Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Un-American Love

"I was lucky. My marriage was a love marriage. My brother, his was an arranged marriage."

I heard this today from someone from India and got thinking... In America, our marriages now are almost always never arranged... But how many of them are "love-marriages"?

With marriage option #1, she explained that you have two people who have possibly never met. They are married because it is socially pleasing and acceptable. The families arrange it, and in India it is usually arranged within a certain community of beliefs.

In marriage option #2 you have two people who say they care about each other so much that they want to spend the rest of their life together. They would do anything for each other. They can't imagine life without each other. They live together forever... Right?

In America we don't see #1 very often.

But I dare say we also don't see #2 very often, either.

Marriages don't last. In America, 41% of first marriages end in divorce. In India? 1.1% of first marriages end in divorce. The numbers I saw said that 90-95% of marriages in India are still arranged. And the marriages in India last longer...


Because I don't think the American people know what Love truly is. American love has become short lived, easy, shallow, surface-based, uncommitted, artificial, and self-serving. It's like fast food. You want what you want, when you want it, and when you're done with it, you throw it away.

What is Love?

Love is patient. 
(I will not get huffy and puffy with you when you do something that I don't like. I will think before I speak.)

Love is kind. 
(Even when I don't want to be. Even if you don't deserve it.)

Love is not jealous.
(I won't hold past things over your head. I won't become a green monster.)

Love does not brag. 
(I will not boast about the things I have done, what you have not done, and I will not guilt you because of it.)

Love is not arrogant. 
(I will be humble)

Love does not act unbecomingly. 
(I will act like His Child... at all times.)

Love does not seek it's own. 
(I will strive to serve you 101%, even if it means putting your needs and wants above my own)

Love is not provoked. 
(even when you leave dirty dishes on the counter or say something hurtful)

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. 
(I won't hold grudges, I will FORGIVE)

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. 
(I won't wish on you that you get what is coming to you)

Love rejoices with the truth. 
(even if you are delivering it, and it hurts)

Love bears all things. 
(every thing. dirty laundry. puking children. sick spouses. honey-do lists. sickness)

Love believes all things. 
(I will believe what you have told me and what He has promised)

Love hopes all things. 
(I will keep my ultimate Hope in Him)

Love endures all things. 
(all things... every thing. There is nothing that this does not include)

If this is what we meant when we said we we had a "love-marriage"... I don't think our divorce rate would be as high as it is. If you are in a relationship, are you seeking a Love relationship? Are you willing to make that commitment? To Love no matter what the circumstances are? To make it work, even when it is hard?
If you say "I Love you" to anyone... You had better also mean all of the above to really mean it. Otherwise? It doesn't count. It won't last. It will get hard and you'll become another one of the 41% in America that drops out when it gets hard.

I dare you... Love the un-American way.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


How many of us are guilty of cracking open our Bibles and looking for God to "tell us something"? How many times do we sit down and hope that He will encourage us with something through His Word? How often do you shuffle through the pages until you find just the right verse for what you're going through?

Often maybe?

Yeah, me too.

I realized last week that I need to get out of the habit of asking Him to speak to or encourage me every time that I open my Bible. Yes, it would be amazing if He would. I think though, that I have begun to lose sight of reading it and searching through it so that I might know more about Him, Who He is, what He does, and how He interacts with those He loves. It had become all about me, me, me... And less about Him, unless He was showing me what I wanted Him to show me. 

It's a selfish view I think, to expect Him to show me something every time. He has done this many times for me, where I will read a verse that is encouraging or convicting. But the purpose of my time with His word is to spend time with Him.

You don't go and meet with a friend just to have them tell you how wonderful you are, how awful you are, or how much you need to change this or that. I mean, you could... But to me that's a wonderful representation of a lousy friendship. In order for there to be a relationship you have to put forth the effort to learn about the other person. In the courtship I'm in right now, we are both learning an incredible amount about each other. If I monopolized all of the conversation, we would get nowhere other than him knowing that I could talk a lot (which granted, I can, and he already knows that). Likewise, if I needed him to constantly affirm me and/or challenge me and I never took the time to sit and learn about him... What is the point of the relationship?

I realized it's the same way with my Heavenly Daddy.

I need to learn about Him. To seek Him out and learn His character. What makes Him happy. What fills Him with joy. What makes Him (righteously) angry. I am here because He created me to worship, honor, and glorify Him. I can't do that to the best of my ability unless I know who He is.

My new challenge each day as I sit down with Him is to ask Him to show me Who He is. If He shows me something that is encouraging through the way, awesome. But for now? It is more about Him and less about me. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011


This song has been my source of encouragement over the past two weeks. I first heard it while still at school, in the middle of what I would a sheer test of my will.. No sleep, multiple exams, practicals, and still trying to function as a human.

Then I come home for 4 days before I start my clinical, which scares me to death. This clinical includes staying with an awesome couple, getting up at 5:30 in the morning, driving almost an hour away, staying there all day, and driving back to eat dinner and do whatever I need to do before collapsing into bed.

Amid this, I'm trying to stay connected with my family, my closest friends, and my friends from college.

Some days I don't feel at all strong enough to balance everything. I'm a 19-year old college student, what business do I have pushing myself to these limits? Why am I trying to juggle the various relationships, school assignments, and life in general? Why do I push myself to my mental limit, studying for 4 exams *at the same time* (I don't recommend that, for the record)? Why do I physically stretch myself out, pulling long days, short nights, and barely getting time for meals? Why do I try to keep in the loop with my family and know what is going on with who, and when?

I fought with the why, and then I realized I know the answer...

Because I know I am where He wants me.

For now, this is what He has given me. And He does not give us more than we can handle! Whether it is a temptation, a task, a job, clinical, or a relationship, He gives us exactly what we need to get through it; we just have to know where to look to get what we need.
He is what we/I need. Without Him, I wouldn't have survived the last week at school or this past week here at home. I think we get mislead by the idea that we are only weak when we face a great challenge, like Job did when his family was taken from him and he was left with a nagging wife and lousy friends. In reality, we are weak each day that we live unless we ask Him to walk with us and give us the strength that we need. Without Him, we are not strong enough to live as He has called us to. We cannot do it without Him.

The bridge to this song is the part that has been especially stuck in my head.

I can do all things, 
through Christ who gives me strength,
I don't have to be strong enough, 
strong enough

I, Hannah, do not have to be strong enough. Instead, I have to be broken enough to ask Him to be my Rock and my Fortress. I have to know that without Him I cannot face the things that He gives me. The things He brings into my life bring me the sweet joy of knowing that He is asking me to continually trust Him to be my Strength and my Shield.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
(Psalms 28:7)

My song is my life. The way that I live my life through His strength is the way that I thank Him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Where I Belong

All I know is I'm not home yet.
Take this world and give me Jesus.