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Nota Bene

 

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So I advise you to buy gold from me –
gold that has been purified by fire. Then
you will be rich. Also buy white garments
from me so you will not be ashamed
by your nakedness, and ointment
for your eyes so you will
be able to see.

I correct
and discipline
everyone I love.
So be diligent and
turn from your indifference.

(Jesus)

 

 
 
 


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23 ways tea is a metaphor for Jesus

 

… Have you noticed? I secretly suspect He invented tea leaves to serve as a gentle reminder for us of His saving grace. Here’s a short list to get you pondering:

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1. His grace is fragrance overflowing all over your insides.

2. He does way more than quenching your spiritual thirst – He’s literally above and beyond.

3. His awesomeness ceases to amaze you.

4. Sinking deep in Him and His Word alone is more than enough provision to last you for eternity.

5. He’s heaven-sent. (look how many times you’ve described a good tea as a ‘heavenly’ experience!)

6. The Father was boiling hot about you, but so loved you, He had to renew you with the only begotten bud with two leaves.

7. Just as the precious bud is for you, it’s also sent to serve those who believe it is their cup of tea.

8. You are required to patiently wait and have less on your plate in order to best enjoy Him.

9. He brings contentment like nothing else in the world does.

10. The longer you let Him sit in His Throne, the richer the quality of your tea.

11. Similarly, the more hurriedly you dip, in hopes of steeping faster, the bleaker your brew becomes.

 
 

 
 
 

12. Once you’re fully steeped though, you find Him soothing and sound.

13. Inhaling even just the top notes of His aroma lets you know you’re in a safe place, sheltered in His warm embrace.

14. His gentle character is so inviting, He’s open for conversations with you at any given time of the day.

15. His smooth consistency never fails to guide your walk and ground your paths.

16. His mercy is as deep as the good jade liquor – both complex and complete.

17. He is the highest and the purest form of joy, amazingly contained in a single cross.

18. Hoping in the cross heals you more than wallowing in your maladies.

19. And if you let Him, He will keep stirring your heart until peace rests within you from the inside out.

20. It is an honor to get just a taste of His wholesome love, but it was His pleasure to give you a cleanse in the first place.

21. Sipping the brew takes you out of yourself. With every sip you take, you develop God’s perspective on life.

22. There is no lukewarm tea that tastes like heaven – there is only hot tea fiery with zeal, or cold tea subduing your tempers.

23. Just this verse from the Book of He Brews (pun intended, hehe): The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. Hebrews 1:3 (NLT)

 
 

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Anything I missed? Give your inner poet a try: Add your own tea-and-Jesus metaphors on the comments section below :)

 
 
 


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via Alejandra S. on Pinterest

 

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Nota Bene

 

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You’ve got to put on
your shield of faith, and
doubt your doubts and
believe your beliefs.

(Rick Warren)

 

 
 
 


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Tea time talk: How would you feel if you achieved all of your life’s goals by the end of this year?

 

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This year will be different. You said that last year, and the year before, and the year before that.

Well, I did too. But here’s a prompt to shift from that limiting perspective:


How would you feel if
you achieved all of
your life’s goals
by the end of

this year?


My not-so-short answer: This ‘feeling-based’ question has gotten me to rethink my goals and motivations, whether they’re truly worth striving for or not. It’s no longer a matter of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it. It’s not even your why, but a simple So what? to it all. Yes, I want to author a few books, run a full marathon1, grow my own business, create dozens of products, make my piggyworld come true, explore every continent, and nurture little boy and girl piglets to come out of my womb. But I think having achieved all that I’d still feel an emptiness inside that just sucks the shiz out of my joy. It’s like it’s all just a matter of checking off a list of to-dos, just that the tasks are far more complicated than ‘buy milk’ or ‘dental checkup’. There’s no singular integer holding everything up. At the end of the day, no amount of achievement could satisfy this inner thirst.

