Saturday, June 20, 2015

"I Did It Again; God, I've Gone Too Far Sexually"

I think this is a common conversation that I've had so many times with young women that are first starting out in their celibacy journeys and/or are contemplating about being celibate, or young women like me in their journeys and slip up because we're human! A lot of times people ask how do I do it and every single time I tell them, it's HARD.

Just like every other human being on this planet, we all have sexual urges and are naturally sensual creatures. To "deny" those sexual urges seems unnatural to the average person. But what happens when you're on your celibacy journey and that visit over from an ex or even "ya boo", or a movie date turns into a night cap and it "just happened;" what then? Now, you're left feeling guilty, like you're the scum of the earth, you feel like God has removed His hand off your life, you can't look yourself in the mirror because you're ashamed and you just can't seem to pick yourself back up.

Well, I'm here to tell you that there's hope...and in that moment, in that space where you feel shamed and feel as though God has left the building, He's actually sitting right at the door, waiting for you to open it so that you both can talk it out.

I've been there numerous times! I still experience temptation and GO THROUGH IT; trust me! And if you're like me, IT'S NOT A FUN PLACE TO BE! And that morning after is even worst. But then God reminded me of a few things:

First, He reminded me that He loves me unconditionally. There is nothing that you nor I can do that can separate us from the love that God has for us (Romans 8:38-39). In fact, in that same text, it states that neither death, nor life...can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Now, catch this:

       -Before Christ came to redeem us, we were subjected to death because of our sin. In the Old Testament, you'll see that when a sin or unlawful deed was committed, saints would have to bring a sacrificial offering-usually one of an animal from their flock-in exchange for the blood that should've been shed for their sin; death of the flesh in other words. However, this text in Romans says that because of Christ and because of our redemption in HIM, not even our own sin that should lead us to death nor the lives that we live can separate us from God's love. Basically, it doesn't matter what you've done, GOD STILL LOVES YOU.

Another thing He reminded me of was that His mercies are brand new everyday and they endure forever (Psalm 136, Lamentations 3:22-23). Lamentations 3:22-23 also reminds us again of that unconditional, never ending love that God has for us, as it states that [God's] steadfast love never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning." That means that every single day, God grants us His mercy and it won't ever fail! No matter what you do, His mercy is with you. He knew you were going to fall before you did, which is why He had to send Jesus to save you! His mercy has been granted to you.

Lastly, He reminded me that I am forgiven-that all I have to do is confess with my mouth, repent and just like that He is faithful and righteous, forgiving us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). And not only does He forgive us of our sin, but He forgets it, too (Isaiah 43:25). Just like that! You confess your sin & repent (which simply means to express your sincere regret and remorse), ask for His forgiveness, and just like that...He says "I hear you, My child. You are FORGIVEN. Now go on and sin no more."

It's that easy!

What's not easy is the "sin no more" part of it. Even in that, because He loves us and hates to see us fail, He even provides encouragement for us in that process.

He reassures us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if anyone is in Christ, [they are] a new creation; the old [you] has gone [away]. In other words, who you used to be and even what you did yesterday, doesn't matter. Your old life is no longer a concern to Him because of your life in Christ.

After He reassures us of our new life, He tells us to put on the whole armor of God so that [we] may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11-12). We must clothe ourselves in God, accepting His will, inviting His Holy Spirit in, and meditating on His Word, speaking it into our lives, so that when we are tempted, we know how to fight!

Finally, He provides an escape. Yep, you read that right-an escape. God does not ever allow an uncommon temptation or anything that Christ hasn't endured. But because He is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. He knows what you're capable of enduring and He will not pressure you nor allow you to be pressured beyond the strength that He has equipped you with. And when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

By now, I know you're probably asking one of two of these things, or maybe both:
       1.  Well Nic, why does He allow me to be tempted anyways? What's the point? Why can't God/satan stop playing these games and just let me live already?!
       2. Okay Nic, I hear you and all, but what is this escape you speak of because when it gets lusty; I don't see no way out? I'm trying, but this flesh really gets to me when he's/she's looking good and looking at me like that!

