Needy Woman

singleMY NEEDS ARE:

  • attention
  • acknowledgement
  • to feel like I am significant to someone who matters to me
  • stability
  • trust
  • quality time
  • matched intentions
  • recognition of my feelings, my thoughts, my stands
  • to be desired, wanted, TREASURED
  • to be cared for
  • to be treated like a lady
  • to feel feminine
  • (I could go on but I think you get it)

YES.  I said it.  I have needs.  These are mine.  They’re with me.

Isn’t it interesting how difficult it is for us Single Women to say that out loud?  And we know what our needs are.  But filling them in relationships often feels like an insurmountable task.

This morning, following a night of recognition of my unmet needs, I ask myself, and you, what is in the way?

I looked first to the party line – “I haven’t met a man who gets all of it and is ok with it.”  Really though?  Doesn’t just about every man have a corresponding list of human needs?  Weren’t we created with the intention of matching off eachother?  Many men are seeking that special someone to desire, to treasure, to give their attention to, whose trust and respect they crave to win, and whose intentions they seek to match.

In my own human experience I dug a little deeper.  So if it isn’t that I haven’t met a man who gets all of it and is ok with it all, then what is it?  And then I got it.

It’s not about the receiver not being open.

We just don’t throw the ball.

How many of us judge ourselves for having these needs?  I mean, who wants to be a NEEDY WOMAN?  Every day I see women punishing themselves for needing attention, for needing to be desired, for needing to feel significant to someone else.  I catch myself singing the same tune in my head, the modern tune of single women – you SHOULDN’T need these things!  Needing these things means I am broken.  And broken people do not deserve to be treasured, trusted, cared for, respected.  And needs are so unnattractive.

Right?  Sound familiar?

Honey, how NUTS is that?   How are we ever going to get those pesky needs that actually make us human met if we don’t accept them?

How can we expect anyone to believe that we deserve them to be met when we don’t feel that we deserve to have our needs met?

Who on earth would make a priority of filling a need of yours that you deny even exists?  Or believe shouldn’t exist?

I propose an experiment.  Single women out there, let’s try this out.  The next guy who is nice to you and strikes up a conversation in the supermarket, the bookstore, the coffee shop, the bar, find a way to weave it into the conversation.  “I am a woman, I have needs, and it is important to me to get those needs met.”

I’m curious to see what happens!  Please be sure to tell me.  I’ll go first – I will have that conversation with 5 men before Monday.

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Bulletproof Babes

We were taught to be independent, strong, self-sufficient, poised and in-charge.  We were told by our mothers, themselves the daughters of bra-burning times, to suck up our fears, manage our emotions, never let the bastards see us cry and never ask for help as long as we can help ourselves.  Lessons were passed on that high-maintenance is for bimbos and dignity and class cannot co-exist with it.  Being demanding is as bad as promiscuity in the estimation of our lady-teachers.  We are to serve with strength and selflessness without thought to our needs and in return we will be respected and loved.  We are a wellspring of power, woman hear us roar, and we can supply the whole world with what it needs.  The ironies that were passed down from grandmothers, aunties, teachers, family friends and mothers abound.

We associate being honest about our needs with images of weak, victimized, or morally bankrupt women.  And so, to not be seen as a doormat, a loose woman or a gold digger we put on a persona of needlessness that then results in us becoming more… NEEDY.  Think about it.  If we deprive ourselves of food telling ourselves that we don’t need it don’t we become more and more… hungry?

But there comes a time when a Bulletproof Babe says “So what if I have needs?  Of course I do!  I’m human!”  We come around to the question of how are we to expect ourselves to provide selflessly for the needs of others when our needs are not met?  Even in the airplane instructions before take off we are instructed to put on our own mask first before helping the person next to us, child or no child.

I am learning through my own experience as a woman that low maintenance women, like strong buildings and towers, without support and care suffer in structure, appearance and strength from neglect.  Without support and TLC they crumble, crack under pressure and become inhabited by bitterness.  They lose their value – how they value themselves diminishes and is then projected out to what value others see.  Others react to what they see, convincing her further of the lie that started her shrinking view of herself in the first place.

But it starts with her.  What does a guy have to offer a girl who refuses to acknowledge she has needs and flaws and vulnerability and needs someone to lean on once in a while?  How many times do we Bulletproof Babes find ourselves lonely and disappointed because a friend wasn’t able to read our minds and be there for us because we didn’t know how to tell them how to support us and that we needed support in the first place?  How many times have we let a slight pass and pass again and pass again until we blow, totally surprising all around us?  Why does it have to fall apart and be blatantly obvious and beyond the point of deniability for us to accept a helping hand?

