Category Archives: Sex And Other Stuff

25, Unmarried, Desperate

marry

 

Desperate Deborah.

That was my nickname for the longest six months of my life. Or DD for short. Seriously. I never really share this with people (so you know I must be sure that I’ll never meet one of you love you readers) because even now I get so embarrassed just remembering that DD was ever a thing *shudders*. When I was about 11 the kids I knew coined that term for me as I thought myself deeply in love with the one of the other kids on the playground and, ugh, it was the cringiest thing ever. I swore to never be desperate in love again.

You’d think I would have learnt from that situation but no. Here I am some twelve years later and I’m still desperate. Desperate to have the job I actually want. Desperate to fast forward from this awkward I-don’t-quite-know-what-I’m-doing-in-life-or-where-it’s-going moment to the bit where I have 2.5 kids, a white picket fence and a man that adores me. This post is about contentment. It’s quite funny because one minute I’ll be very content with life and firm in the knowledge that God has me right where I’m supposed to be, then a series of events will occur that leave me dissatisfied with life and desperate for things I wasn’t pining for the week before. No one told me contentment was something you had to work on and renew constantly when I started this Christian thing. I’m rather disgruntled.

Disgruntled. Dissatisfied. Desperate. Sigh.

When I realised I was in this space (again) I knew what I had to do (because I’ve worked through it before). This week, I set about reminding myself of God’s promises for me, of who I am to Him; remembering how far he’s brought me and all the things that he’s done for me that used to be more than enough but that I’ve now taken for granted. I’ve reminded myself that really, I’m suffering from a hefty dose of entitlement whereas I’ve been given more than I deserve (namely a eternal life spent with Jesus instead of the wages of sin, which is death). And yet, the desperation continued.

Until this evening (a few evenings ago depending on when you’re reading this) when a tiny, tiny voice whispered to me that nothing good ever came out of being desperate. Whatchu mean?!!! Of course good things can come from being desperate. Desperation pushes all kinds of people to survive and succeed. Desperation brings about action which invariably brings about results, right? Desperate for a job, so apply anywhere. Desperate for a man, so date anything anyone. Desperate for a change, so do everything within your power to be different to what you naturally are.

So often, we mistake determination for desperation. When has accepting a (terrible) job offer out of desperation, even when you know it isn’t right for you, do any good? When has finding a significant other, out of desperation, ever lead to a fulfilling relationship? Uhm. Yeah that would be never. I haven’t really had time to gather empirical evidence but I’m pretty certain that the decisions we make out of desperation worsen the situation because we believe we’re out of options and we’re not thinking rationally. It is much better, I’ve decided, to be in a position of gratitude and choice. So the climb back onto the wagon of contentment continues because quite frankly, desperation is not cute. Not even when it comes to God. As He told me this evening, don’t be desperate for me Daughter, desire me.

Determination. Desire. Daughter.

Love,

Deborah

 

23, Married, And Looking For Love


From very early on in our lives we are taught not to look for love in the wrong places. As girls we are told that our self worth shouldn’t be attached from what a man thinks of us and we are encouraged to love ourselves before we go looking for love. It’s funny because concepts like ‘loving yourself’ are never really explained and so people internalise this very differently.

Does it mean treating myself to that Mulberry bag that I’ve wanted for years?( I’ve literally wanted this £800 bag for so long I’m not even sure why I really want it but I just can’t justify spending that much on a bag, (no judgement if you can))

Does it mean putting yourself first? This one is really a yes and a no, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t depending on if you’re listening to camp “you deserve it,” or team “the world doesn’t revolve around you”

Maybe it means doing the things your future self would approve of? The health fanatics would justify their gulping of kale-filled green smoothies as loving themselves and so could those burning the midnight oil in the library for that qualification that might just change their lives.

Either way, I am none the wiser as to how best to ‘love myself’ and by the time we reach our twenties, the concept seems to become less and less important as we focus on finding someone else to be loved by. So much so that people are willingly volunteering in their thousands to take part in the social experiment ‘Married at first sight.’ I have been glued to the screen watching the USA version of this show and every episode I am in utter disbelief by the idealistic views of marriage and that people can feel so ‘ready’ for marriage without having ‘fallen in love’ or connected with someone, in the hope that marriage will bring them the love and unbreakable connection they strongly desire.

For those of you that don’t watch the show I shall explain. Thousands of applicants apply to the show in the hope that they will be found a partner that is their ‘perfect match’ by a series of experts, to be precise- a clinical psychologist, a sociologist, sexologist and spiritual adviser. Once they are matched (there’s 3 couples per series) they get planning for their wedding, first meeting their mystery other half at the alter. The couples are given 6 weeks to make their story a happily ever after as the nation watches in wonder. Madness. I know. More interesting than the concept #shoutout to the producer for such an intriguing show are the hopeful contestants and their ideologies about marriage. Frequently used lines:

‘I’ve achieved everything I want to in my career, the only thing missing is marriage’

‘I see the marriage of [insert parents or grandparents or friends] and I want that for myself’

‘I have so much love, I just want to share that with someone’

I’m not against marriage (quite obviously) I just find it interesting that people assume it will solve their issues of loneliness and help them find an outlet for all this love they have to give. You can be lying next to your husband and feel lonely and you will not always be in the mood to show them love and affection, because like all humans, your spouse will make you laugh and cry and sometimes you’ll feel like hugging them and other times giving them the silent treatment because they’ve upset you. Such are relationships.

