When It’s Hard to Let Go

“Why did you even let the relationship go on for as long as it did?”

I looked my friend right in the eye and refused to budge my line of questioning. Here was a man who fell in love with a lady he knew from the beginning wasn’t the one God had for him. He dove headfirst into the relationship, ignoring what he told me were frequent nudges from God telling him to let it go.

With a shrug, he met my gaze and said as frankly as he could, “I just gave in to my desires and before I knew it, I was in too deep.”

Just several weeks ago, I talked to a woman who knew she had to get out of a relationship and yet she couldn’t quite bring herself to. My heart broke for her because I knew exactly what it felt like to be in that position. Sure, this is a story I’ve heard from plenty of other people time and time again, but this is also a story I myself knew very well. I’m well acquainted with the turmoil that comes with knowing you need to let someone go and yet not wanting to.

I remember coming to the Lord and telling Him,

“I can handle breaking my heart over this. What I can’t handle is breaking his heart.”

The reply came immediately, quiet but certain.

“Would you rather break My heart then?”

So I chose to break his heart since what I truly can’t handle is breaking His heart. But while people at the time were highlighting the strength to obey as swiftly as I did, they didn’t see the plethora of emotions surrounding that decision nor did they witness the horrid mess that I was afterward.

The Lord had to deal with several fears in my heart, fears that may be hindering you from letting go of the person you know you’re supposed to as well:

1. Fear of hurting the other person

When you really care for someone, this fear supersedes your fear of hurting yourself. I know people who end up staying in a relationship for many months more simply because of this reason and while it may seem like a compassionate move, it always ends up hurting the other party even more in the end because he would have invested more time and emotion by then.

Let’s be completely honest here: there’s no way to break up with someone that will make him feel happy and fuzzy about it. It’s always going to hurt. So when you know it has to be done, just do it. You’re also robbing him of the opportunity of meeting the person you know is the one for him. This may be hard to stomach in the moment, but if your hesitations are really out of love for him, then you would want to serve him better by letting him go. It may be that the most loving thing you can do for him is to break up with him.

The world may have taught us that love means grasping on to something as tight as we can, but we have now found a love who would hold on to us. We can let it go.

2. “I won’t find someone like him again. I’ll never love anyone else the way I loved him.”

It sounds a tad melodramatic typed out like that, but this is a thought that is very common and very real. In actuality though, this is just an emotion that says it is the first time you’ve been this attached to a person. It doesn’t mean it will be the last nor does it mean you won’t find something deeper than that.

If I were being transparent, I would admit that it took me years to stop subconsciously comparing the men I meet with him. But eventually, I did. And I realized that I would never find someone like him because there is only one him and I don’t really want another him because there’s a reason the relationship didn’t work out in the first place. Now, I get to be found by Someone whom I love so much more.

3. Fear of being alone

The transition between talking to someone every single day to not talking at all is always very abrupt and it takes quite a while to get used to. The loneliness that hits afterward is understandable, but we don’t have to stay there.

The good thing is that more than having a good support system walk with you through it, the Lord doesn’t have qualms in proving that He is close to the broken-hearted. The intimacy I had with Him during that season of my life tasted much sweeter than the seasons before. In fact, sometimes I go back and revel in all the memories wherein He made sure that I never felt alone.

You may fear of losing the feeling of being loved but you are never not loved, not for a single second. And it is when you let that relationship go that you will experience a Love far greater than anything else you have ever known.

4. Fear of regret

Regret is such a tricky thing to deal with. See, there are two regrets that frequently arise from this kind of situation: regret of letting him go or regret of dating him in the first place.

There is always the could-haves and should-haves haunting us down and leaving us sleepless at nights. But reality is, things are as they are now. There is nothing we can do to change what we have done and the only way now is to move forward.

If you’ve made mistakes in the relationship before, then begin by doing what is right. If you’ve crossed physical lines, take action to be pure. If the relationship dishonors your parents, then make the decision to honor them. If there has been lies and deceit, then come clean.

God works for the good of those who love Him and we know that those who love Him follow His will. Trust that as you go with His plan for your life, God will be the One to work the story out into a testimony that brings Him glory.

Now, how do you know if the relationship is something that you should let go? I can’t quite give you a rundown of how to know. The truth is that you just know, but if I may kindly point out: the lack of peace in your heart should already be a tell-tale sign. Abuse, unhealthy patterns, and toxicity are also dead giveaways.

