For Better or For Worse

Do you believe God uses people to help you navigate the challenges of life? I do. How so?

A friend once asked: ‘D ka pa ba sanay sa kanya?’ Are you not used to him yet? This simple rhetorical question opened my eyes to another perspective. Do you not know him enough yet? Indeed after more than 33 years, why am I not yet used to hubby?

Being life partners is life-long journey to know one another, to get used to one another… accepting each other, both our strengths and weaknesses. We grow stronger and wiser as we navigate our differences and our weaknesses together.

One friend pointed out that hubby is faithful to me. He does not do things that make me doubt his loyalty and commitment to our marriage -his promise before God and man. This precious truth reminds me of what is important – his love trumps his weaknesses. I too have my weaknesses.

Another friend said: ‘No one likes to volunteer to answer the hard questions the teacher asks in class.’ Neither would I raise my hands to cancer, depression, death and good-byes in the family. But God works all things (both good and bad) for my good – even though my love for him is not perfect, He calls me for His purpose – to make me more and more like Jesus for His glory. Romans 8:28-30 assures me of that.

This friend also said: It’s putting one foot in front of the other. I agree. It’s just when I started to walk again after ankle surgery. It’s a struggle to walk with crutches. But one foot forward is better than standing still – going nowhere. Eventually the first step leads me to many more steps until finally I could walk again, climb and go down stairs again, hike again, and dance again!

So is life. Each time when life is hard, I need to take courage. Instead of running away, I have to face the problem, embrace the pain, deal with the challenge head on. And always by the grace and mercy of God, I overcome -little by little, one step at a time.

This simple song I learned in summer camps.
Little by little, one step at a time,
He’s changing our hearts and renewing our minds.
Teaching us how to be patient and kind.
Little by little, one step at a time.
Today is another day to live life one step at a time.

Lord, renew my mind and transform my heart – to be patient and kind like you, Jesus. Amen.

A Love Letter to Hannah

What does a mother say to her child who bravely left her family in the pandemic to get married thousand of miles away from home? How does a mom feel when she could not be with her in the journey ahead? Would she be lonely? What if she catch the virus? etc. I guess I chose not to dwell too much on the sad possibilities. Instead I thought of how to embolden and empower her for the journey ahead. God is good. He was with her all the way.

So here’s my love letter to my child – 3 days after she left home. She flew out of the nest on 6/12/20 – literally to be independent as it’s independence day of a country in lockdown! Today is 1/5/2023. I woke and it’s 4:15am. I looked in my files and found this letter which I need to read for myself. I need to apply the lessons for myself this time. As I share it, dear reader, I pray the Holy Spirit touch your heart to be brave and realize what matters most in life!

My dear Han,

You are my first born. You are God’s gift to enroll me in the school of motherhood. A new lesson for me today is letting go of my child and setting her free.

Today as you enter a new milestone in your life, I let go of your hand even as I hold you always in my heart. I pray that the Holy Spirit empower you to be a wife of noble character that God intended you to be. Just as God created Eve to be a helper to Adam, you are to be a helper to Jensen.

I ask that the Lord enable you to bring him good, not harm, all the days of your life. May our almighty God strengthen your arms and hands to work eagerly. May His loving kindness touch your heart to be generous to the poor and needy. May His presence embolden you to step out in faith amidst life’s challenges. May His Spirit grant you a heart of wisdom to make good choices in word and deed. May you laugh at the days to come as His peace covers you in strength and dignity.

Remember charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. May you yearn and work for the words of your master: “Well done, good and faithful servant… enter your master’s happiness.”

Remember to be humble always for
This is what the LORD says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. (Jer. 9:23-24)

Love as God loves you. Forgive as God forgives you. Be gracious as God is gracious to you. Take delight in the things that the Lord delights in. Boast that you know the Lord God who is kind, just and righteous.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Thank you, Lord for listening to the prayers of my heart. I let go and entrust my child into the palm of your loving and righteous right hand. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

To Forgive and not Forget

How can I forgive.. let me count the ways…

It just hit me now… how do I forgive again and again?