If you’ve read a post before you’ll know where I’m going with this… there isn’t a marriage shaped hole in your life and it just isn’t wise to assume that the beautiful institution we call marriage will ‘complete’ you, because like all things, once married you will find something else in your life that needs fixing, and desire that. 

I love my husband probably more than I love myself but I can be simultaneously head over heels in love with him and completely empty on love for myself because like it or not, no-one can love me like Jesus can. There is nothing my husband can do to give me that reassuring completeness that Christ does and I hope that you will not fall into the trap that so many do of thinking that your spouse can.

Falling in love is lovely and marriage is a beautiful symbol of that, but the love of God…that’s sublime, incomparable to anything humans have to offer, and a relationship with God is quite frankly the only relationship that we should desire with every ember of our being. I may be married but I will always be seeking God’s love and affection.

Love you loads

Dani xx

The Problem I Had With My Marriage

  

One of my favourite parts of A level sociology was learning of the changing attitudes of women from the 60’s to present day and the affect this had on every aspect of society. With a movement that promoted equality of opportunity, women started to believe there was a career after childbearing and slowly began to see themselves in roles previously reserved for their male counterparts. Before you knew it women were running countries (Margaret Thatcher) running unions (Angela Merkel) and setting world records (Dame Kelly Holmes). You look at a world in which women’s aspirations are not curbed by their gender, well at least not to the extent that existed in the time of our grandmothers and mothers, and you can’t deny that there have been huge change. What hasn’t changed is the representation of women in the Bible and the roles that God’s word promotes we adopt.

The bible states some brow-raising statements that feminists would shun and many Christians struggle to find a modern day interpretation that fits into their understanding of equality between genders.

To list but a few…

‘Women submit to your husbands as you submit to God’
‘A man is the head of his wife’
‘Women are bound to their husbands as long as he lives’

So what is a women to do? You’re Christian and want your marriage to exemplify the teachings of the Bible, but have been brought up believing that women can do just what men can(and sometimes better). How are we supposed to look at our husbands like our bosses and still love them?

Going to marriage counselling caused the inner feminist in me to explode and I had to revisit what I understood God’s overall message to be and the kind of wife I wanted to be. Here are the two conclusions I came to…

Submission doesn’t mean slavery

In God telling us women to submit, he isn’t sentencing us to a life slavery. God is letting us know whilst all opinions are important, when push comes to shove, someone has to have the deciding vote. I know that has made every mild feminist squirm.

Why does that vote have to lay with the husband? 

Why not a mutual vote?

Why ? 

Why? 

Why?!

I want to give you an answer palatable with modern day feminism but the truth of the matter is that, that is the way God intended it to be. And besides, a good leader never assumes their own opinion to be superior to that of others, marrying a man that understands this should mean in essence a mutual vote or a vote that takes into consideration both opinions.

Men have an unequally difficult responsibility 

We read scriptures on submission and fail to consider the mother of all tasks that husbands have been given:

‘Husbands love your wife as Christ loves the church’

Reading that scripture made every seemingly sexist statement click and quietened my inner frustrations. Husbands have to love their wives unconditionally, following the example that Christ sets. God is trying to use marriage as a microcosm of his relationship with us his children. If anyone has had even the shortest of flings with Christ, you will know that we as God’s children have definitely not pulled the short straw, despite the seemingly unbalanced nature of the relationship we have with God which means we live a life not according to our own desires but God’s.

When I think of my own relationship with God, the infrequent effort I put into it, the times I’ve neglected him completely and when I’ve kept committing the same sins because I knew God would forgive me, I can’t believe that God would ever want a relationship with me, let alone tell my husband to stick it out. Loving someone unconditionally is a mammoth task that husbands are burdened with.

So to all my ladies reading

God isn’t subjecting you to a marriage of inequality. 

Marriage is a sacrifice, that women and men have to keep making

If you’re going to have to submit, it doesn’t make sense to marry someone that isn’t submitted to your God- (this deserves a whole other blog post which will land soon)

God loves you unconditionally and doesn’t view you as a second class citizen 

The word husband cannot be exchanged for all men- in the workplace, in your dreams and ambitions, in your friendships, God is your only master

Would love to hear any thoughts you have about gender equality in the Bible
Love you all lots and lots,

Dani xxxxxx

Is It Ever Okay To Cheat?

