what was the point of them getting married? If people are going to live like they are roommates who occasionally have sex, why did they get married? Some married folk don’t want to share their time, money, career, ministry, body etc with their spouse. They want to have separate friends and separate lives. The problem is, most people don’t understand what marriage is all about when they say I Do!

Marriage is about becoming one. It’s no longer about whats yours and mine, its ours. We need to share and collaborate and be a team. We are in this together, sink or swim, good times and bad. We are to love, cherish, respect, honor, submit, serve, give, give, and give some more to one another. If you don’t want to do these things PLEASE DONT GET MARRIED!!!

Our church and many other churches provide premarital classes or counseling for their congregation and those in the community. It’s really important that all couples seek counseling BEFORE walking down that aisle and saying I Do! So many topics are explored in premarital classes and each topic is explored from a biblical perspective. We wanted to know what the bible said about marriage, sex, raising children, discipline children, in-laws, husband and wives responsibilities, etc. Our church, Word of Faith, does an awesome job of teaching what the bible says about everyday issues and how we can apply the word and walk out the scriptures in our everyday lives. Were all supposed to live according to the word and allow God into all areas of our lives. He is not just an on Sunday God. We need His guidance in all areas.

I’m so thankful that we had and have godly examples of strong marriages around us, the Bible as our guide and the teachings from our church and singles ministry about the purpose, joys and challenges of marriage. Too many people get married blindly for the wrong reasons and their marriages end quickly. Even Christians are getting divorced at an alarming rate these days.

Messages to Singles

I encourage single folk to ask themselves, why do I want to get married? Ask those around you that are saved and happily married about what they enjoy about marriage and what challenges they have faced. Pray and seek God about what needs to be changed and sharpened on the inside of you regarding your preparation for marriage. There are pros and cons to singlehood, married life and parenthood. Remember to be content in all stages of life and don’t let anything cause you to feel anxious about when your time will come. We must all remember that God knows best!!

Here are some secular quotes about marriage that I thought were sort of interesting. Any thoughts?

Quotes on Marriage from About.com

1) “A happy marriage has in it all the pleasures of friendships, all the enjoyment of sense and reason – and indeed all the sweets of life. – Joseph Addison

2) I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make my marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.” – Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life

3) “Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.” – Amy Bloom

4) Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” – Joanne Woodward

5) “We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.” – Ellen Goodman

6) “Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.” – Samuel Johnson

7) “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.” – Goethe

8 “A happy home is one in which each spouse grants the possibility that the other may be right, though neither believes it.” – Don Fraser

9) “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, and always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin

http://honeymoons.about.com/cs/wordsofwisdom/a/marriagequotes.htm

Question: Married folk, what were the top 3 reasons why you got married? Single folk, why do you desire to get married?

What the bible says about marriage:

Ephesians 5:22-33

22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

 33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

FRIENDS, HOW MANY OF US HAVE THEM

Last night we hung out with a new couple from our church that we had recently met. Eddie saw them at Friday night prayer and took the time to introduce himself and exchange information with them. He wanted to contact them to invite them out to future couples fellowships with us and our friends. As we befriended the couple, they informed us that they had recently moved to MI for work and had asked the Lord to send them godly couples to fellowship with. I thank God for Eddie’s obedience regarding stepping out and introducing himself and for the couple to be open to receiving our friendship.

I believe that it’s vital for believers (single, married, newly saved or seasoned mature saints) to have at least a few believers in their lives that they’re close to and that help them to grow spiritually and stay on track. It’s almost impossible to walk this Christian walk alone. In the moments of fear, doubt or worry, its good to have a believer to call. That friend will listen to you cry for a few minutes BUT then they will kindly remind you of what the word says and they will offer to pray with and for you. They shouldn’t join your pity party! They shouldn’t bring refreshments and a pull out couch and set up shop at your pity party. As believers, we are to lead by example, to glorify God in all of our actions and make sure we are challenging those around us to be better and not worse.

I believe it is super important with male believers to have other men in their circle who are faithfully walking in the ways of the Lord. I don’t want my husband hanging out with other men (single or married) who aren’t living holy, being faithful to their wives/girlfriends, being honest and walking in integrity. It would be only a matter of time before my husband would start to fall back into his past worldly ways. The bible says, what does darkness have in common with the light? NOTHING!! Christian brothas (whether single or married) need to stick together to encourage each other when they start feeling weary, to put each other in check when they see one another getting out of line and to pray together when they have mountains that they need to move. If you are a man and you don’t have brothas in your circle who are sold out believers who you can grow in God with and be accountable to, pray and ask God to send them to you. God is faithful, He WILL grant your request. Eddie and I are blessed to have many men and women in the Lord that we are close to and fellowship with often.

