Relationships

Are you PRAYing or are you the PREY?

Lay a proper foundation for a solid relationship structure.

Lay a proper foundation for a solid relationship structure.

Fellas are you PRAYing with her or PREYing on her. Ladies are you laying with him or laboring before the Lord on behalf of your relationship. Most people know they want a mate. Why? Probably because they're lonely. Thoughts of marriage may not occur, but companionship is high on the list of must-haves. Often it's simply to fill a void. Sometimes people are looking for someone to have sex with and gain an immediate "feel-good" ROI-- return on investment. But what exactly has been invested? How much have you actually given to another person. What value is the deposit that has been made in your life? Let's quickly break it down.

THE most valuable investment you can make in your relationship from the start is taking it to God in prayer. It's easy to waste a lot of time in "romance" with a person YOU have chosen but whom God has not chosen for you. As you are submitting your relationship to God in prayer, trust and believe He will reveal to you if the person you're interested in is His best for you. Ladies, if a man is able to pray with you and for you, it reveals his true heart's desires. That's what you want to see above everything else. Fellas if she is able to cover you in prayer now, then she has a greater potential to be able to do so later...as your wife.

No romantic or sexual relationship will fill the void that only God can fill. Often times people feel lonely and want someone else around to decrease those feelings or the amount of time they spend alone. Instead of learning how to be alone, we hop from relationship to relationship seeking something that can never be found in another person. Contentment is what we are seeking and it can only be found in Jesus Christ. Contentment is listed in the dictionary as freedom from worry or restlessness; peaceful satisfaction. According to Philippians 4:11, contentment is learned: "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." When you learn to trust God, and allow Him to be Lord over your life, you will be content and fulfilled--even when you are alone.

Prayer creates a solid foundation that invites God into your relationship. When you allow God in, He will strengthen and protect the relationship. You are submitting your plans in exchange for God's plans. It allows God to be in the driver seat of your relationship and you will only go where He wants to take you. Conviction will come quickly and your relationship is less likely to succumb to the temptations that are designed to tear the relationship apart. It will be difficult for a committed Man or Woman of God to fall into sexual sin and continue to pray to God at the same time. Prayer is the ultimate accountability partner!

Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you." All these things includes companionship and ultimately contentment. Seek God first, through prayer, in every relationship. If you are praying, you will not become the enemies prey!

Dear Hubby, My Love Awaits

By Cassandra N. Vincent

At one point, it was MY ULTIMATE goal. Marriage. I talked about it, dreamed about it, got mad about not having it, and eventually the thought of it annoyed me. The desire that was once such a pleasant thought eventually became an aching reminder of the desire that was not yet fulfilled and seemed so far off.

It was that want for affection from another person, to be in partnership with an equally loving person as I was, and to experience matrimony that was authentic even its most valley-like moments. Marriage in my mind was definitely not perfect, I had a beautiful example in my parents. I was not expecting the perfect man, but I was expecting a blessing in the man I would eventually marry.

Since the age of 21, marriage was one of the goals, more of a deep desire, that I was set on. When it didn't happen at 21 I waited and counted down to 24. When 24 came I just KNEW it would happen before 30---surely because at this point I hadn't dated for 5 years, I was in church EVERY Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday! SURELY this kept, praying, Sanctified young lady would be 'found' by her mate before her 30th birthday.

No, but "it" didn't happen. I was not "found" by my dear hubby.

"GOD! ARE YOU SERIOUS?" Ha! Yes I questioned every bit of the God I served about this desire now "thorn in my side". What happened in the next few years was shear humor, a mound of dating woes and dating no's. After a year and a half of non-stop dating, I experienced absolute burn out and heart break, but gained a load of knowledge about my wants.

Fast forward to today at 30-something-and-a-half, I am completely liberated of the idea that 'love won't manifest in my life any time soon'. As a matter of fact, love is very present because 'I found love inside of me first'. This epiphany has in turn allowed me to grasp hold of the truth that my dear hubby is developing and being prepared for me as I was for him. This liberation in my heart and spirit has released me from fear, pressure to rush, the need to settle, but has graced me with peace and wisdom to look to God.

Despite all of my bad dating experiences, one of the major practices that helped me get through some of the mental while waiting on my, "Dear Hubby" was to write down all of the attributes I wanted him to possess. I mean EVERY detail. This activity was a true blessing because just journaling his attributes made me happy. Some people set an extra plate setting for their dear hubby, others write love notes to him, I chose to write my vision of him.   Do what works for you!

