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Some events, for me, drip with ink even before they come to a close. Woe that they should ever escape the pen. Tonight was such an event. And I barely know where to begin. So I’ll just start, ….at the beginning.

Firstly, I will tell you that I have always said, “If you weren’t surprised, then God didn’t show up.” Because you know how we roll, us Christian folks. We orchestrate, really well, the Holy Spirit and how He ought to function. Our Sunday services are especially predictable and we know how to corral Him in. We usually end up with a finished product lifeless in its finesse. But, hey, we did the deed and got the job done, there is no denying it. That is, until the Holy Spirit actually shows up. And everyone is….you guessed it…surprised! But when the Holy Spirit genuinely shows up, we are more than surprised, we are blown away.

So from the beginning, as promised.

I had allotted space for the Holy Spirit this evening and space for a little fun as well. Here’s how that looked: Our Friday night plan was an early dinner, then out to feed and minister to the homeless in the park and finally we’d close with some live music downtown. It’s a Friday night after all.

I must preface this with some information you may not know. We are called to minister to the homeless. But not just the homeless. We are called to minister to those that aren’t really down with traditional church. You know, the North American model. Not everyone is down with that. Some of us think it may need a little tweaking. Some of us see a slightly different model portrayed within the pages of the Bible. Some of us see traditional church as limiting and lacking in flexibility, creativity, and heart. Some of us believe that the church isn’t the building, but that the church is the people. And “wherever two or more are gathered there I am [Jesus/God] in the midst of them.” We also believe that a lot of great things happen within the walls of traditional church and many of our nearest and dearest go to traditional church. We see their incredible hearts, and the work they are doing and we applaud them. But we are called to the ones outside the “church.” The ones who the traditional church can’t quite relate to and sometimes display more justice than mercy; more doctrine than compassion; more fault-finding than understanding; more us-versus-them, than admission of the level playing field at the foot of the cross.

We’re not so sure Jesus sees it like that. Not so sure everything is that cut and dried. Not so sure we can wrap this worship thing up with a pretty bow, and present you a package. So God gave us a vision to work outside the parameters of the traditional church and to let Him lead us daily in this, and to let Him dictate how that pans out every day.

But honestly, I kinda had tonight all wrapped up. But it’s worse than that. I even tried to back out of our visit with our homeless friends.

The conversation went something like this:

“Ho! It’s too late now, Tim. It gets dark here by 8 pm. We won’t get there til 8. We won’t get out of the streets til nine thirty or ten, and all the live music will have ended or be close to ending. Our day is pretty wide open tomorrow. Why don’t we just do it then instead.”

In true Tim Morgan fashion, he nonchalantly replied, “No Mommy, I have it in my heart to stick to the plan. Come on, I want you with me. Everyone’s been asking about you.” (I’d been sick 2 solid weeks).

At this point, I had a choice to make and I’m happy to say that I made the right choice.

It was, in fact, dark and 8 p.m when we saw our friend Jimmy nodding off on his usual bench on the corner of Harrison and Beach Drive. I don’t suppose the good-hearted city folks who provided this bench had any idea that it was going to house the behind of such a gracious guest forever more.

When we first met with Jimmy several weeks back, Tim asked him,

“Why you not in the park with everyone else Jimmy?” (referring to the majority of the homeless in this town).

“I don’t go over there. Too much drama. I don’t need no drama. I steer away from it.”

Well, you gotta know that stole our hearts right from the get go.

Tim laughed, “Too much drama, what you talking about Jimmy, too much drama?  I understand Jimmy, I understand.” And truer, faster friends were never forged.

(These pictures were taken in the daytime at our first meeting with Jimmy).

IMG_20160627_191147 (2)IMG_20160627_191352_1CS (2)We began our usual visit with Jimmy and I knew how it was going to go down. We were going to have some laughs, we’d provide a snack and some water, we would preach a little Jesus, and hear about his family and his early days. The days when he wasn’t here….like this. We’d pray with him. Wish him well and depart for the park.

Everything was going as I suspected it might until they showed up. Walking right down the street like they stepped out of a limo. Her hair was perfect, of course. He had on a crisp blue shirt and as they looked at us, I was sure they were afraid. I could tell they didn’t know if maybe they shouldn’t cross to the other side of the street. But I was gonna help them out. I was going to be an example. I was going to show them how this thing is done. Maybe they’d catch the fire. Maybe they, too, would consider, then, treating the homeless like people in the future. I would greet them with the heartiest hello, and flash a lovely, confident smile.

