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.

Fight for Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
– Proverbs 4:23

This verse has been preached a thousand times in a thousand different ways. But such are the joys of the Bible being living and active – there’s always something new to get from it every time.

Allow me to tackle this today in a different way.

I have recently gone through a process with the Lord wherein He took me to different places in my memories – memories that I somehow managed to forget were there. At first, I was apprehensive and tried to run away. I wasn’t quite ready to face where I was being taken and wanted to protect myself from the hurt that I knew was coming.

The Lord then had to talk me through it. “I’m not trying to break your heart. I’m trying to bind up your broken heart.”

I was confused because I was at a perfectly good place. At least, I thought I was. The Holy Spirit then kindly made me understand that there were issues I buried from years ago that I thought were already dealt with but in fact still had roots, and it was time to deal with them before they come back up rearing their heads. I really didn’t quite think they were worth paying attention to because the blows I took were not as horrible as others have received. However, we all break differently and such comparison of brokenness doesn’t invalidate the trauma.

There started a process that was painful, to say the least, but was also enlightening. You see, I thought I was protecting my heart by putting up walls and keeping it safe, but the truth is I was actually killing it.

We’ve taught ourselves to not talk about things of the past; to not think about things that hurt. We say what’s done is done, but does that really make it over?

There is constant talk about how the love of the Lord is like a soothing balm over our injuries and yes, that’s true. However, His love is also like disinfectant fiery over our wounds because His hands need to take the bullet out and stitch up the holes.

It hurts, but it’s necessary if we want to live.

If we want to really protect our hearts, then we have to stare all the painful memories right in the face and not look at away. We have to go back to those moments and bring the Lord with us.

It gets scary because we do have questions and regrets. “Why did I do that, how could I have been so stupid?” “Why did the Lord allow that to happen to me?” “Why is life unfair?”

And so it’s important to hold the Holy Spirit’s hand through all of it; we need to be aware of what He is saying about all the things we went through. We also need to be reminded of the fact that the enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. He is actively working day in and day out to snuff out your hope and your spirit.

It might sound threatening but reality is, he’s threatened of you. He’s scared of all the things that you could become and is terrified of you reflecting all of God’s goodness and glory. Therefore, he has set up a thousand situations to take you out and has placed a million lies in your head, telling you you’re not good enough, that you’re unwanted and a burden, that it’s all your fault and that it happened because you had it coming anyway.

But one quick look at the Bible will tell you that even before the Lord formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew you. While you were still a sinner, He died for you. And His heart is to bless you, heal you, and give you life that is lived to the full.

You’ve probably heard of conspiracies regarding the Illuminati and that they make agreements with the devil so they can have the life that they want. Making such transactions with Satan is not the only way to have an agreement with him. Each and every time you agree with his lies towards you and even towards others, you are entering into an agreement with him.

We have to cut ties with those lies. This is not just about having low esteem. This is spiritual assault at its finest and this is why we have been implored to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

Notice the term “take captive.” It’s a term that belongs to the vocabulary of soldiers and the military. This is because we are in a fight and we have to understand that trying to ignore the battle or deny the war does not mean we will be spared from it.

One of the common translations for one of the names of God “Jehovah Sabaoth” is “The Lord of Hosts.” The literal translation for this name is “The Lord of Angel Armies” and I like that a lot better. The Lord has been constantly accused of being a bystander, but He has been anything but. In fact, He has always been the frontliner, going forward as the sacrifice for the rest of the people.

We look at all the defeating blows humanity has received and point fingers because we have bought into the idea that we don’t have to fight because we have Jesus, but that is heresy and just another lie the enemy has managed to infiltrate in our culture. It’s like someone from the Navy saying, “I don’t need to fight, the Commander will do all of the fighting.” We have been called to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) and to take up the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We have to realize that we have been slated into this war and were never meant to play civilians; we were meant to be warriors.

A verse that I commonly hear being quoted completely on its own is Exodus 14:14. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” as Moses told the people of Israel. What people fail to pay attention to is the context of the verse, because in the next verse, the Lord told Moses “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.”

You have a part to play. You have to keep moving forward. Don’t allow the enemy to belittle the things that the Lord has placed in your heart. Remember that Satan does not want you stepping into all that the Lord created you to be and will do anything to prevent that. He will try to break you down, discourage you, meet you with failure and dishearten you.

