At a young age we are taught to be kind and respect one another despite differences. There are so many characteristics that set us all apart, such as: personality traits, morals, values, skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight etc. We are all made uniquely and bring something special to the world.
There are times where we fail at respecting one another, especially when an individual is impolite or hurts our feeling. During those moments I like to reflect on the word and focus on verses where, love, is displayed. As humans we may fall short, but we can always get back up and try to better our interactions.
Currently, we are living in unprecedented times and can easily allow our hearts to be hardened towards one another. However, below you will find scriptures that reminds us, what love is and how we can respond to others with adoration.
Love your neighbor as thyself. There is no commandment greater than this. -Mark 12:31
Love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. -Romans 12:9
My command is this, love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. -Romans 12:10
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or a sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. -1 John 4:20
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. -Romans 13:10
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. -Hebrews 13:1-2
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. -1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; -Mathew 5:44
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 22-23
With all that is going on in the world it is so easy to become inflicted with fear and worry. I will be open and honest that anxiety gripped me while I was in the store one night. I viewed the empty aisles and fear seeped into my soul. As I felt my heart racing, I was reminded that God does not give the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He is in control!
I want to encourage us all that what’s happening in the world is not a shock to the creator. Though we may not understand completely, God will see us through. Let’s take some time out to re-center our minds on the Lord’s promises.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The definition of dating can be defined various ways which is dependent upon each individual. For most, it is enjoying the company of an individual that you are interested in knowing in a deeper level. That can include dinner dates, painting, visiting a nice museum or art gallery, but that list can go on and on.
However, when you are dating as a Christian, there are different standards that one should consider. Below you will find a list of tips for dating as a Christian.
1. Boundaries- As a devote Christian, the word teaches us to flee temptation. We all know that if you play with fire you will get burned. So as you are dating, it is important to put up strict boundaries so that you two will not fall into temptation. These limitations can consist of: inviting a third party along for your dates, hanging out in public vs. home, church hugs (side hugs).
2. Purpose- Dating as a Christian is intentional therefore, most call it courtship. When you are dating/courting you should have an end goal of marriage. If either party is not ready for marriage then it’s best to remain friends.
3. God- God is at the center of your relationship. You both should be pushing one another toward Christ and not away from Him.
4. Family & friends- Family and friends involvement is vital when dating because individuals act differently in certain environments. It is good to see how your significant other behaves around others. Also, it is important to gain insight about your partner from family and friends. Sometimes they can see something, from the outside looking in, that you may have overlooked (whether positive or negative)
5. Wise counsel- Seeking wise counsel like pre-marital counseling opens a level of communication and challenges your thought process on this journey towards marriage. Thought provoking questions and discussions can give insight into one another and can help your future marriage be successful.
6. Emotion control- As you’re dating it is important to keep your emotions under control and really understand your partner. At times, we can allow our vision to get cloudy but it is important to have a clear outlook on the individual that you’re dating. This also ties into number one, boundaries. When physical lines are crossed people typically begin to excuse or justify negative behaviors. Without physical contact (aside from hugs, holding hands) you are able to view the individuals actions sharply.
“Brown skin girl Your skin just like pearls The best thing in the world Never trade you for anybody else”
As an African American woman I take pride in my culture just as everyone else does in there own right. I love our history, foods, dances, music, creativity and so much more. I adore being a brown skin girl and would not trade it for the world.
Although, the majority has tried to strip us from the way we were created to be, we still stand proud and with dignity. We constantly have to rise up against the opposition we face. Our forefathers fought a good fight to get the world to where it is now, however, we still have to push through barriers today.
For instance, our careers and schools require our hair to be a “clean” look, which essentially means straightened and not in its natural state. Brown is under-represented on TV and fashion which majority of the models or actresses are of another race. We have to type key words “black woman” at the end of the sentence in a search bar, just to see ourselves on Google or Pinterest. Ex: Braid hairstyles on black women. Ex: Wedding dress on black women. We are not honored as widely as we should be.
