Today my bible plan told me to read Chapters 11 and 12 of 1 Corinthians. I was definitely excited to see this on my bible plan for today because 1 Corinthians is my favorite book of the bible. This book has taught me so much about what it means to be a Christian woman and the roles of a man and a woman and the relationship they should have with one another and with God.
When I read these chapters today, verses 4-15 of 1 Corinthians surprised and confused me at first. These verses say that women must keep their heads covered at all times, whereas men are to keep their heads uncovered. The first thing that came to mind was honestly Muslim women. They must always keep their heads covered – is this the same thing? Have I been dishonoring God my whole life? Are the Muslim women onto something?
I breathed a sigh of relief when I read verse 15 which states, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” This verse seems to confirm that by a “covering” all that is really meant is hair. But what about women with short hair? Are they dishonoring God? How short is too short?
I decided to Google this issue for more information. Here are 3 sources I looked at:
I feel like most of these sources say “we don’t really know” combined with “it was a cultural thing”. I am leaning towards it being a cultural tradition or custom. If we look back to scripture in verse 2 Paul states, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”
Here, the word “ordinances” stands out the most. I assume an ordinance is a tradition, but what does Google say?
Okay, so not quite tradition but rather law – something much more serious. But whose law is it? Is it God’s law or is it the church’s? Context is everything here. I believe it was church law at the time since Paul is talking to the church of Corinth and helping them to remember their first love – the church. He is helping them to restructure since their church was filled with so much sin and unworthy of honor. In this verse then, Paul is praising them for holding the ordinances – or laws – of the church…the laws that Paul has put into place for them.
Verse 16 also stands out to me where it says, “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the church of God.” Two words stand out to me here: church and custom. I think of the word “custom” the same way that I think of the word “ordinance” – as meaning “tradition”. However, I was wrong about the definition of ordinance, so I could just as well be wrong about the definition of the word “custom”, so let’s look at Google.
Oh look at that – I was right on this one! Paul’s use of the word “custom” here shows he was talking about a tradition. Furthermore, he was talking about a tradition that is very specific for that time period. I believe this means that it’s not a defined, universal law for all of mankind meant to survive the test of time, but rather it was a church law for this specific church or this specific region (the people of Corinth) during that specific time. We can’t know exactly how specific this law was for the people or exactly how Paul intended us to interpret it, but I think it’s safe to assume that this law was for a specific time period. The word “church” used in this verse further confirms that it was a church tradition, not a law ordered by God.
So, where does that leave us and women in the church today? Well, I don’t think it’s “wrong” for women to adhere to this old custom and to choose to wear a head covering, but they also aren’t required to. I think it’s their choice. However, I think that the head covering was a symbol during that time that pledges a woman’s loyalty to her husband. Verses 13-15 states, “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair; it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” The covering was something specific for women that men were not meant to wear. I think our society/culture has created its own version of that today. Some of the above sources I looked at say that it’s wedding rings, but I don’t think that is quite right because men wear wedding rings, too. However, I think they are on the right tract. This is what I think it is:
Yes, I know sometimes men will wear an engagement ring these days, but it is still far less common and by some even considered “taboo”. Male engagement rings are also usually much more masculine than female engagement rings (the traditional diamond ring). In the past when Paul was talking to the church of Corinth the head coverings were meant for married women to wear as a symbol of their loyalty to their husbands. I think the engagement ring has the same purpose in our culture today. A woman who is about to be married wears it to show her loyalty to her husband. Once the woman is married she adds a wedding ring but the woman usually wears the engagement ring with the wedding ring. Either way, it is still a symbol of her loyalty to her husband.
Another verse from chapter 11 that stood out to me was verse 17 that states, “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worst.” Here Paul is condemning the church of Corinth for saying that the church is not uniting in a way that lifts up the congregation, but rather, it tears them down. When I read this I thought of the people of Corinth staring at women and whispering things like “Look at her hair, it’s not nearly long enough!” (assuming that the head covering was a woman’s hair and not an actual head piece). What good would that do? Paul is saying we shouldn’t be quick to judge and gossip and bring down people in the church, but instead we should unite and help each other out, for we are the body of Christ and when one member stumbles it is our job to help them back up.
1 Corinthians Chapter 12 further discusses the body of Christ and the role of the church and its members. In verse 26 Paul says, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” This reminds me of what Pastor Lex DeLong has preached – we are all united in Christ. We are one body of Christ and when one of our brothers and sisters of Christ falls, we all fall. When one of us rejoices, we all rejoices. We are all made up of one.
I don’t think this is the case in a lot of churches today and that makes me really sad. There are too many churches that are quick to judge, scorn, and gossip when one of the members sins or goes through a rough patch in life. Not only is that unbiblical, but I think that is sin in itself. God doesn’t want us to scorn other church members. I think he would want us to confront the individual and to help them to correct their behavior, but that’s it. The key word here: help. He would want us to help our brother or sister in Christ back up and if we’re gossiping and judging, that is not helping.