 

iggy

Whilst reading about Iggy Azalea’s guy trouble and learning that her fiancée’s friend filmed and released a video of him basically admitting that he cheated on her (crazy), my mind floated back to a conversation that occurred within my group of friends last week, centred around the following question that I also want to pose to you:

If you’re best friend found out that your boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife was cheating/had cheated on you and didn’t tell you until a year later, could you still be friends with them?

When thrown out there, an immediate outpouring of “hell naw!” “ah but that’s my boy though…” “I get why they wouldn’t want to tell me!” “what kind of friend does that?” etc. ensued. The discussion went back and forth, up and down, round and round, with most people sternly voting for or against the maintained friendship, leaving a few stragglers flicking to and fro between both extremes. The responses that were shared can be grouped under the three categories below:

  1. Yes
  2. Absolutely not!
  3. It would take some time, but I think we could be friends in the future

Now, you probably already had your mind made up milliseconds after reading the question (as did the majority of us when first hearing it). But, in the rare event that you haven’t, or just in case you’d like to check whether or not you may be swayed by other approaches, I’d like to give you a (hopefully) well-balanced, quick summary of the three angles from which you can select your final answer. So, here goes…

1. The “Yes” argument (or as I like to think of it, the “forgive and forget”)

Few responses will fall into this category. You are someone who understands how difficult it is to break such news to someone about the person they love and you understand the consideration of repercussions. To you, your friend neglecting to inform you does not equal disloyalty but shows that they really care about how you would feel, so much so that they waited and waited for the right time to bring it up which unfortunately never came. You are quick to forgive due to the fact that in that situation, you’re not entirely sure of what you would do and you understand that love and relationships are complex things that if possible, should not be interfered with.

2. The “Absolutely not!” side (the “bye Felicia”)

This is where the majority of responses will lie. Both people – your partner and your friend, hurt you. They’ve been looking at you for the past year knowing what was going on but pretending that everything was okay. You feel betrayed by both. You feel embarrassed and like the butt of a sick, twisted joke. You say, “if you were my real friend, you would never leave me to be oblivious and to be disrespected in such a way. Your loyalties lie with me.” You understand the notion of forgiveness and in time, you believe that you could forgive your friend but to you, forgiveness does not mean that you have to rekindle what once was. Forgiveness to you simply means, not seeing red every time you cross paths with or even think about them and being able to have a nice, healthy, cordial conversation. Ultimately, the trust has been eternally broken.

3. The “It would take some time, but I think we could be friends in the future” stance (the “balanced” view)

This is a close second and as expected, lies somewhere between the previous two. You are initially taken aback by what you perceive to be complete disloyalty but you also understand how difficult it can be to deliver bad news to someone you love. You are able to rebuild the friendship after a period of time because you don’t believe a situation like this should ruin years of deep-rooted friendship. Bros over… you get it right?

 Me? I’m B. 

I completely get all that stuff around it being difficult to tell a loved one something as hurtful as this etc., but I also know that lots of the things in life that we should do, are difficult. I personally cannot stand the thought of being taken for a mug, unknowingly, for a WHOLE YEAR. Are you kidding me?! The embarrassment would overflow within and I would be looking back on all those times myself, my ex best friend and my cheating partner were all in a room together, imagining what was going through both of their heads, cringing at the thought of it being the cheatation in question.

 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Harbouring ill feelings and adopting an eternal side-eye towards your friend who probably didn’t mean to bring you any intentional harm is unhealthy and can develop into something much greater. As we all know, forgiveness is essential in order to truly heal and to be able to move on, not to mention that it’s simply a requirement of us from God. Of course, forgiving is easier said than done, however it is absolutely essential that we try our best. You may not be the friend who omitted to disclose information in this hypothetical scenario, but inevitably we all find ourselves in situations where we desperately need forgiveness at some point in our lives. How can we expect that from others and more importantly, God, if we are not prepared to offer that ourselves?

“You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

 Now, the whole topic of cheating and getting back with someone who betrays you etc. is a WHOLE different thing and I won’t get into my views on that now because it’s not the point of this post, but I’d just like to leave this here if I may…

 “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” Proverbs 6:32

Adultery is destructive for everyone involved – you may think that you’re only hurting your loved one but ultimately, you are also destroying yourself.

Back to the topic though: which category do your views fall under – A, B or C? Let me know!

Love, Stella xoxo

To All My Single Ladies: 5 Steps To Catching A Man 

  
As I decided on this blog title, I thought about all the single men that might be put off having a read, but then my mind wandered to the wise single man who would use this as an opportunity to discover how to get caught, and so the title stuck. 

To everyone who clicked this link in sheer anguish at my audacity in assuming you need a man or even want one, I neither claim to be an expert and nor am I a sexpert, so sorry to everyone who thought they were going to get that kind of advice. 

