Our Love Story (Part 3)

On the September 21, 2012, we were celebrating our 7 months being in a relationship. Not a long period of time to be boast of I know haha.. But it has been a journey full of God’s faithfulness, mercy, and love for us. Some people may wonder what a naive thing for me to post my love story even before it reaches toward the point of marriage. Well, for me, this is an act of faith. I believe what I have not seen. My purpose to share this is to encourage people who may feel what I feel that there is a God out there who concerns of your love story.

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You may often wonder, “How do you know that Billy is the best God has for you?” Well, I asked God and He confirmed it. For some people the whole confirmation thing can be tricky. Yet I asked for a clear sign which will prove in the end that it must be from God. Pray specifically for this. For me, God putted in my heart for one verse which is 1 Corinthians 2:9:

However, as it is written:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Then I prayed, “Lord, if he is whom you want me to marry with, let You put this verse too in his heart.” The funny thing was I told Billy that I asked God for this verse sign and he had to ‘guess’ it correctly. If not, then I regarded that he was not for me. I did not realize that my ‘challenge’ overwhelmed him a lot. He thought, “Poor me.. There are 31,103 verses in the whole Bible and I have to get it right with only one chance. That means there is only 0.003 probability that I would guess it right.” Then Billy kept thinking over and over again about the possibility of the ‘golden verse’. He thought, “Probably Proverbs 3:5-6.. because she has just tweeted it.. or probably something related to the word “faith” so He searched online to seek all the verses about faith. Being ended up with hundreds of choices, he was getting desperate, “Poor me …”

Then one night, as he went to sleep in deep trouble, he heard one voice singing, “What no eyes has seen. No ear has heard. No mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him …” In Indonesian language the song goes like this:

Apa yang tak pernah dilihat mata

Apa yang tak pernah didengar telinga

Yang tak pernah timbul di dalam hati

Semua disediakan bagi yang mengasihi Dia

Reff:

Allah sanggup melakukan segala perkara

Dulu, s’karang dan s’lamanya

Kuasanya tidak berubah (2x)

Then Billy said to God, “God, don’t sing! I asked for a verse, not a song.” And God said, “Son, I’m singing you the verse.” At that night, Billy for the first time heard God’s voice as clear as crystal clear. And he hears from the Lord ever since..

The next morning, I recalled that I simply prayed to the Lord, “God, would You please remind him of that verse?” It was Sunday morning. After I prayed that simple prayer, I went to the church. I remembered clearly that before the service started at 10 AM, Billy contacted me and shared his experience last night. When he told me about that song, I knew certainly that God had just answered my very recent prayer. Oh no, He answered it even before I mentioned the morning prayer! I was completely surprised.. I always have faith in God, but that time … He has revealed himself in a very miraculous way I can ever imagine. You can read what happened next in My Love Story [Part 2]

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That was my first confirmation from the Lord about Billy. The second was Faith’s letter which I attached in My Love Story [Part 2}. So, how are we going now?

We spent my 23rd birthday together for the second time 😉 And now we are working together to make a devotional book and website which will bless many other people. We have a mission from God and we do not take all of his favor in our relationship for granted. Have we ever fallen? Yes, we have. I always have a dream to save my first kiss in front of the altar on my wedding day. Yet, I have to admit that I did not guard it. We can have a nice dream, but if we don’t actually pursue, guard, and defend it, we’ll lose it. So we are working on to maintain our purity in this relationship. We fell, but we now save our next kiss for wedding. Hmm.. regarding this physical contact area, many people get confused whether they will be okay or not if they hug, kiss, etc. Many people have different standard on this. Yet I cling to God’s words in Song of Solomon 2:7, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires …” The question is not, “How far is too far?” but instead, “How far do we want to honor God?” It is not a matter of what is allowed and what is not allowed to do. But is it a wise thing to do?

Oh yes, and we are still waiting for parents’ approval for our relationship. A miracle.

When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,

we were like men who dreamed.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, 

our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations, 

“The LORD has done great things for them”,

and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,

like streams in the Negev.

Those who sow in tears

will reap with songs of joy.

He who goes out weeping, 

carrying seed to sow,

will return with songs of joy,

carrying sheaves with Him.

– Psalm 126:1-6

One day, once we get married, it will be like a dream comes true. The door which seems closed right now will be opened. And we know that it takes God and only Him to open it. It is not the story of us, but story of God’s love for us. All of these things which are beautiful are only a glimpse of God’s immense love. Yes, now we sow in tears, in faith, and in hope. We sacrifice our flesh desires to walk in purity, our wills are being put to death so that His will shall reign.

You may realise through all my writings that I emphasize a lot on commitment before you ever get into a relationship with someone. It is like a seat-belt in which will protect you from the ‘accident’ of heart-breaking. I wrote it in more detail in The Safest Roller Coaster. Build your relationship in the rock foundation of Jesus Christ. When Christ is at the center of your relationship, you can be sure that you’ll always have ways to find one another. Have the same vision in what God wants you to accomplish in this life. Being in a relationship is like having partnership to accomplish God’s purpose. It should bring you two together to grow more in Jesus and not make you both grow apart.

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If you are single, enjoy your season with the Lord with all your might. I always hold on to the wise saying which says that, “A woman’s heart must be buried so deeply in Christ that a man must seek Christ first in order to find her.” If Christ’s love is not sufficient for you now, there will be no other man’s love which will ever make it. If Jesus who’s all perfect cannot make you feel loved, then there will be no merely man who’s imperfect who can make you feel loved too. Wait and grow in the Lord. In the mean time, the man who is passionate with God too is doing the same thing.

