Dear Ex, I Never Really Loved You

Worldly “love” comes natural. It’s that Eros “love.” It’s erotic, sensual, and highly appeals to the flesh and the emotions. I’ve fallen in this kind of “love” with several guys. And the more physically and emotionally intimate I was with the guy, the more “in love” I thought I was.

No no. I didn’t think I was in love. I was convinced I was in love. But praise Jesus, His Spirit taught me what real love looks like.

See, the Eros love is how people who don’t truly know Christ love. They do not have His Spirit within them, so they love in a purely human and unspiritual way. This love is broken, limited, and extremely harmful. This love is desperately selfish, even when it looks like it isn’t. This love craves what the other person has to give; their attention, their affection, their adoration, their body. This love stems from the heart that is consumed with Self. A heart that is concerned about its own happiness, not the other’s true well-being. And that is why it is dangerous. Because it is not pure love. It is earthly, sensual—dare I say—demonic.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?-Jeremiah 17:9

If before surrendering to Christ, the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked how on earth can it deny its true nature and love another in a pure way? A godly way? The answer is simple: it can’t.

But when a heart is given to Christ and regenerated by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, now this heart can love in the agape way. The unconditional, selfless, pure, sacrificial way.

Firstly, the regenerated heart is no longer seeking to please Self, but God. This new heart prompts the Christian to delve into the Scriptures and get to know God’s heart. This heart is powerful because the Holy Spirit now lives within it and causes it to be like and obey God.

Before I surrendered my heart to Christ on February 22nd, 2009, I truly thought I loved my ex more than anyone. I believed that because I felt such intense burning desire for him, thought about him often, and wanted to see him all the time, I loved him.

This wasn’t love. I was like a human leech, sucking whatever I could out of my ex because it pleased MY flesh. It made ME feel good. I was addicted to him, not in love with him, because like a drug, he gave my flesh a good high.

But after giving my heart to Jesus, things changed. I’ve been married for almost four years (September 10th <3), and hubby and I don’t fight anymore. I mention this first because in so many worldly relationships fights are natural and usually often. Outbursts of wrath is a fruit of the flesh. You get upset because in that moment, your boyfriend isn’t making YOU happy. Your Self acts out because it’s currently not getting a good high.

But with hubby, now of there’s ever any tension, one of us lovingly submits, and the one who was thinking selfishly at the moment quickly repents and there is immediate peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I give in to him, he gives in to me, and without a fight. We just lovingly give ourselves and this evades conflict. It’s not all about what I want to do and it’s not all about what Jonathan wants to do. We understand one another and are 99% of the time, gentle toward each other, which is another fruit of the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NKJV)

When two people have the Holy Spirit, and are letting Him lead, this is the outcome. Real love doesn’t have moments of feeling good, it is good. Sacrifice isn’t this painful, horrible notion that is never even conceived of. Sacrifice is given freely because we seek the well-being and benefit of the other—not ourself.

It’s extremely tragic when Christians are in worldly relationships. It begs the question: do you really have the Holy Spirit in you, because the fruits of your relationship are fleshly. They look just like the world, except maybe they attend a weekly service or two together.

My prayer is that Christians in a worldly relationship will repent. It will certainly hurt their selfish flesh, because the relationship can be so pleasing to it at times, but in the long run, they’ll spare not only their souls from judgement (because being in sinful and hurtful relationships isn’t pleasing to God), but will be free to experience true love, agape love. And when you begin loving someone in a Christ-like way, and he or she loves you likewise, you’ll understand what you’ve been missing all this time.

What Is the Emerging Church and are you unwittingly apart of one?

I had been attending a very popular multi-campus church in Georgia whose leader is Andy Stanley. When I told this to two older Christian women who I trust and love, the reaction was the same in a nutshell: “Be careful, Andy’s emergent.”

At the time, I didn’t know what that meant so I decided to do some research. I googled “Andy Stanley emergent” and got a better taste for what this whole Emerging Church thing is, but didn’t really grasp it in clear and simple terms until this morning.

