becoming one: our love story

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6 ESV

 

As I think about the Bible, unity is one of my favorite reoccurring themes. Before departing this Earth, Jesus himself prayed that his people would be one. He was one not only with His father, God, but the Holy Spirit as well. The desire to be one is not something that Jesus alone possesses, but it is a desire that we have been given, too. 

For the last two years, I have had the pleasure of being in relationship with one that my soul loves. His name is Anthony. Although an odd circumstance, I made his acquaintance several years ago while engaging in a disagreement online. The disagreement was very short lived and soon after, he apologized and introduced himself. Toward the end of 2012, we developed a budding friendship. Since we already had many mutual friends, becoming friends was easy. We were both easy going college students who loved God, music, trying new things, Southern life and helping people. Our conversations centered around writing, musical instruments, life experiences, sports and our passions. Talking to each other was always easy and I always felt safe when in his “company.” Something that I immediately noticed was how he kept in contact with me. If I became busy or wrapped up in my work, he would still reach out to me at least once every two weeks just to make sure I was okay. I didn’t take it that these were indicators that he was at all interested in me, but more so displays of genuine Christian friendship. It was nice to get to know someone with no pressure to be in a relationship. He became a confidant and trusted friend.

After I graduated in May 2013 and moved back home for the summer, our conversations continued and we began to learn more about each other. It was then that our mutual friends started to notice our interactions with each other and make mention of them. I was confident that we were purely friends so I ignored their comments. I was certain that there was nothing but friendship between us, so things continued. During the summer, we were actually able to meet in person and interact at a function in North Carolina. Shortly after that summer, I moved to Pennsylvania for work and to be a bit closer to family. Our friendship continued to grow throughout the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014. 

summer 2013

But in the spring of 2014, there was a shift in our friendship. It started when I took a job as a long-term substitute teacher in West Philadelphia that gave me an hour-long commute very early in the morning. Not only was the commute long, but the job was tough. It was demanding in many ways and it took a lot out of me. It was then that Anthony offered to help in any way he could, and we started talking each morning during my early morning commute. I was impressed that he would want to wake up and talk to me at 6:30 am, but again, I thought he was being a good friend. It was in the midst of that job that the Lord started to open my eyes to the possibility that this incredible  man could have feelings for me and vice versa. I prayed, I shared with trusted friends and I continued to observe him. My feelings were confirmed when I realized that he was the only man I wanted to get to know. On May 5th, 2014, we became a couple and have never looked back. He later told me that he had feelings for me well before we began dating. 🙂 Our two long distance years together have been nothing short of amazing. We have learned about patience, grace, forgiveness, generosity, kindness and faith through our relationship. God has used everything we have experienced together to help us become closer to Him and to become better people.

summer 2015, vacation with Anthony’s family


Just a few weeks ago, there was another shift in our relationship. On April 23rd of this year, Anthony gathered some of our closest friends from all over in the most beautiful park in my city and surprised me with a thoughtful proposal where he shared the reasons that he loves me. He got down on one knee, presented me with a lovely ring and asked me to become his wife. With tears, I said “yes.” It is a day that I’ll never forget. I have never felt more special and loved. To know that he worked so hard to put the day together for me was absolutely incredible.

our engagement day, spring 2016


There are so many reasons that I love Anthony. He has a deep love for God and others, integrity, passion, kindness, wisdom, work ethic and he is truly my best friend. He is everything that I asked God for in a husband. I don’t have to ask for his support because he volunteers it. I don’t have to ask for his prayers because he prays for me daily. I don’t have to ask him to honor me because he does it without thinking. I don’t have to wonder if he loves God because his life reflects that he does. Also, he loves my ugly parts and he has shown me that he is here for not only my good days, but my bad ones as well. There are so many things that make him who he is that other people won’t understand, but I thank God that He has given me the ability to understand him and he the ability to understand me. Although I know that we will grow and change as we become older, my prayer for our marriage is that we truly become one, not just with each other, but that we would become one with Christ. Just a few weeks into our engagement, we have already seen how important it will be to cleave to each other as we cleave to Christ. Many things will try to attack, but the God who brought us into each other’s lives will be the same God who holds us together. Our prayer for our marriage is that God would allow others to see the love He has for His church, the beauty in doing things His way through our relationship and that love TRULY wins. 

