Category Archives: Sex And Other Stuff

Have You Ever Been Drunk In Love?

div3

EVERYBODY PAUSE! No, I do not want to know about activities that wouldn’t make it into a PG film.  Firstly, that would be awkward! Secondly, what you do in the comfort of your home with your spouse isn’t my business. Thirdly…EW!!!!

I shall re-phrase: Have you ever been so deeply in love, with a person of the opposite sex, that you think a small part of the reason your heart beats, is so you can be with them? Ok, maybe that’s too much, but you get the idea.  I’m not talking about the butterflies you get when good looking people cross your path. I don’t  mean the joy that washes over you when you realise that you’ve clicked with someone, and it could potentially turn into something that makes all the people who aren’t in relationships, (I’m a permanent member of this club), want to find ‘their other half’.

“Ever been in love?” Well, I for one can answer no. We don’t have enough time to talk about my boy issues (in a nutshell I’m awkward and probably have a slight complex). Pretty certain I’m not in this club alone. I’m even going to hedge a bet that most people reading will have answered no. (Congrats for all you who answered ‘yes’, if you still are in love, I hope it’s a long happy relationship that turns into marriage and produces beautiful babies). For those of who you answered no, just humour me while I briefly live out my dream of becoming a psychologist for the day. I’d like you to take a moment to ponder: ‘How do you feel about that?

I’ll go first.

Up until this year I was scared. Not scared enough to start joining Christian dating sites advertised on the tube (let me know if that works, anyone who’s tried). I was so mildly scared I didn’t even realise the fear. But it was there.Constantly. Since I first learned what marriage meant I’ve  had this niggling question that rears its head every now and again and gives me a fright:

What if I NEVER get married?

Growing up in a land where “I can’t believe your single” is woven in amongst the variety of chat up lines that don’t deserve reactions, eventually you start to wonder…

‘Why AM I single?’

‘Am I SUPPOSED to be in a relationship?’

There’s only so long you can blame singleness on the lack of viable male candidates, before you start questioning your part to play in the issue.

I should probably say now that by the end of this post, you will not have gained a magic tip to securing the spouse. Sorry! What I want to address is the constant desire to be in a relationship. Before you start hurling scriptures at me I’m one step ahead of ya!

He that finds a wife, finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

Despite contrary belief, this scripture justifies wanting to meet someone and do the whole love thing, it however, in NO way ,justifies an insatiable desire to have a ring put on it, at all costs. The Bible speaks of a plethora of blessings and great things that we should claim i.e wisdom, peace, provision. Why is it that we’ve placed such a high value on tying the knot that it consumes our thoughts and we won’t feel fulfilled if we stay single?

Disclaimer: I haven’t become so bitter about being alone that I want everyone to live a life of singledom and ready meals for one.

All I  want is for you to think about why it is, that you want the things you desire? My fear came from a place of wanting to be taken care of. Not in a gold-digger-esque fashion. I just wanted to be looked after, and made to feel special. I imagine it’s nice knowing that someone loves you.

Everything changed this year when I realised that I was scared about not getting married because I didn’t think there was any other way I could have these experiences.

Being taken care of, feeling special, knowing that I’m loved, didn’t seem quite within my reach if not attached to a six-footed, blessed with good teeth, man. Suddenly the penny dropped. I want all these things, but I have God. I lift my hands on a Sunday and open my mouth to sing that Christ is enough for me and yet do I really believe it?

I’ll admit, I do look forward to one day jumping on-board #Team Married, but that desire has stopped coming from a place of NEEDING completion. If I never get married then so what? (No babies, no white dress, but so?) I always tell God, if I’m never rich that’s ok. If I never get to work in my dream job, that’s ok. As long as I have you Lord, I am more than ok. If Christ is enough for you, you won’t need a mere human to feel loved and special and whole.

You will never be that person left on the shelf, because Christ chose you first. He loved you first and died for you before you could even say I love you too.

I might never get wed, but I’ll have lived having the best relationship known to mankind.

Love lots

(permanently sober) Dani X

My First Encounter With A Prostitute

pros

I’ve always been fascinated by women who use their bodies as a source of income. I think it’s more my need to understand everything than an actual interest in the industry, but even as a teenager, I always asked ‘why?’ Was it a love for sex? Was it love of quick and “easy” money? (I don’t think prostitution is easy money at all – that misconception couldn’t be further from the truth) Was it a means of survival? Vocations such as prostitution also caused me to question my ideals concerning sex and marriage; maybe the women who worked in these industries were the ones living liberated lives while the rest of the female population obsessed over the idea of the “the One” and continued to feel shamed as the number of men they have slept with increased.

