Welcome to another In My Chambers Interview with Tanika.
In this blog, Tanika speaks to Heather Christie a young professional woman who met her now fiance on-line.
Tanika: Although we initially met in 2012 at my Single Ready and Waiting book launch, I hadn’t gotten the chance to learn more about you until recently. You shared a bit about your rocky past and how you came to a fork in the road, where you had to make a choice: LIFE or DEATH, spiritually speaking. Can you tell us more about that?
Well, I although I did come from a Christian household, I was not a christian by any means. I chose to be the exact opposite, and I loved it! I was outspoken about the different views and perspectives I had. I believed the Bible to be full of contradictions. Growing up in a strict Christian home that emphasized rules and regulations really just pushed me the opposite direction. It was all just too many rules and there really seemed to be very little explanation for why. Why there were so many rules, and why I needed to adhere to them to be accepted by this “God” that was so loving and asked us to come as we are.
At a very early age I began to hang out with the wrong crowd and by the age of 13 I had already been smoking cigarettes for 4 years and had just started smoking weed and drinking alcohol on a very regularly basis (as in all day/ everyday). In the summer of 2001 I had a near fatal drug overdose that almost landed me in a cemetery. As my life continued to spiral out of control, I began to realize I needed to make some changes in my life.
That year with support from my parents and family I made the decision to go to Freedom Village USA. A residential home for troubled teenagers in the US. After being there for 6 mnths I made the first step toward my new life.
I accepted Christ.
After that point, life has definitely had its share of ups and downs, but my relationship with Christ is what allows me to remain consistent.
Tanika: What advice would you give to young girls who have chosen to live a life of rebellion against their parents, teachers, God?
My advice would be to seek Christ! not religion! not religiosity! not denominational-ism!
It gets very difficult to look beyond all of that stuff. It can be a challenge to look beyond all the rules and religion to find relationship, but believe me there is a STARK difference between the two. My advice would be to seek out a relationship with God. (The Holy Spirit will bring each of us into subjection as he stretches our capacity and as we grow closer to him. The reality is… as we grow closer to him, we grow farther away from the things that separate us from him).
Tanika: Amen. God truly came to give us life and life more abundantly! Talking about the abundant life, I see that love is in the air. Now, before you share more on that lets go back to the day you came out to the Single, Ready and Waiting book launch in 2012. Tell me, were you Single and Ready? Or Single and Heavy? (as in emotionally heavy)
Lol, Well it was actually after Sunday morning service just before the launch. I was going to Jamaica in two days so unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the “official” launch. However, when I bought the book I had never met you. The title caught my attention because I was in the midst of ending a 4 and a half year relationship. I don’t think I would say I was single and heavy, but I would say single and in transition, with ready potential. When I got the book I was setting myself up to fully transition from the place I was, to the place I wanted to be.
Tanika: The SRW definition of being truly single is “Whole Without Holes.” Would you say that you were truly single?
Hmmm.. this is a good one. I was whole and have been whole for a long time. I was never the type to look for completion or affirmation in men or my relationships with them. However, after that last relationship I needed to heal before I was ready to love again. I needed to allow myself to really go through the process. I was scared to death of the process if I’m going to be completely honest. I was scared of the pain. However, the process of healing is vital in order to move on and move forward. I had to forgive my ex. I had to forgive him even though he didn’t apologize. Hmm… now we’re getting deep! I’ll save the rest for the next answer though.
Tanika: How did the Single Ready and Waiting book help you?
I actually decided that I would start reading the book on my way to Jamaica. So I started reading on the plane. I read it all the way through, and then felt like I wanted to read it again… so I did. I needed to open myself up to forgive. Hearing Tanika’s testimony about her process really helped me to realize that it’s been done! So if it’s been done then I can do this! I took the time to pray about it as well. It wasn’t just the book. It was the testimony enclosed on the pages of the book in conjunction with prayer and a willingness to move forward. I was scared to give God this particular part of my life. I gave and trusted him with eeeeverything else. I gave him my vocational goals, my business, my body, mind, and spirit… but this one area.
I mean what if I ended up with someone I didn’t like? or what if it was just the wrong guy? I mean if I really surrendered this area over to God, then it would mean I have no control. I think the idea of having no control was what scared me the MOST! What if he wasn’t perfect?!?! What if I didn’t like him?!?!
What I found in the book was encouragement to let go and let God, because HE always has our best interest at heart.
Tanika: Did you ever think that you would love again? Meet someone so soon after letting go?
Simply put… No. I actually thought that I couldn’t love again. I felt like I had expended all that I had in that last relationship. I honestly felt like I just didn’t have it to give! Even if I did meet the right guy, I just felt like emotionally bankrupt.
