Musings about True Intimacy

(Studying the Woman at the Well)

If being in one too many relationships makes one a little tarnished, being divorced five times would make the infamous woman at the well just plain rusted. . .I guess. . . .at least from a societal viewpoint. I can imagine that within some psychological theory, it could be argued that the woman at the well was looking for her prince, her soul mate when she met her Savior. She didn’t know it, but Jesus did. Was there someone in this woman’s life who could have told her that she had an issue . . .that extended her taste in men? Apparently not. She was headed down the fast lane to destination husband number six, and he wasn’t looking too good. She was a Christian waiting to happen.  

Jesus arrived at the well to converse with her, thwarting her perspective of devotion and worship, discrediting societal norms, and momentarily removing tension between the sexes that had been brewing for many generations. When we fall into situations we don’t understand, we often conjure up foolish assumptions. In addition, when we fail to embrace God’s definition of unconditional love and grace, we flow back into worldly ideals that mock God’s plan for relationships.

The story of the woman at the well is one of my favorite of all biblical stories. Some scholars and ministers have stated that this conversation was the longest recorded conversation Jesus had with anyone. It touches me because in the end, nearly an entire town believed in Jesus because of her encounter with Him. 

Some of us have a bad reputation in the eyes of others, and some of us have a bad reputation only in our own eyes. It’s a shame that either one of those perspectives can weigh us down and prevent us from sharing our story. 

Shame can shut us up and keep us silently tormented by the enemy’s lies. . .especially the huge one that no one wants to hear what we have to say. . .that we should keep our testimonies to ourselves. It’s beautiful that despite her past, she told people about Jesus anyway. She didn’t feel she wasn’t good enough to share what Jesus had done for her personally. . .if only for a moment, she was moved.

 The purpose of this post is to help boost any person who feels too ashamed to tell his/her personal testimony. First, Jesus died for you not to carry that shame, He carried it for  you to the Cross. Go ahead and be free and share your personal testimony about Him with others. There is not one of us who doesn’t have something we hate about our past, something we’re ashamed of. Pray about it, and begin to share whatever God places on your heart to share. You don’t know who will benefit from your testimony. 

Biblical Meditation that Will Change Your Life!

Emotional/Mental Healing Scriptures 

All Bible references are from The Amplified Bible

Is there something in your past or present that is causing problems with your emotions or thoughts? If we’re honest, all of us would admit there are times when we struggle with wrong thoughts and the unhealthy emotions they create. Sometimes this can even lead to severe depression or other serious ongoing conditions that keep us from being emotionally and mentally whole. 

I’ve experienced issues like these in my own life as a result of abusive, toxic relationships. But the power of God’s love and His words have healed so many emotional wounds within me. . .and I just felt a leading to share these with you. I want you to stop whatever you are doing and allow these scriptures to really sink in…read them out loud as part of your personal meditation/prayer time. 🙏🏽 I pray that God heals your emotional wounds today. ❤🙌🏽

1 Peter 5:7 

Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 

Psalm 147:3 

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows]. 

Philippians 4:6-7 

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

Psalm 42:5 

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. 

Psalm 30:11 

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness. 

Psalm 34:18 

The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.

Psalm 119:50 

This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that Your word has revived me and given me life. 

Deuteronomy 31:6 

Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you. 

2 Timothy 1:7 

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 

Ephesians 4:23-24 

And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. 

Isaiah 26:3 

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. 

Confession for emotional/mental healing: “I have peace, power, love and a calm and well-balanced mind because I trust God. I don’t worry about anything, instead, I pray about everything and God blesses me by giving me His answers, His peace.”

Herbal tea and Biblical Meditation time. . .

I had a comforting and enlightening conversation with a Christian counselor the other day. She gently gave me a rebuke for being impatient with someone I loved. It helped me to see the value in having other Believers in my circle. They help me renew my mind when my thoughts are exasperated by what’s going on around me.