For me right now, I think it’s better to abandon the technical stuff of goal-achieving and refocus myself on the Lord’s ultimate purpose. Every day I feel there are more and more ways that seem conducive to achieving my goals, but ultimately lead to dead-ends. They’re so subtle that I only realize I’m in one when I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking I’m so much smarter than God, a.k.a. I know what’s best for me. The harder I try to keep up, the deeper I fall. On the flip side, it’s always been a tremendous joy and a rewarding experience to obey His ways. Everything’s in order and guaranteed to work perfectly with Him and in Him and through Him. So, I might as well achieve everything for Him.

What about you? Have you taken a second look at your bucket list? What’s your ‘So what?‘ to it all? 

Share your feels, your epiphany, your story. Just let me get you another cup of tea here.

 
 
 


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 Footnote(s):

  1. only thing I’ve ever done closest to it was a halfsie []
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Tea with Jesus: Pondering for the new year

 

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© tinylittletea

In order to be sent, I need a pre-sent.

You are the present. Just that you came not just for me, but for the love of the whole wide world.

I thank the Father for whoever created Bahasa Indonesia, because “thank you” in the language is “terima kasih”, which literally means “receiving love”. I have been receiving love since March 2013, and since then I’m forever thankful for your grace.

Terima kasih once more, as I shall continue living in your presence for the year to come, the year after that, and on and on … until I’m delivered.


 
 

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Tea time talk: If you have a friend who treats you the way you treat yourself, how long do you want to keep them as your friend?


 

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Since we’re on friendship (and relationships in general) recently, I’ve been haunted by this question a lot for the past couple of weeks:


If you have a friend
who treats you the way
you treat yourself, 
how long do you want to
keep them as your friend?


My not-so-short answer: Probably not longer than a year. I have a running habit of hurting myself as a coping and/or defense mechanism, and if there’s nothing external that’s hurting me, it’s as if I’m actively and constantly seeking ways to hurt myself and consequently, hurt others. So, anyone who comes close to me will most likely get hurt, discouraged, and disappointed along the way. So I always back out of a potential friendship to prevent her from getting hurt. Despite it all, there are people I will never understand who actually want to go through all the pain …

Before I got to know Jesus Christ, I’ve always thought friendships just happen. If you hit it off during the first conversations then you’re good, but if not, you’re probably just not meant to be. The closest friends I have today are friendships that develop almost immediately after we met, including my own husband. Now, I realized that all relationships take active nurturing. With some you can click instantly, with others, it’s like growing a garden. And so I’ve grown to replace my constant hurting to constant tending of my thorns, mainly for these people who have decided to persist in my life.

I know this is a tough question … but give it time to seep in your mind: How are you going to change the way you talk to yourself today?

Of course, after my answer to this question, I don’t expect you to enlist me as your BFF :s But I do want to hear your thoughts.

 
 
 


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Who to expect on your wedding

 

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If you haven’t already know, 10 and I had 2 wedding receptions to celebrate our marriage. The one we wanted was a smaller and much more intimate setting in Bali, whereas the other one was what our parents originally envisioned their children’s wedding day to be. Having gone through the once-in-a-lifetime experience twice made me learn a couple of things, especially about being thankful for the people who show up to give your marriage support. Whether you have 200 or 1200 people on your guest list, you can expect these people to be present on your celebration:

Expect loyalty. These people are the ones who you haven’t gotten in touch in a while, perhaps years or even decades, but show up nonetheless, wherever your destination wedding is held in the world, to just to congratulate you and your new spouse. These are definitely people you should keep for life – savor the friendship and your enduring history with them.

Expect to be overwhelmed with appreciation. Before you got married, weddings were just another have-to’s you have to cross off your list every weekend. On your own wedding day, you will be eternally grateful of the many, many people who actually want to be there. It’s clear when you’re standing on stage who are the people who actually make time and effort to be there for you – not for the free food, not for the Instagram-worthy photo props, not for the scenic destination of the wedding, but for the celebration of two souls becoming one.

