In this digital world today it can be difficult finding someone to truly connect with… with so many online dating sites it's no wonder we may feel a little overwhelmed by so many choices… and yet then upon a closer look we may disappointingly realize that the "choices" are few and far between. Especially when it comes to finding a Godly man.
If you've been through a breakup or divorce like myself… you likely know what you want… and most definitely what you don't want. With years invested in a marriage, maybe kids too… you likely by now know what you expect from another person… and it's not the bare minimum either. With maturity and life experience you know what your standards are and what you're not willing to compromise on.
If you've been with someone who was verbally, physically or emotionally abusive it's likely you naturally want to take things slow… no one could blame you and yet with online dating it's difficult to know for certain that the person behind the screen is truly who they are portraying themselves to be in their profile and messages sent to you.
So how can you prevent wasting your time on a guy that is not for you, that isn't a man after God and who only hopes to pull the wool over your eyes? It's important to keep in mind that you're God's daughter, His shining jewel… remember His love and His standards for you. This is why it's so incredibly important to keep high standards for yourself… to not compromise on what's best for you and not allow excuses or hurry in finding someone to creep in.
5 Tips For Dating Online:
1. Don't make excuses for a man's poor behavior. Don't fall for common excuses that may come into play like: "He's just really busy" when he doesn't have time for you. Yes, occasionally things do come up. But he should want to spend time with you if he's truly interested and make the time. A man who is interested in a woman will pursue her.
2. Look for balance in his view of his past relationships. A man who has been in many relationships or multiple marriages and speaks ill of every woman he's been with… beware. The common denominator is him… it's highly plausible that each and every one of the women he's been with are perfectly nice women… it may be that he's the issue.
3. Remember that you're God's daughter and worthy of a wonderful healthy love. You don't have to allow yourself to get in a hurry and end up settling. You don't have to take less than you deserve, like being put on the back burner, getting the run around and expected to be a hook-up. Remain confident in that.
4. Watch for behaviors that signal a problem. Men who are crass, rude to wait staff, rude to his mom, (or your family) need to be shown the door. Don't waste another minute on him… one day that rude behavior will inevitably be turned on you. If he has huge debt, if he drinks too much, if he drinks and drives, flirts with other women, lies, is disrespectful to you in any way… if he focuses on image, his vehicle, just his needs and wants… if he's critical of you, dismisses you, displays a lack of empathy toward you and others… if he doesn't work, if he is addicted to drugs, if he's abusive in any way shape or form, run and don't look back.
5. If you're a Christian and he isn't… no matter how many other things line up… if the foundation isn't there… if you don't share the same values and love for Christ… no matter how much you try... it simply won't work. Like the song, an "All You Need Is Love" mentality by the Beatles isn't realistic, it's merely an empty platter without substance. A relationship requires so much more. Don't waste your time on someone who isn't after God's heart. Because the truth is, you can't change him and he's not your project. A relationship shouldn't be agenda based...
But centered on Christ.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love brings us closer, it bridges two sides, it closes a gap, love involves truth, it's doing the right thing… putting aside self and selfishness and not having an agenda… instead, love is free... giving without expectation and without "deals" or keeping records. Love does not delight in evil… it does not delight in hurt, in threats or abuse of any kind, in division, in excluding, or alienation. Instead, love rejoices... it lives truth, it exudes purposeful compromise, it fosters a true desire in loving those around us.
A parent who alienates his children is living in sin… he (or she) is focused on a self-driven, self-focused agenda, a plan of personal gain, in hurting others… versus living a life of walking in love… where he should be focusing on doing what is good and honorable; facilitating a relationship between his children and the other parent... instead he chooses to walk the path of darkness, of evil and do what is displeasing to God… to cause rift, to cause hurt, to cause agony and sorrow for others. When they willfully continue down the path of familial destruction we may question if they have truly accepted Christ as their Savior. If they continue to sin after others have pointed out the ruination they have orchestrated… maybe that they themselves even deep down realize… are they truly sorry for their sinful actions? Being a Christian is having a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ… it's being transformed… it's a desire of wanting to be transformed. And when we look to Christ for help… when we slowly see sin falling away in our life… when we want it to… when we feel deeply convicted each time we sin again, realizing we will be miserable until we repent… eventually we will make changes… we will see that we never want to go back to our old ways… that there was zero value in the old sinful ways we lived.
