Monday, December 7, 2009

To: My dear daughter, Happy Birthday. From: God

My birthday happened to fall on the same week as the Moms In Touch conference. I already received an early present from God that day in the form of an immediate answer to prayer regarding my son (see one post ago).

I did not know He wasn't done yet. Among the gifts I received were:

1. From a dear sister in Christ: The One Year Chronological Bible NLT so I can participate in Wendy Pope's bible study next year and from my sister, a very cute bible cover to go with it.

2. From my women's group: Gift cards to and a department store.


Yes, dear friends, THAT husband. The one whose salvation I have been praying for eversince I became a Christian five years ago. The one who was the reason for starting this blog in the first place. The one who's responsible for most of the tears I have cried in my lifetime. God must have seen the number of vials lining up in His throne room and decided it was time.

The sheaves are in!

I thought it was going to be like any other birthday. To my surprise DH decided to cancel his meetings, took the day off and we spent the day together. It was a perfect day - I went nowhere near our stove! We went out for breakfast, lunch and we had dinner at my Dad's. As my present, he agreed to attend the mid-week church service with me, albeit reluctantly.

I've got to give props to God because, my, I have never seen my pastor preach like that before. He was ON FIRE! Everything flowed. He talked about choices - stand with the world, or stand for Christ. At the end of the service, my pastor did an altar call. Head bowed, eyes closed, raise your hand if you accept Jesus as your Savior. I thought I detected movement but I wasn't sure. I could not even ask him after the service in case he said no. All I remember is that during the entire service I was holding on to Jesus' robe, praying, not letting go, pleading and begging, "PleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod. Soften his heart. PleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod."

Ten days later, I found out God answered. I finally had the nerve to ask DH if he raised his hand. He said yes. Wow! It was a tender moment. Having been married to me for 23 years, he asked that I please let him walk with Jesus in his own way and his own terms. Why, of course, honey.

But my usual impatient self was in high gear. Why aren't things changing? Why the silent treatment two days ago? Should I give him a bible? Enroll him in a home fellowship? What devotions can we do? Most of all, when can he take over as the spiritual leader of our home? I was eager to "help" him. Tell me what to do, Lord?

My answer came the next day during the Sunday service. I don't remember the context but my pastor mentioned a quote from Ruth Graham: "It is my job to love Billy. It is God's job to make him good."

Ah. Amen.

Best birthday ever. Thank you, Jesus!

Saturday, November 14, 2009 God's goodness

This morning I attended an event at church called Arise! Cry Out! - a Worldwide Day of Extraordinary Prayer for Children and Schools sponsored by Moms In Touch International (MITI). Can you imagine the power harnessed by mothers from 130 countries simultaneously praying for the children of the world? You know that definitely moves God's heart.

And when His heart is moved, things happen.

Let me tell you what He did for me today.

They needed ushers for the event so I volunteered. As a result I had to sit in the back at one of the designated usher's chairs. When it was time to pray, I joined a group of ladies towards the front. On the way back to my seat I noticed a latecomer. She was an older lady, mid-70's, sitting by herself at the very last pew. She looked like she wanted to be left alone. During the next prayer session, instead of going back to my former group, I approached the lady instead. Hesitating a little, I asked her if it's okay to pray with her. She smiled and nodded.

She motioned for me to go first. I started praying that my college freshman find a good bible believing church close to Stanford and for him to continue in his Christian walk. I also prayed for my younger son who is still home. I heard her laugh when I mentioned that my little one is challenging but he keeps us on our toes. When it was her turn, she prayed for her daughters. I listened intently to her prayers so I can agree with her. Then all of a sudden I heard "Menlo Park" and "Palo Alto." Huh? At first I thought I did not hear her correctly. It turns out she is familiar with the area and knows of not just one, but TWO good "sound" churches within a mile of campus.

I mean, can you believe it?

There were a hundred women at that church this morning. Of all the ladies that I could have sat next to - God led me to the one who has two daughters living in the Palo Alto area. I looked down and was surprised to see the tear stains on my jeans. I just cried. And cried. And cried some more at God's goodness. Later on, she came to my seat and gave me a piece of paper with the names of the churches AND the service times. She also gave me her contact info. Then she left.

I said a prayer for her.

Oh, my heart is just overwhelmed and my eyes swollen from tears of gratitude to our wonderful, wonderful God. He hears our cries. He answers our prayers. Sometimes there's a wait. Sometimes immediately that you can almost hear Him whisper, "I am here."

