Prayer & Discernment 

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Morning Devotion: Give it 12 months and pray (talk about relationships (friendships and marriage)). Prayer at the end. 

I grew up in the church, my dad is a pastor/evangelist/chaplain. My mom prophetic, a teacher, preacher, and quite discerning. They taught me oh so very much. One of the greatest things they taught and modeled was agape love and prayer. I was taught to pray expecting God to show up. He has! My word, He has. My parents also modeled sacrificial, lavish love. We were taught to love everyone and be generous. They are part of my family culture. 

One thing I will add to what they taught me is look at the fruit of someone’s life who wishes to connect with you. The character and fruit matter so much more than their words, gifting, or performance. Jesus said you will know a tree by its fruit, not it’s gifting, words, church attendance, performance. 

How many of you pray about the people who want to befriend you or for singles, date you? 

How many pray about the opportunities presented? 

How many look for good fruit in the person’s life or with that business, church, or organization? 

How do they treat people? What is their track record? 

Some Good Fruit: Love, respect, honor, taking responsibility for actions, honesty, integrity, kindness, self control, wisdom, peace, handles conflict instead of avoids it, keeps their word, keeps confidences, loyalty, things bloom/get better with their addition, value added, you are better because of the situation, seeks to build up instead of perpetually tear down, tells you what you need to hear, not just what tickles your ears, treats your heart like it’s theirs, unselfish, fair/just, free of control and manipulation. 

You see there is good, and there is God. There is good, and there is His very best. God gives good gifts. 

I am not stating run from every person who is not perfect; there are no perfect people btw. I am not saying run from broken people either. Everyone has something God is working on in their lives. I am saying look for some good fruit, examine character; prayer may save you some unnecessary drama and trauma. 

We are called to love everyone. We are not required to be best friends, confidants, or partners with everyone. 

Every opportunity is not God sent. Every cute or handsome person may not make a great spouse. Every person who tries to befriend you at church does not make a good friend. Every person who says, “I love you. You are like family or my best friend,” does not necessarily mean those words. You must look for fruit. Actions scream over words. 

It’s easy for people to put their best foot forward at first. The goal is (maybe) to impress the other person, connect, and for some to latch on to the other person. The trouble comes when masks fall off and you see the real deal. We are still to love people (seek to do no intentional harm, look for ways to bless them). Yet it is better to know before your heart is entangled or connected if that person is going to put your heart through a meat shredder. 

I placed 12 months on relationships (trial period) because, from experience, you begin to see more of the real person after a year. Some people can pretend for much longer. Yet I have noticed after a year the guard is lowered a bit and you get to see more transparency. Each person do what is best for you. It is not a law, just an observation. 

God wants you and me treated with respect, love, honor, and dignity. 

When I meet people and they have this toxic relationship going on, some will say, “God brought this person into my life.” So I ask, “Would you set someone you love to be in a relationship with someone who treated them this way?” The answer is normally no. Yet there is a belief that God desires less for His kids. 

There is a misbelief that God enjoys the hurt, heartache, abuse, and suffering of His children. He does not. This is a lie based off the treatment of Jesus. The Father delighted in the redemption of mankind through His Son. He did not delight in watching humanity mistreat Jesus. God loves His Son. He also loves you. 

So, with many learning bumps on this heart I have learned and am learning to do the following. 

1. Pray. 

Lord You know this person and their heart/character. Please reveal it to me. Help me not to connect with people who will leave my heart shattered or beat up. You bring in the people who are loving, trustworthy, good, kind, and will leave my heart better than before. 

Lord show me who this person really is. 

Lord is this opportunity a blessing from You or just a distraction or a setup to be mistreated/used? 

2. Pay attention. 

I am speaking from experience, not “Thus sayeth the Lord.” God does not always come out and tell me, “This person is up to no good.” Mostly they show me through their actions. Their words and actions conflict. They reveal two faces. There is disparity between what they say and live. If you remove their words and just look at their actions, you see their character. God will also sometimes reveal their heart/character in dreams. 

3. Love the person with appropriate boundaries. 

It’s easy to throw people in the garbage. We throw trash in the garbage, not people. Just because someone is not the best fit for us, does not make them worthless. No one is worthless. Pray for the person. You may seek ways to bless them. It does not mean you tell them the inner parts of your world or bond like besties. It does not mean you are forced to spend time with them or give them access to you. 

There are people I love, yet my connection with them is limited based on their behavior that brings drama, trauma, chaos. If they were hungry, I would feed them. Naked, I would clothe them. I pray for them. I am not inclined to treat them like my confidant. 

Papa God thank You that You love us all. Thank You that You are good. Thank You that you answer prayers and we can trust You. You know the perfect matches and opportunities for us. You know it all. Give us Your eyes and discernment. Cast out fear and suspicion by Your great love. Help us to make wise choices in relationships. Help us to be a tremendous blessing to everyone. Bring in Your choices for friends, mates, opportunities. Thank You for the ability to choose ourselves, yet we invite You in as the One who knows all and loves us more than anyone else. You desire Your very best for us. Heal any wounds from the not so great connections, make us whole. In Jesus mighty name amen. 