Expect hoarders. In the same vein, you can spot these people almost immediately out of the room. They’ve been prowling around the perimeter near the premium food stalls for at least an hour before you see them getting in line toward the stage to give you, your spouse, and your parents a flimsy handshake – and it’s almost always with neither a word nor eye contact.

Expect indifference. They behave much like the hoarders when they’re in line to shake your hands, but at least these people know the whole purpose of the event (congratulating the married couple!) before they help themselves with the goodies.

Expect gossip. People are always going to talk, even when you give them something good to talk about. Unlike the hoarders and the indifferent people, gossipers look at you in the eye longer than you are normally comfortable with. Whether they’re eating their food or giving you a handshake, they’re usually standing close with one or two of their gossip buddies. You can always find them within 100-meter’s radius from the stage, the VIP area, the plasma TV, the screen, and your canvas images, whispering something toxic into each other’s ears.

Expect camwhoring. Lots of camwhoring. Right after the quick smiles and brief handshakes, they’ll get into their poses and start commanding your photographers to take multiple shots of them on stage with you. So brace yourself, because you and your spouse are their most visually-appealing props of the day.

Expect the uninvited. If you’re having a banquet (i.e. expecting more than 500 people), keep on the lookout for at least one stranger. Get your wedding organizer to help you guard every corner so you can catch the culprit before they walk out with the freebies.

Expect pleasant surprises. Much like the loyal people, pleasant surprises are those who remember the tiniest good things you did for them – so little you don’t even remember. You may regard them as an acquaintance, but they regard you as a buddy, and that’s more than enough reason to keep them for life. The most surprising factor of their presence was the total amount of gift in the red envelope: It’s infinitely more than the nothingness you did for them a billion years ago.

Expect sincerity. It’s rare to find sincere people within a lifetime, much less on a single night. So when you found one, you should keep them. These people are the ones who look you in the eye as long as the gossipers do, but immediately hugs you tightly and, instead of whispering among one another, they whisper personal wishes and prayers into your ears, probably tearing up while doing so, and also probably the one taking the most pictures throughout the event so you don’t have to wait for the photographer’s pictures to update your Instagram. Please note that these people aren’t always necessarily present physically at the wedding: They may come in personalized messages in wedding cards, in surprise customized wedding gifts, somewhere during the hours you spent on long-distance phone calls, at the end of an afternoon tea you had together weeks in advance, plus many more other forms of a genuine heart. In these cases, they’re the first to congratulate you again digitally after you’re officiated … all the more reason you should keep in touch with them for life.

Expect excuses. On the opposite end, there will be people who DON’T have children to take care of, a limb broken, or a family member dying who RSVP’d way in advance, but are a no-show on the day itself. Examples of lame excuses they’ll give you: “There’s no one else I know there!”, “My dog ate your wedding invitation!” or, my personal favorite: Just a message … not before the wedding, not during the wedding, but days after the wedding … with no reason but a “Sorry couldn’t be there” and expect the relationship is still the same as ever. There may be 1001 reasons to not be there, but there are none to not tell you personally that they would not make it there before it’s too late.

Expect major disappointments. It doesn’t hurt as much if the people with the most excuse weren’t the people who you identify as your friend. But the biggest letdowns are the first people you’ve always had in mind to be there, but didn’t. It hurts even more when you received no news, no response, none whatsoever.

Expect utmost gratitude. Despite the letdowns, you will be so glad that you’re one of the most blessed souls in the world who has the kind of love like no other. Not everyone is blessed with a life partner with whom they can make a great team, much less one who loves and accepts you for all that you are. Like the brightest star in the night sky, your day will be filled with people who’d suffer hours of traffic and heavy downpour, just to witness the rare occasion, and there’s no way to thank their presence other than by giving them back as a married couple for the rest of your life.

