Monthly Archives: September 2013

Forever.For Always.For Love – Traits of a Godly Marriage

marriA college friend of mine posted this photo on her Instagram and I immediately did back flips in my mind! I love every single last thing about this piece of art! When some people look at this photo they may say “Oh ok, yeah marry someone who loves God.” — but to me (and my analytical yet creative  mind), I saw SO much more than that!

I took notice to the cracks on the couple’s faces – to me, it shows brokenness and imperfections. But then also notice that the closer their faces are to the bible (and  each other) there are no cracks. This said to me , when you put God first in your marriage, two imperfect people can come together and be made whole in God. Their love will not necessarily allow them to tolerate MESS, but to be able to love forgivable flaws and help their spouse triumph over past hurts and mistakes. 

I also noticed that their hands are intertwined together beneath the bible – to me the artist is saying that the couple is in this thing called marriage/life together – equally yoked – and putting God’s word above their own “thoughts and feelings”. Also I took notice to the fact that their ‘free’ hand is place individually on the bible which could illuminate the point that when you are in a godly marriage….that once you give of yourself to each other…you won’t have to worry about “making sure your wants are met” because your individual needs will already be met by your spouse. 

Looking at this beautiful piece, I can also see that the lower half of their bodies are grayed out, but as I work my eyes up to the top of the photo they are in color. The symbolism that came across to me suggests that the colorless, black-and-white pigment symbolizes the old self and ‘their old lives’ – aka their pasts. Even though I’ve never been married, I know that when you truly love your spouse and have God in the center of your marriage, you will be granted the strength and grace to work beyond your spouses past and help build and empower the man or woman of God they are RIGHT NOW! The black-and-white color transforming upward also says to me that this couple is committed to  ‘dying to self’ and has been renewed as one with their spouse through the love of God. Love is not selfish. Real, godly love at least.

Perhap my FAVORITE part of this piece is that this is an image of a couple is kissing the bible! This to me not only states that this symbol represents the God in their marriage, but also drives across the message that they can love EACHOTHER THROUGH God. The artist could have EASILY depicted the couple kissing each other’s lips and merely holding the bible below in their hands,; but he didn’t. This man and woman are kissing each other THROUGH the bible which says to me that when you love God first, you will truly be able to love your spouse as you should.

 Anyone who knew me back in school knows that I LOVEEEEE breaking down poems, literature, and art for symbolism. When a piece can make me think, the person who created it is beyond talented. Anyone can draw a stick figure, or write a rhyming poem – but when it has a deeper meaning – it’s all love in this corner! 

I have decided that when I marry, this MUST be the first piece of art my future-husband and I will put in our home. Not only to remind us of why we love each other during the challenging times, but also get this principle engraved in the minds of our future-children early on. 

AHHHH I could honestly take this photo, tape it up to the sky, and look at it all day. Love is beautiful, but a GODLY LOVE….whewww children ain’t nothing like it! I can tell you that I am forever grateful to my Heavenly Father that He thought enough to bless me to be born in a household where my parents are the EPITOME of this picture and more! They have been together going on 36 years and the ONLY REASON they are together is because they made a vow long ago that they would put God first in their marriage and sure enough, everything else followed. They often tell younger couples around the town who are thinking of heading down the aisle “Marriage is a job. And like any  regular job you may have, some days you can’t wait to go to work, and some days you just don’t feel like it.” – but like any job, you think of the benefits that come with that job, and of how it enriches your life, and this motivates you to keep pushing through those “ho hum” days. The same goes with marriage.

Perhaps this is why I ‘love’ love. Especially black love. I had great examples and I want (and will have) the same for myself. In my late teens/early twenties I was in such a hurry to catch up with all my little friends who were getting married out the gate and kept wondering why I was still single. But now I realized that my life was a mess. I partied too much, drank too much, and did everything that would NOT attract a quality man of God. Yet I kept wondering why I always seemed to end up with clowns. Now years have passed, I am living as a woman of God ought, and all I can say is THANK YOU LORD from saving me from marrying into a big pile of mess!!!! (insert praise break here) haha

I have learned to be patient and use my time as a single woman to establish myself professionally and spiritually, so that when my designated man of God arrives, I will know it and be able to throw him a little leash to let him know “I see you boo and I’m ready”. haha This painting just got me all excited again for the years to come and of the wonderous blessings God has stored up safe for me!

WOOO HOOOOO!!!!

– Joc

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NOTHING IN THIS LIFE IS EASY — but it CAN be…

Regardless of what sticky situations you are currently dealing with, realize that there is something easy breezy on the other side. wisdom

BUT JOC, NOTHING IN THIS LIFE IS EASY. 