“Howdy, folks! How are you all toni……..”

But before I could finish my pious greeting, she whisked past me and handed Jimmy a McDonald’s food bag and the charming gentleman gave him the complimentary soda.

“Oh”, he said as he looked at Tim sitting on the bench beside Jimmy, “There’s two of you. I’m sorry I only brought one.”

And there they were. Angels in a muggy city in the heat of the night. And respecting Tim’s already established rapport with Jimmy, worked in tandem with us to minister kindness and truth to Jimmy. Cindy and I talked quietly amongst ourselves concerning shower solutions for Jimmy. Al & Tim subtly extracted Jimmy’s pant size and persuaded him to at least consider a new jacket. His leather military jacket was no doubt a cherished treasure. But most of the back was torn away and the arms were almost equally disheveled. Keep in mind it is often 100 degree heat here and he wears it almost all the time!

“We want to help,” Al pleaded afterward in private. “We want to be a part of what you are doing.” Cindy shed tears. “To see my husband like this, to see him take to this, it is an answer to prayer. I have been praying for years that Al would find a place in ministry. He has been so turned off church. Meeting you both tonight, I cannot tell you what this means to both of us.”

We had reason of our own to rejoice. Even before we arrived here, we had been praying that God would send the right people to work with us. People with hearts for something a little different. People who loved HIM. People with vision and compassion. We stood out on the street for a long time, chatting, exchanging philosophies, ideas, and phone numbers.

Now, you tell me. What are the odds of this couple showing up just around the same time we did in order to minister to this beautiful man? Can you imagine if Tim had listened to my logic – for it was logical- and changed his plans? What if I hadn’t joined him dogged in his mission? Would we have met this passionate couple on the same path as ours? Would she and I have established comradery and excitement for a vision? Would Al have found a niche? Would Tim have….Well, would Tim have had opportunity to bless the lives of not one person tonight, but four?!

Surprised? A little blown away? Do you think God showed up? I sure do!

I can tell you that I do not know what this mission God gave us to do will look like in the end.  I have learned not to micro manage these things and not to over-plan and just to let God, through His Holy Spirit, guide our footsteps every single day. I do not know what it is going to look like, but I can guarantee you that God is in it, and whatever it looks like in the end, it will be great. Tonight was great. What more could we ask for when all we have is today?

We do hope for open book Bible studies with our new friends soon and a gathering place to worship together with them in the great outdoors, with exceedingly great flexibility without agenda or program, or titles. Just friends helping friends.

Oh yes, I should tell you about the live music! It didn’t happen. We did end up going to the park and meeting with more of our usual friends and receiving even more blessings. Blessings that left me in tears. But that is for another blog. But I will share with you- as a little preview- that it was dark as you know. I was sitting on the bench talking to “Patty” and another homeless man, Alfonso (the ex NFL football player), was on his usual bench next to us. Tim wanted to leave for a bit to see about some others nearby.

“Are you okay here by yourself, Kathleen, if I go over here a while?”

I am never afraid to be alone with the homeless when I am doing God’s work.

“Oh yeah, I’m fine. You go ahead.”

But Alfonso stepped up, “Mr. Tim, you are a good man and you have my word that nothing will ever happen to your wife as long as I am around.”

Oh yeah, it went like that and it always does. And who needs the night life, when there is this kind of excitement going on?!

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Desire!

desire

When it comes to relationships:

A man has one great desire….to desire his woman….

A woman has one great desire…to be desired by her man……

Sounds like a simple concept doesn’t it?

Controversial?  I can see how that could happen.

Not believed?  I can also see how that could come about.

But how about you give me a minute?  I think I have an answer to a mystery here, but you have to walk with me a few steps….

We tend as a species, to be slightly opposite from the animal kingdom (I say slightly because it is not always the case, but predominantly so).  In the animal kingdom, it is the male who usually performs the outlandish attention getting schemes and presents himself in all of his colorful and outrageous glory toward the targeted female.   Now it is God’s nature in this design remember that.  God’s nature.  He put all of himself in everything he created.

