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.

Fusia 25

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.

Harwan 2
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!

Harwan 4

“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?”

184

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]

voir 2

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.

angga 4

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.

engage 21

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.

180

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…”

181

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. 

175

“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)

potter

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

potter 3

 

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.

potter 2

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.

potter 6

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!

potter 4

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

-Leticia Seviraneta

The Essentials of Being A Leader at Home

In previous post, I have described the part of women as helper in home. Now it is men’s turn 😀 This one will describe more on Derek Prince’s side. For obvious reasons, the preparation a man needs to make for marriage differs from the preparation a woman needs to make. What are the preparations which Derek believes a man should make?

204

The Matter of Headship

The primary role of a man in home will be as a husband and a father. In short, as a head of a family. Paul pictures a descending chain of headship, which starts in heaven and ends in family: God the Father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the man (husband); and the man (husband) is the head of the woman (wife). In this chain, Christ represents God the Father (above Him) to the man (below Him); and the man, in turn, represents Christ (above him) to his wife (below Him). Here is the pattern: A man represents Christ to his wife and family. It’s a tremendous responsibility but also a sacred privilege!

Hmm.. What does it look like to represent Christ in your home? I bet it would be such a gentle, wise, and loving figure ever! The key to the life of Jesus was His relationship to the Father. “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) In like manner, your success as head of your family will depend on your relationship to Jesus. Make Him the source of your words and actions. Rely on His strength and wisdom within you, not on your own. Let Him live out His life through you.

The Importance of Tenderness and Romance

Consider the tenderness with which the Lord speaks to Israel in Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.Do not afraid of being tender. It is a mark of strength, not weakness. It is by tenderness that Jesus draws His people to Himself. Allow Him to impart a measure of it to you. Throught it all He will draw your bride to you just as He deaws the Church to himself.

Although our culture has little honor for a man being tender, yet the truth is there is something in every woman that longs for it. She will respond to it just as a flower opens its petals to the sun.

Tenderness goes hand in hand with romance. If you want a picture of the two combined, study the Song of Songs. Romance is not some special kind of activity on its own. It is a quality imparted to other activities that makes them more exciting and enjoyable. Romance is not like an extra course on your meal. It is seasoning added to every course.

202

 

A Self-Giving Character

Another quality of the love of Jesus is that it is self-giving. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). A successful marriage must follow that pattern. It consists of two lives laid down for each other. First, the husband, like Jesus, lays down his life for the wife. Then the wife in her turn, like the Church, lays down her life for the husband. Thereafter, each kinds fulfillment in the life of the other. The key is understanding that scriptural marriage is based on covenant.

Self-giving is not natural, however, to fallen human nature. It needs to be cultivated. First it requires a decision. Then it must be worked out in daily living, until it becomes part of your character. Do not wait until marriage to begin to give of yourself. That can lead to much unnecessary suffering for you and your wife. Your marriage will benefit greatly if you learn to give of yourself now in the relationships you have with those around you. If you still live at home, give yourself in small acts of service. Take out the garbage even when it is not your turn. Help with the dishes so your sister can go out with her friend. Babysit your younger brother so your parents can have an evening out by themselves. In the church life, too, there are many opportunities for service. All these seemingly small acts will help to build in you something of the self-giving nature of Jesus, which will one day enrich your marriage and make you a pattern to your own children.

Teaching: A Most Important Task

The picture of Jesus as Bridegroom in Ephesians 5:25-26 brings out another aspect of His ministry -that of Teacher. He gave Himself up for the Church “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” The teaching of God’s Word must make the Church pure and holy, fit to be Christ’s Bride.

Here is another way you will be able to represent Jesus to your wife and family: Make provision for them to receive the kind of Bible teaching that will fit them to be part of His Bride. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). A mother has her part to play, but the primary responsibility of teaching rests on the father.

How can you prepare yourself to fill the role of teacher in your home? First of all, acquire an overall knowledge of the Bible. There are many ways to study: books, study, discussion, courses, seminars and so on. Many people think that this is the task of a pastor or spiritual leader at church. But a man is a spiritual leader at home too. Thereby, it is unlimited responsibility though you have vocation in marketplace 😉

Intercession: Your Highest Ministry

As teacher, you will represent God to your family. As intercessior, you will represent your family to God. Intercession in simple terms is praying continually with a deep concern to certain people and areas of life. Wherever God places you, you can learn to be a man who stands in the gap on behalf of others. Cultivate a regular personal prayer life. Devote your best time to it. Ask God to lay on your heart the individuals for whom He wants to intercede. Aim in your heart and mind that prayer should become as naturl as a part of your family life as meals or play. Your success in the ministry of prayer will probably determine the extent of your success in other areas.