I’ve had these questions in my head for years and up until last month, they remained unanswered and I was yet to have a real encounter with a prostitute. You can imagine my surprise when I met her, in my room, within the pages of my Bible. Her name was Rahab.

I’m going to give you key facts – if you want the full story, feel free to read Joshua 2:

  • Rahab was a prostitute. She lived on the edge of society and ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall.
  • Through the men she met (and slept with) Rahab came to learn about the God of Israel and the miracle of the Red Sea.
  • When the two spies sent by Joshua, seeking refuge in her inn, she knew that king of Jericho would hear of them and seek to kill them.
  • Rahab  planned the protection and escape of the two spies and when Jericho was eventually invaded by the Israelites, Joshua remembered how Rahab helped the spies and saved Rahab and her family.
  • She later gave birth to Boaz, making her the great-great-grandmother of King David, whose lineage continues on to Jesus.
  • In the New Testament, her name is placed amongst those in the Old Testament who had exemplified extraordinary faith (Hebrews 11:31).

As Christians, we love Rahab, don’t we?! She perfectly illustrates how the perfect will of God can come to pass and how he can use anyone.

But what about the people we have known who have given their bodies to men without a second thought? The people whose lifestyles we do not understand and do not agree with; do we love them too? How many prostitutes would feel accepted and loved if they visited your church?

“You sell your body?! You must be a bad person”

The above statement simply cannot be true. There is this notion that your sins have the power to decide whether you are worthy of acceptance and love, which is something my mind cannot fathom given that no man is without sin. If I am not defined by my sins, why should you be?

We have forgotten that God loves everyone and has a plan for each and every life despite the stage at which we meet each other – prostitutes included. We’ve stopped caring about the evidence at the crime scene and have become consumed with the crime itself, continuously making assumptions about a person’s faith, beliefs, worth and where they will spend eternity. In doing so, we fail to see the bigger picture and fail to view people in the love and light of Christ.

This judgment and this lack of compassion have resulted in people staying away from church because they are afraid to be judged and condemned. It has resulted in Christians coming to church, warming their seats and staying silent about the internal conflicts they face on a daily basis, afraid that the people they have come to regard as family will shun them once they find out what they’re struggling with. Some of us Christians have moved away from the Jesus that spent most of his time on the streets; he wasn’t in the synagogue playing happy families and arguing over who would lead praise and worship on a Sunday morning. In fact, Jesus continuously spoke to those who had been marginalised; the lepers, the blind, the tax collectors, and the adulterers – those were the people he spent his time with.

So what did I learn from my first encounter with a prostitute?

1)  Look at the heart

Do not judge others based on their actions alone. We are called to look a little deeper. This doesn’t mean that we should applaud and encourage sin but it does mean that we should look at the heart of another instead of looking solely at the outcome.

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart

1 Samuel 16:7

God doesn’t disqualify people because of their current circumstances so why should we?

 

2) God isn’t waiting for perfection

I’ve met so many people who feel as though they have to change dramatically before they come to God but the beauty of God is that when we come to him, everything changes. Rahab wasn’t  living a righteous life but her willingness to serve and her understanding of God brought her closer to him. She wasn’t perfect but she was willing.

 

3) You are more than your past

If you look in the mirror daily and only call yourself by the negative names you used to be known by, you will never truly move in the love and grace available to you. The only reason we should ever look back is to appreciate how far we’ve come. A lot of us are letting our past hold us captive but Rahab proves that your beginning does not necessarily determine your future. Where do we find her at the end of Bible? In the linage of Jesus.

 

4) Your family are important

When you’re finding God for yourself, I think it is your responsibility to let your family know about the changes that are occurring within you. It’s hard being interested in God when no one around you believes or generally thinks that he is a fictional character, but if you are finding faith, share it. Rahab didn’t just save herself and never look back; she grabbed her Aunty, Uncle, dog and cat and saved them too.

 

5) Love first

I think I realised at some point that life isn’t just black or white; most of us live in the murky grey full of good intentions and questionable outcomes. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible is clear that there is a standard, make no mistake about that (1 Peter 1:16 – for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy) and sin is intolerable to God, however, judging people before loving them doesn’t work in real life contexts and often does more harm than good.

Let’s make a decision to love first because love heals, love restores, it covers all wrongs, it is kind and it is true. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

So Rahab, thank you for the lessons….now to meet a living prostitute….