We don’t have to be bulletproof to be beautiful, rigid to be respected, nor do we have to be low-maintenance in order to capture the attention of someone who could love us.  These are the ways we trick ourselves into being someone who attracts human leeches, persons who seek to take without giving, because that is what we put ourselves forward as willing to accept.  Think about it… “Oh she doesn’t need this from me.  She just wants someone to give and give and give to.  She doesn’t expect anything back, bless her little cotton socks.  Goody!  Free ride!  Why would I EVER leave?”  Except, of course, we don’t want that type around either, do we?

To the beautiful Bulletproof Babes out there, let us support eachother and drop the act.  Being strong doesn’t mean having no needs.  You deserve to have your needs met, not ignored.  But the first step to making that happen is to not ignore them yourself.

Feminism (Motivationalpostersonline.blogspot.com)

The Relationship Project

Most of you know by now that I have a life coach.  She’s amazing, she meets with me on Skype once a week from New York and we go through my request for coaching for the week.  It is the one hour in every week that I have put into my schedule to think about myself, my wellbeing and my lifestyle.  It’s funny what a little bit of consciousness can do!

In the beginning I signed myself up to a project that she would hold me accountable to work toward.  It was a goal that if I died tomorrow and hadn’t reached it I would feel I had failed.  I took a week to think and LIGHTBULB… my book.  A little later in the month she asked about my week and I mentioned meeting a guy I knew in Miami airport for drinks while we waited for our flights to the Bahamas for me and Trinidad for him.  She clapped her hands and said I smell a RELATIONSHIP PROJECT!

Ahhh… no.  Please don’t make me do it!  Oh my goodness I have never rejected something so fiercely in my life!  I had so many excuses why this couldn’t work.

  1. It takes the fun out of meeting people to set goals and timelines.  (As if I was having any fun on my couch with my dogs day in and and day out.)
  2. Making a plan to have a boyfriend by such and such a date makes love artificial and manufactured.
  3. How on earth can I find one date a week on an island this small and polluted by irresponsibility?
  4. This is the thinking of a MAN.  How unfeminine and against everything I hold to be dear about femininity to turn hunter.
  5. Who needs relationships anyway?

And so I resisted.  And resisted.  And ignored it for about two months.

Funny thing about life coaches.  They don’t let you get away.  So when she came back to me in February and said Bushy, what on earth are you running from?  It should be FUN!  Go and talk to some of your friends about it and see what they say.

Girlfriend Feedback:  Bushy do it!  It could be fun.  You don’t have to commit to making it happen just commit to the process.  You could learn a lot about yourself that way.

Manfriend Feedback:  Sheeeit Bushy.  That’s what I do!  How many people do I need to meet in one week to get a date.  How many dates to I need to know if she’s for me.  We’ll have to go out on the town together!  (ick)  You need to get off the couch.  You are too young to be a hermit and I have been worried about you for some time.

Six months of silence.  This is the first the Singlestream has heard of this because… well… I dunno why.  But I STILL HATE IT.  Ignoring the ick comments of the man friend (who I in no way wish to emulate) I decided let me try this out without taking it too seriously.

And so the learning began.  There have been ups and downs and stops and starts and I am probably as far from my goal as ever but the things I have learned!