Hormones or Lust? (Sacred Sex Series Part IV) 

  
Image Credit: WordSwag, used with permission. 

Hello beautiful people. Today I wanted to unpack some truth on hormones to hopefully relieve some shame, provide insight, and offer tools for walking in purity. 

First things first. You are a human being who has hormones. These hormones do many things; regulate metabolism, body temperature, affect body shapes/sizes, regulate reproduction. 

Almost every human has been given the ability to reproduce after it’s own kind. Men have sperm. Women have eggs. They unit to create another human who shares their DNA. 

In the normal hormonal makeup of a human is the desire to mate and reproduce. No shame if you do not desire physical intimacy or children. My point is the desire for physical affection from the opposite sex and the desire to have children is God given. The human body has hormones that support these desires. 

The desire for physical affection is not evil. Things get out of hand when hormones partner with lust. What is lust? Here is my definition. 

Lust: 

  1. An unquencheable desire for what one does not have. 
  2. A desire to do whatever it takes to satisfy that desire. 
  3. A desire to take for selfish gain, self gratification. 

Lust is not from God. It is a result of the fall. Adam saw Eve naked and his first response was to speak life and prophesy over her. He was not seeking to take from her, nor was he singing, “Let’s get it on.” 

Yes, I have heard the song and hear the things men say about women. I am surrounded by men who sing “Let’s get it on,” like it is their theme song. I work with majority males. What they do not recognize is that they were created to love not lust. 

While men chant, “Men will be men. We just can not help ourselves,” God whispers back, “I created you in My image to agape love (unselfish, sacrificial, unconditional love).” Men were designed to unselfishly love (give), not take. 

Hormones (flesh) say, “I want to mate with someone, be physically intimate.

Lust says, “I desire to meet my own desires and I do not care how. I am here to be gratified and satisfied. People are objects to be used for my pleasure.” 

Lust is selfish. Lust wants to take for it’s own pleasure without regard for God, or others. Lust is never satisfied. It requires more and more while giving less and less. 

Love says, “I will walk in self control. I will seek to honor God and others. I will abort thoughts and images that are not holy. I am here to give, not take. It is not about feelings or hormones. It is about honor.” 

Love seeks holy connection in commitment/covenant. Love sees a person to be cherished, respected, honored…not an object to be used and discarded. 

So how does one walk in purity in a world where many things are set up to lure people into lust? 

Lust sells right? It sells because it becomes an addiction. People need more and more to feel good. The lust can be for sex, money, power, attention, affirmation, prestige. Lust always wants more! 

God has another plan, plan A. His plan involves agape love, receiving His love, knowing Him, and sharing His love with others. 

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God,”~Matthew 5:8. 

Stepd for walking in purity: 

I. Assess Your Needs 

  1. The need may be for intimacy-to be known. 
  • This need is normal and there are healthy ways to get this need met without falling into the trap of lust. 
  • Godly friendships and friendship with God are great ways to meet this need. 
  • Go to God with your desire for intimacy. 
  • God is faithful to listen and provide great holy connections.

All we need is love, right?

  1. Is the need for love? God is love. Unfortunately God does not embrace us the way a human being can, yet His embrace of our spirit is far more powerful. 
  • Godly community can also be a place for our love to be given and for love to be received. The hugs, smiles, laughter, shared experiences can help to keep us connected. 
  • Seek God and be in healthy commmunity. 
  • If you ask, God is faithful to provide a tribe. 

II. Set Boundaries

Okay so boundary is sometimes an overused word in Christian culture. Yet boundaries are important. They protect both people. 

What is appropriate for your relationship? Well, what honors God? Would you mind it being broadcast on tv for your parents, pastor, friends (unmarried peeps)? If not, cease the activity. 

Physical intimacy was intended to lead somewhere…to more physical intimacy. It was not designed to be cut on and off. That’s why you read stories of people who started something that seemed so innocent that led to far, far more. 

The Bible says, “It is not prudent to awaken love before it’s time.” Why? Because your body will move towards what it was designed to do…don’t go playing with matches. You will get burned. 🔥🔥🔥

It is also very imperative to not treat a boyfriend or girlfriend like a spouse, emotionally, spiritually, or  physically. 

Do not give yourself away to someone who is not your spouse. 

Many affairs or trails to a bedroom started with emotional or spiritual connection. How much time is being spent alone with this person? Talking on the phone? Sharing dreams, praying, emotions, struggles? These activities build intimacy. 

How much is shared too soon or without committment? It can be a set up for later heartache. 

Stories:  

I have been discipling for 12 years and have seen quite a bit. 

There was Marcus (not his real name). He connected with lots of women on an emotional and spiritual level. He was the handsome, seemingly “nice” Christian guy. He knew how to pray and say all the right things. 

The issue was Marcus had zero desire to love or commit to any of those ladies. The ones with little to no boundaries were greatly harmed by him. They opened their hearts and souls to someone not committed to love them. Some gave their bodies to him. He moved on to the next target. 

Marcus stated he only told women what he thought they wanted to hear so he could take from them. He was a predator. He was selfish. 

