“Begin with Him”

Morning reading 🌼

🌼 Marriage Topic 🌼

I sometimes complain to God, “why I have to be the one who need to ask forgiveness and/or give forgiveness (even when my husband didn’t even ask for one) and/or initiate good conversation after a conflict/disagreement happened?” #whyme #thatquestion

This morning this statement from the book I’m still currently reading (“What Did You Expect?” by Paul David Tripp) ring again:

“We must fix our marriages vertically before we ever fix them horizontally”
The core problem is not that I don’t love my husband enough, but my problem is I don’t love God enough, and because I don’t love God enough, I don’t love my husband as I should.

I let my little kingdom reign instead of the Lord’s.

To forgive and to seek reconciliation first of all mend my relationship with God. Can you really pray to God when in your heart you are disliking someone? (Other than the prayer “please Lord change him/her” #haha).

I hope over time and with intervention of His Spirit when a conflict arises (yes, it is ‘when’, not ‘if’), the question I wrote the earliest won’t matter anymore. It is easy to write this when things smooth sailing ⛵️ I’m praying there is grace we both need when we are required to put into practice what we know/learn.

“He must become greater,

I must become less”

John 3:30


#2017mindfulmarriage

Unity in Christ 

In February I and my husband agreed to fast together to seek God’s wills in each of our individual life as well as collectively for our marriage and family.

One word that I receive during the period is: “UNITY“. It is a simple word, but seemed like it’d been buried deep down amidst life busyness and “cruise control” operating mode for our marriage.
I was reminded and rebuked at the same time, when I was angry was it because of my concern for my husband or concern for our marriage? I have to honestly admit that most often, I was angry because he offended MY feelings. 

It’s not like we as couples are not allowed to have arguments, but my concern is we too often fight for issues that are simply rooted from our SELFISHNESS instead of fighting for causes that have eternal impact to God’s kingdom on earth!
This marriage certainly needs a greater focus; a greater plan, purpose, and calling rather than our own selfish agenda.

Otherwise, what differentiates our marriage as Christ believers with others?
We need the unity to love God above ourselves, 

because it is difficult to love our spouse without having our relationship with God restored.

You don’t fix a marriage first horizontally; you fix it vertically” – Paul David Tripp.
I’m still praying for His grace to make this revelation becoming real in my daily practical life.

For now I shall close with another quote from Tripp,

If you are God’s children,

it is never just you and your spouse,

somehow hoping that you can work your way through your problems.

No,

there is a third Person who inhabits every situation and location of your marriage.

He is with you, He is willing, and He is able to come to your aid”.
What a good news!

I never walk alone.

When He calls, He always equips.

I know He has prepared a greater plan and purpose for my marriage, and this year is like my “wake up call”.
Have a blessed day and marriage beloved (maybe one day I can write about “courtship” topic based on my experience for my single friends 😛).

.

#2017mindfulmarriage 

#crunchynatsjournal

“Valentine 2017”

Yesterday Valentine’s dinner at the comfort of our own home 😆

We usually didn’t celebrate Valentine, mostly because my husband thought Valentine was on Feb 28 (you get how charmingly unromantic he is 🤣). However, this year I wanted something different. In line with my intention to “work out” more of this marriage rather than letting it “go with the flow” (inspired by Tripp’s book “What Did You Expect” I’m currently reading #2017mindfulmarriage – special hashtag I created on Instagram to record this year’s related journey 🌞), I decided to plan something a little bit more special.
Since his love language isn’t about “giving gifts”, I didn’t buy him anything. Instead I planned to cook something special for him (not because my everyday meal wasn’t special 🙊 #selfcompliment #gataumalu 🤣) and did an extra table arrangement with my limited skills and resources lol.

Few days ago I asked him before went to sleep his favourite meal (I was expecting “steak” 🐮 would be his answer, but turned out his answer was: BACON 🥓 hahaha!) – so there it was, I made Portobello Mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese and topped with bacon, grilled yellow nectarines and some more bacon to put them on top of the salmon avocado toasts, poached spinach, fried sweet potato chips – it was all like a big (mess) mixed up lol but hubby liked it anyway ✅ #missionaccomplished #thankyouforyourgrace haha).