My faith is renewed. My desire to pray more is strengthened. I am standing in the gap.

Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When the "D" in DH does not mean "dear"...

Today is my Dh's birthday. I made a card for him the other night. And I am thankful for that because had I made it LAST night, it would be a VERY, VERY different version.

This is the version from the other night:
I used espresso colored cardstock (Bazzill - the best!) accented with blue. The cover read: The Things I Love About You. Inside I stuck some chipboard that said, "your smile," "your laugh," "your sense of humor," "your hugs" and a big one that said "i love everything about you." And added my own little notes to go with each. Ahhhhh, add in the rainbows and unicorns and we're set.

This is what it would have been had I made it last night:
It would be on a cheap construction paper. Black to match his heart. The inscription would read:
Where the heck were you when I was trying to reach you this afternoon???? Your son had a really bad asthma attack! We're 30 miles from home - and his inhaler. Why were you not picking up your darn phone? You are an insensitive and selfish lout and I hope you choke on your steak.

Harsh, right?

I did not even want to give him the "other night" card this morning - thinking he did not deserve it. I was still so mad! I was mad-reading through my Psalms and Proverbs, when I came across this:

Psalm 126: 5-6
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Yes, I have been sowing in tears, begging God to soften my husband's heart. And days like yesterday I get disheartened that it may never happen. But that phrase caught my attention: Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Sheaves? What are sheaves? (Because I was focused on the "rejoicing" part.) said sheaves is a plural of sheaf. O-kay, that was helpful. When I clicked on sheaf it said: 1. A bundle of cut stalks of grain or similar plants bound with straw or twine.

It did not make sense at first but the Holy Spirit just reminded me - very patiently, I might add:

Holy Spirit: It means a harvest.

Me: Huh, what? (I'm not a morning person.)

Holy Spirit: From the seeds you've been sowing in tears. You know, your prayers? (I can imagine Him saying "duh!" and sighing as He tells me this. Is the Holy Spirit allowed to sigh?) Don't stop praying. It's coming.

Me: Oh!

God's grace just amazes me. And His patience and mercy. Even in the midst of my anger and resentment, He comes in and comforts me with just the right words to keep me going. I may not see any changes now. It may even look worse than before, but a harvest is coming. I don't even know if my husband knows about it. He is in for a ride.

We serve an awesome God.

Now, I'm off to wish my husband a happy birthday. And mean it.

Update: I did call after I hit the "publish post" button. My attitude was totally different from when I started typing the title. I had a smile in my heart and my face and said "Happy Birthday!!!" I don't think he was expecting a call considering my icy attitude this morning because he sounded surprised. He thanked me for the card. I did not even mention anything about last night.
I cried after I hung up the phone. Tears of gratitude and praise brimming in my eyes because I see - truly see - God's hand in this. He really has the power to change hearts. Mine, definitely this morning in the span of an hour and his, well, sometime in the future.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord! I'm looking forward to that harvest.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So, that's what God was up to...

For months, God has put it in my heart to dig deeper into His Word. Not just the surface reading I do everyday but to really dig deeper. I have this desire to have the scriptures come alive. I don't want to just read it, I want to live it!

The search began...

It just so happened a few weeks ago that the leader of our small groups was giving away her old books. The one I picked was Kay Arthur's book, How to Study the Bible. I looked into her Precepts Ministries and their Inductive Study Bible. But God knows that with my perfectionism, it may not work for me because: 1) I have to find the right bible because somehow the 6 I have at home wouldn't work, 2) I would get hung up on the perfect markers to use that would not bleed onto the back page, 3) the perfect color ink, 4) the perfect pen, 5) am I using the right symbol? or 6) how come I can't draw a decent flame? (Welcome to my mind.) God wanted me to dig deeper NOW, not the forever it would take me to find the right components.
Well, remember the day I got sick and went home? Now I know why it happened.

Here's the rest of the story.

The next day I woke up still feeling a bit icky so I called in sick. I also debated whether to take my son to school or have him stay home with me. Realizing that he's better off learning than hanging around with whatever germs I may have, we both got up and I took him to school.

By mid-morning, and after one more serving of the chicken soup, I was 100% better. Then I remembered that renowned bible teacher, Dr. Chuck Missler of the Koinonia Institute, was coming to our church at lunchtime. So, I went there.

Oh, my. Talk about divine appointments.

His message pierced my heart. You are here because God called you. His questions reverberated in my head: What is God calling you to do? Why has He called you?