Ladies and gents, set boundaries. Do not give yourself away. You are a priceless treasure. Your future or current spouse will thank you. Your soul will too. 

There was Lisa (not her name). Lisa had a handsome boyfriend. They spent lots of time talking, connecting, being together. She lived alone so they would have hang outs at her place, some were evening hang outs. These hang out led to other things. 

She believed he loved her and was only with her. She did not find out until later he had given her an STD (sexually transmitted disease). It is one she will have forever. Lisa did not set a boundary to protect her purity. Her boyfriend felt he was in love, yet love does not seek to take. He took not only her virginity, he left her with a disease. 

There was Hope and John (not their real names). They were both happily married until they met each other. Then they began chatting for hours, texting, working late together, eating lunch together alone, sharing their struggles. 

Over time the intimacy they built with each other emotionally led to a physical affair. They had no boundaries with each other. They both hurt their spouses and Hope damaged her witness for Jesus. John was not a believer.

There was Janet (not her real name) who became best friends with Eva. Their friendship lacked boundaries and they started acting like a married couple. Eva developed romantic feelings for Janet.Though Janet did not reciprocate those feelings, their lack of healthy boundaries created a perfect storm. 

III. Feed Your Soul Healthy Things 

I know we live in the age of Fifty Shades of Grey, it is your body-do what you want, overly sexual images/activities, etc…yet we are responsible for our soul care. What you feed grows, what you starve dies. Feed the soul what is healthy. 

Disclaimer: 

As for those courting or seriously dating, I am not stating you can not hug, hold hands, or share an appropriate kiss. I am not stating to never be alone together. Use wisdom. Alone at night in your apartment may not be wisdom for you. Set up situations where if you are tempted the next leap isn’t possible. God never sets anyone up to fall. 

You must talk over your personal boundaries with God and the person you are seeing. Are your actions loving? Are they helping the other person remain pure in action and in thought? Or is it lighting a fire you are not able to sustain because you are not married. 

My unsolicted suggestion is to set boundaries for all relationships. What is loving, pure, healthy? What will draw the other person closer to God? What will help them remain pure too? 

Part of relationships is drawing the other person closer to God, imitating Christ. This flows over into marriage too. Marriage does not cure lust any more than bars cure alcoholism. So may lust be  aborted and replaced with agape love. 

Papa God I pray blessings over everyone subscribed to this blog. Purify all hearts and souls. Lord may all believers be people who walk in agape love. Replace any lust with Your unfailing love. In Jesus mighty name, amen. 

Resource: 

Choosing God’s Best
This book focuses on courtship over dating. I do love the boundaries sections. If you are pro dating and not so much into the courting formalities, it still provides some wisdom. 

Bless you! 

Erin 

Setting Boundaries in Love (Relationship Series) 

  
Build a fence around your heart, not a wall. Therefore, people can see its beauty but only those invited can come inside.” 

I cannot recall who said the quote above, yet it’s a good one. Boundaries are the fences we put up to protect what’s of value. Boundaries set limits. 

God sets boundaries; much of the law was set up as boundaries to protect people. Do not steal. Do not murder…We are of infinite worth to God. Therefore, boundaries help protect us and others. 

Boundaries are supposed to be rooted in love, not fear. 

If we set boundaries with people out of fear, they are most likely to get hurt. Fear is a horrible motivator because the main objective is “Self.” When love is the motivation, the best interests of both parties are considered. 

It is possible to be kind, loving, and maintain boundaries. 

Different strokes for different folks…

Different people have different boundaries. I’m from a warm culture. It is not uncommon to smile, encourage, open the door to strangers, give gifts, or even embrace. It’s normal and considered friendly. 

I love traveling to parts of South America because the culture is similar in certain places. People will hug you, invite you for coffee. It’s not a date, flirting, or luring technique. It’s normal life. You may even receive a gift. My dad loves to give gifts. My Heavenly Father loves to give gifts. 

For some people they are not friendly if they don’t know you. They must get to know you before there’s an invitation to do anything. Some cultures are warm and friendly, some are quite reserved. 

So how do we establish boundaries? 

The first step is establishing what our boundaries are. 

  • What do you like and dislike?
  • What is comfortable? 
  • What makes you uncomfortable? 
  • What makes you feel violated, used, or abused?  
  • How do you want to be treated?

When our boundaries are not set or low, it leads to an uneasy feeling or mistreatment. When boundaries are violated, something feels wrong or off. 

Life Lessons:

I work in a mostly male environment. Sometimes the things they say are not appropriate. I tell them, “Please don’t discuss that around me.

If I don’t say anything, I can’t be upset by what they talk about. It’s my responsibility to either leave the room or tell them, “This isn’t okay.

We set our boundaries, not others. 

I also went through a period in my life where people wanted to tell me what to do. This was annoying and not what I wanted. I kindly told them, “I appreciate your concerns, yet I plan on taking this to God. I do not wish for any more counsel or feedback.” 

I’ve also learned I can unknowingly aggravate people’s boundaries. Mainly I don’t know what their boundaries are. I refrain now from being too kind or generous with people I don’t know, unless it’s secretly.  

