Tag Archives: marriage

Lessons From 35 Years Of Marriage (Courtesy of my Parents.lol)

August 4, 1984 two lives blended into one. I’m sure plenty of couples were married on that very day, but none as important as George and Sandra Drawhorn.

Okay so I’m biased on this – so what, they’re my parents. What did you expect?


My parents have been together over half of their lives. They met towards the end of college and pretty much never separated since then. I have learned so much from them – practically and spiritually – and as they return with stories from their 35th wedding anniversary adventure, I’ve been unexpectedly thrown a few things that have caused me to reflect.



Romance is intentional.

My parents have been together a total of 41 years and while it was normal for me to see a loving marriage growing up, as I got older and looked outside my house; I saw that it actually wasn’t as common as I thought. ESPECIALLY in other countries. There are some countries where marriage comes first (function/necessity) then the love comes after (luxury). I realized that it wasn’t a ‘natural’ thing to be romantic or do romantic things. It takes work.

From what I’ve learned of him if you give my dad a bucket of popcorn, a pillow, and enough space for him to sprawl out across my mom’s lap….he is SET! He’s very simple and doesn’t really like a lot of flash and flare – though he won’t turn a pair of NBA courtside tickets if you give them to him. Lol, My mom, on the other hand, is big on experiences and travel. She loves discovering new foods and cultures. On paper, they are very different and define romance in slightly different ways. That’s why when they planned their getaway trip to the mountains, it was intentional. It was a blend of low key relaxation (my dad) and exciting excursions (my mom). This trip was intentionally planned so that both of my parents were able to have a romantic time.


Having a reset button IN marriage is okay.

If you’ve been together as long as my parents have, you get used to a certain way of doing things. A certain way he likes his eggs. A certain way she does the clothes. A certain station he likes on tv. A certain way she styles her home. Shoot, even being at the same job can get routine FAST! That’s why it’s good to refresh and reset every now and again. This wedding anniversary trip for my parents was like hitting a symbolic ‘reset button’.

With the responsibility of helping EVERYBODY else and balancing a full-time job or two, it had honestly been a MINUTE since my parents have had time to actually spend TOGETHER.  This trip was a FULL WEEK of the two of them. They had time to rediscover each other and themselves as a couple. Sure I face-timed them at least once a day, but I left it up to THEM to do it. I tried my best to handle things back here in NC so they wouldn’t have to stress or worry about coming to anyone’s rescue. Having this reset to totally download and clear up space to upload new memories and more love was needed. Some marriages grow predictable, and while a sense of stability IS good/necessary for marriage, LIFE can squeeze out all the fun in the process. INSERT RESET BUTTON. This past week I could HEAR the stress melting off and the energy returning with every call. This is something every married couple should be mindful of. If you take a good inventory of the last time you’ve had QUALITY time to spend with your spouse with no interruptions and draw a blank, you should really look into planning something. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. Maybe it’s sending the kids away for a week or using a few vacation days to go road tripping to the city. Go. Do it.


Young married couples have a LOT to learn.

It seems like every day I hear of someone getting married then someone getting a divorce. I can’t help but hear it because I’m now in my 30s. I can’t help but pay attention to it because I’m still unmarried and want to make sure I do this thing right and do it once. I know on paper there are no perfect people but it’s one thing when you actually have to live life out with them. It’s hard enough at times to stay connected to your BLOOD relatives, let alone meld your life with someone with a totally different upbringing and set of values and habits and goals and dreams.

With the social media culture we are in, I think a lot of people who are married fall for the looks and ONLY the looks. Fall for the money, or subconsciously seek perfection. I can include myself in the last loop because this is something I’ve had to work on throughout my latter 20s. I grew up in a semi-traditional household that was God based/nurtured and I expected everyone to basically agree with that type of lifestyle. As I began dating, I found out that this wasn’t the case. Some people aren’t faithful. Some would never think of cheating. Some people believe a man’s only job is to provide financially. Some people want it to be split exactly 50/50. Some people don’t agree with the husband helping with household duties if needed. Some don’t care. Some don’t believe wives should work outside of the house. Some people are fine with the wife working multiple jobs. Some people don’t want kids. Some say no kids is a deal-breaker. Some people drink and curse – a lot – while some don’t believe in it.