With Valentine’s Day approaching I can’t help but think back to my oh, so recent single years and the awkward emphasis that this time of year would put on my aloneness. Now as a woman on the verge of diving into the biggest commitment love (or stability, financial security, and fear of being alone) can cause you to make in deciding to marry, I think it’s only fair I comment on my view from the other side. 

They say the grass is always greener but to everyone unconvinced who would really like to be one half of soppy couple number one eating fancy dinners this weekend, or the instigator in couple number two that couldn’t think of anywhere better to spend Valentine’s Day than Paris, please read on. This post is for you.
1. Stop acting like you need one

It is quite hard when you have a life plan that involves marriage and babies to not conclude that if not now, then at some point in the not so distant future, you will need a man. I hear you, and quite frankly I do think marriage and babies would be rather unachievable without one, however like all of our life plans of career success and comfortable lifestyles and all the rest, we need not stress about the how or the when. You don’t need me to tell you that desperation is low down on the attractive scale. Act like you’re completely comfortable as you are-in a long term relationship with God, and over time you’ll start feeling that way. Marriage and babies are nice but nothing can complete you in the way that God can, and so as appealing as another half may seem he will always be a want, not a need.

2.Be the man you want to meet

I know you read that the thought ‘What on earth is Dani talking about?’ I am not suggesting going under the knife to change your gender, but I am encouraging a good hard look in the mirror of your soul to see if you possess the qualities you are looking for in your other half. 

Desiring a man after God’s own heart that’s as caring as he is ambitious is a bit cheeky if you can’t say you emulate your own wish list. So many of us are looking for our better half, we’ve ignored what we could bring to the table in bettering our man. If you want a God-fearing man that’s driven to succeed and loves others with the same passion in which he loves himself, it’s important that you are actively pursuing a close relationship with God, asking him to show you how you can love others better and direct the steps of your career. If you can emulate your wish list when your man comes along you won’t need completing but complementing. What’s more inspiring than two great individuals coming together that are equally great for each other?

3. Start by being in the right place at the right time 

There are countless reasons for not entering into a relationship that I implore you to consider which can usually be routed back to not being in the right headspace to enter into a life-changing relationship. 

Whilst couples post their enviable Instagram pictures of them sipping Piña Coladas on beaches and of their fancy anniversary dinners what they don’t write in the caption below is of the continuous battle to not let their partner creep above God into first place in their hearts, and they don’t have enough space to describe the work it took to keep a smile on their other half’s face. 

Long story short, relationships are hard work and only really make sense to enter when there is an end goal beginning with M and rhyming with carriage. If you’re just after someone to go to the cinema with and to receive the odd bunch of flowers from, you aren’t after a man, just in need of some good friends. When you are ready to enter into long term commitment and are aware of the dragged out battle of resisting sexual sin coupled with the energy it will take for you to have a successful relationship, only then should you make yourself available for Mr Right. He’s not just the right guy for you, he comes at the right time too.

4. Pray for him

It might sound strange to pray for a man you can’t see but we pray for people we haven’t met all the time. Just like the children across seas in need that say a prayer for, your man is alive and kicking, navigating his way through life. 

As his wife you will be his main supporter, (even when you’re not his biggest fan) so why not start as you mean to continue? Once you’re together, you’ll have a long list of things you’d like God to change about him so you can be happy, why not start be praying for God to change the things about him that don’t make God pleased? 

The more prayer you put in now, the less struggle you’ll contend with once he shows up.
5. Let God become your king 

If you cannot submit to an all living caring God, you are going to struggle to submit to a man that is as flawed as you are and is just trying to feel out life, same as you. 

Practise serving your King and and when your earthly king arrives,half of the submission battle will have been won. (I’m aware that the submission topic is a whole post on it’s own, so I won’t say anything more before the feminists with their pitchforks attack!)

To every single gal reading, I hope this post has reminded you that don’t need no man, lol, but on a serious note, you don’t. You are completely complete in Christ and whilst a relationship is a nice addition to one’s life, a life without one is by no means less fulfilling.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a depressing season of mourning, why not spend the day with your first love, that way you are guaranteed a good time? 

 Let’s spread the love (of Christ) this weekend and show the world, single, married, in a complicated neither here nor their relationship, that above all Jesus loves them. 
Speak soon,
Dani

P.S. Please feel free to leave a comment and agree/disagree with anything I have to say here to your hearts content. Would genuinely love to hear from you. Xxxx

5 Signs He’s Not Into You

into me.jpg

 

Before two people decide to embark on a relationship together, there are a few questions that are usually asked. I wish I could be bothered to list some of these all-important questions, but it’s been a long weekend so I’m just going to jump straight into the most frequently and universally asked question:

Does he like me?

I unintentionally cringed while typing the above question. It’s a needy one, right? One you never really ask the object of your affections but instead have endless conversations with your bestie about. Hours, guys, we spend hours thinking about this question, trying to assess your behaviour, reading between the lines in order to figure out what you really mean.  Imagine how quickly things would come together (or fall apart) if we just asked him the question? Ah, but where’s the fun in that? Never mind, let’s just keep overthinking.

