Sunday, May 26, 2013

Experience of a broken heart.

Last couple months have been rather difficult for me and some of my friends. I have decided to write this note for those who got their heart broken mainly through a split relationship, but you could apply it to any other thing, because in the end, pain is pain, right?

I've not been open about this over the Internet and I will not go into detail this time either, but I've gone through a very rough break up a couple months ago. Having that experience has taught me a lot and made me realize things that I feel important to share here. Reading about someone else's journey could help you in going through your own. 

Hope that comes with falling in love is amazing. Feeling hot from the inside, waiting for the next message from that person, all  those things and many more are bound to happen as we realize we want to be with somebody. So we get into this relationship, it's awesome, we learn things about each other. Some of us may have ended only on the 'first' level of relationship, some of us may have gotten engaged, and some of us got married. When the heart gets attached to that person for real, when we decide that yes, this is who I want to be with, oh boy does it hurt when things fall apart. That heartache is indescribable. 

The very first thing that I did when I realized my relationship was over, I told God 'Lord, I am not going to let this destroy me'.  This was my first step and honestly, I don't know where I would be now if I took another route. 

Giving this to God didn't mean the pain was completely gone, but it made me handle my emotions way better. 
One of the things that I have learned is that I am the master of my body and emotions and by this I simply mean that no one can help me if I won't first deal with myself. People can talk to you but if you're mad with yourself to the point where you just can't control yourself, no help will come through to you. So the first and most important step is to give it to God. Completely. And the second: allow yourself to breathe. It happened, you can't change it, you can't take the time back. Might as well deal with it, huh? 

And don't worry, you can give it to God later on if you haven't done it yet. Actually even if a break up has happened a long time ago, there may still be things that need dealing with that only the Lord can help you with. Your friends may be great, but they won't heal your heart and give you peace, nor would they enable you to forgive. 

Something that destroys people after break ups is guilt. This thing is hard to get over especially if you don't want to forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made (one of which could be getting into this relationship in the first place!). 

Here are some pointers on what I think is essential, whether you feel like the 'bad guy' or not. 

1. You DON'T have to be strong. Your heart has been hurt, you are in pain. And by this I don't try to say 'hey go and bowl your eyes out in public places, before your family (ones that don't really get what's up), at work, make your coworkers feel horrible, make awkward scenes etc'. 
You are a lady, you are a gentleman. Behave like one. The world is not responsible for your break up.
Behave as normal as possible at work. I assume people you work with know about the break up and they feel bad for you, but y'all still need to do your job. So what did I mean by just telling you that you don't have to be strong? I mean that you are okay to cry at home. You are okay to take some time out where you would do things that relax you, and most certainly you are okay to admit that your heart is hurting. 
You don't have to play super brave if you don't feel brave. Fear after the break up is NORMAL. You do not break the 'feelings law' by having a bad time after the split up. 
2. It takes months to fully recover from this and could be longer if your relationship was as deep as engagement/ marriage, but by this I don't mean that you're bound to cry for those months. I mean that the first month- three months are the worst, then you may be getting sudden attacks of sadness/ missing the person, but if you protect your heart well, then you can recover within a couple months. 
I have never been engaged nor married so I can't speak for those cases and describe how it 'must feel' and how long it's 'suppose to take' before you should 'feel good again'. Everyone goes through hard times differently, some people recover within months, for some it may take longer than that.
3. Why, Jesus? Questions to God are okay, but also remember that He hasn't forced you into this relationship so you can't exactly put the responsibility on Him. Whether it was a Christian relationship where two people genuinely love Jesus or not, stupid things will be done and said, simply because we're human.  We've gotta take ownership of our decision and consequences that come if it turns out to be a bad one. 
What is our saving grace tho (literally), is this promise: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A couple weeks down the line after the break up I felt like God was telling me 'Marta, because you have handled this situation well, I was able to turn what could have been a break down, into a break through'.

My jaw dropped. I saw the above verse in real life. God used my pain, got hold of my heart and turned it inside out. 
Because I didn't allow any bitterness or unforgivenes to get to me but instead I was calling to Him, He answered and He stood up to His promise- He used this pain for my good. And, He can do exactly the same thing for you!

4. Girls, boys, read this carefully. 
It's not that the person stood up to your expectations, but that you didn't expect enough.

