Love, Musings

If I Know What Love Is 

“There is nothing more human than to be broken in the pursuit of love only to discover that it isn’t love after all because love is what holds us together.”  

I’ve tasted of love that isn’t love at all, but also a love so whole it fills every broken crack in your heart and makes you forget what it was ever like not to feel safe. Real love, it chases me down, catches me off guard and brings my tired heart back to life. It fills my eyes with twinkling light during the day, and it puts me securely to sleep at night. It makes my soul blossom with courage to hope again in goodness and redemption. 

My God restores every little thing that was ever broken. He shows me what real love looks like: not the fake shadow that comes like a wolf in the night to steal from you // not the fleeting emotional kind that comes in the guise of something desirable // not the kind that holds you captive under a web of lies & deceit // not selfish lust that takes and takes but never gives back // not the kind that doles out empty promises but never comes through // not the slippery sand that leaves you wary and second guessing // not the kind that turns around and tears you apart with no second thought.

But the kind that is fiery and true – the kind that sets you free to dance and be who you were always meant to be. The kind that is firm and strong and dependable – a safe shelter for your heart.

If I know what real love is, it is only because I have seen both sides of the coin. In the beginning, they seem similar (as all good half truths do) but eventually it will all unravel to prove as two worlds completely apart. 

You must choose for yourself what you will settle for in this life. 

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Pain, Process, restoration, Trials, Wilderness

Nostalgia 

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time, wrap my fragile younger self in my arms and say to her, “Everything’s going to be alright. He restores.” God knows how much she needed to hear it. But I can’t do that of course. I can’t tell her how much she really is worth. I can’t tell her that she doesn’t need to fight for love because real love would have fought for her. I can’t tell her that what she needs is to protect and fight for her own heart and dignity instead. I can’t tell her that all she ever needs can be found in the safe and loving arms of a Father. I can’t tell her that she really is beautiful, even when she sees anything but staring back at her in the mirror. I can’t tell her that Love is wiping away her tears each night as she cries herself to sleep, and that Mercy will make it all brand new. I can’t tell her about the way He will turn it all around and make her little heart strong and capable of withstanding anything. I can’t tell her how He will fill her eyes light and help her dare to hope and dream again. I can’t do any of that. 

But I will spend the rest of my life telling it to every other broken young girl I meet. 

Because it’s true. He did it. Every little thing He promised to me, He fulfilled and is still fulfilling. He’s turned it all around and I can’t even recognize any trace of that broken little girl I once was. He’s given me beauty for ashes, strength for brokenness and praise for sorrow. Faithful He has been, and faithful He will be. My faithful, faithful Restorer. He’s the reason I still believe today. He is every stubborn breath and relentless pump of this still-beating heart. He is why I can get back on my two feet no matter what comes to break me in this life — I swear I will not be broken because He holds my every piece.

Don’t lose hope. 

He isn’t nowhere near done with you. 

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goodness, Hope, Longing, restoration, The Voyage

Tree Of Life

Those who sow in tears will reap in joyful shouting. The more the tears, the greater the joy that awaits. There are areas in my life where I have ever only known hurt and disappointment. Yet it is exactly in these areas that my Father wants to show His goodness the most. It is hard to believe sometimes but it is true. I know it with all my heart.  

I know that the tears we cry before Him fall as water to tender soil. We look now and we see no sign of life – only barrenness and disappointment. But hope again. Again and again and again, even against the fiercest of odds. Never allow the tender soil of your heart to harden. Because hidden underneath is a seed of promise. The tears that fall from our weary eyes water this promise seed. And as we sow with our tears and frustrations, as we plough with our heart hopes and secret prayers – this seed will, one day, grow into the most beautiful tree of life. 

The darker the night, the brighter the day. The longer the hope deffered, the more radiant the tree of life. We come with our ashes and He gives us beauty. We come with our broken hearts and He makes all things beautiful. We surrender and He restores. 

All the tears I have cried, I will, one day, reap in joyful shouting. And everything that I have fought so hard to believe in – one day I will no longer have to fight anymore – because it will be as plain as day, playing out right in front of my eyes for me to see. Everything that I have ever lost, all the tears I have ever cried, all the brokenness I have ever endured, He will restore back to me with joy and singing. 

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a promise fulfilled is a tree of life. He will fulfill all His promises and we will dance wild and free under His tree of life. 

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Longing, Process, Purpose, Wilderness

Kiss The Dawn

Now I close my eyes and free fall into You

Plunging into the unknown darkness

Hoping against hope 

That You will meet me there

//

Lift up your head Isabel. The faces of those who look to Him are radiant. Let your eyes be fixed on the One whose Name is the Restorer of All Things. 