You may start to go on about making it work, and I am all about commitment, but here’s the thing: beloved, if the relationship is not of God, then it has already failed before it even got to begin. You don’t want to fight for something Jesus didn’t die for – and He died so you can have life to the full. Don’t be so consumed with holding on to what you think is good that you miss out on what God knows is best.

And when you do finally decide to let that person go, you need to stick with that decision. They do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and the first few months truly are the hardest. You would probably be tempted to go running back to him, but stop yourself. Surround yourself with people who will not let you to second-guess yourself. You missing him and thinking about him does not mean you need to be with him. It’s an indication of the past, not the future.

If he does go chasing you around and continues to contact you, then draw the line. Don’t feed off the attention he is showering you. Him missing you does not mean he is the one for you.

I say this with utmost care and concern. The longer you leave yourself out of God’s will, the more consequences there will be. Let’s be frank here. You may be happy with him and he may emotionally satisfy you temporarily, but to your core you know that something’s missing. You can try to convince yourself that everything’s great, but you know something’s not right. Your relationship with God most probably took a hit as well because you can barely face Him anymore, knowing what He will say.

Do you really want to spend more time stuck in that limbo? Paul reminds us to throw off everything that hinders and to run with perseverance. That means determination to push through even when it hurts and even if it feels like you’re crashing to the ground.

I cannot promise you that you won’t hit rock bottom, but if you do, know that He is right there with you – He is the Cornerstone after all. Rock bottom can even turn out to be the foundation on which you are rebuilt and remade.

The best thing to do is to lift it all up to God in prayer. And I don’t mean the “God-please-let-us-end-back-together-after-we-grow-separately” type of prayer. I mean the prayer that acknowledges His will; the prayer that asks for His will be done no matter what that may look like. It is when you consistently place yourself in a posture of surrender that the regret about the past and the anxiety about the future become pretty much non-existent.

You may want to stay within what is familiar and hesitate at the thought of an infinite amount of paths sprawling out in every direction; you may balk at the picture of a future without the one person you thought was sure to be there no matter what road you take. But my dear, when doubt keeps us safe where we are, faith brings us to the pinnacle of living.

Let your faith become really real during this season of your life. Faith without action is dead and letting go may be the action step you need to take. God promises that the future He has for us is full of hope and while all may seem bleak in the midst of the turmoil, we have to be certain of what we do not see. We may not be able to peer into the fullness of the future but we have the only Light we need.

Oh, and my story?

Well I lived to tell the tale.

You Deserve More Than Secondhand Love

To be honest, from the moment this blog blew up back in 2015, this has been one of the things I have always wanted to say. This was something I constantly expressed to my friends, but somehow had a difficult time putting it into words considering how ironic it would be to come from someone like me.

But even for the past two years as I wrote and stopped writing, this remained in my heart:

Beloved, you deserve more than secondhand love.

And I don’t mean that in the romantic sense. I’m talking about how you deserve more than secondhand love from me. I’m talking about how you have the right to access the source of all the love and knowledge that I get to share to you.

You know, my every blog post has been theologically searched out, because more than the advice and the extra-biblical stuff, I want to be faithful to what He has said first. Every word here that got to touch you, that got to minister to you, only came to be, only came to me, because God was gracious enough to enlighten me.

What you hear from your favorite Christian speakers and authors, you should know that all those insights came from God. And more than wanting to point you back to God through not-so-many-pretty-words, at this time, I want to straight out encourage you to go right to the source so that you will experience that kind of direct revelation as well.

Please don’t mistake this as me telling you to not read other books or listen to podcasts. I for one personally enjoy doing so. They really help and guide and God uses those things to bring to light and for people to see more of Him. I mean, really, I’m saying this as one who blogs.

It’s just that, more than anything, I want to tell you that rather than waiting on every word that comes from the mouth of a blogger, you can choose to wait and meditate on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Nothing could substitute that – no matter how seemingly well-written or timely. Every other source should be secondary.

Now, don’t even get me started on the famous speakers who gain so much acclamation because they say things that seem right, but are actually laced with wrong. That’s one of the reasons why numbers of Christians get into this, because we want to point you back to the right path, we want to lead you into the truth. But more than the “guidelines” through what we say, you’re going to need discernment for yourself to sift through what you get to hear even when it sounds nice. And that’s not something anyone can teach you. As much as we try, we can’t filter and sort through everything for you. There are things you have to personally hold His Word up to, so then you will see what is truly sound advice from that which is deceitful.

