No Wedding, No Love: Life After Heartbreak

no loveWednesday night, I cried myself to sleep. Out of nowhere, it hit me that my dreams of marriage had been shattered once again. I started replaying the moments of excitement looking at rings, searching for a venue, and trying on dresses. I started to think about how I finally had someone who loved me and wanted me as his wife. This marriage was meant to be the validation I needed to prove that I am desirable. The abrupt departure of my father at age five had left me wondering will I ever be wanted and loved. I had come to see marriage as a form of redeeming that piece of me. However on December 31, 2016 we had the breakup of all breakups, and my dream was shattered. All my hopes for us were robbed and ” hope deferred makes the heart sick…” became my reality.(Proverbs 13:12)

I believe one of the greatest pains of our human experience is a broken heart. Its pain is piercing and relentless. With all the strength you possess you try quickly to move past it, but broken things often heal slowly. You are simply forced to endure its pain. Some try to sedate it with sex, liquor, and drugs, but it refuses to leave. Some try to work it away, but the moment you take a break, it’s there. Some try to reason it away, but heartache supersedes knowledge; and you will never truly understand why your heart hurts so bad.

One of my greatest fears was to be where I am now, and that’s on the back side of a failed engagement. I read stories and met women who had gone through it; but I never wanted to be acquainted with its grief.  Now three months removed from it today, I can testify there is life after it. The first 30 days consisted of bitter tears. I wept because I felt like I had wasted my time. I mourned because I loved him. I sobbed because I made the decision to call the relationship off.  I lamented the death of the relationship because I had never been completely committed to a relationship the way I was with him (mind, body, and soul).  I cried because I no longer saw myself part of his dreams.

I would be lying if I said this experience did not rip the fabric of the way I view love. It was almost successful in making me give up on it. I was almost convinced not to love wholeheartedly ever again, but shutting myself off to loving someone keeps me from fulfilling my purpose. We were created to love. Choosing not to do so makes one defective because you are not fulfilling the Great Manufacturer’s purpose for creating you.

During the first 30 days, all I could remember was the broken promises. I had forgotten about all the joy and life our love had given me. Although the flaws of our humanity brought on the demise of our relationship, the love we shared was pure, healing, and refreshing. I learned so much about me, and I appreciate every lesson his love came to teach me. I assumed it was for forever, but I am grateful I was able to experience it in this lifetime.

I am not sure what the future holds for me, and I am quite alright with its uncertainty. I no longer see marriage as the validation I needed to prove I am worthy of love. I rest in the fact that I was created to love, and at the appointed time that love will be received and reciprocated by the man it was created to serve. I am no longer bitter about the outcome, and I am hopeful that I will love again.-Charity Israel

Photo Credit: http://hammerandgem.com/wedding-rings-101-dos-donts-wedding-ring-ownership/

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Getting to Know God: Adonai

Adonai: My Great Lord, Master

The most important component to the idea of Love Lives Free is the fact that we must spend time getting to know God in order to live in the freedom His love provides. I find it somewhat disheartening that many Christians  have accepted Christ but have little to no understanding of who God is. So for the next few months, I am going to devote my Sunday devotions to blogging on the Names of God. I will warn all the scholars now that it will not be a comprehensive study of His names; but my hope is that it will encourage all of us to go a little deeper in learning about who He is now that we  have accepted the priceless gift of Salvation. It is my hope for the unbeliever that reads this that something will be written that compels you to get to know this amazing God that I am talking about.

There are many names that describe God in the Bible, and I will not spoil the fun for you in discovering those beautiful treasures, but today we will discuss Adonai which means “my great lord or master.” In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times.There are heavy uses of Adonai in Isaiah (e.g., Adonai Jehovah). It occurs 200 times in Ezekiel alone and appears 11 times in Daniel Chapter 9.   Adonai is first used in Gen 15:2.  However it is in Psalm 8 we discover the beautiful writings of  one in awe of the supremacy of God and his willingness to entrust us with His creation:

1 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!Your glory is higher than the heavens. 2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. 3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,human beings that you should care for them? 5 Yet you made them only a little lower than angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You gave them charge of everything you made,putting all things under their authority—7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, 8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. 9 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Barnes Notes on the Bible suggest “Our Lord – The word used here – אדני ‘âdônay – means properly master, lord, ruler, owner, and is such a title as is given to an owner of land or of slaves, to kings, or to rulers, and is applied to God as being the ruler or governor of the universe. The meaning here is, that the psalmist acknowledged Yahweh to be the rightful ruler, king, or master of himself and of all others. He comes before him with the feeling that Yahweh is the universal ruler – the king and proprietor of all things.” Just like the psalmist we too must see God as Lord of our lives in order to serve him properly.We must see him as the Master of our souls and the Ruler of our lives if we plan on pleasing him on earth. We do not have to fear that he will mistreat us or take advantage of us like history has taught about human masters. His love keeps him from abusing us.