You get my point.

I really do HONESTLY believe a lot of people between the ages of 25-40 look at marriage like a fairy tale or hold their potential partners up to the unrealistic standards of social media. If they’re not going about it that way, they end up settling because they feel like they want SOMETHING rather than nothing at all. Some people will marry people to get ahead in a certain social group. Some people will get married to appease family and stop the seemingly unending pressure of “so when ya gonna get married?!”. Some people will get married to the most attractive person they can find despite their personality being trashy or despite getting cheated on because they want pretty kids. I DON’T WANT TO BE ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE. So I look to my parents as a guide. Sometimes it feels hopeless because half of me thinks I’m being picky but the other half of me says “What’s wrong with wanting someone to love me like my dad loves my mom?” Sure it’s very rare these days but a girl can still hope right?!

I’m basically saying WE as 20, 30, 40-year-olds have to REALLY take a good look at how these older couples have been together so long and realize that we won’t always FEEL in love. Things won’t ALWAYS be 50/50. Outside beauty fades with time. A good, lifelong marriage takes time, understanding, communication, and a TON of intentional cultivating!

I’m not sure what my parents will do to celebrate their next milestone together, but my prayer for them is that they will have a fantastic time and that they continue creating memories that give me great things to blog about!


Peace & Blessings,


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Don’t Let Fear of Singleness Rush You Into Marriage….

Last night, I was perusing Christian based motivational speaker Heather Lindsey’s Facebook page and saw this:

When you’re single.. you’re FREE to roam around, move wherever, do whatever, have huge sleepovers with 20 of your girlfriends, spend whatever, eat whatever, go wherever & you don’t have to accountable to anyone BUT God. But then when you get married and then you have kids.. you have NEW responsibilities. You can’t just up and go backpack around Europe for 90 days with kids at home! You have to talk to your spouse about the decisions that you make and make sure that they’re ok with them. Don’t get married and then COVET your single life because you wasted the entire thing complaining about being single. Get up & get BUSY about doing what the Lord told YOU to do.

I literally stood up and clapped my hands like I was somebody’s mama at their high school graduation. I have literally been expressing and living by this same sentiment for the past 4 years! After my last major breakup, I realized that I was dating the guy I was with out of loneliness. I felt like the “pool of potentials” where I lived wasn’t very deep (or accessible) and I wanted to be able to do all the fun activities other couples in my life took part in. But you know, that relationship never did mirror the ones my friends and wedding clients seemed to have. So I had to step away and really struggle — dig deep to find the joy in singleness. I was so wrapped up in “having someone” I wasn’t fully enjoying my season of singleness. After coming to this realization, I began to throw myself into exploring new creative outlets and even launched a new business. To ME, it appeared as though this was my way of dealing with the failed relationship; when in all actuality, it was God thumping me on the forehead like “See girl, you were so busy investing yourself into that God forsaken relationship, you neglected the time you could’ve spent building and establishing yourself and My kingdom. There are still some things you’ve got to get done while you’re single before you settle down and become someone’s wife and mother!” 

Boy was He right (but then again, He IS the creator of all existence).

Over time I said to myself, “Jocelyn….do you realize that if you want to up and go to Florida for a week, you can without having to worry about anyone else’s feelings?! If you feel sick and want to come straight home to sleep….you can because you don’t have any kids to take care of! If you want to go to a concert with one of your strictly guy friends…you can because you’re totally single! If you want to invest your money into a new business, by all means do…it’s not like you have a household of 5 to worry about providing for.” I’ve honestly come to be a SUPER happy single woman and I can tell you it feels AMAZING! I can spend all week at church or spend all night writing or editing photos if I so choose because I don’t have to take into account anyone else’s feelings or emotions but my own!