From yourself, from them. Maybe you've expected from yourself to be more ready for this so you wouldn't have made all those stupid mistakes. Maybe you wanted to be stronger so you wouldn't have allowed them to walk over your boundaries. 

We seriously don't value our hearts. This society we live in is killing people. It's not teaching us any values so if you don't go to church to get some teaching from the Bible, or if you do but don't practice any of it in your life, you are in a true war zone. 

5. Submission to God. 
The last, but the most important point.

He's here for you. He doesn't pick sides between you and your ex- He loves both of you equally. 

If right now you are in the most sensitive time after the break up, I pray God puts some balm of comfort on your heart.

Please, do not turn away from Him. I know, I know, it's not easy to pray etc, but at this point when you're vulnerable you really need that prayer time. Because God is the only one who won't abuse your vulnerability. At some point all I could say to Him was 'Lord, You know.' Then I was slowly trying to tell Him either out loud or by writing in my journal how I felt. I would instead of crying myself to sleep read Psalms. Sometimes I would read one Psalm over and over till I felt peace coming over me. Amazing feeling. God is really not wanting you to deal with pain by yourself. Go for a walk, sing songs, draw, write. 
Your heart doesn't have to get 'good' within two weeks. You have got the time. Listen and seek God. He will let you discover some precious lessons from this. I have learned so much about myself. I've learned respect for time. I've learned that I have to expect more from myself and the guy who'd try to woo me out. Some of you reading this note know my 'ex'. I'm not trying to speak bad of him here. I'm simply saying neither of us was mature enough for this relationship to work out. 

Some warnings for the future:
1. Planning the future/ sharing personal stuff. Let the other person WORK to get to know you. Don't spill out everything about yourself on the first date or even within the first months of being together. Be slow in it. Slow cook it- it will taste better in the end. 
2. Be careful who you talk to. Talk to people who know you and who know the person you're interested in. Do not share your heart and feelings with just anyone who'd ask how you're doing. Have only a couple friends who would know details and make sure in that group there would be at least 2 older people than you (at least 15-20 years difference), who could speak some wisdom into you. 
3. Giving your heart away/ or not guarding it. Oh pleaseeeee be careful!!!! I know it may seem all beautiful in the beginning when you meet the person and whatever, but you have got to allow him (ladies!) work to get you. And I mean seriously work. Don't help him. Don't push your heart into his hands. Look out for signals like, is he respecting your time boundaries, is he trying to protect your heart, is he MATURE? Fast relationships hardly ever work out. Figure out yourself why. 
Boys, most girls are living in this world of believing that how you present yourself at first is how you will present yourself forever, till death do you part. If a girl is letting you into details of her life soon, then do you both a favor and slow down. Don't rush things, you may regret it. Believe me or not, but time is actually your friend. If you decide that this girl is the one you'd like to be with, work to get her heart (and be ready to take care of it!). 

Behave like ladies and gentlemen. 

4. Not standing up to your convictions
If either one of you is making the other break down their boundaries, then you shouldn't be together. 

A little something to wrap it up:
Whatever has happened between the two of you and however bad the damage is, you can still work through it with God. You may have been hurt so bad that it feels like your heart has fallen into pieces. Believe me, I know the feeling. Right now thinking of the possibility of being with someone again may actually be hurting you even deeper, but don't let your hope die. 
O- on,
P- pain
E- ends.

It does. And hope never dies. Put your trust in Jesus. Hold on to Him no matter what your head feels like doing. 
The harder it gets, the stronger hold on. 

So this is it, I hope it helps. You are in my prayers.

Friday, May 24, 2013

judgment vs convictions, and what if you're wrong

A couple days ago I came back from the conference in Holland called Opwekking where I was with  students from Southport Master's Commission. For those who don't know, that's where I am privileged to work. 
Anywho, more than any other time I went to Opwekking, this time I came back with a whole load of thoughts, new dreams, things to pray about. 

And as the days were passing by I felt the need to write this note about our convictions.
I don't know much about Dutch people but what I do see is that they are visionary people. I walk into Opwekking and I see people working with passion, people who love Jesus, and people who have their own convictions. Don't know why in Holland and not in England where I live at the moment, but while being there it was very visible to me that we all live according to our own convictions. I saw the difference between people. Our team has people from many different countries so each day we taste each others differences. 
The point of this note is: how strong are they? 
We are being raised by whoever it may be who takes care of us. That person, or those people, will pour their convictions into our heads, whether they're good or bad. The Bible says 'Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
It is hard to grow out of negatives poured into those who's environment had a lot of bad influence on them. 
But as adults we can no longer excuse ourselves. As adults we either live up to those convictions or make our own. 
Here: how do you know whether your convictions are good or bad? Have you ever considered that you could actually be... wrong??