Boundaries with the opposite sex/in ministry:

I don’t encourage or continually affirm men I don’t know unless it’s done publicly-with a witness (strong lesson learned). Even if your motive is simply to bless someone, it can be completely misunderstood. 

If I have something for a man who is married, it almost always goes through his wife unless it’s with colleagues about business. I’d rather just avoid any misunderstandings.

I don’t share deep intimate details of my life with men, or women I don’t know or trust. In ministry I share experiences, but not on a one on one intimate level with people I don’t know or trust. As I grow older the less I want people in my business. I have a small circle I trust. 

Basic boundary guidelines: 

1. Saying no to what’s breaking the law or violating your morals. 

2. Saying no without feeling guilty or obligated to say yes to please people. 

3. Refraining from touching people without asking for permission. 

If you’re from a warm culture, the other person may not be. The person with the highest boundary wins. 

Example: I hate people touching my hair. Random fact-Did you know when you touch hair with dirty hands you leave deposits?

4. Refraining from allowing people to touch you if you don’t want to be touched.

5. Refraining from emotional/physical/spiritual  closeness (intimacy) without commitment. This is quite important for members of the opposite sex. I’m not talking about family affection, a platonic hug. 

I highly recommend the book Choosing God’s Best. This book outlines some of the precautions to take with intimacy in relationships. 

Many affairs begin on an emotional and intellectual level before a physical act occurs. 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,~Proverbs 4:23. 

God intended for connections to be guarded. If we open up to people who are not committed to love us (I’m talking agape, friend love, family love-and sexual love), it can lead to heartache. 

Our hearts can become entangled with people by sharing our hearts, dreams, passions, fears, intimate things about ourselves. This creates a connection with another person. If you add to that physical intimacy (which God only condones with a man and woman in marriage), it can lead to heartache outside comittment. 

I know in ministry or spiritual family connections there’s sharing. I am not stating to be a brick wall with others, just thoughts on basic boundaries. 

6. Protecting the space, time, and relationships of other people. 

7. Refraining from asking intimate personal details about people you don’t know. 

There’s a time and place for these things. I will flat out tell people, “You don’t need to know.

8. Tell people what your boundaries are. If you don’t tell them, they don’t know. The first time a boundary is violated, say something. 

For more information on boundaries go to Guide to Psychology-Boundaries

If you struggle with saying no, I recommend The Best Yes by New York Time’s Bestseller Lysa TerKurst. 

Here are some sample scripts I’ve used. 

Unsolicited advice:

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide feedback. I plan on praying and seeking God’s will. I’d love for you to pray God’s will for me. 

Pushy people:

No. I won’t be needing or using (fill in the blank). 

Requests I cannot perform, or don’t feel called to do:

I am unable to (fill in the request), have you touched base with (alternative option)? 

Rude people: 

I ignore quite a bit of rudeness because it is simply a person who feels powerless trying to appear strong or powerful. If I must address it, then it goes a bit like this. 

I would love to connect or chat with you, yet not while you’re using that tone or treating me this way. 

We can love people and set boundaries. I may post more on boundaries next post. 

Myth: Church Attendance=Disciple of Jesus (Relationship Series) 

  
I’ve heard many people say, “But I met them at church or on a Christian dating site, they must be great.” 

We have been told by God over and over in His word to test spirits, test prophetic words, assess the character of prophets, and to look at the fruit in the lives of those we will connect our lives to. 

The Bible does not say, “You will know them by their church attendance. You will know them by their denomination.” 

Jesus said, “You will know My disciples by their love for one another,” (John 13:34-35). He said, “We know a tree by the fruit it bears.

It’s imperative to discern the character of a person. 

I’m an observer. I watch people. I don’t watch them to judge them. I watch them because I’m a scientist. I observe and collect data. 

I’ve met people in worship gatherings who said all the right things, sang beautifully, operated in the gifts of the Spirit; they did not possess righteous character. Some cheated on their spouses. Some lied. Some did horrible things. Their character did not align with the character of Jesus. 

Our character is refined over time and through relationship with God. We are becoming like Him in character through relationship and over time. 

Some things to think about (Disclaimer, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. These are things to think about not rules to follow. Each person needs to have their own hearing from and confirmation from God.): 

1. Can anyone else vouch for this person’s relationship with God? 

2. How does this person treat the weak, poor, or unfortunate? 

3. How does this person handle their mistakes? Blame everyone else or accept responsibility. 

4. Do they tell the truth? 

5. Are they concerned about the wellbeing of others? 

6. How do they treat those who can offer them nothing? 

7. How do they handle stress? Disappointment? 

8. How do they handle money? 

9. If they’ve dated before would their ex say they were a blessing? 

10. How do they talk about other people? Putting down or building up. 

11. Are they faithful to keep their word? 

12. Are they growing with God? 

13. How close or deep is their relationship with God? (The vertical affects the horizontal). 

14. Are they helpful? 

15. Do they reciprocate? Do they initiate care and concern?

16. Are they discipling or assisting anyone else in becoming like Jesus?

17. Are they trustworthy? Could you trust them with your secrets, with the opposite sex, with your bank information…

18. How do they treat your friends and/or family? 

19. Do they try to make amends and easily forgive? 

20. Have you spent time to see the seasons of their life? People show you their best when they want to make a good impression. Have you been with them enough to see how they handle challenges? 

