Sunday, 30 October 2016

EFÉCTIVE GUEST POST BY @Buhlack_Queen


PUT SOME RESPECK ON MY VIRGINITY!






Though your purity journey is such a personal thing between you and Christ, the outside bodies that test your body aren't so respecting of your choice to wait until marriage.


I've had plenty of guys and girls give enthusiastic head nods, thumbs up and verbal praise when they find out I'm a virgin and waiting until marriage. They commend me for my "efforts" and tell me that they respect it but the issue with that, whether they're Christian or not, is that all they can do is "respect" what they aren't practicing.


I'm not looking my nose down on anyone, I'm far from perfect. But here's the thing: I know my worth. I am not better than any woman who hasn't had sex but I realize my rarity and I realize the ministry that God has placed on my heart to encourage other women and men to save themselves or rededicate their bodies to Christ until marriage. I realize that with God guiding my heart and my feet I can be a light to a world who feels like sex is the only way to emotionally connect with someone. As well as inform people that think and feel that casual sex is okay, when it's not.
God did not create sex to be casual. He didn't create it to be had between boyfriend and girlfriend either.


Granted I haven't experienced sex, but I have heard from family and friends about how good it feels and how intimate the act is. Sex was created to consumate marriage. Basically that means to COMPLETE the marriage process. Marriage itself is such a BIG step for those of us who take it seriously. You're promising to stay by someone's side through sickness and health until death parts the two of you. In 2016, a lot of people don't take the vow seriously, however, the vow should only be made if your relationship is built on the foundation of Christ. You know your relationship is built in Christ when you and your partner insert Christ in all of the things you do. Including your choice to have sex.


"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path." Proverbs 3:6


Is it easy to refrain from having sex?




Chile please!


Aside from my issues with procrastination I'd say refraining from having sex is the HARDEST thing in my life.


I'm going to be honest to my readers because I believe in being honest about my mess. I believe we add to God's kingdom by letting others know "Hey, I've been there. I've gotten through it. God helped me get through it. Let me tell you my story." Rather than acting all holy like we've never been through something.


I have been: 


THIS CLOSE...to losing my virginity at least three times in my life with three different guys. 


Now that may not seem like a big deal to any of you but it was enough to let me know that I needed to change some things about myself. See I was one of those people who felt like: "It's not that hard to not have sex. Just don't put yourself out there like that. Don't do things your not supposed to do. Don't talk about it with guys. Just keep your guard up." I went to purity ceremonies, I wore the purity ring and I've vowed my body to Christ too.


But then I got tested by my flesh.


As I got older and started college that's when the REAL struggle began. I began dating and really liking guys who liked me back. I began placing myself in positions where we were alone and things like SEX could happen. After having these experiences I began to realize that: "Hey, this purity thing isn't easy".


The struggle is real. 


Saving yourself until marriage is not without constant labor. I've had to filter the music I listen to, the shows I watch and the people I talk to because all of these things can open you up to giving away your gift. I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP OR BEING DRAMATIC.  

You seriously must guard your eyes, ears and what comes out of your mouth. You can't be listening to Rihanna talking about "sex with me is so amazing" and Bryson Tiller crooning "give me ALL OF YOU in exchange for me" and expect not to be hot and bothered when the guy or girl you like comes around. It doesn't work that way. You can't watch hot and steamy music videos, movies and porn--yes I said it, PORN, and expect that you won't want to try some of the things that you're watching.


I'm speaking from experience.


You can't have certain conversations with your friends who engage in sex, friends who aren't waiting, or friends who ARE waiting but wavering in their walk. "He did what? GORL, how did it feel when he did that? Ooo, he nasty!" or "She did what? Wow, how she do that? I knew she was a freak!" Nope. Can't do it. Conversations like that only pique your interests in trying it out yourself.


People will try and persuade you too.


DON'T LET PEOPLE MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT SAVING YOUR BODY UNTIL MARRIAGE.