Now before someone interprets this as me heading towards a “I don’t need a man” rant — know that I KNOW I need a man. I believe in God’s divine family order. I WANT to grow into the woman that can be someone’s help meet. I WANT to share my life with an attractive, loving, faithful man who can lead my household in the godly, upright way. I do DESIRE to be married and have kids one day — but I know that there are still some things I need to launch and see and do before all of that can happen. To be honest, I think that’s why so many women are unhappy in relationships now (can’t really speak for the men because I’m…well a woman). They spend their entire lives (as I did) collecting bits and pieces from books, movies, media, and music; gluing them into a mental picture of the perfect life! They want to be married by this age…they want to have kids by that age……

What they fail to realize is that you should be mentally and spiritually READY for marriage and family before jumping into it. If you want your marriage to be fruitful and long lasting, if you want your kids to have an amazing childhood — you have to make sure you have learned from the lessons of your past and can successfully take that growth into the next chapter of your life. Yes, you will still do some growing after you are married with children…but some things you need to have a handle on before jumping into it all. I learned from trial-and-error that if you spend all of your time WISHING you were married or wishing you had a family; you’ll end up settling for a life with someone you know is not God’s best for you. If you don’t mature while you’re single, there’s a good chance you’ll enter marriage and family prematurely without fully being ready for all that comes with it.

Yes when you’re married and have kids you’ll gain companionship and love; but in order to be a good wife/husband, you need to be sensitive to your spouses feelings. You need to be there for your children (even when you don’t feel like it). You have to learn to compromise and let go of selfish motives — after all, you will no longer just be ( insert-name-here) — you will forever be _______ ‘s wife/husband and ________ ‘s mother/father.

Just think on it. Blessings,

– Jocelyn


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7 Truths About Marriage You Won’t Hear in Church

7 Truths About Marriage You Won’t Hear in Church

The Church provides a good foundation for marriage, but here are a few of the things you might not always hear.

But it never failed. I would follow the guideline. I would study the handout. But when it came time, the professor would put the exam on my desk and there would be a foreign formula or equation I had never seen—or, at least, one I did not see on the study guide. Looking back, I realize the teacher did not intend for the study guide to be comprehensive. It was simply not possible to include everything from the required reading, class notes and lectures.

Such is the case with the Church and marriage. I am grateful for the foundation the Church gave me in regard to marriage. It was a good study guide. But there some things on the test I did not learn until marriage began. So I am going to give you some answers to the test that some of you might not expect to see. Here are a few truths about marriage I never heard in church:

1. Sex is a Gift From God. Explore It.

God created sex, but through the years, God’s people have allowed Satan to steal this gift—without much of a fight.

I was never educated about sex—and I grew up in a Christian family. My framework for sex was built by my friends at school and the movies I watched. Big uh oh. I still struggle with enjoying the fullness of sex today because of the cloud of lies formed during my teenage years.

It is time for God’s people to take back the gift of sex. The lies surrounding it are ruining lives and marriages. If you are married, explore the fullness of sex for the glory of God. Pray for sexual intimacy with your spouse.

2. There is More Than One Person Out There You Could Marry.

Soulmates are made, not born. Maintaining a healthy relationship is more about commitment than perfection. Every person on earth has imperfections. And the reality is there is more than one person we could spend our lives with.

Soulmates are made, not born. Maintaining a healthy relationship is more about commitment than perfection

I meet too many young people that are waiting for something that is not real. “I just couldn’t marry her because she smacked her food.” “He just wasn’t the one. But I know my soulmate is still out there. I just have to keep looking.”

What if God does not want you to find a perfect person, but find an imperfect person who will draw you closer to Him? What if God desires you to marry a person with flaws to expose yours? What if God wants to teach you the value and life found in committing to one person forever, not the exhausting pursuit of searching your entire life to find the perfect person?

3. The First Year of Marriage is Really Hard.

What have we done? Are we going to make it? Why is this so hard? These are all questions I asked myself many times during my first year of marriage.

We were arguing. We were fighting. It was really hard. And every day I thought something was wrong. Nobody warned me about the difficulty of the first year.

If you are in the first year of marriage and thinking about giving up, you’re not alone. Everyone struggles. Persevere. There are better days coming. Your marriage will get better. Stick with it.

4. A Spouse Does Not Complete You.

Jerry Maguire has brainwashed a generation of people to believe a lie. Spouses do not complete people. I bought this lie, and it wasn’t until I let go of any notion my wife could fill some void that I was able to truly love her. I had been expecting Tiffani to do something only God can do.