He also urged us to raise the bar in our personal walk with God and to commit to a systematic program to learn the Bible.

At the end of the session, I just knew. This is it! This is why I got sick yesterday. This is why I had a miraculous recovery today! I needed to be here, not at work.

So I stood in line to enroll. All the while the enemy whispered in my ear: Hey, is it wise to spend $100 when you have huge monthly college tuition payments to make? You know you're not going to do it.

Well, I did it anyway.

And you know what? When I got home, I received an e-mail from my husband saying that the reimbursement from his Canada business trip from months ago finally came in - for $139. Praise God, I even got an extra $39!

So now I am officially enrolled in the Koinonia class on track for a bronze medal. I'm not really after the medal, I'm after something much valuable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ah, the irony of it all

I have a confession to make: I hate to cook.

That's not very Christian-like, is it? But it is what it is. I would rather work on our budget spreadsheet or do school stuff with my children than plan what to have for dinner. Clearly, cooking and housekeeping are not among my gifts.

To complicate things further, my husband loves to eat. But not leftovers. (I, on the other hand, am a big fan of leftovers.) I remember when we were newlyweds, he always raved about his grandmother's cooking. Well, being the perfectionist that I am, I know I am never going to attain the culinary expertise of his late beloved grandmother.

Nevertheless we have managed to stay married for 23 years despite my dislike of cooking and his love of eating. And I figured if we're all still alive after my years of imperfect cooking, we're good.

He travels a lot for business. It's not easy for us but one of the perks of having him gone is I can make simple meals. Or just eat leftovers.

He left yesterday for a trip overseas. My older son is away at college. So it's just me and my 9 year old. Ah, leftover heaven!


This morning I woke up with a headache. Got up, took my son to school and went to work. Headache still lingered but this time joined by chills and soon after, nausea. I tried to ignore it but by lunchtime I knew I either had to leave and pick up my son immediately or he will have to spend the night at school.

One thing I know: I cannot get sick. Who is going to take him to school? My sister just had a baby and can't get around. My Dad is having dizzy spells. I have no back up so I have to get better.

I know what I had to do. I need chicken soup. And no, the Campbells variety won't do it. I need this:

The ultimate comfort food from my childhood. It's called chicken tinola - and it is goooooood! (Photo courtesy of the internet.)

Either this or get the ready made Pho Ga from the Vietnamese restaurant.

Problem #1: We're out of chicken and I only had $10 in cash left until Friday. So the ready made Pho Ga is out. I had to stop by the grocery store and get the chicken plus the other ingredients (ginger and papaya).

Problem #2: My son has food allergies on top of being a very picky eater. He won't be able to eat that with all the ginger I am planning on using.

So there I was, in the grips of some virus which I hope is just the 24-hour variety, in my kitchen cooking not one, but TWO chicken dishes. Yes, TWO! I never did this when there were four of us in the house. I just had to shake my head and laugh at this turn of events.

Don't you just love God's sense of humor?

Here I am seven hours later and feeling much, much better. The soup did its job. The headache is gone, so is the nausea and I can even sit here in front of the fan and not shiver. My son also had his favorite dish, so we're both happy.

Thank you, Lord, for the chicken soup and for giving me the strength to cook not just one, but two dishes.

The menu for tomorrow night? Leftovers, of course.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Welcome, Baby!

Hello, world.

This is Jeffrey, my baby sister's first (and after 18 hours of labor, she thinks "only") baby.

He came yesterday via C-section at 3:39 p.m. weighing in at 8 lbs 6 oz. and 21 inches long.
I met him a half hour after he was born. Oh, so fresh from heaven.

I am smitten.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Exercising the Shield of Faith

"I take the Shield of Faith
May I be ready for satan's fiery darts of
doubt, denial and deceipt
so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat."
- From The Warriors Prayer/Turning Point Ministries

These last few days I found myself a frequent visitor in the Throne of God.

It has been a week since we dropped off our son to college. What a rollercoaster of emotions in just 7 days.

At church last Sunday, he served as an usher with me for the last time. Before we left I asked the pastor to pray over him (I cried). Then our fellow ushers and my very pregnant sister who came to see him off prayed for him as well (Yup, more tears). Then another lady, who recenty started attending our church after 20 years of being a missionary gathered my two sons and I in a circle and prayed over us, too (By this time I was a blubbering mess). Needless to say, my son was covered in prayer.

We left Monday and stayed at a hotel for the night.

