Monday, April 27, 2009

Perfect Chocolate

Without a doubt, perfect chocolate is different for everyone. We all have different tastes and likes, so what pleases me may not please my friends. What is it that makes up the perfect chocolate? Quality ingredients. What makes the perfect man is the same. Okay so there is no perfect man, we all know that by now, and if you did not I am sorry to burst your bubble.

I have been seeing a man for several weeks, he is a gentleman, kind and affectionate, the list of qualities goes on and on, and I could go on and on but I do not want you to be jealous. HAHA! A week ago, he tells me he absolutely adores me but needs to end things because he is bad for me and the timing just is not right. Whoa! Wait! What?

I listened to his reasons and at the end of the conversation, we agreed to take things one day at a time and give him space to think. By the third day, I told him that his plan was all wrong and he needed to come up with a new plan that included me. After all, when you find great chocolate you eat it up right. I was not about to walk away from a good thing!

My last relationship was the exact opposite, I spent five years with him cheating on me, three of those years, and he never admitted publicly that he was in a relationship with me, he never took me on dates, and I cannot remember the last compliment he gave me. I felt neglected, abused, controlled and not worthy of his time, attention or affection.

Friday evening, he asked me if I could get a babysitter and join him and his friends camping, the plans just fell into place and I was able to spend time getting to know him even better and I must say I am so blessed. As I sat next to ‘my man’ on the picnic table while he shelled pistachios for me to eat. He got up and got me a soda cleaned it off and opened it for me. I turned to him and asked if he was just trying to impress me and if this special treatment would wear off in a few months, and his answer was “what you see is what you get, you deserve to be treated this way and it is not going to stop”.

We all know that you cannot look your best when you are camping. The moment I knew, he had ‘quality ingredients’ was when I emerged from my tent and he was standing there looking at me with the biggest smile on his face. My first thought was how he was about to start laughing at how horrific I look in the morning with my hair curled up all over and completely gone wild. I took one look at him and said ’okay you can run away now’ He laughed and said ’you look amazing’.

I did not look anything near amazing, but in his eyes, I did. That is what it all comes down to. The beauty of a person is not just found in that person, it exists in the eyes of the world. God created each one of us from the same basic ingredients, but how we come together to be the person we are is a work in progress. The beauty that is in us is there no matter what, but the people we interact with are what bring it out of us.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

God tells us that beauty should not be worn on the outside, instead what makes us beautiful should come from within, it is our ingredients, stirred together to make us who we are. I can look back and see that there was no beauty coming from my last relationship, the ingredients mixed together made anything but perfect chocolate. Beauty comes from our inner ingredients that are brought to the surface by getting jut the right mix, two people who compliment each other and blend together create ‘perfect chocolate’.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ingredients

What defines us are our ingredients, what we are made of makes us who we are. A few months ago a dear friend of mine told me she was done being friends with me with no reason or explanation, she was just done. I tried so hard to figure it out but could not draw any conclusions as to why, other then she was struggling and could not deal with things.

Yesterday she came to me and asked to talk; she wanted the opportunity to tell me what had happened. I listened to her and soon found that what I had thought was true, she just checked out because it was easier for her to handle things that way. She knew me well enough that I would not judge her and that I would forgive her. She knew what I was made of, what my ingredients were.

At the end of the conversation, she told me “Thanks for understanding. That is your gift from God and you do it well.” It really meant a lot to hear her say that. I try to be a reasonable person and understand people. What drives them to do things? Why do bad things happen? After all God calls us to be forgiving and understanding. Sometimes it is hard to have that ability, more often then not I end up being hurt and let down. However, yesterday God gave me back a good friendship, my reward for being patient.

It was funny because another friend opened up yesterday too. She told me how in church she had been thinking about how my ex boyfriend had hurt me with the things he had done. In addition, how it had affected so many of my relationships with people in the church. She was thankful to be my friend and see me reap the rewards God is giving me. She could not help but think about the others who have judged me and turned their backs on me and are missing out on the blessings because they chose to believe the lies and gossip about me.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not patting myself on the back. I am fully aware I am a sinner. Sometimes it takes going through a trial to find out what our ingredients are. God is funny like that, he does not make us and say ‘here you go, this is your recipe. This is who you are and what you are made of so you know how to deal with life’. Instead, He gave us His word, repeatedly in the scriptures He tells us to be like him; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:19; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 4:13 Romans 12:2. Ephesians 4: 23-24 “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness“.