Whether you've had sex or not your choice is YOURS. Often times you'll run into people who don't understand why you're doing what you're doing and you can kindly explain it to them if you wish. Other times you'll get people who bash you because they don't understand and they'll try and make you feel like you're being "too holy" or "it don't take all that to follow Christ".
Know that these same people are struggling too. Don't judge them but don't be afraid to inwardly note that you are BEING SPARED from a lot of the issues they struggle with because you've decided to follow Christ. If your friends cannot accept this about you, don't be mean or catch an attitude with them but you will unfortunately have to distance yourself from them. It's okay to find you some friends who value what you value in Christ. Those are the people who you need. Those people will pray for you and LOVINGLY check you when you're out of line. You'll also have to PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. Don't be a hypocrite out here saying one thing and doing another. (I've been guilty of doing that)


I say to you, brothers and sisters, in those moments when people try and alienate you go to the far corners of your mind and think about ways that Christ has protected you for following His commands. Have a conversation with Him. In moments where you feel weak in this walk ask Him for the strength to be better and do better.


You will make mistakes.


But realizing your mistakes, asking God for forgiveness and strength, and trying again is what Christ examines. He examines the desires of our hearts as they are very clear to Him. If the desire of our heart is to wait until marriage, Christ will aid us and protect us as long as we are constantly seeking Him.


But let me get one thing straight.


SEX IS NOT EVIL.


I think the church and Christian believers have given sex a bad name. All of our lives, especially young women, we've been warned against having sex since we first found out what it was. Our mothers and grandmothers all gave the "you'll get pregnant" or "you can catch a disease" speech day in and day out. Don't get me wrong, those are important conversations to have but often times that type of talk makes some of us confused and uneducated about sex. We either end up deathly afraid of sex or overtly curious and then we go out into the world to find out what we deem to be "the truth" about sex which often times results in us, men and women, giving away our most precious gift.


Sex is designed, by God, to be experienced between a husband and a wife. However it's not because God wants to withhold it from us, it is more of an umbrella scenario. Say you've had the best day at work or school and you're all smiles and at complete peace. You live within walking distance of your home. That evening the forecast called for HEAVY rain and you forgot your raincoat but you do have your umbrella. You open up your umbrella and brave the wet walk home and make it inside your place dry! Had you not had your umbrella your day may have ended on a bit of a sour note.


Jesus is your umbrella --at least he should be.


When the rain--the world and all of the craziness --surrounds you on all sides Jesus is the One who keeps you dry.


Even when it comes to sex, Jesus still wants to protect you. That's why He calls for us to have sex within the confines of marriage. When taken seriously, marriage IS THE PROTECTION. Sex is so sensual, powerful and physically engaging that we have the ability to recall sexual encounters in our mind right down to each and every moment of contact. We have the ability to want and crave sex. Some people will do anything for sex. Some people can't let go of a bad relationship because of sex and will deal with mental and physical abuse because of it. Sex can blind our comprehension and influence a lot of the choices we make in our lives. I've had people tell me it's like a drug.


Scientists have proven that once you've had sex for the first time, pheromones like oxycontin and dopamine open up in your brain. Both of these can induce confidence and cheeriness, no matter how cynical you might be normally.


Sex is so powerful it can change your mood and the way you treat others.


It's no wonder why God asks us to save ourselves. It is for our protection. God knew what He was doing when He created sex. Christ is a God of ORDER. In every creation, whether it be the weather outside, plants, animals and even us as humans, He has created a specific order for us to follow and experience and it hasn't been created to harm us or hurt us but to allow us to experience all of His glory the way HE INTENDED.


Christ's way is the best way.


So reader, know that I've been there. I've been in a space where I KNOW everyone around me is engaging in sex and "having a blast" and all I want to do is give up and just be "normal" and do what everyone else is doing. However, I've learned that not having sex doesn't make me "abnormal" it makes me safe, obedient in Christ and therefore susceptible to His blessings. Though you may have had sex or are having sex outside of marriage this doesn't mean you can't receive blessings from Christ but what it means is that you aren't fully allowing Him to be active in the way that He needs to be. So yes you'll receive blessings but you'll have to endure issues and negative experiences that God can protect you from if you'll only heed to what He asks you to do.


