{Love Letters} Love

All these years, you have wanted love. But it seemed like every time you thought you might have found it, it ran away, leaving you confused and hurt. Is love even real? You asked timidly with insecurity lining your trembling voice. You tested those who thought might be capable of giving you love. Because you wanted someone to stay. Even after they saw you for you really are. Crazy. Messy. Imperfect. No makeup. Hair’s a mess. The list continues… You were afraid of “scaring them off”, but you tested them anyway. Eventually you just expected to scare them all off the moment they started to get close to you. You lost hope that anyone would ever stay. You were at a constant battle within yourself. You still wanted to get close to someone…but you knew they would leave.

Won’t you learn to dance with me, instead? I promise you that I will show you true love. I know what love really is. I will forever be your place of strength. I will never move away from you. When you are confused, come to me about it. I am your rock (Psalm 18:2). Let me teach you what love is.

Love is Patient.

Love is Kind.

It does not Envy,

It does not boast,

It is not proud.

It is not rude,

It is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil

but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,

always trusts,

always hopes,

always perseveres.

Love never fails.  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

You have always wanted someone to love you fully. Someone to love you for who you really are. Someone to love you while you are in process. Someone to love you when you are unlovely. Someone to love you on your worst days…when you’re sick, grumpy, ugly, etc. You have been looking in all of the wrong places. I have love for you on earth, but you must learn to accept my love for you first. Trust me, it is far more fulfilling then anything on earth will ever be. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Rest in the fact that I love you…with a perfect, unfailing, steadfast love that will never end. I will never get tired of you. I will never simply move on from you. I will never stop loving you because you disappointed me. Because I am love. I know what love is. I created it. I love you! Don’t you think that qualifies me to write your beautiful love story, when the time is right?

Your heart has come such a long way, Beautiful Girl. It has certainly been a long journey for you. And I am so proud of you. I am proud that you never gave up. Sure, there were times when you gave up hope…but you didn’t stop searching, didn’t lie down to rest. You allowed me to speak to you through other people and you allowed me to pick your tired heart back up again. You are learning to accept my love for you. You are learning to love yourself. In time, Dear One, you will learn to fully accept the love of others and love them in return. In the meantime, keep loving people to the best of your ability. It will come easier it time. I promise. Keep loving me. Keep talking to me and to others. I will make your path clear to you. Trust my plan for you. It is so good. Remember, My Love Never Fails.

{Fall Semester} 2014.

I meant to post this a while ago, but I wanted to write about last semester; {Fall Semester} 2014. This is the last day of 2014. That is so incredibly crazy. So much has happened this year. The following points are just a few of the things that I learned this past semester (not the whole year)…although there are so many more that I could add to this list. I hope you can relate and I hope that you can see the ways that God has pulled through and shown himself to you this year/last semester too! Have a wonderful News Years Eve and I wish you all the best in this coming year, 2015! 😀

  • I can do the impossible.

I can walk through journeys that I thought I wouldn’t make it through. It wasn’t fun. And it isn’t over. I felt like there was a long line of people who all needed to talk to me about something that would change my life. I still don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’ve gotten through some long days when it felt like nothing was going right. It got to the point that I didn’t even know what was going on anymore. I didn’t know what to do, think, say, or pray. I even lost hope a couple times. But whenever that happened someone was always there to redirect me and help me put my hope back in God.

I now run. What? I have always hated running. Like, with a passion! I know that I have tried to start running before and stopped many, many, many times, but for some reason, this time it’s different! It’s cold outside. I never ran when it’s cold outside. I hate the cold. I hate running. Why would I put myself through that? Something changed. I’m motivated. Sometimes I don’t even feel like running, but I know that I should, so I do. Before, if I didn’t feel like it, I would make excuses. I can’t say I enjoy it too much during the run (I’m working on that!), but I can say that I absolutely LOVE the feeling I get when I’m done. Sure, I’m sweaty and tired and I can hardly breathe…But I’m proud of myself. Proud that I did what I thought was impossible. I am now up to running 4.43 miles, which I’ve never done at one time in my life. Impossible. Yet I’m doing it.

  • Feelings are good

I was hurt. Deeply. I never wanted to feel that again. So I blocked my heart. I cut everyone off. I never let anyone in. I never let anyone love me. Because I thought that if I didn’t let anyone in, they wouldn’t have the power to hurt me. I thought that I could stop feeling everything and, even though I realized that the good probably came with the bad, at least I wouldn’t feel the bad. I thought it was worth it.

It back fired.

Instead of that making everything better, I shut out everyone who tried to care for me. I refused the benefit of amazing friendships and all the blessings that come with that. I refused to let people love me, so I couldn’t love anyone else.

