Transformed

I finally saw Star Wars The Force Awakens this weekend. I’m not usually fond of JJ Abrams, but I have to admit, he did a good job with continuing this long trilogy. Today, as I pondered in bed, I realized that years ago, I used to not be very picky with what I watched. In this day and time, I’m very picky about which movies I watch. It’s not just because I’m a Christian now versus years ago, but it’s because I was into acting and screen writing back in college, which transformed my thinking on what a good movie was. Today, I will go to the movie theater once a year. It’s pure luck if I go twice. Yes, I look at a lot of movies that come to my area and I usually say no because of this transformation within me to be passionate about a good story line. 

As a wife I was transformed. I was transformed before I walked the aisle. I ruined my own bridal shower because I refused to get drunk. I didn’t see the point of getting drunk before getting married. After marriage, I was transformed in many ways. It wasn’t about me anymore. It was about us.

In the same way, God has transformed me. I used to be lost, selfish, alone, and afraid. When I came to know Christ, I transformed into being saved, loved, humble, and strong.

God can transform you too. It says in Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I see several keys to transformation here.

  1. God’s mercy
  2. Sacrifice/surrender
  3. Renewing your mind

First off, God is merciful. It doesn’t matter what you have done or what is happening right now. He sent Christ as a sacrifice because He is merciful. Our sins, weaknesses, addictions, infirmities…they have been paid for on the cross. Because of His mercy and sacrifice, we can be transformed.

Secondly, we must surrender ourselves daily to God. As it says in Romans, it’s a form of worship. When we surrender, we are opening ourselves to God to transform us for His greater good. He will not work on someone who doesn’t surrender to Him.

Finally, we see that we cannot conform to the world. How we do that is by renewing our mind daily. We renew our minds when we read His word, when we are praying, and when we gather around other Christians. We won’t know what’s His will if we don’t do those things. It would be like a student who doesn’t show up to class or read the material provided. When the test comes, they won’t know the answers and fail. When we get in accordance with God, we learn His will and will be transformed to shun the worldly ideals.

I challenge you to look at where your heart is with God. It doesn’t matter if you are new or old, just honestly look at where you are at. Do you need to be transformed? If you do, look at the steps I listed above. Renew your heart to Jesus. Surrender yourself to God. Then continue walking with God through His word, prayer, and fellowship. You’ll see a transformation that will follow for years to come.

Happy New Years everyone!

Kindle the Fire

The page of 2015 is at the brink of being turned and a new chapter is about to begin with 2016. This has been a year where a new enemy decided to show its face with the intent of spreading fear and violence on the hearts of the world. Indeed, it did bring fear to my heart as they began to appear.

Yesterday, as I was studying the Word and worshiping the Lord, God placed a new song in my heart. The fear that the enemy was trying to put in my heart dissipated and joy and hope overwhelmed me as I continued to praise the name of the Lord.

At the time, I was listening to a well known preacher speak on the three gifts of the Magi in the Christmas story. As you know, the Magi brought Jesus the gift of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. The preacher stated that frankincense and myrrh is really nice to smell, but it’s not useful unless you light it with fire.

As I pondered on what the preacher said, I realized that in some way, I had let the fire within me die. The worries of this life and what was going on in the world stopped me from kindling God’s fire.

Yesterday, I worshiped and prayed to God for the fire to be rekindled again and to let it burn like a wildfire for 2016. You see, when you read the end of the Bible, God wins. We win. ISIS is not going to win. No other terrorist organization is going to win. Sin is not going to win. God wins. The day that Christ was born was a victory because He came to die so we would not have death, but have eternal life. That right there is a victory and not even ISIS can take it away. But we can’t live in fear because that’s what Satan wants. He wants us to live in fear. He wants us to live in silence as he spreads more sin and destruction in the world. He wants us to forget about Christs victory on the cross.

My prayer for you this coming year is to rekindle the flame of God within you and run with it. Rekindle the love and joy that came to you when Christ came to your heart. Don’t live in silence, but speak of His love and victory on the cross. Live in the mindset of victory and cast the fear out of your lives.

Have a happy new year everyone and thanks to all of you who have read and liked my work. God bless you all!

Standing Against The Crowd

I took the plunge last weekend and took some time away from technology. Instead of having my face planted to a computer, I spent some time with my husband. Let me tell you, we had a great time. We didn’t leave the house. We stayed at home, drank coffee and chatted most of the day away. We talked about dreams and things that were driving our curiosity. It was like in the days that we were dating.

In this day and age, many couples romance each other at the dating stage, but once the honeymoon is over, they start to separate from each other. Work, kids, the worries of life, and social time start to take over and our significant one becomes insignificant all of the sudden.