Move-in day was 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. It was so exciting because the students memorized all the names of the incoming freshmen and when we arrived at the dorm, they all yelled out his name. It made him feel so welcome. I spent the day organizing his room even moved the bed and desk to make it flow better (thank you some other Mom who watches HGTV). I put the new bible that I bought for him by his bed. Inside I tucked my well-worn copy of The Warrior's Prayer. It is a prayer detailing how to put on the armor of God. For the last few years, that is the prayer that I use to cap my morning devotions and to pray for other people.

We attended the Convocation ceremony later in the afternoon and had a dorm meeting with the Faculty Advisor. By 6:00 p.m., she said it was time for the students to send the parents out into the world. They gave us a pack of Kleenex, a Sharpie marker to leave a message for our children on the windows and a half hour to say goodbye.

Let's just say I made good use of the Kleenex.

We left for home on Wednesday morning.

Thursday night after our bible study, I came home in a semi-panic since I haven't been able to reach him that day. I tried Skype, text, e-mail and calling on his cell phone. I know the service for T-Mobile is very sporadic there. Oh, did the enemy have a grand time with me.

For a few minutes I imagined all sorts of bad things happening to him. Why did I not get his roommate's cell phone? Why did I not get the contact info of any of the RA's? Nor the Resident Faculty?

This went on for a good hour. Then I recognized it for what it was - a spiritual attack.

I took a deep breath. Remembered to pray. I needed to flex my Shield of Faith. That eventhough I can't see Him nor him, I believe that God will take care of my son. And that his time is in His hands. He will be here until God says his time is up - and not a minute nor a second too soon.

Last night at our Sunday night service I was still sad. A new usher was standing at his station. It was the last night of our study in the Song of Solomon about courtship, love and marriage. My friend, Cheryl, told me something profound when I expressed my worries about the things he will encounter at school. She told me God prepared him for it through that study. That he will know how to go through friendship, courtship, how to treat a woman, how to flee from immoral activities, etc. I am so thankful that God did that because I never could have talked to my son about these subjects.

He will start his first class in 8 minutes. (More prayers that he heard the alarm clock.) I asked him to take a picture of his first day of school for me, you know, for the scrapbook.

I know he's an adult now but maybe he'll humor his mother this one last time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Countdown Begins

Dear Son,

In four days, you, your Dad, brother, Grandpa (if he's feeling well) and I, are heading north on I-5 in a rented minivan to drive 7-1/2 hours - or so I'm told - to drop you off to college.

I know you were shaking your head at some bizarre things I did this weekend. But there are reasons behind it.

  1. I wrote your initials on 50 brand new mechanical pencils - yes I know they were disposable pencils. And no, I'm not saying your future roommate is a kleptomaniac. I did it hoping that in the midst of your busy day you will think of me when you grab a pencil.
  2. I started crying while cleaning the Brita pitcher for your dorm. (There is no explanation for this. It just happened.)
  3. I tried to stuff 18 years' worth of memories into three Target bins and a mini refrigerator.
  4. You know the three column list of things to bring printed in 8 pt Calvin & Hobbes font/landscape that normally would put me on overdrive as I realized we will be spending all weekend at Bed Bad & Beyond, Costco, Marshalls, Big 5, Target & Staples? It became a welcome distraction instead. If I'm hunting for Twin-XL bedsheet with the right thread count I can't cry, right?
  5. I was sad when you listened and FINALLY cleaned your room.
  6. I kept tabs on the remaining days and found myself saying, "This is going to be his last Monday, Tuesday, etc. here."

Then I wondered...

  1. I wonder if you can feel my love some 472.83 miles away?
  2. I wonder if you will look forward to coming back?
  3. I wonder if things will ever be the same?
  4. I wonder if you still walk with Him?

You see, son, I'm not crazy. I'm just sad at seeing you go. Our home will not be the same without you. But I know I have to pull myself together, trust God and just -- let go.

It is time.

So on Monday, we will drive you there, unload the bins and walk you to your dorm room. But I know that after we walk over the threshold, things will change - and not just because there is one less person heading back. It will be the beginning of your journey on your own path. The one that God meant just for you long before you were born. I can't wait to see what He has in store for you.

Meanwhile I will be here, just as I have done before, praying for you every step of the way. May you always walk with Him.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009 answer

A few posts back, God asked, "Will you love him for me? I could not answer Him then. And honestly, I was hoping God will just forget about it and let me move on. Well, God did not forget, but I sure acted like He did. Days, weeks and months passed.