I am SO glad you asked, my friend!
       1. You suffer, because Christ suffered too. Ultimately, the point is so that God can get the glory. Plus, life would be SO boring without progress. Can you imagine if life was perfect and you didn't have to work to earn anything? What would we learn? What strength would we, none. We'd be basic. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of being basic! Nope. Not at all. God allows us to be tempted and grants permission to the adversary for us to be tempted, knowing how much we can bear, to build us in Him. He's building our stamina!

       2. The escape He provides is that LOUD but still voice you hear when you feel like things are getting tense. Right before you proceed to go through with it, there's this LOUD still voice that warns you and assures you that temptation is near and that you can run. THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT! Whether it be you knowing yourself well enough to know your triggers, surrounding yourself with accountable people, establishing explicit boundaries with your partner, or simply no longer partaking in things that you know will only lead to you falling into temptation, He will always provide an escape. It may not be a literal door of escape, but if you pay close attention and have truly allowed the Holy Spirit to come in and reside within you, you'll have an escape.

Now that you know of His love for you, how He's not mad at you, but indeed has forgiven and that you know how to equip yourself to fight temptation's butt, you might still be at at standstill because of one or, again, two of these things: (1) you haven't accepted Christ as your personal Savior yet, or (2) you have no idea what prayer to pray in order to repent.

Welp, I'm so happy Jesus is the homie and God is my Dad because they both helped me to write these prayers for you to recite in your quiet time of mediation and prayer.

A Prayer for Salvation:

Father God, in the name of Jesus, I come before You first thanking You for my life. I thank You for knowing me even before I was in my mother's womb. I also thank You for loving me so much that you sent Your only son Jesus Christ to die for my sins. I confess with my mouth that I am guilty of all of my sins. Father, forgive me for I am truly sorry. I believe that Jesus came to this Earth, that He died and rose up from the grave so that I may have everlasting life with You. Right now, I ask that Jesus come into my heart, save me, and be the Lord of my life. I accept Jesus as my personal savior and this day, according to Your Word, I declare that I am saved. In Jesus' name, Amen.

A Prayer for Repentance:

Father, in Jesus's name, I come before you humbly first to say thank You. I thank You for Your son Jesus Christ who died and rose for the wages of my sin. I thank You for Your unconditional and unwavering love for me. Father, I confess that I messed up; I own up to my mistakes and I ask for Your forgiveness. Father, I also ask that You come into my heart and let Your Holy Spirit reside here permanently. I ask that You allow Your will to completely take over my life. Help me with my walk and within my celibacy journey. Help me to pick up my cross and deny my flesh, just like my Big Brother Jesus did. Help me to move out the way and go Your way. Help me to be more like Jesus, Daddy. Show me how not to take Your mercy for granted. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.

And just like that, you're officially a part of the family! Welcome to the family and welcome to this big group hug that God, Jesus and me are giving you right now. Now after you've prayed either of these prayers, I suggest you be in constant conversation with God and follow the Spirit to find a church home or to enroll yourself into a ministry that is going to help you grow in your faith and in your walk.

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email using the email provided in the contact tab, or leave me a comment and I'll get back to you ASAP.

He loves you & so do I!

xo, Nic.

Monday, June 8, 2015

#RibLife Survival Kit 101: Nicole's Top 10 Steps to Pursuing YOUR #RibLife Journey

Hey ya'll!

First, I wanted to thank everyone who has been extremely supportive in this movement and in this work. God is just amazing for allotting me this awesome privilege to share my journey, my ideas, and my thoughts with you all-I truly do not take this lightly.

We're going to be having so many conversations (that's what this entire space is created for-so leave comments, email me, Facebook me, whatever!) yeah, back to what I was saying! We're going to have so many conversations about different things that occur throughout this journey, different topics like sex, courting vs. dating vs. relationships, mental and emotional health, how to get over that annoying ex that you just keep crying over (I've been there, too!), how to truly seek God's face, what it means to be a single wife and so many other things.

Today, I wanted to go into detail a little bit about what being a "rib" means to me on my personal #RibLife Journey and give you all my Top 10 Steps to Pursuing YOUR #RibLife Journey.