 

Lots of LOVELOVELOVE,

 

J xxxxxxx

What I Learned After Cheating In My Relationship

Cheaters_Revamped_Titlecard

I’m not your average cheater. You know that person that has to listen to a long diatribe from Jeremy Kyle about how they don’t deserve the person they’re with and how much their cheating habits disgust him….yeah that’s not me. I’m far from being a saint but cheating is just so out of character for me, that after the… shall we call it…‘brief encounter with polygamy’ (‘affair’ sounds a bit harsh and ‘betrayal’ just too deep) I went on an emotional journey where I learnt lots about myself and about the world.

I suppose you want all the gory details! I do have some shame so you’re just going to have to fill in the gaps but I will give you some background info:

Prior to the ‘brief encounter with polygamy,’ (even I’m starting to feel like cheating is a new cool thing with that title- it totally isn’t) I’d been in an  off and on, mainly on, relationship for a long while. Average puppy love turned intense relationship as puberty came and went and my hormones finally relaxed  long enough for me to decide how I felt about things. That was me: average girl in love. I was happy! When I wasn’t happy, it was the usual breakdown in communication/ misplaced expectations that everyone goes through. What I am trying to say is…

I didn’t have a real reason to cheat.

I know it sounds cliche but one thing actually did lead to another and then BAM, I had made a mistake that filled me with regret. But hey, you didn’t sign up to listen to my sob story, I’ll get on to the useful things I learnt.

1)      Everybody can cheat

I guess this sounds like I’m justifying my actions but I promise you, that isn’t the case. After going through the whole period of regret and confession ( I had to confess; I’m a bad liar, and I knew he’d know what I’d done) I realised that I was wrong to think I was above cheating. I don’t know if I thought I was above cheating  because of the length of my relationship or because of how great the relationship was going at the time, but cheating forced me to wake up and realise that I wasn’t less likely than the next person in a relationship to make such a grave mistake.

2)      Dragging out apologies doesn’t help

So the morning after I had still had that half-sick feeling you get after doing something you regret. I was determined to make it right between us and I vowed to do everything in my power to make up for the day before… but it wasn’t the same. I didn’t know whether to say something or just carry on as normal. I couldn’t just push it under the rug because I wasn’t allowing myself to stop feeling guilty. That’s when I realised I had to address the problem.

3)      Cheating doesn’t mean it’s over

I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same: I didn’t deserve to be in an amazing relationship when I couldn’t even stay faithful. I won’t try and defend myself because you’re right. However as Christians, we are able to enjoy a love we do not deserve every single day. I’m so aware that I don’t deserve the love God gave me when Jesus died on the cross.

Last week I slipped up and for a moment put a priority above God. I deserved punishment but instead he surrounded me with his love when I came to him to ask for forgiveness; I once again realised the true extent of his greatness despite how underserving I am.

I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now: I was cheating on God

We’ve all heard the analogy that John used describing Christ as the bridegroom and the church as His bride. Have you ever thought about what that means in real terms? Here’s what I realised: Amongst all the great things that come with a relationship, there are rules. You know the difference between casually seeing someone and then becoming an item? Now you have categorised your relationship , categories bring boundaries and preconceived rules about what is and isn’t ok. Unless you sign up to this new age logic which states that no-one can be faithful so we should all live in polygamous relationships, you understand the importance of staying faithful. When you entered into the relationship with Christ you committed yourself to him and him alone. We  never think of being married to Christ but it shouldn’t even be too hard to imagine. God is a jealous God. He doesn’t want to share your heart with Tom, Dick and Harry, or,  Coursework, Boyfriend, and Career.Staying faithful to God means keeping him as number one. Everything can have its proper place in your life but nothing else should inhabit your heart the way that God does; nothing else should take his place.

I hope you can learn something from my experience of cheating. You need to invest into relationships to keep them going. Also, in the same way temptation causes people to cheat in human relationships, temptations can cause our eyes to wander from God. From someone who’s been there and done that; it’s not worth it. Nothing and no-one can compare to the love that God gives you. Sin might be sweet for a night but we all have to live through the morning after. Let’s aim to stay faithful, affairs just aren’t worth the scandal.

Love lots DC X

Ruth 4: Is ‘Happily Ever After’ Possible?

happily-ever-after

 

Dani said

First of all we can see that Boaz is honouring his word. He told Ruth that he would ask the other relative if he wanted to redeem what belonged to Elimelech, and that’s exactly what he did. Some people go as far to say that your word is everything you have but what the Bible says is that life and death is in the power of the tongue. Words are so powerful and we can all follow in Boaz’s example and commit to being accountable to the words that come out of our mouths.