Expect the best from God … when you surrender to His will. And not just on your wedding day, but every day for the rest of your life. Here’s our testimony …

Me and my husband only had 2 weeks left to decide whether we wanted to hire a rain protection vendor as our backup plan. The Bali wedding was an outdoor venue, so we’d essentially be blowing up everything (literally everything) if it rains. The vendor gave us until it’s down to a week left before the big day to make our decision. They’ve even reduced their price for us. After giving it some thought, I told my then husband-to-be that I did not want a canopy, even though or super duper attentive wedding organizer highly suggested we should get one. I wanted us to put our trust in God instead of our own smarts. Ever since we got together, I’ve gotten through so many doubts about His will for us that by then, I had no more doubts He was the one behind our union. Rain or shine, I believe He would allow the best weather possible for our special day.

My husband agreed. And so, no backup plan whatsoever … even though counting down the 2 weeks was discouraging. The 15-day forecasts kept showing anywhere between 60%-80% chances of drizzles and thunderstorms on the exact hours we’ll be holding our holy matrimony and the reception, as if all the weather apps and forecasting websites were purposely trolling on us. They all (yes, all) showed the same cloudy forecast leading up to the big day … and yet, we worried less and less. As the days went by, our faith has only gotten stronger, with prayers of hope for the future and of thanksgivings in advance.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 finally arrived. I woke up without the slightest thought about the weather and only focused on the man I’m going to love for the rest of my life. It was a sunny afternoon filled with fun photoshoots and a happy tea ceremony, followed by a heartfelt evening of us exchanging our vows. We became one … under the backdrop of a beautiful violet sunset and a golden outlook of our future.

Then, the testing of faith begins. The hair and makeup crew were changing me into the nighttime look for the reception, and my new husband was staring at the stormy sky with a paler complexion than Edward Cullen. Nothing liquid has fallen to the grounds yet, just sounds and flashes of thunder from above. When it’s time for us to line up to be the last introduced by the emcee (after our parents and siblings), it was practically drizzling. The whole crew was running everywhere to provide umbrellas for everyone – adrenaline’s rushing, our hearts beating faster.

There and then, we closed our eyes, hands held tight, and spoke out our faith in a joint prayer. Right after we said our ‘Amen’ together, we opened our eyes to find the drizzling stopped. And just like that … the hot and humid air transformed into a fresh, dewy ambience that lasted through the night. It was a miracle.

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The perfect guy doesn’t exist.

 

The perfect guy doesn’t exist, so I stopped looking for him. I’m tired of guys who cheat, play, and lie, so I stopped hoping for a guy who would ‘get’ me.

But you see, the perfect guy DOES exist. More like a man than he is a guy, and he happens to be a god – the God. He’s been waiting on me since … well, let’s just say it’s been a long time coming.

This is the only man who’s ever walked on earth who is perfect – there won’t be another. He is the epitome of perfection, but he loved me, still does, and forever will do. He so does that he’s laid down his life for me so I’ll reunite with him after earth, and I have faith in him1. He’s the reason why I stopped looking for the perfect guy, but still have faith in love.

There will never be a guy on earth who’s worthy enough for me to give my complete love, care, and affection, because no one else is perfect other than the perfect man. As long as I’m just as imperfect, there will always be miscommunication, mistrust, and misunderstandings. I don’t know whether a guy’s going to leave me or forsake me, but he might2.

Even more so, there will never be a guy on earth who loves me so much that he’s willing to die for me like the perfect man – not ever. I don’t feel worthy enough to be loved that much, because I’m far, perhaps worlds away, from perfect. As long as I have imperfect thoughts, there will always be imperfect deeds, imperfect actions, imperfect behaviors. Guys would either get the truth or get the wrong implications. Even if there is a well-meaning guy who’s willing to die for my imperfections, his own imperfections would flaw his sacrifice, and that sacrifice would be next to nothing compared to that cross.

In the meantime3, in addition to sacrificing his life for me, the perfect man has also delivered me a man to unite with … a man with flaws and all, but is full of faith, hope, and love. This man will never ‘get’ me as completely as the man who died for me – not ever, but he’s willing to keep trying, just as much I’m longing to give my love, care, and affection for a man. He is worthy for me because I am worthy of the death of the perfect man, and I am worthy for him because he also believes and receives the love of the perfect man.

