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✶ sundrenched heart ☆

a clutter of thoughts and feelings

Posts tagged Love:

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. 

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

2012 will be the year I fall in love

It’s been a while, eh? :)

Every year, I feel, is marked by a dominant theme. With different seasons within, of course, but defined by a great significant change or constant throughout. Last year started for me with a big change. Monuments were broken down in my life; everything was wiped out and I found myself in an unfamiliar place- it empty, desolate, and full of undesirable confrontations. That place was the deep recesses of my heart. Unbeknownst to me, in its dark corners were residues of issues I thought had long since gone. Thus started a process of purification and renewal in my life. In 2011 I had known for myself a love so strong that it healed the most desperate of heartaches. A love so wide that it reached through a chasm of pain and hopelessness. A love purely perfect that it renewed a broken heart and filled it with unsurmountable joy. It was the first time I had ever really known that kind of love. It was a year of being called to obedience, and experiencing the joy that is the consequence of it.

But moving on….

This year my fearless forecast is a great significant constant. And that might just be… *drumroll please* …lalalalalaLove!

Only one resolution. One commitment to fall in love everyday with the One who loves me most.

And just like any woman in love,

..to speak of my Beloved- not in so many words but by the joy in my eyes and the graciousness in my actions. That through these people will want to know the Man behind my overflowing happiness, the Man who is immeasurably more than I have ever hoped for or imagined. (Psalm 59:16, Psalm 145:7)

..to enjoy each day as it happens. That I will be fully present in every moment, because He is there. To see and enjoy all things as they unfold, and not to waste one minute daydreaming of the future. But that I may use the today to prepare for the dreams of tomorrow. (Matthew 6:32, Psalm 37:4-5)

..to serve Him with love. That in all I do, I may pursue excellence because it will not only be pleasing to Him, but it will also make Him proud. And because when someone is in love, they will go far and beyond just to get a smile out of their Lover. That everything I work on be motivated and inspired by the thought of Him. (Colossians 3:23)

..to honor Him by putting Him first and by respecting His headship. Love is also expressed through prioritizing and by putting the other first. That when things are battling for my attention, my eyes and my heart will still be zeroed in on His face. To make a decision that when things are in argument and we are wrestling for our own way, that in the end, no matter how much (and how cleverly) I bargain, His Word will come to pass and His way will be the road chosen. That everything will be done in accordance to His good pleasure. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

..to love everyone that He loves. That I may extend kindness and compassion even when I have never met them, or have only met them once, and especially when I think they’re sorta annoying. To love them still, because He does. (Luke 10:27)

..to yearn for Him in my rising and laying down. That He be the first thing on my mind in the morning, and the last thought fading into my dreams at night. In my whole day, when time allows for voluntary thought, that it might always turn back to Him and His ways. That I may dwell on His beauty and the faithfulness of His character. (Psalm 139:2, Philippians 4:8)

..to adore Him and daily find things I love most about Him. That in every situation I may have the proper perspective to be thankful, knowing that there is always something to smile about. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

..to love Him more each day. That through my love, others will want what I have. That they will desire to have a love relationship like mine, and to know the Man who is relentless in His love. Who pursues me even when I don’t feel like it. Who loves me even when, in my stubbornness, I do everything to turn Him away. Who cares for me when I’m wounded. Who rushes to my help when I am in need. Who is always present, so that I am never lonely. Who saves me, when I am on self-destruction mode. Who lifts me up and calls me beautiful, when I am feeling bloated and yucky. Who tells me I am extraordinary and one-of-a-kind when I am having a drab day. Who loves me through and though and stays faithful, no matter how moody and unloving I can be. (Genesis - Revelation —it’s your turn to footnote.)

This is the year I commit myself to falling in love and loving persistently, every single day. Because love was never about feelings, it was (is) always about an act of the will. (John 3:16)

I claimed last year to be transformational. And it was -but in ways that I didn’t quite expect it to be. It turned out greater than I thought. This morning what popped into my mind was that 2012 will see the beginning of an era. It excited me to be sure, but as for what kind of era, I don’t know. God is in the detail. He’s in charge of that.



we shall wait and see.