(to be continued …)

-Leticia Seviraneta-

Our Love Story (Part 2)

It was my 22nd birthday, but my parents were in Singapore. So I was alone during the whole weekend. But it was not a big problem for me since I had arranged birthday dinner with DATERs of JPCC. I would not be lonely then 😀 Billy arranged our first meeting before the dinner. Remember, it was our first meeting since nine months passed by when I finished my course. He sat by the window and stood up when he saw me entered through the door of the cafe. He shook my hand and spoke so many wishes for my birthday. He also gave me a lot of gifts: He made a sketch of my face, gave me sunflowers, rainbow bible (my wish gift), and mochi cake ;)He gave a letter also to describe each meaning 🙂

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To: Leticia Seviraneta

Hi Letty, first I want to say “Happy Birthday” again to you. As God add years to your life, may He adds life to your years 😉 Btw, you still look like 18 years old girl, haha (not like me, who like 25 years old man). With this letter, I want to explain each gifts that I gave to you.

Sunflower — No doubt about that, you love sunflower right? Haha you said that you had a dream that I try to find a sunflower for you but I can’t give it to you because sunflower is a rare thing at Indonesia, haha, so with this sunflower I hope you’ll feel happy because now you have something special, rare, and beautiful thing haha 🙂 Don’t forget to change the water every 2 or 3 days, so the sunflower can still alive.

Mochi — Yes, maybe you already know the reason behind “moci”, it started with your quotes “Aku suka moci, karena MO CIum pipimu wkwk”, you know maybe it’s a simple quote but this is the most funny quotes I’ve ever heard and you also said that you like “green bean” mochi, that’s why I bought you mochi, enjoy it 🙂

Picture of You — I like to listen an old song and for me “Picture of You” sung by Boyzone is a nice one. You gave me a Van der Sar mug, now I give you a Sailor Moon :p I try to give a “dual picture” which described you as a sailor moon (beautiful, funny, and heroic girl) and a pastor (I know this is your passion and what God called you to be). ONE DAY this picture will turn into reality #amen.

NIV Rainbow Bible — Well, you already guess it very well because I ask too much about it haha :p, but it’s okay, I know you really really want to have it and you’re willing to go to Times just to read this bible. I hope you’ll feel happy when you have it at home 🙂 May you get closer to God and Jesus by continually read this bible 🙂

I hope you’ll feel happy with all gifts that I gave to you. I’m not giving you music box, cake, or maybe a dress because I want to give you something meaningful. Whenever you feel weak in your faith, look at the sunflower. Like you said before, “We are the sunflowers. God is the Sun. There are many times we feel that we are not loved, we are abandoned, we are alone. Yet God is always there. He loves us in a way that we don’t always understand. But the truth is God is always by our sides. He is already ready to lift you up at the darkest moment in your life. And our part is simply stare at him. Love Him. Imitate Him.”

Whenever you feel sad or don’t know where to go, look at the “Picture of You”. You have to know that basically you are a hero, brave, and funny girl. Don’t let the tear drops rust your shining heart and beautiful face. Also you are a “pastor going to be”, keep it in your mind that someday you’ll be a great pastor even now you have to walk through the desert of life to reach it.

Whenever you have a question to God or want to know “what God wants you to” look at the Bible and start to read it. You’ll find an answer there.

Alright Let, may this year be your best ever. I hope all your birthday dreams and wishes come true.Not just a year older, but a year better. God will always walk beside you and He promise to be ‘the voice behind you and guide you in the way you should go’ (Isaiah 30:21).
My plan for your future is always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11) Thank you Letty for reading my letter, God bless you as always 🙂

Sincerely,
Billy

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I attach his letter to give you a picture these words meant a lot to me at that time 🙂 Billy had been a friend of mine through good and bad times. Since then we met frequently, until ‘the storm’ came. His mother suddenly asked him to never meet again with me [ps. I have never met her!]. There are some different reactions that men will do when they are in similar position. Some rebels, some obeys. Jabrik chose to obey. We knew that rebelling against his mother would only make us more difficult to receive her blessing later on. Besides, we knew that that was not what God want for us to do. Our flesh might want so much to do so, but the Spirit of God of Peace would never use such way. There it goes, three months separation with almost no interaction between us. But Billy created a blog from the very first day His mother forbid us to meet. He consistently wrote me a new post everyday 🙂

God-written love story is certainly not a fairy tale. It still has its conflicts, external problems, temptations, and so on. The thing which differentiate God’s love story between common ones is because it surrenders completely to God and trusting Him that He is in control no matter what happens. It was a painful process though. God confirmed us to meet again three months later but the storm had not ended completely. There were moments when we are tempted to give up. One time, as the conflicts grew all the more and toiled my strength, an anonymous e-mail were sent to each of us. Exactly at the same time. Here it is:

May 27, 2012. 08.15 PM

For you

Dear, I know that you and someone have struggled hard for several months now. I don’t know exactly what problems are you facing right now. You may often ask yourself “Is it true that this is the way God wants me to pass?”

God has given you many signs in this difficult time. God’s purpose is only one, so you will keep fighting and finish the mission of God.

God gave you such a signpost. Each guide gives a straight mark, right, left to the city of your destination. Though you walk hundreds of miles and not see your destination city yet, you will still go ahead and feel safe when you see signpost indicates you are in the right direction.

