Chari had the bad habit of knocking while attempting to open Jala’s apartment door.
“Jala! You knew if you didn’t answer the phone I’d be coming over.” She knocked again impatiently and twisted the doorknob.
Eventually, Jala came to the door not saying a word. Chari came in with food in hand and proceeded to the kitchen counter to share it out.
“I stopped by benevolence after work, and they said you didn’t come by…Sunday you slipped out just before church ended. What’s going on, Jala?”
“I’m just trying to lay low and get these folks off my back. Ever since the gas station explosion and Ephraim helped me out of the building, I can’t get these people off my back! I wouldn’t be surprised if they were planning our wedding.”
“You take things too seriously, Jala. I would not care one iota if it were me. No! None of them would have anything to say to me. I would play with them and give them something to talk about when I turn my back.”
Chari laughed as she created scenarios to provoke the nosy church folks.
The two friends sat eating at Jala’s small round dining table. A flowery pendant light hung just above their heads. Chari knew her favourite Chinese dishes and sought to use food to get pass Jala’s walls. Canton Kitchen served the best kung pao chicken and noodles and they were near Jala’s apartment.
“On a serious note, though Jala, I think you are still reacting to the embarrassing situation you went through with Jonathan almost four years ago.”
“Oh no, you don’t! Chari, is that what you’ve come here for, to drag up my past and make me a counselling case?”
“Relax! We’ve been best friends longer than you and I can remember, so I think I should be able to point out a little trauma in my bestie’s life. Jonathon was a colossal mess! With his high tenor voice and pretentiousness, he had half the ladies in the church convinced he only had eyes for them. He sounds like one of the beasts in Revelation with eyes everywhere. He lured you into his web!”
“Ok, I was an idiot!
“No way! You’ve got to let that go and forgive yourself. The guy was like Solomon without the wisdom. Many women fell for him.”
“Why couldn’t I see that he was not interested in me? I was an idiot! A man who does not want to be seen in public with you, ignores you at church but calls you the moment you reach home to express his undying love, should raise many red flags. But, not to me he didn’t. I was smitten despite your caution. Well, no need to repeat that situation! I’ll make sure of that.”
“Girl, at the sound of things, you are not about to let any other man in.”
“Look at you! You’re a genius!” exclaimed Jala finally laughing. She felt empowered and in control.
“Oh, speaking of not letting another man in…guess who I saw when I stopped by the benevolence room? Ephraim. He was asking me for you.”
“Pastor Pruit must have let him in to work. I was so into my selfish slump I didn’t remember I was supposed to open up for him.
Jala suddenly stopped and looked at her friend. “You weren’t thinking that I had interest in Ephraim too?”
“Oh, no!” snapped Chari with both hands in the air. “I would never assume that you would even consider a handsome, mannerly carpenter of a man! No doubt he has no degree!”
Chari continued with great sarcasm. “After all, of what use is a man like that!”
“Firstly, I don’t know a thing about him.
“Secondly, even if did, I would not like to be in a relationship.
Thirdly, I could not take a carpenter home to meet my mom! So, let that set your mind at ease.”
“Jala, I knew all your numbers from one to three already. We’ve been here many times. I know…he’s a pleasant guy though.”
“Yea, I agree.”
“By the way, I gave him your number.”
“You said he was a nice guy! He wanted to check up on you and find out how your ankle was doing. He said from he dropped you off that night he never heard another word from you even though he gave you his number for you to call if you needed help.
“Precisely, I didn’t need help! I still don’t!”
“Ooooo, so edgy Jala!”
Jala sighs and admitted that poor Ephraim was not deserving of this harshness nor this situation in which he was involuntarily placed.
“To be honest, Jala, Ephraim is a wonderful human and we had a great time chatting. I can see us being good friends.”
“Wow, that’s big of you! We know he wouldn’t make it to the husband list because he’s a carpenter. Still, I’m impressed that he is worthy of friendship.”
There’s a knock on the door and Chari wastes no time parting Jala’s damask patterned curtains to see who’s outside.
“Speaking of forever friend zone,” she whispered loudly to Jala. “Hello Abe!”
Jala dramatically flung the door open freezing in a grinning pose.
“Oh, I forgot you live here. Hi Jala,” he said, passing Chari to hug Jala.
“Hey Abe. Why didn’t you tell me you were coming by?”
“Jala, you don’t answer your phone and besides, you may say no. What are friends for!”
“Indeed, what are some friends for?” chimed Chari looking at Abe. Their friendship has been much like this.
“So where is your new friend, Jala?” inquired Abe, who is known for his blunt and unfiltered communication.
“You know about Ephraim too?”
“Of course, not because I play the drums mean I don’t hear what’s going on. I hear that you and him have been an item for some time now. I’m just wondering how I didn’t hear about him as your dear friend who you love, by the way!”
“Here we go!” shouted Jala jumping from her chair.
Chari’s eyes opened wide. “Do tell Abe!”
“Do tell what! You already know the truth. I met the guy moments before the gas station explosion. That’s what you get when you go to a small church and everybody knows everybody and tries to marry you to anybody!”
