Sunday, December 25, 2016

God Has to be Your Husband First (Testimony Time)




Before I can share this testimony with you, I have to give you a little background so you can better appreciate this story. It may not seem like much to some of you, but for me, this was a huge thing.

If you've followed my story, you know that I've been married... twice. I got married the first time when I was around 24 years old and fresh out of the world. I'd just joined church when I met my ex two years prior to us getting married (when I was 22), and it goes without saying that having been in sin for 22 years, I wasn't exactly ready to be married or mature enough to pick a life's mate. We ended up living together for two years before we got officially married. That marriage lasted seven years before it ended in divorce. Something he said to me right before we broke up changed my mind entirely. We had just started buying a house and we had been struggling to pay for it using both of our incomes. He was the bread-winner; he made two times more than I did so I depended on him. While we were arguing, he said to me, "You're going to lose your house, your car... everything! Because I'm not paying for anything! You better figure out what you're gonna do." I was devastated. On top of knowing that we were pretty much breaking up at that moment, I had the extra weight of knowing that I was gonna lose my house. I couldn't afford it on my own ... especially with the  mindset that I had. I was in what I thought to be my dream house (settlement), meaning that I didn't think I'd ever be able to afford the house of my dreams because it is massive. Nevertheless, the 3500 square foot home that we were buying was huge; it was big enough. I'd settled for it thinking that I'd just have to do without my dream backyard, swimming pool, and in-house gym ... and I was okay with that. After all, I had a beautiful home and I was truly thankful for it.

After my ex told me that he wasn't going to help me with the house, I remember sitting on the phone and thinking, "I will never do this to myself again. I will never depend on a man for anything. If I can't afford to pay for it by myself, we won't have it." I was serious too. My mind had changed in an instant. I'd grown up with the belief that a man was supposed to support and provide for his family. His wife, of course, was a help-meet so she needed to work and help out as much as she could. For this reason, I didn't take the idea of going to college seriously. I skipped out on college because I was working at a retail store full time and didn't want to cut my already low wages. That was my mindset back then, but all of a sudden, I was going through a paradigm shift. I suddenly realized that my line of reasoning was foolish and I silently broke up with that mindset before we hung up the phone.

After we broke up, I started working towards my own business. I didn't go to college, but I did start building a website. It was a  hip-hop website promoting artists and models, but I closed that site down a year later after the Lord rebuked me. I was obviously still a babe in Christ ... or more-so a rebellious teenager in the Lord. I met my second husband while going through a divorce from my first husband. I was close to a year into the divorce when I'd met my second ex, and because I was young in the faith and dealing with a generational strongman, I didn't see anything wrong with what I was doing. At that time, I reasoned this way ... it couldn't be too wrong if my intentions were noble. How could short-term sin be wrong if my intentions were to make things right and eventually end up married for the long haul? For some reason, I thought I was doing God a favor. I hate to admit it now, but when I recall my line of thinking, I can honestly say that I thought that I'd sin my way into the will of God. I didn't realize that you cannot sin your way into a blessing. After my divorce was finalized, I hurried up and married my unofficial fiance. I was excited. He wasn't an American man and I tried to reason with myself that the problem was with Americans. In my hour of blindness, he appeared to be my hero ... only his cape was a Cameroonian flag.

My second husband wasn't saved, even though he said his family was Catholic. Like the first time, I reasoned with myself that he was halfway in the church ... all he needed was a loving nudge in the right direction. He just needed to know the truth; that's all. I said in my heart, "My pastor is super anointed. There's no way that he (my ex) can go to my church, sit under him and not get saved." (If I could buy a time machine, I'd go back in time and kick my own butt.) Of course, those loving nudges turned into gentle shoves. When the nudges and the shoves failed, my pushing became the equivalent of me being behind the wheel of an emotional bus, trying to drive him into the arms of God. I told myself that if he only got saved, he'd be a better husband. I didn't realize that he wasn't the problem; I was. How so? I was repeating a pattern. I wasn't obeying God when it came to men; I was simply looking for a shortcut to get what I wanted, all the while, trying to find a way to give God what He required. I didn't realize that I had to completely die to myself.

