Earlier this week the internet was sent into yet again another frenzy when singer Ciara posted a clip of a sermon by pastor John Gray on her Instagram and twitter pages. The clip was approximately 60 seconds long, followed by the hashtag, #Levelup, which enraged women all over the country, which I personally found absolutely absurd and down- right irritating.
Twitter fingers quickly turned to trigger fingers as Ciara’s followers slammed her for sharing the clip and cosigning the message, which they interpreted as shaming single women. They felt the need to remind her that she has not always been a wife and that her dating record isn’t so spotless. I still don’t know how Future pulled Ciara, but that’s a topic for another day. I will say this, hurt people, always feel the need to hurt other people. By bringing up her past, I knew that the fans weren’t really as happy for the songstress as they like to pretend. Hater’s gonna hate no matter what, but Ciara tried to explain what she meant, emphasizing the importance of learning to love herself and knowing her worth, whether single or married.
Articles have been published on sites such as The Root, The Grio, and The Huffington Post, just to name a few, written by women expressing their disdain for yet another man preaching from the pulpit, telling women how to live and behave in order to change their status from Ms. to Mrs. With the #metoo movement in full swing and men in high places falling from grace left and right due to sexual misconduct, this was the last thing women wanted to hear. But in all of their anger, they missed a very important message.
In the clip, Gray began his message by saying it was for the women who desired to one day be married. He didn’t say that all women need to be married, or that all women even desire to be wives. So again, if you ain’t trying to be a wife, then this message isn’t for you. If you’re happy being single, or being a lifelong girlfriend, then do you boo. Do what makes you happy and to hell with anyone that says otherwise. But for those of you like myself, that do desire to be married one day, then you just may want to listen up.
In the video, Gray says: ‘You’re not a wife when I marry you, you’re a wife when I find you. You become my wife when I marry you. But a wife is not the presence of a ring, it’s the presence of your character. Too many women want to be married, but you’re walking in the spirit of girlfriend.’
<Insert internet riot here>
To be honest, I’m not very familiar with Gray or his teachings, but I do like Ciara. So, in her defense, I get why she felt moved to share it with followers. This particular message resonated with me because I had a very similar conversation with God a few years ago. I was feeling bold and told Him that I was ready to meet my husband and God simply replied, “Obedience.” I asked Him what He meant, to which he explained that I needed to start preparing for this mate that I so boldly requested. And if women actually stopped to listen to Gray’s message, they’d hear very same advice.
People prepare for jobs that they may never get, schools that they may never attend, and anything else they feel is important in life that they want to accomplish. But how many women who desire to be married, prepare for marriage before walking down the aisle or even meeting their future husbands? How many use their season of singleness to get counseling to heal from past relationships, to grow in patience, strengthening their faith, learning how to deal with conflict and to resolve issues in an effective manner? Discovering who they are and what their purpose is in life so that they will know who complements them as a partner is extremely important. I, like Ciara, had to level up when it came to the way I saw myself, the men that I allowed to take up space and time in my life, as well as truly pursing my purpose.
Marriage takes work, and the better prepared you are before you meet Mr. Right, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the challenges that will arise in your marriage. And for those of you rolling your eyes at me asking why aren’t preachers telling men to prepare for marriage, I promise you that the men who do want to be married, are doing the work. They are focused on building careers, preparing their legacy, and buying houses for their future wives to turn into homes. And ladies, I’m not telling you all to wait to live until you find a husband. I’m saying quite the opposite. Live life to fullest, and work on becoming the best version of yourself, because someone out there is truly going to love you, flaws and all. And if you’re wondering what happens if you do the work but what if the man never comes, I’m going to tell you what my counselor told me. God keeps His promises, and that faith without works is dead. If you’re wondering how my work is coming along, I’m happy to tell you that in December of 2017, I had a premiere for my first short film that I wrote in Atlanta, and that I’m currently in one of the healthiest relationships I’ve been in for quite some time. So, do the work all the while trusting and believing that your husband is coming as fast as he can, that he will probably appear when you least expect it, and when you’re most prepared.
As always, this is from my heart to yours.