The difference between the signpost of the God and common signpost is always the distance mark. In common signpost, you can see how many more miles you will arrive to the destination city. But the signpost of the God just gave it to you a straight path with no sign telling how many more miles you will arrive.

It teaches you to walk by faith. Believe in the Lord that He will not steer youth wrong way as long as you obey his commandments.

The good news is, Yes ! this is the way God intended for you. This path is the path where God wants shape your character and the character of someone close in your heart. Afterwards, both of you will receive the promise that God has already made. call it a True Love.

When God has brought you to a road, obey Him and He will deliver you safely to the city. Be Still and know that He is God.
So many tears of sadness you have cried in the last few months. God saw that and the Bible says,

Psalm 126 
When the Lord restored the fortunes of a Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.Those who sow with TEARS, will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out WEEPING, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

Keep moving forward even though you have to sow it all with tears. Eventually, your tears of sadness will turn into tears of joy. There are many things that God wants to teach and mold you during this period.

Your test will become your testimony to glorify His Greatness.
Faith will keep your dreams alive.

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She sent me three emails in a row since I had not read it at that time. Billy once received it, thought that it was one of devitionals he subscribed on. On the next day, when we met up, we realized that she sent us at the same time and we are sure that she is really talking to us! [In case you’re confuse who is she … I believe she is a prayer who hears from the Lord] She knows every detail of our problems and always came when things getting so difficult. What a great and living God I serve!
Later on, I discovered that her name is Faith. We corresponded for a while. I considered her as a very mature person in the Lord. She taught me so many wisdoms of God to help me understand His way during our journey. I will only attach some of her letters here 😉

May 29,2012

Leticia,
I am very pleased that Lord Jesus strengthening your faith. I want to pray for you

Dear Lord,

I offer you this prayer, to help Leticia current relationship situation. Please take away all the worries and anxiety in her heart. Fill it with love, joy, patience, and understanding. Bless she and her partner, so that they will never surrender to whatever challenges that come their way.

Fill their hearts with love for each other, and may You make each one of them realize each other’s worth. Please touch their heart, fill it with much love for me. Make their complicated relationship become uncomplicated. They seek for Your mercy and blessing that You may allow them to spend the rest of their lives with each other. Please make this feeling mutual for both of them. Lead them not into sexual temptations. Guide them wherever they go. Always put them in each other’s heart and mind. Thank you Lord for hearing their prayer. I love you. Amen.

I believe the two of you can continue this relationship until marriage. Keep a holiness and sexual purity in your relationship so you can tell to many people about it, and they could see the glory of God inside your relationship and marriage.

Your partner have a heart that full of love for you and you are the only woman he wants to marry. He is currently in a period of spiritual growth. You may not see clearly the fruit of God is working inside him. But God has His Own way to guide, shape and prepare him to be a pastor too, so that you could be a couple of pastor. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Bless you Leticia. I will listen to you whenever you have problem and I want to help to strengthening your faith.
Hope is the last gate of faith.

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May 30,2012

Leticia, I do love you and your partner. Your partner is burdened with the problems that exist in your family. But that does not make his love fading to you. He was a cautious person when making a decisions. By deciding want to be with you throughout his life, he has made ​​the boldest choices in his life. He has a great faith that this relationship and your family will be restored by God.

Many men may like you, some of them could love you the way you want to be loved.But only your currently partner who loves and wants to remain faithful to you even though he knows there are so many problems. Look for a partner that has been tested in difficult times. Just as faith must be tested with time & various trials.

Your partner is a person who has a very strong faith. Although sometimes he doubts, he is quick to re-believe in his faith. What he believes with his faith is right, what he was hearing from God is true. He will not survive in this relationship if he did not believe that you are his true love for the rest of his life. You can support him in the process of his spiritual growth. He has a determination, perseverance, and faith. I’m sure that two of you can form a godly relationship and a beautiful marriage that will glorify our Lord.

Bless you Leticia
Faith

June 2, 2012

Leticia, When we have received our God-given dream it is time to start the preparation phase. This might take years. Not something we want to hear when we are eager to go! But it is very much needed. Even apostle Paul had years to prepare before his public ministry.

Too many of us give up with the God-given dream because it seems to take too long to come through. We start doubting our sense of call: “Maybe it all was a fluke” or “What was I thinking?” But this is the time when the enemy tries to attack us and distract us from preparations. This is the time when we are tested whether we believe, whether we are faithful in small tasks. This is the time when we need to act in faith. This is the time when we need to restrain from any activity that would undo our preparations.

God put these problems in your family and your relationship because during this waiting period, God still wants to teach you many things for you and for your partner. These things God will not be able to teach it to you when there is no problem in your family and your relationship.

I was impressed with what God did when problems arise in your relationship. God made your mate closer to Him. The Lord opened a new window in his life to become a pastor with you. Your partner is a person who is very confident and have strong faith. It’s hard to shake his faith. He is the kind of guy who would just wave the white flag when his dream has been really shut down by God. A few months ago, God has closed one of his big dreams, because if God granted his dream, it is impossible if he wants to become a pastor.

You two really love each other and have a dream to get married. God knows it, but before His children get married, He wanted His children are well prepared. God sees it not a time yet for you two to be together in a normal relationship.