In less than a year of being married, I began to mature in the Lord. After all, I kept reading my Bible daily, praying daily and I didn't have a religious relationship with God anymore. It became more and more intimate. That's when God did something that I thought was cruel at that time. He opened my eyes. What does this mean? I suddenly became aware of my sins, my errors and my former attempts to manipulate the Word. I suddenly started loving God with my whole heart and I became aware of His love for me. I suddenly became content and the curse was broken right there ... while I sat in my living room. Suddenly, I didn't need a man. I realized my own value and that changed me from needing a man to wanting my God-assigned husband. I was suddenly aware of my purpose. I also became aware of the fact that not only was I unequally yoked, but my marriage wasn't going to work. Now, don't get me wrong ... some marriages can work if the believer applies Kingdom principles and the unbeliever does not depart when those principles are applied consistently. Nevertheless, most unequally yoked marriages will end in divorce because the unbeliever married the sinful, uncrucified nature of the believer, but as the believer matures in Christ, the unbeliever will lose more and more ground. You see, the flesh nature is the ground that supports the relationship between an unbeliever and a believer; it's what holds them up and supports their relationship. But the more the believer's flesh dies, the less the unbeliever will be able to "stand" them. The house will suddenly become divided whereas the believer is attempting to serve God, but the unbeliever is fighting to regain ground. The unbeliever will likely not be attracted to the new creature in Christ and this is where a lot of arguments will begin to come in. The believer has to fully submit himself or herself to God in an attempt to win the unbeliever, but this is not as easy as it seems. The reality is ... the believer will likely feel jolted because the believer married the unbeliever's potential, but not his or her reality. So what happens here is ... you have the unbeliever who has, in a sense, lost his wife and the believer who is suddenly made aware of the fact that the potential man and the actual man are not one and the same. This means that hope suddenly dissipates and the believer is now left to face the actual person that he or she married. The believer isn't attracted to the real state of the unbeliever, so paying the price (dying to self and winning the unbeliever with our behavior) for something you don't want seems unreasonable (to our flesh nature). During that marriage, God began to use me to minister to single women because I was fully aware of where I'd gone wrong; plus, I'd renounced the generational curse of not being able to live without a man. I told God while I was married that if He delivered me from that marriage, I would never fornicate again or be unequally yoked. Nevertheless, if He made me stay in that marriage, I committed to Him that I'd serve Him fully all the days of my life. I'd submit to the man I was married to and I committed to letting God use me all the more.

I did hold true to my confession of not depending on a man anymore. When I was married the second time, I started a new business, designing Seals and Logos for ministries and eventually, that business began to grow. I refused to depend on my ex for provision, even though he was the breadwinner and he paid the majority of the bills. God kept expanding my company and before long, I was saving money to buy myself a new car ... or that's what I thought. God had me putting that money to the side because He knew that the marriage was not going to last. After five years of marriage, my ex and I decided to call it quits. By this time, I was no longer a babe in Christ. I can honestly say that God did a quick work in me. The flesh that led me into that marriage had to completely die before God sprung me out of that marriage. The woman my ex had married was not the same woman he divorced. He married a sinful, prideful girl who thought she needed a man to complete herself. The woman he divorced was a new creature in Christ who understood her value and was more than determined to please the Lord. I realized the value of peace.

While my ex and I were divorcing, the Lord began to speak to me all the more. He took me through an in-house deliverance from unforgiveness. After that, He used me to win my ex's soul for the Lord. When he came to my house to drop off a package one day, I talked with him about Christ and he confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior while sitting on my couch. We then apologized to each other for not being who the other person needed. With tears in his eyes, my ex grabbed my hands and told me that I was a good woman and to not let the divorce sour me. He apologized for everything and then he left. We divorced on a friendly tone and even though he was the breadwinner, I didn't go after him for alimony. We agreed to him paying $400 a month for a year to catch up with his half of the bills and after that, he didn't have to give me anything. I wanted to end that marriage the right way because I was no longer a babe in Christ, plus, I'd ended my first marriage the wrong way. I wanted God to be pleased with me. I wanted to finally do things the right way.

God said something to me one day while I was at the store that sticks with me to this day (I don't remember what I was about to purchase). Whatever it was that I was gonna purchase, I was going back and forth with myself about it. Obviously, the item was pretty pricey. While standing there, the Lord said to me, "Shop by faith and not by sight." He went on to say, "Don't you ever treat me like a man can take better care of you than I can." Needless to say, I purchased whatever it was that I was hesitating on buying and I changed my attitude whenever I went to the store.  I stopped looking at my bank account and I started simply trusting God. I bought what I wanted when I wanted it, but here's the thing ... my heart had changed, so I wasn't a frivolous spender anymore. God had truly changed me into a good steward. Suddenly, I only wanted to buy things for my house, business and ministry ... but mostly for my ministry.

I can honestly say that God has taken far better care of me than any man has ever done. When I look around and see how He's blessed me, I can't help but to find myself in awe of Him. I didn't go to college; God taught me everything that I know. I'm just a woman who God decided to use, even though my past and the folks who stare at it shout that I am not qualified to be used by Him. Nevertheless, God decided to qualify me.

