18 July 2011

The Story of Love after Five Heartbreaks

Five is just a number I threw in. It actually represents a number that is just “too much”.

This is a story about being broken one- or five- too many times. Sadly, we all know this feeling a little too well.

And today, after hearing the Sunday preaching*, I started to connect with the broken-hearted Samaritan woman. 

The Samaritan woman was beyond jaded.  She has had five husbands. FIVE husbands!  That’s five messy break-ups or five divorces for you!  Even in today's standards, having that many divorces is a bit too much to handle.  We are no Elizabeth Taylor!  Unfortunately, for the Samaritan woman, none of which worked. Imagine how distraught and insignificant she might have felt after every failed marriage.

Through time and numerous translations of the Word, no one can really tell how each of her relationships ended.  Maybe one died? Another beat her up? Another was too busy with work? Another cheated? And so she cheated, too? We will never know for sure, but this one is certain: it must all be devastating to the point where she found herself looking for love and acceptance in pretty much anyone who can offer her even a pinch of self-worth. 

I have never been married, but I know what it’s like to be pushed aside and made worthless by men (and women!) you gave your heart to. And the feeling is NOT good, to say the least.

 To everyone who has felt broken, made worthless, needs grace, love, forgiveness and a renewed heart, we are the Samaritan woman.

We thirst for genuine love and acceptance, but we feel like we don't deserve it.

But guess what? Like her, there is love and grace waiting for us in the well.

Yes, Samaritans, the Lover of our soul sits there by the well ready to fill you because He loves us very, very, very much!  

We are so unworthy of it, I know, but still He has given us this unconditional love that can never, ever be taken away by those…ahem... heartbreakers!

You know the feeling of being so in love that you just can’t contain it? The Samaritan woman, after feeling this renewed love and revived soul, was overflowing with joy that she went out and told everyone in town about it.

This is probably similar to how she overflowed:  “Hey everyone, God is awesome! He understands me and accepts me despite all my failures. He loves me so much more than all of my past loves combined!”

Isn’t it amazing to know that not only does He love you, but He will also make your love story worth telling. And in doing so, He can use you mightily.

“Many of the Samaritans from the town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…” –John 4:39

My dear friends, it is through our beautiful stories of brokenness and of renewal that people start to listen and believe in the God that saves us from misery and supplies never ending grace and love to everyone who needs it.

If you have experienced God’s love and grace one time or the other, no matter who you are, I think your story is worth telling.

If you’ve come to a point where you have experienced something awesome through Him, tell the whole world about it!

Somewhere down the road, there are people who need to hear it.

And when they come looking and longing for the Lover of our soul let them say this:

“We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” –John 4:42

I am the Samaritan woman by the well, and I am blown away by a powerful love that embraces me and fills my heart like no one else could.  Let Him fill you today as well.

(For the full story on the Samaritan woman read through John 4)
 *Agape Manila service today.

14 July 2011

Coffee Lover confession

Coffee cups know my story and that of my friends. We move them closer to our lips as we whisper personal details of the days that have gone.

They have seen us laugh and cry and rant and rave. They accompanied us as we chatted or listened.

Oh, if these cups could talk. I wonder what they would say?

It’s probably about the drama or the little joys shared in the corner table of the café.

But I guess if they did talk, we'd hear this loud and clear:

“Your lives may be full of ups and downs, but it’s nice to know that you’ll always have your friends around to share it with” J

(Make mine a grande iced caramel macchiato with extra drizzle. This is going to be a long session. Go on and have a cup today!)

07 July 2011

Single Woman's Prayer

A very good friend of mine shared this prayer with me, and I would like to share it to all my lovely single girl friends as well.

This is a wonderful prayer by Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham from the book Never Let It End

Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we’re inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
But let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
Nor yet so very tall,
Nor need he be some genius,
Or wealthy, Lord, at all;
But let his head be high, dear God,
And let his eye be clear,
His shoulders straight, whate’er his state,
Whate’er his earthly sphere;
And let his face have character,
A ruggedness of soul,
And let his whole life show, dear God,
A singleness of goal;
Then when he comes
(As he will come)
With quiet eyes aglow,
I’ll understand that he’s the man
                                          I prayed for long ago.
- Ruth Bell Graham

06 July 2011

Strip Me

I just saw the movie "Morning Glory" which stars Rachel McAdams. (Don't you just love her in "The Notebook?").  The movie's soundtrack includes this empowering song by Natasha Bedingfield, which I instantly fell in love with the moment I first heard it being played in the movie's preview.    