I like to look at it this way too:


Jesus DIED for us.


He GAVE HIS BODY for our sins.


Why is it so unfathomable that we give our body back to Him?


Not just when it comes to sex but when it comes to engaging in drugs and drunkenness as well. Many people engage in these habits because it brings them comfort and release. It becomes an easy crutch in their lives.
But Christ IS NOT unreachable. He's waiting for you.


LET Christ BE YOUR CRUTCH.


FINALLY, KNOW THIS:


Just because I'm a huge advocate for purity doesn't mean that I don't struggle with my flesh everyday. There are some days where I want to give up the fight. There are other days where I'm so in love with God for choosing me to represent Him with my body that I'm speechless. As my pastor loves to say, "It's an uphill journey". That simply means that you can't reach the top of a hill without meeting resistance from gravity. It's not easy to walk "up" but the happiness you feel when you conquer that hill is rewarding. We should have that same thought process in Christ. It isn't easy obeying Christ when the world around you is doing what they want to do and how they want to do it AND trying to get you to join them.


But yo, that reward...that heavenly reward that you WILL receive for following Christ in EVERYTHING that you do is an experience that no human will ever be able to make you feel.


Christ's love is a SUPERNATURAL LOVE that far exceeds even the love of a mother for her child.


I pray that you choose Christ instead of sex. Have faith that He knows the desires of your heart and if it's in His will for you, then He will provide.


Choose to be a light for Him in this dying, dark world and watch Him open up a window and pour you out blessings that you won't have room to receive.

    
"For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

 Chanda Bynum (a.k.a. Buhlack_Queen) is a writer, blogger, Youtuber with a love for poetry and playwriting. You can read her stories  on Wattpad and subscribe to her YouTube channel.
Full credit goes to Buhlack_Queen for this blog post.

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Monday, 24 October 2016

Efé's Thoughts in October

WHEN FRIENDS ARE BAD COMPANY...

I cannot stress this enough: You carry the energy that you have allowed others to transfer to you.

Before I venture off to the main point of this blog post I want to start of writing about what happened to me recently.

A few weeks ago when it was towards the end of my shift at work everyone was in their little groups talking, me being me naturally moved on to the group where the topic was on boys. As a girl that I was friendly with walked past, the group I was in started making very negative comments concerning her weight and what she was wearing.

From where we stood, the girl could see how the girls were laughing in gest of her and I am sure she heard some of the remarks. It took me a slow second to realise what was happening and I stepped away from the group and found someone else to talk to, but by then I had made eye contact with the girl and from the look she gave me I could tell she thought I was one of them.

Words couldn't describe how bad I felt. Even though technically I hadn't done anything wrong, who I was seen with had automatically made me guilty by association.

Thank God that a few days after, I saw the girl again and I was able to explain myself to her to clear my conscience. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do so because as humans, we love to classify and put things in boxes, so a lot of the times you only get one chance to prove your worth.

I'd originally had a different topic I wanted to talk about this month but after watching part of a sermon on TBN on reputation, everything just aligned and I knew I had to write on this.

We as humans build credibility by the relationships we are tied to. It's our natural habit to have a habitat that says we belong somewhere, that there are people who can verify our worth. This is why employers ask for references from previous employers, why being the mother-in-law to Leo Tolstoy's great-grandson sounds much cooler than being the sister to the office cleaner. (Not like there is anything wrong with being an office cleaner, if that is a job you love, it was just a point of comparison.)

I believe there are two things (other than God's divine appointment) that will make anyone achieve their dreams in life and that is a) working hard b)being surrounded with people who mentally, emotionally and spiritually stimulate you to grow the best you can be as a human being.

