Is He Ready to be a Husband? Guest Post by Michelle Stimpson

Every once in a while I’m blessed to meet what I like to call a kindred spirit. This person is typically someone I’ve just met who already feels like a long time friend. Someone I immediately feel at home with and who generally is a lot wiser than me. I LOVE when this happens! So, I’m pleased to have one of my kindred spirits, author Michelle Stimpson, share this blog space today. I hope the following post spoke to you the way it speaks to me!


Is He Ready to be a Husband?

michelleIn ministry to women, I’ve been blessed to meet several Christian sisters who profess to know Him and be actively seeking God but are still unsure of what a godly man looks like. Let me be clear: No man is perfect. Some men are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but I believe that many more just need an opportunity to grow as people and in their relationship with God before they are ready to marry.

To that effect, let me share advice that MANY women have shared with me—clues that he is either is not a godly man or is not ready to be married to one of God’s precious daughters at this time. While we are not in a position to judge a person’s salvation, it is possible to see the “fruit” of the Spirit as clearly outlined in Galatians 5:22. Each of the characteristics below could easily be classified under one or more of these traits.

Let me forewarn you: The tone of the advice is strong because the women who shared the tidbits were adamant in their discussions. Here goes!

1. How does he talk about people? Does he routinely discuss how silly other people are? Does he speak ill of family members and people who are supposed to be his friends? Is he the only smart person in his version of what happened at work? The love of God is manifest in our love for one another. A man who makes a habit of belittling and fault-finding has not yet realized God’s love for him and is still full of pride. Eventually, his accusatory finger will turn to point at you.

Contrarily, a man who speaks life and goodness into and about others will readily prophesy God’s goodness over every aspect of your marriage. When tough times come, he will speak edifying words that build you both!

2. Does he routinely lead you or tempt you into sin? A man who is sincerely concerned about your spiritual well-being does not want you to compromise your faith. The love of God does not lead us away from His desires for us. If he’s leading you wrong now, what makes you think he’ll lead you right later?

A husband who loves the Lord seeks to obey Him (John 14:23-24). A wife who trusts in the Lord alongside a husband who honors God can rest in the fact that even when she’s not 100% sure of where her husband is leading, she can trust that God will honor her husband’s decision and her obedience.

3. Does he initiate conversations about God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? It would be impossible for your man to know God intimately and not mention Him in conversation with someone else he’s bringing into the inner circle (i.e. you). When the old man dies, the new life is lived through Christ (Galatians 2:20). If the “new man” is silent, this is a red flag.

Why is this important? The man is the head of the household (1 Corinthians 11:3). A man who actively seeks God for guidance will find it (Matthew 7:7). What a blessing it will be to know that your husband is consulting the Master about your marriage!

4. If he has children already, is he an active part of their lives? A man who does not support his children in every way possible has a character problem; he is not exhibiting the character of God. Such a man is not ready to be married to you or be the godly father you want for your children. Also, don’t fall for the, “I don’t have a lot of time,” excuse, either. If he’s had enough free time to pursue you, he had time to try to keep in touch with his children.

If it’s “in him” to do right by his children and remain respectful to the mother of his child(ren), he understands what it means to hold up his end of an obligation.

5. Could he support you both financially? A man isn’t ready to be married until he can adequately provide for a wife and possible children. Even if you two decide on a two-income household, the question is still could he provide the basic needs if necessary? God didn’t give Adam a wife until he had a job. Who are we to think we know better than Him?

Do your future husband a favor: Allow him the time he needs to develop the confidence of knowing that he is capable of being a good provider. An able-bodied man who knows he can support his wife and children by the grace of God has fulfilled one of his God-given roles (1 Timothy 5:8). My personal advice to newly married couples is to try not to create a lifestyle that requires two full-time salaries.

6. How’s his temper? Does he call you outside of your name, curse at you or become almost scary when he’s angry? Is he easily agitated and impatient? These are major red flags. A man whose temper flares easily has a minefield of underlying issues that he needs to deal with before he can even begin to love you like Christ loved the church. He’s not ready to marry anyone, let alone you.

A patient husband can bring peace into an otherwise volatile situation. His calm presence alone de-escalates disagreements and keeps drama out from under your roof. Whether he is patiently teaching your son to tie his shoes or choosing to make a funny comment instead of arguing, his even temper will bless your household for years to come.