The point is, I’m learning that “marriage is like a long-term exercise in gardening” 🌱(thank you Tripp for this insight!). Beautiful garden isn’t a result of any shortcuts. Works need to be done, and surely not for a lazy or impatient gardener.

This small thing I do is just my act in planting seeds, seeds of mindfulness and my way in expressing my care toward him. Rather than complaining he didn’t do or give anything special yesterday (which he did give me something special hooray! #kemajuan 🤣), I decided to be intentional and do what I could do best from my part.

Well, thank you for reading anyway. Sometimes it isn’t all about the “theory” but also the “daily practice”, and yesterday was just one of them haha.

God bless your marriage and relationships too beloved! ❤️

Change Me, Lord

 

Most dangerous, yet powerful three-words prayer we can utter 🙂

“No, not my turn again to change! Why it has always be ME? He’s the one that needs to change!” 

Ever thinking (complaining) like this to God in your marriage?😜 

Sometimes I get discouraged to pray these “three-word prayer” over and over, but this morning (what a surprise), God reminded me to keep praying these words: 
“Change me Lord”

I am grateful though, through the prayer book I currently use as my guidance to pray for my husband (“The Power of Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian), it says that “God sees things we don’t. He knows where we have room for improvement” (and seem like there will always be!) 

And “submission to our husband is something that we give from our heart, not something demanded of you“. Maybe it can be said as our sacrifice offering to the Lord. 
If I see it in this way, I would not see it as mere obligation or duty as a Christ-follower wife, to becoming submissive to my husband. It’s my sweet offering to my Lord Jesus. Something that I willingly do, not someting that is forcefully taken from me. 

I am thankful for another conviction and strength given, it’s amazing how God can use anything to speak to you 😊 

To end, here’s another words from the book that encourage me too:

“Dying to yourself is always painful. Especially when you are convinced that the other person needs more changing than you. But this kind of pain leads to life

“He who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 10:39)

Power of A Praying Wife

  

Today God reminded me to commit myself to pray for my MARRIAGE

I have to admit I tend to “forget” to pray about it and praying more for my motherhood duties and for my husband but rarely specifically for my marriage. 

I even asked God how should I intentionally pray for my marriage? I went clueless somehow. And the answer will be an ongoing journey from today onward.

I want to walk in faith and take a step ahead, so I open up the old book “The Power of a Praying Wife” my friend once gave me many years ago on my birthday (back then even before I got married 😛) to help me to know what I actually need to pray of. I also sign up to 5-Days devotion “Praying Boldly for Your Marriage” from Proverbs 31 Ministries (written by one of my fave women authors Lysa Terkeust).
Curious and excited for what God will reveal 🌟💑

First day today and here’s my simple prayer (inspired by the book):

“Dear Lord, I pray may any unreal expectations be exposed and all incompatibilities be smoothed out so that I and Adi grow together in a spirit of unity, commitment, and a bond of intimacy.

I pray that our marriage is a place where two agree so God will be in the midst of it”

Matthew 18:19-20
“If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in Heaven.

For where two or three come together in My name, there I am with them”

Looking Beyond The Wedding Ritual…

Just finishing my bible study(“Wisdom for Mothers” by Denise Glenn) and this afternoon I learnt furthermore about the meaning of marriage covenant. To be honest, I didn’t know or even understand that the typical wedding ritual (one that I have had gone through) actually have deeper religious meaning. Surely I do know that exchanging marriage vow indeed is sacred, but to find out that it is similarly like cutting the wedding cake ‘wow’ me. I marry for three years already (tomorrow is our 3rd anniversary! Yey!) and I’ve just known it now haha..

wedding ceremony

So for those of you who are still single or, even better, those of you who are planning to wed in near time, I think you should also know and understand that each part of the wedding ceremony has significance, they are not simply traditions, but they do have deeper, sacred meaning of marriage in Gods eyes 🙂

OK, let’s start…

* The ushers seat family and friends on opposite sides of the church to provide a covenant setting, just as God has Abraham separate the halves of animals in His covenant ceremony in Genesis 15 (please take time to read it so you can understand better). The bride and groom pass through the aisle that is formed by their guests.

