Tag Archives: love

Promise of unconditional love

Americans wear rings on their left hands, right? To show you are married?

Last night I went down to the red light district to visit my friend John.* His grandmother wants him to get married and have children so she can have great grandchildren. John is gay and I don’t think his grandmother knows this. We haven’t had a talk about it yet and I am praying for wisdom when we do.

John’s grandmother’s wishes sparked a conversation on wedding rings, husbands/wives and marriage.

“Are you married?” Hannah,* asked,  pointing to my ring finger. I just met Hannah last night.

I explained that my dad gave me this ring as a promise for my future husband and I’d give the ring to him when I married. Natasha,* a man who underwent sex reassignment surgery to become a woman, listened in.

I asked Hannah if she had a significant other.

“I have a son,” Hannah told me. “But no husband.”

Her boyfriend left her and now the responsibility of raising their son rests on her.

“Is your son in Chiang Mai?” I asked.

“No, I am not able to care for him,” she said sadly. She pulled out her phone and showed me a picture of him. He’s living with family in her hometown. She came to work in the red light district to make money to send back to him.

I’m discovering that many Thai women who work in Chiang Mai’s red light district have boyfriends or husbands who’ve left them. This also happened to Angie,* my friend who recently became a believer.

Many times women will meet a guy in their teens or early 20s and see a future with them. The girls are “all in” emotionally. They invest everything, but the guy isn’t as attached and when the responsibility increases, sometimes with the birth of a child, they leave. Their love was conditional. The girls are hard-pressed for money to care for their kid, so they head to the place that guarantees quick money: the red light district.

Red light districts attract hundreds of Western men who’ve come to Thailand specifically for the sex trade. Some “stumble upon” it. The red light district also lures Western and Asian men who travel to Thailand on business trips.

It makes me sick. And sad. And angry.

My heart hurts for these women. I want so badly for them to leave this industry. I want them to know they are fearfully and wonderfully made and God loves them. I want something better for them. I want them to know unconditional love, God’s love.

I want them to know promises aren’t always broken.

*name changed

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for my parents

I just downloaded Ben Rector’s CD. His song “Hank,” brought tears to my eyes. This is for you dad and mom. (Neither of you were ever a bother )

“To a boy who looks just like his mother, who’s a sister to her brother who sings this song with that boy from far away

I am young but you are younger so you speak more words then mumble. You have to lend an ear to everything I say.

So be kind and love your mother and your father, though sometimes they seem to bother come by, Hank, and you’ll know

There the ones who’ll always love you and support you, they prayed for you before you stepped foot into this world. That’s one thing that I’ve learned.

I remember you were walking, in a month I’ll hear you talking. There’s a million things I’d love to say to you.

Though your parents, they are wiser and will be better advisers, maybe hearing these things twice will get them through.

Go and find a girl for whom your love is selfless, someone who makes you helpless, to change the way you feel. But stay away from girls who always look so pretty, who’s hearts just aren’t fitting for the man in you I see.

Would you remember that for me?

Would you remember that for me? Oh..

Would you remember all these things?

Would you remember all these things?

Would you remember just these things?

Would you remember just these things?

When you find yourself alone in times of trouble, reach inside you and above you, there’s nothing He can’t heal.

And if it is you do not end up with a brother, just call your older uncle, I can always lend an ear. Would you remember that for me?

Would you remember that for me? Oh… “

( Ben Rector\’s \”Hank\”)

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lions and tigers and bears. oh my.

I loved watching “The Wizard of Oz” as a child. Those ruby red shoes were so cool. I loved watching the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion interact. The line from the movie, “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” still sticks in my memory.

I think “The Wizard of Oz” was a crucial part of growing up for many people my age. Granted, the movie came out in 1939, but most people I know have seen it. Many people can relate to one of the characters in the movie, whether it’s that we think we don’t have the capability to have good ideas or aren’t smart enough (the Scarecrow), or whether we don’t have the heart to love or be loyal the way we should (The Tin Man) or maybe we struggle with fears and insecurities (the Cowardly Lion).