If a parent is continuing to engineer parental alienation… one day their evil schemes will be revealed… slowly but surely it will come to light what they are doing… all areas of their life where sin resides will be revealed either by their own doing or others… maybe it already is… maybe you've heard through the grapevine… maybe you've heard things that he (or she) has done… perhaps you're hearing that others are finally noticing that the image of himself he wants to project to others is failing… the mask has slipped here and there behind closed doors… that the facade of who he wants you to believe he is doesn't match up with who's really there. One day… many will stand before Him who call Him Lord and the Lord will say:
Then I will tell them plainly,
"I never knew you.
Get away from me,
you who practice evil!"
International Standard Version
The alienating parent is on the expressway to hell…
A parent who disciplines his or her child truly loves their child… they know the value and importance of teaching their child right and wrong… the golden rule… God's word. They know they are their child's first teacher and don't take that blessing or responsibility lightly. They know they are to enjoy their children, to nurture them, hug them, love them, yet in that love is teaching… teaching God's ways, not the ways of the world with all it's promoting of self, image, glossy materialism, manipulation, and greed. They know that to spoil a child is to create a monster… to spare the rod is to do nothing but enable a child, to give power to someone who doesn't yet understand it, won't use it for good but for evil, and certainly won't grow to live a humble nature. Instead, sparing the rod and spoiling the child leads to a child becoming like the stunted adults in his or her life… demanding, screaming, belligerent, disrespectful, whiny, self-centered, greedy, manipulative, hostile, hateful and living in sin... blind to what's been created within them, blind to who they could be, blind to what's been done to them… blind to God and ensconced in a world of wretched disarray.
What these children may not know is they have another parent that loves them very much… that truly loves them… that has a heart breaking at what is becoming of their child… that is not proud of who their child has become; at the hands of the evil one… and that they pray daily for intervention, for help that something will give… that someone will step in and reveal the parent for what they are, for what they've done.
It's the inability for a parent to show his (or her) child compassion that is the hallmark trait of a manipulative alienating parent. When my daughter recently burst into tears over the fact she was not served dinner by her father because he was upstairs talking to his best friend on the phone all evening… when she found herself scrounging in the pantry like a desperate little forgotten animal of the night for something to eat because she's not old enough to operate an oven or stovetop herself… the microwave being beyond her young grasp… it brought me to tears… when she admitted through sobs that her dinner that night consisted of Cheez-it's and cookies in her bed all alone… the mental picture of her sitting alone, feeling rejected, not cared for and lacking a basic need made me hurt deeply for her. Images of my hours spent in that kitchen at one time not but a few feet from her room flashed through my mind… remembering the many home-cooked meals I had lovingly prepared for her and her brother showed a stark contrast to her reality now. It could be argued all homes are different and that's true… and yet let the truth shine bright that reality is this:
there is a vast difference
which is what her night
was a reflection of
So, parents… I tell you this… keep documenting, keep revealing what's being done… keep showing the truth… keep going, keep pressing on… and when you're bone tired and think to yourself:
"I cannot keep going. I am spent."
Look upward to Heaven.
Let the tears fall.
Let your need call out to Him.
Let Him know you need Him.
You don't have to do it all.
Lean on Him.
He is there.
He loves you.
And your child.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
Parents may do it…
And they may not even realize they are.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and it may be a few years down the road that we realize we didn't handle this or that right when it comes to parenting our child. We may realize that inadvertently we gave our child power when we shouldn't have. We will all have failures and successes in our parenting. We may realize much later along the path of parenting that what we at one time innocently thought to be an affirmation of what we'd just relayed to our child was instead viewed by them as us asking if they were okay with our instructions.