    • Early on I learned that I am terrified of intimacy.  A guy who  I met through the course of my goal setting became a very dear friend.  One day, in the presence of a lot of other people, he asked me to please pull an ingrown hair out of his neck.  I fought with myself saying no at first under the guise of not having my glasses and then gave in with a pep-talk-to-self (For goodness sake Bushy he’s asked you to take a needle to his neck, not to give you his hand in freakin marriage!).  Head on my lap, needle out, I proceeded to assist my neglected friend with a problem.  By the end of it I was shaking.  To his credit he said nothing.  But the shock of the intimacy of that innocent moment shook me for days.  I have my theories around how this particular fear developed but that for another time and he is safely in the hands of some weak woman somewhere.
    • I learned that I set myself up to fail.  I surround myself with unavailable men.  They make excellent friends but each of them has a reason why I would never keep him around.  He’s married.  Or he’s entangled with his recently broken off relationship.  Or he’s a business associate.  Or he’s four feet tall.  Or he’s… you get the picture.  It feeds the context that there are no good single men in the country.  It serves me by proving me right.  But I’ve learned to take responsibility for that;  I SURROUND MYSELF with the unavailable.  I am a different person with the available – prickly, sharp, intimidating, or simply distant.  The ones who don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell I am safe with and am completely at home in myself around.  The available meet my fortress of walls.
    • Conditions of satisfaction are important.  In starting this out I was invited to write out my conditions of satisfaction.  As I was at the time going through the hiring process at work, it easily took the format of my Job Description and my Person Specification Sheet.  The sheet has three main columns – the qualities I cannot do without in a partner in column 1, the qualities I would like but are optional in column 2, and in column 3 the vices I absolutely cannot live with.  Smoking for instance.  And crazy ex wives.  Habitual lateness.  Illiteracy.  The attributes and vices fall into categories – abilities, circumstances, interests, and so on.  It has been an exciting tool to use and minimizes the waste of ones time – if something shows up in column 3 on the first date then NEXT.
    • In the process I have learned just what my patterns are around relationships and men.  I’ve learned that I tend to jump in with both feet and jump quite quickly right back out with both feet (but I might have known that before).  I’ve learned that I expect men to run – they always do – and that I have built a context and expectation around men that they will never be able to cope with the power of my personality so at some point they are gonna duck and run (or cheat).  I’ve learned that I expect men to be irresponsible and that I have a tendency to look down my nose at them as a member of a superior race.  Truth is it is rare that I’m proven wrong.  But that is also my fault – I surround myself with men who prove me right!
    • I have a lot of junk around my own strength.  If power could create a complex, I’ve got it.  For instance, my man in Iraq.  I mean, I know I’m a powerhouse and I know it blows the minds of people who don’t know me well, but deep down I’m a pretty sensitive and insightful person.  This is the me that unavailable men get to meet.  This is the me that my dogs are glad to see wake up in the morning and scratch their ears before I even get out of bed.  This is the me that I am in my comfort zone – my house, my office, my grandmother’s hammock, anywhere but on a date.
  • I am responsible.   For all of it.  This is perhaps the biggest thing for me.  I am responsible for who I am around people and from there what kind of people I attract to be around me.  I am responsible if I don’t meet my quota of meeting five new men this week because how on earth am I supposed to meet five guys sat on my own couch?  I am responsible for the me that others get to know and whether or not it is an authentic person.  I am responsible to step outside of my comfort zone and to be open to melting away my contexts and my expectations.  I am learning through this terrible terrible project that responsibility belongs to me and it is my duty to own it.

But I’m still resisting the hell out of it.  This week two of the men I met (on a night out with the ick manfriend) were so OUT THERE in column three that I was like HOT DAMN I’m better off single!

But next week I’m gonna be brought right back to the document and asked to give an account for how well I’ve done to meet my goals. HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Grass Argument

I got into an argument yesterday.  It was about my saying something very publicly that I believe wholeheartedly to be true.  The conversation was well-meant and came from the best of places.  But it got me good and hot.

I was told that in my review of a Gathering of Old Men I took away from the power of what I had to say by my mention of the story of the Card Cutter.  I was told that damage could have been done to my credibility and I would have distracted my listeners from the more powerful points that I was making by making reference to my personal experience of relationships and the trend of infidelity in our nation being so prevalent that not one single woman my age on this rock has been left untouched by it.  As if that was not a powerful point in and of itself!  The statement that was the subject of our discussion was that “I, like Carolina in The Card Cutter, and probably every Caymanian woman my age, have lost a man to a “papaw-skinned, straight-haired woman” whose first language was not english.”  I was told that no woman took my man, that he decided to leave.  It galled me that this was exactly my point, except it wasn’t about my man, it was about my society.  I was told that I failed to acknowledge the flip side to the social development of a culture of jilted and divorced women and men taking on submissive and subservient mistresses and wives from other cultures who don’t even speak their language.  This side was presented with the opinion that the Caymanian woman takes relationships for granted and behaves as though she owns her husband.

Let me tell you. I saw the colours of the rainbow.  They treat their husbands like they own them?  That’s because according to God and the law they BLOODY WELL DO.  There is a legal document that says they belong to eachother until death.  Her fighting is usually FOR the relationship to work.  Her control is usually due to her hard-learned and fully justifiable distrust.

Ladies and gentlemen please do not take this as a dislike for other cultures.  I myself am a cross-cultural creation.  This is about fidelity.

I invite the married men in my life and those who catch sight of my written words to consider this.  Invest in your woman.  She has offered her life to you as a deposit.  How you invest determines your return.  She should never be the only one that has holding your family together as her top priority.  I invite you to give to your children the gift that they are entitled to – your devotion and your commitment to them and to their mother.  The grass is never greener on the other side.