Maybe, the reason why there are still certain struggles with our identity and security no matter how many affirming articles we’ve read is because we only ever get to hear secondhand what God has said about us. Maybe it’s time you stop wanting to keep on hearing and hearing from others what God has already said about you and hear what He has to say for yourself.

Reading the Bible may sound daunting to you. Talking to God and learning to hear from Him may seem unfamiliar. It may seem boring. It may seem like it’s “too spiritual and that’s not for me.” You may not really know how to go about it. But if you want to, you can reach out to me and I can go through the process with you and help you as you figure things out. ☺

I promise you, as you stay faithful to that, you will hear Him speak to you in ways you never thought you will. You will experience how He targets specifically the situations you scour advice for, and you will find that His words are inexhaustible and still relevant. For far more than anything I ever get to say that touches you, it is keeping His words in your heart that will change you. More than me shining His light this way, I want to see you reflect His light too.

It’s about time you get to know Him and experience Him firsthand, don’t you think? Trust me, He has been waiting for you. He has some things to say – words handpicked and chosen especially just for you, directly to your heart and to your situation.

Note: I guess at this point, I can say I’m shifting gears about how I’m going to go about this blog. I won’t in any way stop sharing my revelations and insights and I won’t stop with my “pretty words”, but I will probably get more personal about this now. I want to look back to this one day as a testimony of His faithfulness in my life, a place where I can be reminded of how He has marked my every step with His fingerprints. It’s a new season for me and I’m still navigating it all, but I’ll let Him guide me every step of the way and I do hope you stay for the ride. ❤️

This Is Who You Are

Take a long look in the mirror right now and tell me what you see.

Hips too thin, waist too fat, arms too flabby.

Look closer. Tell me what you see.

Eyes too far apart, nose too flat, acne scars too deep.

Closer. Look deeper. Don’t you see what I see?

There, right there, swimming in your eyes, reflecting the very depths of your soul.

Beautiful. Breathtaking. The image of the Maker.

You are not an accident. You are not a mistake. God did not create you for the sake of creating. God did not create you out of boredom.

Nothing could come to being out of boredom.

No, like a masterpiece in the hands of an Artist, you were created out of inspiration and love and color bursting. He picked you up and held you close. Face-to-face, nose-to-nose, He breathed life into you. Air from His lungs flow in yours.

Fearfully and wonderfully made – this is who you are.

But maybe you could no longer recognize the face in the mirror. Maybe you’ve hidden behind layers of makeup and clothes and success, afraid that your flaws may be seen; playing your part well, thinking that if you can convince other people that everything is okay, you’ll believe it too. You’ve labored away, hammering walls to keep discerning eyes out and building shiny Christian-dreams of perfection only to find yourself hitting the glass.

Have you shattered?

Love, He does not mind picking up the pieces. He can deal with your mess. Christ didn’t come for those who have it all together; He came for those who don’t. You can let Him hold you together. Your jagged edges and broken fragments won’t stop Him from keeping you close.

The scars in His hands ought to be enough proof of that: He loves you just as you are, not as you should be. There’s no longer anything to prove, because the cross has already declared:

Broken, yet chosen – this is who you are.

The world can try to tell you that you are not enough; that you are hopeless and horrible and shameful. But there is only One righteous to judge and in all His blinding glory and holy, He has His arms wide open waiting for you.

No condemnation. Just forgiveness.

He does not cower from the skeletons in your closet. He is not put off by the darkness of your past. His love is far brighter than that. His sacrifice is enough.

Fully known, truly forgiven – this is who you are.

No more striving to find a place in this world. No more fighting for approval. God has written this story and has put a period to your happy ever after; you know how this tale ends.

Beloved, allow yourself to be loved.

Because the truth is, it’s not about who you are; it’s about who He is. It’s not about what you do or don’t do; it’s about what He has done.

Accept it.

Irrevocably, wildly, unconditionally loved – this is who you are.

The Father’s love reveals who you are.

His.

You are His.

Do you now see?

Dear Student: What To Do When You Like Someone

Dear Student,

I have something to say first, because maybe you have heard from some people that you should not like someone. Maybe you’ve been told that you’re too young to develop such attraction. I’ve had a lot of voices like that in my life. I grew up feeling condemned and sinful whenever I had a crush on someone because there were those who told me that I shouldn’t be having any crush at all. Having a crush meant I wasn’t fixated enough on God. Liking someone meant I would be distracted from God. Admiring meant I would be sinning emotionally. (If you have never heard these statements before in your life, you can skip ahead to the numerated part of this post).