When I read these verses I also felt extremely thankful and blessed to belong to such a wonderful church now – Washington Baptist Church in Turnersville, NJ. We are not perfect, as nobody is except God, but I do believe that we are doing an incredible job with striving to become the kind of church Paul talks about in the bible in chapters like Corinth. I know that from my experience being a member of this church we are a group of people that make up the body of Christ that really does care for and love one another. Some churches I’ve been to and you’re just another nameless face. Yes, our church is small, but I truly believe that even if we grew exponentially, this would still be the kind of church where everyone takes the time to get to know everyone and to pray for each other. When someone is hurting in the church, we all feel it and when someone is succeeding, we feel their joy. We’ve cried together as a church, but we’ve also laughed, smiled, rejoiced, and ate way more than we probably should (we’re a church that really loves food :)).
Are you looking for a new church to attend? Washington Baptist Church would love to have you! Come join us for Sunday School on Sundays at 9:30 followed by our sermon at 10:30. For more information:
For those of you who don’t already know, I am currently enrolled in my first semester of graduate school in the MA in Writing program at Rowan University. One of the classes I am enrolled in this semester is Core I: Theories and Techniques of Writing. This is a required class for my program where we study many other writers and how they write. We have just been assigned to write a paper that is either an imitation or parody of another writer. For this assignment I have chosen to write a parody of Henry David Thoreau’s “Why I Went to the Woods”. My parody is listed below. As you read it I ask that you keep in mind that part of the assignment requires me to adopt Thoreau’s writing style. This is why the sentences are so long and detailed with many commas and semi colons and very long paragraphs. It is also why some parts of it may feel very repetitive and the language is kind of old-fashioned and not the way people talk today. I am attempting to write in Thoreau’s voice here, not my own. Also, please keep in mind that this is a first draft. While I am very proud of this draft (hence why I am choosing to publish it to my blog), it is just that, a first draft. This is far from perfect and will be undergoing significant revision as my semester goes on. I do however welcome any comments or feedback.
Why I Went to Church
I went to church because I wished to live for Christ, and to live my life in a way that is only pleasing to him, and to see if I could lead a life free of sin, so as to go on to heaven at the time of my death. I wished to follow the commandment of my Lord in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1728). I wanted to surrender myself and my life to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to live so spiritually and free of materialism as to have no one question my faith, but for others to come to know Christ through me and my faith, and to show the world what it means to be a Christian. We do not live our lives for us, we live for Christ.
Did you ever consider how we might live for Christ? Living for Christ is a conscientious choice that we must make every day; a decision to live free of our material possessions and the worldly sinful life. Some choose the pleasure of a life of Christ, others choose the ways of the world run by Satan. It is my hope that one day those who choose the world will wake up and break free of Satan’s hold on them, that they will suddenly choose the life of Christ and follow him and his ways, so that they too, may be saved. Why should we exercise the right of free will? We are determined to choose our own paths in life. Men constantly choose their own paths, thinking they know what’s best for their lives. But we constantly fall short of the glory of God. It all started with Adam and Eve, who chose their own free will, they took pleasure in their own hearts’ desires, so that now we must all suffer the misfortunes of their sin. And now when comes forth acts of temptation, we must all struggle with decision to sin or turn way and follow God, for this is a constant battle in an unbelievers heart, until the day comes that they may be saved.
There is but few men residing alongside Washington Township who considers himself not a sinner, but a saved man, yet has an excuse every which way for why he cannot attend church. The man claims to not have the time of day for such matters as church, yet the same man and his wife would ask the fine couple next door, “What’s the plans for the day?”, fearing that they may miss out on the town’s latest social event. Yet they fail to realize the day’s occurrences are but temporary, for they cannot match the days of heaven that would lie ahead of them, if they were to only get saved.
Still, we live for the world and not for Christ; though the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mam’-mon” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1462). Our lives are stained in sin. A saved man knows not to count on the things in the world for happiness, for as Psalm 23 states, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 915). Pray, pray, pray! I command, pray 10 or 20 times a day, and not once or twice; instead of television read your bible, and listen to 2 Corinthians 6:14 which demands, “Be yet not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1764). Pray, pray. Instead of arguing with your wife, pray for peace; instead of drinking at the bar, invite your friends over for a time of prayer; and pray for each other as often as you can. Our lives are each ridden with sin as the result of the fall of Adam and Eve, and we constantly fall short of the glory of God, with the only option to escape salvation through the grace Christ alone. Look at our nation, an icon of sin, which obviously hasn’t been doing so well in recent years, thrives on the motto, “Do what makes you happy, regardless of the consequences”, which explains why we have become obsessed with the sexualization of our culture and the constant need for self-gratification, and the only way to escape the ruins that we have fallen into as a nation is to turn away from ourselves and our own free will and instead surrender our lives to Christ and his will and his ways for ourselves as individuals and our nation as a whole. Repent, repent, repent! We must admit our shortcomings to the Lord and ask for his forgiveness as we accept the life he has laid out for us, and not merely the paths we think we know best for ourselves, for in all honesty, we know nothing. Men believe that they must engage in pre-marital sex, to put money before prayer, and to break each and every commandment in the bible for the stake of liberty and equality in our nation; whether they actually engage in these acts or support them as bystanders remains to be uncertain, but whether we shall live as moral Christians or sinful heathens these days is questionable.