We must be mindful that our lives are no longer our own. Whatever our Lord requires we must be willing to surrender, do, and yield to without questions. This takes practice, and everyday we are presented with the opportunity to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. It is important that if we are going to be representatives of the Kingdom on the earth, we must yield to the Supreme Lord and Ruler of Heaven which is God. Today my prayer is that we will allow God to be Adonai in our lives. I pray we surrender our lives completely over to His lordship, and that we will give him total access to the thrones of our hearts. We will never be able to receive his love if we refuse to yield our hearts to His control. I pray we will. Have a wonderful Sunday!-Charity Israel

Photo Credit:  https://continuingindaba.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/0-adonai.jpg

Goodbye Thirty, Hello Freedom!!!

So be strong and courageous all you who put your hope in the Lord!-Psalm 31:24

Six months before I turned 30, I went on the pursuit of finding out what the decade would entail for me. I talked to women who were in their early thirties, late thirties, and well into their sixties. I made it my mission to come up with a plan to prepare myself for this monumental shift from being a “young” adult to just an ADULT! I read books, blogs, and anything that would give me a glimpse into my future; but NOTHING prepared me for what I would describe as the most painfully liberating year of my life.

Thirty was pure hell, darkness, chaos, and confusion. It started with my birthday plans for the year. A friend and I planned to watch a play on Broadway. However, I ended up spending my day alone in Manhattan sipping a glass of Riesling and contemplating the meaning of life. LOL  Eleven days after the worst birthday ever my grandmother on my father side passed away, and six days after her my mother’s mom passed away. Two of the most loveliest souls on the planet left without my permission. Life has not been the same without them.

September was spent trying to cope with the events of August, and trying to convince myself that I was happy when in fact I was hurting. The hardest truth for me to admit was that I was starting to despise the two things that meant so much to me, my job and living in the city of my dreams, New York.  I suppose this discontentment with my life was God’s way of preparing me to do what he requested of me in June, which was to stop being a Flight Attendant and move back to Atlanta. However the 401k, great health insurance, and the steady income made that request hard to comply with until December 2015. Between continuously getting sick and the anxiety attacks I was having, it became quite apparent it was time to let it go and I did.

By March my savings had dwindled, and all I had left was my knight in shining armor that I was planning to marry in August 2016. As fate would have it March 5, we decided it was best to go our separate ways due to the chaos that both of us was experiencing. I cannot express the pain that comes with saying “Goodbye” to the person you were ready to share the rest of your life with. Everything that I was so certain of in 2015 had slipped through my fingers by March 2016. I was jobless, super single AGAIN, and found myself embarking upon the darkest night of my soul to date.

It was during this time of chaos, confusion, and loneliness that something beautiful was being formed. I was stripped of everything that I allowed to define me throughout my years, and I was left at the mercies of God. I had to admit to my idol worship of marriage, success, fame, and prestige. I had to find purpose outside of my possessions or the lack thereof. I had to clean out the skeletons in my closet, and I had to confront the insecurities within me that were sabotaging my future. As I sat in the dark room of my life, I was forced to deal with the truth of my self-image. I had to wrestle on a few occasions with the demons of my past that were doing all they could to keep me in fear. It was here I became content with my own being and confident in the God who created me.

It was in my weakness that I found God’s strength to be perfect. It was in choosing to receive His love that fear had to flee. It was sitting in darkness that I discovered the beauty of His marvelous light of Truth. Thirty was the year that my pride was crucified; my selfishness was exposed; and my greatest fears were realized. It was also the year I learned what it meant to live free, strong, and courageous. I literally have nothing to lose in this life, and it puts me in a place to gain all that God has in store for me. I say goodbye to 30 joyously, and I tell it thank you for introducing me to myself!

Thirty-one will be an amazing year for me because it is the first time, I will actually be living unapologetically as Charity. The freedom that becomes available on the other side of facing your fears and confronting the lies you have lived for so long is indescribable. It expels all the shame, and it leaves you confident in who God has created you to be. I embrace 31 as a completely different person; and I look forward to the lessons it will teach me and the opportunities it will present me as I have decided to let go of fear and live in God’s love for me. Happy Birthday Charity Israel!!! Freedom looks good on you!!!!!!!!

