Friday Food 4 Thought (FF4T): Living In Intentional Awareness

Are you aware of God’s nearness?

A friend and I were on our way to the park a few days when the topic of intentional living came up. Ironically, I’d been having the same conversation with God for a few weeks. The excitement in my voice as I spoke was very apparent. When I finished speaking my heart was racing, I sat there quietly and thought to myself, “That’s passion!”

Close your eyes for a second. Go ahead. Do it. When you closed your eyes, you were immediately aware your vision was gone. What if we had that same awareness when we’ve taken our eyes off God? When we’ve allowed the flesh to control our actions?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve often wondered, “Where is God?” The truth is, He’s right here with me, and there with you. Scripture says He’s always with us. If He’s always with us, but we fail to recognize Him, that means, you and I are not always with Him.

While wandering through the wilderness, the Israelites depended on God to provide food. Today we say we depend on God, but do we really? For example, before eating, my husband and I give thanks. I began to question if our hearts are really postured towards true dependence on God as the source of all things. Has saying grace just become habit? Did God really provide the food or did we work and provide the food ourselves? In the busyness of life, it’s easy to go about our day, rushing from one place to the next, going through the motions on autopilot. But, does it have to be this way? Can we cultivate nearness in a busy world? Can we cultivate complete dependence on God in a culture that promotes, “every man for himself”?

What if, like loss of sight, we’re instantly aware when we’ve ventured from the sphere of His nearness? What if we slowed down and really postured our hearts towards absolute dependence and appreciation of the gift Giver? … I get it. It’s hard to slow down. We have so many things vying for our attention. The pressure of getting things done weighs heavily on us. As a result, stillness with God is deemed unproductive; however, the stillness is where awareness is found.

 “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” Psalm 37:7

Stillness is intentional. It’s not something that just happens. It’s something that must be practiced. Like with anything else, if we want to be great, we must practice. Being still is no exception.

Prayer: Most gracious God. Help us to be still. May we stop striving to do more, be more, have more and just be still and know. Help us to live intentional lives, always with You. Open our eyes to see You. Open our hearts to receive what You’re doing right now. Today. In this very moment. Our souls long to commune with You. We’re so grateful for your unending grace and mercy. All praise, glory, and honor belongs to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

How can you live more intentionally aware of God’s nearness? How can you practice being still? I’ve committed to being still, without any distractions, once a day. I’ve been lying on the floor, on my back, with palms open. In this posture, I envision myself receiving everything God has for me. In these sacred moments, it’s just He and I. His love and presence consumes me. Today, I’ve also scheduled a lunch date with God. When I sit down to eat lunch, I will turn my phone off, sit in complete silence, and allow Him to speak to me. Now it’s on you. I wold love to hear your plans for being still in the comments below, or via email at teawithtiffanyp@gmail.com. I’ll respond either way. Talk soon!

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Help! I Feel Fat!

“I feel fat!” If you’re anything like me, you’ve uttered these three words far more than you care to admit. While we know fat isn’t a feeling, it doesn’t stop us from using it to express emotion. What do we really mean when we say, “I feel fat”? Today I’ll share what I discovered. Perhaps you’ll find, you mean the same thing too.

I became a detective and investigated the causes of “feeling fat”. I uncovered the following scenarios led to this false emotion:

  • Eating an “off limits” food
  • Overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Tight fitting clothes
  • Comparing my body to hers, or a past version of myself
  • Stomach jiggling as the car hits a bump in the road (Yours too?)

When I say “I feel fat,” I really mean, I’m disappointed. Good or bad, consciously or subconsciously, we hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. We somehow convince ourselves that we should be the same size we were in high school. That we should never gain a pound or go up a pant size.  That if we just had more willpower, we wouldn’t overeat. That if we try hard enough, we’ll eventually love kale salads as much as we love cheeseburgers. #lies Unfortunately, when our reality doesn’t match our fantasy, we’re disappointed.

There’s nothing wrong with you. You.are.human! I know… I know.. You already know this but it’s worth elaborating on… Humans gain weight. Humans overeat. Humans have fat on their bodies. Humans grow out of their clothes. Humans compare themselves to other humans. Humans have flesh that jiggles. It’s OK. All these situations are perfectly normal. You are normal.