Imagine if there was no problem in your relationship. Your life will probably be happy for a while. You can spend a lot of time together but you guys missed a mission from God. The greatest happiness of a Christian is when they are given a mission by God. This indicates that they are trusted by God.

When God pause or delay something, it is used for your good. God stopped the sun for Joshua so he can lead Gibeon to win the war. It is not Joshua who stop the sun, but God. Because God has a plan and God can pause something in order to fulfill His plan. He use Joshua faith to accomplish His plan.

Are you still with me, Leticia?

Leticia, you are a perfect woman of God. God will use you and your partner to shine like a sun. Your mate is very grateful to have the heart of a woman like you. Sincerity, sacrifice, loyalty and commitment are the values ​​that are very valuable in your heart. Your partner will be faithful to you both in joy and sorrow. You do not have to worry that he will look for another woman just because a problems in your relationship or in your family. He also understands there is something that God wants to teach you.

Leticia, hope is the last gate of faith.

I will reply your partner’s email as soon as he marry you.
God’s delay is also God’s will. He will never delay something unless He has a purpose for it.

Bless you
Faith

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June 17, 2012

Dear Leticia
The Lord and I are amazed with your strong faith.
The Lord told me, your partner faith is weakened because a statement by his mother. I justwanted to tell you ,that if her mother’s statement are words that do not correspond to the word ofGod, for her statement contain the unwillingness to reconcile. Those words are the words of the devil like. God never taught it. Tell Billy, if such words were temptations of the devil to impose his “unshakeable” faith.

God was pleased with your willingness to keep the holiness in your relationship. Keep it up, every effort that you made to maintain the holiness, God will use it to open a miracle door for your relationship. Look at the fruits of what God is doing at this time in his life. If there is no in your relationship, it is impossible for Billy to bear a fruits of God. .

Leticia, the Lord hardened his mother’s heart because there are still things that God wants to do. And more importantly, God knows it is still not a good time to open the miracle door for your relationship.

The delay is not a rejection of God, but His delay is to protecting your relationship from the worst case, and it is an opportunity for God to bear a fruits in your life. Imagine an apple tree that is not illuminated by the sun, could it bear a fruits ? NO. Sometimes the Lord will use anything to hurt you to make you grow and bear fruit.

God always working together effectively. Like the Bible said;

Romans 8:28
And we know that in the All Things God works for the good of Those Who Love him, WHO have been called according to his purpose.

Do you (and Billy) are called according to God’s purposes? Yes, so the verse and this promise is for you guys.
God was pleased with what you ask for Billy and his family to love his mother with an extreme love. Leticia, You are children of God as Matthew 5:9 saying. It is your words that must be heard by Billy, not the words of his mother that contains the unwillingness to reconcile.

Remember that many people miss God’s best because they give up too soon. You two will be the pastor to be used by God, live by faith and not by fear.

(1 John 4:18)
Love banishes fear.

Be like Joseph who never stopped hoping for release from prison. Every day he hoped the Lord set him free, he never weaken his faith even it took more than 2 years in a prison. Finally, God freed Joseph of Joseph and immediately brought him to a remarkable degree. That is what God will do to you guys, A big rainbow after the storm.

When you’re married to Billy, the whole heaven will shout for joy because the Lord delights in His children’smarriage. A Godly prince and A Godly princess. I promise I will be there because I know it will be WONDERFUL.

Faith

There are more Faith’s letter. I would like to emphasize that once God gives us a promise, He will fulfill it. But in the mean time, there may be troubles which actually are a test of faith. God has stretched my and Billy’s faith so much throughout this circumstances. Some people say that when parents disagree about our relationship then the door is closed. For some people it works that way. But for us, since we have received the promise of God, we can know for sure that God is working throughout our difficult circumstances. I know deeply that there will come more tests in the future to stretch out our faith. I guess I should end this post with … to be continued …. 🙂

Our Love Story [Part 1]

The story which I will write about is more than just a love story nor a fairy tale. It is a true love story [in case you’re wondering whether it exists or not, it does!], the one which is written by God alone, as the Author of Love.

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The reason I write this is because I see so many people struggle in their love life. Some may be in search for their soulmates, some may wait in extraordinary patience, some may in active pursuit without coordinating with God. It leads us to a one-million dollar question whether God really has preserved “the one” for us or it all depends on our own free will while He only provides guidance. I once having difficulty in answering this question. But I always keep in confidence that the all-knowing God will know certainly the best for me. This is more than just talking about whether “the one” exists or not. It does more about how well we know God Himself 🙂 Based on this conviction, I put on my faith in my God and allowing Him to write my love story according to His will. Practically, I prayed and I waited. I listened to His guidance regarding men who passed through my life and I obeyed whatever His guidance was. Please noted here that I obeyed His guidance more than my own feeling. I did not depend on feeling for feeling can be tricked.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
-Jeremiah 17:9

There were times when I sacrificed my feelings in order to follow God’s guidance. There were times when I prayed regarding men whom I considered to be with, then I clearly sensed that God said, “No.” And I obeyed it because I simply trust in my good God who knows the best for me. This experience may sound awkward to some of you. Maybe you have a doubt that God really cares about the details about your life. Well, the fact is, He does. He even can number your hair! How couldn’t he bother your life-long partner choices? Okay enough for the introduction 🙂 So here we go, my testimony about what I have seen, heard, and experienced about God-written love story …

I came not from a harmonious family. When you are in that kind of family, it is easy not to trust that there is such thing called ‘true love’. But when I was 15 years old, I accepted Christ as my Savior, and being mentored by Mrs. Gloria Adhitya. She has been the living witness of God to me. I saw her marriage was extra-ordinary and her love story as well 🙂 Her husband was her first and last boyfriend for seven years and their relationship even began with a true confirmation from God. It gave me a glimpse of hope. As I began to look for more ‘evidence’ of true love, I am convinced that those who are truly truly [emphasis added] living for Christ do have a great marriage beyond most couples. By then, it doesn’t merely give me a glimpse of hope, but a fire of passion, a divinely purpose, that I want to have such kind of marriage, and I will [by faith and God’s grace]. It doesn’t stop there. When I was 19, I consumed lots of Christian books regarding Godly relationship, and it shaped out my vision to help young generation to build a Godly marriage, family, and a home. That made me who I am today.

