Monday, July 27, 2015

No Fun Alone

“Disarm system now,” she said in her sultry but commanding voice.

That would be my alarm system welcoming me home as I opened my front door after a long day of
work. I hear her voice everyday, many times more than once, but this day it was a bit different. As soothing as her voice was, I would’ve rather had a voice with a bit more testosterone and bass.  Or better yet, a physical man that greets me at the front door with a hug, kiss, and a smile. I’ll take door number two please!

Not sure if it was because I worked over 12 hours that day, but as I punched in my alarm code and dropped my bags on the couch, I realized how single I really was!  I was tired and just wanted someone to rub my feet. Maybe run me a warm bath and have dinner ready when I got out. That’s all! I literally worked from 8 a.m. until about 8:30 p.m. that night. I was beyond exhausted.

Being a physical therapist, I worked my full time job going to patient’s houses for therapy sessions and then worked another 3 hours at a local nursing home to pick up some extra cash. I help to restore function to individuals who experience physical limitations due to sickness, injury, surgery, etc.  That day I felt like superwoman! Saving the world one limb at a time! I felt like I made an impact and was actually putting to use the degree I diligently worked for! My patients were demonstrating improvement and were filled with joy to return to their normal everyday activities. I was apart of that and wanted to share it with someone, not the Vector Security voice over!

I remember a few years ago I found myself digging through the $5 video cart at Walmart searching for a chick flick to ease my pain after a breakup. I stumbled upon a dvd entitled “Soulmate”.  It was a documentary about African American women and their season of singleness from various age groups. There was one particular interview in the documentary that resonated with my spirit.  A woman in her 40s, successful and well educated, described an occasion in which she came back to an empty home one night after a speaking engagement and broke down in tears to God. She simply asked Him why she was still single. She traveled all over the country speaking and teaching, empowering women of all ages, yet a part of her was empty.  God replied, “If you can tell me I’m not enough, I will end your singleness season.” In a bit of shock, she immediately got herself together because she knew she could not tell God that he wasn’t enough!

Talk about a smack in the face! I find myself replaying that interview in my mind over and over again, and this night, I was that woman! I was having a bit of a breakdown. I have lived alone for over 10 years. I’ve lived in this house approximately 3 years.  Some days I love to come home to a quiet house, but this night, the quietness shook my foundation.  I started to run my credential and accomplishment list, thinking, I am doing all this for you Lord.  Why can’t I have a family to celebrate and share these times with?

“I’ll still give you glory and serve you,” I would say.  

I could hear God say to me what he said to that woman, “ But am I not enough??”  

I could NEVER tell God he wasn’t enough.  I don't think my lips could even fix themselves to formulate the word “no” to that question. But that void of a husband was yet oh so real! Are there times when a different answer wants to roll off my tongue, absolutely! If one more person talks about “I’m dating Jesus” I am going to scream! It’s cute but not cute! Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are the Trinity, not my boo, my bae, or my homie! My father, absolutely! Provider and keeper, without a doubt! But I need the Trinity to manifest the human flesh of my husband, not just his spirit!

A guy on Twitter posted a picture of a tabletop at a restaurant in which there was only one menu and then a blank space where another person could be. His post read, “When the only person you’re dating is the HOLY GHOST!” I literally laughed out loud. There is truth in every joke, and therein lied my truth! Since getting off the dating sites, a sister's dating life has been a bit non-existent. Meeting guys here and there but nothing consistent or even worth talking about! It’s actually been a relieving and stress free time! Did a few dates by myself and some alone time hasn't been all that bad!

But when you find yourself in a good place, even a great place in life, where all is well and you find absolute peace in who you are, where you are, and where you’re going, sometimes you want to look back and see that someone is on this journey celebrating life with you.    

Mali Music has a song entitled “No Fun Alone” in which some of the lyrics read:

People often try to make it seem
That their success is individual
But what’s the point in even having dreams
If you got to celebrate, all alone
It gets coooold...