Mathew 5:37

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’

The second thing I learnt was that just because things seem like they’re going wrong, doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a happy ending. God works all things out for the good of those that love him (Romans 8:28). When the relative Boaz asked said ‘YES’, my reaction was ‘WHAT?!?! What do you mean yes??? This isn’t how the story is meant to go!’ It’s crazy when you know how something ends but you still get worried at the bumps in the road and twists and turns of the plot.

News flash: God said he was going to give you everlasting life. You already know how your life ends up, so why are you getting scared by the things that don’t go as planned?

Finally, I learnt not to dismiss the things that others label irrelevant. In verse 15, Naomi was told by the village women that Ruth was better for her than 6 sons. For the comment to be made just goes to show that women were dismissed in terms of their ability to provide. The fact that God uses Naomi is testament to the fact that dismissal is unwise. God can use anyone and anything to bring about your breakthrough. Stop dismissing the answer to your prayers because it’s not packaged the way you thought it would be.

 Joy said

Ruth 4: 3-6

And Boaz said to the family redeemer, “You know Naomi, who came back from Moab. She is selling the land that belonged to our relative Elimelech.  I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish. If you want the land, then buy it here in the presence of these witnesses. But if you don’t want it, let me know right away, because I am next in line to redeem it after you.”

The man replied, “All right, I’ll redeem it.”

Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.”

“Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.”

Can you hear the change in tone too?

At first, our dear, old, nameless friend is more than happy to redeem the land and enlarge his estate, but once it becomes clear that it will endanger his own inheritance, he backs away so quickly, he might as well have disappeared off the page. Although that was meant to be a joke (I’m pretty sure none of you laughed) I would like to highlight that this man was not named in the text; he was merely the hurdle that Boaz had to jump over to get to Ruth. This man almost falls through the cracks of history, his role becoming insignificant and in many ways, forgotten by many.

Similar to (I’ve even forgotten her name..) P…P…(I’m going to have to google her name – oh the IRONY!) Orpah… (That’s her name -woops) who we explored in Ruth 1, they both had an opportunity to become an integral part of biblical history and but they both failed to take hold of the blessing with both hands because they couldn’t see it – they lacked foresight. Had this man known how God’s hand was upon Ruth, working things out for her good and ordering her steps, he would have surely looked upon his inheritance and realised that it paled in comparison to the blessings of God. This is a lesson to us all. Let us not become obsessed with what was is currently in our hands because God always has more for his people. We never know how one choice will change the course of our lives so we must make decisions in light of the God that we serve, his desire to bless us and the way he uses the most unlikely situations to do so.

Ruth: the love story

The story of Ruth is beautiful love story. Although it doesn’t have the singing in the rain, the candles, the bed of roses and the great declaration of love Disney films have taught us to long for, this story speaks of true love, a love that transcends time and gender. May God bless us with people like Ruth who will be willing to walk with us when life backs us into a corner and threatens to take the very things we have held closest to our hearts.

Life will not be easy – there are still moments of pain and joy (awkward pun) that we are yet to experience and these moments cannot be avoided. My prayer is that I will be like Ruth and stick around when things are going badly for those around me. I will not leave; instead, I will carry those that I love until they are in a place where their hearts are once again filled with love and laughter. My prayer is that we will also find our Boaz, not just in love, but also in ministry, in our workplaces, in our friendships. Not everyone will see and appreciate who we are and what we can offer but our Boaz will see past the physical and look at our hearts; they will see our intentions and seek to protect us.

It took me a long time to grasp the overwhelming and unfailing love of God because it goes beyond everything I know to be true of the concept of love. For the most part, love exists upon conditions and requirements – once we fail to meet those requirements, the love is snatched away or given in lesser proportions. The love of God does not exist in this way; it is unconditional, unchanged by my actions. There is nothing I can do to make God love me any more and there is nothing I can do to make God love me any less. This love manifests itself in many ways and here I believe we see a perfect example of God’s perfect love. When we met Ruth, all that surrounded her was death, poverty and long-suffering and yet by of chapter 4, Ruth is married with a child and Naomi is a grandmother, something she initially thought was impossible.

I believe that love has the power to bring life to seemingly dead situations and this is exactly what we witness here. Where there was once death, there is only life and Ruth’s love for Naomi carries them to the end of their story together.

