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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recognizing Decoy Friendships

I was green as the old folks would say.  At 19, I had a very idealistic outlook on life and about people in general. I still maintain that sense of optimism today, but I have the discernment of the Holy Spirit that helps me to make better choices. It was no wonder that I decided to take on two grown women who were in need of a place to stay. They seemed very spiritual, always reading their Word, always praying in unknown tongues, and always praying for hours on end. I was thirsty for that kind of interaction with God. I wanted to do whatever I could to help them. They appeared down on their luck and were in need of a place to lay their heads for a few weeks while they were in the process of job hunting. I honestly believed them. They were always talking about marriage and being engaged and I knew at some point I wanted to be married so, I listened intently. I had other women mentors in my life who prayed for me. Everything seemed to be going fine, except, I noticed they stopped looking for a job. As a college student, I wasn't working and depended on my grant monies to pay my living expenses. I enquired about their job search, but all I got was prayer language. Then, the bills began arriving, bills that had increased, while my funds had not. Not only had my bills increased, but they had taken over my personal living space. They stopped job seeking and huddled in my room to pray for hours on end. I realized that my kindness had been mistaken for weakness. I began to seek counsel about the situation. Finally, I was told by one woman that she was on the brink of getting a job. Both women claimed to be engaged, yet no fiance ever appeared in the picture. I wondered why they did not reach out to their significant others. Then, I got engaged. And that's when things hit the fan.

The two women who had been ignoring me all of a sudden had tons of advice:
"You don't need to talk to him."
"You need to spend a year apart just praying for him."
I thought to myself, We just got engaged. That's no way to build a relationship.
I declined their advice and shared with my then fiance (now my husband) what I was told.
His advice: You need to ask them to leave as soon as possible.
So, I did. But they refused to leave. Yes, you heard right. They refused to leave.
So, I had to call the police and have them forcibly removed from the premises.
Their response? Retaliation.

They went to my local church body at the time and accused my fiance and I of sexual immorality.
The gossip spread like wildfire.
My fiance and I were both in the process of preparing for introduction into ministry.
This announcement came right before our initial sermons.

We were both called in a spoken to separately, he by the Bishop of the Church, and Myself by the Board of Missionaries. He was affirmed and told, "The Truth would stand." I was told, "The last woman who denied this was in deed pregnant. You will have to sit down for nine months." Now, call it what you want, but the standards for Women in Ministry will always be lopsided. So, my fiance went on to give His initial sermon, while I was black-balled and silenced for nine months on accusation alone.

Shortly thereafter these events, the ladies were proven to be busybodies, had no church home, were moving from church to church, and living off of members. Our Bishop put out an official notice for members not to recieve them into their homes, and then notified other local churches. It turned out these women had designs on some gentlemen who had no idea they were claiming them as thier fiancees.

I endured the nine months, and delivered my initial sermon the following year at 19. The Truth did stand. I have been serving in Ministry ever since, I am happily married, and I am fulfilling the call of God on my life. So, what can you learn from my youthful and unintended folly?

  • Always get counsel before you take someone into your home. I am still a very compassionate person by nature, but now I seek the Lord and spiritual counsel. In the multitude of counselors there is safety
  • Know why people are in your life. My ministry call was postponed nine months due to slander, gossip, and retaliation. Jesus didn't dismiss Judas from his life. He knew why he was there.
  • Not every "girlfriend" is really YOURfriend. Misery loves company, and sometimes people only love you when you share the same status. When your status changes and it looks like God is upgrading your life, you might find yourself the object of hate, gossip, and slander
  • Ask God to help you discern between Praying Women and Preying Women. Some women stand in the gap and thank God I have friends who do that. Some women stand in the way, blocking what should be yours, backbiting, gossipping, and generally stirring up unnecessary drama
  • When you feel like a situation has gotten out of hand, never be afraid to get help and if necessary, involve law enforcement.
  • Even when it appears everything is against you, God can work all things for your good.
  • Even in a bad situation, you can make a good impression for God. Many people were watching the entire process, watching my courtship, and are watching my marriage. I've had more than one person tell me they couldn't believe how well we handled the defaming of our name and character. It was only God.
  • Know that if God has joined you together, He can keep you together. I thank God for a Man of God who defended my honor and stood by me. He could have said, "This isn't worth all the flack, and broken off the engagement." But He didn't let the devil win. It's one of the reasons I love Him soooo much :)
  • The enemy is after marriage covenants that God ordains and he will use ANYBODY to cancel out the Kingdom Dominion that comes as you walk in unity with your Spouse. After all, you are the picture the world will look at to get an idea of what Christ and the Church are to look like
How can you recognize a decoy friendship?
        1. Is it mutually beneficial?
        2. Am I able to express myself freely?
        3. Are my actions or opinions valued?
        4. Is there a balance in decision making?
        5. Am I guilted into doing anything?

If you answered all these questions with a NO, you are NOT in a friendship, you are in a dictatorship!
I encourage you, Woman of God, to seek the face of God, pray for your future spouse, pray for the process of becoming one. You may face some very real obstacles, but the joy of becoming one with the person God intends for you will be worth it!

Blesssings and Church <3!

**Please note that I have long made peace with all parties involved. This is my side of the story, and is in no way intended to defame anyone, only to impart some life lessons, so I will not be naming any names.

Gents & Ladies

Gentleman Thug. Lady Thug. These are some of the erroneous terms floating around in modern day culture. Are these oxymorons? Let's take a look:

The term gentleman describes a well-educated man of good family and distinction. It signifies a man with an income derived from property, a legacy or some other source, thus independently wealthy and did not need to work. The modern day term includes any man of good, or courteous conduct.

The term lady or gentlewoman denotes gentle birth or high social position, with good manners and high standards of behaviour.

So, why are we tagging words that obviously have a positive connotation with thug, "B", etc? The question has been asked, "Is chivalry dead? Are the standards too high? Are we expecting too much from men and women these days?"  I would say, absolutely not.

What are the benefits of being a Lady or a Gent? Here are a few:

1. Your contributions to society will be respected not ridiculed. Many times great contributions can be downplayed by a flagrant, irreverent lifestyle. Endeavor to live a life that encourages others to hear what you have to say.

2. You will spend less time defending your reputation. I won't enumerate the number of celebrities that have to constantly put out fires, stop the sale of sex tapes, pay off the nanny, etc. due to past behaviors. Yes, God's grace and mercy is available to us in every situation, but the consequences of our actions are not always negated.

3. You will be valued beyond your body parts. Our image-obsessed culture have so many indoctrinated with the belief that if you don't have the latest, if you're not thin enough, fit enough...the list goes on, then you can't get noticed. We know that is not the truth, but it is the prevailing world
perception. Ladies and Gents know that truth, integrity, compassion, and virtue are some of the best garments in the world to be outfitted with.

I encourage you, don't let the world define the type of Lady or Gent you are going to be. The Word of God is the greatest mirror. Hold yourself to that standard and you won't go wrong <3

Blessings & Church Love!