I’m learning that feelings are good. We are told that pain/hurt is bad. Lonliness is bad. Guilt is bad. But is that true? What if those feelings lead us to so many better things? (I suggest reading ‘The Voice of the Heart’)

  • It’s okay to cry, even in front of other people. And it’s okay to completely break down in front of your closest friends.

Okay, I hate crying. Especially in front of people. But I hate crying. Doesn’t that make you weak? Shouldn’t I be able to handle what I’m going through without making a scene?

No.

One day I completely broke down in front of my three closest friends. It was embarrassing, but once the tears started, there was no going back! So I accepted it and let it all out. There was no judgment. They prayed with me. Right there. In a random stair well. In many ways, I’m sure that is one of the times that started healing my heart.

  • Having close, Godly friends can’t be beat!

This goes with the one right above. I don’t know what I would do without the people who listen to me, talk some sense into my hard head, pray with me, encourage me, and point me towards Christ when my life is spinning so fast out of my control. Many relationships have gotten so much deeper this semester and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

  • Maybe being completely broken is the best place to be.

Maybe it’s the way that I grew up (the environment, etc.), but I have lived most of my life before about a year ago living behind a mask. But then I realized that I was exhausted. It’s tiring always holding that mask in place to appear perfect. It’s exhausting pretending that you’re someone else. I thought I should look like the ‘perfect Christian girl’. I should have perfect Christian relationships that perfectly meet the expectations. I should look like all the other Christians. I should act exactly like them. I should want to do the same things.

I think that’s bs.

I got fed up with trying to look perfect all the time. Because honey, if you know me, I am a complete mess sometimes (although before now, I would never have let you see that). I got tired of being so afraid to let people see me without makeup on, that I would refuse to hang out with people if I had already taken a shower and taken my makeup off. So Sometimes I go out without any makeup on. Sometimes I just don’t put it on that day. It’s not worth it. I got tired of holding all of my brokenness behind the perfect Christian Girl mask. Now, I am much more aware of my own brokenness and I am even able to let a lot of people see it. And besides, maybe broken is the best place to be because then God’s strength and perfection can be shown more clearly.

  • When you can’t praise Him, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s okay to just cry out to Him.

I always thought that we were supposed to praise God in every circumstance. And you are. If you can. But I couldn’t. And that made me feel like a horrible Christian. But then one of my best friends told me that some Psalms ended in praise. But in some Psalms, David just cried out to Him. He didn’t praise Him. He cried out. He didn’t understand what was going on. It’s okay to cry out to Him. He just wants to hear your voice.

  • I’m never going to know what’s going to happen.

As hard as I can try to figure out what my life will look like in the future (even just a week or a day ahead), I will never be able to do it. My life looks COMPLETELY different than I thought it would a couple months ago. But I’ve learned that that’s okay…and it also kind of makes life a little more exciting, not knowing what’s going to happen!

{Love Letters} Image

I smiled the day I created you. I couldn’t wait for you to begin this amazing journey of life that I had for you. On that day, I smiled with anticipation. I saw your life. Your beautiful life. I saw all of the ups and downs. I saw your struggles. I saw the times when you gave up hope and decided to go your own way and do your own thing. I saw your impatience. I saw your heart. Your striving, your trying, your hard working, your desperate heart. Don’t you know that I loved what I saw? I knew you would go through some rough times. I knew that there would be times when you forgot to ask my opinion on things and decided to go where you wanted to go. But through all of that, I saw that your heart was good. It wasn’t perfect. And it sure wasn’t mature yet. But you were trying. You wanted to please me.

I loved you before I even saw you. But when you appeared as a baby, I absolutely loved what I saw. I saw you as perfect. Because I had made you! You, beautiful you, are my handiwork (Ephesians 2:4-10). I created you in my very own image (Genesis 1:27) and I am changing you more and more to my image with each passing day (2Corinthians 3:18).

Your heart is carrying so much unnecessary baggage. I took that from you so long ago, why did you pick it back up? Why do you feel the need to carry your own weight? To go it alone? I carried your weight at the cross. It is finished. Done. Gone. You are free! You are free to shed the baggage weighing you down and move forward into the amazing, fulfilled life that I have for you in your future.  You’re okay. You’re doing enough. You are enough. You don’t have to try so hard. I love you no matter what you do. I love you.

{Love Letters} Questions & Desires

I hear all of your unspoken questions. The questions that you are afraid to ask because you are afraid of the answer. You’ve hidden from them. You’ve ignored them and hoped they would go away. You’ve even tried fighting them. You’ve tried to pretend that nothing can get to you, because you’re stronger than that.

But then you discovered that you’re not.

You’re not as strong as you once believed. All that “strength” that you made others believe you had were simply walls to keep everyone out. That whole tough-girl act was really just a cry for help…for someone, anyone to finally notice you. Notice that you aren’t okay and tell you that being ‘not okay’ IS okay!

You used to feel your own bravery. You asked the right questions. You sought what you desired. But the problem was…you asked the wrong people. You began to feel unsure about everything. Was the way you grew up just how life is? Is this the experiences that everyone has? You questioned your desires. You began to wonder if they even came from God. You thought they did… but what if they didn’t? What if this was all just one big mistake?

Slow down a little, Child. I think you are brave. You have thought that you lost your bravery because you experienced life a little. You haven’t. You’re a little more careful now, but that is a good thing too. Did you hear me? I think you’re brave! I have seen so many times that you have put yourself out there. Maybe all of those times weren’t for the best reasons, but I still saw your heart. I saw that you wanted to please me. I saw your true desires shine through even your sometimes twisted motivations. You’ve loved and you’ve gotten hurt by the people that you have let in. But somehow, you haven’t let that stop you. Oh, you’ve tried to block everyone out. You’ve tried to shut them out to avoid getting hurt again. But you can’t.

Because that is how I made you.

I made you with such a burning passion for people. I made you with the desire to be close to the people in your life. I want you to desire to receive others’ love and to give it out freely. Is it a risk? Yes, it always is. But this is what I want you to hear:

It. Is. Worth. It.

I have given you so many crazy amazing desires. Some of them a lot of people have and many people will understand. However, some of those desires are unique. Maybe people won’t understand. But that’s okay too. You’ve fought yourself so hard and you’ve talked yourself out of the idea that your desires are coming from me. You’ve convinced yourself that you got it wrong (again). Maybe you’ve misinterpreted the desires that you have, because none of them seem to be fulfilled or coming close to being fulfilled.

These desires are from me. You just need to remember that my timing looks different than yours. I see how impatient you are for some of your greatest desires to be fulfilled or at least be in motion! You’ve become impatient before and you’ve moved ahead of me. I never let you out of my sight. I was there for you all along. But it wasn’t my best…and I think you knew that. Daughter, please hear me when I say that your desires are good. They are coming from me! I have personally placed your unique passions and dreams and desires into that special heart of yours to be fulfilled when the time is right. Stop convincing yourself that you have awful desires. And stop moving ahead of me. Instead, develop those passions within you. Look at me and dream about the day when I will make a way for your specific place in the world. You do have a place here. A place that only you could fill.

Pick up those questions that you have long ago dropped because of fear. Start asking the right questions…to the right people. I know what to do with the desires that I have placed in your beautiful heart. You’re doing the right thing. You’re on the right path again. If you’ll allow me on this journey with you, take my hand. I would love to lead you across gorgeous sandy beaches to watch a sunset and hold you tightly across the unexpected, jagged rocks. Take my hand. And ask me your questions.

{Love Letters} Trust

Close your eyes for a moment, My Child. Breathe. Focus on the slow, deep breaths. Receive my peace. My comfort. My love.

I saw the not-so-great decisions that you have made recently. That situation wasn’t my best and there was a small part of you that knew it. I allowed you to walk through that tough time for the lessons I knew you would learn. I have so much better in store for you! When will you trust that my plan really is more amazing than you thought your life could be? You won’t have to compromise. Be annoyed or irritated. Or constantly wonder if it is right. You’ll know. Maybe not all at once. But You will. Continue to seek me, and you’ll know.

Stop for a moment. When will you stop beating yourself up for the mistakes and bad decisions that you’ve made? Life moves on. I know that you are searching for someone to prove you wrong. Prove that someone is different. Someone you can trust in.

Trust in me! I can help you and I want to help you. No human being can stand the pressure of your full trust, without me. Trust. In. Me.

I want you to trust in other people. But trust in Me first. If you trust in me, I can guide you in the right direction. Much heartache can be spared. My love can shine through you!  You can have peace about your relationships and your future when you learn to put your complete trust in me alone. You will no longer feel the need to continually attain their approval. Or love. When it’s right, you can rest in the fact that your trust is in me…and I’m okay with what is happening. Your heart is right. You are okayTrust Me.

{Love Letters} Christmas

Today was the day. The day so long ago when I left My Father’s side to begin the long, difficult journey of being on earth. I could have come in so many mighty, amazing ways. I have appeared in powerful ways before!

But today. Christmas Day. I came as a baby. Helpless. Needy. Powerless. For you!