Apparently, many Emerging Church leaders identify with “post-modernism,” another term I didn’t know much about until this morning:

“Modernism was a bad philosophy. Post-modernism is another bad philosophy. But in both cases, they assault the Scripture. Modernism made reason, human reason, the king. Reason was supreme in modernism. Thomas Payne, The Age of Reason, The Enlightenment…the Renaissance. Out of that came the worship of the human mind and the mind trumps God. Now, mystery trumps the Bible. The human mind trumps the Bible in modernism, mystery trumps the Bible in post-modernism. It is at the foundation an unwillingness to accept the clear teaching of Scripture…God holds us responsible for a right understanding of Scripture. We are liable before God for what we do with a true and right understanding of Scripture.

“These people, like the liberals, deny the clear teaching of Scripture. And I’m convinced that the reason they deny it is not because it can’t be understood, not because it’s unclear, but because they don’t like what it clearly says. And that takes you back to John 3, “Men love darkness rather than light.” The light is there, they hate the light, they run from the light. The issue is not that Scripture is not clear, it is crystal clear…

So I think the motive behind this whole Emerging Church thing, whether it’s a conscious or unconscious motive, is discomfort over what the Bible really says, whether it’s about the gospel or whether it’s about sin, virtue…they don’t like it and so the out is…Well, it’s not clear. This is just another way to set the Bible aside…”-John MacArthur

In a radio show, John goes even more in-depth on this topic, and I’ll just add one more snippet of the conversation because I think it’s powerful:

“What is so interesting about this movement is the Emerging Church sanctifies the culture. The Emerging church sanctifies the post-modern culture as if it is legitimate and says, ‘if we’re going to reach these people, we’ve got to become like these people.’ That’s never been the biblical way…never. The Bible does not change. It’s not a chameleon; it doesn’t shift and change and adapt to culture. It confronts culture. It confronts an aboriginal culture. It confronts an ancient culture. It confronts a modern culture. It confronts every trend with fixed unchanging truth in every situation. And the Emerging Church not only is unwilling to believe the clear statement of Scripture, but it’s unwilling to take the clear statement of Scripture and confront the culture. It wants to let the culture define what Christianity should be.”

To hear the whole talk visit Grace To You.

So the Emerging Church, often subtly, downplays the Bible and strips it of its superiority and authority. Using the excuse that it cannot possibly be understood, they make allowance for sins that the Bible clearly condemns, and makes God a more “accepting” God, which truly, the Emergents just want their churches to be more widely accepted because the bigger the building, the more seats it can fill, and the more seats it can fill, the more money they can make.

And also, simply put, they want to enjoy sinning without the guilt trip. They want to watch porn, or fornicate, or cheat on their spouses, or indulge in greed without being judged by a Holy God for it.

Sounds a lot like the folks the Apostle Paul warned about:

“And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.”-Romans 3:8 NLT

“And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.”-1 Corinthians 15:32-34 NLT

So are you apart of an Emerging Church? I think one of the clearest indicators is their avoidance on agreeing with Scripture’s clear stances on topics such as sex before marriage or living together before marriage (i.e. fornication), homosexuality, transgenderism, and abortion. Since these are big hot-topics in our day, many Emerging Church leaders will cower away from stating what the Bible says about these things and make some excuse for, or evade the topics altogether. Why? Because they’re more concerned with keeping those large numbers/pew sitters than they are about teaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at the cost of possibly becoming attacked, fined, imprisoned, or impoverished. They love their money and comfort more than they love Jesus and others.

Because at the end of the day, the old saying is often true, “The truth hurts,” or as the Bible puts it, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”-Proverbs 27:6 NLT

I’m gonna tell someone what I know and am 100% convinced of is unadulterated, divinely inspired truth. If I genuinely believe this incredibly prophetic, historically accurate, scientifically sound, ancient written record of how God revealed Himself to man and what He has to say to us, and I love Him more than I do my own reputation and relationships with others besides Him, then I’ll tell them what it says because I am genuinely concerned for the consequences they’ll face if they don’t know and believe these divine, eternal truths.