7. What about joy? Is he grumpy? Does he have a good time in the company of friends or family? Does he enjoy a hobby or is he still searching for what makes him happy? A man who is trying to find out what makes him “happy” is not ready to be married because he has yet to realize the Fountain of Life within him. Beware especially if he says you are the source of joy in his life. This is a problem because the joy of the Lord is supposed to be his strength, not you (Nehemiah 8:10). Resist the urge to be his all-in-all. It may be flattering, but you don’t want that burden for life.

A man who is filled with the joy of the Lord may not walk around whistling and smiling all the time, but he can face each day with hope, knowing that Christ will prevail regardless of circumstances. He can roll with the punches in your marriage because his joy is secure in God.

8. Does he forgive easily? Does he hold a grudge against his father? Does he bring up offenses from the past that he should have released a long time ago? Does he think everyone is out to get him? Is he the type who cuts people off forever when they get on his bad side? Forgiveness is a major factor in any successful marriage. Spouses have to forgive one another on a regular basis and be able to give one another the benefit of the doubt. If the man you’re dating does not know how to forgive, he will build up resentment toward the imperfect, “real” version of you in a short while. He is not ready until he has received forgiveness and gives it freely.

A husband who forgives easily will be your treasure from now until death do you part. After all, he has to put up with you, right? Because he understands how easily Christ forgave him, your husband shares that same heart for you. He will speak the truth in love in an effort to restore whatever the enemy is trying to steal from your marriage.

9. How well does he communicate? Men and women communicate differently, so this can be a tricky one. But here’s a pretty good test: When you two have a disagreement, is he able to patiently listen to your point of view and is he eager to resolve problems—or at least agree to disagree? A spouse who don’t communicate often has unspoken expectations that you could never fulfill and/or harbors undeclared resentments that you won’t even have the opportunity to rectify until he explodes in destructive communication.

The good news here is that, with effort, your husband can learn how to communicate the goodness in his heart. A wife who knows what her husband desires (and vice versa) is in a much better position to give him what he wants.

10. Is he generous? Is he a giving person or does he have an “every man for himself” mentality? The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (John 3:16). A generous, unselfish man who mimics his Heavenly Father will also be a giver. Does he faithfully support the ministries that feed believers through financial means? Generosity can even be see in little things like leaving tips at a meal or a quick donation to kids selling cookies outside the grocery store. Also, consider how he spends his time. Is it all used up on him and his interests/endeavors or does he share his time with those who are in no position to reward him? (Spending time with you doesn’t count because that’s mutually beneficial.) A selfish man is not ready to put his wife and family above his own desires.

A generous heart goes a long way in a marriage! A generous person approaches finances, time, goals, and even sex with a considerate mindset. Quite frankly, wives tell me that it’s just flat-out easier to lavish love on a man who so freely gives of himself.

The bottom line for a godly husband can be summed up in this question: Does he resemble your Heavenly Father? If you don’t see any fruit, it’s probably because there is no root or the root hasn’t grown deep yet. No one will ever love you like your Heavenly Father, but you should at least see some of His characteristics flowing through the man you intend to marry.

Along this same line, if you’re attracted to a man who doesn’t show any fruit, you’re not ready to enter a covenant, either, because no woman of God who understands her value in Christ would sign up to be with someone so far from her Father’s heart. Don’t make excuses for him or for yourself.

Seek God about your future spouse. Just today, I was talking to a newlywed who said to me, “God didn’t say no—so I took that as a ‘yes’.” Ask God to let you know if this person is His best for you and be willing to walk away if the answer is “no.”

Finally, know that a real man of God doesn’t want anything less than a real woman of God. If you have been leading him into temptation, cursing him out, and paying his bills, it’s no wonder you are with someone who’s so out of line. This is the blind leading the blind! Come out of darkness. BE the godly person you want to marry. Surrender to Christ and let His light shine in you. It will repel the ones who are not for you and attract one who is.


Faith Simone: Whew! If it hit you, say “Ouch!” and keep moving. I definitely needed to hear ALL of this. Practical, biblical based advice that gives me a clear compass for this thing called dating? Yes, please! Chile, the stories I could tell. Also, I couldn’t help thinking that we need to be what we’re looking for. In other words, we need to have our own houses in order before we go looking to set up house with someone else. Talk to me in the comments below, and let me know I’m not alone!