Your Role in Practical Terms

As the head of family, you will be required to be sensitive to register the needs and feelings of others, to foresee problems and dangers, to accept and apply constructive ideas. You will also need wisdom to make decisions which affect not only your own life, but also the lives of others. It is also required the strength of character. In 1 Timothy 3:4-5, Paul compares the responsibility of a church elder to that of a husband and father in his home:
He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

To manage means “to stand at the head of or in front of. “This is the position of the husband and father. He goes ahead of his family; he leads the way. Also when evil or danger threatens his family, he stands in front of them, placing himself between them and what threaten thems. In sum, it is about leadership.

209

Two Foundations: Faithfulness and Responsibility

There are two foundations on which this kind of leadership must be based: faithfulness and responsibility. In everything you are asked to do, seek the help of Jesus and be faithful. No matter how insignificant things that you do, seek the help of Jesus and be faithful. Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will abound with blessings“.

Cultivating the Characteristics

Derek was trained for ministry in British Army in North Africa. He faced many confronting tough, real-life situations and accepting the resposibility for the needs of others. His constant companion was his pocket Bible. That ‘desert’ experience provided him a solid foundation for his spiritual development. Joseph cultivated faithfulness and responsibility first in Potiphar’s house, then in prison. The result was promotion. Characters, undoubtedly, are build in uncomfortable situation. As a leader, it is your duty to be outside of your comfort zone, make a path, so that one day people can walk through the same path more easily.

The generations are desperately in need of courageous men who wants to step out and ready to accept the challenge to be the man God intend him to be. A man with a clear purpose on his role and well prepared before entering marriage covenant will determine a better course of his marriage. And yes.. great marriage can be more easily achieved. By God’s grace, we can do it!

Cheers,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography

 

The Essentials of Being A Helper

For generations, there has been a tendency to think that being single is like lacking of something [read: mate]. No wonder, there are many people who have lack of appreciation of singleness. It seems like being single will make you lonely and you will look like a weirdo. The conditions are getting worse when in our culture [Indonesians] people love to go in a group-setting. It is entirely different with the Westerns. We are not so comfortable to be alone in the midst of crowd while for Westerns they are very okay with it. But the truth is this … single does not mean alone. Single does mean alone when we do not embrace it thankfully and we lack of its noble purpose. Singleness is a great season in life where we can live generously, serve limitlessly, and developing relationship with God intimately.

187

The singles enjoy some benefits which married people may be restricted to, for example, time (how sweet the sound of it for some of you).

One thing that upsets me is that I see ignorance of single people regarding their future marriage. Instead of getting busy with preparing ourselves in order to get ready spiritually, mentally, and physically for marriage; we are busy of things that have no added value for days to come. Great marriage does not just happen. Even pre-marital counseling is not enough. I mean … how can 3-6 months of ‘learning’ of marriage getting ourselves completely prepared for marriage. I do not undervalue pre-marital counseling, but I do believe that there are something that should be developed since we are single and have not even met our mate. Something so priceless that will take TIME and EFFORT to build it. In this article, I would like to elaborate what we can do in our singleness as a woman in order to be a helper God intended to be for a man. In later post, I would present it from the men’s side too 🙂 [These were summarized from Derek and Ruth Prince book, “God is a Matchmaker”]

Ruth Prince once said a very vital key in order to be a good helper in the future. She said, “What I discovered then, and continue to discover, is that the same qualities that make a woman pleasing to the Lord will make her pleasing to her mate.” Wow.. doesn’t it sound simple? In short, if we develop Godly character, then automatically we are pleasing to our mate.

She continued, “If you will approach preparation for marriage at the earthly level with your heart turned toward the Lord Jesus, remembering that your ultimate destiny is to be part of His beautiful Bride, then what you gain will be not temporal happiness, but eternal bliss. Preparation for marriage will also prepare you for Jesus.

How does God view us as women? He described her: “I will make a helper suitable for [man]” (Genesis 2:18). Now here is the highlighted truth: A woman’s nature finds expression and fulfillment in helping man (specifically: husband). We may not get excited hearing the word “helper”. Many people wrongly assume that being a helper is like being inferior than men, more like a domestic helper. But that is not true! Being helper means that you will be the one to help your husband’s vision and dreams come true. You will enlarge, enhance, add life, and more values to his life! Doesn’t it sound so noble? Indeed, God has designed us with such a noble purpose! Later in the book, Ruth Prince offered us her 12 suggestions regarding what we can do in order to fulfilled our noble purpose 🙂

1) Prepare to be a Helper

203

A great marriage does not begin by finding a mate, it is by beginning with ourselves. Of course, the vocation of our husband will determine a lot specifically where we can fit our role as a helper into. Normally, however, the primary way a wife helps her husband is by making a home for him. This is true whether she is a full-time housewife or a working wife. In my personal opinion, the degree of warmth in the home will determine how comfortable the members of the household to linger in it 🙂

This is true for husband and children.So it is about bringing the atmosphere of home into the house. We can decorate it, keep it clean, do the laundry, makes a good lunch or dinner [if we don’t have time to cook, at least we provide it in other way ;)] The woman also has the responsibility to God and to her husband to mold and shape the characters of the little lives that are entrusted to them.