Giving our child instructions happens everyday as a parent. We tell them to sit quietly in the shopping cart as we shop for essentials. We instruct them to bring us their dirty plate as were loading the dishwasher. We remind them that there is no running in the house, no jumping on the beds and no leaving the door open. I distinctly remember when my children were around the ages of four and five saying "Close the backdoor! We don't live in a barn." Every day we give our children instructions of how to behave, what tasks they need to complete and teach them what behaviors are acceptable and what aren't. We wouldn't be good parents if we didn't give instructions to our children. The word "parent" is of German origin and it's meaning is to teach. As parents we truly are our children's first teachers. With that naturally comes blessings and huge responsibility.
When we give instructions to someone
and follow it with an:
it only stands to reason
that we are then asking:
"Are you in agreement with me?"
It's easy to see rather quickly how asking a child this could take you down a path as a parent to a destination you'd prefer to not go to. Obviously the child may more often than not may think to themselves… "Well… no, I'm NOT in agreement… I WANT to watch another t.v. show… I WANT the gum ball from the machine… I DON'T want to set the plates on the table for dinner." This may then be verbalized… their feelings and then… yikes… as a parent the door has been opened innocuously enough for negotiations. Despairingly, you may stand there faced with a small frowning face holding it's stance… as you wrack your brain, searching for what course of action to take next… because now you feel backed into a corner.
If you continually tell your children "Come put your shoes on… we have to go, Okay?" you've added an opening for them to dispute what you're telling them to do. The door is wide open for argument… for whining… for "I don't wanna's!"... the meltdowns that make parents cringe and want to disappear like a visible stain on a shirt.
By asking our children if they are okay with our directions we are subtly asking them if they want to comply. This leads children into believing they are in the driver's seat… their in charge and they are the leader and you're following them in a game of insanity.
The word "Okay" has huge power…
and it holds much power not only for children but for adults as well.
When it comes to adults the word "Okay" is a good thing… it can actually help our relationships... bringing connection and affirmation, rather than pulling us apart like children and needing time outs from one another.
Think about the last time your spouse did something where they undeniably had great intentions but for some reason or another it didn't quite turn out how you expected. Maybe your spouse bought a new outfit and you're both getting ready to go out. You're wearing something dressy and he walks downstairs wearing a much more casual look. This is a time that could literally make or break your night out. Should you say something? Will it cause an argument? Will it cause hurt feelings? You naturally want to have a conversation about it but what should you do? How do you approach it? Or do you just shrug it off and move on?
It may have been helpful if when beginning to get ready to check in with each other on what you plan to wear. If looking like you're both wearing clothes that belong in the same season, are of the same style, etc is important to you… it's better to be proactive than to say something after the fact that may turn your perfectly fine day into a not so great night.
Telling our spouse "Hey… I'm thinking of wearing such and such… what are you thinking of wearing?' or "Hey, does this look okay?" joins you together… it unifies you and asks the other's opinion… this can be done by men or women… as it shows your partner that yes… you value what they think and you want to make an effort to look great together… to start your evening on the right foot. Obviously there are a dozen other scenarios… to choosing new dishes for your home… to where to get the oil changed… to where to go to dinner… we can affirm our choices and include our spouse in them by simply asking "Okay?" and being matter of fact about it. This isn't an opportunity to wield control or to be sarcastic in tone… it's not an invitation to sneer, roll your eyes, sigh, stomp off, mutter, or huff… (did I cover all of them?) but instead it's to bring you and your partner together…
To show that you care… and you're supportive of each other.
And doing that sets a great example for your children.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
Do you ever feel like something is missing in your relationship?
It seems an element that is often elusive is romance.
Like romance, chivalry could be deemed as needed in this world and
yet it's sometimes fought... even by women.
Some say they don't need romance.
Some protest grand gestures.
Some protest just plain old nice.
And some smirk with derision over any niceties from men in general…
Maybe even when
they very much
want to believe in them.