Mike and I met on Christian Mingle. Joining Christian Mingle was apart of my transition. I can honestly say, that when I joined I was ready and emotionally healed enough to re-enter the dating world. I was ready to meet someone like-minded.
Tanika: Taking the time to heal from past hurts and becoming emotionally whole before entering another relationship is always the way to go. Good for you! Now, from my own personal undercover experience on Plenty of Fish, I know that many men are out there a-fishing:) so what was it about Michael that separated him from all of the rest?
It was his transparency, patience and his consistency that really separated Mike from the rest. I did chat with quite a few men that initiated conversations with me. However, I knew what I was looking for, so I also eliminated many of the prospects based on them not meeting the criteria. Consistency and transparency were extremely important to me! God knew that Mike would also need patience to handle me -lol
He knew exactly what I needed, all HE needed from me was to trust HIM. Mike isn’t perfect, and neither am I… But we’re perfect for each other!
Tanika: What did you do differently in this relationship than your last?
So many things! Firstly my last relationship was unequally yolked. The man I was in a relationship with was not a Christian. (I know… I can hear the Mmmmms… You would think I would have known better, and I did). So even before meeting Mike, I prayed for a man that Loves the Lord. I prayed whoever this man may be, that he would love the Lord even more than he loved me. I know that loving me is important, but it’s his commitment to Christ that would keep him on track and keep him accountable. Now, in this relationship we decided to put God 1st in every aspect. We made HIM the centre of our union. We also set boundaries. Since we started courting we started to have devotions together at 5:45am. It’s how we start our day every day!
We also set boundaries when it came to sex. We wanted to be right before God and we wanted HIM to bless our relationship. We know that mistakes happen, but we just wanted to try our best to avoid it if we could. That doesn’t mean that we were overly ridiculous about it either. We were realistic, mature and understood where each of us were at. We drew a line in the sand so to speak… and as opposed to trying to see how close we can get before crossing it, we actually did the opposite. I think this is important for couples to know… We actually tried to stay far away from it. We didn’t want to tempt each other. We know we are getting married, so it’s inevitable that we will be able to fully enjoy each other. BUT the goal was to wait, the key is that we were both on the same page with that goal. This has helped us to really prioritize things within the relationship. Although physical affection is apart of it, there is absolutely no confusion when it comes to prioritizing aspects of our relationship.
Tanika: How long after meeting Michael did he propose?
Mike proposed exactly 1 year after we met to the day! Nov.29th 2013 … We were having some pictures taken with his daughter, himself, and I. In the middle of the photo shoot I turned my back for about 2min. to make his daughter comfortable on a chair in the studio. When I turned around to take some more pictures with him… he was down on one knee with the box in hand. I knew he was gong to propose, and I am pretty hard to surprise, but he really got me!
Tanika: Way to go Mike!! The SRW RULE is 3 Years or Less.
Michael has a daughter. Did you ever think you would be with someone who had a child? Was this ever a challenge in your mind. If so, how did you get over this hurdle.
Well, almost every man that I have dated has had a child, so it was not really a transition. Now marrying someone with a child is a bit different. It was and continues to be a transition, because I actually have a daughter now. Thankfully Mike has been so amazing! He has been so understanding and supportive. He is not pushy or presumptuous and has been so patient with me in this transition. So it’s been going well!
Tanika: Now you are ready to walk down the aisle to become Mrs. Morris in a few months. Where is the wedding going to be?
Our wedding is going to be at the Sandals Grande Riviera in Jamaica! I am extremely excited!!!! It has been such an amazing journey! All to think that if I didn’t let go of what I was holding onto just 2 short years ago, I wouldn’t have been ready for what God had waiting.
Tanika: Any last words to the SRW ladies who are looking for love on line?
It’s important to fall in love with you first! ( I know I can hear people rolling their eyes. So cliche, but I promise sooo true!) It’s important to love spending time with yourself! To take yourself out on dates and not feel awkward. Once you can enjoy spending time alone, it’s much easier for someone else to enjoy spending time with you. I think online dating is a great option. Especially for the decisive women who don’t like to waste time. I would say have fun with it, don’t make it an uptight awkward experience, and let God lead. Christian Mingle was a great vehicle, but ultimately, God was the one who predestined our course.
Tanika: Thank you Heather for sharing with my SRW Community. All the best to you and your new family! SRW readers I hope you were blessed by this interview. Feel free to Tweet it, like it:)
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“God Has A Master Plan With Your Name On It!” Tanika
This has been another In My Chambers Blog Interview.©