It is from his home that the husband goes out to the world, to succeed or fail, to be fulfilled or frustrated.The wife who creates an atmosphere of love and ecouragement, of peace and stability, can expect to share in the blessings and rewards of her husband’s successes.

Whether homemaking is interesting and challenging or dull and dreary is determined by her attitude. If you will prepare your attitude now, and view your future home as the means of expressing your love and gratitude toward God and your husband, you will have taken the first step toward being a happy, successful, fulfilled wife. A working wife will find a greater challenge to balance her primary role in home and her secondary role in workplace. It is not forbidden however to be a working wife, as long as your primary role is not neglected 😉

 

2) Cultivate Your Relationship with the Lord

 

Remember that relationships take time. We must be willing to spend time with the Lord, to worship Him, to read His Word, to pray, to wait upon Him. Without this, we can never fully develop. Bear in mind that no woman can give to her husband any more than she has within her. A woman’s full beauty and potential will never be realized if she is underdeveloped spiritually.

NOW is the time to lay a solid foundation on which to build throughout a lifetime whether single or married.

Give God your best time. For most of us, this is early in the morning before we face the world. Single women can learn to focus on Jesus, our heavenly Bridegroom. Once we can see him this way, we can do nothing less than make the expression of our love for Him our highest priority. Ruth practiced this by waking up at 5 so that she would not cheat the Lord and go to work daily at 7.30 AM. We barely imagine this far, that relationship does take discipline to be developed 😉

Begin with thanksgiving and praise. Ruth begins each day by thanking Him for loving her, for the blood of Jesus, for the beauty of creation, for the privilege of serving Him. She could not sing, but she memorizes the lyrics of hymn while taking a bath, brushing her teeth, and even putting on make up.

Read your Bible before you pray. We honor God by allowing Him to speak to us before we begin to speak to Him.

Keep a prayer list, especially if you pray alone. Do not give all your prayer time to problematic people. Pray also for those making an impact for the Kingdom of God. Salvation, healing, direction, spiritual leaders, specific segments of the Church, nations can be things that we pray for 🙂 Pray for yourself too 🙂 And keep in note for the Scripture which speaks the most to you at that moment 🙂

Don’t limit the Lord to quiet times. We can relate to the Lord continually. Ruth always have the conversational lines open. She learned especially to communicate with the Lord when her hands were busy but her mind was free -washing dishes, ironing, personal grooming, driving car. She listened to Scripture recordings or Bible teachings too. These habits have enriched her single life and continue to enrich her married life.

Check on yourself to make sure God is in first place. “If you were ever closer to Jesus than you are today, you are backslidden” Choose to be close to Him in constant basis.

 

3) Cultivate Commitment and Loyalty

You cannot begin to practice commitment and loyalty the day you get married. If you have not first given yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord, and then to some person or cause, you will not be prepared to give yourself to your husband.

If you are employed, are you committed to your employer? Or are you hireling who counts the hours and looks for excuses for time off? If you live at home, do you take responsibility for your tasks, or do you always have to be reminded? Are you loyal to your family? When you make a promise, do you keep it, or do you find an excuse to renege? Are you committed to your church? Can you be depended on to carry through on projects for which you have volunteered?

4) Cultivate Your own Self-Esteem

Many women marry the wrong man or fail in their marriages because they do not set a high enough value on themselves. You are a child of God. Jesus valued you so highly and loved you so much He died for you!

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit – 2 Corinthians 3:18

Satan’s primary activity against believers is accusation. Another is discouragement. Our best answer, just as it was for Jesus, is the Word of God. As you read and pray, the Holy Spirit may show you areas in which you need to change or improve. Do not yield to condemnation or self-pity when it happens. Rather ask God to help you and exercise your own will to bring it about. Embrace this truth: Whom the Son has set free is free indeed!

An important result of developing your self-esteem is that you will be better able to encourage and build up your husband. Thus you will be able to help him reach his own full potential. Her opinion of him is vital for his success. She can encourage him, pray for him, and then have the excitement of watching God to bring it to fulfillment.

179

5) Be Willing to Learn

Be willing to learn practical homemaking skills: sewing, cooking and nutrition, child care, household management, home decorating, flower arranging, handicrafts [ehem .. all of these are optional.. but I know you know they are important ;)]. Do not underestimate the value if sport and physical fitness activities. Being healthy is essential to be a strong helper. Make this a priority in order to develop the practical skills. The well-prepared always do things better than the unprepared.