I only felt fat once in my life… said no one ever. As women, many of us wrestle with “feeling fat” all the time; however you can’t allow your feelings to dictate your identity. Who you are isn’t found in the number on the inside tag of your jeans.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

You know how to lose weight. You know what to eat. What not to eat. How much to eat… Have you ever considered, “If I know all these things, why do I continue to feel stuck no matter what I weigh?” It’s because you haven’t mastered your mind. The battlefield is in your mind, not on a scale. You know a lot about changing the outside but nothing about changing the inside. You can be in the best shape of your life, but if your thoughts don’t change, you’ll never be content. Your thoughts will scream you’re not good enough at a size 22 and a size 2. What will you believe? Can your thoughts be trusted? Are they true? It’s the unchanging truth in God’s word that sets us free from “feeling fat”. He says,

Sisters, what God says about you will never change. When you feel fat and begin to think insecure and ugly thoughts about yourself and your body, take those thoughts captive. Remember how God feels about you–we are free! In our body image struggle, He has already won. In God’s word, there’s perfect peace and great contentment even on the days when we “feel fat”.

Can you relate to anything mentioned in this post? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Don’t feel comfortable writing a public comment? No problem. Email me at teawithtiffanyp@gmail.com. I’ll respond either way. Talk soon!

Helpful Resources: (Contains Amazon affiliate link)

Revelation Wellness

Wellness Revelation

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Knowing When To Walk Away

Prior to crying myself to sleep that night, I ate uncontrollably. Sure I’d been under eating and over training for months but I wasn’t eating to satisfy hunger. I was eating to fill a void. … It wasn’t food my flesh craved. It craved attention. I wanted to be seen. To be known. To be valued. As I lie in bed, uncomfortably full, I wondered, “How did I get here?” …I’d allowed my own desires to drag me away.

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.” James 1:14

One day while scrolling my Facebook timeline, I saw a transformation picture of a college friend. She had the body of a fitness model. “Oooo, I wanna look like that!”, I thought to myself.  If she could transform her body, I could too. I hurriedly sent her a private message. I needed all the deets (details)! I learned that she’d just competed in her first bodybuilding competition where she received a first place trophy. I explained to her that I didn’t care about winning, at least not initially. I was after the body. The abs and muscles would be my trophy. Within hours I was online searching for a bodybuilding coach.

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” Exodus 20:4

My body had become my idol (Note: God revealed this truth to me during an 8 week faith based wellness program, now Wellness Revelation). I spent thousands of dollars on coaching, hundreds of dollars on supplements, hours in the kitchen cooking, hours lifting weights, and hours and hours of cardio. Finally! It was show day. I was nervous and excited. I was excited to show off my hard earned work. Surprisingly, I walked away with two first place trophies and an overall win that night. That was a BIG deal! Most competitors don’t place at their first competition. I quickly went from having no expectation of winning to striving to become a professional bodybuilder.

I was totally obsessed with my body and overflowing with pride. In my mind, I was the best! I went into the next competition confident I would leave a professional bodybuilder by securing first place. There was no doubt in my mind. I quickly shelled out a couple more thousand dollars for coaching, flights, a hotel room, tanning, makeup and a photo shoot in preparation for the competition. It wasn’t a big deal because I just knew it would pay off. I would become a professional bodybuilder, obtain endorsements, quit my job, become a fitness model, travel the world, and live happily ever after. … So I thought.

I stood on stage anxiously awaiting my number to be called. It never was. Myself, along with a handful of girls, tied for last place. I was devastated! I cried myself to sleep that night. That night, I made it my mission to prove to those judges I would become a professional bodybuilder. Five competitions, and an emptied savings account later, I finally reached my goal. I was awarded the coveted “pro card.” I expected to be on cloud nine. I wasn’t. I ended up where I started this blog post, lying in bed, uncomfortably full, crying. I cried out to God, “How did I get here? Why did you allow this to happen to me? Where did I go wrong? I was so stupid!”

After earning my pro card, people anticipated I would compete at the professional level. After all, why would anyone subject themselves to everything I’d gone through if I was never going to compete professionally? But, they didn’t know the pact I’d made with God. That night in my dark hotel room, I surrendered. I didn’t want to lead anymore. For two long years, I’d been in the driver’s seat. That night, I pulled over and God returned back to His rightful place, head of my life.

So, how do you know when to walk away?

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

If it doesn’t bring glory and honor to God, it’s time to walk! Point. Blank. Period. That goes for anything in life – friendships, relationships, jobs, etc. My pursuit of becoming a bodybuilder only honored me. I don’t care how many times I posted a picture to social media, showing my abs, with the caption, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” it still wasn’t God.