The character of a person outweighs the physical, emotional, and friendship connection. Those things are important, they do not trump character. Looks fade. Studies have shown after 7 years the pheromones that drive you crazy begin to lose their punch. Hence the 7 year itch. Emotional connections can deepen or fade. Many affairs start off as emotional affairs. Friendships can grow or be severely damaged by losing trust. If the person does not have noble character, the other components can fall flat. 

Only Jesus is perfect. It is not a quest for perfection. It is an investigative look into the character of a person. Before you say, “I do,” it’s good to investigate, “Who are you? Who are you really?” 

As stated in so many posts, I pray, “God show me who this person really is?” I pray, watch and pray. He always answers this prayer. Without fail God answers this prayer. 

Best wishes to you! 

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day! ♥️💯 You are so deeply loved. 

Erin 

Raising the Bar (Relationship Series) 

   

This post is for women. Maybe the men will gather something from it, yet it’s written from my heart to women everywhere. Please don’t settle. 

I’m surrounded by men. I chose an occupation that’s mainly male. My family is male dominated. I observe the way men treat women. I listen to the way they talk about women. 

I am not stating men are bad or evil. I do know one principal that’s proven true over the ages…men will (without deep fellowship with God and moral leading) do what they can get away with. It applies to women as well.

I have seen countless women have their lives destroyed by charm that was later revealed to be deception. In the past 10 years over 75% of the associates I’ve known who married have divorced or struggle greatly. So, I hope these tidbits might help someone. 

This isn’t to alarm you. It’s hopefully to provide some insight. 

I asked some of the men I know from work the following questions and here were their candid responses. 

Why do some men only do romantic things while dating? 

A. Why keep doing romantic things? Then she will keep expecting it. I married her, she’s lucky to be with me. You do the romantic things to get a woman…you don’t keep doing them. 

Why if a man has a beautiful, amazing wife or girlfriend will he keep checking out other women? 

A. It’s a guy thing! Men will be men (I hate this phrase by the way). 

If someone was going to kill you or your wife, would you offer to save her? 

A. Why do I have to die? I can get a new wife. Only two men said they would try to save their wives. One wanted to die because he hates being married. Not kidding. 

Why do some men lie? Avoid confrontation? Ignore women instead of dealing with issues.

A. Women don’t want the truth. They can’t handle the truth. And you’re so emotional. We don’t like getting in trouble. Ignoring you we hope you get the hint and go away or leave it alone. It’s a guy thing. 

Why do some men pretend to be someone they are not? 

A. To impress a woman or our guy friends.

What do you add to the relationship?

A. I kill bugs. I take out the trash. I work. I don’t cheat or beat her. 

Notes from them: If they tell you they are not interested, they are not interested. Don’t date or marry them for potential. They are opposed to someone trying to change them. It’s part of the guy code to accept them as they are. For some they admitted being afraid of rejection or failure so they won’t plan dates or go the extra mile. They are sometimes more wounded by rejection than women.

Below are some stories I lumped into categories. Every person is different, I simply lumped stories together based on what I’ve seen or encountered. This isn’t an attempt to sterotype. 

Disclaimer: there are some genuine gentlemen out there. The point isn’t to go around trying to look for dirt, it’s to use wisdom and discernment. 

Mr. Glittering Charmer: 

This guy is charming and wonderful. He says all the right things. Does all the right things. He’s learned what women want to hear. He comes off as someone overwhelmingly wonderful. He’s darn near perfect. Getting you to fall for him fuels his ego.

What can we learn about the charmer? 

1. No one is perfect except God. People come with a few quirks and flaws. 

If someone tells us everything we want to hear all the time, it’s a potential red flag. If they like every single thing we like, it’s a potential red flag. 

2. The Charmer has been told the way into a women’s heart and life is through flattery and charm. His motive is not love, it’s selfish gain and ego.

Stories…

I’ve changed names to protect identities. 

There was Jimmy. Jimmy was on the surface a great guy. He claimed to love God. He liked all the same things Mary loved. He seemed to be a great person. Mary prayed. The more she prayed, the stranger Jimmy behaved. The mask of charm fell off and she began to see Jimmy wasn’t following Jesus at all. He eventually confessed he told women what he thought they wanted to hear to get what he wanted from them. If they liked something, he liked it. He morphed (pretended) to be whoever he thought they wanted so they’d like him. He hurt many women. He used them. Mary was wise to seek God instead of simply going along with Mr. Jimmy Charmer. It prevented her from being used as well. 

There was Beth who had a pursuer who showed up from her past. He presented himself to be an amazing guy with a heart of gold. Gerald ended up marrying Beth. While married he cheated on her with several women and divorced her after getting his citizenship. 

