Confessions of a Ménage à Trois

As I was laying in my bed fighting the fact that I was awake, my stepfather came to mind. I begin to think about all the broken promises He made to my family. He used to tell us we were going to Disneyland, Hawaii, and etc. He promised us extravagant gifts, and he never delivered on them. As you get older you start to realize that he’s a liar, and you will never see the things he promises. Completely unbeknownst to me, my stepfather was creating my image of men. His empty words created a mistrust in me towards men. My stepfather’s actions coupled with my biological father’s decision to be missing in action was a perfect concoction for trust issues in future relationships. By age five, all I had come to know about men is  they will lie to you or abandon you. That was my perception based on my experience with them.
I remember my first heartbreak came in the fifth grade. I was dating this guy named Gary. I went away for a special school trip. When I returned it was rumored that he and Tara, a fully developed and sexually advanced fifth grader, were doing some things in the bushes. Those activities led to them being in a relationship and me being dumped without my knowledge. When I confronted Gary, he lied and denied everything. Once we were all at recess their actions told another story. I remember running to the bathroom and weeping alone. I had never felt such humiliation and betrayal from any other male than my fathers. This experience watered those seeds of distrust and abandonment. Distrust mutated into mistrust, and I became suspicious of every man that entered my life.
After Gary, I seemed to attract guys who were either bankrupt of love or felt they had too much loving to give. Many of my short-lived relationships consisted of me trying to convince a guy they were worthy of my love, or convincing myself that cheating was okay because I wasn’t having sex with them. From jr.high to high school, mistrust and abandonment were blossoming into glorious Weeping Willows without my permission.
In college, I changed up my dating strategy. Throughout college my dating relationships were long distance. In retrospect, I believe I did this to avoid another Gary and Tara situation on campus. I found these relationships to be easier on my heart. I didn’t have to overlook stuff, question them, and etc. I was completely committed to them, and those relationships brought about some of my fondest memories of being in a relationship. However, those relationships came to a sad ending due to fear. By the time a man was seriously interested in loving me, my insecurities wouldn’t allow me to receive it. So I ran like Usain Bolt!
My last relationship was the most devastating of them all. It was the one I gave 100% percent of me. It was the one I shared every truth I knew about myself. It was the one I made a conscious effort to ignore the Weeping Willows in my heart. It was the one that I went shopping for a wedding dress. We looked at rings, venues, and honeymoon destinations. It was the one I gave my virginity to because I just knew forever would be how long we would spend together. However, life happens and you end up back alone.

Fast forward to today, I am 32 and single. Well actually I’m not. Mistrust and Abandonment have been my most intimate companions for some time now. They have been constant friends reminding me that men cannot be trusted; one will never truly love you; and when you choose to love them they will abandon you. Their lies have become my truth, and they have painted my perception of men and my relationship with them.

Today, I felt a strong unction to simply forgive my stepfather for every lie and unkept promise. I will no longer allow those things to rent space in my heart and mind. I also release my biological father from the expectations I had for him as a father. His purpose was served by getting me here; and I’ll be forever grateful to him for getting that part right. I release every toxic and dysfunctional relationship that has tainted my perception of real love. I forgive myself for allowing my insecurities to sabotage past relationships, and today I pray that the Weeping Willows, abandonment and mistrust, be cursed at their roots never to live again. I renounce my allegiance to their ideologies, and I choose to believe “Good men who value the integrity of their word do exist.” Last but not least, to those who I hurt by allowing my perception of men to get in the way of what you were trying to show me please forgive me. I truly did not mean you any harm; and I hate that what I did in the name of protecting me harmed you.
Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/images/1Mh2PT

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Note to Self: I am His!!!

Fact: There are days when I question, “am I saved enough?” This isn’t because I’m not secure in my salvation, but moreso due to me looking at how others respond to God or what they consider the things of God. I’m​ not into “churching” aka being in church for the sake of being in church(powerless services, conferences, and etc.). I don’t observe Jewish holidays, and I don’t care to be so “deep” in the things of the Spirit that I fail to love in my pursuit of this knowledge. As I start to focus on what others are doing, I begin to think simply loving Him and loving others is not enough. Then these two verses come to mind, and I get back on track:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”- John 13: 34,35

He provides me with the will to do what pleases Him, and ultimately that is to love Him and others more. Sometimes the reminder is needed that I am His and his love flowing through me proves it. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