As for me, I could easily do without the television. I believe there are very few Christ-pleasing shows on air these days. To be honest, I haven’t seen a television program but twice a year during the span of my lifetime that I believed worthwhile of my time. And I am confident that I’m not missing out much on this week’s latest tabloid stories. It’s just one Kardashian sex tape, Taylor Swift’s breakup, WikiLeaks breakthrough, celebrity drug overdose, Jennifer Aniston pregnancy, Kanye West feud, Kate Middelton hat, Oprah Winfrey failed diet, Jennifer Lopez wedding, and Angelina Jolie divorce after the other. Reading one tabloid story is more than enough to last me to my final days. Why do we care to read so much gossip about the misfortunes of the rich and famous? Does Ephesians 4:29 not state, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”? (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1785). Rather than judging these celebrities and talking about the times when they fall short of the glory of God, shall we not pray for them instead? I hear women in the grocery store pick up these tabloids and chat about the celebrities all the time. “That Taylor Swift sure gets around these days,” they say, “What a whore!”. Some of these expressions come from women who wear a cross around their necks and claim to be a Christian, yet they can’t remember the last time they stepped foot in a church or made time for prayer. They may be better off if they threw the tabloids in the trash where they belong and open up their bible and fold their hands to pray instead. Gossiping about Taylor Swift and talking bad about the other celebrities in the tabloids will only fuel the success of the tabloids and bring about no change or betterment of the lives of those who these women mock; for the only real change can come within these celebrities due to an intervention from the holy one above. We as citizens and brothers and sisters in Christ can only do our part to pray for those in need, and not to gossip about the misfortunes and shortcomings of others, for we know ourselves to be stained with the same blood of sinners.
Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll seems like a life of luxury. Sure, these things will bring us gratification, but men must realize it is only temporary. For as John 14:6 tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father; but by me” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1638). We can never be satisfied in the things of the world or our own personal gratification alone; we must depend on Christ for hope, salvation, and happiness to last all eternity.
Prayer is but the essence of my life. I come to the Lord as a sinner ready to repent, yet through his grace he redeems me. I struggle in the world ridden with sin as my eternity in paradise awaits. I would live more humbly, pray more often, and attend church to hear the word of my Lord and savior amongst a community of imperfect believers. I am perfectly flawed. I cannot count but one day of life without sin. I always regret the ways in which I let my savior down. I strive to live a life for Christ; but the devil often crosses my path and leads me down the road to sin. I do not wish to follow his ways, but rather to cleanse myself with the holy water to follow in the path of Christ. My heart is pure and for my Lord. I feel an overflowing love and adoration for my savior Christ. I hear the promises my Lord makes in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (The Holy Bible : authorized King James version: super giant print edition: words of Christ in red, 1996, p. 1212). I hear his calling and I follow him, to live a life of purity and the need for nothing more than my faith in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ; for I understand that this life in the present moment is but temporary, the starting point for a life of eternity in Christ that is yet to come.
As I sit here and right this tonight, I feel a mixture of emotions. I am very saddened because a close friend who is like a little brother to me is hurting. I know that he just got his heart broken and he feels like dying. And I feel so incredibly angry at the girl who broke his heart even if it wasn’t done intentionally. I don’t know who she is and I don’t know the circumstances but all I see it as is a stupid girl who broke my little brother’s heart.
But I know, regardless of what happens, he’s going to be okay. Maybe they will get back together and put this all behind them. Maybe they’ll realize they don’t belong together afterall. You can’t predict the future, only time will tell how their story pans out. But I do know he’s going to be okay and maybe this is exactly what he needs right now. Being single can definitely suck, but it can also be a blessing in disguise.
It’s been just over 5 months since I called it quits with my boyfriend. That sucked. We dated for a little over a year. It was both of our longest and most intense relationship. I could have sworn I was going to marry him. I felt a connection to him the minute we met. He just seemed like the one. But then he didn’t. As I got to know him more, I realized I loved him more than he loved me and this just wasn’t going to work. I wanted it to, but it just wasn’t met to be. So I called it off.
Our breakup was ugly. Broken plans for the last time. I got my hopes up and he crushed me for the last time. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was so frustrated, hurt, and angry. So I flipped out on him. I told him I was done.Then I hung up the phone.
“Whatever. I’m done.”
Those were the last words I spoke to him.
It’s been over 5 months and he’s never bothered to call me back. That speaks volumes.
It hurt like hell at first. I cried a lot. I wanted to die. I was so incredibly lonely. I didn’t know how to go on with my life because he was my life.
But I did it. I pulled myself together and went on with my life, and did some pretty cool things. And I know that despite my little brother’s broken heart, he’s going to pull himself together and he’ll be okay, too.
Here are 14 weird things that happened when I called it quits with the one I was supposed to marry.
1. I stopped to smell the roses, or look at trees, anyway. I used to like to take long walks without a destination. I’d just walk all around Washington Township and see where I’d end up. But I didn’t do it that much once I was in a relationship. My boyfriend consumed all of my time. He wasn’t home much, so I’d spend all of my time waiting for him to call, text, or get home. I remember one of the first things I did when we broke up was take a very long, far walk. I went to a farm. It was October and all of the leaves on the trees changed colors and the apple trees were in full blossom. I couldn’t believe the beauty of nature. I couldn’t remember the last time I really stopped to look at it. I missed it.