People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Proverbs 16:2

All that time, I was searching for something I already had through Christ. I’m known (Psalm 139:1) and I’m a winner (Romans 8:37). Have you been like me, searching for something you already have in Christ?

Most gracious God, thank you for being a wonderful Father who loves us unconditionally. May we come to know, and experience, the glorious gifts we already have in You. Strengthen and empower us by your Spirit to walk away from anything that doesn’t bring glory and honor to You. It’s our desire to please You more than anything in this world. We love You. In Christ name I pray, Amen. 

Have you ever had to walk away from something big? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

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How To Get The Perfect Body

By day I was #bodygoals, praised by family and friends for being fit. By night I was a tiger on the prowl, ravenously eating everything in sight. I was covered in shame in guilt. I felt dirty. I was living a lie. On the outside it appeared I had it all figured out. On the inside, I was miserable. I cried out to God frequently, “Lord, why can’t you just fix me? Why can’t I just be normal?” The truth is, I wasn’t ready to accept where God was leading. I wasn’t ready to give up on the idea that just maybe I could have it all – an intimate relationship with God, ability to love others well, a healthy relationship with food, and a ripped body. I wanted to be healed. I really did BUT I wanted abs too. My flesh and my Spirit were at war. God had my heart but I was keeping my body to myself.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other… Galatians 5:17

Living this double life was taking a toll on me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I was physically exhausted from trying to out train the binge eating. I was mentally and emotionally consumed with all the guilt and shame. When I reached one of my lowest points, God directed me to Revelation Wellness. Revelation Wellness is a non-profit ministry that uses fitness as a tool to spread the gospel message. This ministry offered an 8 week, faith-based wellness program, Weigh Less To Feed More, that taught participants how to live healthy, whole lives in Christ. I purchased the program, and signed up for an instructor facilitated online group. During Weigh Less To Feed More, God showed me that it wasn’t abs I was after. I really just wanted to be loved, appreciated, and valued by others. Mistakenly, I thought a smaller body would grant me those things.

Weigh Less to Feed More has since evolved into a book, Wellness Revelation. When the opportunity presented itself to be part of the book launch team, I didn’t waste any time applying. In fact, I was walking out of the bank when I received the email. I stopped dead in my tracks and didn’t look up again until I’d completed the application. I thought about waiting until I was home to apply so I wouldn’t be limited to the small keypad on my iPhone. I was too anxious, I couldn’t wait. It was extremely hot and humid that day but I stood there. Right where I stopped in my tracks, outside the bank, and pecked away on the iPhone keyboard. When I finally finished, I was a sweaty mess! After being selected as part of the book launch team, I’d say the sweat was worth it. Thank you Jesus!

Stay with me. This is going somewhere; I promise!

After finishing chapter one of the book, I had an aha moment, “This is the formula for the perfect body!” Then I immediately thought of you. I knew I had to share. It was just too juicy to keep to myself. So, that’s exactly what I’m doing today – sharing the formula for a perfect body. Before I jump into that, I must offer you a full disclosure. I was NOT paid to write this blog. I’m blogging about this ministry and book because I firmly believe in ’em. I personally invest in this ministry out of my own pocket. When I believe in something, I invest it. I’ll receive a free copy of the book for being on the book launch team; however, I’ll be giving it away to one of you (details to come). Now that that’s out the way. Let’s get started.

Chapter one is titled, “Embrace God’s Purpose, Desire, and Design. That’s exactly how you get the perfect body, or better yet, how you come to know you were born with the perfect body.