Wonder, love, grace, joy – the world wants to take it all away from you. Hell will fight you over what heaven has called you.

There will be doubts. You may be fronted with shame and judgment. Satan may even use people to mock you and look down on you, but don’t lose heart. Think of Joseph’s brothers and how they were so threatened of Joseph that they plotted to kill him. If you’re in that situation, know that it only cements the fact that there is a good future waiting for you and that if you push through, there is glory to come.

“So, it becomes the devils business to keep the Christian’s spirit imprisoned. He knows that the believing and justified Christian has been raised up out of the grave of his sins and trespasses. From that point on, Satan works that much harder to keep us bound and gagged, actually imprisoned in our own grave clothes. He knows that if we continue in this kind of bondage, we will never be able to claim our rightful spiritual heritage. He knows also that while we continue bound in this kind of enslavement we are not much better off than when we were spiritually dead.
We must face up to the issues and attitudes and doubts which constitute our fears, that keep us from being happy and victorious Christians with the true liberty of the children of God. We seem to quake about many things. In the first place, are you still afraid of your past sins? God knows that sin is a terrible thing?and the devil knows it, too. So he follows us around and as long as we will permit it, he will taunt us about our past sins.”
-A. W. Tozer

This also helps us be sensitive to the fact that everyone has their own battles. So be kind, be gracious, and love one another as Christ has loved you. Stand together in prayer and hold the ropes for each other. The Lord knows we all need it.

Don’t be afraid to bring to light all that you’ve hidden in the shadows. Don’t put your heart under a shade and hide it away. Don’t buy into the lies of false humility and shame.

Allow everything in your heart to shine and break through. If we truly want to protect our hearts, then we fight to keep them the way the Lord designed them to be – loving, selfless, brave, and free.

“As for myself, I have learned to talk back to him on this score. I say, “Yes, Devil, sin is terrible-but I remind you that I got it from you! And I remind you, Devil, that everything good -forgiveness and cleansing and blessing- everything that is good I have freely received from Jesus Christ!” Everything that is bad and that is against me I got from the devil -so why should he have the effrontery and the brass to argue with me about it? Yet he will do it because he is the devil, and he is committed to keeping God’s children shut up in a little cage, their wings clipped so that they can never fly!”
-A. W. Tozer

When I Say I’m Praying for [him]

I say a prayer every time I think of you. Every. Single. Time.

I pray that you’re allowing what the Lord is doing in you during this season.

That you are completely yielded to the Holy Spirit and where He is leading you.

That you are fruitful and growing in wherever you are, whatever you are doing.

I pray for you.

I don’t pray about us.

I do tell the Lord about what I feel for you and openly express my desire to be with you, but I do not want to nag heaven with cries and petitions of what I want and how I want you.

Not that doing so is wrong, but then is it really right? Am I even truly praying for you if my intentions revolve around me?

I refuse to highlight what I want and how I feel, no matter how incredibly tempting it is for me to do so. The last thing I want is to make this journey of praying for you about me.

If I’m going to passionately bombard heaven with relentless prayers about you, I might as well make them into prayers that are actually, well, for you.

For your benefit and for your good and for His glory in your story.

Whether that story includes me or not begs to be seen, but that doesn’t change a thing.

I choose to pray not with palms clasped tight but with arms open wide.

More than anything else, I pray for His will to come to pass in every area of your life.

I pray to see His glory shine ever brighter in and through who you are and who He is making you to be.

I pray that you live a life of His best; even if that means it’s a life that does not include me.

I don’t pray that you’ll be mine. Just that you’d be His.

The 2018 New Year Post

Prayer and fasting week just ended yesterday and I was pondering on how God answered all my prayers from the previous year – and how, in a sense, He didn’t.

My ultimate prayer has always been that His will be done in my life, followed by bullet points of specific wants and requests that I have. All bullet points for 2017 were answered, some with a yes, some with a no, some with a few modifications in between. But one thing’s for sure, His will prevailed and with that, I couldn’t really ask for more.

I think everyone who reads this blog knows how I always thought I would have been married by the time I’m 21. Not that I prayed for it last year, but hey. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Instead, I got the job I never knew I wanted, am living alone for the first time in my life and discovering more of what I actually want to do.

And I have just one thought: I’m really, really glad I didn’t get married at 21.

