Monday, February 15, 2016

But The Greatest of These is LOVE

The next best thing besides Hallmark Christmas movies are Hallmark Valentines Day movies
I have always loved this holiday 
Picking out Valentines for my class was as exciting as making a list for Christmas
I am not kidding
I was thaaaat little girl
Always giddy with the idea of choosing just the right one from each classmate 
I drove my young self crazy trying to decide which one to give my crush that year

Do I go with the straight forward "I like you" then maybe he would ask to play with me at recess
Or be "friend-zone" and go with the "You are super cool"
Oh, yes, real drama for Valentines Day

Then I grew up and the holiday become full of red roses, chocolate and awkward stuffed bears
Girls are pretty easy, at least I am
Chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate 
And maybe a red rose thrown in there

But lets be honest, this is my 9th Valentines Day without a "valentine" so those things don't come around every year so buying chocolate for myself has become my everyday Valentines Day tradition...

....And I am completely ok with that and here is why....

I truly do love Valentines Day
But this holiday means so much more than just decorating with red hearts, having a special someone to buy you presents, or bring you roses and take you out to a fancy dinner 
 (Dont get me wrong, the hopeless romantic in me does look forward to that!)

Valentines Day represents LOVE, right?
pure, sweet, overwhelming, passionate LOVE

All kinds of love that fill our lives
Love for family
Love for friends
Love for your significant other
ALL LOVE should be celebrated!

But, ALL those kind of "loves" stem from the most important love of all
all consuming
deeply passionate
never ending
forever forgiving and always flowing love from our Lord and Savior

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16 

God sent His only son to die FOR ALL OF US
And because of what Jesus did on the cross, because He gave the ultimate sacrifice 
He has showed us the truest, most passionate, sweet, pure, overwhelming love of them all

Because who He is  
Because His LOVE for us
When we love Him deeper, we love others better
Our love for others becomes more real and easier 
We can realize that we love not because we "feel" like it, or "have to", but because HE loved us first

Now THAT is something to celebrate with others or by ourselves on Valentine's Day, but especially every single day of our lives 

And here is why this year Valentines Day was probably one of the BEST I have ever had (yes, even without a Valentine) 
1) Hillsong Phoenix: Our Church just announced that we are the 16th Global Location for Hillsong church. THIS IS A HUGE DEAL PEOPLE! There are only two more in the US- New York and Los Angeles and now PHOENIX! This will most likely be another post because I am so excited, but today this was the perfect reminder of God's perfect timing and the little glimpse of His perfect plan over my life
2) Then after church, some of us went out to lunch, then I got to hangout with this chick for a bit! Brooke has come into my life through AdvoCare and now attending church with me. She is young, but passionate about life, being greater and believing deeper. She will do great things. LOVE being able to pour into her. 

So we found this which was so fitting for the day

3)  Later that night I went down to Chandler. My home away from home. Love this place. Love this family. These two Arizona "nephews" surprised me with white roses and hand made cards- melt my heart!

4) I stayed the night down in Chandler and got to hangout with this woman and her family the next day. We walked around the park, dreamed about neighborhoods and new houses and then went to lunch downtown Chandler. She is family and so thankful for her in my life. 

So, even on the sappiest, most romantic holidays of the year
Where I am surrounded by couples in love
(no joke, two of my friends got engaged this weekend!) 
I still have faith
I still hope
I still have love
"Faith, Hope and Love remain. But the greatest of these is LOVE."
Because I know the only love I need, the only one that fulfills me, today and everyday, does not come from any man, stuffed animal, fancy dinner, or red roses
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jesus, My Superman

"Every woman was once a little girl. 
And every little girl holds in her heart her most precious dreams. 
She longs to be swept up into romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, 
to be the beauty of a story. Those desires are far more than child's play.
 They are the secret to the feminine heart" 
- Stasi Eldredge "Captivated"

Lois Lane grips the seat belt as she hangs from the helicopter that dangles 600 feet above New York 
 Nothing but the concrete jungle below her
She tries to pull herself up, but her grip keeps slipping
One by one her hands let go and she is free falling down to her death 

Or so we thought! 
But then out of no where, Superman sweeps her up mid air 
And Lois Lane falls safely in the arms of Superman 
She is rescued

This is the scene from Superman I watched over and over when I was a little girl
And every time my heart would fill with longing

I wanted to be Lois Lane (maybe not the near death part) 
But, I wanted to fall into Superman's arms
I wanted to be rescued (by Superman in this case) 

Since I can remember, I always had that longing "to be rescued"
When my siblings and I would play dress up, I would always be the princess rescued by the prince
Or we would re-enact the scene of Lois Lane being rescued by Superman 

My heart would set on fire during those "make believe moments" 

As I got older I would still find that longing deep in my heart
I didn't truly understand what it was or the purpose
I thought it was a silly, little girl desire I would out grow
But I didn't
And I sought after to fulfill the longing from boyfriends
Because of that, I would place unrealistic expectations on them
And every time I would be let down by unmet expectations
(Here is a hint: my boyfriends were never meant to fulfill that longing in the first place...
...And neither is yours)  

Then I met Jesus
Ya, I knew who Jesus was before but I never took the time to truly get to know the man 
But after being let down so many times I decided to seek out the only person I have been told, 
"Never lets you down"
So, I sought after this man named Jesus

I would read the Gospels and the life of Jesus every morning
I read about His compassion
His Grace
His Forgiveness
His tender Mercy
And I read about His love
His passionate, radical love to the least of these

I pursued this man more than any boyfriend I ever had
And guess what?
He never let me down
Not once
Every time I opened the Bible He would fill every longing

And I kept reading about Jesus
I could not stop
Then one day I read some verses that changed my life forever

"For God SO loved the world that He gave His only Son (Jesus). 
That whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, 
but to save the world through Him (Jesus)"
John 3:16-17 


"For the Son of man (Jesus) came to seek and to save what was lost (You and I) "
Luke 19:10 

So, let me get this straight, Jesus came into this world to save me?
You mean, I have been saved?
By Jesus?

You know what this means right?

My rescuer has already saved me
In fact, He saved me over 2,000 years ago
My "falling from a building"rescue has already been completed

This changed EVERYTHING for me and I hope it does for you, too
No more unrealistic expectations put on men
No more unfulfilled and lonely nights
My heart now rests in the fact that I have ALREADY been rescued
I believe God puts longing in our hearts to be reminded that He is the ONLY one who can fill them

And as I continued to study and read more of the Old and New Testament, I realized that the whole BIBLE points to the Jesus's coming as the rescuer 

The whole BIBLE is a story about the world's biggest rescue mission with Jesus being the ultimate rescuer 

So, I may never be rescued falling from a building (heaven forbid)
But, I have been rescued from my sins 
I have been rescued from guilt and shame
I have been rescued from the pressure to be perfect

I have been rescued INTO a life of Grace and Mercy
I have been rescued by The One who saved my soul

And from what I watched when I was a little girl, Superman could never do that  

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