As a wife, it is very important for me to have other Christian wives to talk to about the joys and struggles of marriage. I LOVE to sit and chat about marriage and the things I’m mastering thus far in my marriage and the areas that I’m falling short. We don’t go in to the dirty details of our marriages but we do offer each other tips, support, prayer and scripture on the general topics that we discuss. Now if all I had was nonbelievers for girlfriends, they would tell me the opposite of the word of God and have me ALL messed up. You know the ridiculous things bitter, angry women say, “Girl you know men ain’t no good.” “He’s probably cheating on you, that’s why he ain’t answer his phone when you called.” “He said what? Girl you need to just go off on him one good time and I betcha he won’t forget to take that trash out no mo.” Ignorant people give ignorant advice!!! Ladies are emotional creatures and we need friends who will keep us rooted and grounded in the word of God.

I urge Christians, especially those 16-36, to STOP trying to hang onto your friends from your former life, people you went to high school and college with, that you hung out with in your B.C (before Christ) days!! If those individuals are still drinking, clubbin, getting high, jumping in and out of relationships and people’s beds WHAT on earth do you have in common with them?? The bible says to come out from them and be separate!! Touch NO unclean thing and I will receive you! Let them go and TRUST that God will provide you with holy, godly, sold out, fun-loving friends in His timing.

Sometimes we need to clear out all people and distractions from our lives and simply focus on him. There was a season after I rededicated my life back to Christ in 2002, where I only had one friend. My roommate and I had left the worldly way of thinking/living and we RAN in the other direction, back to Christ. We cut tides with everyone and everything that wasn’t glorifying God. We spent A LOT of time in our college apartment alone, just studying school work and the word of God. We were focused and determined. We got up early each morning and had prayer together. As long as we had each other to be accountable too, we knew we would not fall back into our old lifestyle. Though we only had each other and God, we did not feel alone. We experienced more peace and joy during that season then we ever could have when we were surrounded by friends and drama. We eventually started meeting more young people at our church and hanging out at Friendship Productions events. FP is a Christian Productions company, they throw Christian concerts and events in Michigan. www.fpdj.com

Another example of godly friendship is my relationship with my second best friend Marcia, Eddie is my first. While Eddie and I were just friends, many people (saved and unsaved) kept saying, “you know Eddie likes you, why don’t you just ask him out.” People were giving me horrible advice that was against the word of God but I didn’t allow the peer pressure to get to me. I stayed focus on God and my relationship with Him. I had peace about where I was at and what I was doing and I wasn’t going to allow other people to make me anxious.

My BFF Marcia was a true friend. She was there from the beginning when Eddie and became friends. She saw how our friendship progressed into an innocent crush but Eddie hadn’t asked me out yet and she helped to keep me focused and level-headed. Too many times we as believers get too caught up in who are MOG or WOG (man or woman of God) is that we go searching and obsessing over it and we loss focus on whats important. Many people were trying to cause me to become anxious about why he was taking so long. Eddie later told me that he was interested in me but was waiting until he received the green light from the Holy Ghost on going further in our relationship. I’m so glad he was obedient! Marcia never tried to get me to throw myself at Eddie or to step ahead of God and him and ask him out. She never lead me in the opposite direction of the word of God. She talked with me, prayed for me and showed me support. She never talked about how handsome Eddie was and how awesome it would be if he asked me out and we got married. She remained level headed and rational, which helped me to do the same. She was and still is a true friend and my accountability partner.

My parents will be married for 30 years this year. They are happily married and they give God all the glory for their marriage and the many blessings that He has given them. They are best friends and they always had other saved couples to spend time with when they want to hang out with friends. They have the same friends and they are either hanging out together alone or together with one or more of their couple friends. They have times when the wives just hangout and the husbands just hangout but majority of the time they are all together. My parents know each other’s friends and they don’t keep secrets regarding who they’re hanging with or where their going when they leave the house. When you’re married and you know your spouse has friends who are walking in the word of God, you don’t have to worry about what their doing when they leave the house with their friends. My parents often go for coffee with their couple friends and talk for hours about marriage, children, work, the bible, money, whatever. They appreciate having men and women of God to spend time with, learn from and be a blessing too.

**Question** Do you think it’s important for believers to have majority only SOLD OUT Christian friends? Can Christian’s be best friends with nonbelievers?

Scriptures

Prov 18:24

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

1 Cor 6:14-17

14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

3 John 1:11

11Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

Psalm 119:63

I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.

