Disclaimer: This was written around January of 2015.
The term Ever After is often seen as something that happens after a woman and man gets married. I’m at a point where I will soon enter that stage. I stand in between two seasons, preparing to leave a stage/season that has given me so much while also preparing for a new season where novel adventures await and a greater calling is to be heeded and made. I am in the Before Ever After. But I don’t think the “great” Ever After happens after an earthly marriage. It is when the groom of all grooms— Jesus— comes for us. That is the Ever After. And this is our Before Ever After…the life we have here now.
2014 has come and gone. And never in my life have I wanted so much to leave such a year. If you knew me and what we’ve been through, you’ll know what I mean.
But then again, as always, I wouldn’t change a thing too. I wouldn’t trade everything I’ve learned for anything. Faith and grace. Two huge words that made up much of last year.
Never have I went just so blindly, amidst the heart-wrenching wrestle with doubts and questions, having faith in the only One I can run to. This I have to say, faith in Jesus is not easy but it is glorious. No one talks about the “behind-the-scenes” of faith. How each process is peppered with anger, doubts, insecurities, and pain. Or how you feel like the world has forsaken you. Maybe because the process is outshone by Jesus’ love and grace. At the end of it all, what matters is the One who is still there even when you hear silence. Through the pained heart, total disappointments, scarred emotions, and all; you know He is all you have. I may have lost a lot but one thing I can never take is losing Him…losing Him over something that won’t even matter one iota in eternity. So my battle cry was “Whom have I in heaven but You? (Psalm 73:25) Whom have I here on earth and everywhere but You?” In my darkness, He stood….silent maybe, but still there. So this is our Before Ever After. In this life, we will still experience many of these trials of faith. Before going to eternal life with Jesus, we still have this. And this life is full of imperfections. The journey is far from over but this is what I have to say:
Hebrews 12: 1-2 …And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Never have I experienced deeply God’s staggering grace. Yes…staggering, scandalous. Messier and dirtier yet forgiven much. And still faithful. Where in the world can you find that kind of love? I tussled and hovered between condemnation and conviction. And when you’re overcome with condemnation, who remembers what grace is? Sometimes I switch to the “works” system. Sometimes I forget and I get confused. Questions get ahold of me or maybe I ask questions because I want it to work my way— the way I’ve always known it to be before I knew God. But time and again, God has patiently taught this stubborn heart and soul what grace is. No matter how far I’ve strayed, He still sees me as His beloved daughter, His princess! This is not to say that I’ve “uncovered” or understood and truly went deep down into this unfathomable grace…there is still so much to unveil. Grace is a lifelong lesson. It is learned every single day. Before Ever After will always be filled with needs of grace. In the next life, in eternity with God we might finally be able to comprehend this amazing grace that we so often sing about and pray for.
A new year has come but we’re still in Before Ever After. And with that, while we wait for our Ever After (and even After Ever After *wink!) with God, I hope to walk through life carrying and holding on to God’s scandalous grace and it is my prayer that I will always walk through it with the faith that Abraham had.
P.S Before Ever After may seem like an unusual term but I coined it from one of the most compelling novels I’ve read from a few years ago. And another FYI, I bought it because it is written by a Filipino (and yes, a certain place in the Philippines is mentioned)!