2. I became a member of the library. The library was one of my favorite places to go as a kid and I missed it as an adult. There was a big library down the street from me that fascinated me. The Margaret Heggan library. I’ve been wanting to go and check it out for the longest time. Right after calling it quits with the one I was supposed to marry, I walked there. It was a far walk but it was so worth it. Walking into that library was like walking into my home. Even though I never been there before, I knew it was exactly where I belonged.
3. I fell in love with reading again. I didn’t read very much when I was in a relationship. I’m not saying my boyfriend was an idiot (okay, maybe he was. After all, the bastard did break my heart and cheat on me and all…). He didn’t read like at all. He always told me it was boring which kind of discouraged me from reading. Also, it’s hard to read when you’re constantly spending all of your time waiting for your phone to read or waiting for your boyfriend to feel like actually coming over to see you.
4. I became much less anxious. I think I will always be an anxious person, but my anxiety was at all time high when I was in relationship, especially since I was in a relationship with a truck driver with a wandering eye. Towards the end of our relationship I became so paranoid and anxious that there would be days when I would burst our crying without much reason. I felt like walls were caving in and I couldn’t breathe. Sleeping without medication was impossible. I still take melatonin every now and then to help me sleep at night and sometimes I still battle anxiety, but it’s nothing like how it was before. I’m much more relaxed. I don’t have to worry about where he is, if he’s safe, and if he’s loyal. He’s no longer mine and I’m no longer his. It’s not my job to worry about him anymore.
5. I reconnected with old friends. Often times when we get involved in relationships, we let that person consume us. This is the biggest mistake I made. I felt so alone when I broke up with the one I was supposed to marry. I blew off all of my friends for my boyfriend all the time. I’m still working on changing things and fixing them up, but I am happy to say I started to reconnect with old friends. I think some people held off on talking to me because I was so exclusive with my boyfriend before, but now we’ve reconnected and we talk and it’s nice. I’m trying to get out and do things with people more often and break fee of my comfort zone. Ideally, I want to make it so that I never feel as alone as I felt initially if I ever go through a breakup again in the future.
6. I finally finished my darn novel. I started writing my novel after I received my cochlear implant, but I was kind of lazy with it. It’s hard to write a novel when your mind is only focused on your boyfriend, what they’re doing, where they’re at, and when they’re going to call and/or come home. I had more time when we broke up so I finally sat down and finished the darn thing.
7. I joined a writer’s group. Thinking of writing, I also joined a writer’s group at the library. I actually just got home from it. I found out about it in a quest to meet new people and make new friends while reminding myself of who I was, what I like, and doing more of the things that make me happy.
8. I strengthened my relationship with Christ. One of the reasons why I broke up with him is because I didn’t feel like he was a real Christian. He wouldn’t pray with me. He didn’t read the bible. Days before breaking up with him I began reading a book by Mark Hall from Casting Crowns called Thrive. This book centers on the theme of thriving instead of just getting by in life. I realized I was getting by with my relationship, but I wasn’t thriving. I also started reading the bible on a daily basis during this time. I truly believe God was pulling me out of my relationship and telling me to end it, so I finally obeyed. Since then my relationship with God has strengthened tenfold. I’m praying more and more often and they are much more deeper, meaningful prayers from the heart. I really engross myself with the word of God. I don’t miss church because I was out all night with my boyfriend. My boyfriend no longer pulls me from Christ. I ended my relationship with my boyfriend so I could have a stronger one with Christ.
9. I started going to a new church. I also started going to a new church. I loved the one I was attending, but I wanted to get more involved and to meet more people my own age. I walked to Trinity and really liked it. I’ve been going for about a month now and really like it so far. I’ve done things outside of my comfort zone like participating in activities even though I don’t know anyone. I met a girl who’s only a few years younger than me that also has a cochlear implant which was awesome. I want to try to make it out to the young adult bible study on Thursday where I should meet more people in my age group.
10. I began the application process for grad school. I decided that I definitely want to go to grad school and I began the application process so that I won’t back out or change my mind again. I mentioned this to my now ex-boyfriend before but he honestly didn’t really support me. He said he did but he was so concerned about the debt I’d be putting myself in. He didn’t think it was worth it. He didn’t value education like I did. Now I’m doing it for me — I didn’t need his approval.
11. I stopped seeking everyone else’s approval. If I want to do something, I do it. I don’t need anyone’s approval. If I want to walk to Glassboro, I wil. If I want to cut my hair, I will. If I want to go to Grad school, I will. If I want to go to NYC, I will. If I want to be front row in center at a Good Charlotte concert, I will be there. If I want to go bilateral, I will. Screw anyone else and their opinions. It’s time to do what I want to do and not care about what anyone else thinks about it. It’s my life.