Thank you so much for reading with us, we hope you learnt as much as we did!

All our love,

Dani & Joy xxxx

 

Why I Stopped Trusting Men

circle-of-trust

It makes you sick when you see people lie and steal and cheat their way into getting what they want in life. We’re told that it’s dog-eat- dog world but the last time I checked, no-one was barking and cannibalism was still frowned upon. FYI we are not dogs and there is no reason to behave as though we are. Is it true that we’ve got to sell each other down the river just so we can get a little further along the stream? It’s like life is one big competition and it’s not enough for a person to win, they have to see you lose. I guess I should put a disclaimer out now, when I say I’ve stopped trusting men, I’m referring to the genderless man: I have absolutely no trust/faith/belief in mankind (myself included).

I guess it would be interesting to hear about how this one guy broke my heart and how that has put me off all men, but we have bigger things to worry about than my love-life (which is non-existent just in case you were wondering! Jesus is my main squeeze, my side dish and my dessert- for all who were just about to begin a Facebook search to find out about my imaginary mystery men). What really scares me is that we’re living on a planet thriving with Judas Iscariots waiting to sell out their ‘bestie’ and ‘ride or die’ for less than 30p let alone 30 pieces of silver. It’s crazy because we’re all running individual races and yet people are still misguided into thinking that knotting other people’s shoe laces so that they stumble, will help them get ahead.

Newsflash: you won’t win your race because I have lost mine. We aren’t in constant competition. It brings me no pleasure to see you fail, and my success doesn’t make you any more or less of a failure.

The one thing I can remember from P.E (apart from Hockey is really difficult and Rounders isn’t fun unless you’re batting) is that during a race, you have to keep your eyes focused on the finish line. The speed of your neighbour isn’t of concern to you, the ground that you can cover is most important. What’s worrying is that we’ve become so focused on our individual races that we think our lives should revolve solely around pleasing ourselves. Every day on twitter it’s; “do what makes you happy” and “cut out the people who don’t bring you joy,” but what about loving your enemy and helping out those who hate you? We have switched focus from, obeying what God tells us to do, to, focusing on leading a life that brings us ultimate pleasure. What if Jesus had lived by that mantra? What if Jesus hadn’t put his desire to fulfil the will of God above his desire to please his flesh?

While I was reflecting during Easter weekend, I just had to give glory back to God. Jesus was sent to Earth, with a mission and a really important one at that. Jesus was tasked with taking on the sins of the world and offering himself as a sacrifice on behalf of all of us so that we’d have the opportunity to fellowship with him; it would have been catastrophic if he failed.

So often we’re given huge tasks from God, tasks that our bigger than ourselves, and when push comes to shove and it gets painful and the future becomes daunting and we ask God if the cup can pass us over.  Unfortunately some of us fail to emulate Jesus and put God’s will before our own; instead we withdraw into a quiet corner and tell ourselves we wouldn’t have succeeded anyway.

God doesn’t call us to specific tasks because we have great C.Vs  and impressive skill sets, he is giving us the privilege of being a small piece in the masterpiece he’s already created the blueprint for. Being used by God is such an honour and yet we’re so at peace with routinely letting God down, consequentially forgetting about the people that we’re inadvertently letting down by not following through. I don’t trust people because people are fickle. They’re like Judas; with you one minute, and selling you out the next. Promising they will be there one minute, and bailing on you the next.

I’m so grateful that I can put my trust in the only man that’s never let me down. He said he was going to give up his life for the Earth and he came through. He said that he was going to forgive my sins and everyday he comes through. He said that he was going to surround me with his love and everyday he fills my heart with it. He said that he was going to never leave me or forsake me and there’s not a moment when I don’t feel his presence. He said that he was going to wipe away my tears and when I’m weary he gives me rest. He said that he was going to use me to do great things and here I am writing this post.

I serve a God who is so much bigger than me, for who words aren’t enough to capture his unfailing love. I trust God because he said he’d do it and he did it, and if there was take-two, he would do it again.

Psalm 146:3-5

Do not put trust in princes, or in human beings, who cannot deliver. Their life’s breath departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans die. How blessed is the one whose helper is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Love ya plenty

Dani xxx

Ruth 3: The Art Of Marriage Requests

187y8gzkjtcsqjpg

Dani said

Some background info for y’all:

Boaz was Ruth’s guardian redeemer. That meant that it was his responsibility to protect the interests of needy family members, redeem land that poor relatives had sold, and amongst other duties, the closest male relative was supposed to marry the widow. What stands out here is that Ruth asks for more than she (by law) deserves. When Ruth requests marriage by carrying out the instructions as given by Naomi, Ruth asks Boaz for more than he is obligated to do. We learn this when Boaz says v12-13 that there is another more closely related to her than he is and that he will first ask him first if he wants to carry out his guardian-redeemer duties.