I can forgive if/when I remember the good about the person – what he/she did to help me in the past, even if it were just only one good thing..

I can forgive when I remember how God forgives again and again – the bad things I did again and again..

I can forgive when I see the good in the person who God created in His own image.

I can forgive when I choose to focus on the good in the person – when I step into his/her shoes, to understand and see through his/her eyes where he/she is coming from…

Let me share a story to illustrate my last point.

A friend once pointed out to me that hubby is faithful to me. He is responsible in providing for his family. I cannot remember exactly how we arrived at these observations. But I know it was because I was sadly sharing how I struggled in my unforgiving and hurting heart.

I realised that loving my neighbor as myself calls me to love as I want or need to be loved. We all love and seek to be loved in different ways. The sad thing is often we love others in ways we ‘like’ to show our love. We love to give gifts that we like. We love according to the manner that we think is best for us.

My mom-in-law liked to cook for hubby. For her, food is the most important thing to keep her son healthy and well. She would cook late at night, asking what he would like to eat. She would ‘nag’ him to eat because that is what she does best – cooking and feeding him, taking care of his needs since young. She loves her only begotten son more than anyone in this world. She forgives again and again because in her eyes, he is all good – the gift from God 天赐.

Going back to my friend showing me the way to forgive… she pointed out to me how hubby showed his love to/for me which I was too self-focused to see. She opened my eyes to see a side of hubby which I have taken for granted. Sure, I know that he is loyal and faithful as husband. I know that he is generous and providing for the needs of our family. But it took a gentle nudge from my friend to point me in the right direction – how I need to forgive again and again, how I can forgive again and again through the eyes of love.

The Path from Whiny to Happy.. coping with conflicts

Sulky… Grumpy.. whiny cry-baby? That’s how my fleshy human nature wanna do at times when hubby and I had our arguments. I often had to ‘storm’ out of the house to drive around to vent my anger, frustration, grief etc. I wanted to go pour it on someone – to vent on a ‘sounding board.’

The last time I had such an episode, I was tempted to check myself in a hotel and not go home that night. I also searched my mind who to go to – to cry and gripe about the incident. Sadly, I could not think of anyone I wanted to tell it too. Not even to my one and only sister. I did not want to bother her, she might be having her bible study at home.

And so I drove and drove, not knowing where to go, I parked the car and went into a restaurant to sit in the corner by myself. So alone even in a crowd of people. I ordered food and remembered a couple friends thousand of miles away. This couple is our pastor friends – hubby’s and mine. I sent them a what’s app message to tell them to pray for me. I told them how sad I felt. I narrated not the details of our conversation but the context of my hurt and why I was sad. The lady friend responded to me in understanding with kind words of encouragement. Most of all she prayed. She told me they both prayed for me right at that moment when I needed their prayers. And through the tears and the pouring of sadness and outpouring of prayers, the Holy Spirit worked in such wonderful ways that I felt peace beyond understanding… I felt better. I ate my food, paid the bill and went out and walked some more. Then I went home.

Another time, similar incident happened, again i got in my car feeling the same thing… wanted to not go home… thought of going to someone to gripe… same thing.. could not bring myself to go to anyone.. what did I do? I went to watch a chick-flick movie. After watching, I felt better coz I laughed and cried in the movie. I even learned something from the movie. “Even though our love is not perfect, it is real.” See, there is something to learn even in a romantic comedy-drama, chick-flick! And I applied it to our love story – mine and hubby’s…

What’s the point of these stories of mine – of conflicts and arguments, of being drama-crying queen?

First, this is my way of coping with the trials of marital journey. It is a reality of life. No marriage is pure bliss and no conflict. It is also human nature and woman instinct to want to get out of it asap, to sulk, to complain, and to cry. It’s either to be angry and gripe how wrong he was or to be sad and cry indulging in self-pity how wronged I was.

Second, it is good to go out or get out of the situation to clear my head. It is good to watch a movie whether to cry or to laugh – that is how it often works for me. It is my self-therapy. It is also good to sound it out to a friend who prays for me. Prayer works. It amazes me always how God sends his angels to my rescue at times when I felt like crying or even while I was crying. Either He sent them to me or He let me find them.