I know. And in fact… I continue to make a conscious effort to overcome this. I used to cringe when a man would hold a door open for me. I would like to say I no longer struggle with this… but I still do on some days. If a man was passing through a door and casually held it open for me to grab as I followed behind, I would be fine. But the grand gesture of opening a door for me and waiting… waiting… for me… I hated. I still have issue with it… but I now know it's my issue, not theirs. It's the picture of a woman who still has a deep rooted issue with receiving assistance from a man in the name of what some would call chivalry. It's a picture of being hurt one too many times, of not wanting to accept help from a masculine source because of the strong fear I might be indebted in some small way, shape or form. It's the picture of hesitating to be vulnerable, not wanting to be "seen" by a man but to just disappear into the background like a faded summer flower. It's a distancing, a go away, don't touch me, please don't get too close… and don't try anything... because I'm at the ready with my knee to admonish your groin. It's self-protection in a way that really serves nothing… zero purpose, but to keep me closed off and men away… it's something those closet to me notice when seeing a man open a door for me and I noticeably want to flee and I hurry on… as if my lingering too long he might just see through the self protective armor I wear over my heart. It's a picture of wounds, of the prideful outcry of "I don't need a man!" and wanting, very much wanting to believe that maybe, just maybe some people are being nice just to be nice.... because I do admittedly see proof and it's very much appreciated... it's simply wanting to believe that people do nice things for others because you're a person, you're human, you're one of God's children… not necessarily because they want something off you and or because you're the female sex.
But knowing you have an issue is better than not… because once we know… once we face what others closet to us have noticed and have voiced loving, non-critical concern about… we know we can no longer hide from it… we can't push it away… we can't bite our lip, turn away and deny it… because when we do… despite knowing inside, we realize we need to face it… we are also reminded that those who know us best can see when we are putting up walls… they can see through our tough front. If we do this with strangers how on earth will we ever let anyone in close enough to actually form a relationship with?
I believe that sometimes baby steps are needed… baby steps we get there. If you struggle with this like me then you know that you didn't get there overnight… it was a slow process over time, the damage… and it will take time to make changes… to make that effort toward balance, toward healthy… toward whole… I believe it's possible… and I believe it's worth it.
For someone who relishes romance, who wants to give it and receive it… to live it… and yet ironically isn't always very approachable to gladly receive the chivalry or just nicety of an opened door… it's a picture of marked contrast… and yet I have hope… I have hope and a determined conscious gentle effort for change… because it's only when we face our pride, our insecurities, our aversion to vulnerability… are we then able to let someone whisper sweet words in our ear… to lie beside someone and enjoy a starry night sky without every muscle in our body tense and ready for a fight or flight… it's only after we've let those walls down with someone we know and trust… who we've come to know is a safe place for us, a masculine tower of gentle strength… that we can lie our tired head on his chest and sigh with contentment and relax… knowing we are more than perfectly fine in his presence.
We don't have to suffer.
We can say no to it.
And we can say yes to whole, to healthy…
to a man opening a door for us…
it's nice to do.
It's then we will look back and see the progress and realize life is too short for a cycle that keeps us spinning endlessly and going nowhere. It's then in overcoming we can smile in victory… thank God for loving us and give the man we love beside us a passionate kiss.
The blessing of that… of sharing a life of special moments… uninhibited vulnerability, romance and purposeful love… with someone special... is a victory.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
4 Romantic Tips:
1. It doesn't have to be expensive. Sometimes small and simple gestures are the most meaningful.
2. Tailor the gift or gesture to the specific person you're giving it to. Check out their Pinterest boards for ideas of what they like. Not every person loves red roses.
3. Put in some thought. Anyone can grab a box of chocolates.
4. Give without expectation. The point of romance is to let someone special know you were thinking of them. It's not to be done with the expectation of them doing something for you in return.
Many of us have been there…
Maybe we were there for just a bit… a fleeting period of time… but there nonetheless.
Maybe it was postpartum depression.
Maybe it drug on for years…
Maybe it was like being on a planet shrouded in fog or a black veil.
Maybe it was due to a loss or maybe it's reason of origin is try as you might undefinable.
Depression is curling up in bed sweaty, dirty, twisted in the sheets, eyelids closed. Wanting to sleep but not able to… it can be knowing we need to muster up every bit of near inhuman strength to get up, to set two feet on the floor and walk five feet or twenty to the bathroom… to the kitchen… to anywhere... but unable to.
Depression is something as simple as saying in your head "I need help" but managing to utter the words to someone is not possible because there appears to be a glitch between your thoughts and expressing them… and trying to overcome this hurdle is really at the end of the day seemingly not even worth the effort.