There was Mila and Todd. Todd pursued Mila and presented himself to be an amazing guy. He was always at church and seemed excited about God. After several years of marriage and children, it was found out Todd was having affairs with men, doing drugs, and he left Mila with two kids to raise on her own. Mila became ill and Todd refused to help. He was also verbally abusive to their children.

There was David and Victoria. David was a super charmer who made people believe he was awesome. The more Victoria got to know him, the more the facade began to fade. David was a ragaholic, verbally abusive, unkind, jealous, and hateful. He also began stalking Victoria once she broke things off. He hacked into her email and followed her around. 

Tidbits continued…

3. Pray about any potential mate. Seriously pray and ask God to show you who they really are. People can hide crazy. They can’t hide it from God. Once the heart is involved the brain can get clouded. Just because a person goes to church or claims God doesn’t mean they are truly a genuine person. 

4. Just because someone presents themselves one way doesn’t mean that’s who they are. 

5. Get to know family and friends of a potential mate. People who have known them a long time and can attest to their character.  Pay attention. Who can vouch for their walk with God? 

Date them long enough to see if there is fruit of God’s Spirit. Let your friends and family meet them. What do the people closest to you have to say?  

Do they have Christian community? If not that’s a huge red flag! 

Mr. Looking for Any Woman: 

This guy may seem sincere in his desire to tie the knot. He starts looking for someone to meet his checklist of a wife. He may attempt to move the relationship fairly quickly or use terms of endearment quickly. 

He may say things like, “You’re perfect for me!” Or “You’re everything I want or need.” 

The issue with Mr. Any Women is it’s not about loving you or getting to know who you are. It’s about filling a void and checking you off a list. You will spend lots of time listening to him talk about himself or how you can benefit him. 

Why is this a problem? If you’re content to have a relationship without friendship or love, it’s cool. If you actually want to be with someone who cares about you, not just what you represent, then it’s problematic. Getting married is not like buying a car. It’s a merging of two lives and families. A wife is not a thing to be acquired, she’s a person to be loved.

Stories…

Names changed to protect identities.

There was George. George decided it was time to find a wife. All his friends were getting married so he needed to as well. He decided the best way was to try to get to know several single female friends he had, take them on dates. He was also getting to know another woman. One of the puzzle pieces had to fit right? 

The problem is George was treating women like things instead of people. He chose to pick women who were friends with each other. He told them all how amazing they were. He failed to see that humans are not things. He was looking out for himself. 

There was Jeff who believed he was a great catch because he was doctor. He too was looking for any woman to be his wife. She only needed to be pretty, a Christian, and be willing to give up her life, dreams, ambitions to support his. He didn’t seek to know the women he dated. He talked about himself. He didn’t care what the lady had to say. He needed a role filled. 

What do we learn from Mr. Any Woman…

1. A good relationship is built on two people getting to know each other. If he’s only talking about himself or bringing up how you can bless him, red flag! 

Love is not selfish or one sided. 

2. A relationship is a merging of two lives, not one person being consumed so the other can live. 

Mr. Shady or Nonchalant 

This guy has a way of stringing women along. He has no intention of going the extra mile or loving well. He will give you the bare minimum to keep you hanging onto the fantasy that there’s actually a relationship. His behavior is shadier than a rainforest. If confronted on his behavior, he will quickly blame you. You’re emotional or needy. 

What you need to learn from Mr. Shady or Nonchalant…

1. Love treats you well and does not leave you guessing. If a man is interested and serious, his actions will reflect it. 

2. This guy will continue treating you the way you let him. 

3. It’s not healthy to tolerate poor treatment.

Mr. Fear or Control

This guy is either afraid of commitment, intimacy, rejection, or you thinking he likes you when he doesn’t or is unsure. He may be deeply insecure which is the root of fear or control. 

He may come close and then run away. He may do things that make no sense. He may act like he wants to date you then run for the hills. Fear causes flakiness or fleeing. He may invite people to every meeting with you to avoid intimacy. There is wisdom in meetings if you don’t know someone well. Yet if they never can meet you for even a coffee in a public place or at the church bookstore, it’s something to question. If you’re not stalking him, and he wants to get to know you…a public meeting place is not unreasonable. He also may be married or in another relationship.

Mr. Control wants you to obey him, blindly follow him, and may see being a leader as what he says goes. 

What can we learn from Mr. Fear…

1. If you’re not giving him a reason to run away, it’s his insecurity or fear. 

I read there’s a natural pull away that men do to access how they feel. Yet if he’s always hot then cold, or cold then there’s probably an issue. 

2. Only God’s love casts out fear. 

Stories…

There was Jane. James expressed interest for her yet refused to call her his girlfriend. He knew she wanted marriage, but he was afraid of comittment. He continued to date her without any comittment. 

There was Paul. Paul used women for his physical pleasure. Anytime the relationship seemed to move towards being serious he ran. His motive was sex. Paul hurt many women but his mantra was “Say whatever you need to say and do whatever you need to do to get what you want.” He went to church like everyone else and led many women into his bedroom. 

There was John who micromanaged and controlled his wife and family. He was in charge. He was the man of the house. His wife was the sidekick that supported his mission. It was his way or the high way.

Tidbits…..

