You Are A Royal Diadem

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I had a catch up session with a dear friend a while ago and we spoke about many things. One topic that stood out was on being involved in church ministry or doing life as single ladies and how it can be challenging as well as a blessing. But if it is the Lord’s will for a man to come along,  it would happen in the Lord’s timing. In the interim, how should we feel about ourselves?

Do you feel like  royalty every day? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and see a beautiful princess created by the Almighty God? If your answers are no, then you may consider to align your perspectives with what the scriptures has to say about you.

Isaiah 62:3 (ESV)“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”

Although it was spoken to the Jewish nation and to the Church of that era, we could receive it principally as how God sees each one of us, that we are truly very precious in His sight.

Back to the conversation with the dear friend of mine. Of course, the subject of marriage arose. Both of us are single. My friend gave a very good illustration of being precious (expensive stones and jewels), or being of a royal descent. The common response to both would be:

Firstly, not everyone could appear before a royalty. There need to be some sort of a protocol. Just as not everyone could handle expensive jewels, only those who are authorized and are in the jewelry business. Secondly, there is no easy access to royalty. The person appearing to them has to be presented by the staff of the royal family.Thirdly, only those who can afford to purchase precious jewels will be granted the privilege of viewing or touching them.

In summary, there must be actions that convey due respect and highest honor to royalty and in the case of the precious jewel, to have ownership of it, a price must be paid. Applying the examples in our lives, as we comprehend how much we are worth in the sight of our Creator,  we will conduct ourselves differently. We will create boundaries; we will not ‘cast our pearls before swine’ because we know that Jesus has paid the ultimate price for us. Likewise, I trust that in choosing the future spouse for us (in His will and in His timing), God has and is preparing men who know how to handle His princesses with much care, tenderness, respect, honor and love.

My dear lovely ladies, I’d like to end this article by asking you one important question – have you found the source of your true worth which can only be found in the redemptive grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? Jesus died for your sins and on the third day He rose again. Do you agree to confess your sin and acknowledge your need of a Saviour?

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the begotten Son of God who died for our sins and give us eternal life. I now confess my sins and ask that you forgive me. I accept You as my personal Lord and Saviour. Please come into my heart and by faith I receive this gift of salvation. Amen.

If you said yes to receiving Jesus wholeheartedly and said the above prayer, please email me at timmieliewtm@gmail.com and I would love to chat with you further.


timmie-liew Timmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂

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MRP Interview: Jessica Santosa

This year, the Modern Ruth Project will feature occasional interviews with specialists and professionals who are experienced in each month’s topic. This month, I had a delightful and insightful conversation with international Christian dating coach, Jessica Santosa. 

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Jessica Santosa (www.jessica-santosa.com)

MRP: How did you get into relationship/dating coaching?

Jessica: After 5 years [of being] single and unconvinced that sitting in my bedroom, praying and waiting for men in my church to ask me out wasn’t working, in 2014, I secretly enlisted a secular dating coach that utterly transformed my life . That was when the concept of even having a dating coach was introduced to me!

I’m talking late night YouTube videos, headphones in, quilt overhead, fully immersed in this guy’s work. He educated me on the male mind, why I kept trainwrecking relationships, and what bits of the past gave no help to my present. During this time, I wasn’t sure if God approved of my new obsession with dating advice. I had been following Jesus since I was 17. Now I was 26, incredibly frustrated, confused and felt largely judged by the people in my church. Looking back,  I realize that perhaps He was leading me to fill a gap in the Kingdom, which is now my joy, honor, and privilege.

With my dating coach, I gained a clandestine sort of power. I also learned that I was the prize to be won. I finally started to have fun being single and had a revelation of my own worth and beauty. My confidence soared, and I enjoyed connecting with people wherever I went. I would get a number of offers to go on dates from men in and outside of church, and the Lord gave me peace about that process. I realized dating could be this really enjoyable season where a woman learns the power of her femininity in Christ without losing herself,  that she could be the chooser, firm in who she is and what she wants.

