This morning I visited a church that I’ve been to many times but haven’t gone to on Sunday. First of all it was so refreshing to be in the House of the Lord again. (It’s been a couple weeks since I have been to church due to traveling for the holidays.) But on another note, the Pastor open the floor for testimonies. As soon as he gave an invitation to speak I immediately got nervous and thought that he was speaking directly to me. For some reason I always have felt compelled when the leader of service invites people to sing, testify, join the church, etc. With that being the case I just told myself “I don’t need to go up there, besides what would I say. Is my testimony even appropriate?” Then I thought about it, I don’t think God would allow anything to happen to me that wouldn’t be appropriate to share with His people. Although some people feel there are certain things that shouldn’t be said in church, I’m beginning to feel like someone needs to know that their situation will be ok and it may take hearing about what God has done for me. I don’t think that my situation is unique but I know that many people are embarrassed of their past and therefore to do not share it. But reflecting on a thought I’ve had before, I’ve been really thinking about us giving ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. In doing that, we have to be ready for whatever God takes us through, then after or during it we also have to be ready to testify. So here goes nothing….
It all started after my boyfriend and I broke up. In the beginning I thought I was ok but then I began to realize that I was very lonely. I had been with him for a year and a half and we were ALWAYS together. So not only did we break up but he had moved to another state right before. I felt like I was alone. Then I began seeking attention. I really just wanted a guy to have around. I knew I didn’t want a boyfriend because my feelings were still attached to my ex. I thought I wanted a “no strings attached” type relationship and I got one. Quickly I realized that I didn’t like the feeling of being a booty call and it wasn’t satisfying my need. Unfortunately, It happened again and I found myself going from guy to guy searching for someone to hang out with, someone to keep me company. I learned that hanging out consisted of sex, but I felt like it came with the territory so I continued. I had people telling me I didn’t deserve what I was putting myself through but I kept justifying it and thinking that it wasn’t that bad. Then I met one particular guy that I thought actually liked me. He told me that he would consider having a relationship with me but he had a girlfriend at the time. Soon after he actually told me that they broke up. I believed him and that was the gateway for us to have sex. Not much later I found out that he fixed things with his girlfriend but he wanted to keep seeing me. I had enough dignity to tell myself I couldn’t continue to mess around with him. From that day I decided to be celibate. I made it 2 months before someone else came along. This person I had known for a while and it was through a guy that I was involed with before, which was shameful in itself. Months later I found out that I had contracted an STI. I was treated for it. But in the midst I passed it to someone else. Needless to say that person was very upset so he stopped talking to me. A few days later I wasn’t feeling to good. I was tested for other infections and they told me I was fine. I know it didn’t feel fine but I truly believe God healed my body from whatever it was.
Fast forward to now, I have a boyfriend who knows everything that happened before him and he loves me as if I am a virgin. He was able to look past all of that stuff and he even feels like I’m his soul mate. God has blessed me to call this guy my best friend as well as my boyfriend and there isn’t anything I cant tell him. We have been celibate since July and we plan to be until we get married, if it is God’s will. As 2012 ends I can say that I’m not in the place I was in a year ago mentally, emotionally and spiritually and I have God to thank for that. Although I couldn’t understand why I was going through all that I continued to pray, go to church and trust that God had a plan and something better for me.
So in closing I encourage you to share your testimony when you get the opportunity. You never know what the next person is going through and your deliverance may be confirmation that they can make it too. All of our trials are strengthening for our relationship with God and through them we learn just how awesome and able our God is.
Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Lately these two verses have been on my mind and I’ve just come to realize they are the keys to success as it related to being a Christian. They are basically saying that if you continue to seek God and His will for your life, you won’t have to continue to beg and pray for the blessings He has for you. In church, it just bothers me when people relate praising God to the blessings God has for you. First of all, we should Praise God in spirit and in truth. So if you are dancing and singing just to get a reaction (blessings) out of God, you may have the wrong idea about how He works. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m in the choir and I absolutely love singing for God. But understand that we don’t come to church to sing our hearts out and “cut a step” just so God will continue to bless us. He desires our praises so really these things are a part of the job description.
We are supposed to praise God REGARDLESS of our situation simply because of who He is. I say that if we seek God and seek to live in the image of Him, everything else will fall into place. He promises us grace, mercy, and peace but it seems no one ever thinks these things are enough. Most of the time, the intangible things are more valuable anyway. God can bless you with the biggest house on the block with the most expensive car in the garage, but if you don’t have peace in your mind, those things won’t mean much because you won’t be able to enjoy them.