They instantly become God’s helpers in helping me see something. . .  He’s been trying to help me understand. They aid Him in the process of restoring my soul and loving people the way He wants me to. . .not the way I choose to. . . I have to concede after the truth is spoken so clearly and diligently.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Romans 12:2 AMPC
https://bible.com/bible/8/rom.12.2.AMPC

Mind renewal is priceless. . .so life changing. We have to fight the urge to resist changing our thoughts,  making them align with God-ordained purposes and processes.

In all the craziness going on right now, it’s so easy to allow the enemy to distract me and completely deter me from God’s beautiful will and purpose for me. It’s difficult to do anything productive while steeped in irritation, frustration, hurt or anger. . . today I’m meditating on ways He helps me to renew my mind and heart (even in difficult times) . . .and flow in the healing power only He can give. Selah.❤

Gaining a New Perspective on Spiritual Self-care

 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”

Jeremiah 29:11, AMPC

After a tiring move across five states, a social media hiatus, and an intense home organization period. . .I am finally settling into a new morning meditation and prayer routine on a more consistent basis. I hope you all are well out there on/in this blogosphere. Lol! I don’t know about you. . . but I need biblical inspiration like never before during these crazy times. . . It’s actually part of my self-care routine to wake up early and pray and meditate on a particular scripture God is speaking to my heart. This morning, I am meditating on my life’s verse God gave me many, many years ago. . . during a difficult time in which I lacked purpose and focus. He shifted my heart and mind back to Him! I am so thankful for that! Now I am sensing another great shift. I’m simultaneously reminded that a promise from God never gets old or outdated. It’s forever relevant. His plans for me are always good, never evil. He gives me hope and a future. Selah. #keepinghopealive #everywhereIgo

Discovering Rest on a Deeper Level

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30, NIV

When I find my heart racing, I’m sweating, stressing out, and, immediately I understand that I have entered a state of being that is opposite of Jesus’s rest described in the scriptures above. I have taken on a yoke that is too heavy for me. I have found agitation, fear and worry for my soul. One of the things I have to keep in the forefront of my mind is that the Lord has not given me a spirit of chaos or fear. . . no matter what is going on around me. He’s always given me a place to rest my soul when I meditate on Him and who He is.

We’re inundated with so much on the internet and various media outlets in reference to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and other disastrous circumstances happening around us. We can begin to feel overwhelmed as if there is no hope left in this world. These things can drain even the strongest of us, and depression can start to creep in. In fact, a single chaotic situation can bring us into a stressful state, so much so that we’re tense for hours even after we’ve calmed down a bit. Stress has negative effects on the body, mind, and spirit. 

For instance, I was dealing with a stressful situation the other day. A debt that I paid off kept showing up on my account. I called the company, spoke with the customer service department, and asked the representative to check the account, and she gave me various balances. She couldn’t even decipher which one was correct. After hours on the phone trying to correct the issue, I found myself so stressed out, I couldn’t calm down. I was dealing with so many emotions all at once; shock, anger, anxiety, frustration, and irritation.

I realized that I was bombarded by emotions that were simultaneously causing my stress level to climb and climb. My body was getting into fight or flight mode quickly. Once I started to feel a headache coming on, I knew I had to get myself under control. Here are a few things I did to help myself calm down and de-stress sooner rather than later:  

  1. I prayed! Immediately, I prayed over my body and mind despite the situation. 
  2. I called an encouraging prayer partner for help in gaining perspective.
  3. I listened to worship music and joined in with singing Word-based songs that helped me to declare God’s promises over my life.
  4. I had to remember to take care of myself. For example, I ate a healthy meal, exercised, took a warm bath, made some herbal tea, and watched something funny on TV. 
  5. Later I prayed again then went to bed early. (The next day, the issue was resolved completely). 

During times of stress, it is so important to get alone in a place where you can hear from God. It’s also important to allow Him to fill you with His Love and Grace. I began to search for scriptures and ways to create an environment that fostered a soothing, peaceful atmosphere in which the presence of God could be recognized and appreciated. 

I’ll leave you with this little nugget of encouragement. Remember to meditate on the Word of God. . . and pray at all times. Always remember to pray despite the situation.  Below are some of my favorite scriptures I’m meditating on currently that have helped me to destress. 

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service].