Sometimes it’s difficult for you to truly believe just how much I love you (John 3:16). How much love does it take to downgrade yourself that much? I went from being a powerful King and Ruler to being a baby who needed so much help. For you. I saw your beautiful face in that moment. A love for you that is indescribable swept over me. I knew what was going to happen. I knew what was coming. But I chose you anyway. I chose the hard path because of my great love for you. All those years ago, as I was laying in the manger, waiting for the time to finish the plan of My Father, I stared into the faces of my earthly parents. I felt their love. But as I looked into their eyes, I not only saw them. I saw you. I loved you. I knew that this plan would be one of the most difficult ones that I would ever have to do. But I also knew that My Father’s plan was perfect. I knew that you were worth it.

As visitors came and went, peace reigned in that humble place of my birth. You couldn’t visit me yet, but you were there. I knew that I would never leave you (Matthew 28:20). I knew what you would go through when it was your time to be a light in this world. I know. I know better than anyone. Because I know you. I know every single thing about you! And guess what? NOTHING can separate you from my love (Romans 8:37-39). You have made mistakes. You have messed up and you will mess up in the future. But that’s okay. That’s what it means to be human. I understand that. And I love you anyway.

Lose the shame from your past. Let everything go. Remember what I taught you in those times, but forget everything else. Remember that I really can make everything good (Romans 8:28). Your life is a beautiful masterpiece. Tough times have only increased your love for me, which is the point. In the past, you have forgotten to talk to me about your struggles time and time again. I have to say, that hurt. I was there for you. But move forward, Dear. You now talk to me so much more than you used to and I love it. You are exactly how I made you and you have such an incredible purpose of this earth. Don’t forget why I came to this earth so long ago.

I came for you!

{Love Letters} Known

I love your heart. Did you know that? I don’t only love what you are able to do and say. I love your heart. I love who you are. I see the conflict continually rising up within you, My Child. One of the things that you want most also scares you to death and often, when it comes close, you sprint as far from it as you can and hide behind anything that makes you feel safe.

You want to be known. Deeply. Lovingly. Completely. But your greatest desire is also your greatest fear.

Because when people know every single thing about you, they have the power to hurt you. Because you let them in. You let them see how you work and how you were made. And you’re afraid that once you let people see the real you…you to the core, they won’t like what they see. So they’ll leave. Just like others have. They’ll see that you don’t have it all together. Your hair and face don’t look great everyday. You breakdown and cry more times than you’re willing to admit. You need help a lot more than you let on. You’re afraid they’ll see you as weak. Imperfect. Not as good of a person as they had first thought.

But here’s the thing: I made you with the desire to be known. Deeply. Lovingly. Completely. And do you know what? I know you (Psalm 139:1-6). I carefully created every single part of you (Psalm 139:13). I created all of the parts of you that make you, youby hand. I know how you work. I know what you’re going to say before you say it. I know your dreams, desires, and passions. I know what makes you laugh and cry and feel deeply. People will disappoint you. But know that I never will. I won’t always do things like you think they should be done, Child. But please just rest in the fact that I truly want what is best for you and that I will win in the end.

I see the fear in your eyes every time someone starts to get to know you. You long for it desperately. You search for it. You want it. But when it comes, you run away. You’ve let people in in the past and it has caused you much heartache. I know that. I was there for you then, too, remember? You are so afraid to let someone see the real you. You’ve struggled with various masks for years. I know. I’ve seen all of the pretty masks that you instantly placed over your face and heart when you sensed people coming closer to you. Then you finally let go of the masks. Every now and then they reappeared, but most of them were gone. You were so tired of constantly holding back. Constantly holding a mask up to your face. You were so brave to let people see the real you. Why did you think that no one would like the real you? You thought no one liked what they saw. You let your crazy out. You let people see how weird you can be. The quirks. Everything that makes you, you. Don’t you see that I made you that way? And I love it!

I have cried so many tears with you. I cry when you can’t see how much I love you. I cry when you can’t see how amazing you are. I cry when you fail to see the beauty that I not only placed on your outward appearance, but also in your heart. I cry when you cannot see your worth and value and you let others treat you as you see yourself…worthless. Listen to me:

I do not make worthless things.

You were never meant to be treated as you have been treated. I have so much better in store for you. Please just wait for my timing because I promise that my timing will be perfect! You were never meant to feel like you should be thrown to the sidelines again. You were never meant to be treated as though you are not who I died for. Because you are. I died so that you may live. LIVE! Not remain in chains. Not continually placing the baggage on your shoulders that I already took from you so long ago. I want you to truly live. Enjoy the life that I have given you and enjoy the people and the relationships that I have placed in your life. Remember who I made you to be, Child. Being known is not a bad thing, when you allow the right people into your beautiful heart. Stop holding back from the life that I want to give you. Because I do not make worthless things.