(I’m pretty sure my parents are too).

How gracious is He, to withhold the things we think we want so we can have the things we would truly want in the end. I’m glad I didn’t get everything I ever asked for, because then He gets to give me so much more.

So sure, I have my list this year. In fact, I was specific and very particular about my requests, and I have faith that they would come to pass.

But if they don’t, I have faith that He will give what’s better.

For our faith is anchored on Him, whose kindness and goodness is immeasurable. Our hope is in Him who knows and has the best for us.

I’ve seen Him put to death my greatest dreams and I’ve seen Him resurrect them in ways I never dared imagine. He can do it again as much as He wants to. I can die to myself, over and over and over, because then I get to experience Him breathing life in me again.

I have completely no clue what’s going to happen this year, but I know that someday when I look back, I’m going to be glad things were the way they were. For this we know: God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

In His will, there’s absolutely nothing to fear. The anxiety of uncertainty may try to come at you, but God’s already got you. You can surrender, you can let go, you can trust.

We can lose our control as long as we know that God has it all under control.

I am fully convinced that God wants the best for us more than we could ever want it for ourselves. If that’s the case, then how can it ever not turn out okay?

So, 2018, are you ready for what God’s going to do? I know I am.

Sabi Nila, Wag Umasa

Sabi nila wag ako masyadong umasa
kasi wala naman talagang kakapitan,
ano nga naman ang pwedeng panghawakan.

Sabi nila wag ako masyadong umasa
kasi sakit ang kahihinatnan
at ayaw lang naman nila ako makitang masaktan.

Sabi nila wag ako masyadong umasa.
Siguro, kung aasa, yung konti lang,
yung sakto lang,
yung naglalaro sa linya, sa palagitnaan,
yung sasabihing naniniwala ngunit sa katunayan nakahanda na kabiguan ang kalabasan
sapagkat ang Dios ay marahil na hindi ako pagbibigyan.

Siguro, di nila maintindihan
na mas gusto ko maghintay nalang,
panandalian man o pang-matagalan,
kahit masakit, kahit nahihirapan
kaysa habambuhay magsisi na di man lang nanlaban,
di man lang nagbigay katiyakan at katibayan sa mga dasal na dinadala sa Dios na sinabi kong aking pinagkakatiwalaan.

Sabi nila wag ako masyadong umasa,
ngunit aasa ako,
buong-buo,
dahil alam kong walang imposible Sayo.

Ano nga ba ang pananampalataya kung hindi pagkatatag ng kalooban sa Siyang hindi nakikita na kayang ipagpatupad ang hindi pa nakikita?

At kung di man makuha ang inaasam,
magtitiwala ako na may mabuti Kang dahilan,
na importante parin yung proseso,
at na mas hihigit pa dito ang ibibigay Mo.

Kung di man makuha ang inaasahan,
aasa nalang muli,
sapagkat Ikaw ang pag-asa ko.

Limang Maikling Tula Para sa Kanya

Disclaimer: I wrote this as a creative challenge to myself more than anything. 
(Putting that disclaimer up for my dad more than anything 😂).

Isa, dalawa, tatlo, apat, lima
Binibilang ang araw hanggang tayo’y muling magkita
Isa, dalawa, tatlo, apat, lima
Binibilang ang beses na sinabi sa puso, tama na

Isa
Alam mo bang ako’y nabighani sa iyong mga mata?
Alam mo bang ang ngiti mo’y nakaukit sa aking gunita?
Alam mo bang ang bawat galaw, bawat sulyap, aking itinatala?

Isa
Isang beses ko palang ito nagawa, nadama

Dalawa
‘Di makahinga, ‘di makaimik
Idinadaan na lamang sa nakaw na tingin
Sa loob-loob, nanalangin
Na balang araw, ika’y maging akin

Tatlo
Ang kathang isip lamang, pwede ba maging katotohanan?
Araw-araw nagdadasal sa Diyos na Siya’y gumawa ng paraan
Ngunit kung sabihin Niya na kailangan kang bitawan
Ako’y handang magparaya, magpalaya,
Lumisan

Apat
Sapagkat ayaw kong pilitin ang tadhana
Hihintayin na lamang ang nakatakda

Lima
Nangangamba, ngunit nagbabakasali
Gusto kita
Gustong gusto kita
Pero Diyos parin ang natatangi

My Best Yes

I don’t really know what to say when people ask me where I’m at in my life right now so I simply answer,

“in between.”