During this avoidance period, I hid behind the excuses that my flesh gave me: You can't because you're sick, you're tired. He's a jerk. Oh, and let's not forget Pride. Pride certainly got in the way. It got in collusion with Flesh and they both told me what I wanted to hear: Why should you bother to try? He doesn't even pay attention. He doesn't care. It's so nice when he's not here, you don't have to worry about cooking dinner every night. So peaceful! And here's the kicker: He's a selfish man and he doesn't deserve you!!!

Oh, they were convenient excuses, justifiable ones even and pleasant to the ears. But, I did not realize Pride was slowly but methodically destroying my marriage. And I almost let it.

But God...

Yesterday morning, He put it in my heart that the time has come. God wants His answer.

Last night, I was doing the dishes, and helping my younger son* memorize his verses for the upcoming BibleBee competition.

*Disclaimer: His motives for memorizing the verses are less than holy - he was doing it so he could reclaim the videogame I have been holding hostage for such a time as this. (Yes, I had to resort to our very own Verses for Videogames program. Oh, it was so frustrating! I have been on him for the last five months to get started and he wouldn't listen to me! Uh-oh. as I typed that it came to me - I was doing the same thing to God!)

I was only half paying attention to the memorization because the impending "talk" was foremost in my thoughts. My son came to me with the sixth verse:
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
It stopped me in my tracks. While I listened to my son's teeny, sweet 9 year-old voice recite that verse, I know I'm hearing from the Lord. Those sure sounded like marching orders to me. Suddenly I knew what to do: I need to humble myself and apologize to my husband. I could not avoid it any longer.
So, after much prayer and anxiety and more, "Son-can-you-repeat-Joshua-1:9-for-me,-please?", I finally talked to my husband. It wasn't easy. He was watching the World Series of Poker. He had that glazed expression in his eyes that is achingly familiar to me. I have seen that expression many times before. It made it easier to build my defenses, my wall. Pride reminded me, "Can you really go through with this? You already know what he's going to say. And you're going to feel slighted because he won't react the way you pictured it in your head."

But God also had something to say, "It's not about you, is it? It's about him. Look at him, you know deep down he's hurting. You know he's searching. He is my prodigal son and I want him back. Will you help me?"
It's about time I listened to God.

I told him: "(Deep breath) I have to apologize to you. Uhm, God put it in my heart that I have not been loving you the right way. I apologize for not loving you unconditionally. I use being tired as an excuse to not even try. I am sorry to say that I almost gave up on our marriage. So, uhm, I'm really sorry." Or something along those semi-coherent lines.

He nodded then turned up the volume. I don't even know if what I said will make a difference. But I choose to trust God who urged me to go forward. I pray that the bumbling words that left my lips were sifted and blessed by the Lord - that it went through His prodigal's ears, all the way to his heart.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On Divine Connections

When I was in high school I hung around a bunch of girls whom I considered to be my BFFs. There were eight of us from the same elementary school and we quickly became the "in" group. Ha, this high school thing was going to be a breeze after all.

Oftentimes I would hear my friends talk about this girl named "Pilar," whom they didn't like very much. Actually, they hated her with a passion. They made fun of her manners and appearance (she "developed" early). I often wondered who she was and when asked, they said she was someone they met somewhere. Oh, okay.

Well, a year later, I finally met Pilar. Turned out she was me.

To say that I was crushed and hurt would be an understatement. They apologized. I forgave them. We moved on. But that betrayal affected me the rest of my high school years and maybe even college. Even now when I talk to my high school classmates, I still feel a twinge of hurt. It's not very discernable but it's there. As I see it, the only thing good that came out of high school was I met my husband there. (And there are days when I feel differently. LOL!)

Later on in life, I formed connections but not deep friendships. Who wants all that cattiness?

My loose-friendship phase continued through my marriage. Most of my friends were wives of DH's co-workers. However, their lifestyle is far different from mine - they love going to Vegas, gambling, drinking, fancy jewelry and designer purses. Okay, the purses I can sort of relate to but one can't have deep, enduring, abiding friendships based on Louis Vuitton-envy alone. So for years, I resigned myself that as far as friends are concerned: this is as good as it will ever get.

When I became a Christian, I prayed for divine connections.

God answered that prayer in April 2008. I was looking for a new bible study group and found one closer to home and met on weeknights. The fact that it was an all women's group was also a plus.