* The parents are given special seating because they are participants of the covenant ceremony of their children. They enter in the line of authority and leave in the line of counsel.

* The groom enters first, signifying that he is the covenant initiator and assumes greater responsibility for seeing it fulfilled. He also takes his vows first as he takes the leadership role in the home establishment.

* The father escorts the bride down the aisle to express to his daughter his endorsement of the groom. He is also presenting to the groom his daughter in a white wedding gown as a pure bride.

* When the father “gives away” the bride, he is transferring responsibility for her well-being to the groom. The groom will now provide for her spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

* The right hand, usually the strongest, symbolizes strength. The couple clasps each other’s right hands pledging to defend their partner as they each offer their strengths to the other

* The bride and groom make a binding oath before God and the witnesses as they take their vows. The best man and the maid of honor stand as the designated witness to the covenant.

* The exchange of the wedding rings indicates that the couple has put on the identity of the other. They wear the rings for the rest of their lives to indicate to everyone who sees them that they are in a marriage covenant.

* The bride’s veil has special meaning. She enters the covenant ceremony with her face veiled to represent her purity and modesty. After the groom has taken his vows of commitment to her, he lifts the veil that separates them and kisses the bride symbolizing their full access to one another.

* The pronouncement of husband and wife establishes a definite point in time for beginning of the marriage. The introduction of the couple reveals their new identity.

* The guests sign the register as witnesses of the covenant ceremony and to hold accountable the couple to be faithful to their marriage vows.

* The celebration meal is a symbol of the two covenant parties uniting. The couple cuts the cake together to represent the cutting of the covenant they have just made. As they feed each other, they signify that they are becoming one (similarly like when Christ offered the bread during the Last Supper, by feeding the cake to one another, the couple is saying, “This represents my body. As you eat this, you are becoming me and as you feed me, I am becoming you“).. now you do also know that cutting wedding cake is not about how many tiers the cake has, but so much importance of a cake that cannot be treated as ‘a piece of cake’ 😉

* The wedding covenant between a bride and a groom is a picture of the covenant between Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom and the Church, His earthly bride. As important as the wedding ceremony is to the bride and groom and all who commit to uphold the covenant, the ultimate marriage relationship is that of the believer with his or her Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord.

To understand that all the rituals involved in a wedding ceremony has this deep meaning in the eyes of the Lord may help you to see and treat each steps seriously and wholeheartedly rather than just focusing on the ‘physical beauty of the wedding’ or ‘guests satisfaction during your happiest day’.. I pray may this post gives you a new understanding and all the best with your wedding and marriage preparation (both of you having it in near time or still in couple years to come :P)

To end this note, I copy a lil bit excerpts from the author to serve as reminder to myself:

“On every altar, there is a sacrifice where something dies. Did you stop to think on your wedding day, ‘what or who dies in the marriage altar?’ The answer to that question is, “The bride and the groom!”

They are to die to singleness, self-centeredness, and selfishness. This is the purpose for coming to the altar.

Don’t you wish someone had told you what you were doing on your wedding day? I think if couples understood the concepts of covenant, altar, and sacrifice, we could avert many marriage problems and even divorces right where they start – the day of the wedding!

The cutting of our wedding cake three years ago... If only I had known the deeper meaning it has, I would embrace it more than just enjoying the good flavor of it :P
The cutting of our wedding cake three years ago… If only I had known the deeper meaning it has, I would embrace it more than just enjoying the good flavor of it 😛

 

“Does God’s Opinion Matter to Your Relationship?”