3. Fear is actually selfish. Control is selfish. It’s caring more about protecting oneself than others. 

It’s challenging not to take it personally yet I tell my girls, how a person treats you is a reflection of their heart. 

4. Fear and control are fruits of insecurity and a lack of God’s love. 

5. Pray for Mr. Fear or Control to encounter God’s love. 

You don’t have to date him or be a pawn in his game. Yet Mr. Fear and all others need revelations of God’s love. 

Final Notes:

No matter who the guy is who’s pursuing your heart, may you submit him to God. Your heart is not a toy. You are of infinite worth. God wants to give you His best. 

Love, 

Erin 

  

From God’s Hand or Yours

  
I rarely post things I sense from God  online. Yet hope this helps someone. Certainly pray over it, weigh it, test it, hold up against Scripture and the character of God. I am simply expressing what I sense, it’s not a thus says the Lord. 

Hey singles, engaged or soon to be…or those with single friends/family.

I had this vision this morning and impressions and wanted to share with you. 

I saw these people in the dark sifting through gift boxes. Lifting them up and shaking them. “Is this it? Is this the one? I need to find my box!!! Where’s my box?” 

Across the stream they can see married couples walking around holding hands, being loving and there’s a sense of…”What they have is so great, what about me?” 

I see the Lord lift a veil off the side with married people. Showing what’s beneath the surface. There are some happy couples still. And there are many with shackles on them. Above them I can see the words, “Torment, abuse, unhappiness, struggling, pain, regret, unequally yoked, shame…” 

The Lord points to them and says, “These are the ones who didn’t wait on Me. They made their choice independent of My provision. They may seem happy on the outside but there’s great struggle and pain on the inside. Don’t look at what you see with your natural eyes and allow desperation to make choices for you. I am Your Father. I love you. I want the BEST for you.” 

I can see Him with gifts in His hands, ones He’s custom made. Inside each box a person that He prepared for those digging through a box bin. 

I hear Him say, “Do you want what’s in My hand or what’s in that bin?” 

I saw many leave with random boxes from the bin because they didn’t want to seek what was in God’s hands. They had someone but they didn’t have the tremendous blessing of a custom made gift from God. And He can make more than one, so it’s not a one person for each person. It’s a “What is God blessing?” versus “What can be found independent of Him?” And every person gets to choose. 

Sensed the Lord saying, “Seek Me and trust Me with Your desires. I will never give less than My best. I’m longing to prepare you and the gift I have for you so you’re a blessing to each other. Seek Me. Seek Me. I don’t half do anything. You may choose however you wish. Simply know when I give a gift it’s beyond exceptional. It will draw you closer to My heart as you see what it’s like to love like Me and be loved by someone who’s in tune with Me. Iron sharpening iron. What you need and what you want. Don’t let others pressure you into settling for less than My most excellent best. I know you, and I love you. I know you, and I want to give My best to you. It’s up to you to choose what’s in My hand, or what you can choose from your own hand.” 

I’m praying and have been for God ordained marriages. For born again believers to exemplify what marriage is like from heaven’s perspective. Heavenly Unions set up by God that bring about great Kingdom purposes. Where both people are blessed and grow spiritually together. Healthy marriages that bring God tremendous glory. Both people richly blessed! 

As an unmarried person I can say there’s tons of pressure to get married or be in a relationship. People in Christian circles try to set you up, there’s this “What’s wrong with you?” If you’re unmarried. Sometimes it’s just annoying for me to hear, “I just want you to be happy.” If I get any happier people are going to think I do drugs. God is my joy! 😜 He’s everything. If I ever marry, it won’t be out of desperation or for someone to meet my needs. It will be out of love and a desire to be a blessing to someone else and build the Kingdom of God together… 

If I ever marry I would want that person to choose me out of love not desperation or to get their physical or emotional needs met. “oh I’m on a deadline, Erin might fit the bill…lets go! She will meet my needs, let’s get married!” That’s not love, it’s selfishness. 

My friend Janice told me once when I thought I was in love with this guy…”If he were sick and dying, would you sit by his bedside? Would you clean up after him? Willing to wipe his butt. If he could do nothing for you and was paralyzed, would you forsake all others to care for him? Could you imagine your children growing up like him? If he needed a kidney, would you give him yours?” 

Our society focuses on the wedding, sex, children, status of marriage…God focuses on agape (pure, sacrificial, unconditional) love. Which must come first from Him. 

So my prayer for every person I know who wants to be married, it’s God’s design for marriage so Christians are known for the best marriages and have the lowest divorce rates… 

Feel free to pass on to any singles you know! Whether single or married, may we all seek first the Kingdom of God! He’s worth it all! 😍👑👏🏼🙌🏼

God has the best plan. He doesn’t force His will on us. He does provide input for those who seek Him. 

Love, 

Erin 

Overcoming Disappointment (Relationship Series) 

  
The Lord is near to the heartbroken,~Psalm 34:18a. 

Today I wanted to chat with you about disappointment. Since we are human there’s a chance we’ve been disappointed or will disappoint someone. We are not perfect only God is perfect. 