  1. Embrace God’s Purpose:
    • Exodus 9:16, “But I have spared you for this purpose – to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” Alisa Keeton explains God desires to show us His power. Most times, especially when it comes to weight loss, we go about it in our own strength. It becomes a very self-centered endeavor. I’ve definitely experienced this in my own life. When I was competing in bodybuilding competitions, it was all about me. How lean could I really get? How much could I deprive myself? How many hours could I go without eating? I mistakenly thought if I just had enough willpower, I could sustain the most uncomfortable situations and all would be well in my soul. I was wrong. Unlike willpower, God’s strength is an unlimited resource. We’ve got to learn to rely on His strength. The perfect body is one that depends on God’s strength. Not it’s own.
  2. Embrace God’s Desire:
    • 1 Peter 1:16, “For the scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”” God desires for us to be holy. Alisa Keeton shares in the book that the Hebrew word for “holy” means “set apart”. In essence God desires we be set apart from the ways of the world. Again, I could so relate. A few days ago, I was thumbing through the images on my phone because I was almost out of storage. Don’t you hate that? Anyway, I noticed I had A LOT of selfies – mostly standing in front of a mirror, shirt lifted up, showcasing my abs. There was a time, I’d post these pictures on social media for attention. I started to conform to the world’s standards, “Look at ME, ME,ME!” Being set apart means I make the conversation about something other than myself. It doesn’t mean I’m better. I just know God wasn’t calling me to promote myself. As Paul says in Philippians 2:3, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. The perfect body is set apart by God.
  3. Embrace God’s Design:
    • Jeremiah 1:5, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart…” God created each of us. Who knows its creation better than the Creator himself? I’ve been guilty of jumping from diet to diet. Nutrition plan to nutrition plan. Guru to guru. Workout plan to workout plan. I was seeking the opinion of everyone else but God. Those people didn’t know me. Before we were formed in the womb, God created us for a purpose. I realized my obsession with my body was a distraction. It hindered me from uncovering God’s purpose for my life. If I was consumed with me, there would be NO room for He. The perfect body is one that is confident in God’s plan for it.

God loves you. He longs for you to embrace your true identity. If you’re struggling to embrace God’s purpose, desire, and design for your life, I pray that God opens your heart to receive His perfect design. May you come to know, without a doubt, His immense love for you. He’s a good Father who wouldn’t dare withhold anything good thing from you.

If you’ve been struggling with your weight and accepting your body, I encourage you find out more about the book, Wellness Revelation, here.  I must warn you. Like anything else, you get out, what you put in. You must be ready to do the work. If you decide to purchase the book from Amazon, please consider using my affiliate link, here. By doing this, I’ll receive a small commission of the sale, from Amazon, which helps keep my site up and running.

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Our Engagement Story

On Chris’ birthday, we got all dressed up for a fancy steak dinner in downtown Detroit. The views from our table were spectacular. On the 72nd floor of a hotel, the restaurant overlooked the Detroit River. Directly across the river was a view of Canada. Watching the sunset that evening was breathtaking. God, in all His majesty, created the perfect backdrop for what would soon become the start of something new.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

While staring contently out the window, in awe of the scenery, Chris interrupted my thoughts. He said, “I have something for you.” I thought, “It’s his birthday? Why in the world does he have something for me?”

He pulled an envelope from his backpack and excitedly handed it to me. I skeptically opened the envelope and removed its contents. I slowly unfolded the paper to find an employee discount card inside. Sarcastically, I mumbled, “thank you”.

Shortly afterwards, he said, “I have another surprise for you?” I thought, “What is it this time?” Needless to say, I was over his interruptions during my perfectly planned birthday dinner!!

For the second time, he reached into his little backpack of “surprises”. This time he pulled out a dissertation – a seven page, handwritten letter addressed to yours truly. Not quite a dissertation, but too many pages nonetheless. Ha!

The number seven in the Bible represents divine perfection, totality, or completion.

Me: “Am I suppose to read this now?”

Chris: “Yes.”

Me: “Like, right now??”

Chris: “Move over there. To the other side. Directly in front of me. I want to watch you read it.”

Me: Silently thinking, “This is weird!”

TBC, Tiffany Before Christ, wouldn’t have been reading nobody’s seven page nothing, MmmmK! Ain’t nobody got time for that! #boybye

While reading the letter, my eyes began to swell with tears. It was a trip down memory lane. It recapped the special moments we’d shared since our first phone conversation only seven months prior! He recalled our first date at Pappadeaux’s. I call it a date. He calls it a meeting. #whatever, and so many other things. Our courtship thus far had truly been a whirlwind.

When I finished the letter, I looked up. Our eyes met. Though I’d looked into his eyes several times before, this time was different. This time, God gave me a glimpse inside his soul.

Chris: “I have one last surprise for you.”

Me: Again, silently thinking, “What else does this man have in that bag?!?!”

Chris: “Close your eyes. I’ll tell you when to open ’em.”

Me: Still clueless, “Sure. Whatever!”

Chris: “Open ’em”

He was down on one knee. Nervously, he began to speak, “I couldn’t think of a better birthday gift than to have you as my wife. Will you marry me?” #newthing #completion

Me: In between the screams of excitement and shock, “YES!”

