Letting God Love You Well

letting god love you well

Its been a while since I completely poured out my heart in a blog post. Many of the blog posts I write on here are for you, but today, this one is for both of us. I need healing, and you may be reading this right now because you do too. A dear friend of mine just the other day told me not to be afraid to share my testimony because it had the capacity to touch a hurting world, but I often coward at the thought of sharing where I’ve been, and I cringed with tear-filled eyes as I think back on certain parts of my past. I’m a vivid dreamer, and when I wake up from nightmares with clammy hands and feet and watery eyes, pain comes rushing in like a flood and ravels me in a web. Maybe you experience this too. Sometimes the pain of abuse and neglect resurfaces in our daily life, long after the incident took place. Sometimes our “fight or flight” kicks in, and we become an ocean of emotions as we go about in our daily lives. How often do we stop and just allow ourselves to feel the pain? We disguise it behind activities, behind work, behind our phones, behind a smile. We allow so many things to fill the void rather than dealing with what our hearts are trying to work out in order to bring healing to us. Just recently God told me there was pain that I needed to allow myself to feel rather than covering it up and refusing to deal with it. The beautiful thing about life is that pain is only temporary, fortunately for us. Pain does not last forever. People will come and go in your life, but we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. People may lie on you, manipulate you, and try to damage your reputation, but we have a God who vindicates the cause of the righteous. You may discover the people you loved so much and cared for more than anything in your life may just not be capable of love, but that has nothing to do with you. There is nothing wrong with you when people refuse to see your worth, there is something wrong with them. The pain we experience will either cause you and I to become better or bitter. Daily we decide  whether…

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Becoming Brave: Seven Hallmarks of Courageous Women

becoming brave women

By: Patricia Engler Wouldn’t it be great to be brave? I mean, think of all those valiant women of the Bible who rolled up their tunic sleeves, took a deep breath and changed history. Like Jael in the book of Judges, who single-handedly slayed an enemy king using only the implements available to an everyday housewife—er, tentwife. Or Rahab, the prostitute whose entanglement in an espionage adventure saved her family and landed her a place in the New Testament “Hall of Faith.” And don’t even get me started on Esther. What kind of captive orphan girl becomes Queen of the World and then risks her neck to invite her husband on a date that spells doom for her nemesis and deliverance for her nation? And then, there’s me. Oh, some days I get to exercise my inner “fearless female.” She’s the one who likes to do crazy things like jump on a motorbike in Africa, or kiss an alligator, or rappel face-first down a cliff. But on more typical days, I come face-to-terrified-face with my inner wimp. She’s the one who the sight of blood sends running. The one who—don’t tell anyone—once jumped when the toast popped. Hey, even the uncertain grayness of debris in the kitchen sink strainer makes her cringe. Fortunately for kitchen sink warriors like me, history’s courageous women of God have a lot to teach us modern day disciples. For starters, we can learn from seven things these women have in common:   Brave women are women of God. This is the big one. Brave women know they have every right to be afraid, because they understand that they can’t accomplish a single thing without God. Having committed their lives to His will, they seek Him in obedience as weak vessels through which He can accomplish great things at His discretion. Mary, Jesus’s mother, modeled this mindset when she told the angel Gabriel, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38, ESV.)   Brave women are women of mission. Because they are women of God, brave women are women of priority. In serving the God who is stronger than themselves, they live for a commandment, a calling and a kingdom that is greater than themselves. So, they determine that it doesn’t really matter what happens to them. This sense of calling is the undercurrent we hear…

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How to Begin Healing When Your Heart is Broken

how to heal broken heart

By: Desire Dupper One of the hardest things in life to face is a break-up. I am currently in that dark valley, that place where everything feels surreal. We met three and a half years ago. The first time I had laid eyes on him, I knew that my heart had been stolen. He was madly in love with me too, yet a week ago – after a beautiful relationship – he confessed that he was “not happy with the way things turned out in our relationship” and that “he needs to find himself.” What? You’re kidding! I wish I were, but I’m not. Many things haunt me, things that I should have done differently. I should have worked harder, been less selfish, etc… But my number one focus right now is to be consumed in prayer and in the Word. I am sure you have been at that point where you lost the man you thought was “the one.” It shatters everything and brings all your dreams down to the ground. Praying for God to bring him back to you is inclination because it seems to be a simple  fix to stop the pain and fix your brokeness. But today, I propose to you – and myself – that we begin to change the way we pray in times of broken-heartedness. Praying for someone to take you back just because you want the pain to stop goes against God’s will for you. Our number one prayer should be that God’s will be done in our lives. This does not come easy as I find myself biting my tongue every time I want to plead with the Lord to send me back the love of my life. But if God allowed him to walk away from me, is he really “the one?” While I cannot give a clear answer to this, here are two possible scenarios: Maybe this man really needs to find himself, grow spiritually, learn to accept that all relationships are hard at times, and then he’ll wake up one morning and realize that I am everything he’s ever wanted in a woman, run back to me, get down on that knee, and then we live happily ever after. Yay! Or maybe this man really cannot handle my strong personality and has fallen out of love with me for good. Maybe he knows exactly who he is and…

