From Curses to Cupcakes – A Valentine’s Day story.

Are you that person who is alone on Valentine’s day, wondering if love is for you? Perhaps you put that brave front that you’re all good, but inside there’s regret and disappointment. If that’s you, I want to share my heart with you.

I spend years alone on Valentine’s Day wondering “who could love someone like me?”, while looking at how decades of an autoimmune disease ravaged my body, my career, relationships and mind. Doctors couldn’t really help. Charismatic prayer meetings left me disappointed. Yoga and the emptying of my self offered some short term comfort, but my ultimately my soul was still alone and dying.

Yet in that loneliness it turns out that there was someone that loved me. He was Jesus. And, I can only see this from hindsight.

I can still remember one night, sandwiched between months of loneliness, pain and wrestling with my thoughts, I felt a voice and it left me “strangely warmed”. There was a strange peace, almost like I saw a glimpse of the future and it was okay. I suddenly had a daydream. I was sitting in a new apartment, cool breeze tickling my skin, and I was pain-free. The dream was over in an instant and though the memories were hazy on the details I always remembered how it made me feel because  it was a powerful recess of peace and security in what seemed like a relentless exercise in futility. But such thoughts were lofty, stupid and silly, since for years every attempt to get better failed, and my scientific, analytical and the atheistic side of me had me bound in skepticism. That skepticism was powerful.

But that voice was speaking truth to power, and love to the unfeeling vast universe that seemed against me.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love, and have drawn you forth in loving kindness.” Jer 31:3.

God’s loving kindness is hesed. It’s not just emotional or self-serving like what popular culture pushes. It has the power to change things, and it is borne out of sacrifice, not convenience. It was bought by Jesus dying for our sins so that He could atone for all the wrongdoings we did.

But unlike human love which is conditional, superficial and limited. His love was not without effect. It has power to change us from within, and it also causes God to work behind the scenes for our good – often when we can’t see it. (Psalm 121:3-5)

He drew me forth in loving kindness and offered hope when human institutions couldn’t and wouldn’t. I would not have my health, career and flourishing relationships without Him. Friends who have known me will know that the doctors and the best medicines were not enough to prevent my decline.

A sudden vast improvement in my autoimmune problem allowing me to lower my dose – a real recovery while in Singapore first, and not overseas – to show me that it was not the climate change that “cured” me. Serendipitous opportunities that led me to rebuild my dead career. The ability to forgive the many people that kicked me when I was down.

A couple months ago I recognized that apartment I dreamt of year ago, when that loving and powerful voice came. It was my apartment here in Nashville. Cool wind tickled my skin, I sat on the couch without leaving a blood stain. I was pain-free. When we touch Jesus, we also touch our destinies, for He exists in the past, present and future. He is a healer then, He is a healer now. But more than that, He is a savior.

That’s what His love can do.

If we allow His love to be the foundation of our lives, it will flow out into the other areas of our lives. If you are alone today, consider reaching out to God, for He helps His children and is simply preparing you for the gifts later on. I have no doubt in time, you will be a fine partner for someone else. Don’t forget, He is also preparing someone else for someone special too. You can step in that role.

This sounds cliche, you might know too many people who have “waited too long”. But the reason the variance in results in different people’s circumstances is usually found in the distance between the knowledge of the mind, the acceptance in the heart. and divine timing. My story took almost 20 years to make sense.

We all want fast results, and the results must be Instagram worthy. But true strength takes time to develop and it is always nuanced. Foolish people cannot see it but wise people will identify it if they look hard enough. Deep calls to deep. As you get real strength, you will attract the right kind of people. There are many people that look “right”, but are actually not. This also extends to church, real leaders may not be the ones on the pulpit or “do” the right things on Instagram. Those who truly walk in God’s grace, experience abundance and want to share that abundance with you. They have a humility found by allowing their egos to die, allowing Christ to root himself and grow. They forgive easily and can recognize your value, even while you aren’t in top shape.

So rely on God. Rededicate your life to experiencing God’s grace, walk uprightly, display bravery and humility. Dare to upgrade yourself. Dare to start a new journey to build your legacy. Dare to pursue that new business model. Dare to open up yourself to friends, and not just a GF or BF. Work on all the present relationships you have right now while waiting for the special someone. Reach out to that person who is secretly struggling (like me before), forgive that person who aggravated you. Tell someone about the love of God through Jesus. For with the measure you dish out the love of God, even more will rebound to you (Luke 6:38).

In due time, as you do these kingdom things, He will “add all things unto you.” (Matt 6:33)

In all this pursuit, always recognize it’s all possible because of God’s gift of forgiveness through Jesus. He is the reason why God avails those promises to you. (1 Cor 2:20). You can intuitively sense why a holy God cannot fully interact with sinful men, we need forgiveness and to be make into a new creation. Jesus paid the price and took your place in death so God’s justice can be satisfied.  Mercy and grace is free to flow now.  It follows you all the days of your life (Psalm 23).

Jesus. Thank you.

You might be without a special someone today. Or perhaps your marriage severely damaged. Perhaps your marriage might actually fail, after all, it takes 2 people to clap. But one thing I know, your life will be significantly better with Him than without Him.

Today for Valentine’s day, I celebrate His great love for me that changed my entire life, and increased love in other areas too. I had a good time distributing cupcakes to colleagues and building workers. And I got candy waiting at home to share!

I miss you, my friends. In America now, but always with you in my thoughts.

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