I Still Love You

Those four words sent to me in a text have been in the back of my mind for the past 3 weeks.

If you know a bit about me through previous posts you’ll know that my greatest love and greatest heartbreak involved the same person I dated for over 5 years. Without going into the same old story, I’ve known this person for 10 years of my life and through a long history of ups and downs, being mad, being happy, feeling angry, feeling joyful, feeling betrayed, and feeling safe, it’s hard to have to look yourself honestly in the heart, and admit that you still love that same person you haven’t dated in years.

In theory this is romantic..but in reality it honestly sucks.

Things are complicated. I don’t live in the same state as this person, this person has not dropped his life to run back to me with an engagement ring, and yet those four words are like….stretching a stiff muscle that you tore and stopped moving.

Even though I dated this person for 60% of the entire time knowing him, we’ve seen each other for some of the rest of the 40%.Sometimes one of us has been in town and decided to go get coffee to just kind of talk through problems we had, or to get closure. To just vent about how we feel, honestly, the same things I’m sure millions of other former couples have done.

And yet. I have to be honest. It’s no easier today than it was the day we broke up.

No amount of prayer, Bible, therapy, or medication has completely removed this pain. Now I fully believe the scripture that says:

Psalm 34:18 (MSG)

18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

And I can testify that I’ve met God in a deeper way in my despair. However, there are still days where I feel that heaviness in my heart, or can easily burst into tears.

Those four words can be both joyful and painful. It’s bittersweet.

In a somewhat unexpected twist though, I feel like I understand God’s love a little bit more because of this relationship.

How?

Because sometimes, you can love someone and see value in them even if it’s illogical. There’s been plenty of friends over the past 10 years who have thought I’m just another dumb girlfriend who gets back with a bad boyfriend. Or people who think I am weak. Or people who think one way or the other about choices I’ve made. But at the same time..I know the same can be said for God.

God loves us in an illogical way.

At the end of the day, do I bring actual value to God’s life? God is perfect. God doesn’t actually need me. But he made me and wants me even though I am just a failure and sinner like anyone else. Couldn’t people also have said to God why bother, he/she isn’t worth it? Aren’t you over that person yet?

In Matthew 23 MSG it even compares God to a mother hen:

How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me.

To me that’s also illogical. To me that’s also bittersweet. To love someone, to ache to embrace someone, and to feel the pain of knowing circumstance stands in your way, or that person doesn’t even love you.

I’m still on this journey. And sometimes I wonder why God hasn’t answered my prayers. I’ve prayed two major things over this never-ending relationship:

  • God please help me not to love him. Change my heart.

Sidenote: This has been much of my life and yes, this scene always makes me cry. Don’t judge me: Grace’s Prayer

  • God please give me the endurance to wait while you bring us back together in your perfect timing.

 

If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. Honestly, I can’t wait to be married one day. I really don’t think I’ve ever been good at being single. But until then, I hope to hurt less. To trust God more. To value His love for me, more than anyone else’s—even family.

I listened to the Abide app’s prayer today and it was perfect. I suggest you download it too. Here are the two parts that resonated with me:

Thank you for loving me when I didn’t deserve your love. Thanks for choosing to love me when there were better logical choices. I am worth something because you love me.

Single, Don’t Want to Mingle

I think it’s hard as a single, Christian person sometimes to navigate the dating landscape. Or at least it is for me.

  1. I don’t like dating
  2. Therefore I don’t date a lot
  3. I’m sort of picky in that I’m not usually attracted to a lot of guys
  4. I find the whole thing depressing as of late

Just speaking plainly, I don’t want to date. I want to meet someone of course but I don’t want to invest tons of time getting to know someone and unpacking my life and past to someone who I don’t think will be someone in the future.

Weird I know.

I realize that in some ways that’s a lot of pressure, but I think as a Christian, it’s hard to date. It’s hard to date because there’s not always tons of people who are also Christians, and it’s also hard because you don’t want to be overly tempted to exceed physical boundaries if you are a virgin or return to past mistakes if you have had sex before.