This chapter is really all about entitlement and we can learn a lot from Ruth.

1. If you don’t know what you’re entitled to, you won’t be able to request it. V9 she says: ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me since you are a guardian redeemer of our family.’

If more of us knew what God had already promised us, we wouldn’t be comfortable accepting the hardships and ‘realities’ of life. I’m not saying that being a child of God will mean a life without suffering, I am saying that when there’s no food left in the fridge and the cupboards are looking bare, it’s time to remind God that his name is Jehovah Jireh and therefore is your provider. Life and death is in the power of the tongue, so we have to start speaking life into all our seemingly dead situations. Even something as frequent as the common cold, at the first sign of a blocked nose I’m there confessing scriptures and demanding my healing-ain’t nobody got time to be sick! He said his grace is sufficient to supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19), so stop accepting the situation and start claiming what you deserve. If you can’t ask for what you’re entitled to, how will you have the courage to believe for your heart’s desires?

2. Don’t be ashamed to ask for more.

Watching Oliver Twist puts most children off of being cheeky and encourages us to just accept what we’ve been given.(I think I was part of the minority because I have memories of a LOT of second helpings as a child #ChubbyCheeksDontMakeThemselve.) For all those who are part of the majority; NEWSFLASH: you serve a God who says he will do exceedingly above all that you could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). If that’s not encouragement to ask for the outlandish then I don’t know what is. Those who don’t ask don’t get, and miracles don’t just fall into people’s laps. Before Christ healed people he asked them what it was they actually wanted. The woman with the issue of blood actively reached out to touch the hem of Christ’s garment. You can be sweet and polite and manage what you have or you can be bold and call forth the things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17). If you want it, go get it.

 3. Fake it till you make it.

When Naomi was telling Ruth to dress up and smell good v3, it wasn’t to make Boaz lust after her, but because that’s the preparation that brides underwent. Ruth was seeking after marriage so she prepared herself as a bride. I think a lot of us are just waiting to receive what we’re praying for. Try something new and act like you already have it. If you want a job, stop leaving the house dressed like you’re unemployed and hopeless. You may not ‘feel’ like it but when did going with our feelings ever seem like the best motto to live by. God knows I rarely ‘feel’ like going to Uni, but missing all my lectures and classes does seem like a sure path to failure, if not a waste of £3.5 thousand a year.

So, in a nutshell Ruth shows us to; know what you’re allowed, ask for what you want, and act like you’ve already got it.

Joy said

Ruth 3:1 One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for.

Naomi did not take what Ruth has done for granted. Ruth stayed with her, and worked to provide for the both of them. Others may have kept Ruth a prisoner and exploited her loyalty and kindness, however Nai wishes to find Ruth a home so that she will be provided for. I guess this taught me that there is a way to treat those that have been merciful to you. Do not forget who carried you through your storm and do your best to bless them when the opportunity arises.

Ruth 3:5 “I will do everything you say,” Ruth replied.

Don’t get me wrong, this is great response. Ruth is a listener and she trusts Naomi to the point that she takes whatever Naomi says and does it with her whole heart. This works out for her in the end and God blesses Ruth abundantly.

 HOWEVER.

Should you do everything an elder tells you to do? Imagine if Naomi had said “go and sleep with Boaz tonight and secure your man properly”, I’m pretty sure Ruth would have said “sure thing Mama Nai Nai, your wish is my command”. Not in those words, of course, but you get my drift (well I hope you do). It is so important to seek the counsel of women and men of God who are rich in experience because they can inform and better the choices that we make. However, in this modern age, we have access to God through prayer. We don’t have to make elaborate sacrifices and kill a goat, cow or young dove before we approach him with our thoughts, concerns and questions; that time has passed. We don’t have to rely on the Christian elder for everything because we have access!