I would like to think that two of my ingredients are grace and faith; they are what I strive for in my walk every day. I love the following definitions from Webster’s Dictionary and the bible:

Webster’s definition of Grace noun 1. A state of sanctification by God. 2. Elegance and beauty of movement or expression. 3. A sense of propriety and consideration for others. 4. A disposition to kindness and compassion; benign good will

The Bible’s definition of Grace (1.) Of form or person (Prov. 1:9; 3:22; Ps. 45:2). (2.) Favor, kindness, friendship (Gen. 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 2 Tim. 1:9). (3.) God's forgiving mercy (Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:5).

Webster’s definition of Faith noun 1. A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny. 2. Complete confidence in a person or plan etc. 3. Institution to express belief in a divine power. 4. Loyalty or allegiance to a cause or a person.

The Bible’s definition of Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind of the truth. (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. Faith is the result of teaching (Rom. 10:14-17). Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3).

It is hard for us to suffer; we often ask ourselves why we have to go through these trials and why we are not good enough. God wants to give us our ingredients; He wants to show us what we are made of.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Different Kinds of Chocolate

Just like men, there are so many different kinds of chocolate to choose from. They range from the generic; waxy and granular, all the way to the designer variety; rich and smooth and all the ones in between. I grew up in California and my favorites were See's, Ghiradelli and Godiva. I absolutely love truffles and the darker the better, it is richer and the flavor is beyond description.

Chocolate is so much like men!

White chocolate...well we already know this is a fake, phony, fraud, impostor...
I have dated too many of these. They are the smooth talker; tell you what you want to hear. This guy convinces you that he is something that he is not. He talks the talk but cannot walk the walk if you know what I mean.

Milk chocolate...smooth and a little waxy. It leaves a film in your mouth that you cannot get rid of. Yeah...enough said. It is the dime store chocolate, or the dime a dozen men. he is predictable and straight forward, what you see is what you get, but do you really want it? In the end, are you really going to be satisfied?

Dark chocolate...creamy, rich, REAL.
This man is mature, stable and honest. The percentage sign is a strong indicator of what you get on this one. I have found that most run of the mill chocolates (and men) are not confident enough to display that they are real quality. A real man has no problem admitting what he is made of.

I just recently went from white chocolate to dark chocolate. What a difference it made! My 'white' chocolate talked a good game, convinced me he loved God and me and was ready to start a life working in ministry together. I kept waiting for that to happen, for five long years, and what it boiled down to was that he cheated on me the whole time and kept making excuses for his actions and blaming me.

My 'dark' chocolate is nothing like him. In fact he is the exact opposite. He is older, more mature, committed to his life and everything in it. he is stable and when he says something he means it. He is good, honest and pure. This is the chocolate you can trust to the very last bite.

Philippians 1:9-10"And this is my prayer:that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may also be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ"

God wants us to make choices; He gave us willpower and the ability to think for ourselves. We have options so that we can look at each individual and situation and decide what is best for us ACCORDING TO HIS WILL FOR US.

May your chocolate be rich and pure! Enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Razzles

You know when you go to the ice cream shop and you add a topping but the candy is not the real stuff. I hate that. The gummies are not ‘the’ gummies and the M&M’s are razzles. Yuck! Why do the candy companies fake it and make us think they are something other then what they really are?

It is not so different with people. You can look at someone on the surface and listen to the things they say and get the impression that they are a good, Godly person, sincere in their walk with Christ. However, as time goes by, you learn that they are not what they appear.

I hate dishonesty, and I firmly believe there is a difference between lying and sinning, even though lying is a sin itself. I have no problem admitting that I am a sinner, I sin every single day and I do not try to hide it or pretend that I do not. As a Christian, I know that people look at my walk and me closely and scrutinize every move I make. I do not want to tell people my walk is right on when in all honesty that could not be further from the truth. I love the song by Matthew West, “ The Motions”, I see so many people doing that every day and it breaks my heart. I pray that when people see me that they see me as honest and as a sinner.

I think that when Christians take on the responsibility of being leaders among their piers, they need to be accountable for what they do and say. It is not enough to say ‘my walk is straight’ ‘God is moving in my life’ or ‘I am following God’s will to serve’. Your actions must follow and if you are doing things behind closed doors and telling the church your life is upright, you are a hypocrite and you not only ruin your testimony but you affect the church as well, most importantly you cause non-believers to stumble and draw further away from God.