“This post is particular for all singles” – red *wink* 😛

Although I am a married mom, I’m still open to hear any single’s sharing about their love life 🙂 Not because I am a relationship expert (far way from that haha..), but I just like to share what I’ve experienced and hoping that my sharing and testimonies can be real examples that truly God will always give you the best companion, IF, you really faithfully seek for His guidance and advise. I put the earlier ‘if’ in italic, bold, and capital haha.. becauseeee… I find many people (especially of course if they have been a born-again Christian) do have sincere desire to find (or wait) for the best from God, but only very few are willing to take the cost or make some ‘sacrifices’.

Waiting the best from the God is not an easy journey. After I broke up with my then boyfriend in 2004, it actually led me to come to church and know Christ personally for the first time in 2005. I myself had to wait for 4 years before I finally met my now husband. It was a long journey and did I get tired of ‘waiting’? You bet YES I was! At times I did really enjoy my singleness as I pursued my calling in God and mission, but I could not deny sometimes I did feel alone and lonely and wanted someone to love and be loved when I was still single. Had I started to think or doubt would I really ever find the one? Yes I had! So if you also feel the same ways like I was, nothing’s wrong with you, it is normal for every human being.

Yet as my journey continued as a single, what I received was an even stronger conviction from God, that I would not settle for ‘second best’, that ‘merely feeling/chemistry is not strong enough, I need a much stronger glue for my marriage, I need a man with same vision and mission in God and who is mature (or more) in his personal walk with God’, and that I would be faithful until the time He gave me the best anointed man (I used to refer my future spouse as ‘the anointed man’ :P). These all I had to thank Holy Spirit who had put these convictions in my heart as I continued to seek His heart. These kind of convictions cannot be created by mere human mind, they are just born from the fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit (you will get it if you continue to seek His heart and obey His words).

Of course there were some naïve thoughts in my mind during that time, some thoughts that later God revealed and corrected. For example, I used to strongly believe that when I met ‘the one’, there would be a hunch in my heart saying that ‘yep, he’s the one!!’ or even better an audible voice of Holy Spirit saying ‘THAT would be the man you marry!’ hahaha… I still remember my good male friends advising that I still needed to make a CHOICE. But my stubborn me would not listen because I just relied heavily on God’s supernatural sign if there was any, so I wouldn’t have to undergo the hard process of ‘choosing and deciding’ (nothing’s wrong in that kind of ‘faith’ too, indeed many people have had experienced those things that I wanted, but the point is still ‘let God does the way He does’ :P)

That kind of conviction was what brought me into a longer journey I suppose. Had I only prioritize my feeling or chemistry, my waiting period would be less shorter I guess, but I also would never know what would happen if I was not to be with my now-husband….

So earlier when I said not many who actually want to take the cost and make sacrifices, the cost and sacrifice can be in the forms of you have to bear the loneliness and at times you just want to shout out saying you cannot stand it anymore, you have to fight the feeling of jealous and envy, perhaps, toward your friends who’ve got bf/gf and seem having much more interesting things to do. What other fleshly feeling that you have to undergo? Self-pity, rejection, unworthy? They are surely not comfortable to your flesh, the struggle itself have made you go weary.

Or maybe others have to pay the cost in the form of having other people ridicule or underestimate their effort and belief in finding or waiting the best from God?

But after what I have been through until this far, I must say that if it is important to you, it is also important to God. If finding or waiting the best godly man/woman from God is very much important to you, than it is also very much important to Him! God is working behind the curtain preparing and molding you and your future spouse until the time He allows you two to meet each other. Never hurry God’s timing.

“I’ve fallen in love with this guy/girl already, he/she is very nice, we have a lot of common interests to share with”

That’s great! I believe marriage needs chemistry, attraction, and capability to share common interests (you will spend your lifetime with him/her, you REALLY need these attributes. How can you spend your life and be awaken every morning besides someone whose face you’re not even fond of?! :P)

But will you take God into the process of deciding? Is God’s opinion about this relationship important to you?

Will you be like a little child when deciding which toy to buy for Christmas gift, you would grab the hand of your Dad telling him that although you have been favorable toward a specific one (and you have your own pocket money meaning you have had the power to buy),  your Dad’s opinion still very much matters, so much important that you let him decide for you, trusting him that he has a much better knowledge, judgment, and observation for which one is the best for you.