In the human species, however, it is the female who, however subtle and crafted, attracts the attention of her male counterparts.

Agreed, human males are also known to strut their stuff in various ways, i.e, that six figure job, that red sports car, those amazing physical skills.

But ascetically, it is the woman who tends to please the eye more (men are slightly more visual in nature than women are)

It is the woman who primps her hair (for hours on end)

It is the woman who buys the shapely and figure flattering fabrics.

It is the woman who falls smitten and embarrassingly pesky.

It is the woman who paints her face with outrageous tones.

It is the woman who plans from girlhood her wedding day to prince charming.

You get where I’m going……

So with this in mind, let’s just dance briefly through a typical courtship:

She displays her feathers in all of their glory (like the male peacock in the animal world).  He does a double take.  She persists, with phone calls and “unexpected” encounters (yes, I know we’re pitiful), or purposeful ignoring (yes, guys we do that too).  Her every purchase and every thought is done with his observance in mind.  Every clever thought, action, and kindness seems less rewarding without him there to impress.  She hangs on his every word, and aches when he isn’t around.  And an amazing thing happens…he feels all of these vibes and vibrates right back all of his amazingness into her world… and so is the enchantment of a love affair!

It’s how we are wired, the woman to be desired, the man to desire.  It’s how God designed us.

Want to know how I know?

Watch your relationship.  Are things a little dull?  The touching not so frequent?  The pizzazz seeming to wane at times?  When this happens we tend to blame each other:  He’s not making me feel like a woman.  He’s too brash, not attentive and taking me for granted.  She’s not giving me what I need, She used to be so sexy and so admiring of me, she doesn’t back me up.

Here’s the deal.  Why did it stop?  (talking to the ladies now)….When did you stop feeling sexy? Desirable?  Did you know you can’t get into romance or sex if you don’t feel sexy?  It’s true!  Women have to feel sexy, desirable, and brilliant (there is a whole lot more to being desirable than looks by the way) –  measuring up to her own standards first!  Desirable, not just to her mate, but to everyone else (Of course only your mate gets what you have, but you still have to feel that it would be worthy of anyone).  When you let yourself get run down…(don’t take care of your hair, don’t  take care of your priorities, convictions, and beliefs….how can you expect someone else to admire you if you don’t even admire yourself?), is when you will notice things aren’t quite as bright as they used to be in your relationship.  So get cracking and start feeling sexy again!  (You know you’d do it if you were in a new relationship).  Observe all of these things and tell me if I am wrong.

And guys?  Did you leave your dreams at the door?  Drop them off in a knapsack when you said “I do?”   What’s up with that?  Your woman’s best asset is to get behind you and to believe along with you- to strengthen you.  To stand behind you and be freaking, stomping, proud of you and the things you have, and will, accomplish!  And when did you stop telling her that her eyes are a beautiful array of various colors?  (they still are aren’t they?), a little compliment to a woman goes miles and miles (remember this is our greatest desire- to be desired, and your greatest desire is to desire your woman!), and why do you keep telling her there isn’t enough money for a hair style, lingerie, or a new dress?   Give a little on a few of these cosmetic extras and watch her self esteem soar and your bedroom sizzle up! (girls don’t go overboard when finances are an issue, it doesn’t take much to look better).

Observe, and tell me if I am wrong!

So, trying something new…

Not many entries yet.  I’m not going to add many old entries, mostly the new ones as I write them.

Would love to have you come on board!:-)

Click Here: SunshineOn MyShoulders on Facebook

I Live At the Beach Now

I live in a beach community in Florida now and I LOVE it.

I am glad I have the beach as my forever home, and Canada (my homeland) to visit in the summers still. I feel blessed

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Letting Go

When someone dies, there is a period of disbelief. It is a hard thing to accept and our psyche fights against the idea with a tenacity that might be inspiring if not for the unhappy ending.
It is the same with letting go.
And the interesting part is that the healing will never begin if we can’t come to grips with and ACCEPT the death. Accept the fact that we will never see our loved one, this side of heaven, again.
And in the same way, there has to be an acceptance of the inevitable in letting go. Here, time is our friend and patient teacher. And likewise, we must become patient in letting him pass.
And a healthy grieving will one day give way to sunshine breaking through the darkened clouds. And we can sing. And our song is new; wiser, deeper, and somehow more beautiful.
When it’s time to let go, and we are ready, we hand it over to Him. The Lover of our soul. The Rain Maker and the Cloud Breaker.
I marvel always at Your Beauty, Your Peacefulness, and the many ways you replenish all the aching souls. Because You. Are. Joy, My Lord. You are Joy.

lettng go

Come Home to The Good

There is going to come a day when your life is going to derail.

derailedYou’re going to mess up a little and lose your center.  The conditions are going to be right to topple you. It happens to the best of humanity and I don’t envy anyone who is going through it. I am in the throes of it myself, even as I write.