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I was committed to wait to build a relationship until I am ready for marriage. I wanted my husband to become my first and last boyfriend. [Okay, it works differently for some people. We may don’t share the same longing or experience here, and that’s okay!]. But I have faith in it 🙂 Back then, I just knew that I could not build a relationship with Senior High School guy who still depended on their parents for living. So I decided in my heart that Senior High School moment exactly was not the right time to build a relationship. The same thing went through when I was in college. I just had not meet yet with “the one” or I could say “Potential Husband” whom God impressed in my heart. Oh by the way, I have list of characteristics whom I wanna be with for the rest of my life 😉 It’s a hint for praying specifically 🙂 Thank God I wrote it down haha 😀 I wrote this list on April 4, 2010.

I believe that he is a guy who …
1) Loves Jesus more than ANYTHING
2) Has the same passion and vision to serve Jesus and people
3) Always wants to learn and improve himself toward His likeness
4) Loves me as God loves him
5) Humble and not self-centered
6) Honest, reliable, has a good sense of humour
7) Definately not smoking (care for his health)
8) Completely secure, confident, love himself
9) Willing to work hard yet always prioritize family and relationships
10) Good looking 🙂 , tall, white, smart

I want to be faithful even I haven’t met him yet. I know our meeting will be special and I will wait for you with all or my heart. I love you.

The lists should not be attributes to satisfy our flesh. But I tried to be honest on my list (see point no. 10? 😀 but of course, it’s not the top of my priority). We need to ask God for His guidance too. Different kind of faith will be unnegotiable. Why? Because I am deeply convinced that a strong faith in Jesus will be the srongest foundation ever to build a house of marriage.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain – Psalm 127:1

The one who share the same burden for ministry and have determination to grow in Jesus will also be my top priority. For I know what God called me to be and being partnered with a man of God will definately support my calling too 🙂 To create an extra-ordinary marriage from the very beginning, we need to partner with man who wants the same thing too 😉

Talking about lists, I was deeply inspired by the list made by a great woman of God, Ruth Graham. At first, she decided that she would be a single life-long missionary unless there was a man whom fulfilled her list as her partner of life [what a high standard!]. In case you’re wondering what were the lists, here they are:

If I marry:
1. He must be so tall that when he is on his knees, he reaches all the way to heaven.
2. His shoulders must be broad enough to bear the burden of a family.
3. His lips must be strong enough to smile, firm enough to say no, and tender enough to kiss.
4. Love must be so deep that it takes its stand in Christ and so wide that it takes the whole lost world in.
5. He must be active enough to save souls.
6. He must be big enough to be gentle
and great enough to be thoughtful.
7. His arms must be strong enough to carry a little child

Wow.. such a poetic list! But her faith was rewarded 😉 She changed her mind when she met … Billy Graham. The one who eventually became one of the greatest preacher on earth.

What I am trying to say here is … God-written love story began with faith which is applied in specific prayer plus boldness. We need to be bold enough to ask for the ‘rare’ thing.. Godly qualities which only a few has. I did not realize where I got such kind of faith.. I guess I was being like a child who trusted fully to the Heavenly Father who is more than able to provide what I asked for. Moreover when I asked for a partner whom I will work with in order to accomplish His mission on earth. He would be more than pleased to give me what He also wants to give at the very beginning 😉

Then what happened after I prayed? I waited. Faithfully. Patiently. I always believe that it is God’s design for a man to initiate a relationship and a woman to wait and respond to man’s initiatives 🙂 Some of us may think that the best place to meet Godly potential spouse is at church. I completely agree with that. It makes sense perfectly. But God can bring up your mate anytime and anywhere. Even in a condition you may never imagine before. My dad enrolled me to a stock analysis course which I often rejected over and over again. I was stubborn enough to decide that ministry would be my path of life and I was not interested to learn stock market. But I obeyed anyway [this obedience led me to God’s purpose ;)]. On the first day of the course I met “him”, one of the lecturer who have achievement already in stock market since he was 17 years old. It was my first time to know who he was. We did not meet often during the course, for he only taught around 3-4 meetings in 3 months. It seemed pretty hopeless to think that we may develop more relationship that lecturer-student. I did not think much either in that direction. Until the day he contacted me ‘accidentaly’ for the first time through short messages. The short message was not for me either.. so we can say it as a ‘lost’ short message whom he intended to send it to someone else. Yet from that moment, we kind of had little conversation for a few times in a week.