But really, what does that even mean?

Earlier this year, God gave me a vision of being pulled out from where I was and being placed in a new land, accompanying the verse about Abraham. I received that word and said yes, completely. I told Him to hold my hand and pull me through, and I said He could push me if He had to. I asked Him to bring me out of my comfort zone and to make all things new.

You guys, this is the part where I say be careful what you ask for, because He really does answer prayers.

He did make all things new – in every way possible. In fact, He wiped the slate clean. Soon enough, I found myself smack-dab in a place where everything’s quite literally out of my control. Things I thought I always knew about my life and myself suddenly became unsure. Anything and everyone that somehow represented a form of my comfort zone, God asked me to release. To say that this season is nothing like I thought it would look like would be a huge understatement.

I quickly realized that I had to say no to say yes. I had to say no to certain relationships, certain opportunities, and certain wants in order to say yes to what God was asking of me.

So as much as I joyfully embraced the adventure at the beginning, soon enough I struggled with the realities of it. I had so much difficulty with where I was that I had to frequently remind myself Whose I was. And when I approached Him with questions, He told me straight up,

“You asked for it.”

Seriously, be careful what you pray for.

But it wasn’t until I went back to the province for a 2-day visit that I grasped the intricacies of my pain.

A couple of hours before my scheduled trip back to the city, I was hanging out with some of the students and volunteers. My dad walked up to me to say an early goodbye because he had to take care of some things and he wasn’t sure if he would see me before I left. The moment he did so, I started crying uncontrollably. None of them knew what to do, not even I. I was partly embarrassed because there were other people there, but I couldn’t stop myself. My dad took one look at me and knew.

“You don’t want to leave, ‘no? You don’t have to go. Just tell me if you want to stay. You can stay.”

The tears kept on coming, but I fell silent. I knew what I truly wanted.

“No. I have to go. I need to go.”

I wanted to stay, but I wanted God more.

I understood then the choice that I made three months before and decided that I wasn’t going to change my mind. I knew that even if I had to keep saying no to my plans, my timeline, my options, my comforts, I would choose this path all over again. I would say a million nos if that’s what it meant to give my full yes to Him.

It’s a trade-off, it always will be. The same way He traded the golden streets of heaven to die for me.

How can I not say yes to Him? How can I not choose to be faithful to Him, to what He has asked of me?

He is worth every shattered piece of my heart.
He is worth it all so He can tear me apart.

Even when it hurts, I choose to be faithful.
Even when it’s difficult, I choose to be faithful.
Even when I don’t understand, I choose to be faithful.
Even when it’s nothing like I planned, I choose to be faithful.

I can choose to be faithful because He is faithful.
I choose to be faithful because He is faithful.

I choose to be faithful, knowing He will prove Himself faithful.

I’m a natural planner, but now I have to let myself take it one day at a time. So each and every day, I go back to my original yes. I remind myself why I said yes in the first place. Then I say yes all over again.

And when I have difficulty with where I am, I remind myself Whose I am: I belong to a good Father and a great God who wants nothing but the best for me.

Yes, He is worth every shattered piece of my heart.
He is worth it all so He can tear me apart.
But let me not forget that He makes the broken beautiful.
Let me not forget that He loves me more.

I may not completely know where I’m at, but I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. I know I’m where God wants me. I know that He is molding me, shaping me, preparing me. And I’m pretty sure He’s in the process of writing one epic story.

We can be confident in this: that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

For as it is written:
what no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived,
the things God has prepared for those who love Him.
-1 Corinthians 2:9

Break.

"It's okay. Break. It's okay to break. It's okay to be broken."

How many times do we have to tell ourselves that our brokenness is forgivable?

This, this is one of the greatest things He has taught me. That we can be undone, and it's completely okay.

Some pain could be self-inflicted. Some pain could be world-induced. Some pain could be completely out of your hands. But none of those actually changes anything.

Pain and brokenness will either demand to be felt or they will demand that we feel nothing at all.

So feel. Beloved, allow yourself to be broken. Maybe you've been holding it together for the longest time. But you don't have to, not in front of Him. Let the tears come. You don't need to be afraid of what is broken, what could be broken, what will be broken. Not when He is not afraid of broken things; not when He is redeeming and restoring everything.