We also live in a world that is filled with wickedness and sin. One of the most damaging sins is selfishness. It destroys so many relationships. Couple it with insecurity and you have a perfect storm. 

There are people that state since God loves us, He’s approving of all our misdeeds. This is untrue. We can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). 

God loves us as we are. He doesn’t approve of everything we do. Look at these verses from Genesis 6. 

The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart,~Genesis 6:5-6. 

So if you’re suffering from disappointment in relationships, God understands how you feel. 

Before we blame the other party, let’s talk a bit more about disappointment. 

Disappointment is linked to expectation. 

  • If perfection is expected in a relationship it leads to major disappointment. God is the only one who does not fail. We can place all confidence in Him. People come with flaws and some with major baggage. Grace empowers us to love and receive love. We are not perfect, therefore we cannot demand it from others. 

Our brokenness attracts others who are broken. 

  • For a long time I attracted people who were super critical, judgmental, and harsh. It’s the opposite of my natural bend. Yet I attracted them and was affected by their behavior. I found because of someone in my family who wounded me deeply through the same behaviors I was attracting the same type of person to deepen that wound. The wound in my soul from childhood needed healed. Since the wound has been healed, I no longer attract people who are critical, harsh, or judgmental. If I do cross paths with them, I’m not affected by their behavior. It rolls right off. 
  • So if you’re attracting toxic behaviors from people, there may be a wound on your soul. Ask God to highlight anything in you that’s attracting the same situations. He will answer. 
  • The same goes for attracting abusers, cheaters, bad friends. 

Pay attention to what you tolerate. 

  • I’ve been the most disappointed by people who say “I love you,” and their actions are so far from love. I learned I was tolerating things I shouldn’t. As soon as I stopped tolerating certain things the person either walked away or changed. If the bar is set low, there can be no complaints when people behave poorly. Love others, love yourself. 

Stop settling!!! 

  • Whether it’s friendship or dating, stop settling. Settling for less than God’s most excellent best is a sure way to end up disappointed! 

Don’t expect reciprocation. 

  • Giving or loving to get something from people is manipulation. It’s a form of control as well. God is the rewarder when we do the right things to bring Him glory.
  • People may never, ever return the love you give them or have given them. So it must be done with a free hand, with no expectation of return from the person you’re serving or loving. 

Understand your love does not change people. 

  • This is a lie women are often told. If you love this person enough they will change or love you back. Wrong. God loves perfectly and people reject Him. I’ve seen beautiful, lovely, kind women still end up dumped or abused or cheated on. The other person must love themselves and change based on what God is doing in their life. 

Don’t seek a fixer upper. Don’t date or befriend someone for potential. 

  • It’s a big fat trap that ties into not settling. I was with someone for a long time based on his potential. Guess what? He never reached his potential. Nope. He’s still (to my knoweldege) in a similar place. 

Don’t mistake ministry or charity for relationship. 

  • If you’re giving, serving and that’s it. It’s ministry or charity. If you attempt to treat a ministry assignment like a friendship you will be disappointed. 
  • Friends encourage, support, are there for you, care about you, want what’s best for you, and bring life. They don’t just take from you. 

Take your time getting to know people.

  • I’m the same all the time. Meaning I’m not putting on a front so people like me. I’m the same at work, at home, in the beginning of the relationship to the end. Not everyone is that way. If you don’t take the time to figure out who the person really is, it leads to major disappointment! 
  • Ask God to show you who the person really is. It’s my favorite prayer! God always answers. 

There was a guy years back who was trying to get to know me and I prayed for God to show me who he really was. I kept having dreams of him hiding behind grey screens, in shady places. I kept praying. I finally got out of him that he was essentially faking relationship with God. I was able to bypass his deceptive schemes through prayer and seeking God. I recommend praying God show me who this person really is for friendships and dating.

Lastly…
I’ve invested quite a bit of my life in relationships. Giving, serving, loving, etc…the circle of people around me I trust truly love me is small. It’s very small. That’s okay. Have I been disappointed, yes greatly. Oh so much. Have I disappointed people, probably. I try to be good to everyone, yet you never know.  Yet the Lord has revealed that no one suffered more than Jesus. He loved and loves perfectly (I do not). Those He came to save betrayed Him greatly, denied Him, wouldn’t stay up to pray with Him, refused to believe Him. So no matter what we do, there may or will be disappointments with fallen humanity. 

We have a choice: offense or forgiveness, isolation or community, woundedness or healing, wisdom or foolishness, staying the same or creating change. 

I’m super encouraged by the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery and so many people failed him. God did not. God gave Him a position that saved the lives of many. There’s hope in God for a better future. 

People will hurt you, it’s up to you to either stay wounded or let God heal. We all need God’s amazing grace! We all need mercy. Forgiveness and mercy does not mean you are required to be in relationship with that person. It means you release that person or group of people to God. You refuse revenge. You refuse bitterness. You give it all to God. And you pray for them the way you’d want someone to pray for you. 

Part of overcoming disappointments is trusting God with relationships. He does exceedingly and abundantly, above all we could ask or imagine.  

Praying you are blessed beyond measure with outstanding relationships. 

Love, 

Erin