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You Are Worth Loving and Pursuing

you are worth loving and pursuing

Beloved, Never, ever, ever let a man (or anyone else for that matter) tell you that you are not worth pursuing or loving. You are constantly being pursued day in and day out by your Maker, the one who loves you beyond imagination. For he is achingly, fiercely in love with you. He has created you so wonderfully and beautifully and takes delight in you. Precious daughter of God stop settling for second best. Stop giving your all to someone who looks at you as an afterthought. Stop casting your pearls before swine and fall in love with your Creator. Take time to find yourself and who you are in Him. Take time to rediscover Jesus, how he died for your sins and has given you a promise of paradise and sent down the Comforter. Stop where you are and breathe. You are walking in purpose, and there is no need to rush when you are on God’s timetable anyways. What can you do to make it come to pass sooner? Rushing only leads to heartache. You must find contentment in your season of singleness. You must find contentment right where you are. You must find contentment within yourself. Beloved, you are such a treasure. You are the apple of Abba’s eye. He has so much more in store for you, so don’t rush the beauty of this season as you learn, grow, and fall in love with Jesus. You are worth so much more than the lies you have told yourself. You aren’t a second-choice to God, so you must NEVER settle with being a second-choice to any man here on this earth. God loves you and has His BEST set aside for you. He can love you more in one tiny moment than a thousand lovers could in an entire lifetime. When you find your worth in God you will stop settling. Learn to love yourself and appreciate the jewel that you are. Self-love will wreck your life, just take my word for it. When you learn to love yourself you begin to stop accepting less than what you rightfully deserve. You quit people, places, things, and atmospheres that are stunting and prohibiting your growth. You find yourself unstuck for the first time in your life, knowing you’re not tied to a bitter, broken past but you’re tied to a free and evolving future. You begin cutting off…

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Finding Beauty in my Imperfections

finding beauty

Written by Jane Merson Blogger at Titian with a Mission “Lust would take the body and discard the soul.  Love deeply desires the soul, and gladly receives whatever body accompanies it.” I have always been chubby.  Squishy around the edges, you know?  I have flitted between four or five different clothes sizes since I left my teens and my weight has yo-yoed my entire life.  But no matter what the number on the scale was, even at my smallest, I was always unhappy with myself. I would look at other girls, girls who seemed to effortlessly look good, and wish I looked like them.  Even the curvier girls looked better than I did.  If only I had a different shape or a different metabolism, if only I made better fashion choices, or had stronger willpower… I would look at images in magazines or on TV and compare myself to these girls, concluding every time that I fell desperately short.  I remember on one occasion I was pleased to discover that I weighed around the same as actress Kate Winslet, only to discover that the red-headed star was heavily pregnant at the time. But how did I even know how much she weighed?  Well, there was a special magazine edition entirely dedicated to images of celebrities in varying outfits and a chart of their particulars listed next to them.  This, of course, was helpful for me.  Because now I knew the weight and measurements to aim for so that I could be attractive too… Scary, isn’t it?  Shocking that this was my attitude and belief for so many years.  Yet these are the lies that the media, and society in general, bombards us with.  I held a belief system about myself that was so subtly ingrained in me that it has taken me over a decade to unravel and correct.  I truly believed that, in order to be considered attractive by men, I had to look like the extremely skinny, pampered, photo-shopped women I saw in the media. But more than that, I believed the lie that men are only interested in women that look like that.  I wrongly perceived all men to be shallow and only interested in the external shell.  I could never allow a man to see past my external shell, because I couldn’t see past it myself. But here’s a little-talked about secret: no-one, I repeat no-one,…