My Testimony

You may be thinking, “Good for you. What does this have to do with me?” Before you roll your eyes and exit the screen, gimme a minute. You see, I’d been down this road before. I’d already been engaged twice (I’ll share more about that later).  Neither of which ended in a trip down the aisle. This was my third, and God willing, final engagement. I’m far from perfect. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t do everything right. In fact, I did WHOLE LOT wrong. But God, He loves us too much to leave us the way He finds us, or better stated, the way we find Him. #praisebreak

I shared this story for two reasons.

  1. Brag on God: God’s the hero. He’s been so good to me. He’s been faithful to me, even when I was unfaithful Him. Listen to me, if God removes something, or someone, from your life, it’s for your good. He has something so much better in store for you. Trust Him.  It’s true, Father knows best.
  2. Encourage you. God is gracious. I don’t deserve to be married to the most amazing, supportive, handsome, loving, caring (OK, I’ll stop with the adjectives. Ha!) man, BUT God loved me enough to make it so. There’s nothing special about me. He did it for me, He’ll do it for you.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:10

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14 Things About Tea with Tiffany P.

Before we get too serious, let’s get to know each other a little better. It’s my desire, here at Tea with Tiffany P., to create an environment where you feel as if we’re good friends catchin’ up. I want you to know I’m just like you. I don’t have all the answers either. We’re all imperfect people trying to make the best of this thing called life. To foster that type of environment requires being open, honest, and transparent with you. In doing so, I pray you see a little bit of yourself in me. Without further ado, here’s who I am. Less than perfect, more than loved (And so are you).

  1. I’m a professional bodybuilder. When you think of a bodybuilder, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Manly muscles? Incredible Huck? It wasn’t until I became versed in the sport that I learned there are four women’s categories of bodybuilding – bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilder. I became a professional in the women’s figure category (see pictures to the right).
  2. I enjoy lifting weights. 
  3. I’m a certified personal trainer and health coach.
  4. I wear braces. My husband somehow convinced me that wearing braces together was a good idea. About 5 hours after wearing ‘em, I knew otherwise. I couldn’t chew NOTHING! In fact, I was questioning whether or not I still had teeth. My husband had worn braces before; therefore, he knew what was up. I was tricked. As the saying goes, “Misery loves company!”
  5. I bite my nails. No judging! … Is nail biting hereditary? My dad bit his nails too. Perhaps I inherited that trait from him. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, since wearing braces, it’s not the same.
  6. My father died when I was 7 years old. As of June 1st, my father has been dead 28 years. He passed away in a car accident at 27 years old.
  7. I ran a marathon in 4 hours and 47 minutes. Who told me this was a good idea again? Back in 2010, I ran my first and last marathon.
  8. I’m an engineer. I have a B.S. in Computer Science and a M.S. in Computer Engineering.
  9. I’m a member of a sorority.
  10. Some days I hate my natural hair. Is it just me, or do none of the natural hair bloggers have hair like yours? Their hair is usually thick and voluminous. Meanwhile mine is thin and flat. #notfair
  11. I’m self-conscious of my body, too. I’m all for body positivity but some days…
  12. I struggle with acne. Whomever said acne was only present during puberty lied!
  13. I love nuts. Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts… They’re all the key to my heart.
  14. My goal is to be debt free by the end of the year. Debt makes the world go ‘round, right? Try telling that to my husband!

Now that I’ve shared some things about me, I invite you to share something about you. Please feel free to share by commenting below or by emailing me at teawithtiffanyp@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

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3 Things You Must Do Before Your Next Relationship

Chris and I are celebrating our 7 month anniversary today. “We got engaged within 7 months of dating and we’ll be celebrating our 7 month anniversary in a few days. Can you believe that?” is what I asked Chris. Actually, we’ve been married longer than we were engaged – that’s a discussion for another day! Anyway, it made me think about what was so different this time around.

Prior to Chris, I’d been engaged twice. Yep, Chris was my third engagement. As I reflected on the differences, I was inspired to share my lessons learned. Before I do that, I would like to impart some words of wisdom to you. If you’re currently in a relationship, or engaged to be married, and you’re having reservations, it’s possibly time to move on.  When neither of my previous engagements ended in marriage, I was embarrassed. I was concerned about what other people would think. Would they think something was wrong with me? Would they think I’m a failure? The truth is, the people you’re concerned about will be off living their lives and you’ll be miserable. Do what’s best for you. Sometimes, it takes more strength to walk away than to stay.