Many people have wrong desires: they’re married but they’re desiring to have sex with another person. Just because they have that desire,  albeit it can be deemed a natural one, doesn’t make that desire justifiable or good. The same is true for premarital sex and homosexuality. Just because someone has the desire to be with someone of the same sex doesn’t mean that behavior is justifiable.

A lot of people enjoy wrong desires; indulge in adulterous relationships, in drugs, in premarital sex and homosexual relationships, but it doesn’t mean that it’s right or good in the sight of God. And who on this earth has the authority or revelation to determine what God deems good and what He deems evil? God Himself! But how do we know which God is the true God and which teachings accurately reflect His opinions and commands???

I say, with 100% confidence, there is no other book in all the history of mankind, in all the millions of documents ever written, as prophetically accurate as the Bible, and as geographically, historically, and scientifically sound as the Bible. Even secular expert scribes agree: no ancient work holds more manuscript authority than the Bible, which simply means it is a completely reliable ancient record; what it says now is what it said thousands of years ago.

And again, no book or prophet comes an INKLING as close to as incredibly accurately prophetic as Jesus Christ and the Old and New Testament prophecies. If someone were to research the thousands of prophecies fulfilled in history that the Bible prophesied centuries and even millennia before the events occurred, they’d probably begin to doubt their doubts and start to hold the Bible in a much higher light than its religious peers. There’s no getting around it unless you avoid it.

So, are you apart of a church who downplays the Bible or reinterprets, or condemns its clear stances on sin? And if so, do you agree with your leaders that the Bible can’t be understood and that truth is thus subjective?

Who is right? The prophetically proven Bible, or these smart sounding, passionate men who’ve existed for fifty years or less on this earth and have never prophesied anything that came true to perfect detail?

I hope this makes you think and take stock as to the pastors you’re listening to and consider if they uphold the Bible as the ultimate truth, or downplay it as an ancient book that is only partially relevant now. Because, as the historically accurate ancient record holds, God has once said about mankind:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.”-Hosea 4:6

 

With sincere love and concern,

Natasha

Why you shouldn’t be modest

I remember walking through the mall in my teen years, rocking a pair of skin-tight Brazilian jeans (they were so the thing back then)—a pair I wore specifically because I believed they accentuated my assets, i.e., made my bottom look bigger.

So here I am, in my baby-blue Brazilian, skin-squeezin’ jeans and a spaghetti strap top and I’m pretty sure I was clackin’ around in heels, and this group of dudes begin yelling lewd comments at me across the mall for everyone in the vicinity to hear.

I got so upset, cussed at ‘em, flipped ‘em off, the whole nine. But never once did I recall the fact that I wore those jeans for the sake of appearing more desirable. I wanted the attention, but I guess I expected it to come across in a more respectful manner.

Thing is, I quite plainly, was dressed in a way that shouted sex object, yet I didn’t want to be treated like a sex object. I wanted to be pleasing to the sight of some men, as long as their pleasure was displayed in a manner I approved of.

I now understand that most single or unmarried men (or even married ones!) don’t look at women who are dressed super sexy and think: I better be low-key about all the lustful thoughts she’s inciting. The way they see it is you’re asking for the attention, so they’re gonna give it to you. And more specifically, they’re thinking along the lines of; this chick is asking to be f***ed. 

Forgive the vulgarity, but I’m just being real. Have you ever heard men talk to each other when no women are around? Well, I have. A lot. I edit weddings. The videographer, who is a man, goes into the groom’s hotel room or wherever he’s getting ready and records him and his groomsmen as they get dressed. The stuff they say about the bride and about women is so disgusting and degrading that I often have to mute the audio entirely and sometimes wish I could leave in those parts so the bride sees how much her groom respects her in front of his boys. The things I hear make my blood boil and skin crawl. But the truth of the matter is that all of these brides lived with the guy beforehand. In other words, they already were sleeping with him. So frankly, men simply don’t respect a woman who sleeps with them before marriage. Period. He can act like he does, but there’s someone he boasting to about your body and sexcapades.