In early 2014, I wrote a vision of my "Dear Hubby" and at the end of 2014 I began dating a very phenomenally-spirited man who fully embodies that vision. {I'm sure I'll be giving DearHubby.com a delightful update soon}. Until then here's what I've learned about this journey & the power of your vision:

  • Dating seriously helps you discover what you DO/DON'T want in a mate.
  • Time is valuable so that on some levels we grow into the people our future mates need as a partners.
  • The condition of one's heart is so key in "being ready" to receive the love and challenges that come with any relationship.
  • When a woman (or man) becomes LIBERATED from tragic dating experiences, pain, and poor relationship choices -- love seems to be given and received with much more ease.
  • The power of vision helps strengthen the heart.
  • The power of words, intentions, and actions are essential. What you believe and practice is what creates the life and love you desire.


Here's to Love & Liberation!

-Cassandra


Cassandra N. Vincent is a speaker, blogger, and advocate for women living life fully and liberated. Cassandra blogs at www.TheCassieBrownProject.com

What to Consider When Dating a Single Parent

by La Donna L. Lewis

Dating can sometimes become complicated because I don’t always encounter men with the same stats as mine. I’m single, over the age of 35 and I don’t have any children. Once upon a time, I was pretty much opposed to dating men with children. I had that luxury way back when—when I was younger. Now, the older I get, there’s less of a chance for me to encounter men who don’t already have children.

via  Flickr

via Flickr

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have anything against children. In fact I absolutely love them and still look forward to raising children one day. However, I am a realist when it comes to the fact that dating a man who already has a child/children can make things a little more complicated.  These days, I’m a whole lot more open to the possibilities of getting involved with a man and the other people that may come as a package deal with him. I’ve grown, and I’ve had some experiences that taught me a lot.

Whether you’re dating a man or woman with children, here are some things I’ve learned over the years that can hopefully help you alleviate some of the possible complications of dating a single parent.

Determine Whether You Both Want the Same for the Future

She already has children and you don’t. She doesn’t want more children and you do. This should be a no-brainer but I’ve seen so many people enter into relationships like this and wonder why it fails. Some start dating and never even have the conversation, whereas others have had the talk and still continue even though they know they don’t have the same desires. Communicate and don’t expect to change another person now nor in the future. It’s a recipe for constant conflict and hurt feelings—yours and theirs.

Know Yourself and What You Can Handle

Do you like children? Are you selfish? Are you mature enough to accept children? These are all important questions you should know the answer to before getting involved with someone who has children. If you don’t like children or you’re selfish, then don’t even entertain the thought of dating someone who has children. Just because the children are not living with the parent full time, doesn’t mean the children don’t exist. They are ever present, and circumstances can always change.

I was in my late 20’s and met a guy who was really interested in dating me. When I found out his 3 children were in another state it slowed me in my tracks. It wasn’t just the number of children that played a factor. I was nervous because I couldn’t really get to know what kind of father he was since his children were in another state. He also had a contentious relationship with his ex-wife and it affected the interaction he had with his children. My biggest concern was falling in love with him and then having 3 instant stepchildren I had to consider and take part in raising. I decided not to date him. Fast-forward about 9 months, and the mother of those children unexpectedly passed away. I was glad I had not pursued the relationship because at that time, I knew I was not ready, nor mature enough for it.

Establish Relationship Potential Before Involving Children

One of the biggest difficulties of dating a single parent is the fact that there are more feelings involved other than just your own and the person whom you are dating. Children have feelings that can become much more attached and hurt more deeply when they become involved in the relationship. Know before you go there. Spend enough time with the person to determine if this is even a relationship that has potential before you go any further. Trust your instincts and cut it off if you feel it isn’t something you see as a possibility before bringing the children into the mix.

Decide TOGETHER How You Will Introduce Children Into the Relationship

Via  Flickr

Via Flickr

I was communicating with a guy who had a 10-year-old daughter with whom he had joint custody. I met her early on and had no problem with that. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time with her though because I know how attached I become to children. So we decided to date for a bit and once we entered into a committed relationship we’d share that with his daughter. Well, one day while taking his daughter to school she asked if I was his girlfriend. Children are curious and they always have questions. It’s okay to answer them, and we should do so honestly. Unfortunately, he did not do so. He told her yes, I was his girlfriend. What!!?? As a result, I felt pressured to move into a relationship sooner than planned simply because I didn’t want him to have to go back and tell his daughter he lied. Needless to say, I was not happy about it because he disregarded my feelings and he set our relationship up for division early on. It should have been a flag to me that communication might be a problem. The relationship didn’t last. To this day, my biggest regret is the fact that once my romantic relationship with him ended I lost the relationship I developed with his daughter.

Everyone doesn’t have the same experience when it comes to relating to children. Parents also tend to have different thoughts concerning timing and methods. Some feel it is important for children to meet and get to know you from the start regardless of whether you’ll be around in the future. Others are very protective and don’t want you anywhere near their children until they know for sure what role you’ll be playing. All of it must be discussed and decided upon together, ahead of time. Once you communicate and have the conversation to determine how you will move forward, just be sure to stick to it!