Also I feel like in my experience the dating pool is small in church. Loads of people always seem to be married since their early 20s, and therefore for me, I’m about 5 years past expiration. Because the dating pool is small you have about 10 girls who are all attracted or interested in one guy and vice versa. So it gets real, really quick.

Today I found myself temporarily mourning my spinster-status as a slowly by surely nearing 30 year old lady. It can be super hard to be attracted to guys who aren’t Christians for one. It might make for some fun flirtatious conversion to affirm that you are in fact, still attractive to the opposite sex. But it can also be depressing because playing in the back of your mind ad nauseum is the old phrase “don’t be unequally yoked”. It can also be depressing when the only guys who seem interested in you, or talk to you like a worthwhile lady are not the guys who go to your church.

The struggle, ladies, and gentlemen is real.

One of my biggest “sins” in life so to speak is worrying about my romantic future. Granted I’m young to many. I don’t need to worry about anything. And yet, there’s that human part of every person who wants to be affirmed that they are in fact funny, attractive, smart, etc. I can literally count on one hand the number of people I know for a fact who have been interested in me, and two of them I’ve dated. The rest, meh, were nothing to write home about.

So it’s not like I’m backstroking in waves and waves of eligible Christian men here you know? It can be hard to see things working out for other people, or seeing guys compliment how talented or beautiful the ladies around you are and you’re just like, excuse my while I dissolve into a puddle of sorrow and regret with my cat and a glass of wine.

But in all seriousness. It’s not easy. And honestly, I don’t always believe people when they say that they never think about their single status or the  depressing horizon of no one.

I’m mainly writing this to vent, but I’m also letting you know if you feel like this that you’re most definitely not alone. I often wonder what’s taking so long. I can’t wait to give my future husband a swift punch to the gut when he casually arrives on the scene. I’ve been waiting for you! You know?

But mostly I want to write this so whenever that day comes I can look back at myself and laugh for all the worries because somehow I know God will provide and He always gives me more than I ask or think I deserve.

 

Work Musing

Sometimes I think about the doubts that I have regarding my future husband. It can be hard when 1. you’ve had damaging experiences and 2. when no one who you feel like you’d get along with is actually interested in you (womp womp).

However, I mentioned to my CEO a couple weeks ago about wanting a cabinet for my filled up notebooks and files and he found a picture of one that he would like to get for me. He e-mailed me today to make sure that I liked it and since I’m never really picky when it comes to work stuff like that I wrote that yes it looks good thank you.

He called me after I replied and said “I just want to make sure I get it right and it’s useful for you.”

It’s in those moments that I remind myself how blessed I feel to have such a kind, caring, smart, etc etc boss to work for. It is literally shocking to me the longer that I’m at my company how great he is, and how I’m really honored to be working closely with him in my position. If you’ve ever worked at a thankless job you know that you can have a prestigious role but a horrible boss and it ruins the whole thing.

At times like that I remind myself that if God can give me a great boss and a great job when I didn’t think it was possible, He can definitely do that again. I’ve doubted before but I am living in the delivered promise. If I doubt now I can be sure He will deliver again.

Friday Inspiration 7.10.15

Instapray.com

I might have mentioned it before but one of my biggest struggles in life right now is simply believing in love for myself. That might sound melodramatic but it’s 100% and completely the truth.

If you have been following me for a while you might be familiar with my past and heartbreak and if not, no need to re-hash. You can always go through my archives if you’re nosy! Ha.

Regardless I go through times of feeling really down about it and times where it’s out of sight out of mind. Meaning, if there is no one there beside me it’s not hard to not miss what you don’t have. I enjoy work, shopping, church, Netflix, car trips, all kinds of things can occupy my time. But being a single 27-year year old, I do have times where I’m like, shoot, I don’t know if my heart can hold on hoping.

Anyone?

I trust God and doubt all at the same time when it comes to my future husband. I wonder sometimes if there will ever be one. I find myself sappy and cynical and optimistic and depressed at various times in my life. It’s definitely not something I always know how to deal with, outside of prayer, or a nap or what ever. I think when life burns you, you heal, but there’s still damage. You remember it mentally, your heart pangs sometimes with it, and your brain sends you warnings as a preventative measure.

