My Best Friends’ Weddings

Two of my closest friends got married in the past two weeks.

No, they didn’t get married to each other. They were two separate wedding ceremonies that we attended, the first two weddings in our little group and we were all excited to witness them get married to the loves of their lives. It was the perfect way to end 2013 and start 2014. ♥

I really like weddings. I can’t not like them, I guess, especially since my brother is a wedding videographer, and I’m always around wedding stuff when I’m with him. I like weddings not just because I’m a romantic sap, but because I think weddings are a solid proof of God’s faithfulness to His people.

All wedding stories I’ve heard from friends, and from people my brother worked with always had a story behind it, one that involved a lot of struggles and tears and heart break. It all seems lovely on the day itself, but can you imagine how the two of them got there? What did they go through, not just in preparing for the day itself, but you know, before the proposal, before they got together and all that?

Take one of my friends who got married, for example. I’ve known her since elementary, and she’s one of the nicest persons I know. She’s pretty and popular in school, and from the outside, I always thought she seemed so lucky with love, because boys always noticed her first and went for her. But I was also privy to some of her greatest heartaches, especially before she met her now husband. I can still remember those days when we’d all sit together and talk and keep her company, because the one relationship that we all thought would be forever ended like that. And then she met the next guy, and I can still remember that long discussion we had about commitment and what she wanted and what he wanted, and I saw how it was such a big decision for her and for him. It wasn’t easy, and I know I just saw a fraction of her struggles. But I saw how faithful God was to her and how He took care of her heart, and when we watched her walk down the aisle, all I could think of was: This is what we have been praying for for her. This long journey really battered her heart at some point, but it made her a different person. It made her even more beautiful, and now she’s with someone who will take care of her heart the way she deserves it, and we’re all just very happy for her.

Then our other friend, who I had the privilege of talking to about love and life for a long time as we ruminated over our own struggles. It’s funny how I was a witness to how God transformed this guy through some of these love struggles, and sometimes I still laugh when I remember how he was before to how he is now. His story with his now-wife took years in the making, and he tripped so many times in the journey, but the road led back to her again. This amazes me so much, because it almost seemed like a dead end story when he first told me about it. After a rejection, and some pizza time (because I can’t forget about that, haha), my friend started building his relationship with God, and then found his way back to his girl. I don’t mean to make it sound so simple because there was a lot of work in the background of their story, but the point is — and I’d like to borrow my friend’s term for this — it’s all God’s favor. And His faithfulness to the the people faithful to Him.

It’s not an if-else thing (because if it is, then I should have been married by now, too :P). The thing I realized over these two weddings is that God really is writing our love stories, and it’s almost always not in the way we thought they would go. If anything, the story God writes for us is way, way better for us, and something we never really thought would be possible until we get to a certain point and look back. It takes action on our part, of course, but most of it is a trust thing — trusting that wherever we are now, God is always working on us, and He always sees, and He always loves us even in our most difficult times.

It gives me hope, you know. Not just in the romantic aspect, but in all other aspects of my life. I really believe that God makes all things good and He gives what is good, and He works for the good of all the people who love Him. My idea of what is good may be different now to what He has in mind, of course, and I’m learning that bit by bit. That’s why I’m also learning take delight in Him, be it in good times or success or failures or heartache, because I trust that He knows and sees more than I do.

And He is faithful, always and forever. My closest friends are proof of this. :)

Delight

Happy 2014!

When the year turned from 2013 to 2014, I was having dinner with my mom while we watched the countdown on TV. We had too much food, as always, and I was starting to reply to the New Year greetings I received earlier. Before that, I was in my parents’ room, watching Pitch Perfect, because it was on TV, and I smiled when I remembered that last year, I was also watching the same movie with my best friends while we waited for 2013 to come.

And before that, I was in my room, planners from the past two years open beside my 2014 planner, crumpled pieces of paper surrounding me as I read and reviewed and updated my 5-year and 2-year plan, and my 2014 plans. I was sort of freaking out with all the planning, but two hours later, I was done — and it was still a couple of hours before midnight.

So how did you spend you celebrate the turn of the year?

* * *

I think my word for 2014 found me even before I found it. Unlike last year, though, this one didn’t dare me at all. Courage crept up on me and then tapped me on the shoulder and almost demanded for it to be my word for 2013. My word for 2014 didn’t, but it followed courage shortly after I owned that word, and just sat there, sometimes almost unnoticed.

During the hard days, it tried to make its presence known. I can see it, but I can’t look at it for a long time because it was easier to just sit and wallow on the harder things. I can’t bear to be that word, even if some people I knew said I was that kind of person. It was hard to notice it, because it felt like there was no reason to feel that, to be that.

But by the end of 2013, the word was becoming bolder, and through the other experiences and the people that surrounded me, it tried to make me see it more. And eventually, I did. It felt like a friend who I haven’t seen in a while — especially if we refer to the context of the last few weeks of 2013 — and it was kind of nice just sitting with it and thinking of how it will make my 2014…well, joyful.

So the truth was, I knew that it was going to be my word for 2014 even before 2013 ended. And when I acknowledged it, I was actually excited. And it was nice to be excited.

So, my word for 2014 is DELIGHT.

delight2014

Originally, it was supposed to be joy, but when I did some research, I thought delight sounded better. I liked how it meant the same thing — joy — but it also had the word light in it, like the word is about lighting someone up with joy. Doesn’t that sound nice?

But just because I chose this word for 2014 doesn’t mean it will be completely happy all the time. If anything, I know that owning a word for a year meant that I will be faced with opportunities to be joyful, to take delight. Of course my heart will probably break again at some point in this year — but that’s a given, anyway. I don’t think I’ll be surprised with that anymore, and if anything, my Year of the Brave taught me that it’s a fact of life and I just have to be ready for them. I can’t control what could happen, but I can control how I react to it.

So I choose to take delight.

One of my favorite bloggers wrote about joy and delight way better than I can ever write about it now, so I will just quote her:

Delighted, overjoyed – we so often mistake those words for happy, or, more honestly, for naively cheerful or optimistic. We think that if we name those adjectives, we’re making it sound like we (or God or both) aren’t taking hurt seriously. That we have missed suffering. That we have lost sight of the ache of the world and are applying a pink band-aid to the gaping wounds.

But it is the work of delight and joy to come close to suffering, even closer than the so-called serious realism. It is through joy, not cynicism, that we approach the unspeakably difficult.

Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. They are the choice to trust love triumphant. Joy is a choice to believe God when He calls what He has made very good, and a choice to draw near to that very good world in its ache and terror and sadness.

They are the choices to let love win, to trust love triumphant. I want that kind of joy, I want to learn to delight. No matter what happens in my life. I want to learn to always take delight. I want to choose and believe that love always wins.

Funnily enough, the second part of Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s Wish in 2013 was also about joy, and it sort of feels like I’m just picking up on this after the Year of the Brave: And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

2014 is the year to take delight. :) And this is not just for me, but also for you, who is reading this blog post right now. I don’t want to wish the pain away, but I wish that you find joy even in the midst of it. I wish that you the strength to take delight even in the direst of situations. I wish you the kind of joy that lasts, that sits inside your heart to warm you through the cold nights, and that bursts and celebrates life for all its beauty. I wish you all the kind of joy that you will share with others, so we can delight in one another’s presence the way God is overjoyed with us.

This 2014, I wish you delight. Happy new year, everyone. :)