Confessions of an Ex-Racist Christian

This morning I woke up and felt led to open one of my journals. As I read it, I laughed at a few of my foolish request, and I smiled at my growth as a human trying to learn how to live this life. Since it is  Throw back Thursday, I will share an entry of Introspection from September 9, 2015:

I believe one of the hardest thing for a person to admit,especially a Christian, is he or she is a racist. No one who claims to love God wants to admit they have a problem with His creation; but it is  part of the Church’s reality. It took me roughly 25 years, six years ago, to admit racism lived in my heart. It was something I tried to ignore, but, living in the South and becoming more aware of the injustices of my tribe, I found myself HATING white people. I  found it difficult to admit my racism because I had friends I genuinely cared about although I could care less about their kind. To my credit, I did not hate my friends just all of the “other” white people smh… I figured, if I refrained from watching slave movies that it would go away. I thought, if I tried harder to befriend them that it would go away. I assumed, if I tried to replace negative thoughts about them with good ones my problem would be fixed. Oh how I assumed incorrectly! The more I attempted to fix a heart issue with my logic, I despised them more. Finally, I had a moment of truth with God because the hate in my heart was conflicting with the cry of my heart to love him and his people.  I poured my heart out to Him concerning the matter. I confessed that I was in fact a racist, and I held deep hate in my heart towards Caucasians. I confessed that my knowledge of how their ancestors treated my tribe and how some treat us today makes it difficult to forgive and love them. I even admitted that I felt I had both the right and plenty of reasons to stay angry with them. I repented for claiming to love God and hate his creation. I knew I could not be an effective dispenser of God’s love to the world with this kind of hate in my heart towards people. I asked God to change my heart and teach me how to gather knowledge without hate being attached to it. When I decided to be honest about the condition of my heart, God did an amazing work in it. I no longer carry that Hate I did towards my lighter brothers and sisters. I stopped  accusing them all of being one way based on the actions of a few. I truly make a conscious effort to judge a person by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Life has truly been much sweeter with hate out of my heart. Thank you God for helping me!-Charity

For those who will read this, particularly those who claim to be Christians, please consider your ways.  Take the time to tell God how you truly feel about certain groups of people. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” My encouragement to each of us is to be honest about who we are in God’s presence so that we can love as God commands us. We as believers cannot expect the condition of the world to change when we refuse to change and deal with the hate in our hearts. I am praying for each us that we would truly allow the love of God to permeate our hearts and be the change this world needs. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

Getting to Know God Series: El Shaddai

El Shaddai- The All-Sufficient One, God Almighty

Throughout the Bible we find times where God chooses to reveal who He is to mankind. I find this to be a display of God’s love towards us in hopes that we would come to trust Him more. God desires that we know Him, and he takes delights in blessing those who respond to his love properly. It is in Genesis 17:1,2 that this concept is played out as God reveals himself, as El Shaddai, to Abram, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”

Before we go any further, it should be noted that scholars go back and forth on whether El Shaddai means “the All-Sufficient One” or “God Almighty.” I appreciate how A.W. Pink, in Gleanings in Genesis concludes the meaning of El Shaddai, “The revelation which God here made of Himself was well suited to the occasion. This was the first time that He revealed Himself as “the Almighty.” None but One who possessed all power could meet Abram’s need at this time. Ninety and nine years of age, his body dead; Sarah barren and long past the age of child-bearing – how could they have hope to have a son? But with God all things are possible. And why? Because He is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One.” El Shaddai is God Almighty which makes Him the All-Sufficient One.

Recognizing that God is the Almighty was a necessary component to Abram fulfilling the next request of God to him. God tells Abram, “Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.” How was Abram the liar going to pull off the task of living a blameless life before a Holy God? How was he going to faithfully serve God in light of his many shortcomings. The answer is found in completely depending on the All-Sufficient One. Abram’s ability to live out God’s command to him was solely based on his willingness to trust in the One who provides all we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I really love the words found in MacLauren’s Exposition on this verse. The author says:

Note the revelation of God’s character, and of our consequent duty, which preceded the repetition of the covenant. ‘I am the Almighty God.’ The aspect of the divine nature, made prominent in each revelation of Himself, stands in close connection with the circumstances or mental state of the recipient. So when God appeared to Abram after the slaughter of the kings, He revealed Himself as ‘thy Shield’ with reference to the danger of renewed attack from the formidable powers which He had bearded and beaten. In the present case the stress is laid on God’s omnipotence, which points to doubts whispering in Abram’s heart, by reason of God’s delay in fulfilling His word, and of his own advancing years and failing strength. Paul brings out the meaning of the revelation when he glorifies the faith which it kindled anew in Abram, ‘being fully assured that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform’ {Romans 4:21}. Whenever our ‘faith has fallen asleep’ and we are ready to let go our hold of God’s ideal and settle down on the low levels of the actual, or to be somewhat ashamed of our aspirations after what seems so slow of realization, or to elevate prudent calculations of probability above the daring enthusiasms of Christian hope, the ancient word, that breathed itself into Abram’s hushed heart, should speak new vigor into ours. ‘I am the Almighty God-take My power into all thy calculations, and reckon certainties with it for the chief factor. The one impossibility is that any word of Mine should fail. The one imprudence is to doubt My word.’

 

As it was with Abram, so it is with us. If we ever plan to fulfill the commands and plans of God for our lives, we must rely solely on El Shaddai. We must trust that He is the source of all we will ever need to live holy, pursue His will, and speak His word. My prayer for us today is that we will come to know God as the All-Sufficient, Almighty God that He is. Everything we need is found in Him, and the moment we start to believe that is the moment we will truly pursue what He has called us to do. When you are convinced you have all you need to succeed, failure is not an option. El Shaddai is on your side! I dare you to go and be great!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/series/el-shaddai-the-all-sufficient-one/

The Danger of Living “Your Truth”

truthThe heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

Yesterday on Twitter I tweeted, “If living “your truth” is sin in the sight of God, you are still living a lie. As Christians, the Bible always trumps our truth.” I followed that tweet up with “satisfying your flesh is bliss until the enemy comes to collect and sin is always paid in death.#Romans6:23 #readit” I know death sounds extreme, but it is true. Consider a thief, he enjoys the instant gratification of acquiring that stolen object, but once he is discovered he will either experience death to his freedom (jail time) or to his life (killed by the owner). Consider the adulteress, she enjoys the moments of pleasure with her lover, but once her infidelity is discovered it oftentimes lead to the death of her marriage. Need more proof? Consider the gossiper, he or she thoroughly enjoys spreading rumors, until the death of a friendship or their smile because someone hit them in the mouth and took a couple teeth in the process. LOL

You may be wondering, Charity what does that have to do with living my truth?” I’m glad you asked. Oftentimes, living our truth comes at the expense of clinging to sin. Especially if our truth is being with another man’s wife; cheating your customers out of their money; and etc. Usually our “truths” are lived from our hearts, and that is a dangerous place to acquire truth. Matthew 15:19 says, “For from the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, and slander.” In other words, “it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”(Jer.17:9) Even as Christians, we risk the chance of being led astray by the suggestions of our heart. This is why Christ admonished in Matthew 22:37 to “love the Lord your God with all your heart…” He knew that if we did not submit to God’s lordship in our hearts that our lives would not reflect His presence in us. Matthew 15:18 says, “But the things that come out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” This also rings true about the way we live. If we are living from the truth of hearts that have not submitted to God, we will live lives that lead to all kinds of death.

The world has a luxury that we gave up when we decided to become a Christian, and that is the permission to live by their “truth.” They have the right to sleep with who they want; marry who they want; and take what they want. We forsook that privilege in order to obtain the privilege of being children of God. We no longer live according to the truths of our heart, but we live according to the truths of his Word. “Following our heart” is no longer an adequate excuse to remain in sin. God’s Truth (the Bible) trumps our truth (the suggestions of the heart).

Christians who lived before the Bible was accessible to all, maybe could have blamed their unrighteous living on ignorance. But we are without excuse. We have to make a decision to live according to the flesh (the suggestions of our heart) or the Spirit (the suggestions of the Holy Spirit). I encourage each of us to take a moment today and examine the “truths” we are living. If the Bible is clear on the matter, bring yourself under the subjection of God’s truth. If the Bible is unclear on the matter, seek wise counsel and be prayerful until you receive instructions on what to do. Always remember living any truth outside of God’s word will result in death (Romans 8:5-13). Today I pray we as believers are found choosing life. Thanks for reading and never forget that Love Lives FREE!!!

 

Prayer: Father thank you so much for the privilege of being your child, and I repent for living a life that does not reflect I belong to You. Today, I ask that you would bring to light all the “truths” that I have been living contrary to yours. Today I submit to your lordship over my heart, and I thank you for the grace to live in a way that is proof of your existence in me in Jesus name.

 

 

 

Meme Credit: The Daily Quote on Pinterest