Have you experienced this kind of lewd attention before? Were you wearing super short-shorts, a midriff top, showing off cleavage or your belly? Lots of skin, lots of skin-tight-leave-hardly-any-room-for-the-imagination attire will incite and inflame a man’s lust. There’s no way to get around it unless he closes his eyes or avoids you or tries super-duper hard to only look at your face, even though his peripherals can see everything else. Even married men. Very few will try to look away, while others will be picturing you naked on top of them.

Now, if you’re truly fine with this, that’s your prerogative. However, if it makes you uncomfortable and you’d like a lot more respect, then take it from me, think twice about what you put on. And no, I’m not being legalistic. I’m not gonna sit here and list a bunch of non-Kosher clothes to wear because at the end of the day, most of us women aren’t stupid. We know what sexy looks like and some of us like how it feels. So the clothes you have that you deem sexy are the red flag raisers you should reconsider. And covering up doesn’t equate frumpy and dumpy. You can keep it covered and keep it classy. You can be modest and still like what you’re wearing.

And if you’re a Christian like me, then remember: you don’t just choose modesty because it’s a New Testament command (see 1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:1-4), but we do so for a love for God and others. We want to please God. Sensuality, lustfulness, selfishness, all of that displeases Him. If we truly grasp all that God the Father did for us when He sent His Son to this earth to love and die for us, we won’t have a problem covering up some or reconsidering our wardrobe to ensure it’s honorable to Him. He wants us to “not only look out for our own interests, but for the interests of others as well.” That means if you choosing your clothing more wisely will help some fellow Christian brothers not to stumble, then you’ve just pleased God with that unselfish and considerate decision.

At the end of the day, I’m not modest for legalism or man’s sake, but for Christ’s sake, and for a love for Him and others. I also want to be a good example for women, because I love you, too. 🙂

Did this resonate with you? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment.

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3 Things I Did To Aid In Destroying My Romantic Relationships With Men

For the last two days, I’ve been reading my sad-but-true first-person memoir about my two last/biggest romantic relationships before I met the man God wanted me to marry. I also delve into me and Sir Jonathan’s relationship from the very beginning till our wedding day.

I detail conversations and experiences with my exes that had me in tears and had my husband seething. Not from jealousy, but from the treatment I endured from these guys. How I was played like a frickin’ fiddle by master musicians and strung along, entranced and deceived, ignoring every warning sign and running full-speed ahead into heartbreak.

I am SO tempted to republish this book for .99 cents just for the possibility that it may help some young girl or woman out there who is walking in the shoes I once wore. But, as I pray about that (please pray, too), I want to share some practical lessons from my dating duds/epic relationship fails to hopefully help you avoid some serious pain!

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This may seem like an obvious no-no, but I wasn’t reading the Bible and really getting to know Jesus and His will for my life. I never sought Him for direction or relationship advice. Those questions were reserved for my best girlfriends who were just as clueless as I was when it came to healthy and successful romantic relationships.

I expected these guys to love me unconditionally when they didn’t even know Unconditional Love Himself and refused to follow His example. So, when their love was totally conditional, e.g., since you’re not gonna have sex with me, I’m not sticking around, or, since you’re too serious about us, I’m afraid of your intensity and passionate devotion so I’ll just exit stage left.

I couldn’t grasp why they couldn’t love me like I loved them, or be as committed to me as I was to them. But again, they weren’t Christians. There wasn’t a framework of commitment and honor and loyalty to a girl; of guarding her heart and being appropriate toward her and preparing for and waiting until marriage. They just did whatever their un-surrendered-to-God hearts wanted–which was ultimately and primarily sexual gratification without exclusive and life-long commitment. Basically, all the perks without the price-tag.

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Whenever the guy disrespected me by disappearing for days, or kissing and then running, or whatever other red flags waved in my face, I might’ve complained, but I always ended up defending the guy’s actions and continued giving him chance, after chance, after chance. I never put my foot down. It took THEM abandoning me for me to have no choice but to move on. I always chased them down; called, texted, showed up at their house, forgave and took back, and tried to mend the relationship. I held on until my hands bled. Sisters, PLEASE, when warning signs begin to manifest, don’t wait until your heart is shattered or until he walks away. Put your foot down and move on before he does. Otherwise, you’re just lengthening the suffering.

