This faith thing isn’t easy, but when followed, it could open one’s life up to some cool people, adventurous places, and unexpected positions, but not without some serious awkwardness, apprehension and second guessing along the way. Well, maybe, it’s just me? Recently, I interviewed one of my favorite couples, the Mosley’s, to get their take on faith + favor. Oh, and how being engaged might be strongly connected to both.
When I arrived at the Mosley’s comfy crib (home), I didn’t have a set agenda per se. However, I did know that my mind was still reeling over this whole concept of encouraging women (& girls) to get more “engaged” with themselves…mentally, physically and spiritually. In the back of my mind, I was thinking: How can the Mosleys contribute to this “I’m Engaged” discussion?
Armond and I were friends prior to his nuptials to Nneka, so I was hoping he and his wife could shed some light on engaging oneself and one’s faith, prior to and after marriage. Gratefully, we all stepped out on faith to see where this interview would take us…
After getting cozy on the carpet, I asked Armond (Nneka left us to chat) to read, 1-2-3 Women Respond to How Getting Engaged is a Life Changer. From there, we began to dialogue about the significance of getting engaged, how it can strengthen one’s faith, focus, and surprisingly, how the concept of getting “engaged” can extend beyond women to men as well. Armond started the discussion by admitting…
“Being engaged at points in my life was unattractive and a lot of the women that you thought were engaged weren’t, they were like frauds.”
Q: What specifically was unattractive about being engaged?
A. Being engaged back then was unattractive to me because I didn’t know many people that were and those that were engaging the faith, oftentimes appeared to have less “fun” with life. It seemed boring and uninteresting at face value. I didn’t want to “not fit in” with the many friendships I had built over the years. So, I knew that being fully engaged would cost me something and I wasn’t sure that I was willing to pay the price.
Q. Are you saying that some women aren’t as engaged as they pretend to be or that maybe we’re just engaging the wrong things?
A: It’s interesting, I think a lot of the things that women think would do it or draw men in, well (pause) –most of the bait you use to draw a man in isn’t probably the same bait you use to draw an “engaged” man in. If you’re an engaged man, you want the future mother of your children or your wife to be a little more modest, but modesty isn’t sold. Like even getting engaged in your career, personally I don’t care about that, like that wouldn’t impress me to marry somebody because they’re a doctor or a lawyer, that would have no bearing because as a man I feel like it’s my job to take care of you. Matter of fact, I’d prefer you to be a little more chill because somebody’s gotta make a sacrifice. How are we going to start a family?
I don’t think a lot of people are willing to give up their careers or trade off.
Q. Yes, career engagement is huge. We can get lured into thinking, what we do is who we are. I know you value your wife’s business, so you’re not proposing that women shouldn’t work. Are you suggesting that some women might be misled in what’s actually motivating them (us) to be career driven?
A. Man, I’ve got friends right now, some women who wanted to be in a relationship really really bad, but it didn’t happen, so they just got really engaged in their career. Then they say ridiculous stuff like, “Oh well, if he doesn’t make six figures then I…” that’s ridiculous. The very thing they wanted so badly continues to get further and further away, the more engaged in their career they get. So, they think it’s setting them up for future success, but it’s like actually diametrically opposed.
Q: Okay, so what motivated you to get engaged with the faith, God, your purpose? What caused the shift?
A. Well, I think it’s just getting to that point, kinda like in your blog where you feel like you’re unfulfilled, so you know you gotta do something different. If you have any connection to God, you feel like, that’s a good place to start to get engaged. Then as you get more engaged, things start to fall off and people start to fall away. Once I did shift, I think a lot of the superfluous, random or bogus
relationships, whether it be male friends or female friends that stuff got real obvious, real quick, like,– “So, why do we hang out again if you’re not adding to me?!”
Q. Did your lens or perspective change?
A. Yes, you do have a different lens and a different perspective. You’re basically going counter to society. So, as a male, you’re not hunting as much. You’re kinda just falling back and trying to immerse yourself. The more you focus on God, the more He’s allowed to do His thing, this is what I’ve found to be true.
Being engaged allows you to not be anxious (Philippians 4:6), go figure?!…for anything. Therefore, your faith in God increases. Also, I think an engaged dude wants to get married too. I don’t think cats are just walking around, like “I want to be single for the rest of my life?!” But, the question is: Are you willing to allow God to reveal that person to you or are you going to just go out there and grab the first person you can find?
Q: What was hard or difficult about being more engaged?
A: Finding a counterpart that was engaged too. Again, so (pause) I think engagement, maybe it has different meanings to different people? For example, if being engaged to you means that you study the Word everyday, then when you find someone and the first time you try to pull out the Bible, like, “Hey, let’s read the Bible tonight?” and she’s like, “What?! Nah–that’s a little too serious!” –So, it’s like, “Is it?!” But, that individual, that wo/man might think that s/he’s really engaged, but you like upped the ante. So, I think sometimes that was hard, just trying to find people on the same page.
Also, I think as a guy, blocking out the white noise of your friends because when you’re engaged they look at you like you’re a religious zealot. “Like yo! –you’re wilding out, you’re doing the most!!”
It can get lonely being engaged.
You begin to think, is all this really called for? So, fighting those internal demons of loneliness and feeling like you’re an odd ball. That probably was the hardest part for me. It’ll make you question, if it’s worth it!? And, what’s it worth? It’s not like there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, necessarily. Instead, it’s gold coins all along the way, but if you’re unwilling to celebrate and embrace each moment along the way, you could easily get disgruntled and frustrated with the process and give up.