It is better say, ‘I’m a razzle. I strive to be an M&M one day, but for now, this is who I am, take me or leave me.’ More often then not, people are going to take you because you did not try to pretend to be something other then yourself, sins and all. You will earn a lot more respect and God will use what you see as failures to His advantage.

There were so my verses that I thought about including, but when I came across this one, it really hit home. Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” It does not matter to God what we look like or act like, even now, in our present existence, He calls for us, believers who know the gospel, to RETURN to Him and turn away from the lies and sin of the world. We can never find happiness on our own, it is only through God. Only God.

Even now, I am a sinner, my walk is not perfect and it never will be, but God can use me anyway.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Tastes

Have you ever settled for something just because you were used to having it around? It is too scary to let go of it, yet you know that it is not really, what you want and definitely not, what you need. What would happen if you took a leap of faith and tried something new?

I did and I loved it! Last night I went on my first real date in over 8 years! He called me, came and picked me up; we ate dinner and had an amazing time together! If I would have never let go of the hope I had been clinging to of the sweets that had turned bitter so many years ago, I would have never been able to taste the bliss I did last night. Trying something new can be intimidating, but oh so rewarding!

Face it ladies, you can get stuck in the rut of plain chocolate and get so used to it that you don’t realize there is more being offered. I went five years without being complimented, but also literally being criticized and controlled. Even during the times when my ex and I split up and I tried to do things to improve my self-esteem, he always came back and managed to put me down. However, the new variety I stumbled upon, well that is a whole other story.

God wants us to be happy, he did not put us here to be beaten, lied to, abused, cheated on or anything else. If you are in that situation, you need to get help or get out. God wants us to be loved, cared for and cherished, just as HE loves us. God would never treat us the way that some men do, and he would never want us to settle for less then we deserve.

God loves us with His entire being and calls us to love as HE does, John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” I don’t see anywhere that it says to love less, to put ourselves first or let someone else make you feel like you are not worthy of AGAPE love. I had held out hope that the man I loved for five years would change and love me the way that I loved him, that way the God calls us to love. Romans 5:2 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us“.

We do not have to settle for what we know; we can and should expect so much more for ourselves. Taste life, it is so much sweeter then you ever thought it could be!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Trying New Chocolate….

There comes a point in life where you have to venture out a try new chocolate. You are going to find so many different kinds that tempt your palate, but picking the right one can be tricky.

I have recently found myself single again after being in a long-term relationship. While I am not out looking to meet anyone, nor am I ready to get back into a relationship again, it certainly does not hurt to window shop the chocolate to see what is new. This is what I have discovered and why I am still shopping.

My first option is the young, newly divorced, father of one. He is living at home with mom and dad again, looking for a new relationship. I discovered that he is fun to hang out with and nice, BUUUTTTT way too young for me! I have been there, done that, there was 7 years difference between my last boyfriend and me and though he seemed mature enough to settle down at the time, he was not. I am not about to put myself in that position again.

Then I met the quiet and intriguing intellectual. He is witty in an ‘off’ kind of way, but a godly man and encouraging. Problem is, I can’t read him, there is so much wrapping on this one I can’t get to who the real guy is to see if there is anything solid I really like that is worth pursuing.

So then I met the always fun, center of attention, wants to take me out, full of life, let me spoil you guy. It would be great to go out a few times and have him treat me like a princess. Then what comes next? I have learned that people that go out of their way to be the center of attention will always need to be in the spotlight, and that is just way to much effort to put that much energy into one man.

The friend, we all have that one guy friend right? He is the one guy that is there to encourage you and talk to you no matter what. He helps you understand things from a man’s perspective and everything is great. Everything about this guy is great, hard worker, honest, caring, most of all he loves the Lord and he is even good looking which is a plus! Then he asks you on a date. A date is great right? Is it? I mean I have this great friend and all, so what happens if we move to that next level and it does not work out? Do I lose my friend too?

Then, when you least expect it, HE walks in to your life and wham! Talk, dark and handsome! He has the most incredible blue eyes and the strongest arms! He is sweet, funny, caring and interested! Woo-hoo he asked me on a date! We spent all day talking and laughing together, and when we danced, he held me tight and it felt like there was no one else in the world! He is definitely someone I want to get to know better. He has ‘that’ quality certain guys have when you do not know him but you want to.