12. I got extremely angry — and saw everything for what it really was. Nothing like hanging up with the one you’re supposed to marry and, 5+ months later, still not getting a call back apologizing for being a jerk to you. I see where I stand now. I’m only sorry I wasted so much of my time loving someone that clearly didn’t love me back. I won’t make that mistake again. I’d give in and apologize for ending things so harshly, but every time I think that way I remember how angry I am that he just let me go without even attempting to come back.
13. I stopped waiting. I used to spend all of my free time waiting on my boyfriend. Waiting for a text. Waiting for a call. Waiting for him to come over. Sometimes he wouldn’t call or text and I would’ve wasted 48 hours doing nothing but sitting on the couch or laying in bed staring at the phone that never rings. When I’d ask him why I didn’t hear from him he’d say “I just didn’t feel like talking.” (Translation: I felt like talking to my side chick today, not you). The worst though was the time when I started waiting for him to come over and pick me up for a date around noon but he didn’t come until about 10:30 at night. I don’t waste my time waiting on people anymore. Life is too short to waste your time waiting on things that don’t matter or aren’t really that important.
14. I changed. I’m not who I was 5 months ago. I’m trying to go back to being the person I’m supposed to be. I’m rediscovering my passions and interests and reevaluating what I want out of life. I learned that the right person will come along at the right time, and when they do, I’ll know. I won’t have to try so hard. I won’t have to wait on them. I won’t have to change who I am to please them. It will be effortless and they won’t keep me waiting and they will love me just as I am.
Breakups suck. They are perhaps the worst thing a person can go through. Some days are better than others for me. Yesterday was his birthday. Today my TimeHop app showed me all of the pictures of us together the day after his birthday which was when we reunited after being apart for 2+ straight months. They were some really hard days. But it gets better. Sometimes we need to break in order to become whole again. I have so many new and exciting things going on in my life that I know wouldn’t be happening if we were still together. In some ways, breaking up was the best thing to ever happen to me.
It’s hard and it still feels weird and it still hurts, but life goes on. One day, when I’m ready and not a day sooner, I’ll meet someone else that will make me forget I was ever hurt in the first place. One day, that person will show me why this one relationship had to end.
Sometimes good things have to fall apart to make room for great things.
Great things are better than good things. Better days are coming. I’m going to be okay, and so are you, little brother.
This post may sound shocking to most people. I am a lifelong Christian and over the years my relationship with Christ has strengthened tenfold. I’ve been through tough times in life and in those tough times, that’s when God’s love for me shined the brightest and when I realized I needed him the most. I always encourage other to strengthen their relationships with God and to read their bibles and to pray more. I myself have been on a schedule of waking up by 5am every morning so I’d have enough time to read my daily bible plan (a verse or two from the old testament, a verse of two from the new testament, a psalm, and a proverb) and to pray. I know that by reading my bible and praying first thing in the morning, I’m more likely to have a better day. Spending this time with God helps to set the mood. It makes it so I go into work more relaxed, happier, and humble. So why would I choose to go Godless for 2 weeks straight?
Well, to start, it wasn’t intentional at all. It happened accidentally and then before I knew it God was almost completely out of my life for 2 weeks.
It started the week of January 17th. I was suffering a pinched nerve that made it very difficult to walk, let alone move. I needed to stay in that weekend to recover, so church was out of the question that week. But I still made an attempt to be there even if I couldn’t be there in person. I read my bible. I prayed. I listened to the live streaming of the church sermon from home. I followed it up by listening to John MacArthur’s Charismatic Chaos sermons that I’ve recently come to love after being introduced to them from a fellow member of my church. I figured it was “good enough”.
But it wasn’t.
I’ve had a lot of things going on in my life at the time. I’ve been very busy. You’re never too busy for God, but I thought I was. God was beginning to slip out of my life. He definitely wasn’t a priority like he should’ve been. One day I’d skip reading my bible and praying. “I’ll just read two days worth of plans and pray more tomorrow. I can say silent prayers — God will hear me,” I said. But one day without bible reading and prayers turned into 2 days and 2 days turned into 3 and before I knew it I went more than a full week without cracking my bible open once.
My church attendance didn’t improve, either. We got hit with a blizzard last weekend and my church, like most churches in the area, was forced to close. Not that I would’ve went anyway (I’m not sure if I would have honestly).
Once God started to slip out of my life, I had a harder and harder time bringing him back into my life. I have been going through some challenging times in my life. Whenever I think I have my life all figured out, it doesn’t quite go as planned. I think I know what I want in my life and when I don’t get my way (even though it just means God has something better in store for me), I feel discouraged and defeated.
To be honest — I got angry at the world — everyone and everything in it. Beyond that, I was angry at God. I was angry at God for not answering my prayers and giving me the things I wanted in life. I felt like I had to close my book and end my relationship with him as a form of punishment. But in the end, I’m the one that suffered. Here’s what happened when I went Godless for 2 weeks.