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand where they were coming from and I appreciate the heart behind it. However, experiences like those left me scarred, dubious, cynical, shamed, and above all else, legalistic.

I actually haven’t liked a guy romantically for two years now. Not because I try not to admire someone, but simply because I haven’t found someone who captured my attention. It’s funny that it was when I graduated university that I lost those kinds of emotions, but I guess this is just the season God is placing me in now. However, I certainly have had my fair share of crushes – all when I was a student. And for most of that time, I felt extremely dirty because I was no longer “emotionally pure.”

So let me tell you something that will get that weight off your chest: it’s okay to like someone. It’s okay that you admire him. It’s okay that you feel something for her. It’s okay. You don’t have to suppress it. You don’t have to downplay it. I know your emotions feel so real, so acting like it’s not would be messy. Trust me, I tried. I would attempt to minimize my emotions, then I’d act on them, then I’d pull back, then I’d show emotion again, then things would get incredibly messy. 

And so through all my years of trial and error, I want to share with you the best way to deal with these emotions at that stage in your life:

1. Be honest to God and yourself about how you feel.

The faster you become transparent about it, the better. Don’t worry, God’s not going to strike you with lightning and He can handle your emotions. Thank Him that you have someone to admire and care for so much, then surrender those feelings to Him – don’t let them lead the way. Take a step back and listen to what He says about it. Because while you cannot imagine your life with this person right now, he or she might not what God wants for you – even if said individual is too amazing or attractive or perfect. 

You have free will, but you wouldn’t want to make any rash decisions based on the fleeting and fickle knowing that it might rob you from His best. Not to belittle what you think you possibly feel, but truly loving is different from temporary liking. 

My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.
-John Piper

2. Be accountable.

Don’t go spreading it around like a 5th grader. Tell your leaders, people you trust and look up to, and listen to their counsel. Tell the ones you know would guard you and look out for you, not the “friends” who would spread the fact around like a joke and stir up your emotions inappropriately even more.

3. Guard your thoughts

I am so sure you’ve heard Proverbs 4:23 used to tell you to be careful about how you feel: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” But while there is a good point to that, contextually, that is not what this verse is saying. If you read the entire chapter, you will find that this is a father speaking to his son, telling him to keep wisdom in his heart and to make sure he guarded this wisdom. And so this I tell you as you venture on the adventures of the heart: don’t be legalistic, be wise. Guard your thoughts and keep them pure. It’s not wrong to think about that person every now and then and to continually admire, but it’s wrong if that’s all you ever think about. Don’t stalk his social media accounts 24/7. Don’t overthink every little detail; don’t meditate on every single word he or she says. Don’t fixate on the person; fixate on Jesus. As you submit your emotions to Him, ask for the grace to take every thought captive and make them obedient to Christ. Let your thought life be that of all that is true, pure, noble, and praiseworthy. 

“Not to think of him was impossible. How to think of him was within her power.”
-Regarding Lady Helen’s affection for Wallace, The Scottish Chiefs

4. Watch your actions.

As your thoughts become captive to Christ, I hope your actions do too. Don’t be unnatural around him or her. Don’t take matters into your own hands, don’t grow impatient, and don’t take control. Don’t let attraction turn into manipulation. Don’t go under the guise of “group hangouts” or “study dates” with just the two (or three, if you add a thirdwheel) of you. Maybe it would be wise for you to talk or text less, even. If you’re friends, please don’t stop being friends but also don’t place yourself in positions that would stir you up even more. Let your fists relinquish control and with your heart wide open, hands off. 

5. Pray.

I have had students ask me if it’s okay to pray for a specific person they desire, and my answer is yes. There is really, really nothing wrong with that. God has always wanted us to be transparent about our desires, and to present this person before Him is as honest and vulnerable as it gets. It’s worse to stay within the line of praying “only for the qualities” while thinking of this someone, simply because you think that it would be wrong to ask God and thus you end up being completely untruthful to Him. Just be sure that when you pray, you are completely surrendering those emotions to Him. Be ready to submit to His will when He says no, and be ready to risk when the time comes and He says go. If you aren’t willing to adjust to the idea that God might say no and if prayers just make you obsess all the more then stop completely, because that is no longer love; that is idolatry.