Caution: Letting God decide for you will sometimes take longer time than you expected. Will you still be patient and faithful waiting for His clear answer and direction? Or will you ‘give up’ along the way and go with your own judgment, thinking (and sometimes be deceived) that if God did not clearly say ‘yes’ meaning I can just go with it…?

Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”

While waiting for your dad’s answer whether you should buy the toy you like only to find out later that the toy was bought by someone else, then, let it be. Surely there will be regret, but for me personally it is better rather than purchase it without the consent of my dad!

Don’t also buy toys just because they are in sale or major discount.

Well, I know the metaphor of ‘buying toys’ is nothing compared with ‘deciding your future spouse’ haha.. but at least that’s the quickest example I could think of (given only short time writing this while Aimee’s having her nap lol).

In the end I understand I cannot enforce my conviction to anyone, including to those sweet friends who share with me about their single life stories in deciding ‘the one’. Like I said before, it cannot be created, it is only by the work of Holy Spirit as you continue to seek what pleases His heart (rather than your own). I also understand the variety and degree of complexion they have in their own journey, so there is no single ‘rule’ in deciding which one is ‘the one’. I usually say in the end, for them to pray and have the answer from God Himself. Be patient and faithful in waiting for the answer. And meanwhile, try to focus on other aspects of your life e.g. fulfilling your mission from God, using God’s given talent to its fullest potential, etc.

Finding spouse is important, but I believe these other aspects are much more important because it focuses on God and His personality. The rest follows.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”

Yes, godly man or woman is included in ‘all these things’ 🙂

Courtship and marriage will have their own challenges, so don’t forget to enjoy your ‘now’, journey with God is always a pleasant one, doesn’t matter in which phase of life you are in 🙂

ps: I’m writing this with some dear particular persons in my mind, my prayer that the Holy Spirit will give you desire and passion to seek His heart and His words in the Bible. As one by one God’s fresh revelations be unfolded to you, your heart (and your future spouse’s heart) are prepared ‘behind the curtain’. In God’s perfect and wonderful time, He shall allow you two to meet. Don’t hurry God’s timing. Just enjoy HIM, and may you be delighted by Him alone, in Jesus name, amen 🙂

patience

“Men are from Japan, Women are from French”…?

comm

This week in my marriage bible study I learn about communication issue! Very interesting as communication between men and women can be defined as ‘hard hard easy’ (susah susah gampang literally translated from Indonesia lol). Judy Rossi, the author, wrote:

‘Sometimes being in a marriage is like being in a foreign country, because communicating with our husbands requires to be bilingual, to learn their language’

The allegory is very true for me therefore that’s the reason I pick the title of the entry this time. For me French and Japanese are amongst the most sophisticated languages in the world haha.. I love to hear the accent yet they sound very complicated, so I kinda imagine what would happen if a Japanese man talking to a French woman (neither speak English) each in their own native language??!!! Calamity!! hahahha….

I guess that will also happen in marriage if we don’t make effort to understand the way our spouse communicates!

Judy listed several general differences in terms of thought process and tasking (keeping in mind that there are always varying degrees of exception), here I only write some that when I read I straightforwardly said aloud in my heart “that’s so true between me and my husband!” 😉 (male in blue, female in pink color)

  1. Well-developed spatial skills – he acts (makes a good warrior) + Better developed expressive/verbal skills – she talks (makes a good nurturer)
  2. Excludes what’s going on around him until task is completed + Includes all around her in her tasks
  3. “Fixer” – wants to do something about a problem + “Feeler” – wants to talk through a problem
  4. Thinks through feelings, then shares (maybe) + Talks through feelings while thinking
  5. Talks to exchange information: factual, bottom-line talk + Talks for connection, emotional intimacy, relationships; more detail plus feelings

There are lots more others (like women are multitaskers while men singularly focused – we all know this :P). Reading those points above enable me to understand more as (finally) they give vivid explanation of why I and my husband often do or say things differently (I don’t read “Men are from Mars and Women from Venus :P)

