by Shamine Marie McDowell
“I’m tired of being single?”, “Why is everyone else getting married except me?”, “I’ve been waiting almost five years and that’s long enough!”, “God must have forgotten about me!”, “Why is He (God) treating me like the little redheaded stepchild?”, “They are no better than me so why are they getting married and not me?”, “Wait a minute! You mean to tell me that ‘Sister-Shack-Up” is getting married after playing house for the last umpteen years?”. “God….you’ve got to be kidding me!” These are all the questions and complaints that I would voice; not only to myself but to my friends as well. Month after month I would murmur and complain about my “season” of singleness and although I knew in my heart that it was indeed a season (seasons do change) it felt like a lifetime. However, it wasn’t always like this. I didn’t always complain. I didn’t always express such discontentment and ingratitude.
When I truly decided to embrace my singleness in the Spring of 2008, I had just ended an on again off again relationship that I was in and out of for over a three year period. It was on its way to “nowhere” and I knew it. I also knew that this man was not who God had purposed for me to be in covenant relationship with and I needed to end it….once and for all! I was a mess emotionally as well as spiritually but I had two choices. I could continue to be in this toxic relationship (anything or anyone that draws you away from God and does not cause you to grow spiritually is toxic!) or I could trust God to get me through the initial “withdrawal symptoms” of not being with this person sexually as well as physically and eventually lead me to the path of healing that only He (God) could lead me to.
I must say that it wasn’t that hard to leave initially because I had been through so much and there is a saying that says, “Pain is a great motivator”. Also, we had done the “back and forth” thing oh so many times that the thought of leaving didn’t leave me in a state of fear or uncertainty. I was tired of having sex with someone who couldn’t love me the way that I needed to be loved as well as the type of man that God would have me be connected to. I also was tired of having sex with someone that I wasn’t married to because I don’t know about you, but every time I started having sex I never really had any peace within my heart. I was always thinking about how I was sinning against the Lord and how He was not pleased with what I was doing. I knew this to be true because I am a believer of the word of God and I had read in His word, namely 1Thessalonians 4:3-4 that it is His will for me and those who have given their hearts and lives to Him to abstain from fornication and to live a life pleasing and holy unto Him. So, there was no doubt in my mind that opening my legs and allowing a man who was not my husband to enter me was not a good look! I had tried so many times to “quit” but I always found myself going back to what and who was familiar to me. I would go months without having sex and then wind up right back in bed….again….and…again! So, when I finally got to a place where I was ready to honor the Lord with my body and keep my legs closed, I had peace in my heart as well as joy. I started to really allow God to begin to heal my heart of all the layers of pain, hurt resentment and anger that had been formed over the years and begin to purge me of all the garbage and toxicity that was in heart as well as my body. All the ill feelings of another failed relationship and the low self-esteem that kept me making the same bad choices over and over and over again was slowly being released. I was being purged and really began to cultivate my relationship with Him. It was during this time that He and I became really close and that’s because I allowed Him to. I cut off all communication with my “ex” and I put my focus on my relationship with the One who could not only heal me but change me. I called the cell phone company to have my number changed and deleted his out of my contacts. He lived in walking distance from me and I made sure that I didn’t drive down his block or stalk him late night by parking my car incognito near his home to see if he would walk out of the house with another chick. I cut off any and all communication with this individual. It would have certainly been detrimental if I didn’t. Approximately two years or so prior to ending this relationship I remember one day while at the grocery store the Lord used this woman to give me a warning. It wasn’t a fire and brimstone warning but a warning nonetheless. I was standing in line and I had made a comment about how slow the line was moving. A woman behind had responded to my comment but I don’t remember exactly what it was that she said. She then looked at me and said, “The Lord wants you to let go of something in your life.” I did not know this woman from a can of soda and she didn’t know me. Let me just say that I started breaking down with tears rolling down my face right in the grocery store because I knew exactly what she was referring to. I knew that she was speaking about this man. I knew that God was speaking through her. God will get your attention one way or another. See, God had been dealing with me about this relationship all along. I refused to listen because to be quite honest, I initially didn’t know what I really needed to do to severe this relationship and get this man out of my system. I tried simply walking away but I had done that so many times before and that simply didn’t seem to work.