Psalm 91:9-11, AMPC

So do not fear, for I am with you;

     do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

     I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10, NIV

Then Jesus came close to them and said, “All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.”

Matthew 28:18-20, TPT

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope this helps! Feel free to give feedback on any subject you would like for me to research and cover. Thanks again, and have a blessed (not stressed) day!

How I Cultivate a Deeper Relationship with God

Original Intimacy (Part 2)

For many years, I’ve simply viewed intimacy as merely a close friend. It’s a familiarity in which a person knows your secrets. He knows where you were born or maybe how you were born. . . the particular hospital, possible complications and so forth. He knows your weird idiosyncrasies and those things no one else would even want to know. He knows what you love and what you hate, what triggers a bad mood or habit. He knows how to boost your positive qualities and help minimize the bad ones. We could assume that this person is acquainted with all of your ways. Although, this person knows you very well, his knowledge of you pales in comparison to God’s knowledge of you. 

The person closest to you could never know you better than the one who watched you as you were formed in your mother’s womb, knowing your life before you’ve had a chance to live it. This infinite wisdom is too much for us to understand; being known so intricately and intimately. It’s both fearful and wonderful to fully accept a love and acceptance, we have no frame of reference for. 

It makes me think of Psalm 139:4, AMPC, in which David said, “. . .for You are fearful and wonderful.”

I remember a low point in my life in which I fell into a deep depression. I felt purposeless and worthless; I couldn’t figure out the point of my existing. During that time, God began to minister to me using Psalm 139. In Psalm 139:1-18, AMPC, David spoke about how God knows intimately his own thoughts and words, even the words he had yet to speak. 

O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. You know my downsitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar off. You sift and search out my path and my lying down, and You are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue [still unuttered], but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have beset me and shut me in—behind and before, and You have laid Your hand upon me. Your [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high above me, I cannot reach it. Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me and the night shall be [the only] light about me, even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.

Jesus says in Luke 12:6-7, AMPC, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.”

We become truly whole when we cultivate an intimate relationship with God. To cultivate our intimacy with Him, we must fully accept the fact that we are infinitely, intentionally and intimately known by the Creator of the universe. He wants to establish this original intimate relationship with us throughout our years here on this earth.  

James 4:5-6, AMPC, states:

Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love? But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).

Yielding ourselves to His “yearning” is humble. When we welcome God into our hearts, our lives, our situations. . .it satisfies Him. . . the way we humble ourselves, our whole lives, and make our problems bow to the awe and wonder of Him.

When we’re prideful, stubborn, and refusing to yield to Him, a good counselor or spiritual advisor can help us to see what we’re doing so we can again allow Him to begin to deal with us. . . as only He can. 

We need to understand that sometimes we need help and God will send people in our lives to help us. Can we truly continue in an intimate relationship with God, with all the distractions around us today? I believe we can, that is, when we’re conscious of Him, His care, His love, and all the different, mysterious ways in which He wants to teach and guide us through life. 

Original Intimacy (Part 1)

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, the word “intimate” means marked by a warm friendship developed through long association.  I was researching the word intimate to discover a deeper meaning. The synonyms alone gave hope to my quest as I read them. . .“close,” “familiar,” “personal” . . .I began to think of how I’ve always yearned for intimacy in close relationships, especially within my relationship with God. However, I haven’t always been open to do whatever was required to keep that intimacy strong. 

My relationship with God, which of course, is my most important relationship, is mysterious in its inner workings and often requires more inner work than I am willing to do. I often find a way to escape His promptings, His guiding me toward a dreaded change. He gently nudges me, letting me know He’s there, and ready to further mold me into the person He created me to be. For example, at times, these promptings occur during a crisis situation. During these times of trouble, He sends someone to minister to me from a familiar passage that is so significant to my heart, and has been with me through every trial. One of these passages is Psalm 23, KJV

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I’ve written, as a ministry for more than a decade, and I’ve often been given assignments that address the very problems I’m dealing with at the time. Thereby, making my actual work assignments, actual life assignments. Herein, I’m prompted to pass whatever test God is sending my way because of the Word I’m writing.