If you are empty, broken or insecure and you believe a spouse is the silver bullet to your problems, buckle up. It will be a bumpy ride. You will never be able to enjoy the beauty of marriage if you think your spouse’s job is to complete you.

5. Marry Someone With Similar Goals, Dreams and Passions.

Marry someone who is a Christian, yes. But I would go further—marry someone with similar passions and dreams. Of course, no two people are going to want exactly the same things in life. But some things are harder to work through than others. For example, if you love foreign missions and your potential spouse hates going overseas, tension is going to arise.

If your spouse has similar passions, they will be able to understand your struggles and fully support your pursuits. There is much power in two people living life with the same goals, dreams and passions for life.

6. Marriage is Not for Everybody.

Paul talks about this in Corinthians. He tells the church at Corinth to remain in the situation they are in. If unmarried, then stay unmarried. If married, then stay married. Later, he says, “So then the person who marries his fiancee does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better” (1 Corinthians 7:38).

Maybe it is time for God’s people to accept the reality that God has not called everyone to marry. I have talked with young men and women that are almost consumed with finding a spouse. And most of the pressure comes from church. Once a person reaches mid-twenties, we assume something is wrong with them if they have not married.

Marriage is holy and good, but it is also possible to follow Jesus without a spouse.

Shame on us. Marriage is holy and good, but it is also possible to follow Jesus without a spouse.

7. Marriage is Not About You.

I love weddings. But in an increasingly individualistic, “me” culture, weddings create a potentially dangerous situation. It is all about the bride and groom. Everyone looks at them. Encourages them. Congratulates them.

Many couples have bought the lie of the wedding day: It is all about me. But marriage is at odds with this mindset. A successful wedding day is one where everyone serves you. A successful marriage is one where you serve your spouse. The wedding day is a day where the spotlight is on you. Marriage has no spotlight. The wedding day is joyous and celebratory. Many seasons of marriage are about persevering and not letting go through the storms.

Embrace your wedding day. Prepare for it. Celebrate it. But do not make the mistake of believing the lie that it’s all about you. After your 20 minutes of fame, the spotlight is gone forever. It is no longer about you (and this is a good thing, you will see).

This article was originally posted at frankmatthewpowell.com

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/7-truths-about-marriage-you-won%E2%80%99t-hear-church#vXHRxaV9BGkXlBKd.99

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Don’t Make a Mockery of Marriage

The increasing rate of failed marriages amazes me. The problem is people are not taking time out to learn their partners, chasing after their flesh instead of waiting on God, making premature moves, and then when the marriage falls apart they want to say “I give up on love”. Too many people have the definition of love confused. So many are deceived. My people are being destroyed, hearts being broken, and innocent children caught up in mess all because people don’t want to wait on God. You want to complain about your sorry baby daddy this and that but if you would’ve waited on God you would’ve dodged that bullet. Marriage is a sacred sanction. Those vows are real. To recite those vows under God “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” I wish people wouldn’t move so fast and really consider the commitment. We love to say so and so broke my heart when really we broke God’s as well as our own because we lacked patience and trust in God. If you can’t find nobody right now it’s because God is trying to work some things out in you alone before you go link up with somebody else and carry all that weight and baggage into your relationship and miss out on your soul mate cuz you came into prematurely. We love to sign up for what we THINK we are ready for. Wait on God people. Don’t make a mockery out of the union he gets so much glory in.

–  repost via LaShae Shymez Settles


Be blessed. Piggyback commentary coming soon, Joc.

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What I’m Learning From My Parents on Their Wedding Anniversary

555768_10151603661910086_2029036310_nToday I had the honor of singing to my parents in honor of their 30th Wedding Anniversary which is tomorrow. They dated for 6 years WITHOUT SHACKING before they got married and are still going strong! Sometimes I honestly get kind of sad thinking on how strong their marriage is because I know that the way society is set up today, that type of marriage is statistically not in the cards for me — BUT GOD knows my heart and I will have whomever He has for me. I have faith. And because my parents instilled the importance of having God in a marriage, I will remain in the ‘fields’ working until my man of God scoops me up. There IS such thing as a strong, black marriage. Once two godly people join together and do things THE RIGHT WAY (no cheating, no violence, no LAHH mess) — a long lasting marriage is possible. My parents are proof of that. Ladies and fellas, don’t let these reality shows and songs and movies fool you — marriage is HARDDDD work, but can totally work if your heart and your soul is in it! 