During 2014 through 2016,  I was simply desperate to get to the bottom of what I call a “broken Christian dating culture.” I started recording these theories for entertainment on my personal blog, complete with Canva designed cartoon-like illustrations, making fun of myself and my experiences. My pastor, my friends, and my connect group were incredibly supportive and enjoyed these articles, saying they felt refreshed and relieved by the honesty! The churches I grew up in were good at teaching marriage, leadership and serving, but not so helpful on teaching singles to date with honesty, enjoyment and strategy.

The drive solidified when I learned that I had 6 committed Christian friends who were already divorced. Out of the six, 3 told me how they first got together, and many discussed about how “God gave them a word” or “They were just so madly in love they went ahead with the wedding.” Many rode on the expectations and excitement of their community, honestly thinking they were making the right decision, only to find that the voices of others overrode their own judgement of the person they [were marrying].

The state of Christian dating culture in Sydney, Australia [my home country] left many of my peers confused and frustrated. The more I wrote, the more my peers praised my candid, brutally honest accounts. My blog was found by Match UK, who then asked me to contribute to the Christian Dating section of their website. 

Then text message screenshots from girlfriends and guy friends alike started rolling in. I would write scripts back to my friends,  telling them what to say to the people they were dating. And soon I became the dating coach of my church community. 

One day, I experimented with a banner ad on my website for a free 15 minute Love Readiness Assessment, and attracted clients from the UK, Albania, Canada, the U.S., and  Australia. And that was when I realized the bride of Christ is in need of a dating coach who understands the problems unique to her context as Kingdom people. I can’t believe the amount of people that tune [into my Instagram Live show] (all 55 of them every Saturday, hooray!). The heart is something every Jesus-loving single is desperate to get right under God’s biblical direction. 

MRP: What are the benefits of enlisting a dating coach?

Jessica: We go to a personal trainer if we want to increase in health and strength. We go to a financial advisor to learn how to budget, invest and handle money. Women succeed in their vocations because they do some formal training in their chosen careers, but rarely are people taught how to intentionally build a healthy romantic relationship.

My clients receive a coach who is fully invested in their love lives and will guide them on how to navigate the dating jungle from wherever they are in their journey. I’ve been a Christian for 13 years, went to Bible college for 2, and worked in the helping profession for 8 years. It’s my obsession and hunger to consume wisdom on how to do rich, meaningful relationships God’s way. I was also 5 years single and experienced what it was like to be lonely, horny, and desperate, but managed to grasp onto God’s hand into peace, enjoyment and freedom in dating.

MRP: Why do you think it’s so hard to date as a Christian woman?

Jessica:

  • Overspiritualization: Too much praying in bedrooms about it and not enough taking small risks to just meet people and put yourself out there.
  • Comparison & unrealistic standards: Many Christian women I’ve coached spend too many hours comparing themselves to the couples preaching on the pulpit, and think “I won’t settle for anything less than that.” What it’s really about is thrashing it out with God about who you are and what your mission is. We’re the Body of Christ for a reason where every ligament does its different job!
  • Fear of judgment: I encourage my clients to go on lots of dates, whether through dating apps or accepting coffee from the guy in her Bible study, even if she’s not that into him. Dating experience is so taboo in the church context, when actually that’s been recommended by experts as the path to gaining a full understanding of what character and emotional style will be best suited to you. I was casually dating 4 wonderful, marriage-minded Christian guys so I could make an informed decision about who my life partner would be, until the Holy Spirit led me to the ONE right man.
  • Negativity bias: I’ve had some amazing successful Christian women quote dreary statistics to me about how there are significantly less men than women out there, until I told them I was accepting casual dates from 4 eligible Christian guys before I decided to become exclusive with one. (BTW: That one turned out to be the love of my life!) And I’m sure I figured it out through having a wide berth of dating experience, which trained me on how to pick the right guy!

