Resting in His Saving and Amazing Grace

“Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it.”

– Manuscript of Accra, Paulo Coehlo

I can see the cursor blinking in and out like an ellipsis….

So many words and yet so many ways to tell, undecided…

….how do I begin? 🙂

Yes, how do I begin testifying to a series of events that piled up already and yet I couldn’t find the “tugging” to post them until just now? *wink* Honestly, I still don’t have the slightest idea how to arrange the thoughts which have been sitting as a draft since February here in WordPress and share them. Yet I can only trust the Spirit’s leading on how the wordplay will come about in this post.

The posts in this blog for the past 2-3 years have been about nothing else but faith. This was how God intended it to be. Though for the first year of this blog I was grappling on what to write about, now, it is the other way around – I am battling with time for the numerous pending posts that I needed to write and post.

For March, it’ll summarize what went on from February until March. My January post summarized what transpired in the months of December and January. The month of March was about marching forward and yes, the character trait for March is CLARITY. As for February, it was AFFECTION  (do read January post for this one.) 🙂

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February: AFFECTION

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March: CLARITY

This might explain why I was missing in the blogosphere for the month of February and why this post is super long (sorry about that, friends). February was the month of settling things – again, not a coincidence, but I have learned to rely on God’s plans all along even though some are hard to accept, some are hard to understand, and some are impossible to achieve. But then, that is one tough responsibility of a Christian and that is everyone’s calling too – live by faith and not by sight.

Last December, everything was unraveled. It was a moment of choosing among a multitude of choices and tough decisions. Every flaw, every need and every concern were brought out in the open. I have thought for that moment it might seem such an endless feat of emotional roller coaster and yet God had been faithful enough.

Fast forward to January, the start of 2017 was also the start of the turnaround of events. When seasons change and the comfort zone is no longer part of the next plans, it could be daunting. But as it was written, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

February was a month jam-packed of events. When you are caught in a whirlwind of events, oftentimes a “soul check” may come as the least of your priorities. But in faith, it is the other way around – a “soul check” is necessary and should be the top priority before everything else. That was what happened in the last few months, a question of am I doing it God’s way or not. I’ll just mention a few and most of them actually were answered prayers – prayers that I never thought I have prayed and yet silently in my heart, I did. Only God sees our hearts, anyway.

Maybe that is the reason why fulfillment in those answered prayers never really came from receiving the actual answer to the prayer per se but more about how God listens and how great He is to provide even the most impossible. It was all about God in the end, never about our desires but a satisfied desire on both our end and God’s that thru this fulfillment, we have established a kindred spirit and a deeper and personal relationship with our Creator. It is all a matter of communicating between Him and you alone – the ONLY thing that He asks from us.

So let’s begin the long journey of disclosing in this online journal what traversed in my moment of hibernation in the blogosphere starting February.

The incident:

A convo between my husband and I took place wherein I asked him what is it that he wants best in this life. His answer made me smile and speechless at the same time making me wonder where he could possibly be generating all these answers. My best guess – the heart. Who really am I to judge, indeed? I don’t see the heart, God does. 😉

“I don’t want material things but eternal rest.” 

We came to that point wherein we had that (serious) husband and wife contemplation about priorities, the future and life in general. I can say that throughout the moments since I got saved, I did not regret any decision I have made which included my decision to marry. It is only through the entire duration of our years together as a married couple did I get to see why God gave me my husband in particular – I had so many answered prayers through my husband. It is either an answered prayer to that change I have been rooting to do internally but don’t have the guts to discipline myself or the big and small things that I have been wanting in my heart but never expressed them openly.

But God, once again, proved Himself faithful all throughout.

I have always wondered what if I married another man. Will he be patient, understanding and forgiving enough as my husband is right now to me and my circumstances? I oftentimes ask my husband how he feels regarding our situation and ask him to be patient with me as well and what I am going through. His answer was always a gentle, “I understand.” Though he would always say that, I know that he is sacrificing so much for both of us and as his partner, I have felt this inadequacy when it comes to fulfilling my role and my duties as a wife.

Starting the month of January until now, this was personally, for me, a season of instability. Firstly, every married couple gets to deal with financial difficulties and this season, my husband and I are going through with our own fair share. We have decided to finally move out from the apartment that my sisters and I have been living in for the past 20 years though it was only me who lived in the place for the last 7 years. We have decided to relocate near his workplace as it is more convenient for him and he gets to rest right away after work.

But this posed as a problem since I have no work when we both decided to move out and we are relying on my husband’s income alone for our daily expenses. If you’ll do the numbers from bills to necessities plus all the home stuff that we have to buy, the total suggested more funds. I did get a job. It was a convenient one but, unfortunately, it was not from my field of expertise and ironically, my water loo too – finance. Yes, it has something to do with numbers and money.