I think when life burns you, you heal, but there’s still damage. You remember it mentally, your heart pangs sometimes with it, and your brain sends you warnings as a preventative measure.

When it comes to dating, I don’t. I’m pretty novice at the whole opposite sex thing even though, I’m not a virgin, and therefore not totally uncultured in attraction, men, and how some of that love stuff works. It’s more like. I don’t like what’s out there. How horrible to admit!!!– but it’s true. I’m a Christian which is good right? I mean I’ve dabbled in some less-than holy activities, albeit not much. And I’ve dated two non-Christians. Both ended badly. One lesson I must admit that I still haven’t learned, and the other was wayyyy too much deja vu to continue past 2-3 months and I wised up quicker than the previous time. The last, eh, was a Christian but never committed. We went on about a year of dates where he was a perfect gentleman, paid for everything, talked to me for hours about everything under the Sun, but just poof. Never wrote back. Never wanted to hang out. Never actually asked me out officially. Haven’t heard a peep from him in three years. So I guess you could say overall that I haven’t maybe had the best opportunities to not….become bitter. That’s fair.

However, it’s hard at times, to be in church, in more of a youth-centric Church culture and time and still be like, man, I don’t know if I believe in human love for myself anymore. To go to church your whole life and never feel womanly or attractive to any of the guys that attend. To never be asked out on a date or asked out for coffee or just ask to be their friend. NADA! I just don’t know. Like, thank God for Jesus. Thank God that I know and am continuing every day to fully know perfect love. But human love? It still makes me skittish.

I came to this realization when a close friend of mine from church invited me to hang out with her boyfriend and his buddy. Immediately my heart was like, excuse my french, hell no. I’ve only been set up once, as a preteen and let me tell you, it was horrible. That was enough for me. I want to choose, right? I want to have some power over who I date. Or I want some magical unicorn of a Christian man to just gaze across the congregation at a service and ask for my number. Is that wrong? Probably not, but none of this has happened for me.

So it brought me back to all sorts of emotions that I guess I didn’t realize were still there waiting to pop the second I was poked out of my cynical comfort zone.

I’m not going to even sugar coat it, she showed me his picture, and felt nothing. I don’t even believe in “types” but if I did, he wasn’t it. You know what I mean? Like there was nothing there. So instant attraction, not there one bit. Then just knowing that in some weird way I was being scoped for being set up, just soured me. Yes I’m single. Yes there is no man interested in me. But do I want to be even 5% set up in any way? No. So I bailed on plans.

Anyway, the actual point of the matter is. It reminded me of my own broken heart. It’s absolutely revolting sometimes to realize you are still broken hearted. Does anyone feel that way? Like you try and try and try for years to heal and you’re sad. And you finally realize that you can’t fix yourself so you give it to God. And He takes it. And you’re proverbially skipping along and wham you find yourself laying in bed with insomnia one night, thinking about an ex and you cry yourself to sleep. And you try again to heal. Or you try again to give it to God and you realize like I did this week that once again you do not feel at all that your broken heart is healed. Ouch. That can be humbling. That can be disappointing.

For me. My heart still feels like 17.

For me. My heart still feels like 17. I still feel like the girl who loved the boy who loved the girl too. I still feel like the girl who years later got a text which turned into a call which turned into finding out that I wasn’t the only one he was dating. I still feel like the girl who watched on the sidelines as a 6 year relationship went up and down and up and down. I still feel like the girl who falls into the same whirlwind every time he’s back in town. I still feel like the girl who tried to get over the boy with a worse boy. I still feel like the girl who didn’t want to be alive some days. I still feel like the girl who questioned for years after a breakup if her mom, if her friends, even loved her because the relationship ruined her trust in everyone, and everything. I still feel like the girl who waits and watches but as far as she can see love isn’t on the way.

I say that because I can’t be the only one who feels this human way. Saved and loved by God, but not convinced of the human version. We’ve all got issues. And it feels really unfair to be wrestling with the same heartbreak 10 years later. To be wondering why it still hurts, or why you want to forgive that person and try again now that he’s better, or why God hasn’t sent you someone to dwarf what you thought was love. Your questions could be my questions. Or they could be completely different. Heartbreak can come from anyone or anything.