Well no matter who you are and no matter what you’ve done
There will come a time when you can’t make it on your own
And in your hour of desperation
Know you’re not the only one, praying
Lord above, I need a miracle
I need a miracle
Depression is putting on a false smile and emitting an unnaturally high pitched tone of "No, I'm fine, really" to concerned friends on the phone and as soon as you hang up a drop escapes from your tear duct… depression is not bothering with a tissue but wiping your wet face with your arm like a three year old.
Depression means shutting those who love you out… everything changes out there in the world while inside behind closed doors your world stays stagnant… time freezes in your home minus the spoiled milk and expired groceries in the fridge… voicemails go unanswered and phone calls are ignored… being social might be just what's needed and yet to an aching, weary body and mentally zapped mind it just feels like too much effort to exert.
In your hour of desperation
Know you’re not the only one,
praying Lord above, I need a miracle
Depression is missing events you should have been at… parties you should have attended… and believing that just because you actually stepped outside the front door to retrieve the mail it was an okay day… and if you absolutely had to venture out… meaning driving a vehicle it was an automatic victory when you retuned home not having driven off a bridge.
Depression is being an atheist… or a Christian… it can affect anyone... and yet feeling at the mercy of a nearly unexplainable deep black hole that wants to suck you up like a powerful vacuum or relentless twister. Like the lyrics you feel like a man in the box, censored by this unfathomable dark presence, as you can't even really begin to articulate, it's like you've been bound and gagged… and try as you may you simply cannot seem to escape.
He lost his job and all he had in the fall of ’09
Now he feared the worst, that he would lose his children and his wife
So he drove down deep into the woods and thought he’d end it all
And prayed, “Lord above, I need a miracle”
lyrics by Third Day; I Need A Miracle
Depression is finding a snag in your best sweater and not caring like you would have weeks before… it's wearing a jacket when not really necessary because it offers some sense of protection, comfort or shield from a world that's just to difficult to face right now.
Depression is knowing God's plans far exceed the circumstances of your day but just wanting those circumstances to stop, wondering if they ever will… or maybe it's wanting to believe His plan… but for whatever reason thinking maybe it doesn't apply to this time… or maybe it's being tired… just so incredibly tired of the circumstances piling up like an endless pile of debris that needs to be set aflame and extinguished out once and for all.
Depression is a bowl of cereal for breakfast at two o'clock in the afternoon and you weren't even out partying the night before… it's using every last bowl you own in the kitchen sink… ten dirty bowls wait to be rinsed and placed in the dishwasher… instead, you move on to using mugs… and from there every last glass in the house.
Depression is not cracking a smile at anything… the comedic efforts of the late night shows, the spoofs, the grumpy cat pics… nothing elicits a laugh… suddenly laughter and levity seem so frivolous and a waste of energy you cannot expend… especially where it doesn't exist.
Depression is your mind wandering… wandering to places it shouldn't go… places that are dark, in shadows and yet somehow infiltrate your mind even if momentarily… places that bring finality, final destinations and no re-do's, no fresh starts, no next chapters…
I was once there.
Maybe right now you are.
Depression doesn't have to be your final destination.
There are people who care.
People who will help.
Even if you don't know how to help yourself.
There are those who will guide you to the next place…
A better place…
one that doesn't end in...
"She was really struggling."
"He didn't get better."
"She seemed okay the last time I saw her."
"I had no idea he was depressed."
"Gone way too soon."
"Why didn't I see the signs?"
"Did anyone realize?"
"Why didn't someone help her?"
"I am heartbroken."
DEPRESSION AFFECTS US ALL
You may be thinking:
Things will never get better.
There's no hope.
God doesn't care.
Today I'm writing to let you know that the cross tells you otherwise… Jesus died for you… His love shined beautifully for you before you were ever born… knit together in your mother's womb He already had a plan for you and your life. When were struggling or suffering… when He seems so far away… when you question if He is listening… trust that He is there… He is working diligently to accomplish far more in our lives and us than you could ever imagine. What's to come is another day, the real possibility of better… and in that is encouragement and even better... hope!
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014