On the eve of Valentine's Day, I'm happy to introduce my new friend, Elisabeth Huijskens. Not only is Elisabeth a co-founder of Trades of Hope (which you all know I'm in love with!), but she is the author of the new book Putting Fairy Tales to Shame. Please welcome Elisabeth!
To the girl who pours over make up and outfits for hours before feeling valued, to the women alone wondering love will ever knock on her door again, to the feminine heart that's broken and beaten, Jesus has written the grandest of love stories. Not only so, but from the very beginning, we have been living, walking, breathing the very center of its romance.
I remember the first time I told a leader in my church about my relationship with Jesus. I admitted that it was a romantic one, and I was surprised when she said that she had never heard of that before. The more open I was about the love Jesus and I shared, the more and more perplexed I was to find that others didn't have that kind of relationship with God. Not long after, when I saw girls and women giving everything that had to be loved by men, that perplexity morphed into devastation. Did they not know that the fulfilling love that their hearts longed for was one step away? They had the Ultimate Groom waiting for them at the alter and they were chasing after love that wasn't even there! That's when I knew that I had to write and write and write for the sake of God's fiercely beloved feminine hearts. These writings on my blog became the back-bone for my book, Putting Fairy Tales to Shame.
Women have been fed devious lies about the real definition of love. We have heard whisperings that we are not worthy of love. We have heard that once we sin we are "impure" or tainted beings. We have heard that having an in-love relationship with a man will be the pinnacle point of happiness in our lives. If I could just be better, prettier, holier… If I could just get him to notice me… If I would just get married… …then I will be happy.
Chapter two of Putting Fairy Tales to Shame reads, "If we are searching for love and still coming up empty, or worse broken, then it's time we step back and re-evaluate the definition of love. The love that we have been taught over the years that has been blinded by lies cannot be the same love that ebbs from the heart of our God. His perfect love is heartbreakingly camouflaged by our sin-filled world."
God's definition of real love is revealed with radiance and poetry in a story starring a prostitute. In the Biblical book of Hosea we find God telling his faithful prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer. I don't know Gomer; but I know God designed her feminine heart, just as He did yours and mine. As she chased after the attention and materials of men, leaving behind her faithful husband and children, we can know that she was not fulfilled.
What did Hosea do? He remained faithful. And more importantly, what did God do? He said this, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her" (Hosea 2:14 ESV, emphasis added). God wants to use the heart ache, the sin, the wilderness that we feel to sit us down, still our souls, and whisper promises of love and unconditional acceptance. Then maybe, with healing hearts His daughters will be able to see that they are beautiful, victoriously free; and that He is currently waiting on bended knee, holding in His scarred hands a wedding ring. This ring represents the promise that He'll come back for you after preparing your place in Heaven with Him (John 14:3), it represents the Holy Spirit that He has given to you (Ephesians 1:14), and it represents the wedding feast that awaits us upon our arrival in Heaven (Revelation 19:7).
Dare to be wholly fulfilled. Dare to be unearthly romanced. Dare to be swept up in a love that will hold you close, guide you in romantic relationships on earth, and free you from past pain. It's a love that is putting fairy tales to shame.
Elisabeth is an author, speaker, and worship leader who desires to use God's truth, love, and presence to help young women become who their Designer created them to be. By determining the lies in our lives and overpowering them with Jesus' love, young women are healing from past relational pain, able to live constantly in God's presence, and learning how to have the best possible romantic relationships with men; all through falling in love with their Savior.