Romance is the ultimate happy ending…right?

Oh, how I love fairy tales…Disney movies…the happy “I said yes!” posts proudly smothered with “likes” on Facebook. I love to see two people find each other and feel that feeling our culture holds above all others: the euphoria of finding your “soulmate” (hear the music playing and the crowds cheering?). 

I once subscribed to this euphoria. Oh, I had bought the t-shirt and signed my life away to the theory that “there is just one soulmate out there for you and they will make you happy” And in my mind, that unknown person held the key to my happy ending. All of my life story would come together. I would find meaning, purpose, and a joy that would keep me buzzing on life until my true love and I passed into death in each others’ arms…(are you tearing up yet?)

So, some of you may be following me closely. You’ve been in the #soulmatesearchclub and followed every romance story online. (Or if you’re from my generation you actually read those rectangular things with all the pages, called romance novels.) If this is you, luv, like me years ago, you are what I call a Wedding Gown Diva.

Some of you gals, like my teenage daughter, follow strong, independent females on Twitter and spout the motto “I don’t need a man!” You may have promised to never get married, or at least to wait until you’re “old” so no man can ruin your life goals. You might click Like on a comment, “All men are pigs–just look in the White House!” Cynicism is your middle name and you are not going to fall for something as old school as marriage. Girl, you are what I call a Wall Building Woman.

I think that both the Wedding Gown Divas and the Wall Building Women are hoping for the same thing: their happy endings. I think both groups want to love and to be loved. The first group is seeking a man to fulfill all their dreams and the second group pretends they don’t even believe love can bring anything real or good to the table. Wedding Gown Divas put all their eggs into the basket of romance, trusting that someone kind and oh-so-handsome can give them the life of their dreams. Wall Building Women go to the other extreme and deny their desires for love, erecting a forcefield of strength that no man can break through. The first group gives their heart away too freely and the second hides their heart in a cell of self-protection.

Which one of these groups is right?

I say neither one.

You see, finding your soulmate (even if he’s kinder than Captain America and hotter than Thor) will never guarantee a happy ending. No matter how wonderful that man is, he can never fulfill you. He can never give you life-long happiness.

Happiness can only come from inside you, from your soul.

Ok, I heard someone in the Wedding Gown group protesting, “But he’s my soulmate! He is connected to my soul!” I once thought that way too.

But I was wrong. No human being, no relationship, no kiss, no marriage can ever make you live “happily ever after.”

Now if you are a Wall Building Woman you might be thinking, “Yep! Say it! That’s why I don’t subscribe to all that romance B.S.!” But here’s where you’re off course. You, darling girl, are also looking for happiness. You also want to be loved. You may pull up your big girl pants, turn your back on Pinterest wedding posts and roll your eyes at cheesy Instagram quotes. But, deep inside, you wouldn’t mind being worshipped by someone whose adoration of you makes Ed Sheeran songs sound boring. Your problem, chica, is that you build up walls around your heart and act like you don’t care. You play tough so that the chance for rejection is slim to none–mostly because you don’t let anyone close enough to get to know your heart.

To you, untouchable lady, I have to say “Stop!” Stop and look honestly at your heart. Have you built a fence around it? Are you sure loneliness hasn’t staked a claim in your soul? You are not so much better than the romance-addicted other group. The path you’ve been following, away from love, is not taking you towards true fulfillment either.

Ladies, my goal in writing this is to help you see that nothing can satisfy you but the true Lover of your Soul. Jesus.

There is not a man alive (or dead for that matter) that can give you lasting happiness. No career nor self-promoting Twitter profile can replace the happiness you long for.

Don’t you see? You both want the same thing. You both want the happy ending. And that’s ok. As long as you find it in the One who created you and designed you, from your beautiful eyes to your pedicured feet.

IMG_8386
I love this quote!

Jesus is the only one that can fulfill you. He is the only one who can give you the happily ever after you desire. He planned you from before the earth was created and you will not feel truly fulfilled until you let Him be your soulmate.

The Bible says, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good; abounding in love to all who call to you.” (Psalm 86:5)

In the book of Zephaniah (yep that’s in the Bible) God says that He loves us so much that He sings songs about us (take that, John Legend) and in the book of Isaiah (chapter 62) it says, “As a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.” God loves us SO much that he sees us the way a groom looks at a bride when she’s walking toward him down the aisle! That’s some hardcore adoration right there!

And, here’s the clincher: God doesn’t change. He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He will always love us. Always. No divorce contract. No rejecting us because we have morning breath. He always loves us. And He will be there for you and me through the good times and the bad. He won’t walk out the door and leave us with screaming kids or turn off his phone and ignore our text messages. (I think it would be pretty cool if we could actually text him though!) 

Ok, you wanna know how I know this stuff? How do I even have the right to preach all this Jesus stuff?

Wait for it.

I’ve been you. Both of you. I’ve been the one wandering through Target hoping I’d bump into a handsome stranger, AND I’ve been the one marching shiny high heels down a New York City street with an invisible “Don’t even talk to me” sign on my forehead. Neither one lead to happiness. New York me ended up lonely and bitter. Target me ended up married and divorced twice. (Which, ironically, also left me lonely and bitter.)

I’ve come to learn that Jesus is the only “man” I can entrust my heart to. He is the only one who will handle it with gentleness and absolute love. He will always be here for me. He will never leave me.

