October 29, 2012

His Beloved


There are days in our lives when we feel unloved and unworthy. In fact, there are so many people out there who are still trying so hard to gain acceptance, love, appreciation, compliments, etc from others. It has become humans' necessity in life to simply just being accepted. We may struggled with it once we were just children. We may struggle with it now in our various relationship with girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, parents, boss, and many more. Does it sound familiar to you? It seems like there is a big hole in your life which is screaming to be filled with love, love, and love. You may think that once this person does this and that for you, you will find it be enough. But the truth goes ... it is never enough. 

I remember the days when I used to feel unloved. At that moment, I questioned about God's love for me. But in one session of Youth Camp in my campus, one of the speaker told me the story when God made a woman. Its last sentence of the story changed the whole course of my life. Here is the story :)

By the time the Lord made woman, He was into the Sixth day of working overtime. An angel appeared and having conversation with the Lord.

Angel: "Why are you spending so much time on this one?"

Lord: "Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has a lap that can hold two children at one time and that disappears when she stands up, has a kiss and hug that can cure anything from a scrapped knee to a broken heart, and she is doing all of these with two hands!"

Angel: "Only with two hands, Lord? No way!"

Lord: "Oh, it's it the hands that are the problem. It's the three pair of eyes that mothers must have!"

Angel: "Why does she have three pairs of eyes?"

Lord: "Yes, one pair of eyes are to see through the closed door as she asks her children what they are doing even though she already knows. Another pair in the back of her head are to see what she needs to know even though no one thinks she can. And the third pair are here in the front of the head. They are for looking at an errant child and saying that she understands and loves him or her without even saying a single word.

Angel (tried to stop the Lord): "This is too much work for one day, wait until tomorrow to finish!"

Lord: "But I can't! I am so close to finish this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick and can feed a family on a pound of hamburger and can work 18 hours a day."

Angel (moved closer and touched the woman): "But you have made her so soft, Lord."

Lord: "She is soft. But I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."

Angel: "Will she be able to think?"

Lord: "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason and negotiate."

Angel (touched the woman's cheek): "Oops, it looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."

Lord: "That's not a leak. That's a tear!"

Angel: "What's the tear for?"

Lord: "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride."

Angel (impressed): "You are a genius, Lord! You thought of everything, for woman is truly amazing."

Lord: "Yes, she is. Women have strengths that amaze men. They carry children, they carry hardships, they carry burdens but they hold happiness, love, and joy. They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous. They fight for what they believe in. They stand up for injustice. They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there us a better solution. They go without new shoes so their children can have them. They love unconditionally. They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards. Their hearts break when a friend dies. They have sorrow at the loss of family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strengh left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart. Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes. They'll drive, fly, walk, run, or e-mail you to show how much they care about you. The heart of a woman is what makes the world spin! Women do more than giving birth. They bring joy and hope. They give compassion and ideals. Women have a lot to say and a lot to give."

"But she has one weakness ..."

Angel: "What is it Lord?"

Lord: "She often forgets how worthy she is..."


I used to forget that I am worthy. Just like most people, we grow up in an environment where love may not be verbalized nor be shown expressively. It causes children to doubt parents' love, wives doubt husbands' love, and at last God's children doubts God's love. And as our confidence of God's love is shaken, we are most likely to end up in downward spiral. We question about the goodness of God, life and its purpose. That was why this story became a huge turning point for me. For the very first time, I was being reminded about that I am worthy in God's eyes always but it's just my eyes which fail to recognize it.


You are God's beloved. When the world tries to convince that you are not, He constantly wooing you to win your heart. God is a Father to the fatherless, friend to the friendless, and husband to the husbandless. In fact, although you have a nice father, a great friend, and a lovely spouse, Jesus Christ still surpasses them all. He is the one who keeps being faithful as the world lies through their teeth. He is the ONLY ONE who has the capacity to fill the longings in your heart. In Jesus, you are loved and accepted. Not because of what you've done, but because of who He is, Love.



[Isaiah 43:1-7,11,13]
But now, this is what the LORD says-
he who create you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, 
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God, 
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east 
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, "Give them up!"
and to the south, "Do not hold them back."
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters 
from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.
I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.
Yes, and from the ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?"

God is the One who never gives up on you although you even want to quit. You are His beloved and He will not let you go. He will protect you. For your destiny is to be loved by Him. 


"Letting yourself be loved by God is more important 
than loving God" -Brennan Manning

-Leticia Seviraneta

October 12, 2012

My Love Story [Part 3]



On the September 21, we were celebrating our 7 months being in a relationship. Not a long period of time to be boast of I know haha.. But it has been a journey full of God's faithfulness, mercy, and love for us. Some people may wonder what a naive thing for me to post my love story even before it reaches toward the point of marriage. Well, for me, this is an act of faith. I believe what I have not seen. My purpose to share this is to encourage people who may feel what I feel that there is a God out there who concerns of your love story. 