1. I suffered depression. I feel like every day for the past 2 weeks my mom has yelled at me for being depressed. She said she’d kick my butt if I didn’t learn how to smile. My dad has been a bit concerned about me, too. And they are both right: I was depressed. Days felt way too long. I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to see people. I didn’t want to really live my life. I wanted to eat, sleep, and lay in bed watching TV until I fell asleep. A night in with beer, Fireball, ice cream, and Netflix sounded great. Except I didn’t just want that on Friday night after a hard day of work. I wanted it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and every moment of every day. Having to do something relevant and meaningful in my life seemed like a bother. I didn’t think I had the ability to do anything meaningful either, because I felt like a completely useless, worthless, waste-of-space human being. Depression will do that to you. Had I have just turned to God and opened my bible then I might have read Psalm 139:14 which would have reminded that “I am fearful and wonderfully made.” This verse alone could have helped me to fight against my crippling depression.
2. I became lazy. This goes hand and hand with the depression. Getting out of bed seemed to take up all of my energy. Putting effort into my appearance was just asking for too much. Ask me when the last time I’ve been to the gym was — can’t remember the answer to that. All I wanted to do was watch Netflix and not much else.
3. I became worldly. Netflix was a really great invention. Arguably, it’s one of the greatest inventions in the world (okay, I may be taking this a little too far here). But it’s still a worldly invention. Romans 12:2 reminds us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Again, have I had taken the time to open my bible during this 2-week period, I may have been reminded of this. Instead I became very much conformed to the world. Netflix became the center of my life. I wanted more and more worldly things (none of which could ever satisfy me or bring me happiness) and I became jealous of everyone who seemed to have more worldly items than I did. I based my happiness off of these worldly things, not my relationship with God. This was a huge mistake. 1 John 2:15-17 states, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Pastor John Piper further elaborates on this in his sermon titled Do Not Love the World. Simply put, we cannot love both God and the world. When we choose to love the world, which is precisely what I was doing, we can never be completely satisfied. This is because the things of the world are temporary but God’s love will endure forever (See Psalm 136).
4. I became prideful. The bible warns over and over again on the dangers of becoming prideful. I feel like this is one of the things I struggle with the most as a Christian, and once I remove God from my life my pridefulness becomes out of control. I did just as Deuteronomy 8:14 states, “Your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God.” I became a pretty stuck-up, stubborn, nasty person who felt she had special entitlements and that the world owed her everything. I was far from humble or appreciative of what I had. And then I experienced just what 2 Chronicles 26:16 warns us of, “His pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God.” My unfaithfulness to God lead me to become more prideful, which ultimately led to my downfall.
5. I couldn’t get along with anyone. No one likes a prideful or miserable person, so this shouldn’t be all that surprising. I am normally a pretty easy-going and never have a problem with anyone. But during my 2 Godless weeks I really struggled to get along with people. Everyone got on my nerves and bothered me. Some people were just trying to be nice and help me, but I didn’t want to hear it. My pride often got in the way and I felt I was above them. When someone didn’t feed into my pride, I hated them. I definitely didn’t do a good job of following the second most important commandment, “Love thy neighbor” (see Mark 12:31). I didn’t really love much of anyone.
6. My anxiety and paranoia took a turn for the worst. I became much more paranoid and anxious. I worried constantly. I thought everyone hated me and was out to get me. I always seen the worst in things, not the best, and I’d play false negative scenarios out in my head. Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?” When God is a part of our daily lives, we know that he will always take care of us and supply our every need. But when we remove God from our lives, it becomes all too easy to forget that. Instead, we choose to worry even though we have nothing to worry about.
7. I became blind. God never let me down or stopped loving me. He never failed me a day of my life and he never will. Yes, he didn’t give me what I want in my life, but if past experiences have taught me anything it’s that the reason I didn’t get what I asked for or what I think I want is because God has something better in line for me. Without God in my life I became so blind that I couldn’t even see all of the incredible blessings that he have bestowed upon me. Take for instance my hearing appointment on Thursday. It was my first hearing test with my new cochlear implant. Prior to receiving that cochlear implant I had less than 7% of my hearing in that ear. I scored a 34% on my word recognition test. I viewed that as “failing” the test and being a horrible thing. All I focused on that day was how bad 34% sounds on paper and how upset I was to lose that 7% of residual hearing (even though it wasn’t much to be upset about anyway). I was so blinded that I didn’t even see how much of a blessing it was to go from 7% to 34% hearing in just 1 month of being implanted. To quote from John 9:25, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
I learned a lot from going unintentionally Godless for 2 weeks. The most important thing I learned is that I need God in my life. I need him today, tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, and every day for the rest of my life. Life gets hard and without God, it is unmanageable. I am doomed for failure if I try to get through life without God. But as Matthew 19:26 says, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
What is it that brought me back to the Lord? The good people of the Lord. People who were open and honest to me. Those who didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. People who yelled at me for being depressed and not seeing the blessings the Lord have bestowed upon me and people who yelled at me for not seeing the wonderful grace and glory of God. People, my mother especially, who told me that I needed to go back and open my bible. Those who told me things wouldn’t and couldn’t ever get better if I turned my back on God.
I may have turned my back on God for 2 weeks, but he never turned his back on me. He was there for me yesterday. He’s there for me today. And he’ll be there for me tomorrow. The question is, will I be there for him?