6. Let Christ be your First Love.

Now don’t ask me if you’re allowed to enter into a relationship as a student, because honestly, I won’t say that you’re not allowed. That is not for me to dictate upon you. I don’t want you to follow a formula; I want you to follow Him. So check your heart, your thoughts, your intentions, your actions – is it still about God and what He wants for you or has it become about you and what you want? Be discerning, would a relationship cause you to compromise and sin? Would it distract you from your studies? Would it make you disobedient to your parents? If you answer yes, then take it from someone who entered a relationship when she was 12 years old (I was in 2nd year high school, mind you, and it was mostly out of rebellion): be careful about trading your destiny for something that is temporary. Because let’s be honest, teenage hormones can be immensely misleading. And I don’t think it really matters to God how cute you would be with this person if your relationship wouldn’t be of honor to Him.

“Everything is permissible” you say, but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). Your willingness to bend your values might mean that you’re only using that person to fill holes in your heart, and that is just setting yourself up for disaster. My dear, you may think you just have to be in a relationship now and all your friends may be in relationships already, but if you think of the fact that you’ll live up to probably 70 or 80, you’ll realize that there’s no need to rush. Know without a doubt that God makes everything beautiful in its time. 

“Our love for God becomes our scale to judge things: we do things and don’t do things because we love God.”
-David Bonifacio

The most important thing is you let your love and life (and lovelife 😂) flow from a place of deep adoration for God. Human love will fall short, and no one in this world can compare to the Lover of your soul. He is the only one who can fill your deepest needs and wants; He alone can satisfy your deepest longings.

And the only way to be sure that you are being wise about how you are handling your emotions is when you love Him most, when you allow yourself to be governed by His holy love. He is the standard of true love, and so let this be how we love– with a love that is patient and not self-seeking and protects; with a love that does not seek to be completed, but is already whole. 

Photo by Jah Sales

A Lover, Not A Sugar Daddy

I still remember the day I first saw you. Immediately, you were etched into My heart. It was love at first sight and since then, I adored you with all My might.

I’m sure, being in a relationship with Me is not all you pictured it to be.
Because you knew I treasured you so immensely, you pictured rainbows and butterflies when in reality, all I offered you was a love that would fight for you; a love I hoped you’d fight for.

And so I ask you today: why do you love Me?

Do you love Me because of the gifts I give you?
Do you love Me because of how tightly I hug you?
Do you love Me because of how gentle I am?
Do you love Me because of My promises, My glorious plan?

Or do you love Me just because I am?

Will you still like Me if blessings stop going your way?
Or when you can’t see the light of day?
Will you still want Me if I do not answer your prayer?
If I say no to all your desires, will you still lift Me higher?

Now what if death happens to someone you love?
What if the promise doesn’t come when you expected it from above?
What if I ask you to wait twenty years more?
Will you still be there, praising my name even as you lay crying on the floor?

What will happen if I take all your prized possessions?
Will your mouth speak worship or will it mutter moans?
Will you grumble like a spoiled little baby?
Or will you, in faith, hold on to what you cannot see?

When you feel My absence, will you still be faithful?
In your heart, will I still be the One in reign, in rule?
When I discipline you, will you allow it in humility?
Or will you be defiant and refuse, acting so stubbornly?

See, I think I need to remind you
It is a narrow road you have chosen to pursue.
You require too many blessings of this earth,
Is it not enough that I have died so you may have birth?

When I ask you to take up your cross
Will you die to yourself, none too much of a loss?

Beloved, this is a two-way relationship, so do count the cost.

If you want to love Me, love Me for all I am

I am Love as I am Justice
I am Grace as I am Truth
I am Patient as I am Wrath
I am Kind as I am Discipline
I am Forgiving as I am Holy

I am He

Father, King, Lord, Lover


Not Sugar Daddy.

I do believe that God promises to bless His people. However, I also believe it is good to check our hearts every so often to know why we actually follow God. I have heard people turning their backs on Christ so many times just because He refused to give what they wanted, as if He existed for our satisfaction and not the other way around. I honestly grieve when people complain of how much God is requiring of them; such a stark contrast to the disciples who readily laid down their lives for Him with no question. People seem to think that following Christ should mean tangible rewards. 

“God since I obeyed You, give me…” 

Newsflash: God does not need to “pay” us for our obedience. I think we all need to be reminded that we live for His glory – every breath we breathe, every second we’re alive is to His glory.

We love because He first loved us, and the greatest manifestation of that love is His sacrifice on the cross. He need not give us any more proof of His love, for that act alone was proof enough. The fact that He created us and He died for us and He continues to sustain us is enough for us to love Him for all that He is with all that we are – even if material blessings no longer come our way, trusting that our reward is in heaven. 