I was kind of interested back then. Yet I planned to go to US for a year to study Bible. I was so eager to go until I decided to sacrifice this feeling and just went away. I surrendered that feeling to God and so ready to bear the consequences along the way [Sometimes we are so impatient to wait on God’s timing until we rush into our own plans!] But God’s way mostly different from ours. I wrote the experience of God closed the door in my life in my writing “When God Closes the Door.” Yes, God closed the door when my US visa was rejected. I could not believe it at that moment. It really felt like the door being slammed right in front of your face and your dreams scattered around. It was my gloomy moment in life where God actually taught so many things regarding Him. At that time, he came over to comfort me. Since then, he had been my faithful companion during hard times #hugs. But we did not meet at all. I did not really think that he interested on me since he did never even call nor asked me out. I even sent his birthday present through mail. It was like a sweet friendship ‘with a slight hope of different intention’ at that time. 9 months passed by until He ‘finally’ initiated us to meet on my 22nd birthday 😀 I was so nervous and happy back then …

How would it turn out? I guess I need to stop here and continue later on My Love Story part 2 😀 See you later!

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“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God so that a man has to seek Him first in order to find her.” – Maya Angelou

Love.
Leticia Seviraneta

The Sparkling Eyes

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” –Luke 18:17  [NIV]

I have a little hobby of observing children especially those who are under age of 5. When they ran and fell, most of time they would stand up again immediately, run again and laugh. There are also some children reacted differently. When they fell, they would cried out loud. But when they had calmed down, they were quick to forget the previous “disaster” and played again with no fear. But the most interesting parts about children are their sparkling eyes and their ways to look at things in wonder. If parents teach a child to pray, then in the child’s perspective, prayer can do all things. There was a child who found out that his friend and family member were sick, either just flu or wound, the child will pray immediately. After praying, he would ask, “Have you recovered yet?”

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I believe that when Jesus taught us to have a faith like a child it means that we use child’s perspective that there is nothing impossible for Almighty God. Oftentimes as we grow up into adulthood, we face the reality of life, and the child’s faith starts to fade out. We use more of our logics and we assume what many people experience in this world as truth. No wonder then if the eyes of grown up people fade. The eyes are no longer sparkling because there is no faith, hope, nor love.

Many people spend a lot of money to upgrade their looks. But Jesus actually has taught us the recipe of keeping our looks beautiful overtime. The beauty recipe is in keep in faith, keep hoping to God regardless of our circumstances. Our optimism will change the atmosphere around us to become more passionate. The same thing happens when people are filled with love. Their eyes will be warm when they greet one another. These kinds of people are beautiful in the eyes of God and the world. Don’t let your circumstances, your past, your problems to dictate your faith. Don’t let what happens to you rob your sparkling eyes you once had. But let your faith influences them and let your life shines wherever you are entrusted by God.

A hopeful heart in the Lord will always create sparkling eyes.

And that is the everlasting beauty.

 

Love,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography 

A Matter of Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” –Proverbs 4:23 [NIV]

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Have you ever felt that you were going through a bad day? Nothing was seemed right. From the sun rises until it sets problems keep coming through, people upsets you and disappoint you, and many more. Even a moment after you just have your quiet time there can be something happens that robs your peace immediately. We know that God teaches us to be joyful in all circumstances. But we also know that to put it into action is a whole another level of difficulty. How to guard our hearts to be in harmony with God’s will in practical means?

Let us look what guarding truly looks like. If you have the highest end gadget, what would you do? You will not put it carelessly, won’t you? You will not put it on the public toilet’s floor because you know it will make the gadget dirty and even in danger to be trod upon by others. If you are a typical of person who loves cleanliness and neatness, you probably did not open the plastic cover on your gadget’s screen for some time to keep it clean for a longer time. The thing is, you will treat it more carefully because the gadget is costly and precious for you.

So does with our hearts. Our heart is the place where Holy Spirit lives. Since Jesus has redeemed our sins, our hearts belong to him entirely and he becomes permanent resident in it. Remember that our heart is as expensive as Jesus’ blood! But often we don’t realize how precious our hearts are. We put it carelessly to vain things like wealth, flesh desires, boyfriend/girlfriend. We also feed it with inappropriate movies, gossips, and many more. We put our hearts in places where it shouldn’t be and no wonder that in the end we get dirty hearts in return. But today we have learned this truth, so we can do something with our hearts.

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The practical way to guard our hearts is to guard its cleanliness with guarding our thoughts and make sure that our thoughts are directed to matters which are pleasing to the Lord.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” –Philippians 4:8 [NIV]

Sins always began in our minds. When we let dirty thoughts creep into our minds, at the same time, we open our hearts to sinful behavior. Hence, the first step to guard our hearts is to keep cleansing our minds with God’s words and good thoughts. If negative thoughts or worries creep into our minds, we have to shift it immediately to the truth, to what God actually says regarding that thought. We cannot never think of negative thoughts, but we can choose not to think about it continuously. Meditate on God’s words every time. You can make Bible verses cards or download Bible applications on your gadgets which you can read while you are waiting in the midst of your activity, while you are at break, etc. My current favorite Bible App are YouVersion and E-sword 😀

Besides guarding our thoughts by filling it with God’s words, we also need to fill our hearts with love. The signs that we have a healthy heart is a heart full of love and forgiveness. If there are still people whom you find it hard to forgive, ask God’s help to enable you to release forgiveness to those people. Know that this process happens throughout our lives. So don’t take it is as something too hard to do. With God, you are able! Keep deciding to guard our minds, to forgive, and to love day by day and we will find our burdens are lifted up. The situations perhaps haven’t changed, but our hearts which stays according to God’s will enables our lives to be filled with joy beyond words could express. God can work more in his children’s lives whose hearts are completely his. Are you willing to surrender your heart entirely to God?