Third, for all the friends that I found, I am thankful that none added fuel to the fire. None of them sided with me to comfort me to make me more right and hubby more wrong. Yes, they acknowledged my sadness, they encouraged me and comforted me with prayers. Prayers work!

Bottom line… I know God works out ALL things (good and bad) for my good… so that I learn how to be more Christ-like – humble and patient…. I’m so far from perfecting it – being the submissive wife.. it is not easy. But one thing I know, God called me for his purpose – his purpose to sanctify me and show people how good He is – to glorify Him.

So dear friend, next time you and your hubby/wifey have a fight, go watch a movie or whatever it is that will bring you happy hormones… clear your mind and lift your soul!

The Gift of Family

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. ~ Psalm 9:1

A few weeks after we got married, Andrew and I found out that I was pregnant. Being young and not really prepared for parenthood, we were not really excited with the news. When I was about five months into my pregnancy, I woke up one day to discover I had bleeding. Being ignorant and inexperienced, I went to work and even went shopping.

When I finally consulted my ob-gyn, and had an ultrasound, it was too late. I was given shots to induce labor. Though this procedure was physically painful, the pain could not compare with the mental and emotional anguish and regret that Andrew and I had. It was also not easy for Andrew’s parents to know that this baby had been a boy. Andrew is an only son born to traditional Chinese parents in their midlife.

Today, we have three daughters, and I have learned to overcome my longing for a son. Beyond that, I have learned to be thankful for what God took away and what God gives me. This standing stone reminds me to focus on what I have—and not to linger on the “what ifs” of life: If only we had been more grateful and excited about the pregnancy. If only I had gone to the doctor as soon as I had the spotting. If only… God wants me to focus on “what is” rather than lingering on “what if. . .”

In the Filipino-Chinese culture, there is a Hokkien proverb: Han tsi, hey oh (Someone gives you sweet potato, you give them taro.) I see this at work whenever my mom or mother-in-law gives something to someone who has given them gifts. My mom did not like to be indebted to people, and I often feel the same way.

Through the years, I have observed how frustrating it is for children who want to show they love their elderly parents then had their parents turn down their gifts and offerings. When presented with food or gifts, they say, “I don’t need this,” or “You keep this,” or “Give this to your children.”

So I have learned how to receive as well as give: to accept graciously whatever my children or friends offer me. This keeps me from feeling superior to the giver, and it also means that I should not feel a sense of indebtedness. I know my children take pleasure when I let them serve me or buy me gifts.

Even more importantly, I am not shy to ask for help from my friends when I need it. This reminds me of what Paul taught the Galatians: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2).

Joni Eareckson writes: “As a quadriplegic of 47 years, I have been on the receiving end of other people’s help for many years. My caregivers and my husband are experts in giving, even when it hurts, and they are bone-tired. Part of me feels guilty about that. But God designed my disability not to make me ‘independent,’ but ‘interdependent.’ And as the recipient of my husband’s love, I do all I can to support him and my caregivers with gratitude, as well as pray for them in their weariness. It’s the least I can do. It’s the family thing to do.”[i]

In an article for First Things, Gilbert Meilaender writes: “Families would not have the significance they do for us if they did not, in fact, give us claim upon each other. We do not come together as autonomous individuals freely contracting with each other. We simply find ourselves thrown together and asked to share the burdens of life while learning to care for each other.”[ii]

Though it is more blessed to give than to receive, when we receive from others, we give them the pleasure of offering a much-appreciated gift. This is also true in our relationship with God.

Am I receiving the gifts of God? Am I even aware of them? Or am I taking them for granted? With a sense of entitlement? Or with a heart of gratitude? We can never out-give God. But we are good at asking to receive from God. Perhaps we should do better how we receive from God… even and especially the things we did not ask for.

Dear God, please help me to receive graciously all gifts with a thankful heart, knowing that all good things come from you. Amen.

[i] Joni Eareckson Tada. “The Beautiful Truth about being a Burden. Christianity Today.

