Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stop looking and start becoming

It's when we stop looking when we find what we've been looking for.

In all seriousness, Princess, stop searching for Mr. Right.  Instead, start becoming the person that the person you are looking for is looking for.

Wait, what?

Well, lovely Princess, you know that person you've been looking for to marry?  He's been looking for someone, too.  He has expectations and he knows what he wants, and if he's a real man, he's not looking for someone to mistreat and cheat on and possess only for her outward beauty.  He's looking for a woman who emanates true inner beauty and spiritual maturity.  He's not looking for someone desperate to be in a relationship.  He's looking for a woman confident in who she is in the eyes of God, no matter her relationship status.  He's not looking for a purely physical relationship.  He's looking for a loving relationship that will grow the rest of his life, a woman he finds stimulating in all areas: emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Last year, I watched an entire series of sermons online by Andy Stanley of North Point Church on this subject of what he calls the "new rules of sex, love, and dating".  One of his biggest points is that if two people are always searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right, or if they're just searching for that person with whom they have great chemistry, the relationship eventually ends up falling apart because they have been focusing on finding the right person instead of becoming the right person.

I had just been settling for whoever came my way during college until this summer.  Finally, I gave up and said, "God, you have someone in mind for me.  I'm done looking; in fact, I would rather have it that I stay single throughout the rest of this summer as I go off to my internship so that I can focus more on You and the changes You will create in me, as well as the work You have for me."  I started getting into the Word a lot more and focusing on my relationship with the Lord, on making it my biggest priority in life.  I've grown so much and am learning little by little each day what it means to be a woman of God.  And I'm absolutely loving my relationship with the Lord and all that He shows me each day.

One day during my internship, without me meaning for it to happen, nor without me wanting it to happen, I fell in love with an amazing Christ-centered man in a small evangelical church.  I was about to ignore all such feelings and run away, but that was when God tapped me on the shoulder and said, "My love, you have been wasting your energy on other men who are less worthy of you.  Daughter of mine, are you really going to run away from one of the best men I have to offer?"  And I was convicted, and I obeyed, and I'm so glad I did.

To watch the whole series by Andy Stanley I described above, start here.  I highly recommend it, and it's only four sermons, each one about an hour long.  Do yourself a favor and spend four weeks on this series; watch one part a week for a month, take good notes, and let the message sink into your heart.  Princess, I promise you it's worth it, and I promise you that becoming the person that the person you are looking for is looking for is something you won't regret.

Further reading: Gone Huntin' off of www.shehasworth.com.

Look for a man...

...who will love you, Princess, like Ephesians 5 describes:

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself"  (v. 25-28a).

Don't settle for less than the best God has in store for you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Advice from Audrey Hepburn

There's a quote by Audrey Hepburn that goes like this:

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. 
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. 
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of each of your arms.  As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. 
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.  The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. 
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.  It is the caring that she lovingly gives and the passion that she shows.
The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

When I was in Costa Rica, on my last day with my host family, it finally dawned on me the significance of the third line of Audrey Hepburn's advice.  You see, normally I dislike when people run their fingers through my hair.  I don't always mind people playing with it, but I have hair that is an odd mixture of curly and wavy, and if people start combing their fingers through it, well, it tends to frizz out big time and doesn't hold any of the original curliness.  So if I'm having a decent hair day and I don't want it to get messed up, I'll generally refuse to let people touch my hair for any length of time, especially kids who don't understand the nature of my hair.  It was just one of those weird things.  And when I was in Costa Rica, I normally refused to let my younger host brother Luis or little Emma or young Jimena at the church touch my hair, because I was worried about it frizzing out.

My host family always fawned over how soft my hair is compared to theirs.  I don't think it's soft at all, but my family sure thought so, and that's a huge reason I think why people always wanted to touch it.  But I was really reluctant to let them.  Every now and then I would, but it was with a great deal of reluctance.

On my last day with my host family, when I woke up, I discovered poor Luis was not feeling well at all.  Therefore, after quickly packing up the rest of my things and eating breakfast and saying a tearful goodbye to my host dad as he left for work, I stayed with Luis and helped my host mom take care of him until I had to leave.  And as I took care of him and talked to him and stayed with him and loved on him, I freely allowed him to mess up my hair by running his fingers through it.  He kept saying how soft it was and kept touching it and enjoying playing with it for a while before I had to go.

I really don't understand why people like playing with my hair; my best guess is that it's unique and nobody has hair quite like mine.  But in that instant I finally understood what it means to have beautiful hair by letting a child run his or her fingers through it daily.  That a child like Luis took delight in touching my hair, something that admittedly feels really good for me too, filled me with joy.  I was happy that he was happy.  It was technically a small sacrifice (no matter how important it felt in the moment), and yet it brought so much joy to both of us.

True beauty doesn't come from what we do on the outside.  There's a aesthetically-pleasing type of beauty that comes from enhancing one's eyes with eyeliner, or from wearing certain outfits, or from doing up one's hair all nice.  But as Proverbs 31:10-31 in the Bible advocates (I'll leave you to look it up here), and as Audrey Hepburn echoes, the character of a woman is what gives her real beauty.

Beautiful Princess of the Most High God, remember this as you go about your daily life.  Remember that you already are beautiful, and that each moment you are awake you have the opportunity to express this beauty and let it shine through you, the beauty that is Jesus Christ living in you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Unconditional love

You may or may not have heard this before, but God's love is unconditional. What does that mean, exactly?