In all seriousness, it is a hard question to ask. The moment one asks, “Do you like me?” a host of conclusions can be erroneously drawn. Suddenly, you’re eager, needy, insecure and clingy, and nobody wants to be seen as anything other than strong and in control. Most of us fear vulnerability, often overlooking the power that can be experienced in our most vulnerable moments.

I can’t, in good faith, encourage you to ask your love interest this formidable question. Why? Because I wouldn’t. It would be wrong of me to encourage you, beautiful lady, to ask a man a question I wouldn’t dream of asking (even though it has its benefits).  What I can do is point you in the direction of various signs that he may not like you much at all. He might think you’re cool, he might even think you’re beautiful, but if he’s ticking the boxes below, start running in the opposite direction, knowing that you’re saving yourself from potential heartache.

Disclaimer: I thought of these signs at 6am this morning, so feel free to throw them out of the window. I, however, would encourage you to take note as they as based on years of research (okay, not really).

  • He never calls you.

I mean, never. He rarely texts you first and in the event that he does, his replies are inconsistent and vague. Also if he does call, it’s always after hours (because we all know what that means), or if he hollers, he’s always on his way home from somewhere else. Girl……

  • You never see each other

If plans aren’t initiated by you, they don’t happen. This is a warning sign because all the guys I know are pro-active. They want something, they go and get I t. They don’t want something, they make excuses. If he’s never asked “So when can we meet up?” or rarely tries to make plans with you, then girl…….

  • You’ve never met his friends

This isn’t too problematic, but I still consider it to be a warning sign. If you’ve been ‘talking’ for a while and he hasn’t brought you around his people, it’s time to throw him the side-eye. I’m a bit of a lone ranger, but there are times when my friends meet each other. Important people in my life tend to cross paths. Those that aren’t important aren’t mentioned and are rarely brought around the inner circle. Also, if you are brought around his friends and they look at you vaguely/don’t seem to have even heard your name before, then girl……

  • He talks to other girls

I’m literally rolling my eyes as I type this, but my experience with guys has taught me that most have an insatiable desire to speak to multiple women at once. Is it ego? Is it insecurity? I’m not sure. All I know is that some married men even struggle to show loyalty to one woman. How annoying. If you are in the ‘getting-to-know-you’/’I-think-we-are-a-thing-but-it-might-still-be-in-my-head’ stage and he’s talking to multiple girls unapologetically, even going so far as to mention them to you, then girl…..

  • He’s told you

I’m rolling my eyes again, but this time, it’s at our actions as women. Why don’t we listen sometimes? A man will tell us what he doesn’t want, it might even be crystal clear, but we linger in the background, hoping and waiting for the tide to turn. Isn’t this insanity? If he’s told you he doesn’t want you, leave. No questions asked. No crying (in front of him). Wish him well and delete his number; you should never, ever have to convince someone to love you.

 

The thing that struck me most when writing/thinking about this article was the hours I’ve spent obsessing over crushes, sometimes in very (very) hopeless circumstances. The love and admiration wasn’t mutual but the overthinking created a moment in time where things would suddenly come together. Imagine if I’d spent that time doing something productive?

As the year draws to a close, I’m forced to face the good and bad decisions I’ve made and the consequences these decisions have had. Imagine if I’d spent more time with the One who is completely and utterly ‘into’ me instead of thinking on those who, in reality, were not?

Last Sunday, in Church, I apologised to God for my lack commitment and faithfulness; for wavering, for being inconsistent; for being hung up on things and people who made me question my worth instead of clinging to Him, the One who continuously affirms me. It was a humbling moment.

I can’t tell you to approach your crush and ask him about his feelings , but I can remind you that you are loved; that you are wanted and longed for. I can encourage you to ask Him questions and I promise you that the answers, in whichever form they come in, have the power to change the course of your life.

All my love,

Joy xxxx

To All The People Who Ditch Their Friends Once They Get Into A Relationship

woman-choosing-boyfriend-over-friend

Stop it.

 

Love, Joy.

 

Okay, I joke. (Not really).

 

I am at an interesting age; I was telling Dani just yesterday that I feel as though I am finally-sort-of -maybe becoming an…adult? My employer expects to me to show up at work from Monday to Friday and I actually turn up, do my job, go home and repeat the vicious cycle the next day. I’m not sure my 19-year-old self would have been as compliant (she definitely would have quit by now).Psychologists have coined the term ‘emerging adulthood’ because they have accepted that the idea that one can go from teenhood to adulthood on their 18th birthday is slightly absurd.  There are marked changes that occur as an individual wanders through their early twenties and there is also a noticeable shift in the behaviours of those around you.