In this day and age, it’s so much easier to get a divorce versus my grandmother’s time. My grandmother told me that back then, you had to have substantial proof in order for a judge to grant a divorce. Now, a person can just print off a document from the internet, fill out the questions, and the judge just signs without the need of proof or anything.

Marriage has become cheap in a lot of people’s eyes. We live in a day and age that if you aren’t happy, you are told that it’s just fine to get a divorce or just find someone on the side to make you happy.

That’s why, on that weekend, my husband and I spent time together. It was a way of reinforcing that bond that we pledged to over two years ago. Last weekend was us taking a stand against the crowd that our marriage wasn’t going to be cheap. “Divorce” is not a word in our dictionary.

In the Bible, I’m reminded of Enoch. It says in the book of Genesis that Enoch walked with God. Because of his walk with God, he was spared of experiencing death and taken up to the heavens. Enoch chose to walk with God when he could’ve went with the crowd. He could have chose to be ungodly, but he didn’t. He lived believing in God and walking in the path of righteousness.

With my husband and I, we could choose to have a marriage like the world says we should, but we don’t. We chose to live in a marriage as God intended it to be. We are choosing to live with a set standard of morals that strengthens our relationship. We don’t look to the world for our answers, but from the Bible and other Christian couples who understand the things that go on in a marriage.

What about you? Are you going to live in a relationship that you’ll throw away when hard times come, or are you going to stick through it? I challenge you to throw away the ideas that the world has of marriage and look into what God says about marriage. Find out ways through your studies and by talking with your spouse on what will help strengthen your relationship. Take a pledge to stand against the crowd because in the end, it really doesn’t matter what the crowd thinks. The crowd can’t bring you happiness.

Joy After the Hurt

Even though I had to dissolve an abusive relationship with a man that really didn’t care about me, it still hurt. After telling the man that I was through with him and didn’t want him contacting me or my family ever again, I cried. For days after the breakup, I grieved and fell into a minor depression.

Why did I grieve when the relationship was abusive? Why did I cry for a man that verbally and physically assaulted me?

I hated being alone and breaking up with him meant I was going to be alone.

So I grieved for what was remaining of my final year at college. I was semi-happy at the graduation party, but deep within I still grieved. Everyone had someone at that party. I had no one to share that with.

Finally, I ended up praying to God about being alone. In my time of recovering, I had gone to Him many times and was starting to develop to a deeper relationship with him. However, I still wanted some kind of companionship with a man. I didn’t want this one relationship to scare me away from the dating scene.

As I prayed to God, he urged me to go to an online dating site. I know, it’s weird to think that God would tell me to go to a dating site, but He did. At the time I was saying to God, “Uh, God are you sure? You know, I’ve watched a lot of things on TV about how dating sites produce some bad things.” Even though I doubted, He kept nudging me to do it.

And I joined a dating site.

At first, I thought this was going to be a disaster. After scrolling through the various profiles that this site supposedly said matched me, I wasn’t too happy with the fish that was out in the pond. Various times I had to tell men that I had morals when they asked if I would come over for a “casual time”. Other times, there were men who thought my idea of a relationship was stupid and tried to push their beliefs on me. In that process, I started to doubt that I had even heard God.

Then I started talking with this one guy. We messaged each other for a period of two weeks. Finally, he asked me to coffee. I said yes. We met at the coffee shop. We got married a year later.

As I started to date my husband, I felt a joy that I thought was gone after my first relationship. You see, you may have had some terrible pain and suffering in your life, but after the hurt comes joy.

In the Bible, Adam and Eve had a terrible tragedy. Their son, Abel, was murdered by his brother, Cain. Because of that, Cain had to run away. In a way, Eve lost two sons in that incident.

Further on in the story, we see God bring joy back to the couple. Eve conceived once again and gave birth to a son, whom they named Seth. In Genesis 4: 25, Eve says, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”

It doesn’t matter what you have been through. May it be an addiction, a conviction, a divorce, a breakup, an illness, a death, or a tragedy. You will feel hurt and grieve. Grieving is a normal process within a human. But after the grief, God will bring joy to you. In my situation, God lead me to my husband. Just like me, He’ll bring something your way that will fill you with joy and praise.

 

Dealing With Jealousy

Pinterest is one of my favorite sites to go to. Not only do I get amazing craft tips, but I get to see some funny memes too. On one particular day, I came across a meme with two deer. One deer was licking the other deer while staring at the camera. In big letters it read, “This is me when another girl comes in when I’m with my boyfriend.”

At first I laughed at the pin, but later on it made me reminiscence at my past.

I lived with a jealous heart.

Jealousy is a very common theme among today’s media. It is so common, that many people think it’s normal.