Flashback V: Fantasies

Around the time of that last haircut this piece was written.  This numbness persisted until the fight to the surface began on the Singlestream.

Morning walks with Julius and Lola are becoming a little haven in my day. The evening walks are different – a part of my routine of chores – and I’m begging Lola pleasepleasePLEASE just pop a squat. But in the mornings the sun has been rising early and by the time I’m out there with them hell bent and arrow straight on their taut little leashes the cool of night is a whispering ghost and the air is moist with the breath of summer. In the shade of the odd little tree on the walking circle the smell of rain lingers and the dew lines are cut clearly by the bright sun spots. The dogs focus on the task at hand – Julius smelling and then obliterating every marking of every other stud with yellow streams and Lola’s special mission of pulling till she chokes with the odd burst of speed after a wild chicken.
In between the poop stops I wake up in increments. I wave at the neighbor who seems to have the same dog walk programmed into his smart phone. The dreams of the night before shake out with each sleep-heavy step like dust. I fight the creaking knees to bend and pick up the odd spot and my mind wonders.

It is on these walks in recent days that I have come to realize that I have no fantasies.

From my experience and in the experience of every woman who has shared pieces of her life with me I have concluded that a woman is driven by love. As a child she dreams of Cinderella dresses and glows at the thought that a handsome someone will think her beautiful and want her for his princess. As a teenager she struggles with the fight between her innocence and fear and the messages of society that tell her that with inch of skin she reveals she shall be repaid in love. As a young woman she will go to sleep at night re-living the attentive conversation of a nice man looking for clues and snuggle warm into her fantasies of what could happen if he were to turn out to be “the one”.

And so it is easy to feel myself somewhere in the neighborhood of the shadow of death to feel no thrill and to find no fantasy waiting at the end of the day to rock me to sleep…

Have I finally taken the bullet square in the chest by my last heartbreak that I have been taken off the battlefield entirely? Has the last healthy nerve ending been soldered off so completely that nothing and no one has the power to move me? Is this God’s answer to my prayers that “if it is not Your will for me Father please take away the desire”?

If so, it has come with more pain than I imagined. I imagined a clean break and inner peace. Now not only do I feel the void created by loves lost but by the loss of the ability to love itself. The death of the idea, if this is in fact what it really is, is infinitely worse.

Perhaps it is more like a coma. I think I would prefer to believe that. It must be! Death would leave a ghostless void wouldn’t it? Not an echoing chamber of voices and photographs of loving moments frozen in time. The heart still has its ears. Isn’t hearing the last sense to go? Isn’t that why families hold on to hands with desperate grip and pour out their souls’ secrets to their loved ones laying white in hospital bed and gown with the only sign of life the beeping of a monitor?

The heart hears still. It is frozen, waiting, listening for words warm enough to melt, real enough to slice, and strong enough to last forever. The lock on it’s casing has a code that only one other soul should know and many thieves may attempt to simulate. Many will speak to it, beg it, cajole it to no avail. Like Excalibur it waits for one hand – the right hand – to dip into the icy stone and pry it free.

I much prefer this to the thought of a death of a piece of me. I suppose the preference is in itself evidence of some truth to it.

Meanwhile the empty moments before sleep are not filled with fantasies. They are not hopeful and trembling, not listless and lusting. They have no images of smiling faces and quiet moments and beating hearts. No sounds of sweet nothings. Memories have been completely banished from these moments – they are even more painful. The minutes passing are simply… empty. For a few days now they have weighed heavy and empty – so heavy in fact that I am moved to fill them with wine and company or stories of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men”.

Is this what you would have me do?

Deep down, after passing through the flailing of a despairing brain short now of balance from its emotional counterpart, after passing through the stress barrier of the demands of my work and of my life obligations, past the frozen silence of my nighttime moments and the dew spots of my morning walks, under all that sits the knowledge that this is a time with a purpose. It has to be.

Every moment of despair in my years has been used by my Father to prepare me. He has used childhood grief to bring reason to my life even if from the strange starting point as a vehicle through which my dying friend could live vicariously. He has used failure to open doors that success would have persuaded me to ignore. He has used heartbreak as an earthquake to move me from a place of danger into safety. Illness has been the medicine used to bring me back to spiritual health. Loss has brought me moments of intangible and incalculable wealth. This knowledge is my foundation, my rock bottom, a low past which he will not have me go. It is the hand in which my world rests and as deep as I dig I will only go this low and no lower than his hand. This emptiness too must have a purpose…

Today, with a cup of coffee in one hand, the sheen of the morning’s walk on my brow and the dogs sat by my feet still panting after coolness, I am praying for guidance. I cannot see the map but I will take instructions from Your satellite navigation system. Turn me right, bear me left, teach me, stretch me, trim me, make me. Serve through me. I will trust You to fill my emptiness.

