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Are You Ready For His Glory?
By Tunya Armstead
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Tunya Armstead
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE SET UP
"For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction. That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man"
Job 33:14-17 KJV
Dreams! We all have them; but, I am talking about the dreams that God gives you revealing His will. God talks to us all day long; but, we are so busy during the course of the day doing things which cause us not to hear His still small voice. So in a dream or a vision, God opens our ears to hear and seals His instructions. During this time, we are not cognizant of our own purpose and pride; therefore, we are able to hear God's impartation of His purpose and will for our lives (Job 33:15-17). In the book of Genesis chapter 37, God spoke to Joseph through a dream. Joseph revealed his dream to his brothers which was the beginning of his problems. Although God revealed to Joseph the end result which was his family bowing before him, God did not reveal all that Joseph would have to endure to see this dream come to pass. Joseph was going to be in for a rude awakening regarding what he would have to endure to see the manifestation of his dream. His brothers and other characters throughout the story meant to do Joseph harm; but, God used the circumstances for Joseph's good to bring him to his expected future and hope. As Joseph revealed the dream to his brothers, they hated him even more because he was already their father's favorite son. They initially plotted to kill him; but, later decided to throw him into a pit. When God shows you things in your life, the people closest to you may not rejoice with you or understand the purpose behind the circumstances you must endure. You will have haters and dream killers in your presence or attached to you; but, it is your responsibility to guard the dream until it comes to fruition.
In December 2000, I was legally separated from my husband. We had not lived together in the same house or state for three years and I had moved twice within that timeframe. I was waiting to finalize the divorce but had to meet the requirement to live without cohabitation for six months. In my heart, I had been longing to be married to a man that really loved me and that we both would be committed to the marriage. I knew in my heart when I married my husband that we should not have been married. The signs were there; but, I disregarded them because I was ready to be married and have a family. We were great as friends; but, that is where the relationship should have stayed. Even after the divorce, we were still friends for years. At this time, I had been faithfully attending church for the past three months and lining my life up with God. One night, right before New Year's Eve, God spoke to me via a dream concerning marriage. In the dream, there was a silhouette of a tall man, wearing a leather coat. This man, I knew, was my future husband. I could feel the love and strong connection we had; which I had desired in my heart. During the course of the dream, I was at the altar with my pastor. On my right side was "my future husband" and on the left side was Chris (alias). At that point of time, I was in a relationship with Chris. I was arm in arm with "my future husband" at the altar; but, I heard the pastor say, "This is your husband," and I looked over at Chris. I was trying to figure out why I was looking at Chris because I knew our relationship was not my future. I was clinging to "my future husband" with all my heart and soul. After nine years, I finally received the true understanding of the dream. I was struggling between my own desires for a husband and the husband God had for me. In order to receive the promise of God, "my future husband", I had to completely surrender my desires of what I thought I needed and wanted in a husband. This was the beginning of my self-inflicted struggles. Seven months after the dream, I let go of Chris. We had been in an "on again-off again" relationship. I was in turmoil in my dream because my desire was for Chris, who deep down inside I knew was not the man for me. In my dream, he represented my personal desires. In my heart, I had to totally surrender my personal desires of what I wanted in a husband. So, there was a struggle between my heart and soul. Even though I knew for the past nine months our relationship should not be anything more than a friendship because we were not meant to be married, I continued to hold on to the dead end relationship. A month after we ended our relationship, a man I thought was similar "to my future husband" showed up. I had seen him around the office; but, I had not really paid him any attention. The only problem was I still did not have a true understanding of my dream to be able to recognize if I was falling into another trap.
After my divorce was finalized, I began praying and fasting. During my prayer time, God asked me what I wanted in my husband. I asked for a husband with the following requirements: saved, loved God with his whole heart, loved me, celibate until marriage, non-judgmental and understanding. God spoke to me and said within 60 days what I asked for would be written in my heart. Approximately 30 days later, my pastor requested all the single females who wanted to be married to come up to the altar for prayer. As he was waiting for us to come up to the altar, he advised us to prepare a place setting for ourselves and our future husband at the dinner table over the next 30 days as a mark of faith. At the altar, my pastor told me that I needed to let go of the things from my past, because "my husband" would not know me for my past. I did not correlate my dream with the words spoken by my pastor. "I needed to let go of things from my past." I needed to let go of my desire of a certain type of man. After that night in service, I prepared the table every day and night and I ate with the Lord. Now, as I explained in my dream, there was a struggle between my desires and God's promise for me. The 60 days that God said what I asked for would be written in my heart would take place but the problem was I was not able to receive the promise because my heart was not in agreement with what was spoken. I had a stony heart that God wanted to replace with a heart of flesh; so, I could walk according to His Word and be the woman of God that He had ordained from the beginning (Ezekiel 11:19-20). In order for this to happen, I had to let go off the past, the dead things in my life and my desires.
John (alias) showed up in the office and he vaguely resembled the silhouette of the man in my dream that was "my future husband." He came by my office and held conversations with me. I immediately thought he was a distraction trying to sidetrack me. He had various females around the office gossiping about his intent to only have flings while he was in D.C. because he had a girlfriend back home. I heard these things and I stayed away because I did not have time for drama in my life. He was persistent. He would stop by the secretary's desk pretending to need assistance; but, would be staring into my office. He would watch intensely as I walked past his desk throughout the day. He made it very obvious he was checking me out. One day he had the courage to walk into my office, officially introduce himself and discuss his life story. I was caught off guard but I was impressed with the way he went about trying to gain my attention. I entertained his conversations at work and then he finally asked for my phone number. I gave him the number; but, he played the game and waited two weeks before he called. When he did call, we had very intellectual conversations. He did not seem like the person the women in the office had described. They labeled him as a jokester, immature and a playboy. He was very intelligent; but, one had to see through the disguise. After a few weeks of talking on the phone, we finally started interacting outside the office. I remember the first time we went out to see a movie. It started off horribly because he acted really childish. His actions may have been appealing to younger ladies his age; but, they were not impressive to me. He was racing down the road like a race car driver with his rap music blasting. I kept reminding myself that he was six years younger than me, so I associated his actions with his age. Based on my body language and facial expressions, he realized that things were not going well and he shifted his actions. The rest of the evening was great. We decided to grab something to eat after the movies and head back to my house. At the house, he ate his food off the plate that was intended for my husband. I sat there in amazement because something did not seem right. From the little bit I knew about John, something was not right. I dismissed my gut feeling and assumed he had to be my husband in the dream. When you feel something is not right, please do not dismiss it like I did. I figured since he was leaving in two months that I would just enjoy the fun until then. Little did I know John was really another "Chris" packaged differently. Since I had not let go off my past desires of a husband and embrace the character of a Godly husband, I fell into a self-inflicted trap.
In December 2001, John found out he would be staying in the D.C. area for five more months. This changed my perspective about everything. I really enjoyed our phone conversations in the office and at home. We began spending more time together. I felt like I had known John for a very long time. As time progressed, I just became more deeply entangled in the trap. I developed feelings for John. There was a mutual attraction between us. There was a time that he tried to initiate sexual activity, but I shared my position on premarital sex and my vow to remain celibate until marriage. I wanted to ensure I was living according to God's Word. I also knew that I did not want to enter into a relationship or marriage with someone based solely on sex; but, enter into a relationship based on a spiritual, emotional, and mental connection. I had been celibate for four months at this point and was feeling pretty good about myself.
As we started having more in-depth personal conversations, I asked him why he was still single and he told me he was married. My mouth just dropped because I could not believe I had been hanging out with a married man. He did not have on a ring and there were not any other indicators that he was married. The rumor within the office was that he just had a girlfriend at home. Well, I guess that girlfriend was really his wife. He witnessed my disappointment and continued to explain that he was going through a divorce; which is why he took the business trip to D.C. The first thing that went through my mind was this is the typical response that married men give to single females to string them along for the ride. To my surprise, John was not lying about his divorce; he showed me the paperwork to file for the divorce. I knew from my own divorce that Virginia required a six month separation before you could file for a divorce.
I continued to hang out with John as a friend. I had become so engrossed with work and activities at my church, since the relationship between Chris and I had ended. I started having fun again. John showed me how to play as hard as I worked. I let my hair down and did not focus so hard on the small things. For instance, I had been raised that dishes should not be left in the sink overnight and the house must be in perfect order before you went to bed. Sometimes, I would be exhausted from a long day and I added to the exhaustion by making sure everything was in perfect order. If it was not in perfect order, then I would not have peace and I would even get up after I went to bed to clean my house. Now, I was able to leave things until I was more refreshed or had energy to accomplish the task. It was little areas in my life that became balanced. John complimented me very well and established balance where there was chaos. As for my spiritual walk, he did not do anything to jeopardize my walk with God. If anything, I was jeopardizing my own relationship with God. I was battling within myself to refrain from making sexual advances toward John. I had previously told him I wanted to remain celibate; but, my continual interaction weakened my will to follow through with my vows. In January, I tried to have sex with John; but, he would not indulge in my advances. Afterward, I heard him in the bathroom asking God for forgiveness. My heart dropped; because I was proclaiming to be a Christian, and was attending Bible study and church on a regular basis. I had ignored the unction inside of me to stay away from sexual encounters with him. But, he was the one being convicted of his actions, even though, he proclaimed he did not have the desire to live according to the Word of God. After that night, John found out he was now staying for an additional two months and our relationship changed. We did not spend nearly as much time together as we had in the past.
The week before he was leaving, he told me that he did not do well with goodbyes, so he did not want to hang out with me the last week. This did not make any sense to me; but, I left it alone. I called him the night before he was getting ready to leave and his friend answered his phone, after the answering machine had started recording. His friend told me he was out with another female. John had previously told me he had wanted to be alone the last few days and now he had been caught in a lie. I knew the answering machine had recorded the entire conversation that I had with his friend. I called back later that night to let John have it over the answering machine. The next day he showed up at the office two hours before his plane was leaving in order to explain his actions. His excuse was that his female friend was having some problems and was depressed; so, he was trying to help her by taking her out. I knew this was a lie and I did not want to hear it! I let him leave to go catch his plane without saying anything.
When encountering a situation where the path is unclear, you need to pray about it until you receive direction from God. I first should have taken heed when John said he was not trying to live by the Word of God. This should have been a key indicator. My list was my roadmap to guide me toward a Godly man. I did not know then that I really should have been looking at the fruit he was producing to see if he was really a person that loved God. I assumed that John would eventually change and possess the other qualities he was lacking. A common mistake women make is thinking we can change a man or he will change after marriage. We should not expect a man to change or transform into the man we think they "could" or "should" be. Yes God can change people; but, they have to desire to change for God and themselves. God does not force His will on us and we should not force our will on others. The only people we can change are ourselves. So, what you are seeing in a man should be what you agree to live with for the rest of your life and to love unconditionally until death do you part. In my case, I knew this was not the appointed time; especially, since his divorce was not final. After our ten month stint, I still had strong feelings for John. In addition, I had been focused on the fact that he had eaten on the plate that was for "my husband". I did not realize that the plate was just my act of faith showing I believed God for His promise in my life. Instead, I had fallen again for a man of my desire. It is great to know that even though we make mistakes that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). If we are willing and obedient, God will prepare us to obtain and maintain what He has for us. The next stage for me was the preparation to be a Godly wife. I needed to be pruned and molded to be the wife for the husband God had for me, when the appointed time arrived.
Excerpted from Are You Ready For His Glory? by Tunya Armstead Copyright © 2011 by Tunya Armstead. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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