Was I in for a surprise. I walked in and met seven women of different backgrounds and nationalities: a real estate agent, an actress, a security agent, a county worker, an admin for the police deparment, a government worker who quit her job to adopt a son from Ethiopia, and a kind hearted stay at home mom who takes in every stray -mostly of the human variety.

I love them! They are open with their struggles and challenges. They are equally lavish with their encouragement and praise. They have prayed for me, with me and over me. They have cried with me and laughed with me. They continue to walk with me and lift me especially on those days when I feel alone. Every Thursday night I come home with joy and a full heart.

Seven women who replaced the seven girls who hurt me deeply those many years before. Each of them handpicked by God because I never would have picked them for myself. (Well, we all know how my picks turned out, don't we?)

But God was not done yet. He gave me more than I asked.

I was encouraged by this post to start a blog. When I did, it opened up a whole new world for me. I found like-minded Christian women who also struggle with their marriages, with child rearing, with their Christian walk, with illnesses - and are not afraid to write about it. Every morning I visit them and walk away learning a little more about them - and myself. I continue to be encouraged - and humbled. I learn from her, and her, and her, and the many others whom God sends my way daily. I don't know if I will ever meet these ladies this side of eternity but I consider them my morning blessings.

And I thank God for each and every one of them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

On Being a Mighty Warrior

One of the things my pastor said the other night was that women are to be The Mighty Warriors for the kingdom. Our family is under attack by the enemy and we need to stand with our husbands - as a helpmeet - to guard and protect our families. He said the Proverbs 31 wife is a powerful ally.

Suddenly, I know how Gideon felt.
What? Me? Really? A Mighty Warrior? To do battle against satan and his minions? I can't even get my son to pick up his socks off the floor.
Being a Mighty Warrior is easy to do if the husband is walking with the Lord. But, what if my husband is not standing with me? What if he's in his recliner, watching television? Yes, Lord, this Proverbs 31 wife-wannabe is waiting for her husband to be a Psalm 1 man.
Oh, I long for my husband to walk with the Lord so he can be the spiritual leader of our family. Right now, I am carrying that mantle and it is hard. It is a daunting task. The thought of being responsible for the spiritual growth and eternal destinies of my children (AND their children) scares me. What if I mess up? (In fact, thinking back to the events of this past week alone, I know I have messed up.)
Lord, please help me not to be afraid to stand up for you - to be Your Mighty Warrior, whether my husband comes alongside me or not. Help me to start in my world - where you have me right now. Amidst the mess, the laundry, the cooking, the grocery shopping, the cleaning, the budgeting, the being unappreciated, the repetitiveness and the mundane. Help me to see You and to remember that I have a mission from the King. And no mission is too small for Your kingdom.

Help me, please. I need You.

Fill me with Your spirit. Help me to shine here. And in turn, have my boys catch the light and may they also glisten, no, not just glisten, may they impact their own worlds like fireworks on the 4th of July. I want them to be on fire for You!

You know my weaknesses. You know the state of my vessel, Lord. Broken spirit, weak vascillating, emotional, temperamental and impatient. But what I have learned from this and the other conferences you have brought me to is that perfection is not mandatory - nor expected. You just want a willing heart. That - I have. And that is all I can offer You.

Thank you, Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mind Boggling

God sure works in mysterious ways.

This afternoon I stopped by the library to drop off the book my younger son borrowed. On the way out, I stopped by the books for sale section. To my amazement, amidst the romance novels and outdated computer books were these two: The Fall Feasts of Israel and The New Strong's Complete Dictionary of Bible Words. (Okay I also found Personality Plus by Florence Littauer which I bought from Amazon last week. It's an old book. What are the odds? There it was on sale for fifty cents. Had I waited, I could have saved money...but that is another post.)

Anyway, on a normal day I would have bypassed those books. But today it was serendipitous that I found them because Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries came to our church tonight. This is his second visit. The first was in June 2008. He said that every time an eclipse falls on a feast day of Israel, something big happens.

Oh, boy, was he was right!

September 29, 2008 was the Feast of Trumpets. What happened that day? Our stock market went down 777.7 points which was a 7% change and then came the $700 billion bailout. All the 7's! Our pastor said it is like God is sending us a message that He is in control, we are to rely on him alone and not our investments.

Today there was a solar eclipse seen throughout Asia. Today also happens to be a feast day of Israel. The 1st of Av. I wonder what is going to happen in the fall?

