I remember being a girl with a very low self-esteem. I was less talented compared to my cousins who were getting awards, in music and arts, left and right. I was an average student. I wasn't exactly slender. I had nothing much to be proud of. The only moments that I felt good about myself was when guys liked me. That was my source of esteem.
I discovered this when I was in college. It was the stage of my life when I got to experience being pursued by men. I remember the first Valentines day I had received gifts. I had more than what my two hands could handle. Guy number one gave me a bouquet of roses. Guy number two gave me another bouquet and a bear. Guy number three gave me a basket with a stuffed toy and balloons tied to it. Guy number four gave me a rose and a book. I realized that there were people who appreciated me, who loved me despite my nothing-to-be-proud-of state. I was liked, and I was ecstatic.
The happiness that they brought me was something I held onto. There was an empty space in my heart that, I felt like, only they could fill. And in order to keep myself happy and content, I decided to follow what my relatives told me to do, to "collect and select".
The fun thing about it was I got all the attention. I was too busy conversing on the phone and cellphone after school, that there was a time when I was banned from these mediums of communication. The downside on the other hand was I hurt people. I comforted myself saying, it's their choice to stay or let go anyway. Yes, I was selfish. I was a lost girl who measured herself up with the number of men liking her.
I was in this bondage for seven years. It was only in 2007, that it all stopped. How? I attended a fellowship. The guy that I liked (and I thought liked me) brought another girl to church. I thought he was the one already because we had the same values and all. But I had to let go of him and unfortunately I had nobody to replace his space. The need to look for someone else to like made me realize that I was in an unending destructive cycle. Unending because someone has to fill that empty space. Destructive because someone has to get hurt, either the guy or me.
In that fellowship, a mellow inspirational song started to play..
On September 2007, during my cousin's bridal shower, a friend of mine named Ivy told me that if ever I'd have a boyfriend preferably he would also come from the same church. I said, "Nah, they are all brothers to me." Then she asked, "What do you think of David Jan Chan?" This same sister asked David the same question, and mentioned to him my name. After that day, the idea just popped and disappeared like a bubble.
I've known David ever since we were little kids. He was the brainy little boy who'd walk up the chapel stage to get his first honor award. He was also the same boy in college that I had called ET because of the shape and size of his head. But we never got to talk. The first time that we dialogued was in AZCOP 2007: Pleasing Your Ultimate Boss Camp. The odd thing was, just a month later, whenever I played "When God Made You" I would remember him. But it wasn't because I was liking him and vice versa already. The image of him would just pop into my head whenever I listened to the song. It was oddly pleasant.
On the Valentines Day of 2008, he told me that he would like to court me, the biblical way. I didn't expect it. Courtship is quite different biblically because it is exclusive. It is getting-to-know each other with marriage as the end goal in mind. I told him I'd pray about it and give him the answer soon.
I learned in summer of 2008 that he was thinking of becoming a pastor. My parents and many of my relatives didn't like him for me because of that very fact. I didn't want him to be one either. It was funny that during that time God taught me through timely devotions to "Face the Giants" on the same day when my relatives told me to not be with him; and to "make necessary adjustments" on the same day when my father was telling me he might not have the capacity to provide for me in the future.
I felt that I should already tell him by May, whether it would be a YES or NO, to prevent either of us from investing too much time, effort and emotions. On the 3rd week of May, he attended a full-timer's camp. He told me that Monday that God reaffirmed him of his calling. I was devastated because I had never wished to end up with a pastor. I prayed and prayed, and on Wednesday, I got an answer.
I locked myself in a room and asked God if I should be in a courtship relationship with him or not. Two unusual event occurred. First, God reminded me of the God's Best list I had created and lifted up to Him early last year. I found it under piles of books in one of my rarely opened cabinets. I checked if he was able to meet all the criteria. He did. He was the first one.
Second, my devotion that morning was: God gives blessings, and these blessings may come with a responsibility. I realized that David was (and still is) God's blessing to me and I have no other thing to do but to accept him.
I asked my parents for permission if I could be in a relationship with him. They said I was old enough to decide for myself. How my relationship with David has adjourned and how my family's view of him has changed after May 2008, is a different story of God's grace altogether.
Valentines day reminds me that God writes beautiful love stories. Sometimes we have to wait for it to uncover. Sometimes we just have to enjoy the story, whichever page we are.
Happy Valentines Day! May Christ be at the center of your hearts!