Testimony Time

Sure, the first part is a testimony on its own, but many of you have read that testimony before. I just needed to reshare it for those of you who don't know my testimony; that way, you can understand the extension of that testimony that I'm about to share. After all, a testimony is always on-going, unless you get out of God's will.

As you know, I've come from behind the camera and started recording video messages these days. That was a challenge in itself because I believed that a minister should be heard and not seen. Of course, God dealt with me and helped me to understand that sometimes, people need to see that you're a real person. After I decided to come from behind the camera, I decided that I'd start using Periscope to record videos.

After dealing with Periscope's narrow videos and my phone's inability to record videos over 15-20 minutes, I decided to invest in a point and shoot camera with video capabilities. Being a Designer, I tend to notice quality the most and I don't like PASSIONATELY DETEST low-budget designs, be they graphic or video. Anyhow, I purchased a camera from Walmart after reading a few reviews. When I got it home, I did a test video and the video quality was awful. It was grainy and it looked low budget, so I returned it to Walmart. I decided to invest in another camera I'd found online after reading a few reviews and checking out a few videos created by people who had that camera. That camera was $279. I took it with me to a conference and when I started recording, I saw how "fizzy" the video looked, so I stopped recording. I went home and returned it to Amazon as well. In the meantime, I had my eyes on the Canon G7x which costs $584. Of course, I did not want to shell out that kinda money for a camera, but the video quality was exactly what I wanted. It spoke to the spirit of excellence that God has placed within me. 

I found a refurbished G7x online for $399 so I'd planned to get that one, but God had other plans. When I went back to Canon's website to get it, it was sold out. By that time, I was absolutely, unequivocally in love with that camera. Not having it was no longer an option (God knew what He was doing). I kept watching videos created by the camera, all the while, clutching my purse straps because 600 bucks for a point and shoot was over-the-top. I said in my heart..."I'll just host a Seal and Logo sale and use that money," but that didn't happen. God kept me too busy because He knew what He was doing. I kept looking at cheaper camera videos, but I knew in my heart that if I purchased them, I'd only return them or I'd be in the market for a G7x within a year. 

Then it happened. I came across a video for the G7x Mark II (the upgraded version). I fell instantly in love with that camera. How could I even consider looking at another point and shoot camera after that? And why did I HAVE to go and look at something more pricey than the Mark I when I was already struggling with the Mark I's price? The price of the Mark II was $679 ... a little over a hundred more than the Mark I. I cringed, but after looking at videos from that camera, every other camera's video I watched looked grainy; some of them even looked dingy. At first, I didn't realize that it was the Lord shifting me because I was in a heated battle with reason. After all, when I launched Anointed Fire Magazine back in 2011, the Lord specifically told me to do all things in excellence and I've followed His instructions with every fiber of my being.

The Lord began to deal with me again. He told me to get the Mark II. I questioned whether or not I was hearing from Him. I knew it was Him, but the voice of reason wouldn't stop talking either. Would I use the camera that much to justify spending that kind of money for it? Did the videos have to be that crisp? Couldn't the people of God just settle for seeing me through the graininess? I kept going back to the Mark II and I started to feel frustrated because I knew I was gonna get it, but man ... seven hundred bucks for a point and shoot? Why can't I just pick up my voice recorder and go back to being out of sight? I even thought about a negative review I'd gotten from a viewer who was upset that I was trying to charge $2.99 (the decimal is in the right place) for a three hour video I'd uploaded. Why was I trying to shell out seven hundred bucks when folks like her think it is wicked of me to charge three bucks for what could best be described as an audiobook? A three hour one that took me three hours to edit at that.

I decided to add the camera to my shopping cart and I wanted to push the big yellow button that read, "Place Your Order," but the voice of reason kept getting louder and louder.  I would go to bed every night, leaving the order page open so I could come back the next day and go at it again. After staring at the camera and watching vlogging videos for an hour or more everyday, I'd spend another hour looking for cheaper alternatives. That's when the Lord reminded me of what He'd said, "Don't you ever treat me like a man can take better care of you than I can." What did that mean? When I was married, I bought whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted because I felt like my then hubby would have my back. We had a two-income home so I could lean to whatever man I had at any given time if I decided to spend big. Now, that I'm single, I can't walk around treating God like He's not able to do for me what my exes once did. Suddenly, God said something that made me smile. He said to me, "I am getting that camera for you." I heard Him loud and clear this time. I got excited and began to thank the Lord. I went back to my computer and I ignored the voice of reason. I had to understand that reason was nothing but doubt disguising itself as common sense. Finally, I obeyed God and I PRESSED THE BUTTON. I pressed it hard too. That's when I saw those words: Your purchase has been completed. I breathed a sigh of relief and the haunting fears lifted because I'd obeyed God. That's when I remembered how God has always done with me. He'll tell me to get something and once I get it, He then replenishes the money immediately. He never fails at it.