But jealousy was tearing away at my life. Especially with my relationship with my husband. For years, I had lived with a low self esteem and a troubling self consciousness. I had been cheated on in a previous relationship. When I got into the relationship with my husband, I started living out that Pinterest meme. Every young and skinny girl that walked in created a defensive spark within me. If they were dressed a certain way and I felt like my spouse liked it, I would desire for that same outfit. Getting ready for church was a pain as I would search for that perfect outfit that would keep my husbands attention. I started to hate my clothes because I felt like they were not perfect. I would get irritable with my husband. As I let jealousy get a control of me, I allowed myself to fall into this destructive pattern of hating myself and desiring for the wrong things.

In the Bible, we see several themes of jealousy and the intense desire for something more that isn’t in line with God. But the one that stood out to me was the story of Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. Eve had it all. She had Adam. She had a perfect life in the garden where they had food and didn’t have to worry about work. Most of all, she was in a place where she got to be close to God. What I mean by close was that she got to actually see God and be in his presence.

Then she came across the serpent who tempted her to eat from the one tree that they were not to eat from. Eve looked at the fruit and she thought it looked good. Worst of all, she desired eating the fruit because she saw it as a way of gaining wisdom. Eve had it all, but she wanted more. She wanted wisdom. That desire would lead to the downfall of Adam and the couple being kicked out of Eden.

When we allow jealousy to take control in our relationships, it causes us to desire things that are not of God. I don’t know if Eve was jealous, but I know she craved for something and attained it the wrong way. For me, what really caved in for me was when I found myself crying one evening when my husband asked me, “Are you coming to this event because you want to, or because you are jealous?” That hit the hardest. I realized right there and then that my jealousy and this intense desire to be better than other girls was creeping into my marriage.

At that time, after discussing these things with my husband, did I begin to realize that I didn’t have to be jealous. I didn’t have to strive to be better than the other girls. My husband chose me because I was the best in his eyes. I’ve won him and he wants no other. That’s the same for you in your relationship. Your spouse chose you and only you. They don’t want anyone else.

However, I do want to point out a part where jealousy can be healthy. If your spouse is talking or hanging out with someone of the opposite sex way too much, the jealousy within you is a healthy jealousy. It’s an actual warning signal to you that you need to have a talk with them about what is going on. Especially if it’s getting to the point that they are flirting with each other. If it is coming down to that, then you do need to step in and have a talk with your spouse.

Otherwise, if your spouse is totally devoted to you and you are living with an unhealthy jealousy, you need to stop yourself. Take a step back and remind yourself that your spouse picked you. They had their pick of so many others, but they picked you and only you. That means you are special to them. Every morning, remind yourself that you are special to them and to God (of course). By telling yourself that, you are closing that door on jealousy. Most of all, be content with yourself.

Becoming One in Marriage Part Three

 

Out of all the animated films, I enjoyed watching “How To Train Your Dragon”. It was a fantastic story line. I enjoyed seeing how the main character developed a bond with Toothless. They started out as complete strangers with two different minds, but in the end, they became one.

In the last two posts, I’ve written about becoming one in marriage through the mind and physically. There’s just one more piece that I need to discuss with you about.

There are three parts to us human beings. We have a mind, body, and spirit. Being in a committed relationship has those same three components when you and your lover become one.

I’ve talked about the mind and the body, but the last part I’m going to talk about is being one in marriage spiritually.

Adam and Eve were one spiritually. They got to physically see and walk with God while they were in the garden. They got to hear his voice and speak with God everyday. This couple was the closest to God.

As a couple, it helps when you are one spiritually. My husband and I struggled to see eye to eye when we first got married. I was a full fledged Christian chasing after God’s heart. My husband was on the opposite end. He believed in God, but he didn’t want to follow God. My husband had been burnt by a religious spirit and hypocrisy in his church that he grew up in. While I saw being a Christian as fun, he saw being a Christian as dull and he thought he was going to miss out on things if he followed God.

I loved my husband for many reasons and I married him because God revealed to me that he was the one. But it was a struggle because our views were opposite. He wanted to go on paths that I knew God wouldn’t approve of. We had many fights because we were not one spiritually.

For awhile in our marriage, I felt alone spiritually. Sadly, there were instances I wanted to run, but God stopped me each time. He said for me to stay and remain in faith in front of my husband.

You know what, God came through. My husband recommitted his life to Jesus one evening. He still had a journey, but with each day, God took over his heart. Today, we are one spiritually.

When you and your spouse aren’t one spiritually, your views will conflict with each other. What one spouse thinks is correct may not be correct to the other. I mean, you will have your disagreements even if you are one spiritually. The main disagreements will come on things that regard morality and faith. Before my husband recommitted his life to Jesus, I could tell he didn’t have have faith. I on the other hand had this faith that God could do anything. My husband’s lack of faith actually hurt me within my soul.