The new dictionary came in handy. I was surprised to find that not only was it a regular bible dictionary but it also had Hebrew and Greek translations. So when Pastor Mark was saying the Hebrew words I was able to look them up. He said a lot of things that I cannot even process. There was so much information and revelation that my head might just explode. In the coming days, I will try to write about what I learned and sort it all out. I cannot do justice to it in one sitting. We really cannot comprehend the mind of God.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,"declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Bottom line: We are to be ready but we need NOT be afraid. God is in control.

Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Letting Go


My firstborn son is now 18. Where has the time gone? In a couple of months, he is heading off to college. He will be on his own. May I confess something? It terrifies me.

Do You remember the prayers that I have prayed for him daily? There were different variations but they were more or less prayers for his safety. I had no clue what I was doing when we took him home from the hospital. I felt inadequate and overwhelmed. I still do some days. But somehow he managed to thrive and grow -- inspite of his inexperienced parents.

Can you stand one more prayer? It is this: may he fulfill the purpose You have in mind for him long before he was born.

I cannot go where he is going (although I had a dream the other night that I am enrolled in his English class). I cannot tell him what to do. Or more importantly, what NOT to do. I cannot protect him. But, Lord, I know You can. I hold on to Your promise that You will never leave him nor forsake him. There is no safer place for him to be than in Your care. He is his own person now.

Thank you Lord, for giving him to me. He is a wonderful son - kind, patient (must not be hereditary), funny, gentle and compassionate.
And now, Lord I give him back to you. I hope I have raised him to Your satisfaction.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On Obedience

Saturday morning I found myself in the middle of the Concourse. Looking into trashcans. In the rain.

What am I doing here?, I asked myself as I cautiously eyed a homeless man doing the same thing on the opposite side. Great, now, he thinks he has competition.

God brought me there.

The night before the place was teeming with freshly minted high school graduates and their proud parents. Leis of orchids. Balloons. A sea of purple robes amidst flashing lightbulbs.

We made it through the graduation ceremony. Pomp and Circumstance (I cried). His speech (I was nervous). The commencement speaker asked the boys to thank their parents. Son looked back, I caught his eye and we both smiled (I cried, yet again). I love my son and the connection we have.

When it was all over, he had to seek all his friends. He gave me the cards that were given to him from the time they exited to when we finally found him. Forty-five minutes it took to say goodbye to everyone.

When we got home, he opened the cards he received. But one was missing. He was sure that his grade school principal handed him an envelope. We could not find it. He also lost the "2009" pin from his tassel.

Which led me to Saturday morning. God put it in my heart to go back and look for the envelope and the pin.

Um, really, Lord? We have to get ready for his graduation party at 2:00 p.m. You want me to drive all the way downtown to look for an envelope and a pin?

How do you know when it's God and when you are just sleep deprived?

So I went. Found a parking meter and put my quarter in. It gave me 12 minutes.

I saw remnants of purple orchids, little pieces of paper, a new sweater (I know it's new because the tag from Ross was still there), lots of Starbucks cups but I did not find the envelope, nor the pin. I did find a brand new book on Quantum Mechanics on top of the trashcan. I took that with me thinking someone must have left it behind from last night. But why were they reading during a graduation ceremony? And Quantum Mechanics of all things.

As I was walking aimlessly from trashcan to trashcan I thought of Abraham when God asked him to leave his family and go to a place where He will lead him. Did Abraham have the same questions I had? Did he feel foolish like I did? Did he have to look through trashcans?

I don't know.

I also don't know why I went there that morning.

As I was heading out to the car, I saw a homeless woman a few feet away. She was securing something in her shopping cart. Should I? I was fearful but I approached her, took the $20 from my purse, handed it to her and said "God bless you." She said "God bless you" back and I walked away.

I had a minute left in the meter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dear Mom

I don't know if you get updates in heaven but guess what? The high school called to tell me that C is the class Salutatorian! Can you believe it?!?

But I can't tell him until Friday because they want to surprise him during the awards ceremony. The secretary told me we can have more than the allotted 8 tickets. And we get VIP front row seats, too. All I need to do is to give her the names of the attendees.

So I e-mailed G to tell him of his son's accomplishment. He's in Barcelona right now. And we were in the middle of an inter-continental tiff but all that is all water under the bridge now. (I hope.)

I was bursting with pride. But when I called Auntie W to share the news and ask if she could go in your place, suddenly I was bursting in tears.

The reality of your death hit me again. I know it has been almost 5 years. But everytime there is a special occasion in C's life, your absence is magnified even more.