I’ve spent a good portion of today reading through my bible and fixing and strengthening and repairing my relationship with the lord. I still have a long way to go — a lifetime. In the couple of hours I spent studying my bible and picking up where I left off 2 weeks ago, I already feel much better. I can’t wait to get to church tomorrow. And I am very sorry for turning my back on God. As much as I want to say it will never happen again, I know that that is probably a lie. As a Christian I will fail God and probably turn my back on him many times over. The only things all Christians do perfectly is sin and constantly fail God. But the good news is this — he loves us anyway. He died to save us from our sins — there is no greater love than that. He wants nothing more to help us and have a relationship with us. We just have to remember that, especially during the tough times in life. God will make all things better even if you don’t understand it at the time, but he can’t make things better if you don’t know him. Sometimes, it’s during the hardest times of our lives that we need God the most. We just have to make sure to keep him in our lives and give him room to work.
2014 was a whirlwind of a year. That’s the best way I can put it.
It is ending on a very high note. I had many good things happen to me recently and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life and full of so much positivity.
But the year definitely didn’t start out that way. It was pretty rough.
I had a lot of goals and plans for 2014, as you can see in my New Year’s resolution post from last year. Looking at it now I just laugh because I broke every resolution except for the one where I grow my hair out and donate it haha.
One of my top resolutions was to stay single for the whole year. Because I was so bitter and so hurt from a bad breakup that left me in pieces. I broke that resolution before the year even started. My ex emailed me on New Year’s Eve of 2013, just before the ball dropped. I forgave him and spent the next three months working to patch things up again only to be stood up, cheated on, and to have the truth about the man I was so in love with revealed — I was in love with a man who was secretly already engaged to another woman and most likely had been for some time. I was in love with a fraud.
And I needed that. As strange as it sounds to say all of that. I mean, what woman would say “Yes I was stood up, cheated on, lied to, and betrayed and it was good?”
But everything happens for a reason. I spent way too much time trying to piece together my breakup, and in 2014, I got answers, I got clarity, and in a painful way, I got the truth.
Moving on didn’t happen overnight. Cutting ties was easy, getting over and moving on was another story. I finished destroying items, but I had people, including myself, still left to destroy.
For about half of 2014 I was miserable, depressed, and self-destructive. I became a stranger to myself and didn’t like who I was at all. I won’t go into details on what I mean by that — it is all buried in the past and not something I am at all proud of. But there were many times when I’d take a walk to a nearby elementary school to be alone, talk to myself, and just really try to ask myself “What the hell am I doing and why?”
And I brought some friends along the way. Who said to me, “And what answers do you get when you ask yourself that question? Do you ever get good answers?” And no, no I did not. Some friends helped. Some friends hurt. Either way the friends were able to show me the path I was on was anything but good. I needed that, but what I needed the most is what was lacking the most in my life at that time — I needed God. I needed church.
Just when things started to hit their peak and seem at their worst, I began to attend Gloucester County Community Church. My first church service was right before Easter. And I went to several more afterwards. There were a few times when I could have sworn the sermons were written and delivered specifically for me and my current situation. I’d come home and really think about the message and the things I was doing and I’d realize it was no good. I had to stop. I had to change. And slowly, I began to listen — not to society, not to friends, not to my heart or mind (both of which didn’t work too well at that time), but to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I gave online dating a try — because what did I have to lose? I met my current boyfriend within days of joining the dating site. We started talking straight away and immediately clicked — but I wasn’t quite ready for a real relationship. I got scared and kind of ran away. But that’s okay. I think that even that was all a part of God’s plan.
I befriended another Christian at this time. Strangely, he was someone who used to date my best friend. I vaguely remembered them dating, but I never really knew him at the time of their relationship. We talked for a little bit. Went on one slightly disastrous date (Pro tip: if you’re going out on a first date with someone don’t make it be your best friend’s ex, don’t go to the busiest restaurant on their busiest day of the week, and don’t choose a place where another friend works as a waitress….trust me). We had no connection. We had zero chemistry. We struggled to hold a conversation. There wasn’t much to say. Needless to say, our first date was our last date.
But we still remained friends — in a strange kind of way. We hung out once every few weeks. And talked a bit. This was never going to be a relationship and I should be thanking god for that because it would’ve been a terrible relationship! But it was a temporary friendship I needed very much at the time.
There are people who will enter your life for a season. That phrase is usually spoken in a negative way, but that is exactly what happened in this case and I believe it wasn’t negative at all — it was all a work of god. God had to use this person for me in my life at this specific time.
This person became my friend and in that friendship there was only one thing we had in common and only one thing that we ever really talked about: Jesus Christ.
He shared bible verses, devotions, and Christian music with me. He took me to church. He told me I needed a church and he almost scared me a few times since I didn’t have a church. He made me realize that going to church and connecting with church and having a church family were not necessarily the same things. I was going to church, but I didn’t connect with it and I didn’t have a church family. GCCC is a nice church, but it’s not the kind of church I was ever going to find a family in.
So I went searching for a church to call my own. Instead of taking walks to the nearby elementary school to swing on swings and spend time alone to think, I began to take random walks without destinations in search of a church I didn’t know existed.