My timeline is constantly flooded with quotes and reposts of Bey & Jay or Marilyn Monroe  from souls who yearn and desperately want to have a love that they only hear of in their grandparents’ stories of how it was back in the old days. THIS IS NOT COOL. I know there will be people who will get defensive as soon as I say this but [we] as a society are responsible for the degradation of marriage.DSC_0019 You have girls who want a boy to treat them right but feel as though there is no “real connection” if they don’t give up the panties or get turnt. You have boys who chase skirts and demand the goods because they (incorrectly) feel and learn from older men in their neighborhood and in hip hop that “this is what real men do”. SO what happens? The girls grow into women who begin sleeping with every dude they like or break their back working to pay the bills for an apartment they share with men who are NOT their husbands YET daily stay praying and wishing and hoping for a commitment. Those boys (who really wanted a good girl all along to inspire them to be better) grow into men who are womanizers and treat women like dirt because they are scared of taking a chance on ONE woman because “there may be someone better down the road”.


Watching my parents I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a “soul mate” despite what the secular love songs and movies would have you think — there is that person that GOD has designed for you. Sex won’t make someone stay. Having a child with someone won’t make your relationship stronger if it’s founded on rocky soil. God knows your strengths and your weaknesses and knows who would be the right match for you. All you have to do is keep your heart open to His voice which will let you know if “that person” is the one. There will be many people whom WE may THINK is the one — but are not God’s best for US. Not saying they can’t grow and mature into a great husband or wife, but they are not the one that God has for YOU — maybe someone else. My parents knew how to listen to God’s voice even before they were strong in their Christian walk and as a result, they found each other. DSC_0022And though you can never truly know EVERYTHING about a person, my parents learned each other by taking their time and dating 6 years. Not saying it will take everyone else that long, but the point I picked up from them is that you can’t meet someone and 2 weeks later fall in love. EVERYONE will get butterflies when first dating someone — it’s human nature. The chase is fun — but taking time to hang out with each other WITHOUT SEX or DATING SOMEONE ON THE SIDE will really allow you to know a person well without physical or emotional distractions clouding your judgement.


One of the last little things I’ve learned from watching my parents over the years is that you have to be the type of person you want to attract. MEANING, you can’t be slinging dope or getting faded every weekend, but desire to marry someone who is responsible and have their stuff together. You can’t update your FB or Twitter status with every play by play of your life and want to marry someone who is drama free. You can’t look to marry someone who is naturally attractive and is headed for success in their career if you put on 5 pounds of makeup or don’t keep yourself up at all while blowing all your money on parties, alcohol, and weed. Marriage is WORK. You have to put in what you want to get out of it. My parents show me that each time I see them together. Though they have different personalities and interests, they both had common goals — they didn’t just dream of doing something, they both went to school and did what they had to do to make it in the education field. They both shared the same spiritual faith. They both were on the same page with “spare the rod spoil the child” (LORD my butt is still aching from those whoopins. I used to act up ya’ll haha) — they came together and put in the marriage what they expected out of it. They taught me to not date or want to get married out of loneliness because that’s a surefire way to have your marriage fail — they let me know that I needed to build myself up while I’m single and figure out what I want out of life how to better myself so that I can attract a man who is doing the same thing!DSC_0023 If I am giving, faithful, and caring towards my husband — and he is giving, faithful, and caring towards me — then BOTH of our needs would be met. Ok that’s enough of my 2 cents — I am so proud of my parents and am blessed to have them as examples.

– Joc

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I’m A Living Witness — Being a TRUE Christian Ain’t Easy, but Possible!

Over the past year or so I have received numerous messages, texts, and calls from people who have been inspired by things I’ve said or posted. They congratulate me on “having it together” and “succeeding in running multiple successful businesses”. If you knew me years ago, you can truly appreciate how wild it is to be getting those comments. My life today is vastly different to what it was years ago. Though my spirit was still the same, my persona was a hot mess!