Let His love re-define you and the meaning of your brokenness. Let Him love you in your most disappointed, hurt, confused places. He wants to. Rock bottom becomes your stepping stone if you decide to walk it through.

I remember this song by Leonard Cohen that says, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

Let the love get in. But you have to break first, fully.

Then let all the broken, seemingly scattered pieces fall into place. Let Him put your pieces back into place.You can press your scars against His nail pierced hands and know that this, this is Someone who is not afraid of broken, this is Someone who understands pain.

You may think that you can't afford to feel because you have to be a leader first. You have to be a parent first. You have to be a sibling first. You have to be responsible first. But it costs so much more to forget that before all of that, you were God's child first. And He wants you to be super real with Him. He isn't surprised by how low you could go. You'd be surprised by how His love can chase you down there, even deeper.

Didn't you know that your broken heart breaks His? Didn't you know that you refusing to break open your heart breaks His?

And the Father has His arms outstretched, Christ comes to us showing the scars in His hands, the Spirit whispers inside us, "it's safe here."

Why do we need to fear being messy when it's never more than what our God can handle?

Break. At His feet. Before His throne. Offer your brokenness. Then watch Him fight for you. Hear Him speak grace and truth to you. Listen to Him tell you, "go in peace" (Luke 7:36-50).

You may be busted, but you are beloved.
You may be guilty, but you are not condemned.
You may be broken, but you are chosen.

So rather than pushing people away because "you don't understand my pain and you have no idea what I've been through", why don't we let them push through our hearts and maybe then we'll see them pull through for us?

It's fascinating to me, how the bread we eat and the juice we drink during communion represents so much more than we think they do. Wheat and grain have to be crushed in order to make the bread we commune with. Grapes had to be squeezed and pounded in order for us to have the juice that we drink. All the sweetness, the oneness, coming from broken.

We share this together – all this broken, together.

And all this pain and suffering, they all do things to us. They make us defensive. Bitter. Mean. Because, as they say, hurt people hurt people.

But everyone's hurt. In ways we will never know and in ways we won't fully understand, everyone is hurt, has been hurt, and will be hurt. And if we don't start responding in love in the face of pain, if we keep putting up walls rather than allowing the cracks, if we don't start reaching out instead of slapping away, if we'd rather make people break than be broken together, then the cycle will keep going on.

Hurt people hurt people.

Someone, somewhere, has to be brave enough, humble enough, to break the cycle by being broken.

Let that someone be you.

The truth is, there will always be someone who has something bad to say about you, something bad to do to you. Love anyway. The moment we feel most appalled, most disappointed, most repelled is the moment we need to love anyway the most. The heart that repels us the most is the heart we need to love the most.

Because we all need love when we feel we least deserve it – and that's exactly how God loves us anyway.

It's two-way, a cycle, this circle of love and life and pain.

Rather than comparing and criticizing who has the right to be broken because "I've been through worse but I turned out better", why don't we break our self-righteous pulpits instead?

Do you really have to give someone a piece of your mind when they need a piece of your heart? What if that person is not necessarily being difficult, it's just that she's having difficulty? Because we know it gets harder before it ever gets easier, and people need someone to help them through and tell them that it will get better if they don't give up when it's hardest.

Beloved, we will be known for our fruits, not our judgments.

So the ground has to be broken to produce crop and the seed has to break open to produce wheat and the wheat has to be broken to produce bread.

And Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24).

We break ourselves open and we die to ourselves.

And then He puts us back together, the way we were always supposed to be. He binds us all broken people together.

Because, if anything, seeing how deep our brokenness makes us realize how deep His love is. And I deeply believe that what the enemy meant for evil, God will turn into good. I deeply believe that He can turn your bad broken into good broken. I deeply believe that no darkness nor evil nor spirits nor anxiety nor fear can keep you from His love and peace. When we are wounded by the world, we can find shelter in His Word.

And then we will know, truly, Christ was broken so we don't have to be.Our undoing will be our remaking.

The origin of the word suffer means "to bear under." To suffer means to bear under what we cannot control. Which is why we would rather avoid suffering at all. But we can bear under that which is beyond our control because we know that above all is the One who is in control. Whatever has been and whatever will be, we are being held securely in the hands of Him who is the Prince of Peace. We are held in the arms of the One who holds all things together.