One thing I’ve noticed (and I’ve written about before) is the shift towards serious relationships and child-bearing. There are babies, baby showers, engagement parties and weddings – all of which are shared on Facebook (which I’ve stopped ‘liking’ coz ain’t nobody got time for those notifications. Don’t worry though; I do ‘like’ your latest life activity). For a girl woman whose main goals were to stage a play in a theatre and embark on a new course at university (maybe I’ve had my priorities in the wrong order) I haven’t been so blessed as to partake in these glorious activities unless spectating and participating via attendance.

I want to state here that I am not bitter. Don’t get me wrong, there is that niggling voice in my ear that sometimes whispers, “When will it be our turn?” (don’t lie, you have it too) but on the whole, I’m happy that the majority of my energy was invested in my dreams this year and I refuse to be bitter simply because I feel as though I am exactly where I need to be. I don’t mind that my friends have significant others. In fact, I am grateful to God for blessing them with people they can walk this journey called life on. I also expect the sudden shift in my position in your life; there is a new person who not only consumes your thoughts but also consumes your time. I get it.

I think my problem is the rapid and unexpected complete ditchment that so often occurs. Suddenly, Jess can no longer be found, Sally is no longer available to take calls and Jade always wants to bring her other half to the group meet-ups.  If you are the Jade in your friendship group, please stop. Stop forcing your significant others on your friends; we get that you like him and that you want to spend all your time with him; we even get that you think he’s so amazing that you can’t imagine why your friends wouldn’t want to be around him. But guess what? We don’t. Yes, he is lovely, kind and all the other wonderful things you’ve so often told us but we like you. By yourself. Yes, YOU. And you definitely won’t die if you have to go out by yourself, you know, the way you did when you were single? Yes, I’m sure it’s all coming back to you now.

Here are a few reasons why I think you should stop ditching your friends for your partner:

They still need you (even if you don’t need them)

I’m a big believer that you still need your friends, but even if you feel as though you don’t, they probably still need you. Don’t pull the ‘she knows I’m there if she needs me’ because (sorry friend for speaking on your behalf) she probably doesn’t know that for sure anymore. If you’re taking weeks to reply, cancelling plans at the last minute and only calling wheRob is messing up, then I doubt she feels as though she still has a place in your life. It is so important to be present for those you love; I firmly believe that one of our duties on this earth is to be generous and selfless with our time and our love.

They’ll be there when you need them

When life happens, when things go awry, they’ll be there to help you pick up the pieces. They’ll provide you with a shoulder to cry on and they’ll rally around you and give you the love you need to restore the parts of you that may be broken.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

You might be losing yourself

The really dangerous thing about wrapping your time and person in another is that you inevitably lose yourself. ‘I want to do this’ becomes ‘we decided it was for the best that I didn’t’. If you are so rooted in an imperfect being, if things begin to erode and eventually fall apart, you will feel as though you’ve been left with nothing; as though you are a lesser person, empty and without a purpose. It will take months/years to figure out who you are again, your wants, desires and goals in life. Spending time doing things you love with the people you love will continuously remind you of your own personal goals and purpose.

Your significant other becomes your God

The person you run to, cry to, build with and hope with. God’s place and position in your life becomes obsolete because now there is someone who can carry all your burdens. Well, I don’t think s/he’s strong enough to do so. Who can carry all your brokenness (and theirs) without breaking down? There is none that can carry you in the way that God can.

Hold fast to God, above your friends, above your significant other; He is the One; the only One.

My love today and always,

Joy x

PS: None of my friends are called Jess, Sally or Jade – they were all made up for the purpose of this piece.

 

 

 

Why Adele’s ‘Hello..’ Had Me In Tears Last Week

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Relationships are tricky business; they’re not for the faint-hearted. Relationships have an unique ability to change the make-up of your being; who you thought you were before it, and who you are revealed to be during it can contrast to the point that you can begin to question who you really are. I mean, when you find yourself outside of his house at 3.am in the morning wondering if you’re going to set it alight,thinking of putting laxatives in his food to punish him for any crimes he may (or may not) have committed, thinking of sending a mass email to his friends and families detailing what kind of person he really is, or if you’re stalking her on Whatsapp, (you know, just to see if she’s online) checking her tweets on the hour, or checking whose pictures she’s liked on Instagram, then you’ve really got to take a step back and evaluate where you’re at in life.

If relationships are the stream then I must say that break-ups are the freakin’ ocean. Nothing compares to the pain felt when relationships begin to crumble into a huge heap of cliché sayings such as ‘I don’t think this is working’, ‘maybe we should try being friends (which, by the way, is the WORST suggestion in the world) and ‘I just need time to work on myself’. Shut the front door, fam – we all know those are codes for, ‘I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE’. In most cases, there is always one person in the relationship who wants to fight for it and wants to make it work, but if I’ve learnt anything over the years, it is that both parties need to water the relationship in order for it to grow again: one person isn’t strong enough to bring a relationship back to life.