Needless to say, as time went on I became stronger and stronger. I was truly content with being by myself and I had accepted the fact that I was no longer in a relationship. I had peace about with being single at that time. I was loving my relationship and my time with the Lord so much that nothing else really mattered but something happened to one of my family members back in 2009 that caused my focus to shift. I was in so much pain that instead of running to God, I wanted to be able to run into the arms of a man for comfort. I wanted a literal human being to wrap his arms around me to tell me that everything would be alright. I wanted to feel those triceps and biceps and a deep voice of a man to soothe my soul. I thought that would be the answer and the antidote to my pain. I began to voice my thoughts and what was in my heart. I began to speak…out loud…my desire to have someone in my life. See, I had never been without a relationship. I always had a man and although it had been approximately one year since I ended my last relationship, I simply was longing for what I had always known.
Little by little I began to plant seeds of discontent in my heart by what I was speaking out of my mouth. The word of God says in Matthew 15:18 that the things which proceed out of our mouths come from the heart and these things defile us. It seemed as if all the prayers that I prayed and all those intimate moments with the Lord were somehow fading away. Before I knew it, my focus had shifted. Before I knew it, I was no longer content with the Lover of my soul. He was no longer enough for me. Although I would cry out to God for help in my moments of pain, I really wanted something or shall I say someone in the physical to comfort me and after a while men started to approach me. It wasn’t a lot of men but it was enough of them. I really didn’t need anyone in my life at that moment while the Lord was healing me and working on me but when I began speaking about how I wanted someone in my life, men started to show interest in me….again. For quite some time no one would approach me but I knew that God was protecting me because I did NOT need any distractions and a man…at that time…certainly would have been just that! I wanted the Lord but I also wanted a husband. Not just any kind of husband but the godly kind; a husband of godly integrity and character. Now, I’m not saying that this isn’t possible but it simply was not my time to transition from being single to being a wife because my desire is to be a wife, not someone’s “pillow partner”! As I look back over the last few years, I simply was not ready.
By the time the summer of 2012 rolled in, I was a full-fledged resentful, angry, frustrated, miserable and discontent person. I resented anyone who was getting married and I surely didn’t want to hear about it. The seed of discontentment had now taken root in my heart. It was slowly growing from a seed into a tree and it needed to be cut down at the root. I had lost sight of what I should have kept my focus on which was the Lord and my relationship with Him. I had forgotten that it is HE that makes me content and complete. When I looked up the word discontentment, one of the definitions that the dictionary gave was this: a restless desire or craving for something one does not have. My picture should have been right alongside this definition because this is EXACTLY how I was feeling; restless! I’m sure you can relate my sister. Yes, you! I was dissatisfied to the point where I made a decision to rebel against God. I hadn’t really dated much at all during this time and when I did all I had to do was sneeze, and the “dating” was over. There were a few men whom I allowed into my life very very briefly but I knew that they could not stay. I knew that the Lord had not sent these individuals but that they were counterfeits and distractions. I allowed them into my life on my own accord. I decided that I no longer wanted to “play by the rules” and I would take matters into my own hands….so I thought. I had met someone the previous year and we became acquainted with one another. He was tall, dark and handsome and although I knew I was “playing with fire” so-to-speak, I indulged in the “forbidden fruit”. To make a long story short, I ended up sleeping with this man after 4 ½ years of celibacy. I need to say that that was a major unwise move that I made and after it was all said and done and the smoke cleared, I was angrier, more resentful and more frustrated. Yes, it was my choice and the feelings that I was already feeling before I slept with this man was now magnified times one hundred! I felt like a failure. I felt like I had failed God and I let down those around me who knew I was living a life of abstaining from sex. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even enjoy it. No…I did not enjoy having sex with this person. This is something else I blamed God for. Go figure! I said, “Wow Lord, you wouldn’t even allow me to enjoy it. What a waste of my time!” That’s right….He did not allow me to enjoy the sin I was indulging in. He’s the one that we sin against when we do sin anyway. I acted out all because of discontentment and not guarding my heart. The bible tells us to guard our hearts because out of it flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23) and this is what I neglected to do.
