Five Friendly Pre-Marriage Advice from A Thrift Shop Owner

After my three straight classes today, I went into a thrift shop to buy some blouses. I don’t mind having secondhand clothes, as long as it fits me and my style. The owner, whom I knew through my mother, greeted me with a smile and surprise. She was wondering what am I doing here. I told her that I’ve been back since June. While I was looking at the clothes, she kept on talking. She told me that it is better for me to stay with my parents so I can save money. I nod and smiled. After some time someone she knew came in and the two of them chatted for a bit. I was relieved. Now I can focus on what I went there for.

As I was picking up a shirt, she asked me this question: Aren’t you planning on getting married? I was stunned. But I laughed and said, “I have no plans yet. Maybe next year.” At the back of my mind, I didn’t speak of the whole truth. My boyfriend and I have plans, of course. Then again, I am not totally comfortable at talking about my personal life. ūüėČ

She said, “That is good, it’s better if you enjoy being single first. You are still young. Nowadays it is hard to find a good man who has a stable job and without vices. It is also important to choose someone is of the same religion as yours, and someone who won’t hurt you, right?” I nodded. I was listening to her with admiration. She has wisdom and joy as she speaks. I’ve never encountered a woman whom I barely knew speak to me like that until now. I guess it’s a divine set-up. After paying, she recalled her love story with her husband. (And that could be another post!)

Her words echoed in my mind. I felt like it was a perfect timing for me to hear. And here are my reflections that I would like to share with you.

1. ENJOY SINGLEHOOD

As I reflect on it. She’s right. It is important to enjoy this phase in my life — singleness. Because once I am married, there is no turning back. I know my life would completely change. My priorities will be altered. Instead of thinking about my family, my church, and my self alone, I will have a husband and a future family to put above all else (except for God of course). Moreover, there is a huge possibility of losing my career. Merely thinking about it, hurts. I only turned 24 last month and I wanted to grow more, I want to explore what I can do — my potentials. Then again, I am asking God to teach me how to let go of it when the time comes.

For now, it is needless to say that my life should be solely devoted unto HIM. That is I believe what matters most, whether single or not, our lives must be knitted unto God.

2. FIND A MAN WITH A STABLE JOB 

Everyone I know would agree to this. It is imperative for someone to be have financial stability to provide for his family. In fact, this was emphasised in the book of 1 Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Each man, before thinking of getting married or even before pursuing  woman must therefore must be responsible enough to get a job, business, or any profession so as to prepare him for his future family. After all he is not only building a house for himself, but a home for the Lord.

3. FIND A GOOD HUSBAND WITHOUT VICES

This one is significant. I know she is talking about drinking, smoking, gambling, and womanizing.  Still, there is more to it. Vices can be larger than this. Men were created to take dominion of the earth, for leadership. Their lives are supposed to be on the right track not only for themselves, but more importantly for their family so they can give glory to God. If men would be enslaved by these things, how then can they lead properly?

Our hearts must deeply be rooted in the Lord, in His words, so we can live out His ways. It isn’t and won’t be easy, but it is worth it. Nowadays, it is normal to see broken families, children drawn into illicit drugs, teenage pregnancies, etc. There may be many reasons for this but certainly this is not part of God’s design. His will is for families to live together in harmony and peace. His vision is a world where children are following the footsteps of Christ. And that is the responsibility of the parents.

4. CHOOSE SOMEONE WHO HAS THE SAME RELIGION/ CHURCH AS YOURS

Having a partner who shares the same spiritual belief, values, and convictions as yours is very important. It is written in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

This is crucial. And women and men, we got to¬†get this right. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). There are non-negotiable qualities when it comes to marrying and this should be one of them.¬†As someone said,¬†it is better to not marry than to marry and suffer for the rest of your life. Being in a relationship¬†is hard enough, how much more if¬†you are in a relationship with a person who has¬†a different religious belief as yours?¬†In the future, what will your children believe in? This can pose a lot of conflict and confusion in the family. And of course, we don’t want that to happen.¬†That is why, I’m saying it again:¬†Obedience is better than sacrifice.