Then wham! He drops a bomb! He has never found himself in this position before and he did not expect to meet me. However, he is seeing someone else and it would not be right. Then your head starts reeling with questions: did he forget three days ago when he started talking to me? When he danced with me and softly kissed my cheek? How did I find myself right back in the same situation that I just got out of? Am I the kind of girl that guys want to be with but never end up with? What is wrong with me?

On the other hand, he was honest about it and did not let things go to far before he realized the mess he was about to get us all in. At least he was truthful right? Not like the last guy who chased every woman in sight and never cared that he was in a relationship! The one encouraging thing that I walked away from him with was this; he did find value in me enough to be honest. He has my number and if it is in God’s plan then he will call when the time is right and he is not seeing anyone else. I can respect that a lot.

So for the time, I will remain single and still. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." That is a promise I can find rest in. I can hold on to the hope that God will not let me get involved in something that is not right for me. So until the time is right, I will keep window-shopping for that elusive chocolate that is just right for me!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Guard Your Chocolate

When I began my last relationship, I told him there were five things that would promptly end the relationship if he did any of them: Gambling, drugs, drinking, abuse and cheating/lying. Little did I know, or admit to myself at the time that I was the ‘other woman’.

Guard your chocolate at all times if it means anything to you at all. Your chocolate can be anything i.e., your man, children, and your heart. And of course, your chocolate! In the five years that we were together, almost all of my rules were broken…repeatedly. The lies were always there, it just took a while to realize them, the cheating, well I was the other woman to begin with. Through the course of the relationship, there were a minimum of 20 other women that I know about. One sin leads to another and another and it will never change until you change.

I know that what ultimately failed the relationship was not him or me; it was the fact that we did not build it on a firm foundation of God. We are both saved now, but we did not start the relationship that way and the sin was there from the beginning. Even as Christians, we are susceptible to failure if we do not guard what we cherish with God’s words. You can be a Christian and still walk in the world if you do not put God above all else.

I think in our case, I was looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with to care for and grow with, he fit what I wanted, a good man, Christian, loving father, caring and giving, the list of his good qualities go on and on, he was enough for me, but I put him ahead of God. I put him first in everything, and when he failed, I tried to hold him accountable. That was not my place, it is God’s place, but if we are not living for God and putting Him first, He cannot do His job.

For him, he was also searching to find happiness, and while I was enough for a time, soon he started searching in other places. He began to cheat, we would argue, that would lead to more cheating; we were in a constant circle of sin. He hid the fact that he was with me for three years of our relationship and continued to date other women. When I would get suspicious he would lie or blame me, and always played the ‘just friends’ card.

Guard what you cherish! Ladies let me tell you something, any single Christian should guard their actions when they are with another single of the opposite sex. (Note that period) If you are a single woman, you need to cherish yourself! Dress appropriately, so you do not attract the wrong kind of attention from men. You need to be careful not to put yourself in situations that would be questionable. A true Christian man who wants to be around you is not going to ask you to do anything that is not based on God.

God loved us so much, and our sin was hurting not only Him, but us too. He did the one thing that He could do to save us, even though it hurt, he sent Jesus to die and save us from our sins. That is unconditional Agape love. God calls us to love each other that way. I had to love him enough to walk away.

Right up to the end, he continued to lie about me to the people in his life, but tried to have a relationship with me. I finally gave him back everything that he had ever given me and walked away. It is devastating to know that he thinks I did it out of hatred, but I know in my heart that I did it out of love. I pray for him every day and I will never stop. I want to him to seek God with all he has, and to realize that because God loves him enough he does not need to seek love from anyone else. I know that when he finally gets that then God will bless him with someone to love.

He is my chocolate; I had to let him go in order to guard him for what God has in store for him. Do not get me wrong I am still hurt; I have come out of it learning a valuable lesson, it is more important to love then anything. I pray every day to let go. I would not be where I am today with out having gone through what I did, and I cherish that too! I can forgive him and still love him because I know that we failed each other by not putting God first.

Romans 15:1-7 1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Surviving Disappointments in a Tub of Double Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Life only guarantees three things, you are born, you die and God is the only one who will never let you down. Face it girlfriends, we are human and no matter how super-human we feel some times, other people are going to do stupid things and let us down (likewise we will too).