Yet, here we are! Thanks to certain avenues like BET, HBCU’s, or producers such as Tyler Perry and more. Due to certain institutions and individuals that help promote black culture, we have lanes that were created to help us thrive. Standing strong like our elders have taught us and implementing the power of self love onto our offspring.
Brown skin girls, we have come so far from the horrific treatment our ancestors received, yet we have a journey to go. During this month of black history, let’s continue to honor our past by making our present impactful, so that the future generations can look upon us, as we do our precedent. Continue to push through the barriers, create new lanes, open businesses, and pursue your dreams despite opposition. Your yes, will expand the horizon even wider, for the next generation in line. This is black history! We are black history! Keep making history!
The search for happiness is a piece of life that one must find within. As I’ve gone through this journey called, life, I’ve realized that happiness is not based on external factors but internal. Of course, money and materials things make life easier to manage. Yet, if you talk to the wealthy they’ll say “No matter how much you have, you’ll still want more”. It is your inner peace and the small things in life that make life worthwhile.
I always say life is like a rollercoaster. You will have ups, downs, twists, and turns. The only thing you can do is hold on for the ride. What do you do when those valleys hit home? Money can’t fix rejection, loss, and pain. Learning how to master peace, while you’re going through a storm, is the art.
If you base your fulfillment on environmental factors then you will constantly blame your unhappiness on people and things. “I’m not cheerful because I have a flat tire”. “I’m not happy because I don’t have enough money”. “I’m sad because I didn’t have a date”.
We all can find something wrong with our life every single day. Yes, we will have moments when we are down emotionally but we have to try to not allow these moments to take control over our life. Below you will find a list of tips to find your happiness:
1. Find your passion- Seek out the activities that you love to do.
2. Protection- “Rejection is Gods protection”. Rejection can come in many forms such as: not getting job promotion, breakup, loss of friendship etc. Just know whenever life does not go the way you envisioned, that makes room for something bigger and better to occur.
3. Pray- Some of us just naturally have a pessimistic view on life. Ask God to give you a new mindset, to be able to see the world from optimistic outlook. “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”(John 15:15)
4. Contentment- Reflect on your life to evaluate where your discontentment is stemming from. Sometimes, our unhappiness comes from not walking in our calling, feelings of being lost, or not truly understanding who we are. Take time to journal and gain a deeper interpretation of yourself. Find out the “Why” or the root of where your unhappiness resides. Once you establish a strong foundation, contentment will be on the horizon.
5. Make a choice- We make decisions every second of our life,yet, some are more difficult than others. Just like we choose what to wear to work, or cook for dinner, we have to choose to be happy. At times that maybe more difficult than others, however, be determined to not allow our circumstances to dictate our life. We are in control and have to constantly cast down those negative thoughts that want to reign on your parade. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2Corithians 10:5
6. Counseling- Sometimes a person outside your circle can bring about an awareness. Our friends may not understand or you may not feel comfortable venting to them. Find a therapist near your community to discuss your presenting situation and to find deep meaning to your unhappiness.
One of the most hated days for many singles across the nation is, Valentine’s Day. It is a day dedicated to love which reminds many individuals of the relationship status they lack. It is a painful reminder that one does not have significant other, to share “love day” with.
I’m single, however, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays (not a public holiday). I have always equated it to love but not solely for couples. Even though it’s a day most recognize for couples, my family and friends have always made it a collective celebration. I enjoy it just as I do Christmas. Everyone gives and receives cute gifts and just enjoy the occasion.
If you are single this year for Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage you that fulfillment of love does not stem from a man or woman, but it comes from within. YOU. Two of the greatest loves of all are, self love and the love from God. If your heart is hardened by this day of love, find rest in knowing that you receive the best love from our Heavenly Father. Below you will find a list of tips to help you through the Valentine’s season.
1. Girls night-Girl, enjoy this day by engaging in your favorite things. Self love is one of the best loves. Go to dinner with your gals and celebrate yourself. Cheers to not settling and being content with life. (Vice versa for the Fellas)
2. Favorite-Order take out from your favorite restaurant and catch up on your favorite tv shows or watch your top movie.
3. Family time-Most people do not like going out on Vday due to the crowds. If that’s in the case of your circle, the, spend time with your family. What better way to spend this day with people that love you most.