our engagement day, spring 2016


If you have followed my blog for a while, you see that I am experiencing incredible love and joy, but you also know that I have experienced incredible pain. If you don’t think I’m telling the truth, scroll through the archives and check out some of my posts around 2012-2013 like this one or this one. My life is not perfect and I have certainly not been perfect. But God has redeemed my painful situations and so many of my life’s deserts have become rivers of joy. He has changed situations while changing me and helping me become a better woman. My prayer for everyone who hopes to experiences life oneness with someone, is to not allow your past to make you worse. Don’t become jaded and hopeless; find joy in Jesus. Now that I am engaged, I can truly say that it is amazing, but so was being in a relationship and so was singleness. Every season is what you make it. Paul truly hits this on the head when he says, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” In every situation and season, you can be joyful if you allow Jesus to be the center of your world. I encourage you to seek joy, contend for faith and fight for contentment. They are yours for the taking. 🙂

Thanks for reading, 

Brittany 

faithful is He: Jeida’s story

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! -Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4‬:‭9-10‬ ESV

Friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts. In a dog-eat-dog world, it is a blessing to have people who genuinely love you. I believe, however, that friendship has many levels. My friendship with Jeida is on a special level though: Jeida is my Person.

Continue reading “faithful is He: Jeida’s story”

His Passion and Purity part 2

For this post, Brittany and I have decided to split chapters 2-5. She’s taking 2 and 3 and I have 4-5.

MY Affections

In Chapter 4, Elisabeth Elliot really starts to dig in. Like I said in the initial post, Elisabeth has a way of speaking to matters of the heart effectively and aligning scripture properly. The title of this chapter is “Unruly Affections” and I think a quote that encapsulates this chapter most appropriately is: “As I grew into womanhood and began to learn what was in my heart I saw very clearly that, of all difficult things to rule, none were more so than my will and affections. They were unruly in the extreme….”

I think her admission is not only brave, but profound. Humans are naturally prideful people. None of us are born with a taste for humble pie. We are taught that the things we desire and want in life are good and shouldn’t be scrutinized or judged. Elliot’s admission shows that there is something awry in her desires. I agree. I can honestly admit that my desires and dreams are more rampant that ever. Things I want to do, people to meet, goals, love, blah blah blah. It can feel absolutely consuming at times. Buddhists believe that ALL desire is bad, and one must divorce oneself from Desire completely to have peace and achieve Nirvana (“a state beyond sorrows; a state of freedom from cyclic existence”) I can see how that could appealing, but ultimately it feels too easy. I’m sure it is monstrously difficult to live an ascetic lifestyle at first, but humans are very adaptable beings. The whole thing feels cowardly. “Feeling weighed down by desire? Throw it all away and be a sage!” God has made all things good, but sin taints and ruins. God is calling us to pull these unruly affections in rein, not simply because it’s responsible, but because it brings Him glory as well. It will not be easy:

Bringing anything at all into order – a messy room, a wild horse, a recalcitrant child, involves some expenditure. Time and energy at least are required.

One thing that love does it toil for the object of its devotion. How can we say we love God and not toil to bring these things into submission?

His Control

One of the chief aims of this book is showing readers how to submit their love lives to Christ. God is always in the business of redemption: people, cultures, errethang. It’s always cool to pronounce belief in God, but action follows right belief. In the book Blue Like Jazz (an absolute must read by the way) Donald Miller says “but the trouble with deep belief is that it costs something.” People think it might be absurd to think that the God of Eternity and Infinity is concerned about something as trivial as our love lives. Elisabeth remarked much later in the book “Was He interested in the plight of two college kids?” I know so. God made us all with intrinsic value and worth, and any good father is concerned about the affairs of his children, for nothing is trivial. God desires intimacy with us. God not only wants us, He also wants our desires. Since he loves us, and since love isn’t soft and passive, he wants the absolute best for us and purifies us. His love toils. The book mentions how God sifts the hearts of men. My partner Brittany mentions that this is significant. She gives a baking example to explain.

Well, I think it was significant because of the way sifting works with flour. It separates the fine and course particles. When God sifts our hearts, He’s able to see what’s really there. He sifts hearts to see the real intentions and attitudes it holds and to see where He is in it.