This time calls for something bigger to get you through, A piece of chocolate or candy bar is not going to make you feel better, it is going to take the whole tub of double chocolate, chocolate chunk ice cream to get you over this one!

I had thought I was doing pretty well with my walk, my life was back on track, I was starting to smile again, and I was enjoying life again and then BAM! I had lunch with Betty -Sue and she did not know if she should but thought it would be best if she told me that she heard it from a friend that said that…

You know when you sit there and hear those words that bring your whole life to a stand still. You can literally see the clock on the wall stop, all the questions go through your mind, and your heart feels like a cement truck just dumped a full load of wet cement on it. You are drowning in heartache and do not know how you are going to get over yet another heartbreak. You can’t get out of that restaurant fast enough and through the traffic to the grocery store to get the biggest tub of ice cream you can find and get home to put your p j’s on and curl up with ‘Pretty Woman’ and have a good cry and wonder how am I going to get over this?

One spoon at a time. God knows everything in our lives. Every joy and tear, every smile and frown, all things that happen He knows and He will never give us anything that we can not handle. It is okay to be human, and when you go through a trial, it is perfectly okay to react. I get so upset with myself for getting upset over my trials. However, I realized, God made me to have emotions, to react when I am happy through laughter and smiles and to cry and pitch a fit when I am sad and distraught. He knew I would go through this and He gave me my emotions to cope and deal so that I could learn and move on.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

God tells us, come, my daughter, crawl on my lap and cry. Take my words, hold them close, and find rest. Be still. We cannot do this on our own; we were not made to take this life on without God. He fully intended for us to live for Him and to need Him. He knew that Satan would attack us and that people would let us down. Can you imagine going through a trial and eating manna? It was intended to sustain and nourish us not to provide comfort. He loved us enough to provide His word to encourage us, guide us and He loved us enough to give us chocolate! God is good!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

White Chocolate and White Knights on White Horses

I think my favorite fairy tale growing up was Cinderella. I always dreamed of Prince Charming falling in love with me, saving me from my meager life, and giving me promises of a life full of riches. When I say that, I do not mean financially, I mean emotionally.

Growing up I was one of five kids. My mother and father had three kids, and when they divorced, my father remarried a woman with two kids of her own. We literally had nothing. My father had a temper was a treacherous storm and when we got in trouble, we knew the worst was coming. I recently watched a video clip where Jesus was being beaten and it was so easy to relate to the torture he endured. As a child (beginning around 3 up to age 10), when we would get in trouble my father would line us up and beat us with his belt on bare skin. I would lie in bed at night crying myself to sleep, dreaming of a prince that would rescue me from a life void of emotions and give me a life full of love and adoration.

In 5th grade, I was saved from that life when my father went to jail. I went to live with my mom and step dad who showed me that there were men out there that could love and had compassion. I started dreaming of the future and wedding dresses and my daddy walking me down the aisle to my prince and a life filled with happiness. When I was 17, those dreams passed away with my daddy.

I spent years looking for my prince, and ended up with a bunch of toads! Boy do I hate warts! In the last twenty years, I have learned some very valuable lessons. Most of them I had to learn the hard way, and the ones that impacted me the greatest were the ones that hurt me the most to learn.

White chocolate is not chocolate at all. Do not ask me why they call it chocolate when it is an imposter! However, I am glad that it is, because it ties in perfectly here. As women, we want our prince to find us, fall in love, and live happily ever after. There is no white knight riding in on a white horse, and if you fall for that man that says he‘s going to give you everything and make your life better then you will just keep falling because he is an imposter.

I discovered that there is a castle and there is a King and I am a Princess and unbelievably, there is a perfect man for me. He just is not going to ride into my life and sweep me off my feet. If you are reading the book that starts with ‘Once Upon A Time’ put it down because you are being disillusioned. There is another book, it starts with ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and earth’, and I encourage you to read it and take every word of it to heart.

I believe God’s word is true and have faith that when He tells me that He will provide a man that will be all I need; I can take Him at His word. God speaks plainly, in 1Samuel:1 Hannah is discouraged because she desperately wants a son, and she prayed to God and pledged to him her son if God would just answer her prayers. God honored her prayers because she was faithful.

When we seek what we need through faith and in accordance with God’s will, He will bless us. I realize now the riches that I dreamed of as a child were spiritual riches that only God can provide when we seek Him.