Whatever we are wrapped up in, He sets us free.
Whatever we are accused of, He has taken the condemnation.
Whatever we lack, He will provide.
Whatever we have failed, He will redeem.
Whatever battle we face, He has declared victory.

For where we are weak, He is strong.

We imagine needing to go through things on our own, but in the darkness, in the valley of death, He is there with us. There's no season that we have been in, no season we are in, and no season we could be in that He will not go through with us. In the desert, in the valley, in the fire, He is right there with us. When everything is up in flames around us, He is right there with us in the middle of our burn.

It's not up to us to overcome our brokenness. We don't have to be okay before going to Christ. Rather, it is Christ who will have us overcome our brokenness and who will make us okay – even when things don't seem okay.

And now we who are broken, scarred, limping, we can be brokers of healing because we know where the wounds run. We know that compassion can heal what condemnation could not. We know that God will use all things for our good and His glory – from testing to testimony.

Taking it from apostle Paul, whose daily involved being stoned, flogged, persecuted, and imprisoned: "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

He can say that because amidst everything, here is his mindset: I am not a victim. And you are not a victim. Beloved, we should stop acting and thinking and living from a place of victim. And I do get that – that it will take time before we get out of that slave, victim mentality. But we'll let His love lead us through.

We confront our brokenness and own our beloved-ness.

For everything, everything, everything will work together for our good and His glory – even if we don't see it just yet. There will be stories to tell on the other side because we were never meant to wallow in our pain, we were meant to overcome.

He puts all our broken pieces together to form His body and we find His marks on each other. Let it sink, balm through the cracks: Christ is in you. You have the hope of glory in you.

And if we trace every scar, we can find there written along the lines:

Wounds run deep, but His love will always run deeper; the world will fight you and your own self will contradict you, but He has won the war – this Scarred, Victorious Savior.

And His triumph is counted as yours.

Beloved, Let Him Go

Just a little confession: I am in no way an expert at this. I have loved and I have lost and I have spent months and years in an emotional limbo, hopelessly stuck in a place I don't even think I want to move on from because it's the only place I can still find him.

But maybe that's exactly why I have to speak to you about it. Because, my dear, it's 2017 and my heart breaks just watching you bringing the pain and confusion into the new year. Just when you thought you can begin anew, you found yourself in the same cycle again.

It's ironic when you know that breaking up was what's best and the relationship was already doing more harm than good, and yet here you are still at the same place you began.

It's a tug-of-war, you see. Your hands grasp so tightly to the rope, fighting to hold on and at the same time fighting to let go. You push and you pull and you always end up finding yourself bleeding and calloused and oh so tired.

And you know what, it's okay. It's okay that it's hard. It's okay that it hurts. The pain is valid. It's normal. We all need to go through our own journeys, with our own processes. Please go at your pace for wounds take time to heal. Two steps forward, one step back, it's fine. As long as you keep moving.

But if you're honest to yourself and you know that you're not even going anywhere and you're just stuck there, then let me be honest here too. The battle isn't really between you and him. The battle is between you and yourself.

You have to actually want to get over it, sweetie. From deep within you, you have to decide to. It's impossible to help someone who doesn't want to be helped. It's you who gets to make the decision to stop replying. You make the decision to take captive every thought and stop imagining the 1,000 ways the two of you can reconcile and get back together in the far off future. Most importantly, you get to choose whose hand you're going to hold: his or His.

This isn't about actively getting yourself into church activities or finding laughter when you're out for fellowship. Those can help, and they're good, but they're not the answer.

He is.

I don't want to make it sound easy because it's not. It's actually incredibly difficult. However, it's also rather simple. I'm not saying that the moment you choose God, all your feelings will miraculously go away. It doesn't work that way. But beloved, He works.He will work through your emotions and He will work through your situation and you will see Him working this heartbreak for your good.

It's terrifying letting go of what you're so used to. Some days, you just miss having someone to love you. Some days, you wonder whether you'll find a relationship that great again. Some days, you get frightened once you realize that all your plans that always included him are now scrap. But then, that's a wonderful place to start again.

Endings make for good beginnings. 