Oh, we all knew I was talking about Jesus, right?

Where’s The Christmas Spirit?

The truth of the matter is, December 25th is a made-up holiday. Christmas, or rather the event that it celebrates -Jesus Christ’s birth, is real. We just don’t know when exactly it happened. Historically speaking.

Christmas has for us been defined by a cluster of different things: gift-giving, festive lights and music, feasts, mistletoes, decorations, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus. For the more “religious” it is celebrated with church activities and nativity scenes. When I was younger it meant a huge family celebration wherein we prepare a performance for our relatives, play games, eat heartily, and open gifts at the end of the night. Double this up: one for mother’s side and one for dad’s and that was Christmas. Of course the underlying reason for it being Jesus Christ. Everybody knows that. But in our hearts, and in the hearts of our celebration, in the deep center of it- is Jesus what we really celebrate? Or are we celebrating for the sake of. It’s tradition.

I don’t mean to knock on anyone’s traditions, because in my family we do have our own, but what does Christmas really mean to you? You, individually. Not your family, not your long-standing tradition. I’ve only started to really get into the meaning of it myself only a few years back, when I started growing in my relationship with the man who’s been with me my whole life. And it was just in the nick of time. I, with my cousins, had then since grown out of our yearly song/dance Christmas performances and games; and we were starting to miss the “Christmas spirit.” I don’t feel it this year, do you?

That really strikes a cord with me. It bothers saddens me to hear that sentiment. Especially from people of the faith. Because, what is the Christmas spirit, really? How do you feel it? What evokes in you that Christmasy feeling? Christmas carols, lights, parols (a wonderful local tradition), noche buena, puto bumbong, gifts, decorations, celebrations, music… usually, that’s it, right? And in the absence of it, we don’t “feel” Christmas. As if it was ever defined by those things, as if it was the feeling that we celebrate. Wikipedia says that heightened economic activity, through gift-buying and other festivities, has spurred Christmas to become such a significant holiday to Christians and non-Christians alike. I’m afraid its significance to believers and followers of Jesus has actually likened to the significance non-believers hold for it. What a grievous thought! Christmas, for us, children of the most High King, should be about one thing: HIM. 

If in celebrating Him, we have family, Christmas lights, feasts, music, gift-giving, singing, and all the warm fuzzy stuff that comes with it, then well and good. If He is in the center of all of these, and not in the mere background or afterthought, then awesome. Christmas spirit should alive and burning! If in celebrating the birth of our Savior, we don’t have the above-mentioned, then well and good. We shall still have Him. 

Christmas spirit, then, must be (provided through) the Holy Spirit. The person in the Godhead that Jesus promised would be with us always, until He returns. Always. Not one moment of absence. If this is the case, then we have the “Christmas spirit!” And not just today and tomorrow, not just in December, not only in the days leading up to Christmas, but every single day of the year.

Jesus is here. In Him we are never lonely, nor lacking. In Him we have fullness of joy, love, and peace. In Him we have friend, Savior, Father, lover. In Him we have every spiritual gift. In Him we have an abundant life. In Him we have complete victory. In Him we have freedom. In Him we have the best, yet to come. In Him, and in Him alone, we have ALL

May each and every one rest in the truth of this. Blessed Christmas to all, and may His spirit abound in you as we go about our celebrations and traditions! 

And may you celebrate true Christmas in your hearts- not only this season, but in all your days. ♥

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” 

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

Luke 2:10-11, 13-14, 19

love revolution x prayer huddle

a little bit of sunshine ✸
love it just as much as i love his “real” smile

a little bit of sunshine ✸

love it just as much as i love his “real” smile

You won’t relent until You have it all  my heart is Yours.  I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart

You won’t relent until You have it all
my heart is Yours.

I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart

Light of the World,

Light to my heart.

captured by the wonder of His great love,
in Him I find my delight 
♥

Light of the World,

Light to my heart.

captured by the wonder of His great love, in Him I find my delight