I missed you when the principal called to say that he placed 2nd in the School's Entrance Exam and is eligible for a four year scholarship...

I missed you when he gave his Valedictory address in 8th grade...

I missed you when we attended the Outstanding Student's Banquets at the end of his freshman and sophomore years...

I missed you when he turned 16, then 17...

I missed you when we made the trip to the East Coast to look at colleges...

I missed you when he got his driver's license...

I missed you when received the college acceptances...

I missed you during the trip to Stanford for Admit Week...

And next Friday during the Commencement Exercises when C gives his speech, I know I will miss you. Auntie W will be sitting on the seat you were supposed to occupy if cancer did not take you from us...

I just want to let you know that C has turned into a wonderful young man - sleeps a lot and has trouble parking but a caring, sensitive son, brother and friend nonetheless. You were his prayer warrior when he was growing up. Every single one of those prayers were answered by the looks of it.

And I want to thank you for that.

I miss you, Mom. When I get to heaven, you'll be the first person I'm going to look for. Then we'll catch up.

Until then...


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Will You Love Him for Me?"

In that time between awake and asleep, God asked me that question.

I couldn't answer Him. Not right away anyway. I got up and the question kept coming "Will you love him for Me?"

But why does "he" make it so hard, Lord? Did you hear him when I asked him why he was up so early? A simple question, right? I know you heard him snarl, "WHAT TIME DO YOU THINK I SHOULD GET UP?"


I left for work with tears in my eyes.

Lord, you know he has been like that the last few days -- years, really. I know he is busy at work. I know he is worried about the court hearing. I know Mother's Day is coming up and he did not bother to get me anything. Again. I know all that.

I understand the stress. Really, I do.

It's the same stress I feel when he refuses to work on the budget with me. It's the same stress I feel when he does not do what he says he is going to do. It's the same stress I feel when I see him -- or rather, don't see him on weekends because he is at his parents' house. You know, the one with the stalker.

Why does he make it so difficult?

You might as well ask me to hold my breath for three days, Lord, it might be easier than loving my husband. Oh, I've done that. Held my breath for three days and came back to life.

Yeah, well, you're God, I'm not. Look to Me, I will help you.

But it hurts. I know.

You trust Me? Yes. I don't know, maybe. It really hurts, Lord. I'm sorry. I can't answer that right now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Fear and Faith

The ride home was quiet. My heart was gripped with fear. My husband and I were just discussing the possibility of filing a restraining order against a man who promised my brother-in-law a bullet in the head.

Nice, right?

He relayed this message through my husband. As a result, said man was arrested and jailed - and I'm guessing, must be pretty ticked off at my husband right now.

What to do next?

The restraining order seems like a logical step. But I did not know whether he should put my name and the names of our children in the form.

I heard that. Loud and clear. And I was shaken and scared.

Lord, what do I do?"

I asked my husband to drop me off by the mailbox to get the week's mail.

I did not know that God was waiting for me there.

In the midst of the junk mail and bills was the May issue of InTouch magazine. The cover article? STANDING FIRM. Ahhh, I felt like God just gave me a big HUG.

"It is important to know
what you are facing, but it is
also important to know
WHO is in control
of all things."
Paragraph after paragraph were words of comfort and assurance. God even included the verse that I read to my mother over and over again during her last days in ICU. It is one of my favorite verses and He reminded me:
Do not fear for I am with you, do not be afraid for I am your God
I will strengthen you, yes I will help you.
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
The enemy's words earlier faded into oblivion.
God's timing amazes me. I could have picked up the mail the day before and the magazine would probably be still in a pile, unread. But He knew I needed to see those words today. He knew I would be scared. He knew I needed comfort. Fast.
Oh, thank you, Lord!
Wait, there's more! You want to know the best part? My husband whom I have been trying and trying to get to the Lord, read the article. Before me! And - he liked it! Amazing! God sure works in mysterious ways.
Seeing my husband sitting there, reading InTouch, my heart was filled with gratitude and prayer (Please, Lord, soften his heart).
I could not help but sing,
"God You're so good to me, You've always been good to me. I sing it through eternity, God You're so good."
All is well. Thank you, my sweet Jesus.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Praying for a miracle

for a darling little girl named Brooke Mulford. She is four years old and is battling Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. I've never met her - she lives on the other side of the coast. But somehow, God brought her to my attention. We prayed for her at church and her story just touched my heart. See for yourself: