The Pursuit Blog

Here’s the deal: chivalry is not dead.

You asked for this blog and here it is. Let the women rejoice. Ring the alarms. End your bad relationships. Throw a party. Write in your journals about hope. Pray fiercely with faith. Men of God are not extinct. They’re real. They’re out there. You’re not delusional.

:: small tangent rant::
Single woman:  you’re not crazy for having a standard! The people who made me feel like an idiot for having a high standard were wrong! And they need to stop giving young ladies poor advice! I’m glad I didn’t date just anyone. I’m glad I turned people down. I’m glad I didn’t panic when people mocked God’s faithfulness. It’s time to stop making excuses and quit listening to people who don’t believe God is big enough, including but not limited to older/married people in your family or church who may be believers but just can’t seem to watch their mouths. Bless their hearts, though.

How do you spot those people? Easy. They give themselves away. Here’s their tell: they NEVER ask about what God is doing in your life, or how He’s speaking to you, or about your personal growth as a powerful daughter of God. Instead, they are more concerned with your “window” and whether or not you have a boyfriend. They can’t seem to help themselves but remind you that “someone will come for you” and that you just need to hold on for dear life. UGH! Somebody already came for you, and His name is Jesus.

NEWSFLASH: if God has you single right now, then you’re better off single right now. God is not a jerk. God might be doing something in your life or the life of your future significant other that is best done when you’re not in each other’s lives. This is okay. This is actually great.

Please don’t let your significant other find you desperate. Please. Let them walk into your life and see you chasing the Kingdom and reaching for the hem of Jesus’ robe. Let them find you powerfully preaching, with a smile on your face, finding purpose in Him and not adding to your secret Pinterest wedding board. Please rise up and thrive as a single, like you’ll thrive in any status. Pretty please? Thanks.
::end of tangent rant::

Now… the kind of man you await is not a unicorn, a vampire, a werewolf,  a cartoon, or any other kind of mythical creature.

How a Man of God Pursues:

 

First of all, THEY DEFINE THE RELATIONSHIP. They’re not afraid of saying “Hey, I have feelings for you. May I have more of your time? May I call you more? May I get to know you with the intention of dating you?”

A big difference between a boy and a man, is that a boy will try to sneak into your life, message you at odd hours, ask you weird questions, and not give you their intentions. They simply take. They’ll try to kiss you without asking. They’ll push your boundaries without asking. It’s selfish, and it’s not thoughtful or well-meaning. It isn’t for your good. Oh and if you let them, they will. Put your foot down and then boot them out. You are a woman of dignity, and you should hold on to your dignity. Tell them “I don’t like to talk this late.” or simply don’t respond. Tell them “I think you’re pushing the line of friendship here. What are your intentions?” and see what happens. Boys run away and shut you out.

Secondly, THEY ARE STRAIGHT-FORWARD. Gentlemen don’t make you wonder if or when they’re going to call you or text you. They don’t make you wonder if they want to talk to you. They don’t make you feel weird for texting them, or make you feel like you’re annoying. They definitely don’t tell you to “play hard to get.” These things have happened to me in the past, and I was very confused, wondering if something was wrong with me. Truth is that you’re not supposed to ignore each other to make the other person like you more. That’s not how relationships go. Gentlemen don’t make you feel rejected. If you’re feeling rejected, guess what? That feeling doesn’t go away when you’re married to that person. You don’t want that kind of marriage. Wait for someone who values you, who says “I will talk to you tomorrow” or “I’ll call you after work” or “text me when you’re done” and doesn’t make communication into a guessing game. There’s security in knowing what’s going on.

 

Thirdly, THEY ARE THOUGHTFUL. Honestly, gals, it’s not rocket science. Flowers. Making dinner. Opening doors. Planning a sweet date. It’s not tough, but it goes such a long way. Be careful when you can tell that someone is not being thoughtful, or that they’re pretending that they don’t know what they could do to express their feelings for you.  It’s common sense, and it is kindness demonstrated. It needs to be there. Holidays, birthdays, and sweet gestures are important to me. If they’re important to you, hold your ground.

Fourthly, THEY ARE PROUD OF YOU. Not just in the sense of supporting your dreams and who you are as a person, but also that they don’t hide you. They don’t hide you from anybody. They’re excited to take a picture with you, they talk about you to their friends, and there is nothing about your relationship that is hidden. Players hide you because they don’t want to blow their cover with the other girls they’re talking to. They want to continue to get attention from girls who like them, and to flirt with them, and that’s why they have a tendency of hiding relationships and making girls feel like dirty little secrets. Let me just remind you that this should not be the norm, and that you don’t have to tolerate that. The person you date should be proud of you and feel lucky to be with you.

Last but not least, THEY INSPIRE YOU. Looking at this person, you see someone whose life you admire. They walk in grace and truth. They seek righteousness. They talk about what they’re learning about God’s heart and character. They uphold your purity and set good boundaries. Their life is a good example to others, and they carry traits you’d want imparted on the next generation.

Do not lose hope. Do not settle. Do not slow down your Kingdom pace. Do not put up with *insert strong choice words that are so very not my style but appropriately express what I’m trying to say.* You’re worth it. You’re worth it. You’re worth it.

Keep seeking first the Kingdom, pursuing your passion and dreams, and soon enough you’ll look around and see that someone is standing in front of you, with that look in their eyes you’ve been waiting to behold.

God is Love, and through every season, He is Faithful.

I napped too hard

I’ve done somewhat dangerous things. I’ve taken public transport in Africa, and volcano boarded/crashed in Nicaragua. I’ve eaten street food in Cambodia. I’ve couch-surfed in Singapore, and hitchhiked in Thailand.

But last week during Thanksgiving break, all I did was take a nap. A nap, yall….

naptgiv

I thought I was taking the average food coma break, but when I woke up, I felt a very strange pinch in the back of my neck.

I thought it was just whatever people call it… a crick? Yeah. No!

nappingwrong

Improper nap posture

The crick stretched all the way toward the side of my neck, to my collarbone. If you are a geek like me, you’ll enjoy saying the word of the muscle I strained:: sternocledomastoid. Mm. So I got hurt napping. Yes.

But picture this… me just enduring the thing, not taking any meds, not doing any cold or hot compresses, but instead trying to tough it out. IT STARTED HURTING OVER A WEEK AGO! I finally cracked *ha* and went to the nearby CVS 2 days ago, bought all the goodies and started trying to take care of it.

I had my first REAL massage by a real masseuse and sweet friend Erin. She shed a lot of light into my situation.

So here’s the struggle:: my injury is physical (duh) but also spiritual.

I am an intercessor. I’ve been carrying a lot of pain on me and toughing it out. It’s showing up all over my back, in knots. The pain scurries from one place to another, even during the massage, it would move around.

My neck is a picture of my struggle with myself. There’s a tug-o-war going on. One side of my neck is tense and short, the other is strained and swollen. I’m out of alignment. One side is compensating for the other, and something had to give.

Picture this::

if I am choosing stillness, the lies say “you are lazy”

if I am choosing productivity, the lies say “you are striving”

/////let the tugging begin\\\\\

The enemy attacks my motives, turns me against myself.

if I step up boldly to lead, the lies say “you are proud”

if I delay, the lies say “you are disobedient”

It’s a paralyzing war inside, a war I thought I had understood but that feels so different when it’s attacking my work toward Phylla House. It’s not just attacking me.

Erin asked me what my definition of grace is… my answer?

Grace is the victory that is given to me regardless of whether I succeed or fail.

Somehow my loss is counted as gain.
Grace is the steady hand and love of God in my wavering, my injury, my weakness.
Grace is the hand that grasps me while I’m falling short of the glory of God, and it pulls me to the throne room of the Almighty God, grips me while He works in me.
Grace is the hand that holds mine through the hardest of times, the voice that wakens me in the morning, and the landlord evicting fears out of my heart.
Grace is the retrospective wisdom to know that God wasn’t being mean or holding back His mercy on me in the past, but that it all led to this. THIS.

The more time goes by, the more I see that it was worth it all.

My orphaned heart, yearning to be loved, made a lot of mistakes, yeah. But I’ve been given a new heart, a crown, and a ring. Now I have the privilege of holding women who are grieving, who let me embrace them because they know my story. I can’t ever cheapen the grace in all of that. Ever. Grace dispels what my past would say of me.

Grace is that my neck is healing and will heal, and that the pain I felt was for this very purpose, so that I could share with someone who needed to hear it tonight that this crazy grace is available to them, to have and to hold.

It’s clear now that I’ve been carrying burdens literally on my back and that the conflict I have within myself has to end because it’s paralyzing and painful. God brought it to the light, He made something internal become external. My weakness manifested this week, and it’s a work in progress.

Now it’s time to put on IcyHot on my neck and try to decide if I like the weird tingles or not… still torn. Have you ever put IcyHot on your neck? You should try it and let me know how it goes 🙂

Thanksgiving 2014

Somehow, I’ve arrived here.

I can’t explain the goodness, the method.

God has blessed me in ways I didn’t think possible.

Just last year, I was crying. I was broken. I was feeling empty, unhappy that I was unsatisfied, angry with myself for not being satisfied, and asking God why I craved something aside from Him, why He wasn’t filling my heart, healing my heart. I was stuck on all my shortcomings, focused only on the things I had failed to do, on what I could have done differently. My soul simply cried out ‘why’ and no longer said ‘yes’ to the Most High King. But He didn’t leave me there. He gave me a new spirit.

All is well now. I can say with a confident peace that I walk in His healing. My heart has been mercifully filled to the brim with a love that is bold and deep and real. I’m in love, and not just with an idea, but with the fullness of what God intended. And I’m not afraid to receive it. I’m not afraid it will be taken away.

brave

As for ministry, it’s been tough but rewarding. God has grown Phylla House beyond my imagination. We now have 3 campuses, reaching over 50 women. We have an internship program. We have more overseas partners, who now actually benefit from our partnership. I’m much closer to becoming a women’s pastor, what was once a goal I didn’t think myself deserving to set.

I’d like to say I no longer struggle with discipline, but it hasn’t gotten that much easier. I crave intimacy with the Father, but sometimes it doesn’t carry over into my body desiring to get up in the morning when it’s not well-rested. It’s a battle worth fighting, and I will keep fighting out of love, and freely receiving His grace in the times that I fail.

 

Thanksgiving 2014 has me with a full heart. I know God did more than I dared to ask.

______________________________________________________

As you can tell, we’re still in 2013. I wrote this projecting forward, prophesying over next year.

I grieved this year. It was beautiful, but also really painful. But Jesus is making new things. I can trust Him in that, and I will focus on what is ahead, because it sure is lovely.

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
Psalm 71:20