MRP: What are some of the most common dating mistakes Christian women make?

Jessica:

  • Emotionally over-investing way too early in the process. I think this is caused by how rarely Christian guys ask us out for coffee. So much that the Christian woman jumps at the opportunity when “this must be it.” Compatibility is ascertained by prolonged loving actions over time, not a whirlwind romantic pursuit, as lovely as it feels in the moment!
  • Sitting pretty: Call me a hard-line pragmatist, but I think too many Christian women are “waiting” and not doing enough “acting.” Go out there, network, strike up friendly conversations with guys and girls alike!
  • Misunderstanding godly femininity and masculinity: Women need men and men need women! Both sexes benefit from serving each other when we reflect God in the complimentary ways we have been created. I find that much of my content surrounds educating women on the male mindset. For example, a woman may start the conversation with a man, but then it’s up to him to pursue her. Because if she chases the man, it robs him of his “masculine birthright” to chase, pursue, and win her.

MRP: What are the biggest obstacles faced by Christian women in the dating world? How can they be overcome?

Jessica: Standing firm as God’s daughter in the secular dating context, and funnelling out meaningful dating experiences from dross. Also, denying our sexual appetite is a huge obstacle, and the church are not giving clear answers on how to deal with these desires. I am blessed in that my church regularly invites a Christian sexologist to speak at the young adults conferences. But the topic is so difficult to navigate that many women reach 30 and relax their standards because they are tired of waiting and feeling ashamed.

To be honest, I’m not sure on how to overcome this. I know the desire for sex lessened for me once I fell in love with my boyfriend because our emotional and spiritual connection is so strong. Now waiting until we’re married is without question.

MRP: What advice would you give Christian women who have never been on a date or in a relationship?

Jessica: I’d say,  “You’re amazing, but you need to stop taking yourself so seriously. Download CoffeeMeetsBagel and have fun!” Honestly! If you’ve followed the Lord for a long time, trust in your ability to maintain your boundaries, and enjoy getting to know guys slowly at the cross road of building connection and potential romance.

MRP: What relationship resources (books, sites, programs) would you recommend to a single Christian woman?

Jessica: 


MRP thanks Jessica for sharing her wisdom with us! Learn more about Jessica and her coaching at www.jessica-santosa.com and follow her on Instagram (@jessica.santosa) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jessica.santosa). Also, Jessica has published an e-book, “The Five Foundations To Attract Your Mr Right.”  The book details five building blocks to changing your dating habits. You can get the first chapter as a FREE download by clicking here: (http://www.jessica-santosa.com/shop/the-five-foundations-to-attract-your-mr-right)

Ask MRP!

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Dear MRP,

I had been dating this great guy for two months when he decided he no longer wanted to see me. He said I was nice but a little “too much” for him. When I asked him what he meant, he said, “You’re a little loud.” I was surprised and disappointed. I don’t remember shouting or raising my voice at anyone whenever we were together. But I do tend to be outgoing and love chatting with new people. But I’m thinking I should tone it down in order to keep him. What should I do?

—Too Much


Dear Too Much,

It can be troubling when your personality is described in negative terms, especially by a romantic interest. Cosmetics and hair products can easily refurbish appearance. But personality is the engine inside the fresh coat of paint.  It’s what powers you, it’s who you are.

And I want to assure you that there is nothing wrong with who you are. Sanguine conversational people like you are literally the life of the party. They spark conversations, form and strengthen bonds, and lighten the mood of every arena they enter.

With that being said, I don’t think you should dilute your personality in order to win him back. Suppressing your disposition, how God made you, won’t last for long and may leave you both unhappy.

For example, there’s this toy called the Shape Ball.