I walked away from my computer and started cleaning up my house. I was shocked and excited at the same time. "Mommy pressed the button," I jokingly said to Milo (my dog) as he twisted his head trying to figure out if I'd lost my mind. When I went back to my computer, I was surprised to see orders coming in and seeds being sown into my ministry. Normally, the Christmas season is the slowest for my business because people tend to buy tangible gifts for one another, but I design graphics. Nevertheless, the orders were coming in all of a sudden and I saw a few emails from Paypal stating that I'd received donations. I had to get out of my seat and go talk with the Lord. I wanted to praise Him. I needed to praise Him. I was (and still am) in awe of Him.

This message is to encourage single men and women ... especially single women because many of us were taught by our parents or society to depend on men. God's got you if you'll only trust Him. He replaced the majority of what I spent in a matter of minutes! Why? Because I didn't treat Him like He wasn't able to do what He said He would do. Sure, I had my bout with doubt, but I didn't give in. I prayed and asked the Lord to let me know which camera He wanted me to get. I thought about a DSLR camera my ex bought me when we were married. Even though he wasn't saved at the time, he said, "God told me to get that camera for you! He told me to get it for you!" He was truly excited when he shouted those words, but now that I've chosen to fully surrender to God, God doesn't have to do anything for me through a man. He did it direct and that's what trusting God looks like. That's what makes the Lord happy.

Finally, God took me to this scripture and I will forever hold it in my heart: "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called" (Isaiah 54:5 ESV).

Sometimes, folks wonder why I go so hard for Him, but it's only because He went even harder for me ... and not just with material things . I can honestly live without most of them (I need food, shelter and clothes), but I love that He loves me so much that He took a hell-bound, dead-weight sinner and saved her. He then lifted her up, cleaned her up and decided to use her. I was truly operating under a generational curse and there were many times when I could have lost my life, but God!!! The enemy truly tried to take me out of this earth, but the grace of God kept me even in my hours of darkness. He saved me and now, He demonstrates His love for me in many ways. He truly treats me like a wife. He protects me, provides for me, corrects me and He said that He will never leave nor forsake me OR you! There will be no separation or divorce between me and my God.

The camera may not be a big deal for some, but for me, it's HUGE because of where I've been. Honestly, the camera and it's worth are not the heart of this message. It's the fact that He took a woman who completely depended on men and He's proved Himself to be my husband. Does this mean that I will never remarry? Yes. I won't re-marry; I will simply get married for the first time to my God-appointed husband when God sends him. The word "re" is short for repeat or return and I'm not repeating my former sins nor will I return to the vomit that God has delivered me from. 

No more fornication for this girl. Honestly, a man can't even kiss me until the Pastor says, "You can now kiss the bride." Any man who's threatened to fornicate with me got the boot before he could finish his statement. I take my walk seriously now. I refuse to let anyone come between me and my God. I won't be unequally yoked with an unbeliever and I no longer think a loving nudge will push a sinner who loves his sin into salvation. If he's not saved and old enough to cover me, God didn't send him so I will return him to his sender pronto! I now know that the way to everlasting life is a straight and narrow path; it's not broad and full of alternative routes. Jesus Christ is the way. He is straight-forth and there is no other way. I have to serve Him His way and not my own. Everlasting life is an extension of the life we are living now, so when we pass away, we'll simply reach our destination.

Trust Him and watch Him do for you what He's done and continues to do for me. He truly treats me like royalty and that's because He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. I am my Father's daughter. I am no longer under the curse! I am a LIVING witness that God can deliver the unreachable and He can teach the unteachable! I am a manifestation of deliverance in full swing and the devil can't take that away from me!

By the way, I'm definitely looking forward to recording new crisp videos for y'all. You won't have to use your faith to see my face 😏.

Oh and by the way... don't listen to the voice of reason when it contends with your faith.

6 comments:

  1. Very powerful message. It reminded me that I need to depend on God not money.

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  2. So good! So powerful! I have had my moments as well, but God always blesses me with what I need! More than my ex-husband ever could!

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  3. This message so profound! It will help keep many from falling into traps. I will help keep others on track with their faith in God when they are pressed by the cares of life. Thank you for gifting us with your life!

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  4. Love this!!!! Glory to God!!! Tiffany, your books and videos bless me SO MUCH and I thank you with all my heart for being so obedient to God! We don't know each other but I feel like you're my sister and I just love hearing your God given wisdom!! Love you, sis!

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  5. Very heart warming Tiffany. I have a question. Is there any way I can contact you?

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