He sifted Abraham’s heart through Issac. Jesus sifted the heart of the young ruler through his possessions. The thing(s) we hold most dear can often became the thing through which God sifts our deceptive hearts; for “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Our abstinence doesn’t make us pure, our unyielding devotion to God does.

His Passion and Purity

This post is a guest post written by my partner for this series Jovontae. To read my post, visit his blog here.

Love and relationships is a topic that can appeal to any and everyone. There are many perspectives and ways of looking at this topic. Going even deeper, one’s worldview also influences the way one looks at love and relationships.

DISCLAIMER: I am a male. I am a virgin. I’ve never been in an official relationship. I am unabashedly christian. I believe that it is difficult, if not incomplete, to discuss and dissect love without God. So, this is the platform which I’ll be basing my stance.

There are a MYRIAD of books in christian culture that discuss this topic. Some are old, some are new. Some are old school, some are hip and trendy. Some from written from a male’s perspective, other from women. You get the idea right? From laypeople, ordained ministers to Doctors, there are hundreds of view to gather information on this topic from. There is but one book that I’ll be discussing: Passion and Purity. Mention this book in most christian circles and you’re guaranteed to elicit some response. It’s that famous.

Passion and Purity is a book written by speaker and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot. The book is half expository half auto-biography. In addition to giving insight and advice from a biblical perspective, she also recalls the process of courting and eventually marrying her college sweetheart Jim Elliot, to flesh out the things she’s explaining.

Some say the book is archaic, that it is too outdated for today’s progressive world. While I understand, I believe this book can be just as effective to a reader as when it first came out. She has a way of speaking to matters of the heart very accurately and bringing scripture to the picture. It’s a rare ability. Another complaint is that it’s just for women. I actually laugh at this postulation. While it is written by a woman, who’s describing her experience, and using stories of women who write to her, I still believe that men can, and should, read this. The example of her ex-husband Jim alone is worth reading about. I’ll be briefly explaining the first chapter.

The first chapter sets up the tone of the book. You learn about Elisabeth in college years. She describes her looks in a very quaint manner. My partner on this Blog series, Brittany, says this is key. Women are expected to care tremendously about their looks. You’ll see that, while she does mention her looks (“like most girls, I wished I were pretty, but it seemed futile to tamper much with what I had been given…) the emphasis is placed on her character and her dynamic relationship with God; which in of itself is counter-cultural. From there she describes the current state of society (“We have Sex and the Single Girl now. We have freedom. We can, in fact, ‘have it all and not get hooked.’ Women can be predators if they want to, as well as men.”). She touches on societal pressures on men: (“Men aren’t men unless they’ve proved it by seducing as many women as possible – or as many men, for we now may choose according to our ‘sexual preference’.”). To be honest my favorite quote from this chapter: “In forfeiting the sanctity by casual, nondiscriminatory ‘making out’ and ‘sleeping around,’ we forfeit something we cannot do well without. There is dullness, monotony, sheer boredom in all of life when virginity and purity are no longer protected and prized. By trying to grab fulfillment everywhere, we find it nowhere.” 

The last statement is a bold one. We live in a pretty hedonistic, do-as-thou-pleases society. We should never judge another on the things they decide to enjoy. Sex is good! Why not right? That’s the thing about pleasure: it is always fleeting. We’re always going to and fro to the next big thing, but it will always elude us. She says that “There is dullness, monotony, sheer boredom in all of life when virginity and purity are no longer protected and prized” I can’t tell you how many “oh, that’s interesting” looks I’ve gotten whenever I mention I’m a virgin. It’s cool (to an extent) for girls to be chaste, but men are validated by their sexual prowess. Since I have none, either I’m gay, scared, or medically impaired. Neither is true. I love God. I realize that some things in life have to be sacred in order to truly enjoy them. Unpopular? Yes. Necessary? I think so. Man has a natural fascination with Mystery. If we eliminate that and make plain what is sacred, all we have left is morbidity and boring, sanitized living. Pleasure and things like that exist to lift up higher to the One from which they come from. (see Anna Stesia by Prince)

Once we see this, we are well on our way to finding the fulfillment these lonely hearts yearn for.