One ultimate question I would want to pose is this: will you live for Him – even if it means you will have to die for Him?

May it be that it’s okay that we have nothing because God alone, to us, means everything.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬ ‭(emphasis mine)

Dear Millenials: How Do You Love?

Dear Generation Y,

Hear me out. In this world of modernization, we claim to know love by insisting on “marriage equality” all the while pushing for divorce and pre-nuptial agreements. We stay in a relationship until someone more interesting comes along. We think that sex before marriage is completely normal because, hello, we have to check the sexual compatibility.

Let me stop you right there. What’s your definition of love in the first place? I find it sad that so many people in relationships cry out, “understand me” “listen to me” “give me this” “pleasure me”, me me me me me. People these days enter a relationship based on what they can get – on how much the other puts out sexually, on how rich the person is, on how much fun they’ll experience while it lasts. We don’t look for partners who will walk out the rest of our lives with us, we look for people who set our hearts ablaze until the fire runs out. We ride along until the bursts of adventure turn into comfortable moments of mundane, then we go along looking for another person to give us the thrill yet again. 

We enter relationships founded on chemistry, not trust. We enter relationships based on “similar interests”, not mutual beliefs and values. We want someone cool who’s good-looking and dresses well, not a beautiful soul who inspires us to be a better person. We want someone easy, not someone who knows her worth. We want someone perfect, not someone we can grow with. We want someone right now, not someone who is worth the wait. We want someone who’s “modern”, who believes in open relationships and one night stands and understands that there are other fish in the sea, not someone who believes in loyalty and building a life together.

Instead, the talk of commitment makes people balk. We laugh at couples who “take things too seriously” in their 20s. We tell children to “explore, but don’t invest too much because you’ll break up eventually.” We romanticize people who leave their homes so they can spend their life wandering from one place to another. We don’t believe in settling down. We believe in “options.” We believe in being “explorers.”

We have wider social circles than people ever did in any other generation. Yet we have less meaningful relationships than people did in any other generation as well. We know people based on their facebook wall and instagram account, not their history and personality. We think that a person’s value is dependent on how many friends they have and how many likes they get, not their identity.

We’re run by logic, you see. We’re practical. Getting to know another person’s depths is just too time-consuming and takes too much effort. We have to save the energy for our school and work. Relationships can take the back-burner because we have a career ladder to climb. Long-distance is just too difficult so we’d rather break up. We want what we want so we refuse to meet halfway and swallow our pride.The people we have relationships with should fit our schedule, anything less convenient and we cut them off. Apparently, material things and temporary gratifications matter more than people these days.

And you’re surprised the relationship didn’t work out? Love, to its core, has been about giving, never about receiving. Love is a commitment, a decision, not a fading emotion.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
-C.S. Lewis

We love movies where the girl comes up to the boy whose heart she has broken a million times over before, asking him to love her. We adore TV shows where the guy runs to the airport and while the girl turns him away, he is undeterred as he promises to still wait, to still hold on. We like stories where the guy is edgy yet respectful -a gentleman in all the right ways. We watch them over and over, wishing that that was our story.

But wait a second, are you sure you can have that as your story? Are you ready to love someone that much? Can you risk leaving your life behind and move to another continent to chase after the one you love? Are you willing to ignore other people vying for your attention as you wait 7 years for the one person you truly want? Do you believe in abstaining from physical intimacy so that the body you’ll give on your honeymoon night would have only been one with your spouse’s? Are you willing to give up certain goals you have for yourself because you know that you can build a better life together with the person you love? Can you open your heart like that and be completely vulnerable as you lay your love down for another person?

No. Because we’re too scared. We’re too guarded. We’re too selfish. We’re too embarassed by the thought of putting ourselves out there and getting turned down. We don’t want others to think of us as “old-fashioned” or “whipped.” But then, that just shows how we’re thinking of ourselves. 

“Fear is always a killer. It doesn’t always look like ugly cowardly fear. Sometimes it looks like unforgiveness – when we don’t want to forgive because it may just happen again. Sometimes it looks like entitlement – when we want to hold back for ourselves just in case. Sometimes it looks like pride – when we think we’re better off.