//

I promise you my dear, one day, you will kiss the dawn. 

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Musings, Pain, Prayer, Process, Trials, Wilderness

Morning Musings // In the Trial

When my courage ends, let my heart find strength in Your presence
I’ll walk through the fire with my head lifted high, and my spirit revived in Your story 
I’ll look to the cross as my failure is lost in the light of Your glorious grace 

I remember standing in the Allphones Arena in Sydney three years ago singing these words for the first time, tears streaming down my face. “Let the ruins come to life in the beauty of Your name..” Three years ago I stood there, the most broken I’d ever been, amongst a multitude of other ordinary people just like me, all of us praying for His redeeming grace to make all things new. 

Much has changed since then, but I continue to return to these words over and over again because they remain my heart’s cry through the seasons. I don’t ever remember a time when I was not struggling with one thing or the other. Some seasons the battles are bigger and tougher than others, but it seems there is always a need for something to be healed, or restored, or made new. And I think there will always be, for all of us, on this side of time. But that’s okay. 

Because there is a safe place in the midst of it all, and it is in the presence of the Restorer of All Things. He will prove Himself faithful over and over as He prunes the weeds in our lives and breathes beauty back into the broken places. 

“Let the ruins come to life in the beauty of Your name.. I will love You forever, and forever I’ll sing.” 

I’ll sing my love even in the midst of the fire. And I’ll keep singing my love as I watch the broken places of my life become beautiful again – no, never by my own strength but by His. 

Don’t you see? There is One who fights for us still. We can walk through anything despite our weakness. Anything. Because our hope is not in ourselves but in the One who is greater. 

And at the end of ourselves is where He begins. 

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Bridal Paradigm, Desire, Intimacy, Longing, Love, Musings

I Am Lovely

The Shulamite: I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon.
(Song of Solomon 1:5)

The Beloved: If you do not know, O fairest among women, Follow in the footsteps of the flock, And feed your little goats Beside the shepherds’ tents. (‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭1‬:‭8) 

The Shulamite woman is so painfully aware of her darkness. Out of the overflow of her insecure heart, her mouth speaks – and she calls herself dark.

But look! Immediately, in the next passage, her Beloved affirms her by calling her the “fairest among women”. He counters her insecurities by speaking over her words of healing and life. He sees beauty in her even when she is unable to see it herself. 

Instead of pointing out her obvious faults, he continues to affirm her throughout the remainder of the Song – prophetically calling forth the woman she was always meant to be. The love of this man aids in bringing wholeness and restoration to the Shulamite woman’s heart. He makes her feel safe by covering her weakness with his strength. His tender love brings healing to her heart. We see how this plays out in the remainder of the Song, with the Shulamite woman growing in confidence as she understands that his desire is for her, yes, even in her brokenness. She emerges from underneath her wall of fear and insecurity, and she grows into one mature in love, equally yoked with her Beloved. 

The love of a man is life-bringing in a special way to a woman’s heart. It is able to unlock things inside a woman and cause her to blossom beautifully. If the imperfect love of fallen man can bring this about, how much more can the perfect love of God heal and restore our hearts! 

When we begin to understand how God sees us, something will unlock inside us. He does not despise us in our darkness, and He does not shame our frail offerings of love. He loves the one who is broken and contrite in heart. He looks upon the (sincere) struggling believer with such tender eyes. The more we understand this the more confident we can be before Him. 

What is it to be covered and protected? What does it feel like to be cherished, even in our weakness? What does it feel like to be loved unconditionally, and to be wanted even in our brokenness? What is it like to be pursued and to be seen as lovely and beautiful? So much healing comes. His love is able to do all these things and more. 

No longer will our faces be clouded by shame. No longer will we beat ourselves up in insecurity. When we understand that His desire is for us, something will settle inside of our hearts. His love causes our hearts to be still, and finally, we can rest. 

We can say confidently, “Dark am I, but I am lovely to Him.” 

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Musings

True Beauty

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭17‬:‭22‬ ESV)

Wholeness is beautiful, and it can be seen. Because we were created for wholeness, the closer a person is to their original design, the more beautiful – body, spirit and soul. It is not an empty beauty, it is more than a shell. It is a beauty that is full of life, because it reflects a God that is full of life. It is a beauty with a presence that can be seen and felt. When He restores someone to their original design and wholeness, and when His presence rests on someone, people will sense it – whether they know it is God or not. 

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