For example, related to point 2, now I get a better pic why it’s difficult to talk with my husband while he’s watching TV! (he simply ‘excludes’ me until his ‘task of watching TV’ done LOL). Or related to point 3, many times when I share things or feelings with my husband, I simply just want him to ‘listen’ or ‘sympathized’, but many times also what he does is he straightaway offers me a solution of how I should ‘fix’ the situation, then I’d think why he just didn’t understand I only wanted to be heard. Another example, related to point 5, I often complained to my husband he didn’t say “I love you” as many as I do hahaha…. then I’d “blame” him that’d mean he didn’t love me as much as I love him 😛 His default answer “you know already that of course I love you, why you need to hear it again?” Well, apparently for him that is not a ‘factual information to be exchanged” while for me, I just love to hear that coming from him first as it builds my emotional intimacy with him.

Well, those are some examples that I could think of from my side of story 😛 I know some of my male friends who naturally aren’t hard to express their feelings, fluent in writing many sort of poems, love letters/cards (my husband really isn’t this kind of man ^^”), and some of my female friends who are more ‘reserved’ about their feelings and much more of a ‘thinker’ person, so again, the above differences may not describe exactly you or your spouse’s communication style.

Yet, you know these differences don’t mean that one is better than the other. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean that he’s wrong. Judy put it this way,

“She has what he doesn’t, and vice versa. As both the husband and the wife learn to bridge both worlds – the language of the head and the language of the heart – they’re able to close the gap between them so that their differences become enhancers rather than destroyers

I have a confession to make.

Yes... I confess.. I'm sorry.. I'm guilty... :P
Yes… I confess.. I’m sorry.. I’m guilty… 😛

 

Many times I don’t like these differences, and often use them against my husband and demanding him to communicate same language as mine. It was very difficult. I know now after I learn this chapter this week, it is even impossible for him to communicate similarly as me! I have to make conscious effort to learn, understand, accept, and respect the differences and I will not be able to do it unless I receive the power from the Holy Spirit. That is the first commitment I have to make.

 

 

 

Furthermore, good communication requires three things: speaking correctly (watch over words that coming out from my mouth)

Psalms 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips”

listening carefully,

Proverbs 1:5 “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”

and understanding clearly

Proverbs 13:15 “Good judgment wins favor”

The ‘listening carefully’ part hit me hard.

Through the study God revealed to me many times I complained about my husband didn’t have good listening skills when in fact, my listening skill isn’t excellent either! I find myself sometimes looking at my husband while he’s speaking but hearing nothing because I am busy in my mind with other things and therefore distracted. Other times I am busy forming my own thoughts and not hearing him, or judging what he’s saying rather than hearing his heart. Worst, sometimes I’m focused only on the opportune time to interrupt! I can put these kind of examples of I’m being a poor listener after reading what Judy wrote and then thinking in my heart “o-oh… I actually do those…!”

Now I try to put a conscious effort to evaluate my listening attitude when my husband’s talking. Whenever I realize I’m facing temptation to interrupt (I believe there’s nudge from Holy Spirit too), then I force myself to be silent and keep focus, hold on what I have to say until he finishes. I desire to do this to every person I’m talking too. After studying God’s truth, I really want this verse to be alive in me:

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” – James 1:19-20

I admit this is hard. Challenge is, I’m a talker, I love to talk. It’s like what I do is the opposite of this verse! (slow to listen, quick to speak, quick to become angry)… phewwww….

Lord, please help me to put Your words into practice!

I now understand that listening with intent takes discipline (for me lots of it), just as speaking with purpose does (be careful with speaking ’empty words’ – Matt 12:37). And discipline listening requires mostly HUMILITY – to raise my husband above myself and regarding what he says as more important than what I have to say.