5. FIND SOMEONE WHO WOULD NOT HURT YOU

It is so wonderful to be loved and to love. I am not a relationship expert though. I can only speak of my own experience and those around me. My relationship with my boyfriend is far from being perfect. My parents’ 25-year relationship isn’t perfect either. Even my church mates’ relationships and families have their own ups and downs. Being a Christian doesn’t exempt one from having a flawless relationship and marriage. The only certainty that I know of is Christ. He is the only one that can hold things together despite the earthquakes in each household, or that deep wound in one’s heart.

So can I/we find someone who won’t hurt us? Maybe we can find someone who is gentle and won’t even lift a finger to hurt us physically.

However, one cannot be free from being hurt emotionally. Our hearts are sensitive. Especially women who are coined as emotional beings. And we have fragile hearts lest we surrender it to God and let Him take care of it.Nonetheless, I know finding someone who loves us enough that hurting us would mean disobeying God’s word cannot be easy, but possible. That is why it is important to follow number four. Being patient enough to wait for the right man will come (if it hasn’t yet). Rushing things or going ahead of God’s plan can bring irreparable damage.

For men out there, keep this in your heart: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).” Christ gave himself for the church, for us. Thus, God is calling you to do the same. To do everything in your might to protect, provide, save, love, sacrifice, everything… for your wives.

It is surprising to be advised by a seemingly random person. That was both weird and surprising. Nevertheless, I was glad to have heard from her wisdom and input some of God’s words and principles I have learned from my mentors and friends.

P.S. Tell me of your thoughts. Can you share some advice for me or young women/men out there who are waiting or probably praying for a future partner? Hope to hear from you!

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Good Morning, Daddy!

You are full of heart-warming surprises. Every day is such a wonderful day to be with You. My smiles are getting bigger and bigger. Why is that? Is it because I am lost inside your big big heart that all I can do is jump up and down and get lost in The Dance?

I’ve never felt this way before. But as I can see, there would be more surprises and lots of love. This isn’t a dream for I am wide awake and ignited.

My heart is full of you! It’s bursting with butterflies and rainbows. Thank you for showing me the Wonderful Things.

Keep me awake. I wouldn’t want to sleep and miss you.

Love,

Josephine

A New Perspective (On Writing)

The Father’s voice is beckoning me to write. Not the melodramatic stuff that usually pops out of my head or swells from my heart. He is telling me to express deeper things. Those things that the two of us share. He compels me to release the intimate, express the inexpressible, and articulate the stillness.

I pray and hope that my pen will serve as a double-edged sword to pierce the hearts of the reader or a gentle hand to touch those who needs encouragement, and most especially to meet those whom God intends to have an encounter with.

This, I believe, will be an exciting yet thrilling journey.

Come and join me!

Intently watching, forever beckoning

On the time of my conception you were filled with gladness. The night I was born you shook the heavens in celebration. The moment I made my first few tiny steps you had a sheer smile on your face. When I said my first words, you’re listening. Every time I sleep you are beside me. When I dream, you dream with me. I wake up in the morning seeing your radiant light and glory. In my every breath you are there to breathe back.

You made every second to be with me.

You are the beat of my heart

The air that I breathe

Perfume to my soul

The trail in my journey

The colors of a gloomy weather

The clouds in sunny days

The dew in my morning

You are the beauty in everything

You have filled me with gladness. In every success and achievement I had you were there to celebrate.

Now, I am not just taking few tiny steps. I am starting to take few big steps to my journey. The wings you gave me are beginning to take a few flights to where I should be. The feet you gave me will soon take a leap out of the sand where I used to play. The heart you bestowed me will begin to sweep every fiber in me. The eyes you placed in me will soon shed tears of ambiguity and melancholia. But I will always allow myself to be overwhelmed only  with your affection. And I will always be aware of your eyes; intently watching, forever beckoning.

#031412

Dazed

I noticed how lovely you are. The almost-perfect glow of sunlight reflected in your face is absolutely gorgeous. Your face is stunning. The beauty that emanates from your heart is contagious. I cannot stop myself from gazing at you. My senses are fixed at your presence. I cannot think of anything else other than you. This nearness feels like a thousand days in the clouds. Everything is free yet wanting. All seems weightless and merry yet undone.