Whatever it is, fear and love are like oil and water. If you want to hold on to your fears you’ll end up with your fears. If you want love, you have to be brave.”
-David Bonifacio

There’s no such thing as loving with half of your heart, as the John Mayer song goes. No, love is all-in. I noticed that most regrets stem from the fact that one played things too safe, and so I have come to find that the greatest risk is not taking risks at all. At the end of my life, I’d rather have the ones I love beside me instead of newspaper clippings of me and stacks of money that won’t matter when I’m gone. 

So I plead to you, don’t run and don’t hide your heart away. Love the way Christ loved you – wholeheartedly, patiently, deliberately, unconditionally. Love because you want to give, not because there’s something you want to receive. Love purely. Love no matter what it costs. Love until your graffitied walls have been peeled and the hidden canvas underneath has been uncovered. Love in a way that commits your entire life to one plan and one plan only – laying yourself down for this person. Love to the point that the word love feels insufficient anymore.

Love like it’s already the last chapter. Love like you’re sealing the letter.

Because that is the only way worth loving; that is the only way worth living.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-8‬ (emphasis mine)‭

P.S. Please be secure of your identity in Christ first. Know who you are and who you commit to because loving selflessly even when it hurts and when it’s hard is different from being a masochist and a pushover; from giving yourself away because you’re insecure. Love because you’re filled with God’s unconditional love; anything less, you’ll lose yourself and you’ll run out eventually.

Dear Reader: Stop Copying My Convictions

Hello, my dearest reader.

I mean this in the kindest way possible. As you read through this, don’t hear my voice in your head as someone mad or annoyed. Hear the sincerity and the heartfelt concern.

As much as I am immensely grateful that you hold my convictions admirable enough to imitate, I must say this: please know why you’re doing it. If you do it because you understood my point of view and God convicted your heart, then by all means do so. But if you’re doing it only because you feel condemned for not having better convictions, then don’t.

I personally have gone through that. Books such as I Kissed Dating Goodbye (though I have nothing against Joshua Harris) have held my stands captive for a long time because the thought of the books sounded nice. It seemed like I would have been less a Christian if I didn’t follow suit. It appeared to me as if I was marring my purity if I didn’t have the exact same beliefs. And so my entire high school and part of my college life has been lived based upon the stances of other people. I spent that entire time being so concentrated on living like a good, emotionally pure Christian girl that you wouldn’t hear anything else out of my mouth other than love (friends who have known me for at least 3 years would attest to this). In fact, I made a completely new blog because looking back, I was kind of appalled by how much my old blog revolved on romance – as if there wasn’t more to life with God. After constant reading of Christian books and blogs about love, emotional purity, courtship, and romance, I have turned into a well-meaning person who made the opinions of others her own, obsessed with getting things right. I have become legalistic.

My most popular post so far on this blog has been the one about guy friends. And while I am thrilled that so many people related to it, I dearly hope none of them broke it off with their best friends of the opposite sex without thinking through the heart behind it. Contrary to popular belief, guys and girls can have relationships built on purity and integrity without the need to overthink every little thing because they have God in the center. Loving each other as brother and sister is a beautiful thing. 

I used to have a “no texting guys beyond 9 pm” rule in high school because someone said so. I used to avoid going on one on one friendly dates with guys because I read that you “shouldn’t.” Only to discover eventually that constant communication and hanging out with guys don’t deter my heart, and that I was only doing it because I based upon a set of rules to follow, not a personal relationship with God. But people, being a Christian isn’t based on a formula. It’s based on having intimacy with the Father.

Gain as much wisdom as you can from these kinds of blogs, but never map out your life in such a way simply to fit a box that seems right. If it’s extra-biblical and it’s not sin, then know that we all have free will in Christ, and you have the right to use your own mind. Know what your spiritual family and leader has to say about it and listen intently, for Christianity still has massively to do with us as a body. Take the ideas you get and consider them. Know your past, know what would make your heart weak, know what you struggle with, know not to cause others to stumble. Don’t live off of the relationships God has with other people because everyone has different histories and stories. Seek Him on your own. Ask God what He would have you do. Is it wise or is it compromise? Would it bring Him glory? Would He be pleased? Would He be honored? Then proceed to hold convictions based upon this awareness.

The most important thing here is that you live a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, a life that is worthy of what Jesus has done, a life that worships the Father in all areas. Develop such an interaction with Him that every decision you make and every word you speak is lifted up to Him. Know what kind of person He wants you to be. And I dearly hope that at all times, you will be in tune to His heart.