I’m not saying every little thing you must get on your knees and consult God about i.e. your mum says go and shower and you decide to seek God first about it. No, that’s a little extreme and my belief is that God wants us to think for ourselves otherwise he would have made us robots without the ability to make choices. But I do believe that God wants us to seek his face, his will and his counsel before we seek advise from those around us. If someone tells us to go lay at a man’s feet or I guess now it would be “go and tell Barry that you two are destined to be together” it is your job to seek your Father in heaven first before you act. Obeying every elderly person you trust can be a dangerous path to walk because while their intentions may be pure and their experience priceless, they won’t always know what is best for you. The Bible says “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” and I honestly think that is the best thing to do – always.

Piece xx

Boy Meets Girl: Ruth 2

 

boaz

 

 

 

I think it’s true when they say that our generation like things to be handed to us. We have this sense of entitlement, believing that we should all be millionaires and yet some of us aren’t willing to sit down and create ideas worth buying.

Ruth 2:2

One day Ruth the foreign woman who returned with Naomi from Moab approached Naomi with a request. Ruth: Let me go out into the field and pick up whatever grain is left behind the harvesters. Maybe someone will be merciful to me. Naomi: Go ahead, my daughter.

It’s crazy the amount of times I have sat down and thought “Joy, WHY didn’t you think of YouTube? Why didn’t you create Facebook? What have you been doing?!” In truth, there is no shortage of ideas but I have to ask myself if I am willing  to pour myself into a new project.  I ask myself how prepared I am to take the steps after the idea has been birthed and how faithful I will be when following through.

The answers to these questions usually stop me from thinking up the next social networking site. What I love about this passage is that it shows us what we should do when we have new ideas. Ruth didn’t wait for someone to have mercy on her and hand her success (or food lol),  she had an idea, followed through and positioned herself for the next phase of her life. Ruth took initiative and worked hard, bringing what was just an idea into being.

 

Let me go out into field and pick up whatever grain is left behind by the harvesters.

 

How humble of Ruthie, taking the ‘leftovers’. How many of us would be willing for others to know when we  desperately need help? How many of us would even be willing to toil in the fields?  We are so concerned by the opinions of others that we could be starving and yet still refuse to place ourselves appropriately in the field to receive the help we need. People can only help us if we show them that we need help. I used to get so angry because I would give so much time and advice to others, but find myself alone when I was battling an issue, because I just expected those around me to just know that I was going through a rough patch. I’ve learnt that after kneeling before God in times of trouble, we must dust off our knees and seek help from those that God has placed around us. This might mean going out into the field and hoping someone leaves the scraps behind or it might mean telling a trusted friend that we need to borrow some money because we cannot afford food that week.  As my sister often says, there is no dignity in poverty – we have to reach out!

 

Ruth 2:7

She came and asked my permission to pick up the grain our harvesters leave behind and gather it all into sheaves for herself. Except for one small break she has been here all day, working in the field from the morning until now.

 

Good old Ruthie, once again showing us there is a better way to live. I love that Ruth was hardworking. She only took a small break and worked from the morning until whenever Boaz made his grand entrance.

How many of us take pre-breaks? Oh, you’ve never heard of a pre-break? During my lazier years I would take a break BEFORE the work had even started just to prepare myself mentally for the work that was ahead. Of course, I know now that a pre-break is simply procrastination – which is a “thief of time and a killer of destiny”. I honestly just hated doing any form of work during those years. The question is how much more would we all achieve in our day-to-day lives if we pushed ourselves to the limit and stopped taking excessive food/toilet breaks that when tallied up probably last longer than the time we’ve spent working?

Ruth was in a desperate place – if she had not worked, she would not have eaten and at this point in their lives there was no one else to ensure that this happened. Some of you reading this feel just as desperate as Ruth did and are still not working as hard you should be. Listen, faith without works is DEAD (James 2:17). You can pray as much as you want but if you don’t set that alarm, wake up on time and send out those job applications, you’re still gonna be praying for a job 5 years from now. We have got to work hard – we have to be great! I am so passionate about being excellent in every aspect of my life and doing everything with my heart turned towards Christ, knowing that I should only offer my best because ultimately I work for Christ, not myself or anyone else (Colossians 3:23-24). Work hard, work tirelessly, work relentlessly and work with everything within you. Yes, take small breaks but then go again, harder than you did before.

 

Ruth 2:9 Watch the harvesters, and see which field they are working in. Follow along behind these servants of mine. I have warned the young men not to touch you. If you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars my young men have filled for the harvesters. 

 

Now onto Mr. Boaz, our knight in shining…sandals?  I know some women are praying for their Boaz to arrive and until reading this I didn’t really understand why.  Oh, but now I see! Boaz was great. Boaz was rich. Boaz was perceptive and intuitive. Boaz was a believer. Boaz was respectful. Boaz found a way to both protect and provide for Ruth in their first interaction. What a GUY! I can definitely see why some women are asking God to send a Boaz their way.