Yes, he is imperfect. But he was made perfect for me, and I for him, and from today onwards, till death do us part, we are going to let our love for the perfect man perfect us.

 

P.S. Every first-person pronoun (I, my, me) above are replaceable with second- (you) and third-person (he, she, it) pronouns.

 
 

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 Footnote(s):

  1. Hebrews 11:1 []
  2. Deuteronomy 31:8 []
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:12 []
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H – 2 | #HerStance: On trust, relationships, and how I came to know The One.

 

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Note: Now here’s the post you’ve been waiting for ;) As usual, get your tea and most comfortable throw and read away – be prepared for a loooooong post that’ll complete the missing piece of his story #HisStance. Enjoy!

 

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Stacia’s side of the story #HerStance

Unlike Stanley, I don’t have a running list of qualities I must find in a future husband where I actually take time to sit down, think them up, and write. “I’ve prayed for a girl that meets all those criteria for 7 years … and here you are,” he always says to me. I do make mental notes about what I want in a future husband over the years, but never go as far as detailing him out because, like Stanley, I also never thought I’d ever get married … but for different reasons. We’ll get into those reaosns

As far as my mental notes go, the non-negotiables have always been:

  1. Absolutely no smoking
  2. Absolutely no drugging
  3. Absolutely no bad drinking habits
  4. Is clean of HIV/AIDS, i.e. has never paid service to call girls
  5. Is smart, i.e. able to carry on intellectual conversations
  6. Is humble
  7. Is willing to put the sovereign God before me

The big bonuses, a.k.a. my personal preferences:

  • Has a marathoner’s built (taller than me, lean for stamina)
  • Has a kind face
  • Smiles a lot

If you look at today’s society, it’s practically impossible to find a guy who doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t practice free sex, and leans not on his own ego for his self-confidence, but God – all in one package. I just don’t want to settle down, knowing I’ll be going the wrong way, if the head of our family is driven by his puny and fickle ego. He could only bring me and my kids to anywhere but happiness if his attitude is always prideful and only relies on his own thinking all the time. So, even though this list depicts a very simple man, I myself find it hard to believe this man ever exists.

Keep in mind that up to this point, I was still a non-believer.

Now, here’s the thing: Ever since my last relationship ended, I took a conscious choice to remain single to figure out who I am and what I really want. This period lasted about 4-5 years, and I can say now that it was the most determining years of my adult life. even though I had the best intentions to improve myself, I had set up a destructive thought pattern in the personal development department. It goes something like this: Think of the ideal future husband in your head, and adjust yourself continuously so that you deserve him. The logic was that I can become my best, most attractive self if I acquire as many traits and characters as possible that my ideal future husband would deem attractive. It’s “What would non-existent unbelievably perfect guy do?”, much like how Christians keep asking themselves “What would Jesus do?”. And attracted men like my ideal future husband I eventually did, but the more I discovered amazing traits in the guys who pursued me, the more I desired to adopt these traits for myself, and the less I felt deserving of the care and attention of any man, or, for the matter, anyone.

Slowly, it became an automatic response: The moment an opportunity for happiness comes along, I backed out. I need to work on myself first, I always say in my mind. It’s almost as if I’m forbidding myself from happy, fulfilling relationships. The process of feeling less and less confident of my own self-worth was so gradual, yet so progressive. This thought pattern, as well as other major areas of my life at that time, has contributed large portions to my depression. Many of you longtime readers know that this was when I lost the desire to do the things I usually like, the will to keep working hard in college and at life, and to simply continue living. Another day, another failure to meet the ever-increasing standards I’ve set for myself – I even failed at just being a girl. As I’ve revealed before throughout the blog, I missed my menstrual period for 17 months, seen 2 gynecologists, both of whom prescribed me with nothing but changing my lifestyle to “reduce stress”.

 

We both agree that God’s hand was at work the whole time. Right from the moment He taught Stanley patience since he made his list, all through my depression era to work on my faith, all the way till He deemed my heart was ready to meet my future husband, till He deemed Stanley was ready to have his prayers answered … and his faith tested.