In  my life I have met some very judgmental people. We all know at least one of them. He looks at you and you feel that 'o' big. Whatever people around him do, is never good enough. He will even tell a pastor off. He will correct the preaching on a Sunday morning. He will leave the church cause he doesn't like the worship. He will excuse himself from anything, living in his own small, perfect world. Anything unclean? Let's cut it out. 
You may be thinking 'well I do happen to judge people but I'm not THAT bad'.
Tell me, what kind of judgment and hypocrisy is acceptable before the Lord? 

Do you think that God will judge your neighbor according to YOUR convictions?

Imagine this: Gary is a guy you've known for ages. You've seen him come to Christ and you've seen him slide. Even tho you yourself have been going through hardships as well, yours of course weren't as bad as HIS. What shocks you even more is that Gary still smokes. He's been calling himself a Christian for years, right? And he smokes? Ridiculous. So one day Gary dies. Whatever cause. Bitten by a horse. He stands before the Lord and God says: 'well, I do know you love me and I do know you've been praying, serving others, been hardworking and selfless, but your neighbor here, Julie, has a very strong conviction that because you smoke you have to go to hell. So... I was gonna take you in to Heaven as my beloved Son, but Julie's been complaining to Me about you so much that I can't let you in. Sorry.' 

Do you get my point yet?
I am not trying to excuse people who smoke here. No. I think it kills your body so it's bad for you. But that's not the point.

This example could be about Gary the farmer not going to church every Sunday. 

But I chose smoking, because it's an addiction and everyone has their own say about it. 
Here is a feisty passage:
Romans 14:13-16. 
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil.  

What are your thoughts? I'd love to know them.
There could be a book written about this passage. 
But the main point that I get out of this is that we need to act in love. 
Paul said in the above passage that nothing is unclean in itself. It's the way we use it. The way we abuse it. Also, it's about how we view things. We judge others for what they do, because we wouldn't do that. If someone smokes as a Christian we may judge them because smoking is unclean to us. Would you? 

It's not about what we do tho, whether we have a problem with smoking, gossiping, cussing or eating too much chocolate. It's about our attitude and the conviction of our heart. I'm going very deep here and I don't want to get into the kind of discussion where my conviction is upsetting others so they'd feel obliged to 'tell me off'. Hey there, fellow hypocrites! 
We all have our own convictions. The church is full of imperfect people and we live encouraging and tearing each others down. All.the.time. 
I think that each and every one of us is, was or has a little bit of hypocrisy in them. I still half of the time don't even live up to my own convictions so I guess that makes me a hypocrite. And as long as we sin... well.. we are it. 

So in conclusion:
I guess what I'm trying to say is be careful how you lead your life- people watch you. You're an example to some. 
Be careful with judging. Don't pretend you don't sin. 

And, if what you do upsets others, do you think they are all wrong or are you the one who may need to make some changes? 

This note is not about smokers. I love you all just as much as I love my friend who overdoses on chocolate. 

But: whoever you are reading this note, I bet you money that in your life there is something that needs working on. How do I know? Cause you're not Jesus. 
Think about it and about the way you view others before you judge anyone else. Think of the things you excuse yourself from. 

What is it that you need?
Repentance? Apologies to your neighbor, friend, enemy, a family member? 
Is there anyone you have been constantly hurting by your judgment? And while doing that, have you ever thought that maybe they don't know how to give up that thing because everyone judges them instead of lending them a helping hand? 

Remember, you may be wrong.
We may all be wrong.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Apple of His eye

His love will never run out
His mercy will never run short
YOU are the apple of His eye
From the beginning
Until the end
On and on,
Refreshed with every sunrise.