The thing with wanting material things is that you can never get enough of them. You always want more or the newest and it’s never ending. How about having something that is everlasting? God’s love is everlasting and life will be everlasting if you confess the Lord. You can never run out of grace and it will never need an upgrade or a newer version. God is the same today and forever more and anything He provides you with that will really benefit you is the same. You may need more of it but even that is free to obtain, all you have to do is ask and if it is in His will you will receive it. The Bible also says that His grace is sufficient. That’s really good news because we know we aren’t perfect so we continue to need grace. Even when we think we are doing things right and we aren’t, His grace is covering us.
We have got to get our priorities in order. This is an age old activity, but write down or even just list in your head your priorities, things or people that mean the most and take precedence in your life. Make sure God is number 1. If He hasn’t been, make a vow to keep Him number 1 and I assure you that everything else will be taken care of.
It seems the definition of a friend has change so much. What used to be regarded as acts of kindness has gone unnoticed. Now simply living your life has began to affect the quality of a friend. That all sounds really deep but this is what I mean. It seems like the biggest thing that tears apart friendships is boyfriends. People are so quick to say that you’ve just changed and forgotten all about them just because you spend a lot of time with your boyfriend. What ever happened to being happy for your friend. It probably is a lack of confidence that would make someone say something like that. No doubt there are some girls that do completely stop dealing with their friends and spend all of their time with their boyfriend however I am not the type to do so. And to have been accused of such is offensive.
My idea of a friend has multiple parts. First is being supportive.
Support -Whether I need advice or just someone to listen to me I feel like you’re duty is to be there. Even in whatever it may be that I am discussing with you, although you may not agree with it, judgment definitely should not take place. Part of me considering you a friend is the fact that I feel I can confide in you knowing that you won’t pass judgment on my situation. The biggest thing about friendship is just having that person you can talk to who understands where you’re coming from. At the same time it’s the hardest thing to find these days. I’ve found that some people listen but only for their benefit. They just listen so that they can say they know you’re business but they don’t sincerely care about your feelings or the situation itself. Which brings me to another characteristic of a friend which its trust.
Trust- If there’s anything that can hinder any sort of relationship it is trust or lack there of. Adding on to the previous statement about telling people you’re issues, unfortunately it is very difficult to find someone who won’t tell someone else your business. For me, even if you feel like it is a person that I would tell anyway, I don’t feel like it’s your job to spread the news about anything I tell you. I actually had someone tell me that they didn’t care about what people told her because at the end of the day she didn’t care and she probably would tell someone else what they told her. I have to say that I was one of the people who would get the inside scoop on a lot of secrets her other friends told her, but in my mind I had to make a mental note that anything I tell her probably will be repeated to those same friends.
Be Understanding- B2K was definitely on to something when they released their song Understanding on their first album. Being understanding falls under a lot of different umbrellas as far as friendships and communication goes. First thing you have to understand is that I may have more than one good friend. Jealousy is a huge pet peeve in a friendship. It is such a turn off when someone feels like they have to be THE ONE. Let’s remember that we are friends not lovers. No one person will be able to satisfy my every desire and need. And I honestly hope you have enough going on your life that you aren’t able to be there every time I may need you. Although it would be wonderful if you were ALWAYS there but I understand and don’t expect you to be. Therefore if I have another good friend I definitely will be spending time with them. It would be great of both of you could be friends but if not, no hard feelings. Understand that I have not replaced nor forgotten about you.
Some of these things people may say is too much to expect of someone. I feel that some people don’t really value the title of a friend. We aren’t friends after hanging out once and having one conversation. Our friendship is built on the fact that we have things in common, that even though we may disagree we respect each other’s opinions. I have always had a really small circle of friends that I deal with on a consistent basis. But I can say no matter what, having those people around I have never felt alone and that no one understood me. One should build friendships for the qualities they have to offer and not the material things. People learn quickly that you can not buy a friendship and you sure can’t fix one like that either. It’s important to have people around you that are adding positively to your life. It does you no good to have someone around you that is going down a path of destruction if you plan to go in the opposite direction. And as a friend you should constantly ask yourself if you are help or hurting the person you consider to be your friend.