And we’re not alone, you and I. The best that life has churned out can, and do, lose their way from time to time.

Just to list a few examples:

• The Prodigal Son
• Simon, named Peter
• Rahab
• The Samaritan Woman
• Jonah
• Gideon
• Samson
• King David
• Elijah
• Saul of Tarsus

And then, too, there are the private stories in every life that never make it into the pages of any book. The folly, the humiliation, the redemption, the victory.

Not everyone who falls rises again, however. Not everyone who slides down a slippery slope knows enough to climb back up on the side of the slope that is dry. And it’s a tough uphill walk. But the falling was easy-effortless and speedy. The climb back up, however, is painstaking and deliberate. It requires tenacity, discipline and character to make it all the way back to the summit.

tobaggan3But before any of that can happen, there must first be a humbling.

Because you might assume that you haven’t truly fallen in the first place. Or you might reason that you were blindsided-caught off guard. And maybe you were. You can say that the whole situation is ridiculously unfair. And maybe it is. You can blame it on circumstance, fate, or destiny.

But no matter your reasoning, there you are at the bottom of the hill. And you know you’re at the bottom of the hill.

Maybe it’s addiction that sent you there. Maybe it’s a relationship or an unfulfilled desire. Maybe it’s the result of chasing after money, or a misguided desire for the approval of man.

But no matter what it is/was, here is what I can tell you. It threatened and then overthrew the Lord- from His throne- in your life, didn’t it?

Somewhere along the way you lost your footing. Somewhere along the way Abba, Father was reduced to a distant memory. Where there once was an adoring couple, now one has departed- estranged from the Faithful One who still holds out His loving hands.

And you miss Him. But you also want what you want. So you drink from the fountain of addiction. You sup at table of your lover. You scheme one last scheme for that big deal. You flash one more move for your adoring fans. And you make an executive decision: You can have both. Why not? Once this settles down and you get what you want- THEN you’ll go back to your Original Lover. The Lover of your soul.

But you never get what you want, do you? You are never fully satisfied. And what you don’t realize is that you will never be satisfied, ever again, until you forsake the one and cling to The Other.

Recently I was in the fog. Deep in the fog. Oh, I did try to get out. Several times. I even offered up some fairly pious prayers. I made feeble attempts at reduction. But I didn’t know any long-term victory because my heart wasn’t fully in it. I wanted what I wanted. I wasn’t willing to let it go. My love for my Lord became secondary to that which I wanted.

Until the day that I became sick with longing for my Original Lover Whom I began to miss with all my heart.

As a child, my faith was as full as it was astonishing. I moved many mountains. I simply believed, and I only saw HIM. Little else distracted me or pried me away from His loving embrace.

But, now, I knew the journey back home was just too far. I knew I couldn’t make it on my own. And as I looked back, I had to admit that our affair started losing purity in various ways through a period of many years.

….Until that beautiful day when I finally fell on my knees and uttered the most genuine prayer that I had spoken in years, “Help me, please. I miss You. Please help me.” And then I cried….sobbed….right there at His breast.

woman praying3And it was the simplest prayer that I had ever said in my life. But the most heartfelt. The most earnest and….the most humbling. I was acknowledging to Him that this thing was bigger than me, and it meant more than all of the pious attempts at prayer that went before. And I knew it did. I felt the faith go out from me. I knew that it could not come back void.

And in the days that followed, it began….

I picked up my Bible. I began to fall deeply in love with my Original Lover all over again. I talked to Him in prayer about everything. I stopped trying to walk through everything on my own. Haughty is the heart that reasons, “I got this!” Foolish is the lamb who wanders away from the Shepherd. Lost is the sailor without a Compass. Dead is the branch no longer connected to the Vine.