As I morphed from a child to an adult, I first became a tiger, a Grace International School tiger. During that time I struggled with fears and insecurities, but overcame them with the power of friendship. Then, when I went to Baylor, I became a Baylor bear. I found that I did have great ideas. When I joined Alpha Delta Pi, I became a lion and learned more about love and loyalty.

I still have a lot to learn about friendship, ideas and loyalty. The yellow brick road hasn’t ended. I’m just going to keep following, arm in arm with lions, tigers and bears. (Oh my!)

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Immanuel’s Veins

Ted Dekker’s newest book, “Immanuel’s Veins” is a dark and riveting tale of redemption. Dekker paints a beautiful tale of sacrificial love that points to Christ’s love. The book is set in the 1700s, in what used to be Moldavia but is now present day Moldova and Romania. (I Wikipedia-ed it)

This is the first book of Dekker’s I’ve read. I read the 367-page novel in one evening. Though slightly melodramatic at times, “Immanuel’s Veins” kept me going.

I think many times we take sacrificial love for granted. We take for granted that blood was shed for our lives. We take for granted the high price that was paid for our lives. Dekker’s book poignantly refreshed in my mind the value of sacrificial love.

The book is a little dark and there were several scenes I was uncomfortable with. Some elements in the book might be disturbing to some. Evil is portrayed vividly in Dekker’s book. But, I think many times in the 21st century, evil is sugarcoated and we underestimate how truly horrid and awful our adversary us. Dekker’s message is a powerful one and he communicates it well.

I don’t want to share to much more, for fear of giving away the plot. Pick up a copy. It’ll make you re-think the way you view good and evil.

Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze provided me with an advance copy of this book. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Searching for God Knows What

Humanity is searching for the relationship it lost in the Garden of Eden.

Today, I read Donald’s Miller’s book, “Searching for God Knows What.” In his usual conversational yet poignant writing, Miller talks about his journey to discover who God and Jesus is and his discovery of the essence of our faith.

Miller takes a hard look at what Christianity has become. Many times, it’s a cut and dry set of beliefs that will grant you access to heaven. But is that what humanity is really searching for? A bullet-point list?

“Maybe the gospel of Jesus, in other words, is all about our relationship with Jesus rather than about ideas,” Miller writes. “And perhaps our lists and formulas and bullet points are nice in the sense that they help us memorize different truths, but harmful in the sens that they blind us to the necessary relationship that must begin between ourselves and God for us to become His followers.”

What we are searching for is the relationship we lost in the Garden of Eden. We’ve turned Christianity into a formulaic theology, a ‘do this and you’re saved.’ What Miller delves into is, that maybe, having faith in God is more like falling in love than following a series of steps. It’s not a scientific process. It’s sure easier for our faith system to be like a math equation. There’s no mystery or intrigue in a math equation.

Miller points out that everything in the world points to the human need to find love and value.

Adam and Eve found perfect communion in Christ. They were treasured by God and they had no need of finding worth or value in anything else. After the fall, everything changed. Since then, humans search for value, love worth and affirmation in anyone or anything.

Miller says that perhaps the reason why the Bible uses so many parables, poems and stories is because, “attempting to describe a relational break man tragically experienced with God and a disturbed relational history man has had since then and, furthermore, a relational dynamic man must embrace in order to have relational intimacy with God again, thus healing himself of all the crap he gets into while looking for a relationship that makes him feel whole.”

So much of my life (this is Tessa speaking) has been spent worrying about what others think of me and whether I’m going to fail. Am I pretty enough, smart enough, outgoing enough etc. Reading Miller’s book reminded me that the only person’s affirmation I want is God’s. Yes, I know that, but do I really claim it and believe it?

His love for me is so deep and unfathomable. I am more in love with my Creator and His love is the only love I need.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with this book. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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