4. Gift giving-Send a gift to someone and help brighten their day. You never know what the next person is going through. Plus, it does the heart well by doing good for someone else. “It is always better to give than receive”.
5. Spa day/night- Give yourself a gift to the spa. Get a nice massage, hair/nails done and enjoy “Me time”.
6. Choices- “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. That is true in a lot of cases but in others you know how to make the right choices. Just like you choose a show to watch or what you will cook for dinner, you have to decide to be happy and not bitter. So what you’re single! So what “everyone is in a relationship”! Are you going to sit there and choose to wallow in pity and despise the plan God has for your life? Girl/Guy dust yourself off and fight for your mind! Better to be single and happy than married and unhappy. If you do not master contentment in your singleness it will follow you into your relationship. Talk to married individuals and they’ll tell you, at times they feel lonely, unloved, not valued, or stuck. “Marriage won’t fix you and being single won’t kill you”. Emotions do not change just because of your relationship status. Managing your emotional state, is an inside job that you have to work on constantly, until you reach eternity. You got this!
The entire world was rattled, with the breaking news of the passing of Kobe Bryant, and eight other individuals on a helicopter ride. It is in these moments we are reminded that life is precious and to enjoy the moments that you have with one another. I pray for all of the families affected by this tragedy.
Losing a person you love and care about is extremely difficult. Although, grief is a part of life, there is nothing that anyone can do to stop the hurting you feel. Yet, there are steps one can take to aid in the healing process. Below you will find steps to help deal with your broken heart.
Talk to someone- Talking to your loved ones can aid in the healing process. Yet, I also recommend that you to speak with a therapist and/or join support groups. Similar to you going to the doctor when you have a physical ailment, you can speak with a therapist for your emotional health.
Grieve- Deal with the grief. There are seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. The length of time spent at each stage varies from person which is okay. Everyone processes events on their own time. Go through the emotions at your pace.
Pray- The bible says that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV. Vent to God about your issues he will give you comfort that you are needing during this difficult time.
Be patient with yourself- You may not be over this in a month or year. Be patient with yourself, this may take some time.
Acceptance- Once you’ve gone through the first six stages of grief mentioned above (#2), you will reach acceptance. Acceptance is when you have come to the conclusion that the situation occurred and now you are willing to create necessary adjustments and embrace the change. Your life may look different than you have planned but it can still be a joyful and good life!
Reminders for yourself during this difficult season:
Remember when you were child and were carefree? You enjoyed playing with dolls/toy trucks, riding your bike, skating in the street, and had to be in before a certain time lol. You had joyful attitude and were friendly to many. How you looked to an outsider was not important and you stayed in your own little world.
Then puberty hit and that is when views of the world typically start impacting your personal outlook and character. You gain concern about the clothes you wear, hairstyle, body shape etc. and suddenly the judgement from individuals, distort your self image. Your personality shaped to being nice in hopes to gain many friends or mean because of the hate and slander. Throughout middle and high school, you care about having the designer brands, body imperfections, character traits for popularity purposes.
College age through twenties, the years of “finding yourself” arise, and realize that you are trying to, undo the negative thought patterns that you gained. (If you are younger I challenge you to reject the judgement now) Have you ever thought about the reason behind your alleged flaws? Who planted in your spirit that you were too skinny or curvy? Who said you were overly dramatic? Who pointed out that very part on your body or character trait, that you now dislike?
This is what I call the, “Side Effects of Judgment”. Gaining weight because people think you’re too skinny or losing weight due to people feeling like you are too fat (unless doctor recommended) Plastic surgery because others feel your butt, boobs, nose are too small. Calming your personality down because people think you are too goofy/nice. Being mean and having a cold heart towards people because others hurt you. The list can go on but my question to you is, who were you before judgement and experiences of life, came upon you?
Life can change you, however, we have to recognize the cause of the change and understand that some alterations are not good for us. Many adjustments we make or the way we act towards people are caused by the trauma we have received from others. So I challenge everyone to analyze your life and heal. Try to understand the, WHY, in what you do. Are you changing this facet of your life based on the, side effects of judgement?