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I was literally out at the club or someone’s house party 3 days out of the week and was down for anything!

“Hey Joc, you want to get drunk, go to a haunted trail and get lost in the woods?” — SURE

“Hey Joc, there are like 5 parties going on tonight, you tryna hit all of em up?” – YOU KNOW THIS!

“Hey Joc, it’s Penny Liquor Thursdays at the club and free well drinks until 11pm, but the club don’t get popping until 11:30; what time you tryna go?” – 9

“Hey Joc, since we’re low on cash, want to put our money together, throw on some cds an throw an OBAMA Election party?” — HECK YEAH!

Need I say more?

10366005_2066617070636_1546049318093835747_nNow I am living a renewed life in Christ. And while I am living differently, it’s honestly more of a challenge than life was like before. I see my Christian walk like this: When I was cutting a fool, doing whatever I wanted to, the devil didn’t really care because I was already headed for destruction. I like to see him wandering around the Earth with his check list saying “Ok, she’s already headed for death, hell, and the grave….next!” It wasn’t until I decided to turn my life around FOR REAL and FOR GOOD that he gave me that Snuggle-face like, “Wait a minute, what’s going on here. What’s all this talk about Christ? Oh no, I gotta get on my job!” So he comes at me more. The only difference is that now I know and expect him to come after me, to make me trip up. That’s why I pray and try my best to not just SPEAK Christ, but LIVE Him as well. It’s sad to say, but “modern” Christians come a dime a dozen these days. You know, the ones who will condemn you for stealing or lying, but on the down low shacking up with their secret lover. You know the ones who will fall all out in church, then step right outside and cuss somebody up Monday and down Sunday. The ones who ALWAYS posting scripture, but steady at the club or somebody’s house turning up with wine or that white liquor. See I am not that type of Christian.  I take my walk with Christ seriously! It is not easy by ANY means because the life I used to live had its fun elements. I’d be lying if I told you otherwise. I still have to fight thoughts of abandoning the celibacy that I’ve managed to hold on to for almost 4 years and counting – but I do. It’s not easy deciphering what’s a “good harmless time” and what’s reverting back to old ways – but I do it. I do it because I know that people are watching me and someone’s relationship with Christ may hinge on how they see me act. And while it may seem “unfair” to tone down what I do because of what others may say – I know it’s necessary because it’s essentially MY WITNESS. As a Christian, your witness is virtually the only way people can tell you apart from the rest of the world.9081_1771559814389_1105572102_n

In Matthew 7: 15-20 Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

Your fruit is the way you walk and live. You can talk to someone about the bible until you’re blue in the face, but if they can worship with you at church, and turn up with you at the strip club every weekend – you are not bearing good fruit. SO I will wrap up with this. While I am thankful for all of your encouragement, and literally have my day made when you let me know that you can see Christ in me – I’m still a work in progress. 10336644_2090953999044_3724046153333302626_nI don’t wake up and effortlessly flee temptation or bad thoughts – it’s WORK! I fight discouragement, I fight naysayers, I fight the spirit of comparison daily – but through God’s strength I’m doing it and YOU can do it too. You have to cut some folk loose. You have to “be lame” and stay home from the all night partying. You have to stop posting racy pictures online and leave those attention seeking thirst traps alone. I am doing it and SO CAN YOU. – Joc

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Waiting Until Marriage (God AND Celibacy) Is So Worth It (according to Javon)

Do you all remember the college friend I posted about last week? You know, the one who (along with his fiance at the time) posted ‘facts about his relationship’ as he counted down the days until he was a married man?! Well, as of this past weekend he’s married now (Shug Avery voice)!

I’m always pumped about weddings because I love when people find the love that is meant for them; however this one is special. As a photographer, you know I was super excited to see a few previews he allowed us to see since we weren’t actually in town to attend the wedding. What made it even more fantastic……Javon (also a photographer) made a video of he and his wife-to-be just giving some insight into their relationship and their feelings towards each other and getting married! Enough typing….check them out!

Definitely inspiring! And so super cute!!