Learn to be content in every circumstance of your life, because in every one of them God is the same. He doesn't change the way people do. Things that influence our attitude, don't influence Him. Not in the same way. God never tires out. God doesn't give us limited chances. When you run on empty, take from God's fullness. He is... Everything you need. Peace, joy, hope.
Don't allow life to turn you away from your relationship with Him.
Make whatever sacrifice necessary to feed your soul.
Smile at the days to come
Make positive confessions about your circumstances, speak life into them. Expect good things, and you will see them!
Speak life to live life :)

And remember,
You are the apple of His eye.
Never think that God hates you because you have sinned.
God only hates the sin. Not the sinner.
So have hope for the future, because your God will never change

His love will never run out
His mercy will never run short
YOU are the apple of His eye
From the beginning
Until the end
On and on,
Refreshed with every sunrise.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why did you doubt?

Hear his voice across the waves

This note is written especially for people who feel like they are in the middle of a life storm at the moment.
It's hard to admit and believe but most of the problems we bring on ourselves. They are the result of our decisions. Regardless tho, living in consequences of those is still hard. And knowing why we have them doesn't really make dealing with them any easier. So here, does blaming the world, friends, family or God help?
I don't think so. What I think tho that would help, is taking responsibility for our actions. Ownership of our decisions. Admitting that we were wrong will help not only us but also those who were involved or hurt by our mistake.
Forgiveness is something so powerful. We really need it in our lives. I don't think we fully realise the importance of it. Admitting our wrong instead of pointing fingers could literally change our lives. Forgiving ourselves for messing up will help our hearts heal.

How do you understand faith?
Imagine 12 disciples. Walking with Jesus for 3 years. Seeing Him in every possible situation, confrontation and pastoral care of people around Him. Would you believe in Him then? We could say that yeah sure, being around Him 24/7 would definitely make our faith stronger. We would never doubt Him.
If so then... Why did only Peter step out of the boat?
In Matthew 14 it says that disciples were trying to get to the other side of the lake when a terrible storm came on them. So bad they thought they would die. Suddenly they recognised a posture of a man walking through the waves. They thought it was a ghost. They didn't recognise the Messiah whom they spent with the last three years of their lives. All of them except for Peter. He knew the heart of Jesus and he also knew that anything was possible if he only believed. So he asked Jesus to call him to come on water to Him. He did. And so Peter stepped out of the boat. Now try to imagine this. A small boat in the midst of a storm, you can hardly see anything, you're soaked through, wet and petrified. Putting this into today's life: you have a whole pile of issues to deal with. So many that you don't even know where to start to solve any of them. You can't sleep, you can't eat, troubles seem to overtake your mind and body. Your heart is broken because of all the pain people close to you caused you. And then you feel that Jesus wants to call you to Him. You're not sure whether its actually Him, it feels so ridiculous that He would want to help you even tho your faith withers, you messed up so many times and you can't remember when was the last time you were talking to Him.
Peter stepped out of the boat. As soon as he touched the water and felt it hold him firmly, he took the opportunity to take his eyes off of Jesus. He saw all the waves about to crash onto him and... He panicked. He forgot that Jesus himself stood right before him. He forgot that at Jesus' command the water under His feet was hard like ground. He fell. He began to drown. He called for help and Jesus reached out to him. He saved his life, again.
'You of little faith'. He, Jesus, calmed the storm within a second. On a command. Because He believed God was greater than the waves.
Peter was so close to Him. Peter knew His heart personally. Peter knew His presence. Peter saw Him perform miracles.
Yet Peter doubted.
Yet 11 disciples didn't even dare coming to the edge of that boat. They were overwhelmed by the waves. Those waves seemed bigger than Gods power.
Would you come to the edge of the boat? Would you call unto Jesus?
How do you react when troubles come? Do you tremble in your boat not hearing Jesus' voice asking you to step out and believe?
How much do you trust Him, really?
Because you know, it's up to you.
There may be a whole list of problems and you could still be joyful. There may be one problem and you could be panicking.
What do you focus on?

Your priorities will distinct the direction in which your life will go. Literally. If your priority is to trust Jesus no matter what, not get overwhelmed by the problems but go with your life focused on His face, you will be stronger than ever before. You will gain wisdom from reading His word, you will become a strong person capable of being selfless.
Or... You could just live a life of complaints, not counting your blessings, merely trusting Jesus, and only when things get a little better. Depending on the weather. Sunny day, lets praise Him. Storm, lets blame Him.

It's up to you. But choose carefully, because God can calm any storm. Any. Try Him and you will see that where your power ends, His only begins. Reach out and learn to walk on water.