 

The pinnacle of my depression era was the moment I came back to Jakarta for vacation for the first time in more than a year, in summer 2011. I arrived at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport with ultimatums that I knew were going to break my family’s heart. Through the car ride I could only keep tearing up as I stared bleakly through the window at the familiar scenes of my hometown, knowing how my own child, if I ever have one, would feel if he or she would tell me the things I was going to tell my mother later when we reached home.

I told her I was planning to quit college, commit to volunteering in humanitarian works, and do freelance writing full-time. I no longer want her financial support, I no longer wish to burden them with my needs, I don’t need to get a blue-collar job, don’t need no dreams, don’t need no supportive friends, don’t need to get married, don’t need to be happy. I just need to make myself useful for the rest of my life. That way, in the end, my life would count.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Thank God she didn’t respond in anger, but encouraged me to at least make the people around me happy, the people who are actually within reach, because the starving children in Africa aren’t guaranteed to become happy if I did committed myself to volunteer work. Despite her kind and wise words, I despised myself even more for making her so sad.

Keep in mind that here, still, I wasn’t a non-believer.

That same night was the night that completely turned my life around. After the talk with mother, I decided to take her suggestion to heart – the least I can do, even at the end of my life, is to make the people around me happy. According to her, one of the ways to make the people around me happy is to actually make myself happy. At that time, I thought it was an impossible task – who am I to deserve special treatment, even from myself? But it was the starting point where I began to engage with social life again, although I was done actively seeking future husband candidate at all, much less an ideal one.

That night, I caught up with one of my best friends over dinner. After that, we thought we should join some of his friends and acquaintances for a karaoke session.

Pretty casual, nothing fancy here. But who would’ve guessed I would meet my future husband there and then – At the most random and unpredictable place, during the lowest point of my life. And my future from then on has veered into anything but bleak.

 

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What’s your stance? What’s your his? Do you always see each other eye to eye, or do you disagree on everything? Here’s a challenge for you two: Share the love from both perspectives, from #HisStance and #HerStance, and your story might get featured on the blog! Simply tell it from both sides of the story (that’s the ONLY requirement) on the comments section below to win a chance to get featured. Can’t wait to hear from you lovebirds <3

 

The real story begins when he asked me to be his girlfriend. Stanley made it very clear that he is a Christian, and he neither pressured me to convert nor made any implications about it. He simply wanted me to know that he’ll always remain as a faithful and loyal servant of Christ even as we’re about to enter a relationship of differing faith. This was almost a week after he popped the girlfriend question, and the day after he clarified himself as a follower of Christ, I gave him the green light with a “yours truly” text message.

At that time, I was completely nervous, yet excited, just as I am now as we’re celebrating our first milestone. That was the first time in a long time I’ve felt deep intimacy and affection with a guy I actually admire. I guess out of it all, it was his loyalty and faithfulness to God, a non-negotiable of mine, that attracted me to him the most. Even though I haven’t had a relationship with Jesus Christ, I’ve always believed in the sovereign God … and that He’s always good. So if he’s serving the God I believe in, the sovereign God who’s omniscient and omnipotent, and essentially the largest, grandest, most magnificent entity in the entire universe, than I know my heart will be safe and secure with this guy.

If you ask Stanley, he always tells the story of how we met as if it’s his lightbulb moment of “She’s the one”. He’d also tell you that on the other hand, the only thing I remembered about him was “that bespectacled guy wearing that bright orange polo.” But today, we both agree that God’s hand was at work the whole time. Right from the moment He taught Stanley patience since he made his list, all through my depression era to work on my faith, all the way till He deemed my heart was ready to meet my future husband, till He deemed Stanley was ready to have his prayers answered … and his faith tested.

Overall, there are 3 problems we had to keep dealing with in the beginning:

  • I always push him away because I think I’m worthless and can only hurt and burden him.
  • I didn’t want to deal with the pain that romantic relationships carry, i.e. I was still in the lifetime singlehood mentality.
  • He refused to give me reasons why he pursued me in the first place. He’ll never want to make them so tangible that’s it’s easy to find faults in me and eventually leave me.

Do you realize what’s the main issue behind these arguments? It’s called TRUST. And I didn’t have it.

It just boggles me how he can truly love someone as ugly and worthless as me. I’m nothing like the women he’s usually interested in, and I’ll never be like them. Over the years, the thing about trust that I’ve learned is that the more you give it, the more you gain it. I’ve always been slow to trust people in general, because people are people and they’ll find ways to break that trust. Perhaps not intentionally, but we’re all deeply flawed creatures. Yet this whole trust issue with Stanley, I found they all spring from the most important issue in life: I didn’t put my trust in God. Instead, I put it in myself … my fickle, fragile emotions. It’s no coincidence that I read a lot of woo-woo stuff during that time – loads of self-help books that teach you to “fake it till you make it” by sheer willpower, but gives no long-term solution. It was only through my rocky relationship with Stanley over the last 4 years, seeing how much I’ve hurt him because I kept pushing him away, that I began to undergo a slow, steady transformation.

Now I’m not trying to sound preach-y here, but we would’ve never gotten married if it wasn’t God who began his real work in me. He tested me from the tiniest tests to the big ones, placing me in situations where it’s blatantly obvious to put my trust in Him rather than working everything by myself. Today, I can say that the real and only solution to dealing with doubts concerning self-worth is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Take this relationship out of a man/woman’s life, and he/she’ll never truly trust himself/herself.

How do I know this? Well, because for the first time in my life … I feel truly, wholly, and completely accepted, flaws and all. There is no other God, or person, or entity in the world that can love you so much, He made it so easy and so convenient for you to love Him back. He compiled the whole truth about life in a book so you don’t have to look elsewhere and confuse yourself, He’s forgiven all your stupid mistakes from the past and the future so you no longer have to feel guilty and worry about later, and the most irresistible, almost too unbelievable truth of all … is the fact that He loves me so much, He’s willing to die for me. Me … a person I’ve only thought as a worthless nobody who wasn’t able to earn lots of cash to provide for the family who’s raised me and cared for me ever since I was young.

I thought majoring in the creative arts was a shame, but He asked me not to throw that passion away. Until I truly trusted Him and took His instruction to heart, He inspired lovely pigs in me. I thought the ideal future husband doesn’t exist, but He revealed Stanley to me just when the moment is right. When He had passed the patience test and when I finally realized I cannot make others happy if I’m not happy myself first. I thought I’m nothing but dust that take up space, but He tells me I’m His precious daughter, just as how my pigs are precious to me. I am accepted, loved, and entrusted with gifts that are uniquely shaped for His purpose – and He’s been so trustworthy to me, that I also stopped feeling the need to know all the detailed and organized plans of His purpose.

The same goes with my relationship with Stanley: I stopped feeling the need to understand why he can love someone like me, as I no longer feel the need to demonstrate my worth according to his affection. It also felt easier to tolerate the pains when I’ve freed up space in my heart from past burdens, and so pushing him away is no longer a good idea. I am washed, cleaned, and have gained a new identity in Christ, so it’s no longer relevant to question the worth of my old self.

Deep, deep down, I still think I don’t deserve Stanley. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe he exists – a guy who doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t practice free sex, and leans not on his own ego for his self-confidence, but God – all in one package PLUS the bonuses. But who am I to judge? Just as I don’t deserve God’s amazing, unbelievably abundant grace, at the end of the day, the Lord is the only one who knows best.

And here we are, days from the big day that would forever change and unite us for all of eternity. I cannot wait for more conflicts, more arguments, more bickering, more disagreements, and more misunderstandings with Stanley, due to the differences between us that he’s already pointed out. The way I see it, we are more similar than we are different, as both our hearts have placed its full and trust in the same Lord our God. God clearly favors this marriage for a reason, and we can tell it’s going to be one heavenly ride.