God is the only place where your heart will be safe and unbroken.

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Cheers,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Voir Pictures, Angga Permana Photography, Pinterest

His Beloved

There are days in our lives when we feel unloved and unworthy. In fact, there are so many people out there who are still trying so hard to gain acceptance, love, appreciation, compliments, etc from others. It has become humans’ necessity in life to simply just being accepted. We may struggled with it once we were just children. We may struggle with it now in our various relationship, e.g. with girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, parents, boss, and many more. Does it sound familiar to you? It seems like there is a big hole in your life which is screaming to be filled with love, love, and love. You may think that once this person does this and that for you, you will find it be enough. But the truth goes … it is never enough.

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I remember the days when I used to feel unloved. At that moment, I questioned about God’s love for me. But in one session of Youth Camp in my campus, one of the speaker told me the story when God made a woman. Its last sentence of the story changed the whole course of my life. Here is the story 🙂

By the time the Lord made a woman, He was in the Sixth day of working. An angel appeared and having conversation with the Lord.

Angel: “Why are you spending so much time on this one?”

Lord: “Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has a lap that can hold two children at one time and that disappears when she stands up, has a kiss and hug that can cure anything from a scrapped knee to a broken heart, and she is doing all of these with two hands!”

Angel: “Only with two hands, Lord? No way!”

Lord: “Oh, it’s it the hands that are the problem. It’s the three pair of eyes that mothers must have!”

Angel: “Why does she have three pairs of eyes?”

Lord: “Yes, one pair of eyes are to see through the closed door as she asks her children what they are doing even though she already knows. Another pair in the back of her head are to see what she needs to know even though no one thinks she can. And the third pair are here in the front of the head. They are for looking at an errant child and saying that she understands and loves him or her without even saying a single word.

Angel (tried to stop the Lord): “This is too much work for one day, wait until tomorrow to finish!”

Lord: “But I can’t! I am so close to finish this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick and can feed a family on a pound of hamburger and can work 18 hours a day.”

Angel (moved closer and touched the woman): “But you have made her so soft, Lord.”

Lord: “She is soft. But I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish.”

Angel: “Will she be able to think?”

Lord: “Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason and negotiate.”

Angel (touched the woman’s cheek): “Oops, it looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one.”

Lord: “That’s not a leak. That’s a tear!”

Angel: “What’s the tear for?”

Lord: “The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride.”

Angel (impressed): “You are a genius, Lord! You thought of everything, for woman is truly amazing.”

Lord: “Yes, she is. Women have strengths that amaze men. They carry children, they carry hardships, they carry burdens but they hold happiness, love, and joy. They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous. They fight for what they believe in. They stand up for injustice. They don’t take “no” for an answer when they believe there us a better solution. They go without new shoes so their children can have them. They love unconditionally. They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards. Their hearts break when a friend dies. They have sorrow at the loss of family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strengh left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart. Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes. They’ll drive, fly, walk, run, or e-mail you to show how much they care about you. The heart of a woman is what makes the world spin! Women do more than giving birth. They bring joy and hope. They give compassion and ideals. Women have a lot to say and a lot to give.”

“But she has one weakness …”

Angel: “What is it Lord?”

Lord: “She often forgets how worthy she is…”

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Yes, indeed! I used to forget that I am worthy. Just like most people, I grew up in an environment where love may not be verbalized nor be shown expressively. It causes children to doubt parents’ love, wives doubt husbands’ love, and at last God’s children doubts God’s love. And as our confidence of God’s love is shaken, we are most likely to end up in downward spiral of life. We question about the goodness of God, life and its purpose. That was why this story became a huge turning point for me. For the very first time, I was being reminded about that I am always worthy in God’s eyes but it’s just my eyes which fail to recognize it.

You are God’s beloved. When the world tries to convince that you are not, He constantly wooing you to win your heart. God is a Father to the fatherless, friend to the friendless, and husband to the husbandless. In fact, although you have a nice father, a great friend, and a lovely spouse, Jesus Christ still surpasses them all. He is the one who keeps being faithful as the world lies through their teeth. He is the ONLY ONE who has the capacity to fill the longings in your heart. In Jesus, you are loved and accepted. Not because of what you’ve done, but because of who He is, Love.

[Isaiah 43:1-7,11,13]
But now, this is what the LORD says-
he who create you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, 
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God, 
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east 
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, “Give them up!”
and to the south, “Do not hold them back.”
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters 
from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.
I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.
Yes, and from the ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?”

God is the One who never gives up on you although you even want to quit. You are His beloved and He will not let you go. He will protect you. For it is your destiny to be loved by Him. 