Q. So, what are the benefits to being engaged?
A. One benefit is confidence that you are living your purpose. So, I think to die while engaged could be a beautiful thing, in the sense of knowing that you did what you were created to do. I do think there’s always that worry of “Did I do what I was put on this earth to do?”
Another thing, when I’m really engaged, I’m in a zone and I know it.
If you’ve ever been in that “zone!?” You know it. There’s also peace that comes with being engaged, and actually (he pauses) I think there is a pot of gold, but it can be filled with something else, –something totally different. Essentially though, even after you get more engaged, there’s still a journey to be had…
Nneka joined in to take pictures & contributed to the interview…
As Nneka got adjusted to take pictures, it hit me, –their twins are a key benefit or result of them getting engaged (figuratively and literally), but Armond wisely states, “But, see you don’t know that they come?!”
Basically, as you become more engaged with you and God’s purpose for your life, you’re not really sure what all comes with being engaged. Will you be married, have children, travel the world? It’s a faith thing and it was faith that pulled the Mosleys through. Yes, they believed they would have children, but they talked candidly about their challenges with getting pregnant, and how their “pot of gold” wasn’t filled in the way and in the timing in which they expected.
Nneka shared with us a word she received earlier that day…
“The difference in your today and tomorrow is your faith.” -Anonymous
Frustrations will come when your faith, your being engaged doesn’t grant you the results you think it should…
The Mosleys expressed their frustrations surrounding their complications with getting pregnant. Armond was like, “Yo God we’ve been engaged, you’re supposed to give us everything we want, but when that thing ain’t coming? You’re like, what’s the point?!”
Nneka admits that she was thinking, What if it never happens? What if it’s not God’s will for us to have biological children? Can you see how trying to walk in faith can get real frustrating? In the end, everything worked out for them, just as they believed it would, but there were times when their inability to see as God sees was unnerving.
Q. As humans we want the full picture before we take the leap of faith. Why do you think many of us struggle with faith?
A: The way many of us are raised is counterintuitive to God’s plan. You’re taught to set goals, everything is about planning. Even at an early age, you’re taught that if I put a plan together and if I execute that plan, then I’ll get what I want. So you could very well believe, if you go to church and read the Bible, why wouldn’t you be blessed immeasurably? However, when you’re not, you’re like, something is off with this equation.
What I’m learning is God’s economy is different than ours.
N: I think it’s just hard to see past not knowing how’s it going to turn out. I also think it’s just kinda hard to see past, I can’t do it. Really, some things we don’t have the capacity to do for ourselves anyways, so you have no choice but to wait on God and believe God will do it, if it’s in God’s will.
Q. Nneka, prior to Armond, do you think there was a time when you was like “enough, somethings gotta change” in how you were engaging yourself and your faith walk?
A. Yes, absolutely. I clearly wasn’t making the right choices on my own. I also knew a lot of the situations I was in, it was definitely me picking them. Like I said in Armond’s book, Rededication: A Story of Sex, Repentance and Restoration, I use to pray, “God remove this person if he’s not for me,” but some people, I really didn’t want God to remove, but you know, it was kinda like a standard prayer I prayed. I would talk to God, like, “God you’re gonna have to do something because if it’s on me, I’m probably going to stay in it, dealing with whatever and doing whatever I shouldn’t be doing.” So, yeah, I definitely got to a point where I was like something’s gotta give, something’s gotta change because it’s not working my way.
Q. So, as you got more engaged better possibilities opened up to you?
A. I remember at some point while in college or after college, I found Joyce Meyer on TV. I remember watching her, going about my day in the mornings and thinking, “Oh my God, I’m never going to meet a guy that’ll be cool with this!? There’s just no way that I’m going to find someone that’ll be interested in this type of thing too?” I think this is a big piece, even when people see other positive examples, they may think, “Well, –you may have found somebody like that, but…?” It’s just like anything else, you gotta believe that God has it under control. I had to keep putting my faith and trust in God.
If you desire a certain type of man, trust that God knows.
Q. How did you build your faith and trust in God?
A. I think in general, I was reading books, going to hear people speak, like Joyce Meyer, going to church and staying in the Word.
Q. Last question, Proverbs 18:22 states, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Do you believe you’ve found favor?
A: I think so. Hey, we’re only 5 years in, but I feel like, I don’t want to say it’s been easy, but our marriage has been blessed. I feel like we just have not had some of the issues that we’ve heard some people talk about, especially at this phase. The first 5 years is game time, that’s when the rubber meets the road, so I feel like that’s where favor has showed up. We’ve had our patches or moments, which every relationship will, but we haven’t had a patch where it’s like, “Man these past 6 months have been hell!” Also, her being able to pursue her bag business, Nneka Saran, that’s favor. Me getting a job with the church as a youth pastor, that’s favor. Just our relationship itself and the fun we have, that’s favor.
N: Yes, I would say so. It really has been good, obviously we’ve had little spats here and there, mainly in the beginning trying to work through cohabiting and we’ve gone through stuff, like trying to get pregnant, but in general, yeah I would definitely say yes. Especially, when I think of relationships I’ve had before, I have no qualms. Also, even with the way the Bible verse is stated “he” gets the favor, but when you’re married, you’re one, so his favor is my favor.
It was super cool chatting it up with the Mosleys, plus I got a little playtime in with their twincesses. I hope you can see, there’s no perfect way to follow faith, but there’s something to be said about making the decision to get engaged, with you, with God. You just never know where your trail of gold coins may lead you.
With Love, the Mosleys + the twins…&
P.S. Can you relate to their story? Are you frustrated with this faith thing? Please comment below and share too! It matters. You can connect with the Mosleys via www.armondmosley.com or www.nnekasaran.com.