Again, this is for extra-biblical matters. For convictions on issues such as homosexuality and pre-marital sex, I have this to say: sin is sin. He will never ever lead you to anything that goes against what He has said in the Bible, remember that. If you feel led to hold convictions that goes against the Scriptures, then know that it isn’t the Holy Spirit leading you.

And for everyone else out there, please know that more uptight convictions don’t make you a better person, so don’t look down on people who hold different views. It’s about God’s grace, not our strength or accomplishments. I remember having seen a wedding video of someone bragging about how he chose not to say “I love you” before they wedded and how he told others to do the same. Now let me tell you, saying “I love you” or holding hands before you get married isn’t defrauding. Don’t get me wrong, I hold admiration for people who do, but simply because it’s what they believe in and not because it’s a trophy to hang on their wall.

We don’t live by formula. I don’t post everything I do for God on Facebook because I don’t understand how it magnifies Him more than me. That doesn’t make me more of a Christian than those who do. I no longer have time constraints as to when I text and I meet up alone with guy friends because it’s not something I struggle with. It doesn’t make me less a Christian than those who don’t. Just as long as we take up our crosses and live surrendered to Him, honor Him in everything, don’t steal any form of glory from Him, and stay aligned to His will, then we’re just fine. Life with God is living under His grace and having freedom under His truth, not under a set of made-up rules.

And so as you continue to walk with me through this blog, I hope it imparts wisdom and truth, inspires you to seek His heart, and points you to His glory, not confine you or the way you live. 

Don’t imitate me or any other writer or preacher out there. Imitate Jesus. And live life to the full. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
-‭‭Proverbs‬ 3:5-7; ‭4:7-9, 14-15, 26-27‬

Loving a Cheater

Your eyes hardened in defensiveness as I confronted you with your mistake. I could hear the way your pride is telling you to just leave, just walk away, to go with who you cheated on me with.

You know, someone once tempted me to stray from my love, too.

The only difference is, I chose love.

I chose you.

Even if it meant waiting for years.
Even if it meant chasing after you repeatedly as you reject me.
Even if it meant being taken for granted as you choose other things that capture your fancy.

You see, I knew your issues even before we entered this relationship.

I knew how easy it was for your heart to be captured by another one’s shallow, sugar-coated words.
I knew how you had the tendency to look for loopholes so you could justify your sins.
I knew how you succumb to moments of pleasure with another only to run back apologetically into my arms.

I knew exactly what I was walking into.

My love is not blind.
I see you exactly as you are.
My love just doesn’t change its mind.

I’m rightfully jealous, I’m rightfully angered. But my heart holds no hatred for you as I wait for you to decide.

You act
As if you’re the victim
As if I’m still just an option
As if your betrayal could be justified.

I’m nailed to a cross
My arms wide open,
My head hung down,
My blood pouring out from my side.

Oh sweetheart, remember.

I chose you.

It cost me everything, but I chose you.

And I still choose you.

So please. Choose me, too.

And this time, please give me all of you.

I wrote this as I was thinking about how vulnerable God can be to us, how we actually have the capacity to bring Him pleasure or pain. I remember a time when I fell into sin and I felt the Holy Spirit grieve. In the moment, I felt my heart shatter as I cried in remorse. I couldn’t believe I offended God that way, and as I thought of all the times I have sinned (which I couldn’t count because there are so many times!!), I was startled with the realization that that was how I break His heart each and every time I lie or gossip or choose my will over His. Every time I sin, I say that the God who formed the universe and breathed life into me is less important than my temporary gratification. Yet in His love, I feel Him accept my heartfelt repentance as He wrapped me in His arms and He sung innocence over me. It changed me forever.

I just want you to know, everyone has fallen short of His glory. Every. One. But none are too far from His grace. Don’t be afraid to approach Him as you do so with a heart that is fully repentant. He’s waiting for you with arms wide open, He’s waiting for you with a heart full of love and forgiveness. Just take that first step and trust me, He’ll meet you where you’re at. Then allow His love to change you radically from the inside out. 

And so my prayer is that you realize that all sin is equally serious, no matter how seemingly big or small, and it is all an act of rebellion against God that can never be justified. I pray that you will be more concerned about how sin grieves the heart of God rather than just gaining personal victory, and so you will cultivate a heart that is pure and pleasing in the sight of Him who sits on the throne. I pray that you will open your heart to all the grace that He has poured out for us so you can be free from the chains and bondages of sin. And I pray that you will remember what it cost Him to love you, and that you will love Him at whatever cost too.