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True Worship: Discovering the Heart of God

true worship

By: Monique Hatcher If you’re anything like me, you might have grown up in a church where you saw people openly praising God by shouting and “catching the Holy Ghost”. As a young girl I thought the more uncontrollable the person was, the greater their worship was to God. I really didn’t know any better back then. I’m not coming against expressing praise and worship to God through song, dance, lifting of hands, bowing, standing, rolling on the floor, or any of that. I now know that true worship begins after the music stops playing and the choir stops singing. True worship is a condition and posture of the heart, and the fruit of it is a life obedient to God. True worship manifests itself in a life surrendered to God and His ways, and it’s active long after you drive out of the church parking lot. It’s not bound to the four walls of a church building. True worship effects change in the life of the worshipper, and it will radiate out and  provoke change in others. Worship to God is a decision to act on His Word, in the face of adverse situations and circumstances. It is a call to walking in the spirit and not yielding to our fleshly nature. Do you really want to know what true worship looks like? Let me give you a few examples that you may encounter in your daily life. Worship to God will cause you to be at peace with someone who cuts you off in traffic, instead of cursing them out. Worship to God will cause grace to much more abound when your co-worker gossips about you, instead of you giving them a piece of your mind. Worship to God is putting the toilet seat down after your husband leaves the bathroom, instead of nagging and fussing at him. True worship puts you in a position of humility, and it’s a sure-fire way to kill the flesh daily. It takes you to a whole other level of submission and obedience to God. True worship doesn’t need to be pumped and primed, in order to happen. It is a posture of the heart and it totally envelops the heart of God. It’s a lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving to God for making grace and mercy available to us through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross. I worship God…

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A Letter to My 20-Year-Old Self

dear 20-year-old me

Blogpost originally shared on The Titian With a Mission. Article by: Jane Merson “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” – Vincent Van Gogh With my 31st birthday just a few weeks away, I have been reflecting on another year of God’s grace and faithfulness. However, more than that, I have come to recognize just how many needless concerns or insecurities I was burdened with throughout my twenties.  So much worry and pain over issues that now seem so trivial.  If I could go back and tell myself not to carry so much, I would… Dear Twenty-Something Me, You are just beginning.  You have so much of life ahead of you; so much to look forward to, so much to learn and experience, so many of God’s promises yet to be fulfilled.  So don’t take life so seriously.  Allow yourself to laugh a little more, dance a little more, to take a few more risks.  Don’t be so eager to grow up that you miss out on the season you are currently in. It is not necessary to have a long-term plan.  Plans change, but God remains constant.  Just commit everything to Him and enjoy the present; take it all in.  Embrace what is happening now.  Don’t wish away this current season for what may never come.  The future will come in time, you can be sure of that, but you will never get to relive the present.  Don’t dream away the weeks, months, years.  Resist placing timelines and expectations on God’s promises or, indeed, your own desires.  Simply enjoy the now. And don’t focus so much on marriage and relationships.  Believe me, it is not the be-all and end-all.  There are so many other experiences in life to be enjoyed and savoured too.  Live life; stop fixating on what you don’t have, and start appreciating what you do have. Fight those thoughts; the ones that plague you in those quiet moments and tell you that you are not good enough or fun enough or pretty enough.  Stop expending so much energy and time comparing yourself to others: Just be you.  In a world full of wannabe-replicas, God created only one of you.  Don’t deprive the world of you. Remember, nine times out of ten, people are not really thinking what you believe they are thinking about you.  Don’t let the lies of the…

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The Day I Met Mrs. Proverbs 31: Ageless Advice for Singles

Mrs. Proverbs 31

By: Patricia Engler I braced my fingers against the warm mug and glanced nervously again at the coffee shop door, waiting. She should be here any minute… I might have known better than to get myself into this. I mean, asking to meet for coffee with the Proverbs 31 Woman? Normal young women don’t even talk to three thousand-year-old metaphorical people who live in ancient Hebrew poems, much less go out for java with them. Besides, so many other women seem to dislike this impossibly perfect lady. After all, she grows certified organic food, weaves her own clothing from ethically-sourced wool, and would never even think to waste an hour on Netflix. Yet viewing her as just another unattainable standard of womanhood to make the rest of us look bad seemed backwards to me. Surely, I reasoned, she isn’t in the Bible to be our rival, but rather our mentor. Still, maybe I should have settled for just reading about her. But—too late! The glass door opened and in she strode, right on time. “Hi,” I greeted her winning smile, “Love your sweater. Did you knit it yourself?” She nodded sweetly, drawing up a chair. “Purple is my favorite.” She set down a mug of Fairtrade tea and gazed at me like a sculptor contemplating a block of marble. “You know what’s one of the most important things about being a wife?” She asked suddenly. I blinked. Surely, she must know I’m single, without the faintest foreshadow of marriage in sight. Maybe I should change the subject for the rest of the visit, say farewell, and not call upon Mrs. 31 again until I’m seeking premarital counseling—like, 31 years from now. But she apparently missed my hesitation. “It’s to do your husband good and not evil all the days of your life.” I shifted uneasily. “I’ll keep that in mind, someday,” I replied. “Did I say, someday?” Her gaze remained even. “You need to do that man good all the days of your life, hon, and that includes today. That starts now.” Hmm. I distracted myself with a sip from my mug before responding, “And how am I supposed to do that—by praying for the man? How should I pray? If intimacy with God is the ultimate purpose of life, should I pray that he’d live out his purpose today by walking with Christ more intimately?” Her brow lifted slightly,…