– Joc


VIDEO #1 – The Proposal


VIDEO #2 – “Hey Mama”


VIDEO #3 – “Our Story”



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QOTD: African Americans and/or Christians Tend To Steer Clear of Therapy

Good morning! While I’m inside recuperating from a battle with this snowy weather, one of my friends posted this as their Facebook status:

 QOTD: African Americans and/or Christians tend to steer clear of therapy…but what are the pros and cons (if any)?

There were plenty of intriguing responses, but after thinking about the question for a few seconds, I looked at therapy as and overall pro. I, being of the Christian faith and having a close relationship with God, definitely advise others to seek God first. AFTER we seek God, He may lead us to someone (who is not our pastor) who He’s gifted a particular set of skills (aka therapy) that can help our hearts to open and allow Him to come in and truly heal us to the core.

I am TOTALLY all for therapy if it’s needed. A lot of the time we forget that God GIVES us these psychologists and psychiatrists with these particular gifts to ultimately help us. We [as African American Christians] shouldn’t feel like we are dousing our faith by seeking help outside of a pastor. There are some traumatic experiences that if not addressed properly, can really manifest in nasty ways down the road. I have seen it happen first hand. This is why some people end up being rapists, murderers, narcissists, sociopaths, thieves, and gang members. Something traumatic that has happened in their lives (or they developed a mental illness that) was not addressed properly; thus leading them down a path of destruction. We can read our Word (aka the Holy Bible), seek spiritual council, and CONVINCE ourselves that we are fine; but if we don’t truly FACE the issue in order to FIX it, then we are essentially closing our hearts up tight and God is locked out and we don’t allow Him to heal us.

Yes some of the cons may be the high costs, privacy concerns, travel, and the time we may need to take away from work or family; but ultimately God wants us to be healed. And if He blesses us with the funds and the time to be able to participate in therapy or counseling sessions; then by all means, use what God has given you!

– Joc

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When Married Man Realizes That Marriage Is Not For Him…

Marriage Isn’t For You – via http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/

(by Seth Adam Smith)

sethHaving been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.


I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

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Lessons For Life (according to Corinthians 7-9) CONT’D

female-runners-competing-in-a-track-raceOver the past few weeks I’ve been drawn to I Corinthians and have really been taking the time to absorb what it speaks on. Here is a continuation of what I’ve been rereading and dissecting 1 Corinthians Chapters 7-9 in detail.

Here is more of what I found out:

4. You need to run your race and not stumble trying to catch up to someone else. – Chapter 9 verses 24-27 read, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we van imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”  Throughout the bible your life as a Christian is likened to ‘a race’. In a [track] race every participant has their own lane and own position based on their past performances and stats. Some start ahead of others and some are given a head start – but that doesn’t mean the one who gets the head start will win the race. A lot of times the one put in the unfavorable lane will come from behind (seemingly out of nowhere), overtake everyone and burst into 1st place. Everyone’s goal is to get to the finish line and as long as they stay in their lane and not get distracted by looking to the side or behind of them, they won’t trip and fall and be able to run to the end. race-300x225

Our Christian walks are EXACTLY like a race as Paul says in the scripture above. Everyone has different beginnings. Some people are born into wealthy families with unlimited opportunities, some are born into middle class yet loving families, and some people are born into poverty or dysfunctional conditions – but at the end of the day, everyone has an equal chance to run their race and make it to eternal life. I may not have a 6 – figure salary or my business may not be growing as fast as some others, or I may not be married with 2.5 kids; but I can’t concern myself with that. I have to pace myself and stay in my ‘lane’. If I worry about whose doing what and who appears to be succeeding or ‘living the good life’, I may trip up and fall because I’m too busy looking all around instead of keeping focused on the finish line ahead. No I’m not married. No I don’t have children. No I don’t make the amount of money I desire. Yes my business is growing slower than I’d probably want it – but that’s ok. I’d rather take my time running my race as God would have me than to mess my life up or detour my dreams by marrying the first guy I see out of desperation or selling drugs to make more money or getting pregnant just because I want children or cheating and deceiving to get ahead in my business. I am just fine pacing myself – I’ll make it to the finish line eventually and when I do, that eternal life will be SO sweet!

– Joc

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