He carried me out of the storm one step at a time. He showed me where to put my feet on the craggy rocks.

He goes before me. I follow.

I’m still following. And each day my gait is a little stronger. The light is beginning to open up again. The path is illuminated. I can feel His hand in mine. Safe within the fold, I sing- and relax- and see all of life beautiful. Innocent, like a child, I’m rejoicing. Not perfect. Not fully pure. Fully human and fallible. But I’m on my way home. I’m climbing that hill. I can see the summit.

summit climb1And you can get there too. Your love for Him has to exceed and supersede your love for your addiction, your lover, your desire, and the pride of life. And when you want victory bad enough, ask Him for it. Ask Him to guide you back home. And because He is faithful to His promises- because He loves you- He will do it. Lay it at His feet. Leave it at His throne. And then Wait. For. It. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’!!

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” I John 2:15-17

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4: 8

Summer Solstice – Wayne Kirkpatrick

It must have been the summer solstice
When I first gave my heart to You
The first day of a brand new season
In a fevered passion for Your simple truth
It was the longest I’d ever felt for anything
And it gave my soul a song to sing.

It must have been my adolescence
That pulled me from my childlike faith
But what I thought to be maturity
Was just neglect that I tried to vindicate
And I went drifting on the wind like the autumn leaves
But when I fell I landed on my knees.

So can You throw Your arms around me and walk me home
I’ve wandered off way too far for way too long
And standing broken in this wilderness of shame
I have found my only strength is in your name
Oh, Father please can You undo what I’ve done
And get me back to square one.

I never saw that blizzard coming
Just woke up and ice was on the ground
And there were times this beating heart of pride
Was so stubborn it refused to make a sound
But now I’m feeling so out of my element
Frozen in the winter of my discontent.

So can You throw Your arms around me and walk me home
I’ve wandered off way too far for way too long
And standing broken in this wilderness of shame
I have found my only strength is in your name
Oh, Father please can You undo what I’ve done
And get me back to square one.

And with the spring comes the thaw
Melting my heart reviving all
It comes full circle and then
It’s summer solstice again.

So can You throw Your arms around me and walk me home
I’ve wandered off way too far for way too long
And standing broken in this wilderness of shame
I have found my only strength is in your name
Oh, Father please can You undo what I’ve done
And get me back to square one.

 

 

Get With A Man…

Get With A Man…

1. Who You Respect
2. Who Respects You
3. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible
4. Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.
5. Who Has Proven His Love For You.

If someone had handed me this list and the following article in my late teens or early twenties, would I have taken it to heart? Would I have listened to the fifty-something author who poured her heart out with conviction and sincerity? Would I have believed her, or would I have perceived her as demanding, spoiled, entitled, or selfish? The honest answer is that I do not know. I do not know if I would have listened. I do know, however, that my younger self didn’t look very deeply to her own needs. I know she used to do just about anything in the name of love and goodness to make her relationships better. But rarely did that anything include preserving her genuine needs, and own self-worth.

But there is good reason for this. She never had a Father speak these things into her life. Nor did he teach her of her value as a woman, nor helped her know what to expect from a healthy man in a healthy relationship. And she never had a Mother who modeled these expectations.

And that is why I am writing these things today. Because there are many women, young and old who might need such a list; who maybe never had it modeled or taught. And I am writing it because I have a single daughter. She means the world to me, need I say more? I am writing it because I am in my second marriage and it has taken me this long to understand how imperative certain things are for a healthy relationship. It is not wrong or selfish to ask for and expect these things from the men we marry or get into relationship with. In fact, I have come to learn that it is detrimental to both the man and the woman in the relationship if we do not ask for, expect, and uphold these things.

So without further ado, let me flesh out some of the things that I have learned.

Get With A Man….

.…Who You Respect.

Why are you looking at his handsome face? Why are you looking at the way his body moves? Why are you melting over those flattering words or the way your heart skips a beat when he looks at you? Don’t you know the art of courting and seduction has been going on for thousands of years and it will continue the same way until the end of time? Those kinds of things are a dime a dozen. The wise woman will study a man’s character, plain and simple. And study him for more than a New York minute. Study him for a good while and in various circumstances. The wise woman will look at a man’s potential. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he sure better have potential. Potential to be kind, fair, honest, hardworking, responsible….all of those things you need a man to be. And we’ll cover some of those later.