If you are wondering how I ended up in that job, I don’t know too. 😀 But I know God has a reason why because I got that job just 3 days after we moved in our new apartment. We were able to buy some of the basic stuff that we need at home. But as you all know it, I had to let the job go. I will not be able to give my best if it is something that I am not familiar with or is not my cup of tea. Numbers make me cringe and the fear of committing a mistake when it comes to computing plus the fact that it deals with money just proved that I might regret it later if I stayed longer.  Another thing too, the worry of it all just took the better part of me and stress replaced what used to be a hopeful and positive attitude – I first thought I should give it a try. Employment equates to stress but when I started having stomach problems, difficulty sleeping at night and puking for no reason at all, I know I have to make a decision.

I wanted to go back to teaching. It was actually the very reason I stated when I resigned. The calling of being a teacher is greater. But then again, we all know that a teaching job is even more challenging when it comes to classroom management, multitasking, time management, etc. Again, no employment is ever easy and stress-free. But then again, I did want to try it out. Here came the opportunity – I had everything carefully and perfectly planned out so I’d get the job. But here came unprecedented circumstances which for the first few, I was able to gain control over but it required my husband and me to stay up until past midnight. I was able to pull it off. The next day I woke up with my estimated schedule. Everything should be smooth sailing until news came that the MRT 3 broke down and became operational only at 8am. I didn’t give up. If commuting was not an option then I’d go for the GRAB car – I was wrong. Since majority of the stranded commuters chose other alternatives of commuting, traffic was inevitable and it was worse than the usual. I decided by then that I had to let the opportunity go because it only means that it wasn’t intended for me. If I still pursued it then most likely I’ll be going against the grain of fate and will meet more unfortunate events along the way.

I am well aware of the idea to keep on swimming ahead even if the vision before you is hazy or the waters seem to be too deep and troubled or the shore is nowhere to be seen, figuratively speaking. But I am also well aware that from what I have experienced so far, if everything seems to be failing even if you have tried all possible attempts in getting things right, it only means it is beyond your control and God has intended a different plan for you. It could be God’s way of preventing you from any future loss/failure, future pain, even more hassle and inconvenience than intended.

So I asked God why I can’t have a regular office job. That moment of quietude with Him and me asking all these sort of questions trying to make sense of what has happened and what is happening came to a final halt – a matter of life and death.

I have already mentioned this a couple of times in my previous blog posts and health wise, I know I have nothing to fear. In the recent medical checkup I came clear but if I am not cautious enough i.e. check my lifestyle, sleeping patterns, food intake, physical activity, etc., and all these accumulated through the years could mean my ending up in a hospital bed earlier than expected.

I have to be cautious with everything.

I am not claiming it but I know it as a fact that I am a carrier of cancer genes. It was a generational curse – it didn’t skip a generation starting from my great grandmother (we don’t know if it started even way before her generation) to my grandmother then to my Mom. They were all breast cancer survivors. Most likely you’ll tell me I will survive too. 🙂

Yes, by faith and by God’s saving grace I know I will. But then it should not be reason enough for me to be complacent. My great grandmother, grandmother and Mom spent most of their lives in the province – a laid back lifestyle, pure simplicity, a fresh and clean environment and less complicated than city life. I spent half of my life in the metro starting college which was the opposite.

Again. I have to be more cautious.

If you will notice, I referred to breast cancer in the past tense because I am declaring that starting from my generation, not one among my 3 sisters and I will have breast cancer how many years from now and that the future generations of our family will be free of this generational curse.

There’s another generational curse too that I am declaring for my family and relatives and the future generations in our blood line to be free from starting with our generation but due to its sensitivity, I chose to keep it confidential.

These generational curses have no cure – ONLY God can deliver us from these curses. Not even the fields of medicine and science have the capacity to provide a lasting treatment/solution.

But,

“We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.” – Our Daily Bread

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Another thing too, my husband and I have been trying to have a child but time declared we can’t have one as of yet. We did talk about it and he told me that whatever God’s will is, he is happy and content either way.

That, I absolutely and unquestioningly agree upon. I did tell him though that as much as I’d want to have a child, I wouldn’t want to raise a child and let him suffer in this world or be punished for the mistakes that his parents did or bear the generational curse passed on to him. If part of the sacrifice that we have to make in order to break the generational curse is to be childless, then we have to honor it.

But then again, it entirely depends on what God’s will is and what His plans are. Indeed,

“As you do not know the way the Spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

The generational curses and the current situation my husband and I are going through both have one thing in common – stress as the triggering factor.

Looking back to what I had to give up, they were standards that this world dictated as what should be accomplished and yet it all equated to stress. When I gave up my graduate study, I asked myself if it is worth it especially when my eczema attacks started showing up again, I had to deal with black spots in my legs which lasted for how many months and I experienced tension headaches/migraines which lasted for 3 days twice a month. I also had to give up the liberty and privilege of working in the corporate world or in my field of expertise.