Be my Fantasy.

To see the other Flashbacks in this series, visit the links below:

Flashback I: Truth and the Shell

It has been a hard day of grief and pain. This time he is heeding my request to please stay clear and allow me to do my growing and grieving alone. But oh does it hurt!

“What hurts?” I have asked myself. It is the sucking drain of the disappointment drawing back the wave of joy that flooded over me at the realization that “I have found someone who I can love for the rest of my life!” It is a pain that tells of the stripping bare of the garden that bloomed in my heart, watered by that wave of joy. New leaves and fresh blooms all viciously uprooted in their youth, torn from my bosom. Holes that once held clutching roots and ground that was not so long ago shaded by trees are now dry and cracked and gaping, assaulted by a burning sun of Truth.

Truth that reveals every weakness in blinding, sweltering brightness. Truth that cuts through the beautiful words and whispered dreams passed lips-to-ear by the seaside. Cuts through the mirage of lies and folly-happy belief. Truth that burns away chaff. Leaving grief. Grief that the leafy ferns and tender orchids were not real but a bedtime story that needed to be grown out of. Grief at the loss of the cool, damp earth and fragrance of jasmine under a bright full moon all lost to truth.

Even when you tried you lied. Your lies covered my days with painted colours, a full garden of imaginings. Now all swirled and sucked into the vortex of the drain. If only I had not believed. If only I had not allowed you, time and again, to deceive. Truth tugged at me, peaking through the sky-flung Poinciana branches and so I slipped to the side to a greater comfort, deeper in your fanciful creation each time. Until the midday of my heart came and truth, right over my head, burned the matrix away. I am the one. The one who has to see and now must live in TRUTH.

And now… in the glaring light of the Truth that destroys all lies, I sit on a real stump of a real old tree – solid, dry, dead wood with the reprieve of Certainty that comes in the presence of Truth and the sound of the sea. Julius keeps coming back to check on me, walking only so far with the girls before coming back.

The darkness I battled with threatens to return and my mouth calls out for numbing rum. Things of the past. Tears come at awkward times, tugging on my composure and pealing the edges of my theater mask, my warrior mask, my happy mask. No mask sticks to a slick pair of cheeks! I sit with myself, in myself, smothered under myself and vomit onto the page every bilious thought that steals my quiet. And I glance down and see a piece of something shiny and pink. Shining through tear-chafed eyes. A gift, simple and rugged. A full and pink conch shell! If I had not sat there with my tears I would not have seen it.

After seeing the shell I put my book down and stooped to get it. But it was stuck. I dug around it with my fingers clearing the sand away between the roots of the old dead stump. The points at the top of the old conch shell were buried in the dead roots, cured by salt and covered with sand and thoroughly stuck. Stuck so fast that no amount of wiggling made it give. And so I searched for a piece of stick and dug with the stick. My right hand had already gone raw by now and threatened to bleed. I lost track of time in my focus and dug furiously. Hand and stick, hand and stick, wiggle here, tug there, still no give.

And so I called to the girls down to beach to come and help me.

Thus the shell had become my only focus, a symbol of happiness. I dug in relentless pursuit of it, the dig itself a fierce determination not to give up my hope. A struggle that brought blood to my hands and tears to my eyes.

The girls didn’t hear me and I began to get frustrated. Why didn’t they pay attention? The sky was darkening and the fireball to the west had begun a low, dripping, over-ripe mango-sticky descent through the clouds. I called out again and they began to walk ever so slowly to me. It angered me that they weren’t there and didn’t care, that they couldn’t hear my calling out. Didn’t they know how important this was to me? Couldn’t they see me and my gestures and waves saying hurry?

And plain as day I got it. THE POINT. Like a dream that gives such aching clarity to a situation obscured by daylight wakenings I saw. This is the purpose of my pain.

To bring me to call on Him, the Most High. The One who can answer all my questions, cure all my ailments, and dig out all of my shells. And right there I looked up and said to him Father, the girls aren’t going to hear me. They aren’t here where I am right now. And they probably couldn’t help me anyway – I am stronger than they are. Please help me get this shell out.