You may often wonder, "How do you know that Jabrik is the best God has for you?" Well, I asked God and He confirmed it. For some people the whole confirmation thing can be tricky. Yet I asked for a clear sign which will prove in the end that it must be from God. Pray specifically for this. For me, God putted in my heart for one verse which is 1 Corinthians 2:9:


However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

Then I prayed, "Lord, if he is whom you want me to marry with, let You put this verse too in his heart." The funny thing was I told Jabrik that I asked God for this verse sign and he had to 'guess' it rightly. If not, then I regarded that he was not for me. I did not realize that my 'challenge' overwhelmed him a lot. He thought, "Poor me.. There are 31,103 verses in the whole Bible and I have to get it right with only one chance. That means there is only 0.003 probability that I would guess it right." Then Jabrik kept thinking over and over again about the possibility of the 'golden verse'. He thought, "Probably Proverbs 3:5-6.. because she has just tweeted it.. or probably something related to the word "faith" so He searched online to seek all the verses about faith. Being ended up with hundreds of choices, he was getting desperate, "Poor me ..."



Then one night, as he went to sleep in deep trouble, he heard one voice singing, "What no eyes has seen. No ear has heard. No mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him ..." In Indonesian language the song goes like this:


Apa yang tak pernah dilihat mata
Apa yang tak pernah didengar telinga
Yang tak pernah timbul di dalam hati
Semua disediakan bagi yang mengasihi Dia
Reff:
Allah sanggup melakukan segala perkara
Dulu, s'karang dan s'lamanya
Kuasanya tidak berubah (2x)

Then Jabrik said to God, "Don't sing. I asked for a verse, not a song." And God said, "Son, I'm singing you the verse." At that night, Jabrik for the first time heard God's voice as clear as crystal clear. And he hears from the Lord ever since..

The next morning, I recalled that I simply prayed to the Lord, "God, would You please remind him of that verse?" It was Sunday morning. After I prayed that simple prayer, I went to the church. I remembered clearly that before the service started at 10 AM, Jabrik contacted me and shared his experience last night. When he told me about that song, I knew certainly that God had just answered my very recent prayer. Oh no, He answered it even before I mentioned the morning prayer! I was completely surprised.. I always have faith in God, but this time ... He reveals himself in a very miraculous way I can ever imagine. You can read what happened next in My Love Story [Part 2]

That was my first confirmation from the Lord about Jabrik. The second was Faith's letter which I attached in My Love Story [Part 2}. So, how are we going now?

We spent my 23rd birthday together for the second time ;) And now we are working together to make a devotional book and website which will bless many other people. We have a mission from God and we do not take all of his favor in our relationship for granted. Have we ever fallen? Yes, we have. I always have a dream to save my first kiss in front of the altar on my wedding day. Yet, I have to admit that I did not guard it. We can have a nice dream, but if we don't actually pursue, guard, and defend it, we'll lose it. So we are working on to maintain our purity in this relationship. We fell, but we now save our next kiss for wedding. Hmm.. regarding this physical contact area, many people get confused whether they will be okay or not if they hug, kiss, etc. Many people have different standard on this. Yet I cling to God's words in Song of Solomon 2:7, "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires ..." The question is not, "How far is too far?" but instead, "How far do we want to honour God?" It is not a matter of what is allowed and what is not allowed to do. But is it a wise thing to do? 

Oh yes, and we are still waiting for parents' approval for our relationship. A miracle. 

When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, 
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, 
"The LORD has done great things for them",
and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping, 
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with Him.
- Psalm 126:1-6


One day, once we get married, it will be like a dream comes true. The door which seems closed right now will be opened. And we know that it takes God and only Him to open it. It is not the story of us, but story of God's love for us. All of these things which are beautiful are only a glimpse of God's immense love. Yes, now we sow in tears, in faith, and in hope. We sacrifice our flesh desires to walk in purity, our wills are being put to death so that His will shall reign.

You may realise through all my writings that I emphasize a lot on commitment before you ever get into a relationship with someone. It is like a seat-belt in which will protect you from the 'accident' of heart-breaking. I wrote it in more detail in The Safest Roller Coaster. Build your relationship in the rock foundation of Jesus Christ. When Christ is at the center of your relationship, you can be sure that you'll always have ways to find one another. Have the same vision in what God wants you to accomplish in this life. Being in a relationship is like having partnership to accomplish God's purpose. It should bring you two together to grow more in Jesus and not make you both grow apart. 

If you are single, enjoy your season with the Lord with all your might. I always hold on to the wise saying which says that, "A woman's heart must be buried so deeply in Christ that a man must seek Christ first in order to find her." If Christ's love is not sufficient for you now, there will be no other man's love which will ever make it. If Jesus who's all perfect cannot make you feel loved, then there will be no merely man who's imperfect who can make you feel loved too. Wait and grow in the Lord. In the mean time, the man who is passionate with God too is doing the same thing. 