Despite this piece being littered with humour (albeit dark), I don’t take the dissolution of a relationship lightly. I have had my fair share of heartbreak and I look back on each of them as defining moments, moments which although broke me, also allowed me to rebuild. If you had asked me two weeks ago whether I was ‘over it’, I would have said that I was at peace with my encounter with heartbreak that I write about the most/think about the most. I would have said that I had learnt about myself, about him, grown in various ways and only really looked upon the relationship with wise, fond eyes, (without sounding too cliché) full of appreciation for the people we once were but aware that our moment had passed. A present tense ‘us’ would make no sense at all; the people that once loved were dead (sorry, morbid) and to try to rekindle the love that they shared would have been too dangerous (and incredibly stupid).

Now, I knew all of this. I know all of this. So why did Adele have me in tears last week, thinking about picking up the phone and giving him a call?

I decided to listen to Adele’s ‘Hello’ because despite not wanting to follow the crowd, I am intrigued (and slightly enamoured) by her and her paradoxical nature; she is willing to be open and vulnerable when creating music but is staunchly protective of her private life, literally hibernating for years at a time. Adele can only be known through her music and her enigmatic nature continues to draw me in.

First listen.

I was fine.

Cool.

Nice.

A bit dramatic, but whatever.

By the THIRD listen, I was scrolling through my phonebook, eyes full of tears, trying to see if I still had his number so I could say…’Hello…’

I joke, I joke (kind of).

 Although Adele’s ‘Hello….’ was heartfelt, heavy with meaning and emotion, I knew that it was unlikely that mine would be the same. On one hand, my ‘Hello…’ would result in Pandora’s box being reopened: every thought that had passed my mind would come flying out and I would apologise for what I did, what I didn’t do and possibly, maybe, show him how I had changed. That ‘Hello…’ would transform everything.

Or it wouldn’t.

In reality, my ‘Hello..’ would be weak, empty and disingenuous because I knew, deep down, that we had nothing more to say.

So instead of making that awkward call, I wrote a spoken word piece which I had the privilege of sharing at a concert I performed at last week. That conversation, with complete strangers, where I showed them my heart and my past, was somehow enough. That, and the 504872378 conversations I’ve had with God over the years where He literally worked out the kinks of bitterness, rage, insecurity and hopelessness. There is no song that could have healed me the way that He did.

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds

Psalm 147:3

Today I am grateful for His love.

Lots of love from my heart to yours,

Joy x

How It Feels To Be Single (While Everyone Is Busy Getting Married)

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I’m ten years old. It’s 3.15pm. School finished at 3pm and Mum still hasn’t picked me up from the school gates. Jessica, Becky and Shaniqua are all long gone, and it’s only Billy (the boy who picks his nose) left. Wait. No, he’s gone too. I stare into the distance, willing my Mother to appear, but as the minutes pass, that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach intensifies; I realise that I’ve been forgotten. Mum isn’t coming. I’ve been left behind.

I think the emotions I experienced while waiting to be collected from school as a child best describes the feelings that creep up when another friend gets engaged on Facebook. I’d never wish that Jess, Bex and Shan be left behind too, but as they wander off singing with their life partners, I’m reminded that I’m still waiting.

There goes Jess. There goes Shan. There goes Dani.

Will I ever be picked up? Will I ever be chosen?

I write for all my single people who don’t get consumed with jealousy when their friends get cuffed. There is genuine joy (awkward pun) and jubilation when my friends find happiness in the form of another human being (the concept of marriage genuinely baffles me, it’s another thing my mind cannot conceive; I’m supposed to love you and be with you FOREVER????) I think there is a part in all of us that seeks out that love from another, a love that differs from the love that is offered from our friends, family and even God. It’s different. Unique. It’s like a hunger that cannot be satisfied by anything else. For some of us, it grows beyond our control, becoming acute and desperate.

I’m not in that space yet. I think my desire for a relationship is more a consequence of external factors than internal forces. If everyone on FB wasn’t in the business of getting married and pushing out babies, I’m unsure whether a desire for a boyfriend would even exist. I’m content in my sphere, with my many projects and my crazy friends. But there are moments when those are not enough. When I realise that the books that I hold will never hold me in return. When my projects come to an end and all I have is time. When my friends already have weekend plans. When I’m in the house on a Saturday night, writing this post instead of being taken out by the love of my life.

In Dani’s last post she wrote about a question that has been posed to her since getting engaged.

 ‘Why not me?’

I have to admit I’ve asked this question. As pictures of baby scans, wedding proposals and the likes have filled my Facebook TL (Twitter isn’t as brutal), I’ve asked ‘Why not me?’ This question isn’t limited to changes in relationship and family status, rather, it crosses my mind when a friend moves to Dubai, when another earns £200 a day or when another buys their own home at the age of 22. When others seem to be enjoying milestones that seem inaccessible to me, I ask myself why I’m not in a similar position; what did I do wrong? I must admit, it’s a difficult question to answer without throwing a 3-minute pity party.