It gets cold at the top
Make sure somebody loves ya
You can feel alone in the spotlight
Make sure somebody cares for ya
Always be there for ya
It’s no fun alone

Alone is definitely not always a fun place to be.  Our desire for companionship can be heightened by certain events or a breakdown in our emotional state.  It’s normal! Those long hours at work got to me. I was exhausted and empty and just simply needed a fill up. After I ran my check list and then checked in with God, he began to fill me back up by reminding me that I am “Fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), and that ultimately I should “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give [me] everything [I] need.” (Matthew 6:33 NLT)

Now do the scriptures automatically help and soothe my loneliness, not all the time. Does it still feel a bit chilly at the top, absolutely. But as I continue to meditate and pray, seek godly counsel, and be truthful with myself, I get back to my content state of mind! God reminds me of the support of family and true friends who will be there no matter what. Maybe not at my house every night when I open my front door, but never too far where I can't reach them.

So now I think I might even give my alarm system a name! Mine as well make it personal since she is the only one welcoming me home at night, for now! How does Laila sound?

As the church people would say, “Yall pray my strength in the Lord!“

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grass Not Always Greener!

“The devil will always send you counterfeits,” she said.

I had some ladies over the house this weekend for a book club and of course the topic of dating and men came up. It’s just what we talk about! LOL

I’ve been struggling the last week or so with the whole dating thing and entertaining the right guys. As a Christian, which I’ve been for over 15 years, it's just hard! No easy way to put it. No simple way to say it.  Dating as a Christian is not as black and white as many may present it to be.  I’m at the point now that I have thoughts and play out scenarios in my mind of how life would be if I wasn’t a Christian. In the grass is greener type scenario, it seems like dating would go so much smoother if I wasn’t a Christian. Life would be so much easier. I could even venture to say that I might have even been married by now if I wasn’t a Christian. Now would I be happy or still married? That would be the REAL question.

I play it out like this. If I meet a guy that I am attracted to and we vibe on all levels, I don't have to entertain the whole religion and relationship with Christ piece. I can go with the flow and even entertain sexual desires if I like WITHOUT conviction! I don't have to spell out why I am celibate and waiting until marriage! No worrying about what God would think, say, or do.  Just really doing me and really being free! Right??

My struggle has come in to play lately with the men that I have recently encountered. Tall, dark, and handsome, because you know that’s the top three list check offs of most women. College educated, great job, great conversation, nice teeth, great family background, and did I mention fine!!

In particular, this one brother I met while in New Orleans had me at hello! If there was an altar and a minister available a sister would have jumped the broom and him at the same time! Just being honest! We talked about EVERYTHING! He was engaged in conversation and legitimately cared about what I
had to say. He was funny, smart, witty, well-rounded, and a gentleman. OK, I could probably talk about him this entire blog. But by now you’re probably asking, but was the brother saved!? And the answer is, I don’t know! I don't know because I didn't ask!

Ladies, my Christian ladies! If anyone can feel me on this, you can! At this point, sometimes you don’t ask because you just don't want to be disappointed AGAIN! Your checklist is going great and you just don’t want to hear that line, “I’m spiritual not religious,” or “I grew up in the church but church is really not for me.” My heart sinks, I want to scream and lament with ashes on my forehead crying out “Why has thou forsaken me!” They come so close, but no cigar!

Meeting and marrying a Christian man is at the top of my list! It’s a non-negotiable that has become a nuisance! As I’ve gotten older and matured in my walk with Christ, I don’t just desire a man who is a Christian or a church goer, but one who truly seeks after Christ, serves in some capacity of ministry whether that be in or out of church, and can challenge me in my walk with Christ. I don't think that is too much to ask, or is it?

I am tired of turning down great guys because their spiritual lives are either non-existent or exist in a very small capacity. Is there a middle ground? Do I have the capacity to help push a brother along? Who am I to judge? There is such a fine line between judging someone in their walk and simply evaluating progress. For a Christian woman, the questions and evaluation must take place, leave the judgement at the door though. But it's just so hard!!!  

I want to be married. And a wise woman, better known as my mother, would say, “Well act like it!”  Set your non-negotiables and boundaries up and allow God to lead you as you navigate through this dating life. Many times we will hit forks in the road. Many times its the hardest decision to choose the road less traveled, but it's apart of this Christian journey.