“What does this remind you of? This was what happened when Jonathan was found out after leading all these young ladies on…including our dear Jala,” added Abe.”
“That is what it feels like! People nosing into my business and assuming a lot. That’s why I keep myself to myself. I hope God gives me a husband who is from a different church!
No one calls to find out the truth but continues to talk and build lies.”
As if on cue, Jala’s phone rings.
“It’s condescending Connie from core.
“Hi Connie, how are you?”
“Hi Jala, I didn’t see you at core yesterday so I just call to check on you.”
“Actually Connie, I’ve been missing core for almost a month, but thanks for calling I’m fine.
Yes, I did hurt my ankle, but the swelling went down.”
Yes…It was lovely of the gentleman to help.”
Both Chari and Abe were laughing uncontrollably at Jala, who was trying to maintain her cool.
No soon as Jala came off the phone with eyes rolling. It rang again.
“Let me answer her,” shouted Chari.
Jala looked down at her phone wondering who was calling.
“Let me answer!” Chari snatched the phone from Jala.
“You’ve reached the number of Jala McKnight, how can I help you?”
“Oh no! Just a minute.”
She motioned for Jala to get to the phone quickly while Abe whispered, “Who is it?”
The story began in Part 1 of the Church Girl Series. Look out for Part 3 soon. Find out how Jala confronts her deep rooted issues…including the meddling saints.
For the many women who are disappointed in your honest and rightful quest to identify husband material, I’d like to do my best to help you. Your desire is noble and warranted. I understand that you have worked on yourself and have sought to elevate your educational and skill level. You have put yourself together well and have been looking for the kind of man that would match you. He would love you like you deserve to be loved and in freedom you would give the love that you are endowed with in your heart. Somehow, it has been an extreme challenge to find that worthy candidate since those who have the moral stance seem to be void of the financial stamina to impress you. The well-educated men seem to consider themselves the one to be chased and cherished – a gross error! All is not lost, but you will need uncommon wisdom to navigate these waters. Honestly, you may not have the grit for what I’m about to tell you. If you consider yourself a magnet for wisdom, read on!
Fact is that we do not have a shortage of men in the world. In fact, men have a slight lead over women. So what is the problem? Enter a lecture room of a college or university and take a count of females verses male. Enter a church and do the same. You’re getting the picture. Many changes have occurred in society over the years including more fathers being out of the home, school systems structured more towards the learning style of girls and a culture that celebrate male irresponsibility. These are not excuses for men, but look around and ask the questions. As a mother of boys I have had to stand up for them and affirm them in our schools system. Without a strong family base they would have been a statistic!
If you are looking for males at your educational, financial, and spiritual level, the field narrows significantly. Out of those who are educated and financially stable, how many will be godly and purpose driven along with the other character traits that you have on that must-have list for ‘husband material?’
Are you ready for sound advice?
There are many reasons why a woman will not find “husband material,” beyond just a scarceness of the man she has described on her list.
One of the reasons is understanding from the Marriage Maker God that you are the treasure and he is the treasure seeker. Many women have done the seeking and the man has nothing to do. He is then feted and pampered while she does all the work to convince him that she is what he wants. He is still wired to chase, so he continues to look for who to chase. Sis, you have thrown your precious pearls at one who does not know the value of them. When men see what or who they want, they will make chase. Stop giving of yourself indiscriminately with no reciprocal action. You have reserved nothing! So, you are bankrupt after the experience.
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.” Prov 18:22
What’s stated in paragraph one should cause you to consider the pool of men you’re choosing from. Does that financial and educational banner which is held high over your head guarantee you success in marriage? What if you have to think outside of that box of requirements and consider the men who are not yet made but are in the making? Some are at a disadvantage for a plethora of reasons. Consider if you may need to cut brothers some slack, who are in the making stage, possessing great qualities and working on actualizing their vision. There are some who will need to have a woman who is a destiny helper to speak into their potential and help position them for greatness. Do you resent the thought of being a part of his process? Having a good job does not mean that the man has arrived. That can change quickly! Who is he without that job?
God gave Adam a help meet, “ezer kenedgo.” The Hebrew word ‘ezer’ means to rescue or save, to be strong, while ‘kenedgo’ means suitable. This suitable woman comes alongside him with strength that delivers him to the place of greatness. She is not just a passive helper but a strong force. Together they compliment each other and are powerful.
With the constructs of our society, many men would love to find such a woman. One who does not look down her nose at him while he challenges his mountain. We must note that many men are not even trying to progress and will always speak of a dream but will only roll over and sleep some more. Our focus is on the other who are pushing but need more force. Find the one who your force matches, whether he is above, beside or beneath your social status, he will need you.
I remember being annoyed with my husband one year into marriage because of his lack of social graces. “You should know that, though!” I exclaimed. He responded, “Who would have taught me?” I was floored! It was true! Who would have taught this Jamaican man about social graces and the softer side of life. I was humbled and gently accepted my role. He taught me and I taught him and together we grew.
What if you approached your relationship like that? Both will bring something to the table that the other does not have. Together iron will sharpen iron. A relationship is to be developed and nurtured over time. Consistent mutual affections and sacrifice indicates progress.
We’ve just scratched the surface of this topic.