The ball has openings in the shapes of a triangle, square, circle, star, pentagon, etc. The goal is to match the shape of the opening with the shape of the piece and drop it inside the ball. I’d watch my baby cousins play with it. And being babies, they couldn’t get the hang of it. They didn’t understand that the circle couldn’t be placed inside the star opening. The circle with its smooth curves and the sharp angled star slot weren’t the same. After a couple of minutes of trying and dotting the air with squeals of frustration, they would pound the circle into the opening until it eventually dropped inside the ball. But it’s not supposed to be there.

Just like that toy, you can try to force a connection, pretend to fit with someone who doesn’t quite match you. So you bang the bond into looking like it works but it doesn’t. And now you’re with the circle when you were meant to be with the star.

Your personalities are different and that’s OK. Don’t change yourself to make it work because God has a better fit for you.

I hope this blesses you. Praying for you as you embrace your personality and wait for God’s best.

-Jen @ MRP


Have a question for Ask MRP? Send it to modernruthproject@gmail.com.

MRP 2018 Focus: Identity Crisis

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Happy New Year!

If you’re like me, a resident of the Eastern coast of the United States, this is a frigid Friday and you’ve curled up with either A) soft and fuzzy warm blankets or B) mugs of varied hot beverages or C) all of the above.

But for all of us, it’s also the first Friday of 2018. Two thousand and eighteen. I know it takes a few recitations for the foreign accent of a new year to melt into normalcy. But 2018 just looks and sounds futuristic to me.

So with that in mind, I’d like to ask you a question.

Who were you on the first Friday of 2000?

Yep, 2000, eighteen years ago. That period of time when Y2K was the biggest of deals, theories and questions about the new millennium ran amok, and a time when most of us were wee bitty teenagers.

Who were you then? What was your life like? What did you want and who did you want to be? What did you expect your life to be like in your 30s, like say, in 2018?

Do you remember?

I’ll go first.

The first Friday of 2000, I was a painfully insecure high school sophomore who loved writing stories and poems. I spoke softly, not to appease those who heard but to avoid their rejection as much as I could. My life was domestically peaceful. My parents loved me and provided a great and wonderful foundation. Yet internally, I consistently felt like I wasn’t enough. What I wanted was to be enough and to feel enough. I wanted to be pursued and loved. So my mind would eagerly throb with daydreams of Thirty-Something Jen. Thirty-Something Jen would have been happily married for 10 years to a handsome and adoring husband. Thirty-Something Jen would be a witty conversational butterfly. Thirty-Something Jen would eat confidence for breakfast and wrap power around her wrists like the wonder woman she’d be.

Now let’s fast forward to today. Who are you now? What is your life like? Based on your expectations in 2000, are you comfortable with where you are now?

I can go first again.

I’ve changed some and changed none. Through Christ, I realize how loved and valued I really am. But I still struggle with confidence. I am not a conversational butterfly and I married my handsome adoring husband only 2 years ago. On this first Friday of 2018, I am a 33-year-old who still speaks softly at times because the security I expected at this point never fully arrived.

How about you? Are you where you thought you’d be?  It’s OK if you aren’t. And the truth is not many of us are.

Life after the age of 30 is presumed to be when women are more confident, more secure and more phlegmatic about themselves and their state of being. But that’s a mistaken belief, one that a lot of us have swallowed whole.

What happens when you thought you’d be a wife and mother by 30, and you’re single at 42? What happens when you thought you’d be an award-winning journalist by 29 and you’re a data entry clerk at 35? When our hopes and aspirations don’t match the reality of our circumstances and we can’t figure out how to join them together, an identity crisis is formed. Our sense of ourselves leaves solid ground and we can drift into uncertainty and resignation.

In 2018, the Modern Ruth Project will focus on the tension of discovering who you are in Christ, who He made you to be in this world, and how to get to and enjoy where you want to be. Throughout the year, we will be posting stories about career growth and transformation, spiritual endurance, marriage/dating experiences and counsel, and maintaining a healthy mindset about who and how the Lord made you.

I can’t wait to go on this year’s journey with you!

