True Love Waits

For as long as I can remember, I’ve known this simple phrase. It’s become quite cliché. But I used to think it meant something very different. I was so absorbed in the day that I would meet my “true love” that I thought of it as “True love awaits.” I was so focused on the part about a soul mate at the end of waiting that I missed the most important part: True love waits.

I’ve never been married and I’m only seventeen so I’m not an expert on true love in anyway. I’m actually not very knowledgable on this subject at all. But even so, God has been showing me what true love is.

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Sometimes girls like to dream of a “whirlwind courtship” in which the relationship goes swiftly from A to B to C. Others go through life with the mentality that “if you like someone, you date them” and quickly go from one to the other without waiting. But true love… it waits for the right time to appear. God has a specific time for everything and if you listen He will show you the time and place for everything. And the waiting will only make your love grow stronger if it is true.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Songs 2:7

Sometimes love isn’t fun. Often, the person one loves the most is also the one who hurts and disappoints him in the greatest ways. But true love waits for that hurt to heal and the person they love to change. True love patiently forgives, time and time again. It does not demand change, but waits and grows and learns and waits some more.

Love is patient

1 Corinthians 13:4

True love is not conditional or only there when it is fun. It stands through the storms of life and works out the problems. True love lasts in sickness, poverty, and the worst. It loves, honours, and cherishes through the tougher days. It is not based on shallow, changeable traits like looks or personality, but on character. True love lasts through the starving college days and early mornings with little ones, and the walkers and doctor’s visits later in life. It is the husband who can’t stop smiling at his wife after a child is born. It is the wife who looks at her husband with love and confidence when he loses his job. True love waits through poopy diapers, and broken cars, broken legs and infertility, gray hairs and memory loss.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us

Romans 5:3-5

Most of all, true love waits and waits and waits forever. I’ve learned that the waiting that secures love is not just a few days or weeks or months. It’s not even a few years. True love does not cease, it never fails or gives up. It waits until death does two people part.

For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.

Songs of Songs 8:6-7

That’s not to say it is wrong to be in a relationship that is not true love. It takes a while to find such a love. And there will be mistakes in every relationship, including the love that is true. We are flawed people only capable of loving sinfully.

But one characteristic of true love that I do know is that it waits. So look for the love that waits patiently. The kind of love that lasts forever and never fails.

Has God shown you your true love yet? Please share your story! I’d love to read it!

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The Dreams That You Used To Dream

I have a dream. Well, don’t we all? Actually, I have many dreams. Some of them from childhood, others from yesterday or today, and still there are more that I’m sure will come tomorrow. I want so much out of life. So much.

There is this one dream, in particular, that I have always, always wanted. A lot of my dreams come and go, but this one has always remained. Except one day, I decided that I couldn’t have it. My dream died. I stashed it away in a corner somewhere and decided not to think about it because dreams don’t always come true so there is no use getting your hopes up.

What was this dream? To get married. Yes, get  married. I’ve always, always wanted that. A home, a husband, a family. I’ve wanted many other things and I still do want them, but not as much as this. Except, somewhere along the lines I decided that I wasn’t good enough…or rather, God wasn’t good enough.

When I was eleven, I told myself that I shouldn’t expect too much out of life. That way, when things didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be too disappointed. And when they did, I would be even happier. Years later, I realized how wrong this mindset was and I changed it. Well, I changed it in every area except for this dream. Because it felt like the day I hoped, my heart was crushed. Something happened that made me think I couldn’t really marry that man after all. It was silly perhaps, but it was crushing all the same.

Hurt hurts. It really does. And the situation that turned me against my dream hurt me a lot. Looking back, it wasn’t so much that I thought that no one would want to marry me. It was more that I didn’t know if I wanted to risk getting hurt again. Because that gnawing feeling I felt on the night I knew was something that I never, ever wanted to feel again. So the dream stopped. Or, I tried to stop it. My heart kept a little secret spot for it though.

A few weekends ago, I went to this amazing Relationships conference. As I listened to their stories, advice, and encouragement, I realized that I didn’t think I’d ever actually use it. Why is that? I wondered.

I went to talk to my youth pastor after. When he told me that I was a wonderful person and that I wouldn’t have any trouble getting married if I wanted to, I could have jumped. It was weird. I knew that I was valued as my own person already. I had no major insecurities left. Except for the insecurity of that dream. His words were like a new idea to me even though I’d wanted them for so long.