My point is this:

If you’re struggling with something now that feels overwhelming and feel as if you’re on the brink of giving up – keep the faith because at the end of the tunnel, you’ll find a rainbow of riches. And though another trial may be in your near future, it should be EASIER and BREEZIER for you to get through because you can remember what you just overcame. 

With God, nothing is impossible. He is the God of the encore. If you take the time to really focus on Him, He’ll lead you right on out whatever storm is currently clouding your visions of hope and happiness. BUT the catch is you have to hold on to the leash of faith – it’s what will keep you connected to The Father as He guides your path and helps navigate you out of your dark place. If you never let loose your faith leash, when everyone else around if jumping off bridges and losing their minds — you’re sitting on the beach of your cerebellum, chilling in the rays of the [SON], sipping spiritual slushies from a coconut.

 Have a great Wednesday!

– Joc

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A Little 2 Cents From Good Ole Jocster

mindsetSo this past weekend was PHENOMENAL as I spoke at a speaking engagment on this past Saturday. All week…shoot, ALL MONTH, the enemy (Satan for those of you who don’t know) was trying to penetrate my thinking and it was a physical, mental, and emotional fight on my end. I started to come down with a cold/scratchy throat, but prayer and Vitamin C kicked that out. I began to question my relationships with the people in my life — but I was able to overcome that. Work at the office was becoming so overwhelming that I cringed walking through the door — but encouragement from God’s word and my parents helped pulled me through that. I MEAN he tried EVERYTHING YA’LL!!

My speaking engagment was at a women’s conference in Greenville, NC and after letting God lead me as I wrote my notes down for what I was going to say, I decided to be transparent about past hurts that I hadn’t shared with ANYONE (save my parents and a few close friends). Then low and behold, at a networking event I attended the night before I was to speak, someone from my past (whom I hadn’t seen in like 4-5 years) surfaces and it felt as if I got hit with a wrecking ball. To make things worse, this person (who’d hurt me DEEPLY years ago) had the audacity to float on over and attempt to strike up a conversation as if nothing had happened. No apologies. No ‘I’ve changed’. No ‘sorry I hurt you’. Just an everyday casual convo. Of course I didn’t stick around to entertain this foolishness. Iexcused myself and walked in the other direction. Needless to say, I had to pray long and hard before I went to sleep that night, for God to continue to strengthen me and keep my mind at peace so I could get through this speaking engagment.

The next day I felt better as I pulled up to the church to prepare for the conference, THEN my zipper on my skirt BROKE as I stepped out my car and all my intimates were out for everyone to see!!!!!!!!!! But by that time I was determined, even then, to not give in or get frustrated, but push through. Eventually, through tears and laughter, I spoke to the women and not only was solicited to speak and photograph at various churches and youth conferences, but I had my life spoken into. In sharing my testimony and speaking to the women on how to live a changed and effective Christian life, I WAS TOUCHED and pain that I’d held captive in my heart for YEARS was released. Then to add the sprinkles on a great morning/afternoon ‘sundae’, I hit the highway to go support my friend Aarik Duncan about 2 hours away at another conference in Clayton, NC. He rocked it out, we worshipped and I realized that right then the quality of our lives is often times determined by our mindsets. The enemy was very aware of the fact that if he could get into my mind all month, I might have been knocked off track and the growth of the women at the conference and MY personal growth would have been stifled. Because I have the mindset of Christ, I chose to react in a way that didn’t allow the enemy to win.

The thing some people get twisted about being a Christian is that, once you get saved, it doesn’t magically stop bad stuff from happening to you or alleviate painful situations….it just changes your mindset and how you react to them. It SHOULD at least.

Take this for example….if you’re living in a bad part of town or if you’re growing up in an abusive household, don’t give into it and let it turn you bitter and vindictive…decide to educate yourself, find a valid career and get out.

If you’re poor or can’t seem to get with the hang of school, don’t give up and turn to a life of crime, gangs, and drugs….decide to find a trade and start your own business. Though a 4 yr college is good, it’s not for everyone — you can go to a community college or tech school and get your certificate in something you’re good at.

If your parents abandoned you or someone abused you in the past, don’t repeat that cycle and take it out on the world…decide to be better and turn your pain into fuel so you can overcome and live a joyful, happy life.

It’s CLEARLY evident in the bible that a Christian should be distiguished by their mindset and their walk. If we react to situations and trials the way those “without God” would react, we are not truly living a Christian life. We aren’t using the power and freedom God gifted us when Jesus Christ died on the cross. I really hope and pray someone gets this, but know that these are all just my personal thoughts on how if you change your thoughts, you change your life. You don’t HAVE to take anything I’ve said here to heart — but you’d really be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t.