 

August Challenge: Taming the Tongue!

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This isn’t my favorite, I’m not gonna lie.

All my life I have struggled with my tongue.  Saying the right thing.  Not saying the wrong thing.  Slipping up and saying the wrong thing anyway.  Half the time purposefully.

In my younger years, I was known for being sarcastic.  Didn’t really care if it was hurtful if I could get some laughs from others.  (Never mind if it was really because I felt insecure myself, putting others down to draw attention away from my own flaws.)

Then I became a Christian.  It was far from an overnight transition, but slowly my words became sweeter.  I would think about the impact on others before I spoke.  I realized that my sarcastic jokes actually hurt my friends and I stopped making them.

This change made a huge difference in my relationships.  In the past, thinking I was oh-so-hilarious, I would make the same sarcastic jokes with guys, and then wonder why they didn’t reciprocate my affections.  Wasn’t I hysterical?  Didn’t they get the joke?  Probably they did.  But they didn’t want to spend time around someone from whom every other word was harsh.

When I met my husband, I knew I needed a different strategy.  He is a sweet guy who, like anyone, appreciates kind words and encouragement, not jokes at his expense.  I try to be his biggest cheerleader and affirm him at every opportunity that I can (full disclosure: he still thinks I’m sarcastic, so I guess I have some ways to go).

Score one for relationships, but oh boy, work is a whole other matter.  I get angry and frustrated.  It rises up within me like a tidal wave and I find myself going from zero to sarcastic in less than 60 seconds.   I am right.  They are wrong.  How can they not see it?  Are they stupid?  Do they just want to make my life difficult?

See, taming the tongue is really an issue with its root in the sin of pride.  It is putting our feelings – our sense of justice or our desire to be seen as “funny,” our belief in our own rightness or our belief that our right to free speech matters more than someone else’s right to not be hurt – ahead of everything else.  We are so wrapped up in our emotions that we can’t see beyond them to someone else’s point of view.

To draw a contrast, Jesus did not get sarcastic.  He got angry, but in His anger, He did not let the sin of pride overwhelm Him.  He did not let emotions get the best of Him, or let his anger become a personal attack on others.  He was controlled and measured in His response, always remembering empathy and caring, even when He was persecuted.

I confess that I am not there.  But I want to be.

Five Things We Should All Stop Doing (and I mean now)

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Sigh.  I miss the good old days.  When we could leave our cell phones, our (un)social media, and our myriad of electronic devices at home without going into a total panic.  I mean, we could actually spend an entire day having conversations with actual people and needed to have pocket change if we wanted to engage in non-face-to-face interactions.

But no.  Not today.  Today we have the opinions of every idiot, smart person, and ‘expert’ being constantly downloaded into our spirit.  We pretend as if continuously being fed the opinions and images of others won’t hurt us, but that in itself is a dangerous assumption.

And no one has change.  Ever.

It’s no different when it comes to dating.  We listen to our hearts, our thoughts, our friends, our family, our Instagram feeds with their #relationshipgoals, Google, our *ahem* baby making organs, and possibly even these blog posts.

Allowing these things to influence my decisions in the past (and also the present) has only crowded out God’s best for me.  And possibly yours too.  So here’s a list of the top five things I’ve lended an ear to that I think it’s time we give the boot.  A “Don’t Do This” sort of list, if you will:

1) Don’t listen to your feelings.  Your feelings are about as truthful and trustworthy as a 2-star rated Uber driver with no seat belts.  Would you climb into that car?  Then don’t you dare ride your feelings into a relationship without the peace of the holy spirit.

2) Don’t listen your heart.  This may seem counterintuitive.  The world is constantly telling you to listen to your heart.  Follow your heart. But the word tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9).  Ouch.  And your Father made your heart, so he understands everything you do (Psalm 33:15).  When our hearts are full, we can sometimes act without thinking.  Rash things are bad and prickly on your body, and also on the heart.  Don’t scratch that itch.