What I’m saying is this, when you aren’t one spiritually with your spouse, it creates conflict. And what happens in the spiritual realm will affect the physical and the mental realm. When you are one spiritually with your spouse, you will see eye to eye. Plus, the two of you will be able to have a strong faith that will move mountains. Today, my husband and I come to agreement when things come up, which brings a whole new level of peace.

For those of you who have a spouse that doesn’t believe in God, don’t give up. Paul states in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 that if they (the unbeliever) is willing to stay (in the relationship), then the believing spouse should stay. He writes in verse 16 of that same chapter, “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

Don’t give up on hope. Surrender your spouse over to God and pray for them everyday that they would come to know Jesus. Keep praying in faith. It may seem lonely at times, but God will be right there to help you through it all.

 

Marriage: Becoming One Part Two

Disclaimer: Please be advised that this entry contains some material not suitable to all viewers. You have been forewarned.

 

My husband used to be a plumber. His bosses shop was connected to his home out in the country. Every Friday, my husband would drive over there to pick up his check. Every time that he went there, he was met by a huge German Shepard that would look like it was going to attack at any second. But as my husband would approach, the dog would lower its body to the ground, roll onto its back, and beg for the best scratches on its belly. The boss had nicknamed the dog, “cuddle slut.”

I have to admit, I am a big cuddle slut in regards to my relationship with my husband. In fact, I’m addicted to cuddles. I love being all snuggled up to my husband. If I don’t get enough physical attention, I become a very ugly, grouchy, she-bear.

In part one of becoming one in marriage, I stated that when Eve was created, she and Adam become one. In that part, I wrote about the mind set of becoming one.

However, they also became one physically.

My husband and I have a balance in our relationship. In the last segment, I talked about us being pretty much a team. We also are very physical with each other. We hold hands, kiss, hug, snuggle…anything that involves touching. It is a way of being affectionate to each other. I am letting him know that I love and want him. When he is affectionate to me, it’s the same message to me.

It’s important to be affectionate with your spouse on a daily basis. Even when you are many years down the road in marriage, you should still show affection to your spouse. I remember growing up how my parents would hold hands and kiss a lot. As a kid, it used to make me sick, but I see the point now in my marriage. And let me tell you, my parents are still affectionate around me and my husband too. You should not let affection go stale in your marriage.

Now there is one part of affection that I haven’t mentioned that stands on its own in the importance of being physically connected in your marriage. It’s controversial, but I think it is important.

Sex.

There are two sides to sex. Sex can be bad. Personally, I think sex is one of the biggest problems within a marriage that leads to most of the divorces. I think sex is a big problem in today’s society that is kept behind closed doors in the Christian community. Sex has caused the downfall of many people who walk with God. Look at King David. He had an affair with a married woman (especially when he had how many wives?). There are many problems with sex that I don’t have time to address. That’s another article for the future that I’ll collaborate with my husband on.

But can I tell you that sex can be good?

When you are married, sex is an important part to a marriage. It’s another aspect to being physically connected. In the story of Adam and Eve, Adam later on had sex with Eve. They had many children other than Cain, Abel, and Seth which means they had sex…a lot.

I’m going to be very candid, my husband and I struggled our first year of marriage in the aspect of sex. My husband was getting over some struggles that is part of his great testimony. I was struggling too due to the insecurities within me. I did not love my body or myself. I also had a very abusive relationship prior to my husband. I’m not going to go into detail about the abuse, but it affected the bedroom. Since I wasn’t confident with my body, I was not confident in the bedroom. This led to some strain in our marriage because we were not physically connected. Yes, we were holding hands and kissing and cuddling, but there is something about sex that is so important to the physical connection in the relationship. And we weren’t getting that.

It took some time, but my husband and I have a great sex life within our marriage now. It’s a part of showing that we love each other. Our frequent sex life has connected us together in our marriage.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s ok to have sex before marriage. No, sex is only meant for after you are married. When you have sex before marriage (even when it’s with your boyfriend/girlfriend), there is no physical connection that leads to an intimate relationship. It will actually dull your idea of being intimate. Sex in that scenario is just something to do and has no significant meaning to you. This leads to struggles of being intimately connected when the person finally gets married.

I’m not saying there is no hope. If you’ve had sex before marriage, there is hope for you on having a wonderful marriage. It starts with you putting down the past experiences and making a commitment of doing it right from now on.

As for the rest of you, I challenge you to look at your relationship. When was the last time that you snuggled with your spouse or held their hand during church? When was the last time you had sex with your spouse? Give yourself a goal to show your spouse some kind of physical affection every day this week. Get creative when doing it. My husband is the most creative genius in giving me affection. For example, get a baby sitter (if you have kids) and just be alone with your spouse for an evening to be physically affectionate to each other. That one evening will be so reinvigorating to your marriage. That’s just one example. The sky is the limit.