Knowing yourself is key. Because you have to know what you respect and what you don’t in the first place. When we are young most of these ideals are already formed inside us, but many of us don’t understand that we can, and should, protect them and assert them in all of our relationships.

When you know what you respect, then you know what to look for. Many of us older lovers have learned the hard way that there is really no use in trying to coerce, or mold or bend someone into being what we want. It never works. You are better off finding someone whom you respect in the first place, and with potential, instead of setting yourself up to the difficult and impossible task of trying to change another human being. And really, it is kinder to them as well if you just let the wrong ones go instead of subjecting them to your anxious dissatisfaction.

Find someone who matches you intellectually and spiritually. Someone at least in your ball park. It’s even better if you genuinely think they are a little smarter or wiser than you in certain areas. This will fuel your respect and admiration- two things that can’t be borrowed or bought. Invaluable. Look for it.

Find someone whom you know you can talk to. Someone who can carry an interesting conversation and bring interesting perspective. True, some people don’t like to talk hardly at all, and if you are down with that and that is what you want, then I guess you had better find someone who is really okay with that, and wants that as well. But most of us want someone we can have meaningful conversation with. Look for someone who you know you can live a half to three quarters of a century with, and whom you will never become bored with because of their lack of depth. Important. Think about it. This is supposed to be forever, right?

Look at someone who has earned your loyalty, admiration, respect, affections, and love. And I mean earned. That, more than anything else, is going to matter to a woman the most in the long run and will also set precedent for the level of a man’s respect or disrespect toward you. Don’t be afraid to set the bar high. If he can’t jump it, he’s not worth it, trust me. You don’t always want to be guessing throughout your relationship if he really would have gone the distance for you. You want to know this upfront. You really do want to test him on this. You are a fool not to. I speak from experience.

Can you get down with his beliefs, his convictions, his dreams, his goals? Do you have common interests? Don’t underestimate the importance of this. This is the person you will be spending most of your time with. You’d better have at least 70-80 percent of the same interests and ideals. Do you truly admire him? Do you truly respect who he is as a person? Does he have skills and talents that you admire? What personality traits do you admire? What gets you excited? Is he an innovator, for instance, or a man who takes action? Do other men respect him? What is important to you? Do you find yourself a natural cheerleader for him, or does he have to force that out of you? Do you have to force it out of yourself? If you do then why are you in this relationship, girl? Do him a favor, move on.

I think there are universal needs that we have collectively as women and we need to learn to recognize, acknowledge, and accept what those needs are. But equally true is the fact that we also have individual preferences that we desire in a man. We won’t all want or need the same things. For instance, I have recently come to realize that I really want a man who isn’t on Facebook and will never get on Facebook, but has an impressive and bustling personal life. Quirky, huh? I have my reasons for this. They are solid and they are all my own. Another high preference of mine is a man who is as honest as the day is long. Just a deep need of mine. And a man who never stops mining for, and applying, spiritual truths in his life. Know who you are. Know what you need. Try not to settle ladies. Try very hard not to settle.

Get with a man who you can respect. Because when the chips are down and shaky ground finds its way into your union, it is your respect for him that is going to carry you both through and strengthen, not weaken, your relationship.

….Who Respects You.

You can feel his respect. Your inner being knows if he respects you or not. Trust it.

Does he value your opinions? Seek your advice? Take your advice? Is he impressed with how you live your life? Does he admire your values and believe in your character? You have to know these things. Don’t get with someone who does not.

If he hits or shoves you- even one time- he does not respect you. And it WILL happen again Trust me. Again, I speak from experience.

If you are not willing to have sex with him before marriage, will he still be there a few months or years down the road? Does he genuinely just like being with you enough to hang around? Does he love you enough to wait? Do you think it is asking too much of a man? It is not. In the Bible there was a man named Jacob and he loved a woman named Rachel. He offered to work for her Father seven years for her hand in marriage. The Bible tells us that Jacob’s love for Rachel was so strong that “Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her!” Honestly, if he loves you, he will wait.