Jesus is my happily ever after. And He wants to be that for you too.

 

(Note: If you’d like to know more about this Lover of your Soul, send me an email at lnewsom77@protonmail.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! ❤ )

Bills, cows, and ice cream cones

“What the…”

That was all I heard my husband say this afternoon as he walked in the door from the mailbox, a torn envelope in his hand.

He spread its contents on the counter. It was a bill for a medical visit I had a month ago, one that we thought our insurance had paid for.

The bill was for almost $600.

I lost my job several weeks ago. And we are just barely able to pay our regular bills right now. Not to mention I have $80K in school loans and we have six kids to feed. My husband’s car just got out of the shop. Mine is sounding like it will be next. Oh, and Uncle Sam has decided we owe him several hundred dollars by mid April.

This was not a pleasant surprise. We looked at each other in shock.

I’m sure you’ve had those moments before. Moments where your next thought is panic. Fear jumps up and puts its filthy hands around your throat. You try to breathe and think normally, but it seems impossible.

As humans, we tend to panic because we think small. We see the situation and from our limited view and all we see is hopelessness.

But God has a different viewpoint. Not only does he know the future, but he controls all the money in the world. In Psalms 50:10 God says, “The cattle on a thousand hills are mine.” He created and owns everything on this earth. Cows. Money. It’s all just stuff to him.

You know what that means?

You have the exact amount of money you are supposed to have right now.

If you needed more–if it was what was best for you right now–you would have it. He gives us exactly what we need when we need it.

Yes, I’m preachin’ to myself here.

After we gawked at the bill my husband didn’t say much. He left to go pick up his daughter, and I prayed he wouldn’t give in to the same panic that was trying to cloud my brain.

I got out my Bible and came across a verse:

““I am the LORD your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”

‭‭PSALM‬ ‭81:10‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Not only is God reminding his listeners that he brought his people out of captivity in Egypt, he’s going way beyond that. Did you notice that?

He didn’t just say, “I brought you out of Egypt and I’ll provide food for you.” Or “Don’t worry, we’ll make it somehow.”

He says, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

Thats no meager statement. That’s a huge promise. That’s like as a kid when your dad took you for ice cream; instead of getting the smallest scoop there, he let you get a triple scoop of whatever you want. With sprinkles! (My earthy father never did this, but my Heavenly Father longs to give me even more than I need!)

God gives good gifts. And he is happy to provide for our needs. We just have to trust his timing.

Sometimes I think he likes to wait till the last minute to come through. It’s like he’s just showing off.

I can’t wait to see how he’ll provide the money for this bill. I’m trusting it will be just in time.

Messy

Clean. Ironed. Pretty. Perfect.

That was always how we were supposed to dress on Sunday mornings.

Going to church was a big part of my childhood, and I’m so thankful for that. But sometimes I tended to think that “Sunday best” is how I’m supposed to approach God.

That I’m supposed to be perfect. Supposed to have washed behind my ears all the thoughts I struggle with, to have ironed away all my desires that aren’t in line with the Bible, to have cleaned under my fingernails to the point that there is no attraction to sin and I am prim and proper and ready to meet His approval.

But that’s not how it is.

He wants me to bring my messiness to Him. My imperfection. My struggles. My failures. My flaws.

Recently I put myself in a situation that I shouldn’t have been in. I should have run far away from this situation, but instead I stood there with the tip of my toe barely touching the water. Thinking that I could stay right there with no consequences and no temptations dragging me into the deep.

Oh, so risky.

Thankfully, the Lord prevented me getting dragged under. But just allowing my toe to come into the vicinity of that water brought a storm of repercussions.

Those around me misunderstood the situation. Fingers were pointed. Rumors were whispered. Those closest to me were confused. I was humiliated and my explanations didn’t go too far. Although I was 99% innocent, I had put myself on a canoe headed for the rapids. And the rapids tore my canoe to shreds.

I made a mess. Lost my job. Lost friendships. Lost respect of so many people I cared about.

Lost my pride…Oh, but that is a good thing. The pride had led me there. Thinking I could get so close to the darkness but not get scarred by it. Thinking I had become so good at my job and so well-respected that nothing could touch me. Ugly. Stinking. Pride.

I made a mess. How could I bring that to God?

But that is what He wants. He wants our messes. He wants the true, raw me. The me that I don’t want anyone to see. No pretense. No perfection.

 

IMG_8166

In 2 Corinthians 4:7 the Bible says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” He wants to use us. Messy, basic jars of clay. Nothing fancy on the outside. Probably cracked or chipped. Dusty from the long walk bringing water from the well. Back then clay jars held oil or water mostly. They were useful but not usually pretty. The treasure, the life-giving substance, was inside.

Just like He lives inside me.

This treasure He’s put inside me makes me beautiful. He sees my messy and he makes beauty. He makes beauty from ashes. He redeems everything He touches. That’s the business God is in now. He started out in the Creating business, but now He’s in the Redeeming business.

I’m so thankful.

And now…do I still have a mess to clean up? Yep. It’s not fun. It’s a bit lonely and a lot embarrassing. I’ve got a lot of work to do and I don’t know where God is taking me next. But that’s ok. I know wherever it is, whatever happens, He will be there with me…taking my messy and making it beautiful.