(to be continued ...)


-Leticia Seviraneta-

October 04, 2012

Repairer of Broken Walls


Have you ever felt being 'broken'? There are so many incidents in life which leave us being broken. Either it is a broken heart from relationship, broken dreams, broken family, broken financially, and so on. The truth is .. we live in a broken and fallen world. No wonder that there just things in our lives which  inevitably hurt us. But here is the good news .. God is able to use your brokenness and turn it around to become His greatest glory!


In brokenness season, there is a tendency for us to respond it with either self-pity or bitterness. Self-pity is a feeling that we are the most pitiful person in this world. It is seeing that there is nothing good in our lives and we mourn over it all the time. When self-pity overwhelms us, it is hard to see the fingers of God in our current situation. It seems like we are in a very big problem but cannot see any way out. That's why we can only mourn over it. Self-pity seems harmless on its very first stage. It seems so natural to pity ourselves for all the calamities that happen to us. And it may feels ... good. But what we don't realize is ... it gives the devil a foot hold in our hearts. It is like a seed of cancer which keeps spreading all over our bodies. There will come a point where we have no ability to be thankful at all to our beloved Creator. It causes us losing our joy, and hence makes us us losing our strength. " ... Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10). Thereby, as natural as it may seem, self-pity should nnot linger even for a second in our lives. The cure for self-pity is simply shifting our concerns from 'self' to 'others'. If you desire a compassion, give a compassion to others. It may sounds weird, but God really gives more abundantly to a cheerful giver. 


The other 'natural' response to brokenness season is by being bitter. Our hearts does not become bitter automatically when people hurt us. Bitterness is our choice. No one can affect our hearts' condition unless we allow them to. In every situation we can always choose whether we will be 'bitter' or 'better'. The fact is, I never see any bitter person is thankful and a thankful person bitter. It may sounds strange, but thankfulness is the medicine to bitterness. "Give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess 5:18) Of course, give thanks in the midst of trouble will be so unnatural for us. Some even do it just with a burdened heart simply because they have to (for example they try to obey God). But here is the view point. It is a matter of acknowledging His goodness in our present trouble. Yes, we can admit to God that, "I don't understand it Lord. But I still believe in your purpose. Keep doing on what You do." It's a whole different perspective which can set us free from a bitter heart. Another important key to be free is releasing forgiveness for those who hurted us. It's difficult and it will take time. But if we are willing to forgive, there is a hope. 




We need to be sensitive on asking God instead of "Why God?" but "What do you want me to learn from this?" God is in control. He never allows circumstances occur in our lives without any purpose. If you have prayed and nothing changes, maybe God wants to change you first. Instead of seeing the ugly sides of other people and circumstances, ask humbly to the LORD to help you see your own heart's condition. Is there any unwillingness to forgive and reconcile? Is there any bitterness? God is more than willing to reveal your heart and His plan for you as you come in humbly before Him. 


Though it is hard to comprehend, but brokenness season is the only place we can truly know who God is. It is the only season where we can truly feel His presence in a very intimate way. As a popular quote says, "God does not promise you explanations about everything, but He promises you to walk through the pain." It is a place where depending upon God is the only choice we have. And that in the end leads us to a deeper relationship with Him.  "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3) Shouldn't it all that matters in this life? 


As impossible as it sounds, God uses people who are 'weak'. People who acknowledge that they are nothing without their God. People who come humbly upon Him and surrender their independence to become fully dependent to Him alone. Psalm 51:17 says, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." And sometimes, it takes a series of circumstances to bring us up to this point. Peter was being broken for his failure by denying Christ three times. He wept bitterly. Yet God touched his brokenness by asking "Do you love me?" three times (John 21:15-17)and in the end used him so powerfully to preach the good news. The fact is, we simply cannot be broken where things are running so good in our lives, can we? Be glad if God breaks your heart right now, for it always meant for a greater purpose beyond your imagination. Yes, you cannot see it now, but one day you will, and you will be amazed.



Today,if you are in brokenness season, I believe that God wants to speak comfort for you. "For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody." If a desert can be turned to become a garden in the hands of God, than your brokenness is more than able to be used to  proclaim His glory too. It will be just like a dream, but God's promise will come true as we respond to our brokenness rightly. Do not harbor anger, self-pity, nor bitterness in this season. Just offer your sacrifice of a broken heart, sincere trust in God, and thanksgiving for His goodness. As you respond in God's ways, you will more likely to end in God's plan. 

"If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the Repairer of the Broken Walls, the restorer of streets to dwell in." (Isaiah 58:10-12)

One day, in the midst of your current ruins, God will built a new home. He is the ultimate Repairer of Broken Walls, broken soul, broken hearts. He is the ultimate healer. If you respond correctly, pouring your life to serve others instead of focusing on your own wounds, releasing forgiveness, and willing to surrender to God, this will be your destiny. God is more than able to heal the broken hearts, if you give Him all the pieces.