Do I have regrets? Certainly not. My decision to not conform to the terms of this world won’t rob me of my dignity and make me less of a woman, will it? My identity no longer is attached to those titles that this world offer but to the title that God has given me – His princess and His loving daughter.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My situation now? God showed me other alternatives. I know God did not give me skills just to see them all go to waste until I die and not be able to contribute to this world and help humanity in any way – it’ll make Him unhappy. 😀 I told my husband he need not worry because there are a lot of home-based jobs available for me in the fields of teaching and writing, my two best fortes, if I really need to get a professional job as a means to get an income. There are so many of them actually in different fields of expertise and if I will be “takaw tingin,” I’d prefer having at least 2 since their schedules are usually flexible. BUT, God will definitely say “No.” 😀

In addition, I have witnessed a lot of female friends who shifted from being corporate employees to staying at home, being a full-time Mom and housewife with a home-based job, stressed also but FULFILLED receiving the same salary that she gets if she works in the office spending energy and time commuting, coming home extremely exhausted and has no time for her family.

Yes, fulfillment makes all the difference, right? Even if you are paid triple of what a regular wage earner gets if the fulfillment isn’t there, work will just be equated to work per se in all technical aspect of the term. Aside from that, “whatever it is that our hearts value, there our treasure will be also.” The bad thing about this is if we’re putting our hope on treasures that are temporary and will eventually fade away. Building relationships with people I love are important to me – quality time is my love language. I want to invest more in it – being with my family.

What else?

As of the late, my husband asked me if I could do commissioned work for my sketching hobby after I posted the sketch (next blog article) I did of him during his birthday last May 4. He told me that one of his Mom’s friends asked if I could do their family portrait and his Mom and brother also requested the same along with a few of my relatives and friends ever since I posted some of my previous sketches. My answer was an unsure “let’s see.” 😀

If God gives us a talent as a gift, He has a very good purpose behind it all and honestly, I am not yet confident enough to take my sketching hobby to a higher level. 😀 It’s been 15 years since I started this hobby out of my need to have an outlet when things and times get rough. I am not confident as well to tag a price in each of my art work. I intended to give them for free actually and make the recipient of the art work happy – my ultimate goal as an artist. But if God instructs I have them paid, then I believe I should. Now this, I need to really pray hard as I don’t want to disappoint those who have requested to have their sketches done and there are a lot of them pending requests already. I just need more time to pray to God about it and wait for His answers. *insert wide smile here*

Another opportunity also came about my putting up a restaurant/café after hubby and I made this special burger recipe and his brother insisted we make it as a business as he knows someone who can be our supplier.  I told him we talked about this option but we have chosen my hometown in Bicol as our business location – yup, you guessed that right, too far. My 3rd sister and I have actually planned about this already and came up with the concept for the café and went through the basics of business analytics and management and the only thing she said was that it won’t materialize if I am not there with her to get things started and to keep them running. One of my hobbies is cooking and experimenting with different recipes but eating the food I cooked is not part of them. lol I believe I am to blame if hubby gained a lot of weight after we got married. Ooops, not my real intention there though. 😀 I just want to cook for other people and it makes me happy when they are happy with the dishes I serve them. Again, this is another prayer for my prayer line when it comes to wisdom, guidance and instruction.

Honestly, I was never after the money nor the recognition – getting compensated for the things I love to do and the things that God has gifted me with in terms of talents and skills. I’d like to contribute and share them to society and be able to make every individual happy and fulfilled or if what I contributed could help them in any other way regardless if I’d get anything in return or not (awards, recognition, money, etc.). I only needed money for survival and for now, that is what my hubby and I needed – for our daily needs but never to satisfy our wants and live in excess.

Moreover, I told my husband that if time comes God blessed us with more than we needed, I will retain the kind of lifestyle I have now and would still prefer the same living conditions – not a lavish nor grand lifestyle but a simple, minimalist one. Again, by having only the things that I need and never the things that I want.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

But as we all know it, I can plan so many things, have so many choices and wonderful opportunities to choose from and small and big decisions to make and yet, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Thus, I rest my case. 😀

For all the generational curses, the lifestyle check, the shift in opportunities, the continued pursuit of God’s will in my life – they were not because I live in fear but because I have fear in the Lord and if obedience is what He requires of me in this season so He can usher me towards what He desires for my life, then I should, by all means comply, stop figuring out this life on my own and rest in His saving grace.

Solution? Pray harder and trust God and His plans even harder.

[In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”] – Ephesians 3:20

Oh and I think I forgot to mention that in my Paulo Coehlo planner-turned-spiritual journal, April’s character trait is COOPERATION and May is FAITH.

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April: COOPERATION

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May: FAITH

Did God say, “Tin, you must cooperate with me and have faith?” I think He just did that’s why I wrote this. *insert wide smile here again* 😀

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1

P.S.

For the first quarter of year 2017, my life/planner went from having TOLERANCE (January), giving AFFECTION (February), to achieving CLARITY (March), giving COOPERATION (April) and last but not the least, having FAITH (May). 🙂

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep His promises.” – Hebrews 10:23

“God can be trusted to guide us.” – Our Daily Bread

“…the challenge is to trust (in) God’s ability to lead rather than in our ability to follow.” – Genesis 12:1

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

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