Nº. 1 of  59

✶ sundrenched heart ☆

a clutter of thoughts and feelings

On loss and loneliness

"But peace of the sort the world cannot give comes, not by the removal of suffering, but in another way—through acceptance."

-Elisabeth Elliot

Relentless

Thinking today about romance. How we all long for it. I believe our souls and hearts were made for love—first to receive it, and then giving it as an overflow of the Love we have initially received.

There seems to be in us this desire for romance that can never be fanned out, but only stoked up. How appropriate that the only Love that can satisfy it can never be silenced, but eventually inevitably known by its power—perfect in its constancy and extravagance. Too much to comprehend, it is always too overwhelming to contain.

My thoughts come scattered still, pieces of a whole yet to be pieced together. Thoughts on romance, pursuit, love, fear, vulnerability, self-centeredness and self-preservation vs. Christ-centeredness and selflessness… All I have right now is this: that some years ago, I was pursued. I fell deeply in love, got caught up in passion for the Pursuer, went through tough times and struggled through the valley, survived disappointment that was followed by distrust and disillusionment, and was found by love again. It’s been up and down and am still in the whirlwind of the greatest Romance I have ever known. It teaches me to receive love despite my doubts, to choose to trust despite the uncertainty, to believe even when I fear, to be vulnerable when I try to be guarded. It breaks downs the walls I build every single time.

This is one crazy romance and the one I choose to stay in—right in the eye of love’s storm; standing in His fierceness as I am refined, softened, and broken open once again to receive love without fear, freely and abandonedly.


All other things on hold as I try to form it into cohesive thought.

You broke the night like the sun

It feels like forever. 

When did I last write? Or last think deeply? Or last listened freely? It’s been a while, it feels like forever.

Tonight I will try. A long time has lapsed and I’m not quite sure where to start. It has been interesting. A roller coaster of events that have marked one of the most trying years of my life. Whereas the last trying time of suffering has brought me deeper in my faith and love, this last one tested my faith and numbed the same love that sent me soaring just a few years past–albeit temporarily. See that’s one thing I learned–circumstances, emotions, temperatures, and directions change, yet one thing remains constant. One thing, one love, one King, one Savior. He never stopped loving, never stopped trying, never stopped pursuing. Even when I stopped feeling. 

What a year. Since the last time I wrote (really wrote), and thought, and listened, I have had gotten through a mild depression, gotten over a devastated expectation, gotten past a broken vision, and finally gotten found by a love that I had somehow lost sight of in the valley of disappointment. 

Now with that love, I fight my way back into delighting in the arms that have never stopped embracing me. It’s been quite a season and what a struggle it has been. The struggle to keep going has been tiring and oft times discouraging. Only by His grace have I kept going, heavily walking, half-heartedly persisting, skeptically believing one day at a time… until He brought me to a place where I could really feel again, believe again, and TRUST again. He brought me back to the mountaintops and awakened my heart to His love. Again.

What I learned throughout this whole ordeal is that when you stop looking at Jesus, your whole perspective goes askew–and with it your attitude, emotions, and response. When I got hurt, I stopped looking at Him and started looking at myself. I was disappointed, my expectations were not met, my plans fell through, Ihad to protect myself from getting disappointed yet again, hence the shutting down of my heart and my will to trust. And obey. Suddenly it was all about me and I was on self-preservation mode. If I don’t give, then I don’t lose. Ironically, that’s when I lost my footing. When I started building walls around my heart, I had started closing myself to the voice of God. I wasn’t willing to get disappointed, hurt, and refined by the fire of His love, teaching, and discipline. And I started stumbling into my own consolations, feeding my deceitful needs and desires with the temporary comforts that I found were readily available should I reach out to grab it. The thing with temporary fixes is it leaves you in worse condition than when it found you. I got short-term happiness when I was so thirsty for joy. When I finally decided to retrace my steps, I found it exactly where I had last left it–in His presence. And there I found myself anchored once again. On my knees I can see where my heart needs to be. 

I had to empty myself and look at His face, get to know His heart, believe in who He is relentlessly and repeatedly. And that’s when I realized that when we stop looking at Jesus and spending time in His presence, we start to want lesser things. We start getting attracted to the good things that we can have right now, when our hearts were designed to desire and delight in the best things. The best that is yet to come. The promise that we were told to hold fast to. We start preferring less than God’s will. We then settle with less than Jesus Christ. 