You see, when “The Incident” happened, something inside of me died. The hurt killed my dream. My passion left. Hope shriveled up. Because it’s easier to live life without losing even if it means you don’t love, right?

No, I was wrong actually. Loving is always better. Dreaming is still good. And God can fully heal our wounds and make us new again. He also has the power to do whatever is in His will. He isn’t as weak as hurt or my unfaithful dreams.

So I’ve decided to dream the dream that I used to dream again. I’m not saying that it will come true or that it will happen in the exact way that I want. But I’m also not saying that it won’t. I’m not going to sell myself short anymore. My God is greater than that and He has made me for better thoughts than disbelief. He wants me to dream the dreams that I used to dream as He fulfills the best dreams that He has for me.

Likewise, I encourage you to dream those dreams that you used to dream. Come on, we all have some! It doesn’t matter what they are! I doubt they are the same as mine. Maybe your buried dream is to travel, learn a second language, become a Doctor, or go to university. It could be anything. Whatever it is, I encourage you to trust God with your dream. There is nothing wrong with it or hoping for what you want. He may give you it, or He many not. Rest assured that you will get the dreams that He has dreamed for you and that they are best.

Never Give Up

It’s a Friday afternoon. The rain is pouring, my limbs are aching from skiing last night and dancing all day, and as usual, my heart is a bit sore, too. I desperately want to sit down with a nice cup of tea like I normally do when I’m down. But I can’t forget my promise for Lent. I can’t give it up now.

This week has been hard. I’ve had a few melt-downs, confessions, and realizations. These last two months have been difficult. There have been countless times where I’ve just wanted to give up. In fact, a few times I have given up. Because the stress and grief of life was just too much for me to bare and crying on my bed and trying to forget seemed a lot easier.

When something scares me, I tend to run away. I withdraw, slowly but surely. I didn’t mean to do that again. No, not this time. Not now that I’m “happy.” But the truth is that humans cannot be happy all of the time. It just isn’t possible. There is always a new wave to rock the boat. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on being happy or doing the things you need to do.

I don’t like to give up. Deep down, I hate it. Yes, I’ll admit that I withdraw easily when a challenge or grief overtakes me. But in the end, I’m a fighter. No matter what, I try my best. Anything less is just not right because Jesus didn’t give up on me. Even though I’m sinful beyond the shadow of a doubt, He forgives me when I ask. Although I’ve lied, yelled, mocked, neglected God, and just done things that I really shoudn’t have done, He let’s me back into His arms at night. And even when I give up on Him, He doesn’t give up on me. God is always willing to give a second chance to those who want it.  

So now, I won’t shy away. I’ll do what I need to do. I will work and work and work until I get the dances and Biology questions and parallel skiing. I’ll go to university like planned. I’m going to open my heart to the challenges of broken relationships and hold on to love. I’ll laugh and smile in the joy and let myself cry in the sorrow. I’ll keep my friends close and let them love me. I shall read my Bible and pray and never forget that Jesus loves me very much.

Never give up. On challenges and things you aren’t good at. Never give up. In the hard times when you’d like to run away or fall asleep forever. Never give up. On the future and dreams that you have. Never give up. On family and friendship. Never give up. On life and laughter and smiling with your teeth. Never give up. On faith. On God. On Love. Never give up.

Another Chapter

One year ago today, I wrote my first chapter on this blog. As I think on it now, I wonder how it can only be a year for it seems so very much longer. Then again, how could it be that long ago when I remember it as clear as if it were yesterday.

It was my mom’s idea to start a blog. She mentioned it to me while we were in the car one time. I had always loved to write and because of some recent disappointments and griefs, I was looking for new things to occupy my time. Anyway, I liked the idea a lot and two days later, this blog was born. 

When I look back on that first chapter, I see a lot of things. There are the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors that make me cringe a bit. I smile at some of the clichés and ways I worded sentances. I quiver a bit at the grief that was locked behind the words and wonder at the change that has happened since then. My heart laughs at the longing for the later chapters, knowing now what those chapters have indeed been and are today. 

This blog has been a wonderful place for me to share my heart, learn about God, and grow as a person. I have been so encouraged by the various comments and people who I’ve met along the way. I am amazed that God has given me so much to say through 85 random clusters of words that He has crafted together to form something you read. It has been a beautiful journey so far and just one chapter on the road home. Thank you for being a part of it so far.

Here goes another chapter of this blog!

PS I apologize for my lack of response over this month and this past week in particular. As you may know from my posts, I have been very busy with my show. Since that is over now I will get back to my usual replying to comments and reading of your blogs. Thank you for reading faithfully though!

The Promise

Once upon a time, He made her a promise. It was a long, long time ago. Before the world or she had even begun. But still He made it, with the full intent, ability, and love to keep it. The promise was love, eternal.  

Later, she made Him a promise. At four-years-old, one is not expected to make a promise to keep but she did and she intended to keep it. “I will always, always love you,” she told Him, fully meaning what she said.

The years went by, and both promisers kept their promises. He always loved her, and she, though not flawless like Him, tried her best to love Him, too. It was the promise to love, for always.

One day, the girl met a boy. This wasn’t just any boy though for the girl had met many and none had so pleased her as this one. The boy was tall, handsome and smart and showed great interest in her. The boy flattered her more than ever before, and the girl thought that surely she would marry him when she grew old enough. Sure enough, the boy felt the same way and since they were young they made a promise to always be friends and tell the other if their feelings changed. The promise to love, as long as their hearts could.

But as she promised the boy her love, the girl slowly but surely forgot to love Him. He kept wooing her though, like a long, lost, and persistent lover. Sometimes she turned and gave Him a smile, but most of her love went to the boy. But the promise from Him remained: the promise to love, not forgotton.

One day, the boy phoned the girl. The boy fulfilled the bargain of the promise, but not to the end that she had wanted. He said, “I don’t feel the way that I did…” She cried, and broke her promise to him to always be friends. And in turn, the boy broke his. The promise to love, broken.

He was still there though, waiting through the storm for the girl that He loved to change her mind and turn back to Him. And He welcomed her with open arms, forgetting her broken promise and loving her like always. He sheltered her, cleaned her wounds, and wiped away her tears. The promise to love, redeemed.

And He is still there, although the boy is not, for He is perfect in love and promise. It wasn’t that the boy was bad, but rather that He is flawless and best for the girl. He had the ability to love her always, but the boy did not. He would never let her go, unlike the boy. The promise to love, forever.

The Most Excellent Way

The room was dark, but over fifty candles lighted it with a great brilliance. Then, we all started to sing, and the excellent beauty of it caught me by surprise. I wanted to cry and laugh and sing and jump. Instead, I just stood there, mesmerized by the feeling I was given, when the boy I’d called my “secret friend” for the last three weeks of acting school walked up to me.

“Thank you,” He said, with a strong smile on his face. We embraced, and I would have cried if I could have.

“You’re welcome,” I murmured.

“You were a great secret friend,” He spoke sincerely and looked straight into my eyes. “You don’t know how encouraging those everyday verses were.”

Now I smiled. “I’m glad,” I said. “I really enjoyed being your secret friend. You are a wonderful person.”

Every word that I said was true. Right from the start of our “secret friendship,” this boy had been a great object on my mind. I don’t know what it was about the concept but it excited me so much that I started planning for it the first night, even before we’d drawn names. The next day, I remember staring at his name, then just a title to me, and wondering how I could encourage this stranger. But apparently, I did…

Through Smarties and verses, a notebook he needed and a poem I wrote, I wooed him. I sat beside him at lunch and tried to transfer every fibre of his being to my mind. In acting and dance and leadership, I encouraged him. I walked through Wal-Mart, staring at books and cookies and garden rakes, wondering what he would like. I listened intently when he talked. Every morning or evening, I stealthily handed his gifts to other people. I stayed up late reading my bible for the perfect verse, and prayed for him every morning. I smiled when he wore my necklace and carried my jaguar stuffy. I sacrificed, gave, and loved and the feeling it gave me was so beautifully excellent.

I went to bed with him on my heart. It was strange, but I missed being his secret friend. I wanted him back to encourage and buy gifts for. What has happened to me? I asked God in desperation.

“My child,” He said. “You have learned the most excellent way…to love.”

And indeed I had.