If this guest post blessed you, don’t hesitate to get more of the same by checking out Michelle’s latest release: Married for Five Minutes: Hope for Living Inside Real-Life Marriages. It’s full of practical advice for married folks, but as you can see from reading this post, it also includes plenty for singles too! Click on the pic, or title for more info.:)

 

Married for Five Minutes:
Hope for Living Inside Real-Life Marriages
Shundria Riddick, M.A., LPC & Michelle Stimpson

Release Date: June 28, 2016
Paperback ISBN: 1-943563-05-5
Hardcover ISBN: 1-943563-06-3
Ebook available through online retailers
Publisher: Edifying Reads, an Imprint of MLStimpson Enterprises

Kimberla Lawson Roby and Me!

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a book talk given by Kimberla Lawson-Roby. She’s a prolific women’s fiction author who has written over 24 books in the last couple of decades. So when she talked, I listened. I also took notes because, one day, I fully intend to be able to get a hundred or so people in a room to discuss my books and writing process, too!

Kimberla

 


From Kimberla, I learned a few things.

Be yourself. People came to see her because they like her books. But, they also like her. Otherwise, they could have bought the book, read it, and let that be the end of it. She was personable and engaging.

Go with the Flow. The person who gave her introduction mentioned that Kimberla’s husband was her biggest supporter. She used that as an opportunity to share about how she first started out (self-published, by the way!) and to give her personal/professional background.

Know your audience. The event took place at a library that was also hosting a large gathering of authors. She not only spoke about her books, but also specifically gave tips and encouragement for aspiring writers.

Invest in your talent. Kimberla left a well-paying career that she was already established in to pursue her dream of being an author. Initially, she attempted to obtain a book deal with one of the Big 5 and that didn’t pan out. Instead of giving up, or continuing to chase publishing houses that weren’t checking for her, she invested in herself and independently published her first book. Her dedication to writing, marketing and engaging with readers paid off. Eventually, one of the Big 5 came knocking at her door and the rest is history!

Stand by your work. A large body of Kimberla’s work speaks on the hypocrisy of some churches in general, and a man of the clothe by the name of Curtis Black in particular. Some critics took offense at the fact that Kimberla chose to ‘expose’ the church by writing on topics of infidelity, abuse, addiction, etc as it relates to church folk. Kimberla stood by the fact that she wrote what she saw and experienced in some churches. What you choose to write may not always be pretty, but speak your truth and be prepared to stand by it.

Promote yourself. I almost wanted to do a fist pump when she effortless segued from a question that had spiraled into a rather long discussion and gently ushered in the title of her upcoming release. From there, Kimberla proceeded to read the opening pages of her next novel, sharing just enough to wet everyone’s appetite. I’m sure her pre-orders had a spike that day!

Show your appreciation. I couldn’t count the number of times Kimberla made it a point to show her gratitude and appreciation for her readers, the library staff, the book clubs in attendance and everyone who came out in support of her. I always say that appreciation and grace are the marks of a true lady, and I saw that in her.


I thoroughly enjoyed being in the audience that day and witnessing first hand the impact that a single person can have on so many people through her dedication to the art of writing. Writers spend a lot of time alone as a part of the job, but moments of engagement help reinforce that it’s all for a very good reason.

As a reader, what do you most look forward to at book discussions? As a writer, what do you do most hope to accomplish? For me, as a reader I want some back story on the characters, and as a writer I want to be remembered enough for them to buy my book!

 

Confessions of Faith: Temper Tantrums and Attitude

Picture it: a perfectly lovely spring morning in Memphis. The sun was shining, the humidity was practically non-existent, the birds were chirping and the scent of magnolia trees at least 100  years old rose gently on the breeze.

But, ask me if I noticed any of that at the time. Nope, sure didn’t. Why? Because I was too busy grumbling about the inability of the people I shared the road with (I won’t call them drivers, because drivers know how to drive) to stay in their lanes, not finding a good parking spot at work and a plethora of other things before I copped an attitude with God.

Uh-huh. I copped an attitude with God. It’s not the first time, and unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last time. I had an attitude because it was His fault I even had to deal with incompetent road hoggers, bogus parking arrangements and waking up at the crack of dawn. Because if He was doing things the way I wanted them done, I’d be a full-time writer well on my way to selling the rights to my books for film options.