– Joc

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6 Common Mistakes Single Women Make – via AskCheyB

1. They don’t want to/know how to cookFood is the way to a man’s heart……If your goal is to one day be married, you should already possess the qualities of a wife, and that includes taking care of the home. No matter where the food is coming from, a man will find his way to it, so don’t miss this opportunity to keep your man coming home to you.

2. They Look For A Man– Men are hunters, go-getters, and leaders by nature……When a woman goes out and looks for a man, its as if she is assuming the same exact position that a man is preparing himself for. One of the joys of being a woman is that you don’t have to look for a man. When you’re worthy, the right man will find you.

3. They Work Too Much– In these challenging times, we all have to work to make ends meet, but with everything in life, there has to be balance. If you only make time for work, or if your work overextends into the time that should be allocated to family, friends, and loved ones, then that gives off the impression that you don’t value the relationship that you have with them……if you don’t have the time, he won’t invest his.

4. They Confuse Sex With Love– Sex brings out extreme emotions in a woman. For men, it’s just a few minutes of satisfaction. In order for a relationship to have longevity in a positive way, it has to first be built on a solid foundation. A man will value and respect you more if/when you respect yourself…. #Standards

5. They “Friend Zone” Good Men– Let’s be honest…..The “bad boy” offers mystery, adventure, excitement, but is often ambiguous when it comes to monogamy, future plans, and stability. Good men aren’t hard to find; they’re collecting dust in your Rolodex. Friendship is the key to romance, so if you’re looking find love, look first at your true friends.

6. They Travel in “Packs”– For a man, it takes a great deal of inner strength to muster up the confidence to speak to a woman and risk being rejected simply because she’s “not in the mood”. This truth multiplies when a woman travels in “packs” of other women. It gives off a “Waiting To Exhale” kind of vibe that screams “We are tired of men and we do NOT want to be bothered”……you have a far better chance of a attracting a man if you travel alone or perhaps with one girlfriend at a time.

I know I’m definitely guilty of #3 because I juggle like 3 jobs — but right now it’s the only way I’m able to follow my passions and do what I want without being dead broke! But I’ve been intentional about making time for the dating scene. My man of God is coming. BUTTTT in the meantime, I wanted to definitely share with the rest of you single ladies! How many mistakes are YOU guilty of?! BE HONEST! lol

This post is just a condensed version of all the good knowledge CheyB kicked out here on his blog: http://askcheyb.wordpress.com/

Make sure to FOLLOW!

– Joc

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Jaden Smith Said WHAT?!?! Every Kid Should “Drop Out Of School”?!

I normally purse my lips when it comes to commentary on popular culture and events, but the comment Jaden Smith made about school is so off the wall to me. If you didn’t hear on the radio or news, the young actor said this during a Twitter rant earlier this week: 

“School Is The Tool To Brainwash The Youth,” 

“Education Is Rebellion. If Newborn Babies Could Speak They Would Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Planet Earth.” 

“If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society . . . Everybody Get Off Your Phones And Go Do What You Actually Wanna Do.” 

WHAT THE HECK?!?!

Why on this God given earth would you, a young black male, encourage other young black males to drop out of school?!?! Child you HAVE a job and don’t have to worry about a thing in the world AND IF you fail in life, your parents are well off enough to support you. So you are good either way! The average black male would be slaughtered if he dropped out of school and constantly find himself criticized for his lack of education; thus “justifying” why he shouldn’t be able to earn a certain pay grade and why he’s not “qualified” for certain careers.

 I really pray that kids don’t listen to Jaden on this one – well…black kids at least. It’s challenging enough out here for young people of color…they don’t need a “special case” to brainwash them into believing that foolishness. Everyone is not a rapper. Everyone is not an actor. Believe it or not little Smith, there are people who actually NEED to go to school in order to do their job.

AND going further into education and schooling. The people that made the phones you use to communicate with –they went to school. The music executives that own the company putting out the records of your favorite artists – they went to school (ask Diddy). The doggone CEO of the picture film company that produces and pushes all of those doggone movies that GOT you your money in the first place – yeah, even they went to school. And furthermore, Jada AND Will BOTH went to school – whether it was traditional or art. So this boggles my mind that someone as young as 15 would think it cool (because he probably doesn’t care about being socially responsible at that age) to say something like this. You KNOWWWWW people are watching you. Whether you think it’s fair or not.

Whew I tell you, these are troubling times. I shutter to think what the world will be like when my kids grow up and have grandkids. If it’s anything like this foolishness, we’re gonna need a lot of prayer and Advil. Lol 

– Joc

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Sometimes I Forget That I’m A Child of God…

Sometimes I am guilty of temporarily losing touch with the fact that I am a child of God. I say this because periodically throughout my life I teeter on the edge of duping myself into thinking “This is too petty for God. I sound silly asking Him for all this stuff. Maybe I’m not being grateful enough for what I already DO have.”