This post was originally published on The Do It Anyway Blog as "4 Things to Consider When Dating a Single Parent"

Single Mom Looking for Boaz

By Kaywanda Lamb

As I sat to write this post, I thought about all the people who would call me crazy and tell me to just settle for a “good man”.  Yet, I went on and wrote it anyway. Below are my thoughts on the “Phenomenal woman waiting to meet the man God has for her.”

Dating as a single mom is hard. Omg! It’s ridiculous what men are accustomed to--- or should I say “some” men. Trying to date with kids is like driving a Ferrari over to the guy’s house you like, but when you step out of the car, with the kids, you look to him like you rode up in a hoopty (a very old car). You know what a hoopty is---that raggedy car you had in college. Lol! But, seriously, it seems like the talks of love and life together end and get replaced with “I don’t know” as soon as he finds out you have kids. Or he’ll say, “I just want to focus on my career,” or some other cockamamie crap like that. Listen, I am here to tell you that even that man (as good as he seems) is not worth your time. You need someone who understands that life can throw good people some curve balls and it doesn’t make them exempt from deserving love or wanting to give it. AND, your babies need a good example of what a kind, honest, ready, godly man looks like who is here for you and them.

With the above being said, I am still the hopeless romantic. Yes, I believe in love. I believe that we who want marriage will find it. I also believe that there are some things we must do differently if that is what we want. I list them below:

1. Refuse to date men who are not okay with you having children

I know he’s fine, but if he says he does not want kids, believe him. I know it looks slim, but there are men who will love you and your kids. Wait on it. Live and love in the meantime.

2. Do not stay in relationships that you know do not fit you

The key to getting to Boaz is your visibility. How can he find you if you’re still dealing with “Notsogoodtomeaz” or “Settlingforhimaz”? Break away. Be alone. It’ll do you good to figure out what you want and do not want in a mate and gain the courage to wait for it.

3. Be strong enough to be alone until a worthy mate comes along

As I said, being alone is necessary if you have no idea what you want. One, your kids do not need to think this is how dating goes. And two, slow your roll. Get to know you. This can be beautiful and painful, but do it.

4. Improve yourself in the waiting

Being single is a time to live, love, learn, serve, and grow as an individual so that when you become one (marriage) you have no regrets. You should be ready for the “doing life together” phase in reality and not just in theory. So, work on that dream. Build that business. Take those risks you know that when you are married you’d have to ask permission or get consensus.

5. Serve, live, and love right where you are

You don’t have to have a Bae to live. You can help others and serve in ministry and be fulfilled. Having a hubby to do life with is great, but if you are boring and empty that isn’t attractive. Get out, live, do! Help someone else. Love on you, your family, and friends. Your life is NOW! Don’t think it will start when he comes. No, live now!

Boaz and Ruth are persons from the Bible who found each other after Ruth and her Mother-in Law Naomi endured the deaths of every man they knew. Naomi lost her husband and all her sons. Ruth’s husband was Naomi’s son. Think of life back then. They were destitute, but Ruth hung in there with her Mother-in-Law and returned to her homeland with her. I won’t finish the story. But, there is wisdom in this story besides how Ruth was found by Boaz and did not pursue him. Sure, she dressed as nice as she could and smelled good, but she wasn’t out there winking and buying drinks. She was simply living. Also, there is the fact that Ruth listened to the wisdom of Naomi, who represents the older women in our lives. Today, sit at the feet of the wise older woman in your life. Listen to her. See what she has to say on men and courting. You might learn something!

I wish you the best as you raise your family and wait on your Boaz. He will not come to your door and announce his arrival. Let him find you living! Girl, enjoy yourself. Travel, learn something new, do what you’ve always wanted. You just might find your Boaz doing what you love. If not, you will have lived.

 Do It Anyway!


Kaywanda Lamb is a dynamic teacher, soon-to-be published author, and motivational speaker whose purpose is to teach single parents how to find their purpose and live it out. She helps single parents learn to balance their desire to be great with their desire to be great parents.

Visit her at "The Do It Anyway! Blog" at KaywandaLamb.com

There Would Be No Bridge Without the Bridge-Makers

Williamsburg Bridge, New York City

Williamsburg Bridge, New York City

We all experience difficult times in life. Through pain and struggle we manage to get through it all and make it to the other side. Once we get there, it can be easy to forget all the details of how you actually got there. Sure, you can admit you had help, but do you remember who was there for you? How often have you expressed gratitude for what they've done? Did you make the time to show them appreciation? Or did you just go skipping along across to the other side of your bridge never to think about those people or their help ever again? 

There are MANY super-nice, giving and kind-hearted people in this world. They deserve to be thought of. Unfortunately we've been trained to spotlight the negative more than anything else. Let's change that! How about we consider and acknowledge more than just the fact that we got over the bridge. Let's celebrate the bridge-makers too! 

Do you have any bridge-makers in your life that could use a "Thank you!", "I appreciate you!", "I couldn't have done it without you!"? Call them, write them, visit them and shower them with gratitude.