So, what does being a "rib" mean to me?

            To me, being a rib means truly being what God had intended for us, WOMBman, to be-the man's helpmate. Not a doormat, not a slave, servant or any other servitude role. It means being that man's equal. Being a rib also means being that man's weakness and in the same right, being that man's protection. If you look at the biology of the rib cage, the rib cage protects the organ of the heart. Without that rib cage, that heart is out in the open, only protected by flesh. Us, WOMBmen, have the responsibility of protecting the second most precious aspect of our male counterparts. In that right, we must learn how to love and care for them. Men are NOT ALL created equal, ladies! You can't expect the same out of all of them, so stop saying they are! I'll go more in depth on our rib responsibilities relating to men in my later posts, but you can get a head start by reading Proverbs 31:10-31 and Genesis 2:18-25!

          Outside of our responsibilities relating to men, our FIRST obligation is to God and then ourselves. God is the central focus of this journey-becoming a better WOMBman, according to the plan that God has for each of us. There will be times when we have our own agendas and our own plans for our lives. A true rib, however, understands God's timing and also understands that despite the plans that we have for ourselves, God knows what's best and His plans are far better than our own. A true rib understands that God's plan and His purpose for our lives will always prevail no matter what (Proverbs 19:21). One of the goals of this journey is to continuously edify self in alignment with what the will of God is for our lives; BEFORE Adam comes (you gotta work on you first, boo!).

So, here are 10 pretty fundamental steps for working on YOU and starting YOUR #RibLife journey:

1. Consent with God about beginning this journey - make sure that beginning this journey is what God has TRULY called for you to do. "It ain't for everybody?"

2. Ask for repentance DAILY - that means constantly going before God asking for forgiveness. You will fall short in this journey, especially when you first start out. Having a constant and open line of communication between you and God will definitely come in handy!

3. Get into the habit of having an active prayer & devotional life - trust me, it'll keep you in perfect peace! You also want to study and understand why you are on this journey and why you believe that God will perform this work in you. Being in your word will not only reveal this, but reveal God's unconditional and unwavering love for you, no matter what you've done. Studying your word will also keep you from falling back into the same habits you once used to practice.

4. Get a journal - now this step is optional, but I do recommend it. Keeping a journal has helped me to set goals for myself, in addition to tracking my progress in my journey and witnessing God answering my prayers that I write in my journal.

5. Join a sister circle or women's ministry where you see yourself growing and accountable - this is so important! You need to be able to grow in this journey; if you're not growing, you're not evolving nor benefitting yourself. Surround yourself with women that are on a similar journey that you can seek Godly advice from that will assist you along the way.

6. Evaluate your habits - understand that a part of this process is edifying self and mortifying your flesh. Some things you used to do, you can't do anymore. After you have invited the Holy Spirit into your space to reside there, as you grow, the Holy Spirit will check you and guide you. When it warns you or convicts you (it'll sometimes feel like an uncomfortable eerie or gut feeling), listen and take heed to its direction.

7. Check your friends - everybody can't go where God has destined for you to go. Be UNAPOLOGETIC about that. You cannot carry everyone on your back in this journey. You must help you first. Your relationships should be growing, in addition to helping you grow. Pray about this and ask God to reveal to you who it is that you need to get rid of and ask Him to bless you with friends that He sees fit for you.

8. Be REAListic with your process and your progress - Sis, keep it a stack with yourself! You know what you're capable of doing and what you're not. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Everything will work out in God's timing. Seek Him and ask Him what He sees fit for you to do, ask for His guidance doing it, and be FEARLESS. Don't run off and try to start a whole new ministry when He's only called you to serve in the one you're already in.

9. Be confident in your journey & where you are - you CAN do this! Believe in yourself and the WOMBman that God has called you to be.

10. Enjoy YOUR journey - this is YOUR journey; no one else's! Be YOU! Your journey will not look like mine or the next rib. Be in your journey. Have fun in your journey and be kind to yourself!

You've got this, sis!

I'm praying for you & love you dearly,
xo, Nic