And so I bent over again and began to dig. It wiggled more and I dug some more. I stepped on one side to turn it loose and dug some more. I took my hands and scooped under the shell with sand cutting into my raw flesh. By this time the girls had strolled over to me. One came and reached down to help as I straightened up.

It came loose in her hands. First try. No struggle – out it popped.

MADNESS

But it was my struggle. There was a reason.

Later at home I took that shell into my bath tub. There it will always stay pink and fresh with constant watering. It will also remind me at least twice a day, at my most naked and exposed moments, that my God is with me in every struggle and will be my armour when I feel exposed.

And so I prayed into my little book. Father, please put that gem and hide it in my heart like that shell. Stick it in there and never let it wiggle free I pray. Please remind me that You are never going to leave me and that You are so much better than anything else I could ever find. Help me remember to call to You first because You are always right here, right now, where I am. Help me remember that when my friends are far away, or when they are up close – it doesn’t matter! They don’t have Your power.

Please also use these struggles of mine, these battles I face, to strengthen the people around me. Help my struggle to allow them to find their own shell loose and ready for them to just pick it up. Take my writing and use it to Your honour and glory I pray.

Amen

It seems I knew once how to deal with pain.  I knew once how to reconnect to the core of me and commune from that core with the Source of all things good.  I am so blessed to be reminded of that knowledge today.

RELATE: Knowing, loving and forgiving the people in your life.

Knowing, loving, and forgiving the people in your life

We began in January.  Four women met together with their pastor and asked for his support to begin a Bible Study for young adults.  It grew from there into the YAG, a movement of people getting to know eachother and themselves in Christ. The study was RELATE, knowing, loving and forgiving the people in your life.  It was to be a 5 session study but one session would take two meetings.  The sessions were profound and pregnant with meaning, leaving thoughts on how to do this life thing better together bouncing around in us through the week.  I recommend this study to everyone – not just young adults.  It is an excellent first study for a group and a theme that is relevant to everyone. Throughout the weeks of the study we came to know eachother as a group.  We would average 30 people at any giving meeting on a Friday night in The Cave, a warehouse loft we were generously given to use by a couple in our church.  We shared very deep hurts and precious victories, updates on our practices of the things we have learned and hurdles that we would have to overcome.  Out of this study came a community of people who have begun to live with eachother and share with eachother and love eachother. There were some amazing things that I learned in these sessions that have stayed with me and I pray will stay with me as I grow beyond this step.  Right now, in a reflective mood and seeking comfort in the memories of all my God has done for me, I have decided to share a few of these.

  • Every person has a predominant need when it comes to relationships – either significance or security.
  • Relationships are NOT ABOUT ME.  They are not designed to serve me.  They are designed to be the place where I am able to be more like Christ.  To be patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not conceited, selfless, compassionate, and forgiving we must have someone in our lives with which we are able to practice these Christ-like ways.
  • Fear is a big impediment to relationships.  But when we turn to the purpose of relationships (above) we can learn to love someone for THEIR sake.  Not for ours.
  • Relationships are the place where sanctification happens.
  • God is the source of all the things we need to make our relationships work.  We are invited to “remain in Him”.  We are the branches on his vine and without the vine the branches will die… and will destroy the relationships in their life by being drained and withered without the love connection to the vine of the source of all love – God himself.
  • “Friends who enjoy soul intimacy never settle for gossip or simple information exchange.  Instead they use the data of events as spring-boards for the sharing of feelings, perceptions, values, ideas and opinions.”
  • Being loving is more important that being right.  Relationship is more important than victory.
  • Dealing with conflict there are three ways in which we react – move away, move against, or move towards.  Moving towards can be easily confused with moving against – but the purpose is different.  Moving against is defensive, self-protective, and offensive.  Moving toward involves an open mind and bravery, clear communication, accountability, accommodation, collaboration and compromise.
  • The grass is not greener on the other side – it is greener where you water it.
  • It is important to search yourself for wrongdoing with humility.  There are three BEs to employ as we deal with our own weaknesses.  Be aware, Be in tune with the Spirit as it guides you, and Be willing to accept the guidance and instruction of the Spirit so that work can be done in your life.
  • Forgiveness IS: Moral. Goodwill.  Paradoxical. Beyond duty.
  • Forgiveness is NOT: Forgetting or denying.  Condoning.  Excusing.  Condemning.  Seeking justice or compensation.

As for me… I learned that I have a lot to learn.  And a lot of practicing to do.  That is another subject for another post.  Another time.