Based on my lessons learned, the advice I have for you is:

  1. Pray FIRST. You may be thinking, duh! But, here me out. In my previous relationships, I never sought God, first. I sought His guidance about a lot of things but never who I should date. It never even crossed my mind. Interestingly, I ran straight to Him when things were going south. At times, even praying for Him to deliver me. I’m so thankful God didn’t say, “You’ve been doing your own thing. Now you want my help? Chile bye!” What about you? Is your experience similar to mine or do you seek God before entertaining a relationship?
  2. Set Boundaries. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” We start playing the role of a wife long before get the title, wife. Then we wonder why things aren’t working out. God sets an order for a reason. When we step outside of that order, we get into trouble. Before Chris and I started dating we established a set of boundaries. If you don’t set boundaries early, you find yourself at a point of no return. Yes, 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. That when we’re tempted, He’ll provide a way out but the way out starts long before “Netfix and chill.” If you allow him to come over after dark and nobody is home, and won’t be home for hours, what do you expect God to do? Come down and sit on your lap? Sit on your hands? Wire your mouth shut? C’mon nigh! Don’t be foolish!
  3. Surrender to God. In the past, I took matters into my own hands. For example, after I graduated from college, I was offered a job in Colorado. In my mind, it made sense that the guy I was dating would come too. Who wants a long distance relationship? Clearly, I didn’t pray first, nor did I set boundaries. Had I sought God’s word on the matter, I would’ve known this was wrong because it contradicted His word. The first night I talked to Chris on the phone, I was smitten. He was different from any man I’d ever encountered. He seemed to be all that and a bag of chips but as soon as I hung up the phone, I prayed this prayer: Lord, if this man is not my husband, remove him from my life. Period. I’d wasted enough time. As our relationship progressed, we continued to surrender. Over and over again, God showed us His faithfulness. We dated long distance until we got married. Most of that time, I was in Colorado while he was in Alabama. God orchestrated it all. I didn’t do a thing! Oftentimes, we don’t see God move in our lives because we’re too busy taking matters into our own hands. Is God carrying your relationship, or are you?

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Marriage: Why It’s Not What I Expected

 

“Is marriage different than you thought it would be?” was the question asked in a devotional Chris and I were studying. Pausing for a minute, I reflected upon what I thought versus reality. I answered first. “Yes! The first seven months of our marriage have been much different than I thought.”

I envisioned a two income household, endless shopping, disposable income, and lots of travel. Far from the cooking, cleaning, and piles of laundry awaiting me. I never in a million years envisioned myself being a housewife. I thought being a housewife was an elite status, reserved only for the rich and famous. I was neither of those things.

From a very young age I was taught – Work hard. Take care of yourself. Don’t depend on a man, or anybody else, to take care of you. Now what would people think? Scripture clearly says in Proverbs 29:25, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety” but that didn’t stop me from entertaining my thoughts. What would people think of me becoming a housewife? How would I explain forfeiting my six figure salary as an engineer to be a housewife? People would think I was crazy to give up my life to marry a man I barely knew (that’s a story for another day). All of these thoughts were confirmed when I received the following email from a friend/mentor.

Tiffany, don’t give up who you are for your new marriage…if something should not work out, you will be left with nothing. Chris is not giving up who he is for you, why in the world are you giving up who you are for him? What if he divorces you in two years, then what?

And, men respect hard work, intelligence and partnership from their spouses…if you become one dimensional, you risk becoming uninteresting. What is going on with you…I don’t get it? You marry a man that you don’t know, you quit your job, and you move away from all independence, you have no income, do you even know what his legal worth is and who he has assigned it to should anything go wrong?

Yeah, me too! I was at a loss for words too! Needless to say, I was upset. After calming down, I realized she was coming from a good place. Like me, she was taught, work hard and don’t depend on anybody. The thought of surrendering control to someone else is scary; however, that’s what God requires of us. He wants our hearts. He wants our complete trust. He wants to know we really believe He’s a good, good Father. Would I surrender this season of my life to him and trust He knows best? What about you? Is God tugging on your heart to surrender something? It’s easy to believe it’s us making things happen in our lives, but that’s simply not true. God is in control of all things.

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being. Job 12:10

We can’t expect others to understand what God is doing in our lives. That’s why it’s so important to have a relationship with God. If you don’t know who you are, someone else is waiting to define it for you. Had I received this email prior to having a real relationship with God, I would’ve frantically started searching for jobs to prove my worth. Not this time Satan! I chose to trust the plan God has for me. We’re often taught, good things come to those who work hard. While that may be true, I also believe better things comes to those who trust God.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

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