I proceeded to tell God that I just didn’t see why He hadn’t come through for me in this respect yet. I complained that there was no way He’d actually want me to work full-time for someone else’s vision, no matter how noble it might be, and then relegate my vision to nights and weekends. And furthermore, I didn’t think it was right that I should have to sacrifice my health to pursue my passion. No way could he expect me to operate on a few hours of sleep on a regular basis in order to produce books at the rate I want to. It just wasn’t fair!

Well, after my little temper tantrum, God responded the way He typically does; in a still, small voice. A reckoning in my spirit that calmed me and a reminder that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That the pressure I was putting on myself wasn’t His doing and that the gift He gave to me is supposed to be a source of joy, and not stress.commit2

Me being me, I was like, “I hear all that. And thanks, by the way. But still, why haven’t you come through?”

Y’all, His answer hurt my feelings. DISCIPLINE. Or rather, my lack thereof. God reminded me that if I were more disciplined, there would be no need to sacrifice sleep or my so-called health. Maybe if I spent more of my free time actually writing, I would be further along in my entrepreneurial endeavors.

I spent a few more minutes trying to justify my situation. I’m on fitness journey. I’m on a weight loss journey. I’m on a financial freedom journey. I’m on a natural hair journey. I’m on a Netflix journey. I’m on a Diner Dash journey (Flo ain’t gon’ be able to serve those people by herself). I’m on a find-a-suitable-life-partner i.e. husband journey.  You get the point. I find time to do everything that I want to do, but treat writing as though it’s a priority in my life.

Once I picked my face up off the ground after that Holy Spirit breakdown, I stopped making excuses and started giving thanks. Thanks to for Him loving me in spite of me. Thanks to Him for providing me with a day job and the skill set to do it well. Thanks to Him for gently guiding me into His plan for my life. I was grateful that God cared enough about me to listen to my rants, and to show me His ways.

He promised that if I commit the work of my hands to Him, He would bless my efforts. So I’m stepping back from all the social media hoopla I’ve been caught up in, taking the reigns off my floundering ‘marketing plan’ and getting down to the business (and joy!) of writing.

The funny part is that I think that’s all He’s ever expected me to do in the first place. The rest is up to Him. I’m OK with that.

Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:13 ESV

“A gift isn’t a gift, until you give it away.”-Unknown

XoXo,

Faith


What do you do when something you want badly seems to be taking its sweet time arriving? How do you balance your ambition with your circumstances? I told you my current kryptonite (lack of discipline) what’s yours? What’s getting in the way of you walking in your purpose? If you’re already fully walking in your purpose, tell us how you got there.

Author Spotlight: ReUnited-A Gift From God

REUNITED A GIFT FROM GOD
Madlyn E. Marshall
Madlyn Marshall is the Founder of G.R.A.C.E. Financial Ministry Inc. G.R.A C.E is an acronym for “God’s Resources Advancing Christian Evangelism” a biblically based financial management and budgeting ministry. Madlyn is also conducts workshops writing all the material used in the workshops as well as during one on one consulting sessions.
Madlyn has also written several short stories and poems. It is in this genre where Madlyn has the opportunity to share the creative side of her writing. Madlyn has a vivid imagination and a unique way of bringing the stories and characters she writes about to life with descriptive images.
The Window of the Heart series is a collection of small fictional stories that explore the depth of God’s love and His capacity to restore that which was lost, albeit relationships, a renewed sense of oneself, or joy that had been buried under the weight of life’s challenges. In these stories, you will laugh, cry, and paused to think about your own challenges and I hope come away with a renewed spirit and a stronger faith.
In the first of the three book series, ReUnited – A Gift from God; the characters struggle with their faith in God, and the pain from their past. Can they truly forgive? Can they trust God and allow Him to heal their brokenness? Tony and Elaine have the opportunity to answer these questions and more because they are thrown together in an unlikely place, on top of a mountain in Alberta, Canada. There is no place for either of them to go, so they are forced to face their fears and their past lives together.

Faith Simone: Love the mysterious sound of the this book! It promises to be emotional. I can think of a few people I wouldn’t want to be trapped on a snowy mountain with, but that’s a story for another day! 