I try my human-best to take comfort in the reminder that Jesus knew the Father’s love. But he still suffered as a human suffers. I’m sure he could have been tempted to be loved by a girl even though he never stumbled. He knows our hearts.

I write this today in the hope that this will be another dead thing that God breathes to life. I’ve always written exactly as I’ve experienced life and over time you slowly start to piece things together and see a change.

I hope above everything you realize today that heartbreak is a real thing. And it takes time. It’s disappointing when you feel like you haven’t gotten as healed as you wanted but God is near to the broken-hearted. He promises good for all of us..even when our hearts have a hard time believing it.

Innerancy vs Infallibility

Hey guys,
Last week I started my first night class through my church, Hillsong NYC: “Theology: Faith Foundations”. I’m pretty excited to learn more about the Bible, my faith, and basically how to be a better more well-informed Christian. After we were done with our class we were given some homework. The assignment was to define the terms Innerancy and Infallibility and decide which one we agree with. I thought I would challenge you guys to look these terms up too, and see what you think. I’m going to share my thoughts on the assignment below:
The word inerrant means to be incapable of being wrong and the word infallible takes the same idea a step further to me by adding a relationship aspect to it. By using synonyms to define it like trustworthy, accurate, etc. it seems to me that infallible is much more relational than the cut and dry right/wrong of inerrancy. In a lot of ways they seem like two sides of of the same coin. 
 
I believe the Bible is infallible meaning it is trustworthy. It runs the scope of many different well-respected authors and the accounts of historical events and miracles are similar. It’s not like the Bible argues and conflicts with itself and authors had vastly different accounts of how an event happened. I am comfortable with the relationship of a person to their Bible because it is still speaking to us and teaching us through the Holy Spirit. We aren’t solely relying on our own knowledge or view of what we are reading, we have help from God himself and in that sense it is trustworthy. We aren’t relying on what people said years ago to teach us but we are allowing the Helper/the Holy Spirit to minister to us and reveal knowledge to us through the Bible. I think it is possible that there could be errors in details like, perhaps, geography, but these are not crucial facts to the Christ’s teachings. I recall hearing years ago in Church that there is primary and secondary doctrine. I think this is somewhat the same thing. Meaning, there are things that are fundamental to Christ in the Bible i.e. virgin birth, salvation through Christ alone, the Trinity, Christ’s death and resurrection, etc. These things are incapable of being wrong because it would rip apart our whole belief system if any of these things aren’t true. And then there are other things like what version of the Bible you read or if you believe in being dunked in Baptism or sprinkled. 
 
The Bible even says in Matt 23 that there is a sort of distinction between matters in levels of importance:
 
“23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
 
I still find the comparison a little confusing but based on the definition alone I think I lean more towards infallibility. 

True Love

Proverbs 8:17 (MSG)

12-21 “I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
    Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
    whose ways I hate with a passion—
    pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
    I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.
With my help, leaders rule,
    and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
    along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
    those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
    also substantial Honor and a Good Name.
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
    the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
    at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
    filling their arms with life—armloads of life!

I think sometimes we don’t realize that as humans we might want love but due to past hurts or disappointments or abuse we don’t truly believe we deserve it. God says that He loves those who love Him, and those who look for Him will always find Him. He also first loved us. He made a grand gesture of love by sending Jesus before we even asked for Him. That’s true love.

I really loved Day 19 of my Bible app devotional called “21 Days to a Victorious Life”:

Day 19– How do you recognize true love?

How do you recognize real true love? After being deceived by artificial love, it finally dawned on me. Love is gentle. Love is kind. Love is patient and love is not easily provoked. Love doesn’t seek to hurt, refer to 1 Corinthians 13. I would add, real love uplifts, protects, compliments, and seeks the best no matter what. Love is not perfect, but love is forgiving, love is not always agreeable, but when you truly love, you are always willing to work it out. More importantly, love is more than lust and doesn’t change because of feelings, “True love” loves no matter what!