Knight in Shining Armor

One of my favorite books for single women is titled “Knight in Shining Armor, Discovering Your LifeLong Love.” by P.B. Wilson. This book changed my life. It blessed me more than words can say. It challenged me to improve the areas in my life that I was struggling in (anger, shame, unforgiveness, self esteem), it encouraged me to have a true intimate relationship with God, to take my focus off of my desire for a mate (which at one time was consuming me because I was anxious to meet a good man and get married) and put it on God and my purpose. The book also helped me to understand the true purpose of dating, (which is for dating to be an interview process, not just a romantic adventure) the importance of getting restored from the issues surrounding the assault and it explained God’s views on sex. I know many women who were blessed by reading this book and following the godly principles it. I encourage every women who hasn’t read this book to google and purchase it today.

Mrs. Wilson advises single women to place themselves under construction for six months to allow them to further develop an intimate relationship with Christ, to get restored from past hurts and for them to understand what God says about them as women of God as well as the purpose of dating, marriage and God’s thoughts on sex. She also encourages women to:

  • Start a six month journal
  • Study their thought life and begin memorizing scriptures that will counteract any thoughts that would not please God.
  • Allow Holy Spirit to identify to them any people who have hurt them.
  • Begin the process of forgiveness, reconciliation and unconditional love.

Here a few nuggets from the book. The entire book is packed with biblical and practical knowledge so it was very hard to only select these to share with you. I pray that it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

  1. Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of you heart. If you desire to be married, God has a husband for you! Remember: True desire is when we allow God to put His desires for us into our hearts. So we must begin by developing our love relationship with the Lord.
  2. Don’t be discouraged by worldly statistics.
  3. One the face of this earth, there is one man who will love you. God will present you to him at the right time. Until that time arrives, there’s plenty of work for you to be doing.
  4. Isaiah 54:5 For your maker is your husband, the Lord Almighty is His name.  Have you and the Lord been on your honeymoon? Have you spent as much time thinking about Him, as you have thinking about eligible men?
  5. Satan will often send a counterfeit before the original arrives.
  6. Some women seem to always attract the wrong kind of guy. The reason maybe that they have not learned to design, decorate or dedicate their buildings to attract a godly man.
  7. One of the greatest lessons you can learn before you get married is that your future husband will never be your provider. God can use him as provision, but the Lord alone if your provider.
  8. Many women wrap themselves around the man they love and recreate themselves to fit his preferences. Although it’s normal to adapt yourself to a boyfriend or a husband, avoid a man who thinks the construction work is his job. 
  9. To discount a man because of his outward appearance may cost you your second greatest blessing (the first is Jesus)
  10. When you find a man who  is saddened when he disappoints God, you have found a gem. If he doesn’t want to hurt God, he won’t intentionally hurt you, because that would hurt God.
  11. If you aren’t changed on the inside, you may not be able to recognize your Knight in Shining Armor, even when he is looking directly into your eyes.
  12. Holy Spirit will be God’s instrument in fashioning you into the woman God wants you to be, and to prepare you to be a godly and loving wife.
  13. Christian women have to be careful of the clothing that is too tight, too short, too low in the front, or too skimpy in the back. As the old saying goes, “If it’s not for sale, take the sign down!”
  14. The fact is, in order to become happily married, you must become happily single. You have to become “Me” before you become a successful “We.” Further more, no matter who we marry, Jesus must continue to be the lover of our soul.
  15. You need to be complete before marriage so that you can be whole in the marriage. You become complete when operating in God’s fullness for your life.
  16. One of the best ways to protect yourself from a disastrous marriage is to use caution in your dating life.
  17. Some women have experienced molestation, rape or incest. These women wonder if they will be able to respond sexually to their husband. Once you have touched the hem of Christ’s garment, you can become one of those blessed women who have come through horrific events and still find sweet pleasure in the arms of their Knight in Shining Armor.
  18. Single women must put their emotions on the back burner while dating. If you keep your eyes open and allow God to show you the man’s heart, He will reveal the man’s hidden secrets.
  19. Fighting the battle to remain celibate in your single life means you are getting prepared to have a wonderful sexual experience in your marriage.
  20. One of the responsibilities of the husband is decision-making, Eph 5:22-24. Your husband has the right to make all the final decisions in your marriage even though God will ultimately have the last word. If you are going to follow his decisions, what should you be studying while you’re dating? His decision-making skills.
  21. Patience is the weapon that causes deceit to reveal itself.
  22. A single woman should short-circuit the romantic stage and instead, adopt an interview mentality toward men. Remember Phil 4:6

**Question** Did any of the principles jump out at you? What did you agree or disagree with?

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