I’m not looking for a bible thumping, holy ghost rolling, in church 7 days a week, missionary brother whose idea of a good time is speaking in tongues and watching Benny Hinn on a Friday night. Just because I am a minister does not mean I am looking to be with a man who is. But I am looking for a man who I can talk to about spiritual issues and struggles, have a discussion about a sermon that was preached, and simply ask for prayer when needed. I don't mind him being a little rough around the edges though either!

It all boils down to seeking, listening, and adhering to the Holy Spirit. He’s our guide. And although I’ve been in my emotion of frustration this last week, I can acknowledge that I am not ashamed of my Christianity or my calling as a minister. Although the grass looks extremely greener some days in the world society, I wouldn’t denounce my Christianity for anything! Being a Christian has saved my life and Christ has changed my life for the better!  I simply just have my moments.  I stay open to getting to know people and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal and illuminate the true identity and character of the person I date or entertain.

And I wouldn't call any of the men I have encountered and dated counterfeits. I see them as vehicles to increase my spiritual sensitivity, discernment, and awareness. Most of the time they are being their authentic self while we are trying to mask, cover up and front! I'm just saying!

Sunday, July 12, 2015


“You’ll probably have all the guys talking to you,” she said.

I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or recognize the red flag of insecurity that was subtly presented. We were headed to New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival, an amazing musical and social experience that presents a plethora of beautiful black men and women from all over the country. It was my second time attending and I was looking forward to a great time with my girls!

I tried not to think much of her comment and laughed it off. We were all good looking women and were sure to get attention from the fellas. Now was I looking forward to meeting men while in New Orleans, absolutely! Who wouldn't? I mean, I was looking forward to enjoying the time with my girls, and especially seeing Charlie Wilson, but if we met a few guys along the way, it would’ve just enhanced our Essence experience! And I knew they felt the same way. We planned our outfits, got our hair and nails done, and were set to dress and impress. That’s just what you do when you go to the Essence Fest.

But along with prepping our outward appearance, there were some inward struggles that were not yet prepped, and reared their heads throughout the trip. My group of friends range in all shapes and sizes of beauty and come from very different backgrounds. And although we have been friends for a little while, there are still things you learn about a person along the way, including their insecurities.

As we debriefed about our trip over sushi once we returned home, I shared with them my lack of enjoyment during our trip because of the insecurities and unfulfilled expectations that lingered in the air. I didn’t expect the feelings of guilt and frustration to arise during our trip, but they seemed to have packed a bag and came along for the ride.

There were instances in which a gentleman may approach me, but not address my friends while standing around, or offer to buy me a drink but not my friends. There were times in which one friend would feel left out, or another felt like the third wheel at times. It was an emotional roller coaster going forward and backward. Many times I felt as if I had to walk on eggshells or ignore every man on the street just to keep peace and sanity. Let’s just say it was an interesting but thought provoking trip.

When a group of women gather together, according to every reality t.v. show, there is sure to be drama. A fight will break out, and rest assure at least one fight will be over a man.  But as I fully processed our trip in my mind, I realized, as frustrating as it was from time to time, it drew me closer to
my friends. There were no cat fights or pulling of the hair, but there were real, honest, and at times, intimate conversations.

With every incident that happened, we talked. We debriefed. Each person was able to fully express how they felt and why they felt the way they felt. Stories were shared, past experiences were brought up and growth took place. Now don't get me wrong, even in expressing our feelings, all things were not fully resolved.  There were numerous times in which we had to agree to disagree, but it was settled enough to continue the trip without animosity.  

As women, we all have our own insecurities that have to be dealt with. Throughout my entire life I struggled with my height and feeling unattractive. I was the girl that no one danced with at the school dances. I didn't go on my first date until the latter part of my college experience, nor did I get my first kiss until sophomore year in college! Lets just say I was an absolute late bloomer! I wasn’t always the one that fit in with the crowd, and even now there are times I still don't feel like I am a part of the group. But I've come to accept and be comfortable with me.  I'm comfortable with my body and with the fact that there are times I will have to stand alone. This awareness has truly only come from a work that God has done and is STILL doing in me.  