In a moment, I felt your body enveloping mine. Your embrace took me a thousand more days up high. I felt fire in my heart as rivers of tears flow from my eyes. Infected by your beauty, overwhelmed with your presence, and set ablaze with your fire, is there anything else I could long for?

Here I am mesmerized, stuttering, and crying like a lost child.

Your presence is no stranger to me. I am familiar with this feeling. I am acquainted with your embrace. I am aware of what it brings. Every part of my being; the cells in my body, and the neurons of my brain were all excited by your light. The fire you lit in my heart caused a wildfire in my body. I cannot do anything else but fall down on my knees.

I am drawn to you. All that I am is in awe of your beauty and comforted by your warmth. A day spent gazing at your loveliness will never satisfy. A lifetime of pursuing you is too short. In this space we call our own, you had me dazed, stupefied and all other words synonymous to it combine.

 

Unconventional Love

Do you really know what you know about love? Let me take you into a quick journey with Love as I know it.

Let us eavesdrop into this lovely couple

F: Why do you love me?

M: I just love you. You know that.

F: (Sigh) thinks** I wish I could hear someone saying,

I love you because I know that you and I are one. I love you because with you I could not see myself loving anyone else. I love you because I know I love you. I love you in spite of everything that is unlikely to be loved in you. I love you because I love you. And there are no other reasons why I love you but Love.

Now let’s peak in to someone’s mind…

Does love hurts?

Does love or loving could truly hurt someone’s feelings?

We sure have different answers.

I feel deep pity for love.
Over the years, love has been used and misused, quoted and misquoted.

Most of us heard of the famous line: Love Hurts.

And from time to time we could see people broken for the claimed reason of love and loving.

Love does not hurt.

Love is supposed to heal, to bring happiness and life.

It is not in the nature of love to hurt or bruise someone’s heart.

It is not in the nature of love to not love.

Love is pure.
Love is love.

Love does not hurt, only people.

Love could not afford to hurt, bruise or kill.

Because Love is GOD. 

Facets of love other than His Agape love has taken captive of mankind’s emotions. The image of love has been distorted.¬†But I will always believe on the beauty of love and everything that comes with it.

God’s love is unconventional – not bound by this world, and will never be of this world. What we know and experience about love may be far from¬†what He can truly offer. The author of Love and embodiment of Love Himself is complex and ¬†extreme .

And this is what I know of Love.

Thank  you for journeying with me. May you find love the way I did.

Fin.

Imagining God

I woke up searching for warmth but found none. I am wrapped in the sweet scent of the pouring rain. Then the thought of God entered my sleepy mind.

I wondered what it would be like to wake up seeing his radiant face as I open my eyes. Hearing his voice saying, “Wake up, my daughter. Enjoy this day I made for you”, would add thrill to my nerves. ¬†How nice would it be to get up and find a cinnamon bread, milk shake, and strawberry for breakfast and dine with the King? Simple as it may seem, the thought of it took me to cloud nine.

How great it would be to stroll in the park with dew of the morning still sleeping on the grass and the cold weather surrounding your body while talking to Him?

But have you ever thought what God would be like if he would take into different forms?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to touch, feel, breathe, and enjoy him?

As for me….

If  he is a rainbow, I would jump over his colorful  rays and slide joyfully along its curve.

If he is a cloud, I would not care if I sleep  a hundred years in his fluffy and cold refuge.

If he is a rain, I would dance and run back and forth until I exhaust myself.

If he is a waterfall, I would dive into him as I immerse in his refreshing taste.

If he is a river, I would be thrilled ride on its rushing flow.

If he is a tree, I would be more than glad to rest my back on his trunk and enjoy his shade .

If he is a flower, I would compete with the bees just to get his sweet nectar.

If he is a lullaby, I could sleep in his melody forever.

If he is a poem, I could recite his verse over and over again.

If he is a love song, my heart will surely melt.

        But he is more than all these. I am just so happy to know that indeed He is.

Then I stood up and saw the sun taking over the gloomy weather. The assurance that He made every day for me (and for you as well) will always be a rhema. So be it.