 Yes, He speaks to me in the most wonderful, poetic ways . . . even through my work. He teaches me lessons I could only learn from Him. Lessons that seem customized to my specific character. . .who I am at the core. Often when I tell someone else about the unique ways in which He teaches me, he or she doesn’t understand. Why then would I run from intimacy with Him? At times, I have what I deem “spiritual laziness,” which means I don’t want to change from the inside out. He’s constantly bringing out the best in me but shamefully. . .at times,  I’d rather stay the same than face the truth about something I need to work on. 

He speaks to me in dreams as well. My dreams are vivid. I often have dreams or visions that I can’t get out of my head. After a while of grappling with its possible meaning, I start asking Him, “God I know you are trying to tell me something here. . .what are you saying to me? What is the warning? What do you want me to do?” 

I’ve had visions and dreams I couldn’t figure out for years! Then all of a sudden, one day, the meaning drops upon me in the most unconventional ways. For example, it may spontaneously work itself out in my mind during a conversation that has nothing to do with the subject or I’m at a red light listening to one of my favorite songs and it comes to me at once. I always pray at that moment, “Okay, God why did it take so long for me to figure the meaning of my dream?” But God works in such mysterious ways. . .it’s an unusual occurrence just between us, and I welcome it. This is what I call “original intimacy.” 

Discovering Your Passion: What Moves You? (Part 3)

*revised classic blog series

Another key to discovering your passion is to pay attention to those things that ignite your zeal. What gets you going? Watch for clues. A story on the news may spark your attention, a sermon at church may stir you up to do something, even a conversation with a friend may reveal to you that you have a deep concern or frustration about something. That “something” may just be the clue you need to help you discover your true, primary passion in life.  

It is also important to develop the talents you have.  There’s a quote by Henry Hartman that says, “Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.” Think about how you can make a difference in the lives of others by using the natural gifts you possess. In other words, put your talents to good use. If you don’t know how to develop your talents, do extensive research on them. Go back to school or volunteer for someone who is already successful in what you want to do. Remember to continue to seek God throughout this process, and keep a journal about your experiences. 

Also, strive to be the very best at whatever you choose to pursue.   

I read an article in Black Enterprise Magazine that gave an account of how Tiger Woods finished an exhausting 18 holes one day and returned home only to review tapes until 5 the next morning. When he saw something he needed to work on, he called his swing coach and said, “Let’s work on this.” He takes 1,000 swings a day to get to his peak performance. 

When I read this, I thought about how funny it is that many people give up on their dreams because something they’ve pursued or developed as a talent didn’t turn out as flawless as they had planned—at first. Many times people don’t realize how much hard work, patience, diligence, and discipline it takes to be successful.  

Begin researching, interviewing, and soul searching to discover what you can absolutely give 110 percent to. I strongly believe that when you set out to pursue your passions, develop your natural talents, increase your faith, and proceed to work with diligence and excellence, nothing will be able to stop you from reaching your goals and discovering your purpose. 

Discovering Your Passion: What Moves You? (Part 2)

*revised classic blog series

Even if you discover what you are truly passionate about, you will not know how to direct it (according to His plan for you) if you do not get God involved in your plans. Proverbs 16:3 in the Amplified Bible says, “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” God wants you to succeed in discovering His overall plan for your life. He is not trying to hide anything from you, but this step is the most important because without Him success is limited to merely a worldly perspective. 

Therefore get focused and start taking better care of yourself— physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You cannot hear Him when you are stressed out, deprived of nutrients, worried, and mentally cluttered. 

Part of your self-care program should include organization. Get your life in order. How can you even hear your own thoughts when there is clutter all around you? You can clear out the junk in your mind and spirit by journaling. Clear out the junk in your home by taking one step at a time. Focus on one area of your home one day then another area the next day.  

Also be sure to do whatever you need to in order to nurture your spirit. Get up early in the morning to pray and seek God through Bible reading and meditation. The time you give yourself to connect spiritually is vital to your overall peace in life. Your peace will open the door to those things that ignite your passion.

Readers’ note: See new topics on everything from spiritual renewal to everyday practical tips here each week on NaturallyMs.Tawanda.live.