How I Got Over My Fear of Public Speaking

I have an admitted fear of public speaking. Apparently, I’m not alone as I’ve heard that people fear public speaking more than death. That’s right, people would actually rather head off into the ‘unknown’ rather than talk in front of a room full of people. Go figure.

I started vlogging in an attempt to help me get over my fears and I’m proud to say that it’s actually working! The more I film myself talking, the better I get at articulating my thoughts in a concise manner out loud, instead of relying heavily on my writing skills. I still have a few bad habits (like saying, “But um” or “But anyway” when I’m switching subjects), however I’m fully aware of those crutches and I’m working on them.

Still, video could only take me so far. I had to face my issues head on and actually do it. I was offered the opportunity to be the Mistress of Ceremonies for one of my all time favorite book club’s annual conference. The Renaissance Men’s Book Club here in Memphis have been huge supporters of my book and I was honored when they asked me to facilitate the program with them. I was  also scared out of my mind, but how could I say no to the men who gave me the title for my next book? I owed them! It also helped that I knew it would be an intimate setting: 15 to 20 people tops

The day of the event, I took a deep breath, prayed and decided to just be myself and let things flow. I’m proud to say that I did a pretty good job! At least that’s the feedback I got from the book club, and I’ve been told that I’ll be invited back. All in all, it was a total win.

Conference

I know that public speaking is something I need to continue to get comfortable with as I grow as an author. It’s one of those things that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. For me, 2016 is all about conquering fears, and I’m well on my way to defeating the public speaking monster!

How do you prepare for public speaking situations?What are you most afraid of doing that you know would benefit you if you got over it? 

 

 

 

Conversations with Faith: Online Dating Experiences #2

Dropping by to dish on more of my online dating shenanigans! Sit back, get comfy and have a laugh on me.:)

 So many technical difficulties, but I didn’t let that stop me! I got it together eventually. I’m actually getting a little better at all of this video stuff, and practice makes perfect, so thank y’all for bearing with me.

Tell me about your dating fails. I KNOW you have some!

Confessions of Faith: How I Fell Into (And Got Out Of) The Comparison Trap

The other day, I came across this post by one of my writer friends on Instagram.

Screenshot_2016-04-05-19-04-34

And then, last week, I came across this AMAZING blog on identity by my good friend Simone. Seriously, click the link. You’ll thank me later.

They both spoke to me and reminded me of a time not too long ago when I fell into the horrible habit of comparing myself to others. I thought I had kicked that nasty pesky inclination in high school. But there it was again, rearing its ugly head in my 30’s.

And this time, it wasn’t about anything superficial like my looks or fashion sense. This was intense and deeply personal. This time I was comparing my God-given talent for writing to other authors. This time, the whole situation was personal.

I’m the type of person who is genuinely happy when good things happen to other people. I don’t have a hateful bone in my body. The way I see it, if God did it for them, He will certainly do it for me. So don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t mad at them for succeeding. I was mad at myself for not doing all that I thought I was supposed to be doing.

You see, I kept thinking that having one full length novel published wasn’t good enough. My author buddies were putting out books left and right, and I was still struggling through the first draft of my sophomoric effort. I kept thinking ‘what’s wrong with me?’

When comparison takes root, despondency is not far behind it. I went from wondering how other authors were able to do so much, to beating myself up for not doing enough, to wondering if I’m really cut out for this author thing after all.

That’s when God’s counsel stepped in and told me in no uncertain terms to pump my breaks. Who did I think I was questioning His plan and His pace? How dare I even consider neglecting my gift simply because things weren’t progressing the way I thought they should?

God’s conviction is so much lighter than our conscience’s condemnation. Because His conviction comes with clear instruction and hope for the future.

God's conviction is so much lighter than our conscience's condemnation. Because His conviction comes with clear instruction and

I stopped comparing myself to other writers and started reminding myself of who God says that I am and what He promised me for my future. Long before I ever had the courage to pursue this writing dream, I stood on the promises of God for years. He said that my gift would make room for me and bring me before great men.

He’s been faithful to that, so it’s only right that I remain faithful to Him.

My point is this: don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. You don’t know what it cost them to get where they are and you don’t know how hard it may be for them to keep going. Focus on you and what you were purposed here to do, and then do it with all your might.

I promise that the payoff will far exceed your wildest dreams.

XoXo,

Faith

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. Proverbs 18:16 

Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go. Ecclesiastes 9:10