P.S. The book is coming soon. I had to live it before I could write it!!!

Dear Love

 

 

Dear Love

It has been awhile since we have seen each other, and your presence is greatly missed. The first time we met, I was frightened by you. I questioned “why would you want me, and what made me worthy of you?” Out of fear, I abused you. Thinking I would be rejected, I neglected you. You had no choice but to leave. Please forgive me for pushing you away.

The second time you came around, I was determined to make it work. After experiencing the beauty of you, I wanted to prove I had learned to accept you. So I put up with a lot and ignored many signs because I did not want to let you down. I was so in need of the high you gave, I yielded my heart to someone who did not completely understand you. I suffered greatly trying to manufacture something as divine as you. In the process of desperately wanting to experience you, I paid a high price. I cashed in my self-respect, standards, dignity, and my faith (almost).

I wanted you so bad, but you were not present. Once this synthetic or faux love came to an end, my heart was completely hardened. I was remorseful that I tried to force your return. I was bitter because I knew it was not you; and I allowed the façade to go on too long. I was hurt. Trying to create Love is far more painful than waiting on you. I owe you an apology for imitating you and becoming so bitter that I started to question your existence. Next time I am blessed with your presence, I will receive you with open arms. I will not question why you returned. I will not question whether I am worthy of you. I know that I am.

When I am certain it is you, I will gladly give you my heart. You can be trusted. There is no desire to reject you because you accept me. There is no need to impress you because you are completely into me. I now know I can trust you with my insecurities. I know you will not find the scars of my life repulsive. I am certain I can trust you with my fears because in your perfection, you take them away. I am convinced my past sins will not intimidate you because you cover a multitude of them.

I no longer fear you, and I will not rush your return. I will continue to prepare my heart for your residency. I am daily cleaning out my skeletons and facing my demons because You deserve my whole heart. So know my heart is open to you again. Know that I am preparing myself to receive and keep you next time. There will be no games you will have to win or walls you will have to break down. I no longer possess a list of how tall you are; how much you make; and what you must look like. I just want you in the package you choose to come in. You graciously accepted me, and I will extend that grace back to you.

Sincerely,

Charity Israel

 

Accesory to Murder: A Reflection on Resurrection Day

Today marks the culmination of one of the goriest murders recorded in history, the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It also celebrates the greatest moment in Christendom, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus a man whose perfection is often questioned; race is debated; righteousness is disputed; and divinity is argued CHOSE to die so that we may live. We, being the ungrateful, the merciless, the selfish, and the prideful. We, being the ones worthy of Eternal Damnation but given Grace instead. We, being the unforgiving became the Forgiven. Isaiah 53:3-6, 12 reveals how we are guilty of accessory to murder:

“He was despised and rejected. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. We did not care. It was our weakness he carried; and it was our sorrows that weighed him down. He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. The Lord laid on him the sins of us all.”

Our sins were accomplices to His death on the cross, but that’s NOT the focus of today (Rom. 5:8). Today we celebrate what His Glorious Resurrection means for those who accepts His lordship. It means we are now counted righteous by God (Isaiah 53:11). It means we have Eternal Life (John 3:16). The Resurrection means we have been justified and the blood of Jesus puts us in right standing with God (Romans 5:1). It means there is NO condemnation of sin, and we do NOT have to walk around weighed down by our past (Rom. 8:1). The Resurrection means for the Believer that sin and death are rendered POWERLESS (I Cor. 15:55-7). It means we all have a personal line of communication to come before God any time about anything (Heb. 4: 14-16). The Resurrection means that through the fulfillment of the Life, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus we can put our faith and hope in God (I Pet. 1: 20,21). Last but not least, the Resurrection means we are now the children of God, and in His timing we will see our Father face to face (I John 3:1,2).

Today I pray that as we celebrate our hearts would be pierced by the reality that God considered us in the brutal murder and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the unbeliever, I hope you come to know Jesus in the pardoning of your sins. For the believer, I pray you come to know the love, freedom, and victory that now belongs to you as a result of accepting Jesus Christ. The work of righteousness has been done for us, please ACCEPT that truth! Today let us embrace the truth of the Resurrection which is God is able to bring back to life those things that are needed for His Glory. The Resurrection showed the undeniable power of God in Jesus’ life, and I pray that your life does the same. Happy Resurrection Day!- Charity Israel