  • He loves you always

  • He loves you no matter the circumstance

  • He loves you even when you don't reciprocate

  • He loves you no matter what you do

  • He loves you wholeheartedly

  • He loves you tangibly

  • He loves you no matter your self-image

  • He loves you even when you forget

  • He loves you sacrificially

This means that...

  • He receives you with open arms every single time you come back to Him

  • He always delights in you

  • He empathizes and sympathizes with you

  • His heart aches when you are hurting

  • He hasn't forgotten about you, and He never will

  • He knows what you are going through personally

  • His love for you goes above and beyond sin

  • He longs to be with you and for you to know Him and His love

Real love, true love, valuable love cannot be bought with money or gifts. But it does have a cost; otherwise, it's cheap love. It requires sacrifice, that sort of cost. Real love is what causes parents to sacrifice so much time, money, and energy for their children. It's what causes friends to make time for each other and stick by one another through hard moments. It's what causes a husband and wife to make changes in their lives in order to live harmoniously with each other. It's what caused Jesus to give up His life on the cross in order to bear the punishment that should have rightfully been mine, and yours.

See, valuable love never comes without some sort of cost. And that's the kind of love we should seek to give and receive. Of course it won't be without pain, and of course it's never easy to constantly love someone, and of course we cannot love completely unconditionally (we're only human, after all). But love like this is so priceless and difficult to find in today's world that when it presents itself, it's truly a marvel and something really cherished.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What is love?

So many people describe love as an emotion, and yes, of course it is. But guess what, Princess? It's only an emotion second. Love is an action first. Love is a choice that we make every day to everyone and everything we come into contact with. It's the decision to serve sacrificially and treat kindly and be abundantly patient with even the people we think we despise. If you don't believe me, think about it this way: You can't command an emotion. I can't say, "Be angry!" and have you honestly become angry at me, though you can pretend. But God commands us to love one another. That makes love more than an emotion. Another way of thinking about it: If someone tells you "I love you" but doesn't show it with his (or her, if you're a guy reading this!) actions, does it really mean anything? How do you feel? Is anything in your relationship with that person truly different? This is totally not to say that love isn't an emotion at all. I still get warm fuzzy feelings with the person I consider myself to be "in love" with. And it's definitely not to make the phrase "I love you" take on a less significant meaning. In fact, it's just the opposite. The fact that love is an action gives the term "love" even more of a meaning and shows us how deeply we need to care for someone in order to love them. It causes us to remember not to take the phrase "I love you" for granted and to understand what it means to love. You love someone through kindness, through patience, through willingly and sacrificially serving that person, even if you have no reason to do so. And the person God has in store for you in your future? He's the one who doesn't just say "I love you," but shows it, too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don't settle

This is just part of something I found while stalking one of my guy friends pages on Facebook...I thought it was cute, and I'm pretty sure he took it from a different source, I am not sure where, but I thought it was adorable and was wondering what you think, dear reader.

"Life only comes around once. Make sure you spend it with the right person...

Find a guy...
  • Who calls you beautiful instead of hot
  • Who calls you back when you hang up on him
  • Who will stay awake just to watch you sleep
Wait for the guy who...
  • Kisses your forehead
  • Wants to show you off to the world when you are in your sweats
  • Holds your hand in front of his friends
  • Is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you
  • Turns to his friends and says, 'That's her!!'"
Just remember, Princess, that you deserve God's best for you, and His best is always greater than you could ever possibly imagine at first! Never settle for less!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More loving letters from God

I am still reading His Princess by Sheri Rose Shepherd. I seriously love this entire book, but for the sake of time, space, and copyright issues, I will quote merely a few letters here for you, dear Princess.

"My Princess...You don't have to fit in. I know you want to be accepted by others, but you were not made to fit in. You, My princess, were created to stand out. Not to draw attention to yourslf, but to live the kind of life that leads others to Me" (14).

"My Princess...Treasure your body. Your body is a gift from Me, and you are too valuable to let the wrong person open that gift...don't compromise My best for you for a moment of passion...the pain is not worth the pleasure" (33).

"My Princess...You are my true beauty. Your real beauty is a work of art--hand carved by Me. I have given you beautiful lips to speak words of life, beautiful eyes to see Me in everything, beautiful hands to help those in need, and a beautiful face to reflect My love to the world" (40).

"My Princess...Your life is a symphony. You are to Me a beautiful song...Stay in rhythm with My Spirit throughout the day, and I will make your life an irresistible medley that will linger like sweet perfume in the hearts of all that journey with you. Walk with Me in absolute surrender, and you will draw others to Me in a rhapsody of praise" (54).

"My Princess...I will heal your heart...I, too, have felt great pain, rejection and anger...I promise you, My Princess, that when you go through deep waters of great trouble, I will be with you" (73).

"My Princess...You are free to love...give those you love the freedom to fail...If you let Me take the disappointments that come with relationships, you will be free to give and recieve love unconditionally. Remember, My Princess, most people need love the most when they deserve it the least" (94).

"My Princess...You're never alone...Don't settle for less than My best..." (103).

"My Princess...Pray with power...Wherever you go, remember that part of your royal privilege is raising your voice to heaven" (111).

"My Princess...Give me control...Who knows you better than I do? I don't want you to keep exhausting yourself trying to rebuild your life after another shipwreck" (144).

"My Princess...Love is not a game...it is a gift. I know there are those who don't sincerely care for your heart, but I say that your heart is precious" (162).