Seems Like Yesterday

Dear Mexico,

Its been a year since I left you. I can’t believe it has been so long. It seems like just yesterday when I was kissing you good-bye as the van kicked up dust, and we wheeled away, far, far away from beautiful you…

I remember when I first arrived, a bit nervous, feeling sick, but still bright, and passionate to meet you and sure that I would make a difference. It seems like just yesterday that I believed in myself and the myth that you were poor and the fairy tale that I could bring you through. How wrong I was, and how quickly you changed my view.

I can recall that pain that I felt the first day. The utter sadness that surrounded me, and how I wanted to escape. I loved you though and I think that is part of what held me through. I’ll never forget Joshua 1:9 and the feeling that God gave me through it. It seems like just yesterday that I learned to be strong and courageous no matter what the strife.

I still get flashbacks of that day of many firsts spent under your hot sun, and in your beautiful mountainside. I remember the sweat against my back as I picked up garbage, my first conversation in full Spanish, my sudden out-going nature, and the wonderful friends that I made. I can still see those girls and their mothers crowding around me for something as simple as hair elastics. I can feel the pressure, the tension, and the heat. Some would say that it was the first time I saw poverty but I call it the first time that I saw true love. It may sound strange to others, but I know that you understand. There was something so beautiful about that moment and the whole day, that I cannot call it poor. It seems like just yesterday that I learned about love.

I can’t forget Cadira or those other beautiful children that we met on our second outing. I can still feel their little bodies on my back, and their sweet voices clamouring in Spanish for a piggy back ride. I remember what it felt like to be really, truly exhausted…but still happier than ever before. I can still see their little faces, fading in the dust and feel the tears creep back into my eyes. It seems like just yesterday that I fell in love.

And I remember the afternoon spent in the market, haggling with people and laughing at my own foolishness. They were some of the hardest business people ever but the nicest ones, too. And I can still taste my first, real Mexican taco and see the beauty of your city from the mountainside where we sang and talked. It seems like just yesterday that I learned that people are people wherever you go.

No one can ever take away my memory of Jorje and his family and the build. I can still recall the nervousness, the hard work, and the love of those two days of sweat and labour. I’ll never forget Coolio’s words, “I love you Elizabeth.” He showed me that love is not a foreign language. I can still see Besenta’s strong but caring face as she painted alongside of me, and bound my wound. She taught me that sometimes, there is no need for words though love can still be felt. And Jorje runs into my mind daily, with his beautiful, brilliant smile and flashlight shining against your yellow sun. He showed me that indeed you are not poor. It seems like just yesterday that I was a fool learning all of these things…

This year has been a long one, full of grief and disappointment though not without its rewards. It seems strange to me that you still feel so close and near after one whole year but I guess that is what happens when you are in love. And do you know that I never got over you, no matter what anyone did or said? I always stood up for your beauty, despite what others thought and tried to make me agree with. I wept for you, Mexico. I love you and I am coming back. Just wait for me, keep waiting. Tell Jorje and Cadira and the others that I love them. I’m coming for you again. This time I know that I’m here to bless and be blessed, to love and be loved.

I wish it were tomorrow that I were coming to you but I’ll just hold on to yesterday to see me through…

Love,

Elizabeth

Binded By Brokeness

I have scars…I’ve been dissapointed, I’ve scattered my heart accross a city two countries away, I have grieved a loved one and have seen others grieve, and I have felt like my heart was shattered. I am broken.

But so is she…that woman over there, laughing and joking as if nothing was wrong. She too is broken. She has been abused and used, heartbroken and dissapointed. She has loved and she has lost. She is broken, too.

And so are they…the three in the corner, giggling over pizza. They have lost loved ones. They’ve been dumped by boyfriends and been bullied by so-called-friends. They have loved and lost. They are broken, too.

And so is he…the friend that lives far away. He’s been hurt by relationships. He has experienced dissapointment. He has been depressed. He has loved and lost. He is broken, too.

But Jesus is not…the one standing beside me and you, the one in my heart, and the one that is no longer on the cross. He is whole and he has the power to make us so. Yes, he binds us together again by our broken pasts and people whose hearts are just as shattered. Because through each hardship we connect, relate and understand. We realize that we are all just people under one God. We are binded by brokeness, and loved by Him. And because of Him, it is good.