He will hear your needs and work with you to meet them. He will be willing to talk things out with you. He will want to help and be “active” in his listening. He will validate your feelings and not write you off as an emotional female simply because he cannot deal with the depth your feelings bring. He is tender toward you in your distress because he adores you through and through. You are worthy of his undivided attention, just as he is worthy of yours, and you will not have to beg him for it in times of need.

He lifts you up with his words, instead of putting you down, both in private and in public. If he does not do this, he does not respect you. Remember, you deserve a man who respects you. And you had better always give him the same courtesy.

He will respect your boundaries. Do not appreciate his coming into the bathroom while you are using it? Then he won’t come in there, period. Need some space with your girlfriends? He won’t call you on the phone every hour. Don’t like to talk in a vulgar way about your previous love-making session? Then he will not. Don’t want him to brag to his friends about your sacred sex life? Then he won’t. The list goes on. You know your boundaries. Expect them to be respected. Assert them.

He will not bully you outwardly, nor will he bully you in a passive-aggressive manner. Both bring their own kind of heartache and are equally destructive. Watch for this while you are getting to know someone. If you are not too emotionally entangled with a person, these traits are not hard to spot. Thus why it is best not to give away your affections to a man who has not yet earned them.

He will expect his family and friends to respect you. Realize they will always follow his lead. If they see him disrespect you, this gives them license to disrespect you as well, and they will. It doesn’t matter if they are his parents, his siblings, or his children. He will protect you, and back you up in front of them. Especially when you are being upright, honorable, good, and kind.

Get with a man who you know will respect you. It will save you a lifetime of heartache.

…. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible.

You want a man who wants to lead and knows how to lead. Not a man whom you have to lead. Not a man whom you have to pull along. You will know him by the initiative and innovation he displays when he is still merely a ‘friend.’ Don’t be deceived. He won’t change once you get into a relationship with him- not long-term change anyway. You need to know that he will be a courageous leader, and a self-starter. Someone who will sit down with you and map out a plan for your family and will follow through with the plans you have made together. He keeps his promises by following up with what he said he would do. If you have found that he is someone you respect because you believe in him as a person, then you will be able to get under his leadership and let him lead. If you are in a relationship with someone whom you do not trust or respect then it will be very hard for you to get underneath his leadership. That is why I put that you should get with a man whom you can respect as #1, because everything else in your relationship depends on it.

Get with someone who doesn’t need a Mother. Look at his house. Is he clean? Is he organized? Does he get himself up for work on time? Does he pick up his clothes? Does he leave little unorganized piles of “stuff” in every room? Does he get the garbage to the curb on time? Is his garage organized? Are you okay with this? If you are not, better look at it. How big of a deal is it to you? Remember, he is not going to change to any great degree, so are you prepared to be a Mother to a man who needs one in order for your home to run properly? Now I am not saying he has to be perfect. But this comes down to you. You need to know what you can and cannot live with. You have to know what you are willing to overlook and what you know will drive you crazy. Keep your eyes open and figure out his mental age. Then figure out if you can live with someone that age.

Do you see him living out the beliefs he claims, or is he a man of many words, but little action? Actions always speak louder than words. And you want a man whose actions have a positive, not a negative, effect. Remember that men have an interesting effect on women. It is their actions that make us feel either secure or insecure. When a woman feels insecure she invariably uses more words. That’s how it works. When she feels secure in her relationship, she uses less words. Get with a man whose actions make you use less words, not more. Whose actions make you shed less tears, not more. Whose actions inspire you to be the very best woman you can be.

Get with a man who is not physically or emotionally lazy. He will put in the work to make your communication and understanding better and he will put in the work to provide for you.

Yes, he is the one who needs to provide. Old fashioned, I know. But it is God’s design. “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t help out financially when needed. But what it does mean is that he carries the bulk of the responsibility in this area. When he honors this responsibility, it frees you up to be a better homemaker and a better helpmate. He does not have to be rich, and shame on you if you are looking for a rich man. But you do want a man who works an honest day for an honest dollar to provide for the ones he loves. A man who may not be rich, but wants to give you everything you need and even some of the things you want. He may not always be able to achieve this, but he should certainly want to in his heart. You should feel that and love him for it.