I beg you, close the door. You need to. Losing him might mean finally finding yourself – and much, much more. Don't chain yourself to the past and miss out on embracing all the future holds. The world is waiting for you to fully step into who you are. You were not created to retreat. There's a million opportunities ahead of you, an endless array of open doors and chances, so stop holding yourself back. Stop holding on to a guy you always believed would die for you when there's One who already did. This Guy, He's not just a band-aid for your broken heart, He'll take all the broken pieces and put them back together. You shouldn't treat Him as a soothing balm when He is the cure. You may have thought love meant grasping, but now there's a love Who would hold on to you. And this Love, just a little tidbit, His hands bled for you too. 

Palms closed tight keep the shadows in. We capture the light with open hands.

Breathe in. Breathe deep. Exhale.

No matter how long it takes, no matter how difficult it is, no matter how stuck you feel sometimes, no matter how many times you have to decide over and over again.

Slowly, fingers uncurling, relinquish. Let go.

Not because he found someone else, not because you want to find someone else, but because now, you are found.


Welcome the new.


It’s Christmas and Everything Seems Dark

“Why are there no lights out?”

It’s early December and I was pouting to my brother how everything is as Christmas-sy as it should be except the new city mayor decided not to waste money on lights and decors this year.

A few days after that, we were on the drive home when he complained about how everyone had their headlights on full bright because it was so dark outside. I put my head out the window, strained to see, to catch even a glimpse of light, but there was none. No street lamps, no stars, no moon. Just the blackest night.

Christmas was supposed to be full of cheer and luster and sparkles spilling, so why did there seem to be no light in sight?

News recently broke over Aleppo, the 4-year war reaching its pinnacle and I sat there in the lunch table, everyone laughing and talking as my eyes were glued to my phone, pictures of people dying, my fingers scrolling, scrolling hoping to find something that will help make sense of everything. Christmas banners were hanging over us and I can’t stop thinking of how the civilians were made into chess pieces, clinging on to freedom banners, desperate for a sense of hope.

Hope. How to have hope when hope has failed you before?

I lie in the middle of the dark, masking the pain of broken plans and expectations as I stare at my journal, wondering what happened to God promising that this year will be far better than the last. I ache, wonder, ponder, the same way I broke down in the arms of a friend for the first time this year mere days before, letting the dam crack just a tiny bit in her compassion as I admit that I was so tired of waiting and hoping. I was never the hopeful sort in the first place because of my tendency to be very realistic.

And yet, still, I can’t seem to snuff out hope.

For there, in the middle of the mess and my so-called realism, a small sliver of light started fighting its way through my broken heart and I couldn’t do anything to force it back down.

Then I’m reminded that Christmas is not about everything being light and bright. It’s about that one star hovering over the manger, steady for those who have eyes to see. I recall how myrrh, the third gift of the wise men, is most commonly used for embalming – myrrh was presented to baby Jesus as the foreboding of His death. And that act in and of itself appears brooding and gloomy but it tells me one thing: Christmas isn’t about simply His coming, it’s about His coming to die that we might see that still, small light.

For right there, from the darkness of the womb, He emerged to the light of life. 33 years later, from the darkness of the tomb, He emerged to give us the light of eternal life.

This is the God who, from the very beginning, spoke out against the dark…

“Let there be light.”

Christmas reminds us that from darkness emerges light, always. Christmas reminds us that darkness will never overcome light. Christmas reminds us that even if the promise takes 4,000 years coming, it is still coming.

Here is a God who chose to come in the middle of a genocide, as a refugee, as a carpenter’s son. Here is a God who chose to die through the worst form of torture, lawful justice withheld from Him. Here is a God who not only knows our suffering but has been through world’s suffering.

Here is our God.

We can still hope because we know Who we’re hoping on.

Two days ago, my friends and I were walking to the park late in the evening to have a picnic when there, I saw.


Thousands of lights up along the streets and up in the sky. Shimmering, gleaming, radiant against the dark.

I breathed out against the chill.

Darkness couldn’t do anything to light because darkness is simply the absence of light. Fire up a small candle, put on a small bulb, and darkness has nothing on light. In fact, it is in the darkest darkness that light would be seen brightest.

The pits of failure, depression, anxiety, fear, and shame are real and they plunge murky and deep, but His love is real-er and it plunges so much deeper. His light will always chase you down. His power is made perfect in your weakness.

Because, Emmanuel.

The Bright, The Star, The True Light is always here with us, glowing, burning deep within our hearts, iIlluminating the dark.

Hope, against all hope.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:2, 6‬