Despite the sporadic waves of lonely and the ‘Why not me?’ question, I’m in a pretty good place. I’m 4 weeks away from staging my first ever play in a theatre, I’m surrounded by people who love me for who I am, and while I’ve managed to bring my love for chicken and alcohol under control, both still bring me copious amounts of joy. I am determined to be content with this phase of my life. I watch plays, eat out and visit different Churches alone because I want to be okay with being on my own. I don’t want my singlehood to scare me or to spend this time watching, waiting and hoping some guy will stumble across me. I’ve accepted that I might just be alone forever. I hope one day my husband reads this post and laughs at my pessimistic view – but what if he never does? What if I’m single for the rest of my days?

I’m not going to tell you that God has someone just for you; there are enough blogs that are in the business of selling dreams. I am going to tell you that you have a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11), that the world needs you to be the best you (Colossians 3:23-24), that people are depending on you to show up and be great and that if you let it, your potential will be buried with you. I think being single can feel like a small pain in your leg. If you concentrate on it for long enough, it’ll hurt to walk and it will become all you think about. However, if you focus on the fact that you can write, feel, think and see, the pain will lessen and you will begin to see life in all its fullness.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get married. I don’t know if someone will ever love me enough to want to spend the rest of their life with me. The idea blows my mind and the thought makes me incredibly nervous so I’m obviously not ready.

Are you? Is it what you want?

Or do you want it because it’s what everyone else is doing?

If you are genuinely ready, then pray about it without letting the desire to be loved cause you to forget that you are loved immeasurably.  If you’re like me, humbled by the thought of marriage and perhaps too crazy/insecure to even see that far ahead, then remember that right now, in this very moment, you are enough; full, whole and complete.

Lots of love,

Joy xx

Why I Considered Divorcing My Husband

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Last week I was given the opportunity to fly out to Madrid with my school. I was asked on Tuesday and we were due to leave the next day which only gave me hours to prepare for the trip. I was excited, in awe of God’s favour (all expenses were paid!) and hoping to learn a few lessons to share with you here. Here are three:

1) Marriage is for life

Oh.

I’m not married.

I’m not even mentally married to a man and secretly hoping he will put a ring on it in the coming months. However, despite my unmarried status, I considered divorcing my husband during the first night as my colleague filled our bedroom with her loud, selfish, insufferable snoring. I wondered if I would ask my husband to sleep in a separate bedroom if he snored as loudly as my colleague. As I considered the different ways to quell the sounds erupting from her nostrils (yes, I considered smothering her, God forgive me) I realised that one day I would be sharing a room with a boy (wahhhhh) and when I eventually marry, there will be things my husband does (even during his sleep) that will make me want to scream. As a lay awake in Madrid, I thought about the different reasons people divorce (what does irreconcilable differences really mean anyway?) I can’t speak on divorce with much authority as I haven’t had the privildege of joining that elite club yet. Despite my inexperience I am almost certain that when people stand before God and their families, declaring their undying love for each other, they genuinely desire to become one and journey through the rest of their lives together. Maybe the importance of the vows they once said take a back seat to their spouses’ insufferable actions; maybe it’s an issue as insignificant as snoring or leaving the toilet seat up, maybe it’s a secret as damaging as an affair or remortgaging the house to fund a sordid addiction. Whatever the reason, divorce is rife, it’s happening daily around the world; people are walking away from the people they once loved with everything.

What would cause you to divorce your spouse?

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

At 2 a.m, I vowed to be resilient when I finally married, to persevere through whatever we faced, to forgive him when his words and actions hurt my heart, to stay when I’d rather walk away…and to roll him over with love if he snores. Life happens, things don’t always turn out as we plan but I pray that when the time comes, I do not give up on us and that he doesn’t give up on me.

2) Look up or you will miss the moment

As I walked around Real Madrid Football Club, the sun was shining and the place looked amazing. I spent a lot of the earlier part of the tour lost in my thoughts and staring at the floor. About halfway through the tour, I decided to look up and to live in the moment, to inhale it and to put my problems in God’s hands. In my hands, my problems become bigger and they are often mishandled but in God’s hands, they are reshaped, solved and put into perspective.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 42:5

3) Things take time

Before we took off, the plane was on the ground for a long time.It moved slowly, positioned itself and readied itself for the next phase. At times it felt as though it was taking too long, as if we’d never get off the ground. Yet when it started going, it moved with such pace and intention that my pupils were filled with awe as it began to rise.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to position yourself, how long you have to circle the ground before take off – you will take off. When you do, those that wrote you off will be in awe of heights God is taking you to. You will not grow weary, you will be strong, you will run, you will walk, you will be everything God intended – in His time.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Lots of love guys, have a beautiful and fruitful week!

Joyyy xxxx