On one of these walks I found Crossroads Assembly of God Church. It was obviously possible to walk to from my home — but not the easiest walk (lots of crossing of streets and kind of far). But I was still intrigued. I made plans to search for it again and learn more about it and possibly attend service.
But it never happened.
When I went back to find the church — it was almost like it never existed. I couldn’t find it anywhere!
I did a google search for nearby churches. The church I found that was closest to my home was Washington Baptist Church. On the Saturday before Independence Day, I put the address into my phone and went on a journey to find it. I had some challenges….it was pouring that morning. I got soaked and almost broke my hearing aids. But finding the actual church was actually easy and I even found $20 laying on the ground on my way there. I always took that as a positive sign from God. A sign that I was supposed to go that church.
I looked around the church for awhile. It looked strange. Very small. I wasn’t sure it was really a church at first. It sort of reminded me of a long garage (yes, it was that tiny). But I saw a church sign out front that told me it was indeed a church. I made a note of the name — Washington Baptist Church. I walked home quickly and immediately looked it up and took note of what time Sunday School and service as the following day.
The following day I went to service for the first time at Washington Baptist Church. I woke up extra early to give myself plenty of time to walk there and attend on my own. I really wanted to go by myself so I’d have a completely unbiased opinion of this church. Going to my friend’s churches was nice — but it was THEIR church. My mom’s church was HER church. Sometimes it was hard to really decipher if I liked the church because I liked the people who attended the church or because a person was telling to like it or not to like or if I really liked it for me. By going to a completely new church where I didn’t know a single soul on my own, I’d be left with only my own personal opinions of it.
Long story short: I loved it. I was made to feel at home and welcomed by everyone just in that first day. The pastor delivered an incredible sermon that I really connected with and I knew I had my church family. The second week and every week after that only confirmed what I already knew. Each week my relationship with my church family, and ultimately with Christ grew more and more and I stopped participating in my destructive, un-Christian behaviors and watched my life improve gradually over time.
Not long after I began attending church, my friendship with my newfound Christian friend ended. I feel like stating it in this kind of way is too harsh. Nothing bad happened. We just didn’t have time for each other, didn’t have much in common, and were no longer gaining anything from each other in our friendship. God was using us. We needed our friendship at this given time for very specific reasons and we have finished our god given tasks, so it was time to move on.
I decided to give the online dating thing one last and final try. And I raised the standards. I was using OKCupid, which may not be the greatest dating website for a Christian (true story, someone actually messaged me to tell me they feared for me being a Christian on OKCupid and I should shut down my profile and join Christian Mingle. I couldn’t help but laugh). Most messages I ignored. I was close to deleting my account again and giving up.
But just before hitting the delete button, another message came through. From someone I already knew…kind of. The one who I ran away from in May and whom is now my current boyfriend — Larry.
They say in love to let it go, and if it comes back it’s yours. He came back and remembered me precisely. I was stunned. I remembered him of course, but I wasn’t expecting him to remember me or to want anything to do with me anymore.
Of course he wanted to know what happened. We were getting along so well for about a month before I fell off the face of the earth. We even exchanged numbers, connected on Facebook, and were talking every day. Then I deleted my OKC profile, deleted and blocked his number, and deleted and blocked his Facebook. It was never anything against him. I was just confused and made an honest mistake. And I told him every single thing I did and why I did it. I asked him for his forgiveness and by the grace of god, he granted me it. He said he appreciated my honesty with him. I admittedly made a big mistake by letting go once, but I wasn’t about to let him slip by me again.
Once we got that all cleared up, we picked up right where we left off and were back to texting every day and became Facebook friends again. We still wanted to take things slow. He asked me for a date later that week, but I thought we needed to talk more.
So we talked for a couple of weeks. When I felt ready to meet in person for our first date, he ended up being on a week-long vacation with his family. Just another prime example of how everything needs to happen in God’s perfect timing.
We did have our first date. On Labor Day of 2014 (September 1st). Safe to say Labor Day will always be a special day for us this day forward. It was the best date I ever been on — exactly what I have waited all my life for.
But we still continued to take our time and didn’t become “official” for a few more weeks. Our relationship was exactly what a relationship should be — a friendship that slowly developed into something more over time. And every day that we are together our relationship grows more and more and we get a bit closer.
I broke all of my resolutions for the most part in 2015, including the one I swore I’d keep. And it was a beautiful thing even if it was a bit messy and hard at first. Had I have worked to keep my resolutions I never would’ve met my boyfriend whom is my best friend of the love of my life. I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am now. I have learned not to focus so much on new year’s resolutions, but instead, to turn to and trust in god. On our own we can only accomplish so much, and we may not even know what is best for us. In the beginning of 2014 I was still stuck on a very toxic relationship that I was insistent on poisoning myself with. But once I got through all of that and began letting go and giving it to God, things got so much better. I learned the key is just that — to stop depending on yourself to make and keep and hold these resolutions. Instead, give it all to God and let him direct your life for you. He won’t always give you what you want, but he’ll give you what you need.
In 2014 God took away some things and I replaced him with other things that are so much better. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. I can’t wait to see what paths he leads me down in 2015! Here’s to a resolution-free New Year filled with giving it all to God and trusting in the creator!