Real love recognizes real love

Many times people find themselves in relationships that do not demonstrate true love. Whether it is an abusive, ungodly, or hurtful relationship, we have to recognize that this is not of God. Since God is love, our relationships should reflect God’s love through its acts of kindness, loving and supportive thoughts, and kind actions. For God loved us so much, He allowed His only begotten son to suffer and die on the cross for our sins. Although there is no love like the love of God, we should not have to question true love here on earth.

You first must love Him

No relationship can survive without God as the foundation. Yes, it may appear to work for a while, but it will never stand the test of time. Before you can truly love another, you must first fall in love with God. It is through His love that you are able to love one another, and are capable of being loved.

Falling in love with God requires spending time with Him, just as any relationship requires. We have to first get to know God, so that we can understand. His will and desire for our lives. Understanding this concept, I began to seek God each and every day of my life and as a result, fell in love with my creator. I took an hour of my day to

just spend time with Him and hear from Him. This small exercise has given me peace, clarity, and the ability to demonstrate His love through acts of kindness and selflessness. More importantly, it has resulted in a relationship with God that is truly invaluable.

Real relationships aren’t questionable

See, love shouldn’t have to be questioned. Real love does not leave doubt in your mind. So my question for you is do you love to be unloved?

If you find yourself running from true relationships to “counterfeit ones,” ask the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart and mind to be able to receive true love from rightful relationships God has already ordained. Also, ask the Holy Spirit to help you fall in love with yourself. When you truly love yourself, you will also attract real love and remove yourself from relationships that are not of love. Remember, God is love and He wants nothing more for you than real love here on earth!

I think these thoughts are powerful. I’ve only really been in love once and it’s still a tough thing to navigate. I know my love was pure, but there are still conflicting feelings about whether His was or not. Those are things that 99% of the time I successfully lay at the feet of Jesus and let be. But I recall times where I tried to sort this out myself by re-reading old letters or texts and reassuring my own spirit that no matter what happened to me, no matter how bad his actions–I could rest in knowing in his best way he loved me, but he is damaged and made unwise decisions that ate away at my trust and our relationship. I still consider, perhaps ignorantly, that this past relationship was true love–the best of the best love. But I also have to remember that it was simultaneously the worst of the worst. Love never quits, love keeps no record of wrongs, love is gentle and kind. It is important to remember this is why God wants us to be equally yoked with other believers because if our partner does not love God the way they ought to–relationships are banking on human love which will always run short. God’s love never will. You also need to truly love yourself. God makes this pretty clear when He instructs us to love our neighbors as ourselves–this suggests that we already love ourselves—-and if we don’t how can we love someone else?

So allow the Holy Spirit to renew your heart and mind no matter what relationships you’ve had—both good and bad. He is ultimately the best love we can have because unlike humans He has unlimited attention, patience, grace, and love for us. Allow Him to help you love Him and yourself so you are well equipped to love others. We can only attract what we are ready for. Allow God to make you ready.

Tuesday Inspiration 1.6.15

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”

I’ve never been one to read a ton of Christian books. I’ve read a few here and there over the years but I’ve met some people who read these kind of books more than the Bible. And I think that’s a mistake for a couple of reasons. I think it’s great when people share their walk with God, things they’ve learned, and all that, but ultimately none of these books are replacements for the Bible. They should be signs pointing to the Bible, not rivals for time spent in the Bible. What I mean is..if we read things about the Bible, but never the Bible we are getting filtered versions of it. I want the Bible to speak to me directly; not to someone else who then filters it to me so I can  only see it the way they experienced it. I want to experience it. I want to form my own opinions and relationship with it and with God. I don’t want a hand-me-down. Do you?

Ultimately the Bible speaks to us in different seasons and in different ways. We need to experience it individually. We need to make sure we’re not getting a relationship with God through other people’s relationships. We need to make sure people are telling us scripture correctly as it is written in the Bible and come to a point where if something doesn’t sound right, we know that we can check it on our own.

I encourage you to read the Bible more than any other book. It’s important for us to all have our own accountability with the Bible and our own understanding. God wants individual conversations with us and unique relationships. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to settle for less.

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