And taking a break from the wise book of Proverbs 13:20, it says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

In time to write this blog post I have just finished reading James Altucher's incredible, soul-satiating, life-revolutionalising and best-selling book, “Choose Yourself”, where he alikens our bodies to a house that has four separate departments and that is the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental and our life's aim should be to protect and prosper those parts much like how Proverbs 4:23 says we should, “Above all else, guard your hearts from out of it flows the issues of life.”

Now what Altucher also reiterates in his book is that, which is a wonderful point he makes, “People become crappy people not because of who they are, but because they are crapping inside of you.”

And in no point in time we should be allowing that to happen.

When we are in a place where peer pressure is felt we should be confident that our 'house' is strong enough, meaning our values and morals are not compromised in order to please the crowd.

With that said, we need to do what Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to do: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love...”

It's hard for a giraffe to be an ant, but it's damn right easy, as the most adaptable species on the planet, for a human to act the snake or the goat when bad company is around.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Efé's Thoughts in September: BIRTHDAY SPECIAL!!!




 I WISH I WAS FIVE AGAIN

I wish I was five again
There was a school trip to the farm
where we learnt how to knead our own loaf of bread
and saw the pigs roll around in their shit
I wish I was five again
Sitting on the passenger's side of my father's truck
As he drove 120 kilometres an hour
And my socked toes would curl in fear
and excitement
I wish I was five again
Evening called for me to have a little sip of daddy's red wine
And when it was call to bed, I'd get a red wine kiss from my dad
And I was always following him to the bar to watch some sport
I wish I was five again
Saturday mornings were spent watching
Formula Uno and football
and De Pirlo and Schumacher were in their prime
I wish I was five again
The smell of my mother's zuppa di funghi porcini
always made me happy
And I drank lemon and peach iced tea from carton boxes
I wish I was five again
My mother used to go to the market to buy my sister and I
brioche, croissant, wanda, my favourite biscotti brand Mulino Bianco
And I would dip my biscotti in my ciocolatto drink
Biscotti con ciocolatto.
I wish I was five again
That was when my father would stir up his
concoction of
latte, uova and zucchero and say it would
make me grow tall
I wish I was five again
Zia would crow in my ears
when she visited me from England
Koo-koo-roo-koo
I wish I was five again
Then I had a best friend
and my mother would bath us together and we wore the same clothes
so we were practically twins.
I wish I was five again
My dad would stop by a crop field in the middle of the motorway
and pull out several corncobs from the earth
that we would take home to eat
I wish I was five again
My sister and I would ride on our scooters to the park
and we would climb and sit on the peach tree
I wish I was five again
I'd follow my father to church
and when it was time for communion
I'd try my luck but I was always refused the wine
I wish I was five again
Everyone knew where the party was at
at our house
we always had people over
I wish I was five again
In the evenings we would sit down to eat as a family
bistecca con insalata
I wish I was five again
I was home.













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Sunday, 14 August 2016

EFÉCTIVE GUEST POST BY @MissRuthElias


IN THE FACE OF PAIN & ANGUISH Dear Fellow Man,  
You don’t know who I am. You don’t see me as I walk past you on the way inside the supermarket. My hair is tangled but at least my clothes are clean. My eyes are focused on some distant place and I don’t meet your wandering glance. I am flanked by a gaggle of young children, all bright-eyed, quiet, and observant. And you wonder, briefly, as you walk past, why I look familiar. 

You spare me a second glance as I settle on a bench alongside you. I busy myself with a book I spread on my lap, but if you look closer, you’ll notice I haven’t turned the page in too long and that my erratic pulse is visible in the line of my neck. My bookmark – a folded piece of notebook paper – flutters from between the pages to the ground before I can snatch it up. If you squint, maybe you’ll be able to make out the desperate words scrawled on it.

Parked in the car next to mine, waiting for the light to turn green, maybe you notice the way I jerk when a police car speeds past, sirens wailing, lights flashing. Maybe you notice the way I hold my throat and breathe out a whispered prayer of thanks – thanks that it wasn’t me. You don’t know where my thoughts have gone or the memories that have been stirred up by that hated sound. When an ambulance follows, and tears fill my eyes, you’ve already looked away and my car is lost in the speed, the noise, the sounds of another day. 

And you don’t care. 

Because your mortgage bill hasn’t been paid and your spouse is divorcing you. Your friend is dying of a terminal illness and the stock market has crashed again. Your children seem to hate you and the world is out to get you. I am just another soul that is suffering and you are too blinded by your own pain to see. 

This is the world we live in today. 

The news of yet another attack, of yet another shooting, washes over us in a numb wave. Do we have any words left to describe our anguish, our confusion? So many deaths, so much suffering. And everyone is hanging on, just trying to make it through another pain-filled day.
overcoming adversity
I’ve seen a lot of tragedy in my young life. Probably more than what could be considered a fair share. I saw two of my brothers buried. I spent a year of my life in foster care. I know what it is to go without electricity, to count pennies for food. I watched my parents lose their jobs and watched our car get towed away for lack of payment. I experienced the humiliating confusion of being thrown out onto the streets. I sat in a court building eagerly waiting to hear the verdict of my father’s negligent homicide case. I have wept over lost family members. And I’ve borne judgment, persecution, rejection, spitefulness, and accusations by people I never imagined could want to hurt me. 

I know what it is to suffer. Believe me. 

Being raised in a Christian household, I was taught to give all my cares, all my burdens, all my pain and anguish to the Lord. When I found myself in foster care the first time (it happened twice, much to my horror) it was this teaching that I clung to when I was curled on the bathroom floor of a stranger’s house, weeping for homesickness. When I was older, and we faced eviction for a second time, it was this instruction that I remembered.
And it crossed my mind that life would have been unbearable if I didn’t have God to turn to. What do people do when they are broken and hurt and in need of comfort? This question baffled me as a teenager, before I was aware of the kinds of vices that grip people in pain. It seemed amazing to me that people could live without Him. What words escaped their lips when they were groaning with pain? If it wasn’t, dear God, help me, then what was it?

Can you tell me, dear fellow man? 

We live in a fallen world and we are surrounded by broken people. We have turned our backs on the God we pledged our hearts and lives to and have relied upon our own strength to save us – and we haven’t been saved. We have searched for hope and we haven't found it - because there can never be any hope for us outside of Jesus Christ.  

He is hope embodied. It was Him I turned to in the darkest moments of my life. Even if it was just His name that I could barely form with my trembling lips, it was enough. Corrie Ten Boom, a great veteran in the realm of sufferers, said, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” This was something I had to learn over and over again. I sometimes feel I am still learning it. Because the suffering goes on and the trials don’t cease.
But God remains. 

If you, fellow man, are broken and overwhelmed by the adversity that has confronted you... if you can barely manage to face the days – much less the nights – because of your anguish, then know this: There is only one who can save you. There is only one way out. There is only one Comforter. 

He can take all the pain and trials of your life and give them purpose. He can bring you through the storm and take you by the hand and hold you close when the world is spinning all around you. He can touch your heart – your broken, bruised, bloody heart – and heal the wounds that have tormented you. He will be your family when you have none. He will be your friend when you are alone. He will carry you when you have no more strength to go on.  

This is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins and came to bring us salvation.
 
It is true that we will suffer on this earth. We must understand that. There is no way of getting out of it. But we can choose whether we suffer alone, or whether we suffer with a King at our side, who knows what we are going through and who longs to carry us through. I wouldn’t say that walking with Jesus is easy. There is a cross to bear. But walking without Him is unfathomable.


If you, dear fellow man, are broken, rest assured, you are not alone. We all carry hidden pain – the kind we can hardly bear to speak of. But what do you do with that pain? Where do you take it? I pray that from now on, you would always think of Christ. That you would remember there is one who loves you, even when no one else does. There is one who longs to comfort you, heal you, and save you from the despair that is drowning you. His name is Jesus. And all you must do is turn to Him – turn to Him with your broken heart, your scarred soul, and let Him gather you in His arms and wash away the pain. 

Trust Him to do it – and He will.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelations 21:4

Ruth, Writer | missruthelias.com
Ruth is a twenty-one year old memoirist, writer, and blogger. She lives in Puerto Rico with her family. To read more of her work, visit her blog, Ruth, Writer.




Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Efé's Thoughts in August

BEING JEALOUS GIVES YOU WRINKLES!





As I've become more serious in my aspirations to be a commercially successful writer, I have – guiltily – found myself battling with the toxic emotion named Jealousy, more often than I wish to admit.



I want what they have.


I want to have the reads.

I want to have the likes.

I want to have the raving reviews and comments.

I want to have the recommendations.

I want to have the million shares on Twitter and be all over social media.

I want to have the sales after sales.

I want to have the queues of lovers of my words waiting for me to sign my autograph on a copy of my book.

I want to have the tears of joy and people telling me how deeply they've been touched by my art.

I want to have the screen-adaptations of my work.

I want to have the best-seller title in my biography.

I want to have God's approval to say, “Yes, she used My gift to her wonderfully.”

I want that.



And when I see someone who has that, especially someone my age, I get sooo damn jealous, because it makes me question everything I've done in my life.



And then I throw a pity party. And when I think about giving up on writing, I realise I don't have a choice. I can only give up on writing once God has finished writing the chapters of my life.



But sometimes it's just hard to continue writing, when I'm beating myself up, because clearly my lack of progress is due to me not working hard enough. I mean what other explanations could there be that I haven't reached the heights of their fame?



Jealousy a lot of the time is what drives me to work, but a lot of the time it just drowns me in an ocean of despair. Even though it's not supposed to be so, I tend to feel sometimes that it is not Art I'm serving but instead I'm participating in a competition.



I've had times when I read Amazon or Goodreads reviews on a particular book and when I saw that the author got a negative review, I got a little too happy inside because in my head I was thinking, “Ha-ha take this bitch, your book is not so perfect afterall!”



Yes, I know jealousy isn't a good look on anyone.



But in my attempts at growing some wisdom, I realise that the 'race' is not for the fastest, so there's no reason for me to be jealous. Just because my age mates are doing and achieving what I wish to be doing and achieving, doesn't make me less of a sucessful person just where I am.



Jealousy is a powerful emotion and when you look at it in a positive light it is admiration. Use it to your advantage. The way I've been able to curb my jealousy is by studying what it is exactly I admire about that particular work and try to imitate it. Or simply compliment.



When my mind tries to push me to be bitter and jealous about someone's success or how flawlessly well a person writes, I try as quickly as possible to ignore my first inclination to brood in spite and instead I comment with a compliment.



Always comment with a compliment.



If it's our writer friends, they can one day be people we will want to collaborate with that will help us gain recognition on a bigger platform. So they way I see it is this - when I win they win, and when they win, I win too.



When you're jealous it means you're allowing your mind to focus on one thing and that's yourself. Taking the time to compliment allows a channel of communication.



If the time hasn't come yet, it means God is still rearing you and I, that's all. Our time will come.



I know my work is of heart and quality. Every word I write is from the spring of my soul and there's nothing more truthful that that and even if not today someone recognises it I know one day, they will and so being jealous is a waste of my energy and time.



One thing I hope that everyone who reads this today can take away from this blog post – and not just in the literary world but also in personal relationships, education, career and all other aspects of life - that as long as it's authenticity you are delivering, what others do and are achieving should be the furthest from your mind.



Sure seeing someone doing what you aspire to be doing, can serve as a motivator but don't let it derail you in turning your admirarion for that person in to something spiteful, because when your time comes to shine you will want everyone to put the spotlight on you.

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