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Since God wasn’t my true source of joy and contentment, a romantic relationship with a broken, sinful, man was. And if any of you have ever been in a relationship with a guy, you know both of you mess up and make mistakes and act selfishly and hurt each other eventually. So if your happiness and hope is dependent on the well-being of your relationship, you’re probably sad and frustrated often (unless he’s a guy who loves Jesus. Not to say Christian men are perfect, but a true sheep of Jesus–not a wolf in sheep’s clothing–will treat you well and won’t put his interest first, but God’s best interest will be primary. He will fear and love God, and desire to please Him in his dealings toward you and treatment of you. He will seek to follow God’s plans and directives and rules for your relationship which seriously are so pure, and good, and safe, and healthy, and just ahhhh. SO much better than how people go about relationships without God being their Guide.

I’m sure as I continue to read my memoir, I’ll discover more lessons to share with you ladies, but for now, I plead with you to really do a relationship evaluation and then a heart check. Take a good three steps back from your relationship (if you’re in one) and prayerfully consider if one) he’s really a Christian; 2) there’s warning signs you’ve been ignoring, and 3) if all your happiness and hope hinges on the well-being of your relationship.

Praying for you.

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Here’s what to do if your boyfriend is hurting you.

Sister, you’re sad, you’re hurting, you’re upset, you are more angry than you are happy.

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down.-Hosea 14:1

You blame your boyfriend, but who is deciding to be in a relationship with him? Who is choosing to stay with him? Your free will and choice to remain where you’re at–your sins–have brought you down. (I love you, that’s why I’m so real! So hang tight, sisters and know this is tough-love speaking, not angry judgement.)

So what should I do, Natasha? I’m glad you asked, princess:

Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.-Hosea 14:2

This is a simple two-step process to SERIOUS restoration, deliverance, and supernatural empowerment!

1.) Bring your confessions to God.

Sister, God already KNOWS all about your sinful relationship, but there are several reasons why He wants you to confess it to Him. For one, it places you in a position to receive closeness and intimacy with God. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. He draws near to those who draw near to Him. And even in all your sin, with all the dirt covering you, He tells you to come close to Him so He can wash you clean. Think about that. God isn’t trying to expose your nakedness to anyone (but if you keep hiding from Him, after a while, He will expose you. Why would He do that? Because tough love is better than no love, and if it takes big consequences or firm punishment to get you to stop sinning i.e. destroying yourself, He will do what is necessary. But that’s why me–AND GOD–plead with you NOT to push Him to that point. He’d MUCH rather clean you up behind closed doors rather than have you stripped naked for all to see and come to Him completely broken in shame).

God is VERY patient, but like I said, there comes a time where that patience turns to punishment. Do you wanna be like those protestors who start pushing against the authorities, who at first just try and push them back with those clear shields, but after a while, the authority has the right to start swinging his knight stick. Don’t force God to knock you out, to lay you flat, to push you so hard you break because you won’t listen to Him otherwise. Bring your confession to Him instead and don’t wait another day.

2.) Return to the Lord.

Turn back to Him. That means you need to turn from your boyfriend who is standing in front of you, who is all you see right now, and walk away. And you’re not just walking away to nowhere, you’re leaving his selfish arms and walking back into the arms of TRUE Love Himself, Jesus Christ!

3.) Praise Him.

Once Jesus takes you back into His loving arms i.e. “graciously receives you” your natural response should be praise. You’ll finally have this joy that wells up inside of you and causes you to thank God. You will experience forgiveness, cleansing, and healing and this will be the full result of doing all three of these commands:

The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”-Hosea 14:4-9

Natasha nugget: You’re in the arms of a man who hurts you more than he helps you because you have yet to run to and remain in the arms of the Perfect Man who holds you and heals you and never lets you go.