Therefore I am learning to accept my friends for who they are, insecurities, flaws and all, because they accept me the same. We are called to challenge one another to always live up to our highest and best potential, but that sometimes just simply calls for continued prayer, love, and support. Let Jesus take the wheel! Good girlfriends are hard to come by. I can honestly say God has blessed me with some amazing friends and I appreciate that we are in this life journey together growing every step of the way.

Now as far as another trip, we are officially traveling buddies, but there WILL be more advanced preparation, conversation, prayer, fasting, meditation, and did I mention prayer before our next trip! LOL

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

He's Getting Married!

“Did I miss something?” she texted along with a screenshot picture of my ex-boyfriend’s new fiancee and ring!

I was at a friends house hanging out when the text came through. But before I saw her text, I received various text messages from friends asking if I was OK. I was so confused. I hadn't been on Facebook and had no clue what was going.

If I can be very honest, I fell into my feelings for approximately 2 seconds and then I was good! We had been broken up for at least three years and I’ve been in at least two other relationships since him.  We were still cordial and spoke very infrequently. I was still friends with him and his mother on Facebook and there were absolutely no hard feelings. I was actually very happy for him! It had always been his desire to be married and now he has found the one!

But at one time I was “that one.”  We were together for approximately two years and actually attended a marriage class at his church together. Within the first few months of us dating, he proclaimed that I was the one and looked to progress toward marriage. I was excited and flattered. Although I wasn't as sure as he was, I eventually came to believe that he was “the one” as well. It was going to be me and him to the end. I loved his family and he was a good man. He was good to me. But it was simply just not meant to be.  

But it’s funny how you can make someone “the one” in your mind and feel so sure deep down in your soul! Only for God to remind you that His spirit and voice outweighs our emotional reflexes. I mean, we both loved God. Both were very involved in ministry, very involved with family, college educated, and had drive for success. Perfect match right? The difference was our roads to success. I was a 9 to 5 type girl and he was an entrepreneur. The two roads clashed like a collision on I-495. It was all bad. Communication became an issue, finances were always an issue, our paths slowly came to a fork in the road, and we went our separate ways.

But I must say out of every relationship I’ve been in, I learned the most from him. Once we broke up
and I finally stopped crying and feeling depressed (it took about a year), I asked God to show me what I was to learn from this experience. He began to reveal what it meant to have dreams and think bigger than what you could physically see. I began to read more books on leadership and positive thinking and open my mind to greater possibilities. I learned that from him. He read at least two books a month on leadership, finances, entrepreneurship,etc. I remember he would tape a check written out to himself for a million dollars on his steering wheel. We would ride through Potomac, MD and imagine ourselves living in one of the many mansions that lined the streets. He would even take pictures as we drove up close, meanwhile I'm praying no one calls the cops because two black people were taking pictures while riding in a black Camry at night.  

He had strong convictions about drinking alcohol and going to clubs. He lived that lifestyle for so long while in college and even after. So once he truly accepted Christ and became serious about his relationship, his desire to please God could leave no room for negative perceptions. While I on the other hand couldn't understand why he was being so stuck up and judgmental! I was all about the club and a drink here and there! Oh, but God! He began to stir conviction in me and opened my eyes to the bigger picture of Christianity as a visible walk that others analyze and admire. I became more conscious about my where abouts and drinking habits. Still a work in progress though!

So I said all that to say that I'm truly happy for him! I appreciate what our relationship was and the impact it had on my life.  The fact that he is engaged just sent me down memory lane. I don't regret our relationship and I truly believe God allowed me to experience him for a shift to happen in my life. I appreciate my friends who sought to check on me. I understand the initial reaction for most would be to feel hurt or embarrassed, especially if you're still single. It's an absolute normal feeling. Your reaction truly depends on the length of time you have been apart and your heart condition. If you placed a band-aid where surgery needed to take place, the pain will always be there. But if you do the work to bring healing to a lost relationship, you will find freedom from grudges, hurt, pain, and even a marriage proposal!

So as I continue to grow and learn, I will continue to be patient and await the day someone will send him a screenshot of my engagement ring, or maybe I’ll send it myself! LOL…..just kidding….or nah! Heck! I am sending it to everyone!