 

Ruth 2:11 Boaz: I have heard your story. I know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your own husband died. I know you left your own mother and father, your home and your country, and you have come to live in a culture that must seem strange to you. 

 

The reason I loved Boaz was because he saw Ruth’s heart before anything else. He was drawn to her heart before he was drawn to her body, beauty or intelligence. Some of us women are building our lives around a man we haven’t even met yet by doing thisnot doing that or by trying to attain attributes we believe he will desire in us. I feel it is important to note that Boaz helped Ruth because of what Ruth did long before they met, not because she manipulated or changed herself to suit his (potential) needs prior to their meeting.

Oh. I am giving you all kinds of truths in this post!

ANOTHER key point: Ruth’s reputation went before her; Boaz had heard her story before they met. Listen! I am not here to tell you how to carry yourself as a man or woman but I will say that people will always talk and your actions, good and bad, will often determine what is said about you when you are not around. That may not necessarily be a reason to act differently but it is certainly something to think about.

And I’m DONE.

LOTS OF LOVE JOY.

What I Learnt After I Got My Heartbroken

Heartbreak-300x224

I think it’s strange that we only associate heartbreak with ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. I’m sure you clicked this link to read all the gory details about a relationship you probably didn’t even know I was in. The truth is heartbreak doesn’t just happen after the dissolution of a relationship. The first time I experienced heartbreak, I was 17 and I’m pretty sure I was still invisible to the male species. It was during that period of my life, which was shrouded in darkness, that I realised that heartbreak doesn’t just occur after the love of your life leaves you. It happens when your Mum dies unexpectedly. When you find out your best friend has been sleeping with your husband. When the friend you relied on for everything stops talking to you without explaining why. When your Dad leaves you and your mum and starts a new family. When Shonda Rhimes kills your favourite Grey’s Anatomy characters.

Heartbreak reminds us that we are only human. Our hearts stop being that organ keeping us alive and morphs into that pain in our chest that has the capacity to overwhelm us every time we mentally relive the moment everything changed. Our hearts suddenly have the power to cause our eyes to sting, water to fall and to make us feel as though we can’t breathe.

 

And then it passes.

 

 

Well, sometimes.

 

The pain can be momentary but during the heartbreak season, the line between psychological pain and physiological pain can become blurred as both your body and your mind fight to tell their side of the story and let you know how awful things really are. I’m talking about the depression, the anxiety attacks, the trouble sleeping, the disinterest in everything that once made you feel alive and the tears, oh the tears…the real ish we keep to ourselves because it’s not as easy to talk about our pain as it is to discuss clothes, shoes, bags and the weather.

I think it is only as I began rise out of the heartbreak season that I began to grasp the transient nature of seasons and storms; although I had fallen (hard), there would come a time when I would rise again. With every passing day I became harder, better, faster, stronger (omg, a Kanye reference on the blog, FINALLY) and my perspective on life changed forever. I realised that there would always be good in every bad situation and bad in every good situation because no season can ever be completely bad or good – just as I was able to see light on my darkest days, on the best days, the darkness could sometimes still be felt. Once I understood this truth I began to see the season differently which gave me the strength to crawl on the days where I did not feel as though I could walk. On those days I would say to myself ‘this too, shall pass’.

Since then, I have come to know that all I see around me shall pass. The places that feel like home, the people I find home in and all the things that give me that sense of belonging I can’t help but crave, shall eventually pass. New things will replace them. This has caused me to have a deeper appreciation of moments; whenever I feel happiness, joy, peace or contentment, I inhale the moment. I breathe them in. I make them last for as long as I can, knowing that as that breath passes, so will the moment. It doesn’t diminish the feelings or the moment; rather it reminds me to hold every beautiful moment as best I can because it will pass and within hours become a memory.

If you are in the storm, this post is probably as source of comfort. However, if you are enjoying your life, living well and breathing easily, reading this may be a bit depressing as you realise that this season will inevitably end because no season can ever last forever.

 2 Corinthians 4:17

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

When things are amazing I look to God. When things are bad and I feel like I can’t breathe because my problems and fears are suffocating me, I look to God. The author and finisher of my faith, the one who knew every moment I would ever hold and the one who knows which moments I will cling to until I learn how to let go. I look to the One who does not pass.

Lots of love,

Joyboy xxx