We can also learn to babysit in advance. We can get to know how the children communicate, response, feel, and so on. Be dilligent to avoid passive occupations that leave you empty and your senses dulled, especially television. You are a beautiful creation with God’s life within you. You can never recover a lost day, or a lost our. By all means relax in ways that will build you up. Use your time wisely now. Now is the opportunity to invest your time in activities that will bring forth dividends throughout your life, whether single or married.

 

6) Be Willing to Serve

There is no better way for a woman to express her love for her husband than by serving him. The loving wife will study her husband and learn to anticipate his needs even before he asks. Keeping your home as your expression of love for your husband and as a service for him will take away the drudgery.

How can you prepare beforehand to serve your husband? By serving others with gladness of heart! If you are willing to serve others, to be faithful in the little things and over someone else’s property, God will, in His time, give you your own.

Serving is not limited in homemaking stuff, it is also in areas where your skills and talents can contribute to your husband’s vocation 😉 I am amazed how Ruth has served Derek gladyly in their marriage life. She even claimed that what satisfied her the most was serving Derek. Even before she married, she began to look for ways to lift burdens from Him. She tried to keep life as uncomplicated for him as possible, whether they are at home or on ministry journeys. One thing astounds me is that when most women travels by bringing additional bag for their make ups and other girlie stuff, Ruth carried in her suitcase a variety of gadgets and provisions to make Derek as comfortable as possible 🙂

7) Be Willing to Adjust to Your Husband’s Priorities

It is the wife’s duty to be flexible, ready to adapt to her husband’s desires because he is the head (1 Cor 11:3). He sets the pattern for the way their lives will flow together. The wife should be queen in home, but the husband is king!

174

Flexibility is needed not only for big moves, but in the little things of daily life. At first, Ruth was a morning person; Derek is a night person. By the grace of God, Ruth changed so that they both keep the same schedule. She had also learned to nap with him in the afternoon 😉

There are many women who frequently change their hair and clothing styles, the way they cook, and so on. But pleasing your husband will bring you many more blessings than pleasing yourself.

 

8) Learn to Pray and Intercede for Others

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests … Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me (Ephesians 6:18-19).

God is looking for intercessors. As you spend time with the Lord daily, ask Him to show you what is on His heart that you can pray about. As you learn to intercede, there will be no shortage of topics. God will bring people and situations to your mind. And people will ask for your prayers.

The benefits of being intercessors are it takes our minds of ourselves and prepares us to intercede for our husbands. Learning to pray with a partner too will prepare you to pray for your husband.

 

9) Learn Proper Care for Your Body

Once God spoke to Derek: “If you are to fulfill the ministry I have for you, you will need a strong, healthy body, and you are putting on too much weight.” Yes the message is clear : We need strong, healthy bodies to fulfill God’s plans for our lives.

Feeding the family and developing good food habits is the wife’s responsibility. The more you can learn before you marry, and the more appealing your recipes you have already perfected, and more ready you will to keep your husband and children well and strong.

Make sure you do sport in routine basis. It has many other positive effects such as to overcome boredom and frustration 🙂 An extra benefit: Physically fit, properly nourished young women have much easier pregancies and labor, and have healthier babies 😉

 

10) Observe the Wife’s Behavior in Exemplary Marriages

Choose a role model whom you admire in her effort in being a Godly helper for her husband. There is always something to learn from different types of wives out there. We are not going to completely copy them for God has created us all unique 🙂 Bear in mind, too, that someday you may be someone’s role model, if you dilligent to prepare yourself and continue your development after marriage. You want to be able to say, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 1:11)

 

11) Trust God: Be Willing to Wait

God loves you. “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). He will care for you whether you are single or married.

Too often women enter into a marriage because they fear they will never have another chance. Then they learn that it was better to be single than to be married to the wrong man. Their lives become shipwrecked,and often the lives of their children and grandchildren as well.

Some women may wait quite long fully in trust to the Lord, and in the end meet her best mate in old age. God’s timing, as odd as it seems, is the best after all.

177

12) Set Your Goals, Establish Your Priorities

Review points 1 through 11 in the sections above. Ask the Lord in what areas you need to develop at the moment. Make a list which you could attain in the next three months, six months, and new year. Be realistic. Consider your present abilities. Do not aim to run in a marathon in a week 🙂 After setting goals, you can establish priorities that will lead you to them. Do not try to do everything at once.

Begin to bring your use of time in line with the defree of importance of each activity. Fit your new goals in their appropriate places. As you shift your priorities, your life will begin to change.

So, how’s the journey? 😀 Let us prepare to be a great helper to our future spouse as God intended it to be! Such a noble calling!

Cheers,

Leticia Seviraneta

Photos by Jennifer Phelps Photography