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“Letting yourself be loved by God is more important  than loving God” -Brennan Manning

 by Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

The Potter and The Clay

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” -Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

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God usually teaches by using word pictures. It is interesting how He can point out such a great wisdom from merely simple things we see daily. As we read the verse above, we may wonder what does it mean to be illustrated as a clay, while God Himself as our potter. However, this illustration was common on those days when the scripture was written, yet not really common on these days. God led me to dig deeper about this word pictures “The Potter and The Clay.” It has been a fascinating adventure ever since, though I may have not found all the pieces yet. Here is what I learn from the word pictures “The Potter and The Clay” 🙂

1. You are God’s Masterpiece

A clay is merely a clay before it goes to the Potter’s hands. It would be just a bulk of dirt and soils being thrown away somewhere on the street. But as it goes to the Potter’s house, the Potter does not see the clay as merely a clay. He sees it as something he can made out of the worthless clay. At the beginning of human’s creation, he does not see the dust as a mere dust. He saw that He could make the reflection of His image out of it. And that is you and me now.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” -Genesis 2:7

Pottery is not a mass product being made with machines in factory. It is uniquely designed and made by the Potter. It is not an instant product, it is a product of consistency and patience. So are we. You are uniquely designed by the hands of God. Do not struggle to be the same like others because you will not. God sees differences as beauty. Imagine what a boring life will be if everybody looks the same. Meanwhile, as a clay being shaped by the potter takes a long process and some time, so are we. At this moment, God is still not finished with you. If you do not see a happy ending right now, it’s because it’s not the ending yet. God is still not finished. There are still more things to discover, more things to embrace, more love He wants to lavish on you.

2. God has a specific purpose for you

A potter has set in his mind of what he would make before he begins His process. Each pottery is a product of deliberate plan and meaningful purpose. No pottery is an accident. God did not simply just made you and allow you to be born to earth to simply live. Just as a glass made to accommodate water, you are made to do something according to His purpose.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14

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3. Round, round, round

A clay which has been reshaped into a ball will be thrown to the pottery wheel. Then the potter will wet his hand, turn on the wheel, and his hands will hold the dough of clay steadily. This process looks like a boring one because all we can see is the clay goes round, round, and round. Doesn’t it seem like our lives? Our lives will contain of routine activity which makes us do the same thing every day and at the same time on and on. We get up in the morning, go to work, face the traffic jam, has usual lunch and a view casual conversation with colleague, go home, and go to bed again. We get bored with it. We want to do something extra ordinary or may be to change the world. But we are stuck with boring daily activities. But here, right at this place, God is shaping you. God is more concern on your character rather than your achievements. Thereby, He will deal with it first before He rewards you in achieving your dreams. It has been widely known that, “It takes talent to bring you to the top, but only character will maintain you there.The greater your dreams are, the longer the ’round’ season of preparation in your life. Try to look this season from God’s perspective. Routine stuff should not be boring when we approach it with different attitude, the attitude of gratitude and surrender knowing that God is in control.

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4. The clay must be pressed against every side to avoid cracks

There are times when the potter will press the inner side and both side of the clay. It is meant to ensure that the side will be smooth and leave uncracked after the process. Just like the clay which will feel uncomfortable while the potter is doing this, problems will make you uncomfortable inevitably. Problems in life are not coincidences. God allows it into your life not to break you down, but to strengthen you. You cannot have a strong faith without the storm of doubt. You cannot know what it means to forgive when you have no difficult person to be forgiven. Good and bad, God use it both for your advantage in the end.

5. Being abandoned, but not forgotten

Too much water in the half-made pottery will cause crack when it is being heated. To avoid this, the half-made pottery will be stored in a room tempearture for 1 day or maybe 1 week (depends on its size and shape). In this phase, you may feel like God has abandoned you. You have prayed, prayed, and prayed, but it seems like nothing happens. You wait, wait, and wait, but you start to grow weary in waiting. It is tempting to forget what God is calling you to do. It is tempting to bury the hope that your situation will ever change. But again, God is in control. This is still not the timing yet. God is never in a hurry. You are still a half-made pottery. If He throws you into the fire of furnishing now, you will break down. He may seem slow, but if you keep on trusting Him, one day you’ll reap the sweets fruit of waiting in perseverance.

“At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting -it will happen!” -Habakkuk 2:3

6. Heat makes you stronger

Clay that has been shaped and molded may become beautiful. And as it dries, it becomes harder. But it never achieves its full potential until it has been through the fire. In the great heat of the Potter’s kiln, the clay is transformed. The half-made pottery will be moved to be heated on 1000 degrees of Celcius in order to give more strength to its body. There will be times when conflicts with our loved ones happen in our lives. If we respond to it rightly, it will make the relationship is getting stronger. But if we respond it to our selfish nature, it will not reach its noble purpose. Do not afraid of conflicts, but be prepared to respond it correctly. It is better to hold your tongue rather than speaking out words that you will regret.

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7. All for His Glory

After enduring such a long process, now the shiny and strong pottery is ready to be displayed. As people starts to compliments the pottery, they may start also to wonder, “Who is the potter?” No one compliment the pottery for the sake of the pottery itself. Because on behind of each pottery, there is the reflection of its Potter. There is no space for the pottery to steal the Potter’s glory. As the world recognizes your talents and accomplishments, let it be known to them WHO made you the way you are. Let all the glory goes back to Him.

8. God of a Second Chance

A potter will be greatly offended when his pottery being crushed and thrown away like a rubbish. It is the same thing when we treat people not so valuable. We degrade them with our words, we think ourselves higher than them, and many more. It hurts God. Because they, too, are His reflection who are precious in His sight. But even if the pottery has been crushed into pieces, that does not make all of His work a failure. A potter can make all the pieces become a bulk of raw clay and start over again from the beginning. I don’t know what you’ve been through in your life at this point, but even if the world has crushed you into pieces, God can start over again if you give Him all the pieces. You are a new creation in His hands!

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He who made us, will take care of us very well til the very end

-Leticia Seviraneta