Archive for ‘Books’

November 13, 2010

First loves and true security

by Veronika

I’ve never had a first love. But I have had a first crush. It was weird, when it happened. I suddenly realized I thought he was “so cute!” and I loved the sound of his voice. In fact, that’s what got me – his voice.

Like most crushes, nothing came of it, and in fact, I doubt he does or ever will know that I was interested in him. That’s okay. He doesn’t need to know, because he’s not the one God’s planned for me.

But have you ever had one of those “first loves” that makes you stay awake at night and just pine after him? You get the flutter-butters in your stomach and you have such a hard time looking him in the eye? And if he returns your affection, well then…you might as well go order the dress now.

Eventually, though, you realized that it wasn’t real. It was pure adrenaline, a plunge-in head-first fantasy that wasn’t made of anything truly deep or steadfast. You made up ideas about that person that “just had to be true” because you created and believed in them so long, they became real. And before you know it, you’ve given a piece of your heart away, and then another, then another. Before you know it, you’ve forgotten what true love looks like – because you’ve forgotten the Person who demonstrates it to you every day.

In Day Three of Moments for Singles, Leigh affirms a truth many young ladies and women forget: “My first love is the One who “first loved me, the One who has kept on loving me through every other love of my life” (emphasis added). God is a jealous God. He wants your affection…but He loves you anyway, even when your heart is bound to someone else. He loves you. Passionately. Devotedly. Eternally.

“Receiving the love of God,” Leigh says, “does not mean I renounce my desire to be married.” I think most of us struggle with this. “God!” we wail. “If I dedicate my entire life to You, that means that I’ll never, ever get married!”

No, dear ones, it doesn’t.

Leigh continues. “Receiving God’s love does not mean I renounce my desire to be married. It means that I feel secure in knowing that I am deeply loved today – right now!” You have the biggest “security blanket” the world can’t even fathom. You have the undying, never-ending, unquenchable PASSION of an almighty God, who, as St. Augustine said, “loves each of us as if there were only one of us”! As far as God’s concerned, you’re the only one He cares about. He’s passionate and jealous for you and you only. He’s your first love because He gave up His Son for you, and He’s your security because – unlike fleeting crushes and puppy loves – He’s never, ever going anywhere.

And that, to me, is worth my whole heart. I’m content to wait for His gift of a physical marriage in the meantime. Till then, I’ll seek to “love others as He first loved me” (ref. 1 John 4:19) 

Are you with me?

November 12, 2010

Choose you this day…

by Veronika

…choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

That’s the verse that popped into my head as soon as I read “Who Would You Call?” in Moments for Singles. In her Day 2 devotion, Leigh McLeroy offers a blunt but oh-so-true affirmation of what marriage is NOT: “Marriage,” she says, “…offers a consistent setting for love to be regularly exercised and demonstrated, but marriage itself doesn’t “create” love or give lovers their identity” (emphasis added).  

Oh, so true! And yet, why haven’t I been living like it does?

Only GOD gives me my identity. There are plenty of people who “continue to look to another person for their identity,” as Leigh says, and sadly…I’ve been one of them. I am one of them, by nature. I look for a bosom friend to help me, a family of relatives to bolster me up and shower me with compliments to drive me forward, a big, strong man who considers me as if I’m the only person in the world. My identity: it’s formed by all these things.

But is that really who I am?

In leading his people into the land of Canaan, Joshua had to make a resolute decision: he would have to choose who he would become. Would he be the faithful follower of his master, Moses, trusting in the Lord’s almighty strength despite a host of enemies and a guaranteed years-long war against those who opposed Israel? Or, would he choose to see himself as “one of the guys,” a laid back follower-of-the-crowd who didn’t mind identifying himself with those who hated Jehovah God?

He had to make a choice. He had to choose his own identity.

And he did. “…choose you this day who ye will serve,” he demands. “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (emphasis added). He refused to cave into the pressures of society, and even his own people, to take the easy way, the more adaptable way of living. He refused to take on the personality of the heathen, of those who’s promises of an easy and uncontroversial life would, if kept, would lead him to a complacent and untrue version of himself. Of who God wanted him to be.

I’ve been doing that. I’ve been hoping to find my true identity in other people, in belonging to a crowd – or an individual person – that would somehow, miraculously, make me feel complete.

That can’t happen. Not “it won’t happen”; it can’t. No human can make another one completely happy, and no human can imprint their own identity onto you and make you suddenly feel like you’re being true to yourself.

“Only God does that.”

Leigh is right. He’s the one we’re to be imitating. And He’s the one who develops us and gives us a “new life in Christ.” A new life. A chance to shape your own identity, to choose this day who you’re going to be in this life. A chance to grow into the gorgeous, joyful, beautiful person He has always meant for you to be.

So…who are you going to become?