A mature man will not turn arguments around on you unfairly. He won’t make you feel crazy or tempt you to second guess what is true. He will not call you (or perceive you as) crazy when you are honestly working through feelings and issues. He will deal with them head on the same way you do and will not take detours or try to unbalance sanity in difficult times. Men who do this do not respect women. You know what it looks like. You know it when you see it. A little of this is too much. A lot of it should be a huge red flag. Respect yourself. Trust yourself. Walk away if he consistently shows spiritual immaturity in this manner.

….Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.

We touched on this a bit earlier. A man sets the tone for how his family views you. Unless of course you are an evil woman who has pulled the wool over his eyes and his family sees what he does not. In that case, you are on your own and you won’t get any help from me. I’m assuming that only good-hearted and well-intentioned women are reading this blog. That’s who it is written for and that is who I am addressing.

Here’s the deal ladies: When you marry a man, you do indeed marry his family. Better make sure you can get along with them. I actually believe now that if you do not get along with a man’s family right from the get-go (after the first few awkward weeks or months of course), it is pretty tell-tale as to how difficult your marriage is going to be and possibly even how unsuited the two of you may be. And unless his family are all evil and he is the only good one of the lot (and that can happen!), they will actually know him better than you. They will have known him longer and can probably discern better what is best for him. This goes for his closest friends as well. They, too, are family. Pay attention to them. Learn a lesson from them. And, honestly, bow out if you have to. Know, too, that if they are treating you with the nasty, it will probably not be too long before he starts showing you his nasty side as well. They are kin after all. And we are products of our raising. Of all the things you might take my advice on, this one will probably be the hardest to swallow. I’m just telling you, I’ve been in two marriages, and seen a lot sister. I’m just sayin.’ Take it or leave it.

And last, but not least get with a man….

….Who Has Proven His Love For You.

Don’t get with a man who you think loves you. Don’t get with a man who you believe will prove his love for you when the time comes. Just don’t do it. Get with a man who HAS proven his love for you. Get with a man who has and is willing to prove his love for you along the way. And here is why.

#1. You deserve to know absolutely that he loves you. You deserve proof. You are worth that.

#2. Men talk a lot of talk. Men are good at sweet talking women. Men are good at getting the girl these days mainly because it is so easy. You make it easy. You make it easy because you fancy yourself in love and you do not want to lose him. But don’t you realize you are much better off without a man who doesn’t really love you back? If he loves you, he will be more than willing to prove it. This is how you will know he loves you. A man who doesn’t genuinely love you will drop out of the race. Why would any man want to do all of the things we have discussed? It’s an awful lot to ask of any man don’t you think? And believe me, he won’t UNLESS he loves you. Only love can make a man strive to give you the assurances you know in your heart that you need. If he can’t or won’t do the things above, then please hear me on this- he does not love you. Put these things to the test. Love will bear them out.

#3. If he doesn’t have to earn it, he will never really honor it. Men are just like that. They have to work for something to really appreciate it and attach value to it. Don’t deprive them of this. It has been said that “it is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” Truer words were never spoken. Give him something to respect by giving him the opportunity to prove his love.

Get with a man who finds you attractive and desirable in every way. Don’t get with a man who makes you a possible second runner up for his love. Never be content to be with a man who “settled” for you. It has also been said: “When someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation.” It’s that simple. Expect the very best from a man, never seconds my lovely. Because you are too damn lovely. Don’t ever believe for a minute that you aren’t worth more. There are, in fact, good men out there who will love just you, and all of you, and will wait for you, and will put in the effort for you. Get with those men. Well, ideally, just one of those men.:-) Leave behind the ones who are not worthy. Learn your worth.

I may not have had a Daddy to teach me my worth and I may have had to wade through time, experience, and much heartache before I finally chose to listen to, and believe, the voice my heavenly Father was whispering in my ear all of those long and difficult years. And I did, eventually, get the message. I did, eventually, learn. So now I am telling you the same thing with loads of love. Be wise in choosing who you settle down with. Take your time and make a good choice. You deserve that.

Remember nobody is perfect. And you WILL have to leave room for compromise and patience. Even the greatest guys are going to bring you heartache from time to time and you have to learn to roll with the punches (but not real punches). Men and women are different with different expectations and different needs. But if he loves you, he will be willing to prove it the way you need him to prove it. And once you know he loves you and has your best interests at heart, you have a better chance at overall contentment together even through the difficult times.

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