3) Don’t listen to your thoughts.  Your thoughts tell you you’ll be single forever. Your thoughts tell you you’re lonely.  Your thoughts give you ideas about how to manipulate your way down the aisle.  Your thoughts open the heart to lies and the whispers from the enemy.  Let’s not live our life based on only what we think of ourselves, but what our Father thinks of us instead.  We are loved.  We are desired.  And we are constantly being pursued.

4) Don’t listen to your sex drive.  I feel like this one is pretty self explanatory.  But just in case it needs further clarification, pre-marital sex clouds your judgement.  It causes you to stay in relationships longer than you should.  It makes babies.  It causes you to start relationships that should’ve stayed in the mud because you have a “connection.”  Honey, that “connection” is a soul tie and it will drag you, chained and bound, all the way to a broken heart.  For further reflection on lusty things, reference #2.

5)  Don’t listen to everything you read on the interwebs.  You do realize that anybody can have a webpage, right?  And everything we read is filtered through someone else’s life experiences and biases and made to look perfect for their benefit.  Not for His glory.  I even expect you to scripture check and comment below if you feel like this post gets your spirit of discernment all in a tizzy.  Just make sure that discernment is still on guard when scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or following the links to the latest “how to keep your man” advice from Cosmo.

But what if we truly listened to the guidance of the holy spirit?  When Christ physically left this earth, he did not leave us to fend for ourselves.  But for some reason, most of us are flailing about our single life (and married life) as if the Advocate’s voice doesn’t exist.

We end our prayers acknowledging the trinity, but live and behave as if God is a duo.  Or worse yet, a solo act.  And those thoughts only succeed at making God small, shortening his reach to the clouds above, and limiting his kingdom to heaven.

From what I remember, we are called to bring his kingdom down to earth.  Through how we love, how we live our life as a single person, and how we display the agape love of Christ in our marriages.  And you can’t do that without making space for the holy spirit in every single second of your day.  Every single one.

So step into your purpose as a single as if your confidence, beauty, and marital status were in the hands of a loving Father.  Receive the grace and forgiveness for your past mistakes as if Jesus, the Son, actually died for them.  And continue to make room for the gentle whispers (and sometimes hard face punches) of the holy spirit as if he actually exists.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]…But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth].”

John 16:7, 13 (AMP….emphasis mine)

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roz Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawedblog.wordpress.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.

Unexpected Conversation with Jesus

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Loves Jesus? Check.

Respectful? Check.

Good breath? Mostly.

Has a sense of humor? Uh, something like it.

Six feet tall? No, he’s precisely 1.7 millimeters taller than you.

Makes six figures? Well, not exactly.

Owns a home? The way his life is set up right now.…

Wait wait wait, Jesus.  I think you got my order wrong.  Maybe you misheard my prayers?  Because I was very specific and I was sure that the man of my dreams would line up with your will.

No, I heard you.  And I know what you desire and what you think you want.  But more than that, I know exactly what you need. 

What you want can sometimes be based solely on what you know.  Things you’ve done before.  Things you’re comfortable with.  And how many broken hearts have you gathered in the name of comfort up until this point?

But I am going to do a new thing.  Something that will stretch your faith and test your trust. However, believe that what I desire for you will soon be something that you desire even more.  Something that you didn’t even see coming.  But something that will bring more glory to my name and more joy to your life than any man from a list could ever do. 

What I’ve created for you will be infinitely better than what you could create for yourself.

So don’t be afraid to seek me when someone may not fit all of your criteria.  Or when someone you’ve noticed, and who’s noticed you, has asked you to try new things.  Or when your list opens your options up to everyone under the sun. Or when your list narrows your options down to, well, just me and Moses. 

As long as I’m in it, different won’t always mean unattractive.  New won’t always beget fear. And your ‘type’ will be exactly who I’ve chosen as my best for you.

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roz Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.