No, this song is not about stripping or literally taking your clothes off.  It's about making your voice heard. You are not insignificant.  Don't ever let people make you feel otherwise.

"I am woman, hear me roar."  

Song: Strip Me
Artist: Natasha Bedingfield

Life of a Twenty Someone

(blog excerpt from April 2009)

Twenty something.  The age when quarter life crisis hits us... hard. It is when confusion and frustration in life gets the better of us. We don't know what we want, we don't know what to do, we don't know where to go, and ultimately, we don't know who we are. 

Personally, my whole being screams for answers to all my life questions. What's worse, is that I need the answers NOW. In a society where those in the twenty-something generation are expected to be somebody, the pressure becomes tremendous. 

I need a career, I need money, I need a fabulous lifestyle, I need a good husband. These are the things that society dictates should define me. Without these factors, I am a NOBODY. 

While sitting by my lonesome, I picked up my ipod and listened to Lily Allen's "22"

When she was 22 the future looked bright, but she's nearly 30 now and she's out every night...It's sad but it's true how society says her life is already over, there's nothing to do and there's nothing to say.

Ouch. Depressing. Scary even. When you feel that you are just about one step away from being in a dead end in your life. It's as if you wasted your life on things you thought were valuable and worthwhile just to end up more miserable. 

Newsflash: Society says your life is OVER. 

Should I then entertain emptiness, loneliness and regrets? I always told myself that there's so much more to my life so I should look forward to it and make myself the best person there is. 

But, really, what am I looking for? What should define me?

Is it something? Is it someone? Do I really believe that I would be SOMEONE?

Under the cloud of my confusion and constant prayers for answers, I chanced upon a Passion talk (by Louie Giglio) through a friend who I now consider an angel. Thank you, friend, for sharing this with others. 

In Louie Giglio's series called "Lost in Translation", I am defined as a twenty someTHING, but I guess what I really should be is a twenty someONE. 

And this is how; through following God and His leading for me in my life. It sounds so vague, I know, but this is how Louie Giglio in his talk puts it.

Sometimes we can be more preoccupied by wanting to have someone in our life than we are in becoming somebody that looks like God. I mean, sometimes we are more preoccupied with getting somewhere in life than becoming someone who looks like our Father. We're more preoccupied by having something in our lives than we are by becoming someone. 

True. So true. I am preoccupied by wanting something. It is even harder though because I can't quite put my finger on that THING I am looking for. But this is what shook me up and woke me.

"You come to a point of discovery that I am the THING, that I am the greatest thing EVER that's gonna come along in your life. There is no guy coming along like me. There is no job coming along like me. There is no adventure coming along like me. There is no anything coming along like me. Your heart wasn't made for adventure; your heart wasn't made for money; your heart wasn't made for sex; your heart wasn't made for another person. Your heart was made for Me. And I LOVE YOU, and I will blow you away. I want you to fall in love with Me. To delight yourself in Me." -GOD 

Only God can make my life worth something. All He asks of me is to delight myself in Him. 

With Him around, my life isn't over at twenty something. It is just beginning. And mind you, what He has to offer me will just BLOW ME AWAY.

I know He will do that for you, too.

05 July 2011

Let Go

I started a blog knowing there are many stories to tell and many stories to be heard.  Life is beautiful and we have an absolutely wonderful God who reminds us every day of how truly loved we are.

Sometimes though, it’s hard to see that truth when your heart is broken.

It probably is obvious that I have had my heart broken before.  The first time I felt it, the pain was so intense that I didn’t know if I would ever get over it.  Believe me, I cried like there was no tomorrow.  But I was blessed to have friends who were there to support me every step of the way until I was ready to let go and move on. 

Among my social circle, this season has been a very trying period. A lot of my friends are experiencing heartaches from either being cheated, betrayed or made worthless.  Self-esteems were crushed, and it really helps to have people who can identify and support them as they find themselves once again.   

It is so much easier knowing someone is there to listen and encourage.   I know this because that is what helped me. That is one of my primary reasons for making this blog. Having gone through all of those heartaches doesn't necessarily make me an expert, but something deep inside of me wants to help and share with your pain.

I want to be able to tell you that everything is going to be ok.

I want to ask you to “Let Go and Let God”. 

The concept of letting go of your pain is difficult, but the process of letting God take away the hurt for you will make it easier.

Free to be me

Beautiful song by Francesca Battistelli.  Even with all our imperfections and brokenness, God still sees a beautiful heart and we are still free to be who we are meant to be. 

"Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together 
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me"

Album: My Paper Heart
Artist: Francesca Battistelli