I need to admit that I was angry with God. Yes, I misdirected my anger and resentment toward Him. I felt like He was the one that was in control of everything and if He had given me what I desired, what “I” wanted when “I” wanted it then none of this would have happened. Yes…I will admit that I was acting very immature during this time. I was like a little girl who didn’t get what she wanted from her Daddy so she threw a tantrum and fell out because she didn’t get her way but deep down inside, I didn’t want to feel this way toward God. He had done so much for me and He had never let me down in the past. I wanted to release all of the frustration and “mess” that was in my heart but I just didn’t know how. I had prayed and asked God to help me and at first it seemed as if He didn’t want to. I know that was my silly thinking but one day…..one day… He showed up on the scene…..unexpectedly…..on a Friday afternoon and it is a day that I will never forget. God delivered me from all the anger, resentment and frustration that I had in my heart right in the middle of my bedroom floor. I was on the phone with a friend and all of a sudden I could literally feel His presence. We had been talking about Him and lifting Him up and His presence was so strong that I had to hang up the phone. He literally engulfed me with His presence and before I knew it, I was on my knees with my face to the floor worshipping Him. This encounter was what I needed however I didn’t know it. It was because of Him and His presence that caused me to refocus and to shift my thinking since I had truly lost sight of the “bigger picture” which was the promises that He had made to me some year’s earlier concerning marriage that have not come to past…yet! I lost sight of the fact that He is not a liar and that He is a Promise Keeper! I had also lost faith in God but I’m grateful that He has restored my faith! I can honestly say that my “view” is no longer obscured. I can “see” once again. I am content with where I am right now and while I wait….. without complaining, I will make sure that I do whatever is necessary in order to keep my “vision” clear and in focus! I’m so grateful that God extended and continues to extend His grace and mercy to me. Even in my state of discontentment, He was still loving me and still drawing me to Him. Now that’s LOVE!
To my sister who happens to be reading this, I will say this: God has not forgotten you. If you’ve lost focus, ask Him to get you back on track. If you’re feeling discontent, know that your contentment is in God….and nothing else! Just know that discontentment will cause you to make unhealthy choices based on how you feel. If you desire a mate or anything else for that matter and it is in line with the will of God for your life, please know that God will surely present it to you in HIS time! Look to Him for whatever you are in need of and KNOW that He will supply your every need. If you haven’t already, begin to guard your heart. This is crucial! You don’t need to let those negative seeds take root in. It’s not a pretty sight. Remember God truly does love you…and me….and that will never change! Stay blessed and Stay Up!
Shamine is an aspiring author, mother and full-time student at Rutgers University where she is pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Social Work. She also serves as an Executive Board Member of the Love Better Institute ministry where she oversees several state chapters. She loves candy apples and fashion, hates injustices and the harsh mistreatment of children and hopes to one day visit the crystal blue waters of Bora Bora. She is currently in the process of writing her first book titled: My Journey: From Perverseness to Purity. She hopes that every woman who opens the pages of her book will be empowered, set free from the bondage of sexual sins, and begin to practice a renewed way of thinking. She wholeheartedly believes that God wants every woman to know their own worth and recognize that their worth is in Him, not what’s between their legs! Shamine is currently single and looks forward to the day when she becomes a “Mrs.” but until then, she’ll be writing her book and living life joyfully! You can find Shamine hanging out at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram when she’s in between classes and not writing papers!
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