Ebonee and Delia (we) are soul sisters. There is no other way to put it. It would seem like we even planned to name our blogs (EboneeSpeaks.com & DeliaSpeaks.com) and social media handles (@EboneeSpeaks & @DeliaSpeaks) similarly, but we did not. It’s completely a God thing. As Ebonee so aptly put it, “Our spirits are kindred. When one season in your life begins or ends, I know a similar season is right around my corner. I just brace myself and get ready.”
(Ebonee and Delia, Summer 2013)
Our hope is that you can hear each of our voices and the harmony of two. Our stories are our own, but they come from one heart. We have a shared desire, and that is to point you to the One who is the eternal lover of our souls. We’ve both had countless conversations with girlfriends, and what we’ve found is that every young woman comes to a place along her journey where she has to make some tough decisions about who she is and what she wants (not in a relationship, but period). For the young Christian woman, we call this place “surrender.” There is not a formula to it. Each path is tailor-made, and leads to peace, joy and unspeakable, unconditional love. Here’s a snippet from our journeys toward allowing God to love us whole.
E: One night, I found myself alone in my studio apartment in L.A. God had been relentlessly pursuing my heart, but I hadn’t quieted my thoughts long enough to know what that really meant. That night, however, it was just God and I. No distractions or excuses. Nothing “mystical” happened. My heart finally surrendered to whatever work He wanted to do in me. Reading blogs, social media posts and books from young, Christian women left me convicted and confused as I compared my walk to theirs. Trying to fix and fill whatever voids I had left me exhausted and ashamed that I could be SO lonely and desperate. I thought I had done most things right, but couldn’t figure out why life wasn’t working the way I knew it could. I cried out to God on my studio apartment floor (as I had half-heartedly done before) and asked Him to help me. To be honest, I don’t know if I knew exactly what I needed help with, but I knew my heart was all over the place searching for agape (unconditional love) with an eros (romantic love) mentality. How I got to that night, you ask? At some point, I just let my guard down.
For me, wholeness was a five-year process. Am I perfect today? Heck no. Am I a MUCH better version of myself? Absolutely. Don’t let the amount of time discourage you and make you think your single life is doomed to be difficult and boring. Not true at all. We have the beautiful opportunity to spend the rest of our lives saying “yes” to God and becoming whole and new each day.
Some years ago, I took a note from Heather Lindsey’s book and began “dating” God. Before you think I’m weird, hear me out. I knew I was putting a tremendous amount of time and energy into finding my husband. I figured that if I put that same effort toward my relationship with God, I’d be in a much better place overall. How did I date God? I began staying home more, spending nights alone with Him. It wasn’t always in Bible study. Sometimes we watched a movie, ate dinner or just lay in bed doing nothing but talking and laughing. In addition, I busied myself in the things of God. I was in every church service and Bible study I could find, immersing myself in Him so there was no time for distractions. To say that God chivalrously courted me would be an understatement to the incredible heart surgery He performed…and continues to perform as I allow His perfect love to cleanse and heal me every, single day.
D: Ebonee and I often talked about how she “dated” God. I sent her a text on Friday, which lead us down this particular rabbit trail:
“You know you said you were in a season where you ‘dated’ God (aka, I took that to mean that you learned to let God love you and let his love into your life). I feel like I’m at that place. It’s really nice.”
The past season in my life has been definitely marked by God loving me whole. In fact, I hardly recognize myself sometimes, because I did not know the depths of my holey-ness until God began to fill my soul with wholiness.
I have a confession to make: I really felt like I had to be perfect for somebody (anybody) to love me. I felt like my “daddy issues” were something that had marked me like there was a neon sign on my forehead that said, “Danger! Daddy Issues!” I thought I’d never be able to be healed of that “mark.” I didn’t realize that I couldn’t be more wrong.
Letting God love me—and letting that love seep into the depths of my soul—has been a process. Think of the rhythm of leaky faucet. Because the truth is, I want to be perfect. The lie that I fight to not believe is the one that I need to be perfect in order for anyone to love me. It is simply not true.
Like Ebonee, one of my favorite things to do is to spend time doing the things I love, but with an awareness of God’s presence. Whether that being taking myself out to my favorite pho or sushi restaurant or traveling, I am on mission to not only do great things, but to do great things with God.
If you’ve been looking for love in all the WRONG places: men, job, wealth, friends, fun, material things, food, drugs, whatever. Here’s our advice for how to find it in all the RIGHT places:
1. Surrender to God and let him love you whole. If you don’t know what that means or how to do it, ask Him.
2. Never settle for anything less than God’s best. This is not just in terms of relationships (dating or otherwise) but is true in life in general. If you allow God to love you right, you’ll know when the right man/thing/opportunity comes along. The pursuit will look so familiar!
3. Be content in your singleness. Never allow someone else’s opinion of your dating life/relationship status impact your joy. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” [Eleanor Roosevelt] Really, don’t give anyone that control in your life. You are named and the One whom matters the most knows you and sees you.
4. Love yourself and like yourself. Here’s one of Ebonee’s blogs on relationships. It speaks to the very heart of this matter. Also, check out Ebonee’s Hangin’ Up The Cape campaign here where you can connect with other women who are on the same journey toward loving and liking themselves, flaws and all.
5. Busy yourself in the things of God by being obedient to His purpose and plan for your life. For the most part, your time/money/resources are your own. Use them for good! Not only should you know who you are, like who you are, but you should also know what you’re about in this life. You may not always know what the steps are to that purpose, but knowing you have one gives you grace that sustains.
Our Concluding Thoughts:
E: As I am newly in a relationship, I feel qualified to say that it does not solve your heart issues. If anything, it amplifies them. If you were lonely before he came along, his absence will dig into that loneliness void so deep you can hardly stand it. What makes a relationship healthy and God-honoring is not that it’s perfect and he’s perfect and you’re perfect together…psh! It works because it involves two whole people sharing the love they experience in Christ Jesus. Hear this: love is an action that requires work. Not ready to work? It’s okay, sis. Wear that singleness like a crown. Personally, I still don’t know much about finding love. All I know is that God sends reminders that He sees, cares about and loves us inconceivably (oftentimes through other people). If that love includes a ring and a stroller, sobeit. If it doesn’t, know that you are perfectly validated and complete in Him.
D: I think it’s important that you know that I’m not writing this as someone who is closing this chapter of “singleness” in my life. The journey continues. This isn’t an episode of the Brady Bunch where everything ends with a neat little bow. This is real life– MY real life. I hope that you see I’m just a 20-something woman doing the best I can… being me. It sounds simpler than it feels sometimes, but it really is a simple concept. I can honestly say that I am the best me that I have ever been. My hope is that I will continue to grow more and more into the best me that I can be. Even if I were to never get married, I would really be okay, because my identity is rooted in something (and Someone) so much greater. Whether that be with a husband or not, I am steadfast in this desire. So, when I look for the ways to love, rather than to be loved, I seem to find love aplenty in all of the right places.
In the Spirit of Wholeness,
Ebonee and Delia