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The Waiting Room

waiting room

By: Tatum- Lee Louw I’ve been waiting on God for a lot lately. For the salvation of my family, for financial break through, for meaningful friendships, for ‘him’ and a whole lot of direction. Waiting is undoubtedly such a painful process. I remember wanting to hurl whenever someone encouraged me with ‘Your wait is not in vain’, when literally each day feels like it is exactly that. Us, Christian women, can be such a ball of complaints at times. I don’t think we realize how much this negative attitude influences and distorts our relationship with God. Imagine, waking up today, with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? We would be in so much trouble, right? Like you, I am currently sitting in the waiting room. I have an entire list that is all too familiar in the heavenlies. While I am here, the time I usually use to complain, I’ve asked God to help me use this constructively. Instead of staring into a blank wall, growing impatient while waiting for the physician (Jesus) to attend to me. I choose to examine myself first. …and man! It’s been quite the journey. I have been in one place visiting entirely different areas of my life. Easy? No. Bearable? Certainly. The poet in me, titled this process as ‘The unraveling’. I have been falling apart while waiting on God to show me where to, from here. There have been things I have had to let go of, people that couldn’t go with me into His consultation room, plans that I have had to close the door on and ideas that I have had to put aside. Now, of course you going to experience phases of impatience. I did. I wanted to leave the waiting room so many times. I wanted to go and find other ways to heal my wounds, but the nostalgia that accompanied those thoughts just reminded me of the pain that comes with doing things my way. It’s important that you begin with the end in mind, during this period of waiting on God. Consider the costs and mentally prepare for it, through His word. Oh, and does His word do a great job at providing reassurance. My personal favourite: “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will…

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The Ten Year Wait (and Still Waiting)

the ten year wait

Blogpost originally shared on The Titian With a Mission. Article by: Jane Merson “If you can’t live fulfilled on your own, you will not be able to live fulfilled with someone else.” ~ Justin Stumvoll Just like many of my peers, I have always had a desire to be married and to raise a family.  But, unlike many of my peers, I am still waiting to see that desire fulfilled. As a teenager, I (for reasons I can no longer recall!) considered 24 years old as the ideal age to get married.  I had it all planned out – it would give my husband & I a couple of years for us to settle into marriage then I’d pop out two or three kids before I hit the big 3-0. But here I am – 30 years old and single.  No boyfriend, no husband, and certainly no kids. Yet I’m the happiest and most content I’ve ever been. Here are just some of the lessons I’ve learned so far: Closed doors are a blessing.  Oh, so many closed doors!  A couple of (short-lived) relationships, countless crushes and many, many tears later, I am unimaginably thankful for the way God has protected my heart and comforted me through the confusion, hurt and impatience of the past ten years.  These experiences, though far from enjoyable at the time, have shaped me and guided me (often reluctantly!) and have played an essential part in this decade of waiting. Single people should be encouraged, not pitied.  I can’t begin to tell you how irritating it is to have well-meaning marrieds ask me why I’m still single or reassure me that it’ll be my turn next.  Please don’t ‘label’ me or assume it’s the only thing on my mind!  In the past it would take every ounce of me to reach a place of peace (not true contentment, but part-way there at least) about being single to then have someone else raise the issue with me and immediately knock my confidence and cause me to spiral back into insecurities again.  The more others saw my singleness, the more I felt it.  And it felt like inadequacy. Marrieds, pray for singles – that they would find their spouse, by all means, but also that they would be content in the meantime – hang out with them, introduce them to others (without making it awkward, please!), encourage them…

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