Monday, October 15, 2018

Authentic Love: Is there such a thing?

Love. The 4-letter word that has caused more heartache, pain, and confusion since the beginning of time.  

Whether we realize it or not, we are more conditioned today about what love is supposed to be like, than we want to admit.

Every movie we watch, the songs that we listen to on the radio like Drake's "Kiki do you love me, Are you riding... cause I want ya, and I need ya, and I'm down for you always...", the whole "bae" and "relationship goals" hashtags, books on hot, steamy, yet totally immoral sex (Fifty Shades of Grey anyone?), tv shows like The Bachelor that convince women that "true love" is earned based on actions, and the list goes on and on.

It's no surprise that we have no clue what real, authentic love actually is. The ugly and sad truth is that society has influenced us into thinking that romantic love is and should be a certain way.

And we've all fallen like complete fools for it.

You don't have to look far to see the effects it's had on us. Things that would have never been okay years ago are now not even given a second thought, because it's simply "part of the relationship process".

But in the end, it leaves people hurt and brokenhearted.

Today, it's completely normal for someone to assume you will eventually move in together, go on honeymoon type vacations... because that's the "normal step" you take before you make the actual commitment on marriage... if that's even a possibility on the horizon. 

Since when did love become a free trial-based game?

Real, truthful love is honest. It's kind, it's selfless and pure. Real love isn't measured on how much sex you have before you're willing to really commit to one another.

It's a lie. And that's where we've got it all wrong.

You might call me old-fashioned and think I have no clue what love is. And you're probably right in thinking I fell it for it at one point too.

We're all guilty in being in a sea of waves and just casually following whatever the crowd is doing.

But as someone once told me, "just because the crowd is going there, doesn't mean they're going in the right direction."

I know a love that went to the very depths of death to show us the true meaning of it. A love that didn't wait on our performance or perfection. It didn't wait on us earning that love.

That love is Jesus Christ coming here to us, even though we were in the darkness, messing up, trying to find it on our own standards.

He saw me in my deepest wrong and cried out, "I love her so much, that I'm willing to bleed here on this cross because I want her to be with me in eternity one day. Because she's worth it."

How can someone love us that much? Because He knew us and saw us before anyone decided what love was.

Ladies, you are insanely loved by God. If no one has ever told you that or perhaps you've heard it casually... here it is. God wants a man that cherishes you, respects you, and is willing to wait for you without any strings attached. 

He won't pressure you and take something from you that was never his to take in the first place. Because you don't deserve anything less. He is a man that's after God's own heart first. Because who better to go for advice than the One who is love itself?

Gentleman, you have a very important role. Society will tell you to be the macho guy that sleeps around marking his territory or with the one girl he "maybe wants to marry someday". 

But a real man understands how important a girl's heart is. Despite what culture is telling you, you keep fighting for what God ordained real love to be. Keep fighting for chasing after God's heart to show you what kind of a husband you want to be to your wife one day.

This topic has been heavy on my heart with everything in society that's been going on. But regardless of what others may think, the truth must be spoken.

Because real love speaks the truth, even if it hurts and offends.

I pray that you do some soul searching on your own, regardless of what the world is telling you. And when you come to find the authentic love that God had planned for you all along, you realize it was worth the wait.

// Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. //
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Lucky Number 7

And with a blink of an eye, today marks 7 years since I first typed the words of what would become my little haven on this corner of the internet. 

They say you never really know how much you've grown until you look back and see how far you've come. 

My first post back in 2011 was only a few sentences long, and all I had to say was I had no idea where this would lead me, I knew I was curious about photography and writing and I was tired of letting fear win. And then I jumped... well I hit publish. 

Can I say I am exactly where I want to be in my life right now? No, because there are always things I wish were better and I could improve on. 

But did I ever think that all but a few words published on the internet could have led me to 7 years of documenting special moments in people's lives, storytelling events in my life, my journey with Jesus, new dreams, writing about my fears, my happy and sad times?

No way!

And so after 7 years of being truly dedicated to this blog, I have a few things on my heart I need to say. 

1. Life is way too short to not start. Press publish. Do the things that you were always curious about. You don't know what beauty will come from it.

2. People will laugh. People won't like what you say or do. People will think you're weird. Keep doing it anyway. 

There is someone out there you might not know that needs you and sees the hope you have and what makes you come alive. Your people will find you. 

3. Let it go. You were created with something incredibly unique! Too many people often stay in the same box for most of their lives because they care too much what others think of them for being different. I'm slowly learning to let go of this. It's hard, it's embarrassing at first, I know. But honestly, I would lose so much more if I didn't share what God had intended for me to let shine.

4. It's not what you think. Nowadays people talk about purpose like you can buy it at a grocery store. And truthfully all I hear through these quotes and inspirational talks is "me, me, me".

But did you ever think your purpose really has not much to do with what you do? 

Everyone has a purpose that's for sure. And you my friend are no mistake. But what I've realized (I can't believe it took me this long) is that it doesn't matter what you do in life... it matters that through what you do, Jesus is glorified.  

Like to cook? Glorify God by feeding someone that doesn't really eat homemade meals much. 

Have a car? Help someone out by giving them a ride. 

Have free time? Spend time with someone you know that is lonely. 

// So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. // 1 Corinthians 10:31

5. Character over success. We tend to place all of our focus on succeeding. But we don't realize that the person you are becoming and the growth that is taking place in you as you go through life is so much more important than all of the success you can ever have.

"Be dedicated to a few things and do them incredibly well and build up a reputation from there." - Hannah Brencher

Life is about growing, the moment you think you've arrived is the moment you've stopped. 

Don't stop. 

Keep learning, be humble, and have a teachable spirit no matter how successful you become. 

Lastly, I just want to truly say thank you so much from my mushy-gushy beating heart to yours for following me along this journey of mine. 

To all the beautiful souls that allowed me to document a special moment in their lives... thank you. 

Here's to growing, to getting up every time we fall, and being bold and courageous to become who we were created to be.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Brooklyn, New York

I love visiting new places and seeing what the world has to offer. But sometimes we get so caught up with embarking on an adventure overseas, we miss the very beautiful cities and monuments that are right by our own homes. 

I have always seen images of Brooklyn and its quirky cobblestone streets, with corner pizza shop gems... but after so many years, I had never visited for myself. And so a few days before my birthday, D surprised me by telling me to ready myself for an adventure. 

I'm not easily surprised because being a typical girl, I need to know what to wear, and should I bring my camera along? There's so much to know! Needless to say, I brought my camera along and I'm sure glad I did. 

We spent the day walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, sat at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and strolled by Dumbo and Jane's Carousel. We visited the Oculus by the One World Observatory and marveled at its beautiful and modern architecture.

When in Brooklyn... you eat pizza. We ended the day by eating a delicious Margherita Pizza from Ignazio's. Here are my favorite photographs I took from the day!