So much has changed in the past year. Some things sound different. Some views have altered. Yet somehow there’s peace in the present and  promise in the future. In the arena of God’s will, everything still looks bright. Therefore, I will persist to prefer and pursue His will–nothing more, nothing less.  

***

He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

-The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

***

P.S. I am thankful for all the encouragement that God sends me through my everyday people, and sometimes, in little moments of miracles, through the words of people whom I have never met. Thank you for taking the time to write me, encourage me, and inspire me. Thank you for being God’s messenger. I appreciate you. 

12.27.12

Give me, O Lord

     A steadfast heart

     Which no unworthy affection 

     may drag downwards;

Give me

     An unconquered heart

     Which no tribulation 

     can wear out;

     Give me

     An upright heart

     Which no unworthy purpose 

     may tempt aside.

Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God,

     Understanding to know You,

     Diligence to seek You,

     Wisdom to find You

     and a faithfulness 

         That may finally embrace You,

         Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

To expose our hearts to truth and consistently refuse or neglect to obey the impulses it arises is…to grieve the Holy Spirit into silence.

—A.W. Tozer

Vitamin D, the sunshine drug.

Vitamin D, the sunshine drug.

…simple perfect trust in God, such trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want Himself. Have we come to a place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him?

—Oswald Chambers

Heart of My Own Heart

Listening to a song on the drive home brought me to another place. It was so reminiscent of the playlist I had in last year’s travels and instantly my heart thought, “Wish I was away traveling. I’m here, but my heart is elsewhere.” I had barely finished that sentence when instantly Jim Elliot’s most memorable quote interrupted the thought. "Wherever you are, be all there." 

This morning I was scrolling through a feed of photos and chancing on one, my heart goes, “oh look, it’s the love of your life" and I had to laugh. My mind was like, "whoa, what?" Sure, he’s a godly man who may have most characteristics I admire in a friend, a leader, and okay, even maybe a parter; but with all that he is, he is far from being the love of my life (really, what does that even mean?). And my one concluding thought to that is, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

I am grateful for the wisdom and sobriety brought on by my love relationship now. Indeed, knowing God intimately sheds light on a lot of things. It’s also knowing how to lead your heart, and not listen to it. I could have easily let those initial thoughts snowball into a streaming flight of fancy delusions, but by God’s grace, I have learned to hold my thoughts captive and make it obedient to Christ (although in some situations, not as well as this one). I’m sure in the past I’ve been driven many many times but my feelings, done many things “in the name of love,” and assessed and attacked situations by my heart’s understanding of it. Now I have learned that it’s not ideal, and not very wise! Again, “the heart is deceitful…” Who knows why? We’re fallen creatures with a flawed nature. This is why we are called to “guard our hearts above all things” and “renew our minds.”

If we can’t trust our hearts, what do we trust? I believe we can trust the heart of He who loves perfectly, holy and wise and without a fault. When we know His heart, we begin to know how our hearts were originally designed to be. We begin to see things in light of who He is, how He values, and how He loves. We are sobered by an eternal perspective that shows us which things are important and which things clutter. It is by knowing that which is true that we are able to recognize the things that are false and marked by unrealities. 

And we know that all truth is held in the heart of our Creator, the same heart that longs to cradle ours. Still I am learning, and daily relearning, this principle: know His heart, trust His heart, let it lead mine. 

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water:

He turneth it whithersoever He will.

Proverbs 21:1

Lord make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life may be an exhibit to the value of knowing God.

—Jim Elliot

in time, in grace, in good faith

-

Today I am free.

I am free from unforgiveness, and free to forgive.

I raise my white flag and wave away the resentment, the seed of offense, the annoyance.

Today I am free.

I am free to love. Having tasted the extravagance of perfect love, I am moved to a compassion that covers and blots out the two faces of non-love: apathy and contempt. 

I am taken by a love so pure that it breaks down the walls of fear, the fortress of self-preservation and frees me to receive love unbridledly.

Today I am free.

I am free to think. And think in truth.

And thus speak in truth, in clarity, in sobriety.

Tonight I am free.

I am free of desire. Plans laid down, hopes and dreams released, self surrendered. 

Freed to contentment, I walk away from all I ever wanted, 

and walk into His desire. To live in His plans, to be shaped for His dreams,

and to take on His heart. His heart upon mine, my desires for His.

Tonight I am His- wholly, completely, abandonedly. 

Nº. 1 of  59