How to heal and recognize the, WHY:
Get a journal.
Write down what you dislike about yourself.
Recall the earliest memory of someone pointing out that flaw/being rude. Write it down
Write down how it made you feel and why
Now you recognize the, WHY, it is time to undo the thought pattern
Write down affirmations on how you are beautiful/handsome, the way you were made. Repeat this every time that negative thought comes into your mind, and until you truly believe it!
Remember, the world does not define you and we were all made in our own uniqueness. One of a kind! “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” -Psalm 139:13-14
Many of us have been in a relationship, which did not turn out as expected. You fantasized that your partner is “The ONE”, and you both will build a life together. Then one day, that dream comes crashing down and a break-up occurs. Both parties endure agony, however, the dumpee tends to feel more anguish. With most break-ups comes the sorrow and grief of letting go of that special person. Some of the greatest lessons I learned, happened during the grieving process of a past relationship. Below, I list FOUR top pointers you should not do after a breakup.
1. Keep your heart open to Christ.
As the dumpee, whew I sure made the mistake of turning my back away from God! I was super upset that God allowed this to happen. I felt like he did not have my back but had my now ex’s side. Especially since the ex quickly moved on, into a new relationship, which seemed to be going great (yes I am guilty for social media stalking lol…you’ve done it before too). It wasn’t until I saw this quote on social media, “Do not hold God responsible for what a person does to you.”Wow that spoke deeply to my soul during my heartache. I realized that my anger towards God actually kept me bound to the pain because it pushed me further away from Christ. Once I noticed my ill feelings towards Christ, I had to vent it to him. I simply prayed “God I am upset with you, I feel like you do not have my back” I went on and expressed all of the emotions on my heart. Afterwards, I felt a little lighter but I definitely was not healed. This was the first step to my heart being restored.
“God is near the to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”- Psalm 34:18
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”- Psalm 147:3
He will not leave you nor forsake you”- Hebrew 13:5
2. Protect yourself from the deception.
After the breakup, many questions resonated within my mind. What is wrong with me? Was I not pretty enough? Was she more saved than I? Maybe I was too much, too demanding, not caring enough, too caring, immature, if God cared he would not allow me to be heartbroken, how is God supposedly protecting me etc.. So many questions and statements circulated on a continual basis that, at times, I could not even process my thoughts. That mental battlefield sent me to a place of feeling inadequate. The rejection made me feel inferior and lowered my self esteem. Little did I know, I began to morph myself into a different woman because I thought if I dressed like her, changed my personality, I could be a good fit for him. I was right where the enemy wanted me to be, tangled in his cobweb of lies. During moments of vulnerability, that is when the enemy is most at lurk. You have to be on guard at all times protecting yourself from the deception and untruth. You have to fight back and cast down the negative thoughts.
“The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy”-John 10:10.
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made”- Psalm 139:14
“Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”- 1 Peter 5:8
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:4-5
3. Focus on Yourself
I wasted numerous days, even months trying to determine the cause of the breakup or trying to figure out how to get that ex back. What a waste of time! I became aware that I needed to shift gears and put that attention on myself. When I did that, God began revealing places in my heart that needed to be fixed. The focus went from him to me. I stopped caring about his life and more about mine. I wanted to progress and transform into the woman that God had created me to be. God opened my eyes regarding other areas like my career, purpose, friendships and more. When I stopped aiming my attention on my pain, I was able to heal and see the plans God had for me.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”- Jeremiah 29:11
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”-Psalm 9:9
Set your mind on things above, not earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
4. Use Time Wisely
This point correlates with step three. During the moments of concentrating on the reasons “WHY”, I wasted so much time, that I will never get back. I truly, regretted all the valuable time I gave up, as I was grieving the heartbreak. Now don’t get me wrong, grief is natural, but mine was extended to the point it was, unhealthy. Those moments I spent sulking in pity could have been a time of true healing, which I delayed. I have forgiven myself for spending so many days engulfed in sadness. Experience is one of the best teachers and I am now grateful for this struggle. There is a blessing in every lesson. I learned to not wallow in the situation, if it does not turn out the way you intended. The heartbreak happened, it hurts, but open your heart to healing immediately.