This is a lie that the Holy Spirit checks me on daily! It tells me that “No, Jesus stood in the gap so that you could be an heir WITH Him! Whatever you ask in His name, it WILL get to the Father.” It reminds me that nothing is too small or minute to bring to God in prayer.

“So what kind of things are you talking about Joc?”

#1 MY CAREER STATUS – As a born again believer, I am aware that God orders my steps; but at times I get in a muddle where I’m stuck in the flood of indecisiveness. I want to pray that God will place the right path clear in my face — but sometimes I don’t because I talk myself out of it in dread that I will come across as ungrateful. I am very grateful for the job I have now because I am painfully aware that these days a college degree doesn’t go as far as it used to – and the fact that I’m not going back to school, piling on more debt or freeloading on someone’s couch eating saltine crackers …I am blessed. However if you are “a creative” or know anyone who has an artsy soul (like myself), to work in a position in where you can’t stretch and exercise your creative mind feels like borderline murder. DAILY I have to pray and talk to God (even out loud at times) to keep my sanity. I am very good at any job I am asked to do, but it doesn’t mean I like doing it. I’m simply doing what I have to do until God elevates me to where I want to be. THIS BRINGS ME TO my problem. I pray for a career in which I can enjoy my life and prosper, but I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what I have now. That’s when the Holy Spirit takes me to Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” and I am comforted in knowing that “Hey, God sees me. He clearly knows my heart. He won’t let my spirit die.”

delight#2 MY LOVE LIFE (or potential one rather) – I feel like I’m always talking about love (probably because I photograph weddings and love to see a woman and a man come together as one). But even in this area of my life I find myself fighting discouragement because of bad experiences in the past. Unlike the average person, I have GROWN from my mistakes and past failed relationships and have lived the single life for going on 3 years now in the way a Christian woman should. I wear a committment ring as an outward symbol to God and man that I will be celibate until marriage and will not entertain any foolishness. I may have seen a few guys I wouldn’t mind dating, but have purposely avoided pursuing or obliging to any romances due to the fact that I have been using this time to grow as an individual and really seek God in molding me into the woman of God that my future husband will love, adore, and faithfully appreciate. Now that I feel comfortable with getting back out there on the dating scene, I have been back and forth, second guessing myself on just about everything.

Have we been friends long enough? Am I giving him enough rope to know that I’m interested? Should I be more aggresive? Do we know each other well enough to even pursue a relationship? I really want to start officially dating, but now what?

In the past, I dated as “the world” dated. You know, find a guy you have similar interests with, can party/drink with, goes to church but doesn’t necessarily reflect it in his living, has a decent job, and is a good person overall. But now that I have been intentional and serious about dating as God would have me to date, I have to constantly be reminded by the Holy Spirit that “It’s ok to pray for the qualities you desire in a man. It’s ok to pray and ask God to help make YOU the person you need to be.” Afterall, in a healthy relationship, you ARE the person you attract. Since I desire a man who is godly, faithful, humorous, thoughtful, caring, supportive, an amazing provider , and an outstanding father who will help me raise our children in the way God would have us to…..I know I need to make sure I exhibit those very same/similar qualities. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to ask God for a certain person and to help you in the area of romance. It’s not silly, it just shows how you’re willing to go to Him for any and every thing. indecision

You may be wondering “What’s The BIG deal Joc, it’s not that serious. Nothing is THAT serious to worry about whether you should or shouldn’t pray about it.”; but to me, it is. I have no intentions WHAT SO EVER to go back to the old life I once lived. I already know the pain and consequences that come with it and I am careful to not even allow myself to step in gateways that could even nudge me back in the wrong direction. I guess that’s why I go back and forth all of the time in my mind when it comes to my career and love. I want to live a right, prosperous and effective life. (not just successful) I want to be able to do the job/career that my heart desires. I want to be able to date and marry a man that will stand the test of time with me – I don’t want to mess my future up in any way, but I don’t want to seem like I “over do it” in the prayer department. I guess you can say I am guilty of sometimes treating God like man. Man will get tired of you nagging and asking for stuff all the time, but God is not like man. He is my Father and WANTS me to come to Him.

Though I may second guess myself, I’m always reminded at the end of the day that I have the right as a child of God to ask God for what I want. He may chose to give it to me or pass on it for something better. Either way, I know that it’s ok to pray. God is like an earthly father who wants to give his kids the world…all they have to do is just ask.

– Joc

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A Letter To The Hearts Parts 1 & 2 – Rob Hill Sr.

Be encouraged. Be inspired. Dream. Love. – Joc

 

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