“… in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” – Philippians 2:3-4

I’m so glad that God let me know what I’ve done wrong and provided ways to change. Many times it’s hard to deny my own self but when I look back and see God’s works in my heart and life I am always grateful that God made me to walk on hard path because in the end He always brings His good plan in my life. Knowing what I’ve done wrong doesn’t condemn me, it’s making me be more thankful of how much He loves me unconditionally and His grace never end.

grace

See you in my another “revelation post” 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He, Who Was Naked”

Deep thinking's here...
Deep thinking’s here…

Now, how can you love someone selflessly? I talked about my desire in my previous post to love my husband with “agape love” and wishing to say goodbye to the ‘nagging girlfriend’ gradually (not gonna be an instant, but I hope by end of this year there will be a major improvement in my mind and life).

How can I be a ‘good person’ if Paul in the Bible wrote “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18)?

First thing has to start from humility, by accepting the condition that I myself am not perfect, yet God loves me so much.

He loves me by giving me gift of life, everything I need and people He knows will shape me to be more like Him (whether those people are ‘good’ or ‘unfair’ towards me). Everyday I have the confidence to talk to the almighty God and am justified to have a personal relationship with Him, not because I am a righteous, but because Jesus has lend His righteousness clothes for me to wear.

I was taken aback when yesterday my pastor at his sermon said that despite of those pictures of Jesus hung on the cross with a piece of cloth around His waist, He was actually naked! My heart was so crushed knowing this ‘new’ history fact, even as I am writing this at the moment as the google result of this topic out of my curiosity showing/acknowledging similar actuality. The humiliation of nakedness was part of the punishment conducted by the Romans for criminals and as a way to put fear in the rest of the public.

John 19:23-24 (The Message) say:

“When they crucified him, the Roman soldiers took his clothes and divided them up four ways, to each soldier a fourth. But his robe was seamless, a single piece of weaving, so they said to each other, “Let’s not tear it up. Let’s throw dice to see who gets it.” This confirmed the Scripture that said, “They divided up my clothes among them and threw dice for my coat.” (The soldiers validated the Scriptures!)

Although I could also find many debates about whether Jesus was really naked or not, my heart, mind, and this entry are all devoted for the immense shame He had to endure, and what is the sacrifice for? For me, and for each of every men God creates!

God knows if we, sinful by nature, try to love others by our human effort consistently, we will be either tired or biting our tongue (meaning we do it forcefully not joyfully) eventually. Even for a person who is such a kind and lovely, he/she must have selfish thoughts or ambitions deep in his/her mind during or not when he/she is performing their good deeds. Our human love is vain, and is often affected by emotions and circumstances around us. None of us can love others, even our dearest soul mate, naturally. That is because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), “doing/being a 100% good person all the time in our entire life” is just impossible, if we struggle by our own.

But this post is also not about ‘being a perfect person’. My goal is not to be perfect per se, but to draw my strength to love my husband, child, and others by the example that Jesus has performed. Love that is so great, selfless and life-changing, nobody will be the same after they are touched personally by this kind of love.

If Jesus has loved and accepted me the way I am, why can I extend the same love and grace that I have received freely to others who “fall short” in my own view?

how deep is Jesus loveThe key is to embrace Jesus’ human life and His crucifixion into my daily life for me to ‘have the same mindset as Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 2:5). I have to admit even as a mature Christian, sometimes I have difficulty to ‘make’ Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross real in my life, daily. Often it has become simply ‘a well-known story’ and I hardly can “conceive” it “emotionally”. Knowing the historical fact I’ve just explained at above can be a “remedy” for me in ‘comprehending’ the great shame He had to endure, making me more thankful for what He has done, helps and motivates me to be more loving toward others.

But then again, as I’m writing this I know what I also need to change, I cannot depend on my emotion to be like Christ and have the same mindset like Him. Maybe from time to time, movies, pictures, or any ‘new facts’/things can be helping tools for me to embrace and understand more of how deep His love for me is, but fundamentally, loving others the same way like Jesus loves me is a choice, my own choice.

It will be my lifetime journey, but I don’t want to waste the time either if I have been given the opportunity to make real change from now on. I’ll get down to write “how to put this into practice” later, but for now, I am so thankful that Jesus had died for me at the cross, it is the source of beginning of every good change in my life.