“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”- Mathew 6:27
Making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”- Ephesians 5:16-17
Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”-James 4:7
Now, this is not a recipe that will immediately eliminate all pain. Everyone experiences healing at different stages and it depends on the individual. I hope that you can take away a pointer or two from my past mistakes. One thing I know for sure is if God can heal me, he can do the same for you!
PS: What are some pointers you would give someone, post break up? Leave your advice in the comments below
It is a new trend where ladies get together and celebrate, Valentines day. Hence the change from, “Val” to “Gal”. Instead of being at home by yourself, it is a great way of celebrating your singlehood and exalt being content with life. With Galentine’s day the focus adjusts from relationships to self love, happiness, and pursuing purpose.
As we all know, Valentine’s day, is primarily geared to couples celebrating their love for one another. Yet, it can cause dissatisfaction regarding one’s relationship status. Especially, for the single ladies (myself included). We tend to build this timeline in our mind about how our life should route. “I will be married by 25, have kids around 30, one boy and one girl named etc..” However, if your life is not going according to how you imagined, this beautiful “love day” highlights those inconsistencies. So cheers to whoever came up with the theme Galentine! It gives singles something to look forward to and puts the spotlight on self love.
At the end of 2017, it was placed on my heart to have a Galentine’s Dinner Party, which was amazing!!! I have pictures below for your viewing but first, I want to give words of comfort to a special individual reading this. If you are single and battling your status, I have been there and know that it can be extremely difficult. However, I want to encourage you with these few tips:
Focus on the most important relationship
-The most important relationship is the one with Christ! I know it may sound cliché, and you may not want to hear it right now, but it is the ultimate truth. This is the best time to dig into your bible, Christian books, prayer, and get closer to Christ. By being near to Him, you will be able hear directions, heal, and pursue what he has for you. You’ll be so focused that you begin to enjoy life and your focal point will not be on your relationship status.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mathew 6: 33
“Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:2-5
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
“But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God. Let those of us who are mature think this way” -Philippians 3:13-15
“In order to love someone you must first, love thyself.” Figure out who you are and embrace your beauty, mind and soul.”
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 14
What God has for you it is for you!
This pertains to any and everything in life. If that job, relationship, marriage, kids, car, is for you, IT WILL BE! All you have to do is trust God and his timing.
“The Lord will never withhold a good thing from you” Psalm 84:11.
Amen! Now let’s view the dinner party! Hope you enjoy!
Galentine’s Dinner Party
“The table set up”
Each lovely lady received a balloon, rose, personalized card, homemade chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered marshmallows, and a bag with more sweets.
-The heart bag is filled with candy and a pen for one of the games.
-Clear heart bag, held the chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows
-personalized card for the ladies
IT’S GAME TIME!
– Two out of the three games we played. The first was “What’s in your phone.” The person with the most points won! The scratch off game was pretty cool! Scratch off to see if you’re the winner!
– I like to call this game, Musical Gift. The gift is wrapped in newspaper like a million times (literally). The host plays music and when he/she pauses the song, the person that has the gift, unwraps only ONE layer of the newspaper. He gift keeps floating around until you get to the last layer which is actually, gift wrapping paper, and that person gets to keep the gift! Thanks mom for the idea! She also wrapped the gift so I had no clue who would win it or when the game would end lol. So much fun!
Testing out the Snapchat Geofilter, that I created for the night. If you have an event coming up, just go to Snapchat and make your own. This one I made only cost me 5.99. Prices will vary depending on style, area, and length of time you want it to run! Cool idea Snap!!!
Personal shout out to my mother!!! She took time out, after a long day at work, to help me decorate and then off to celebrate this day with her man of 34 years (my dad lol)! She is the definition of a Proverbs 31 woman. She works hard and always tends to the needs of her family. Love you mom!
Cheers to self love, contentment, and pursuing purpose!