[ii] Ibid.

The Prudent Wife

I remember the days of living in our apartment on the 5th floor of a building with no elevator and sleeping in a bedroom with no aircon. My sister and I shared that bedroom. Insomnia was not a problem for me then. But I can still remember what it was that kept me awake… constant dripping of a leaky aircon.

Proverbs 19
13 A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.

The wise author of this proverb sure knows what he’s saying. I can imagine how irritating it is for a man to have a quarrelsome wife when she is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof… tok.. tok… tok.. tik… tik.. tak.. tak.. I also know how it is when I am quarrelsome. Hubby would ask: Are you challenging me to a fight? He also described it as ‘provoking’ him to anger. And it is true, I was quarrelsome when I did not control my mouth (or more aptly, tame my pride).

Proverbs 21
9 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

These two statements are good reminders for me as a wife.
God wants me to learn self-control: taming my tongue and swallowing my pride. He keeps the lessons coming. I often realised that the argument stops when I keep quiet. I have also experienced more grief when I indulged in a swift moment of pride and/or anger.

Andrew often jokes (half-seriously or perhaps he’s serious about it) that he’s moving to the 3rd floor to be by himself. One bathroom is not enough for the two of us. His nightly concerts (Zzzznoring…) sometimes keep me awake. Even so, I am glad that we’re still in the same bedroom. 😃

Proverbs 19
14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 20
3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.

Bottom line: I prefer to be his prudent wife from the Lord rather than a quarrelsome/nagging wife like the constant dripping of a leaky roof. It is to my honour to avoid quarrel because only fools are quick to quarrel. And I don’t want to be a fool.

So my dear sisterly wifey friends, let’s encourage each other to be treasures of our husbands – and let them say: I have a prudent wife from the Lord.

The Way of Hope

In an episode from the TV series Amsterdam, there was a story of the depressed American Chinese youth, Amy who stepped off the subway platform onto an oncoming train. It tells us that depression is a silent killer. A pastor once preached that it is the 2nd most deadly disease – next to cancer.

A friend once asked if I have ever thought to take my own life. Honestly, I have never considered suicide as an option to escape from depression, or to stop the pain, grief or sadness. I have thought about disappearing though. What if I don’t come home.. what if I suddenly died – hit by a truck, or killed by someone, or struck by a serious deadly disease? But most of all, I have asked and longed for Jesus to return soon. Not a very noble longing… but hopeful longing so the suffering will end…

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB

This is the Bible verse for today. This is often my means of not ‘escaping’ depression but my way of ‘facing’ depression. In a word, it’s called Hope. That is also the word that Dr. Goodman (from the TV series Amsterdam) replied his colleague-oncologist regarding sickness.

Hope is a big word – not as emphasised as love or faith. But it is one of the three that remains. (1 Cor. 13:13) Hope is the sandwich filling… faith, hope and love.

My faith in the Word of God gives me hope and enables me to love. My hope that suffering will end soon allows me to continue and persevere in my suffering. My hope that one day, Jesus will return and I will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air, this hope sustains me to persist in choosing joy.

Faith and hope seem synonymous. Faith supports hope as hope is the evidence of faith. Because I believe, I have hope. Because I trust God’s promises are true, I rejoice in hope to doing better today, to becoming a better person tomorrow.

Because I believe that hubby loves me, I have hope that he is striving to be a better husband and father. This hope enables me to persist in love.

When our high school batch, Builders ’79 from Hope Christian High School celebrated our 40th anniversary, a classmate proposed that we use faith, hope and love in our theme. So we agreed on: Giving hope by faith in love… We decided that we would raise money to help people with educational and health care needs. We would give hope because we believe that God has been good to us. We want to pay it forward. We trust that God will enable us to reach our goal. We pray that as we hope and trust, we are covered in love – God’s love, our love for God and for our neighbours. Love motivates us to give hope. Faith enables us to give hope. Hope is a good thing.

Now faith is the assurance of things HOPED for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

How are you, my friend? Are you living hopefully? What are you hoping for? There is a Filipino saying: Habang may buhay, may pag-asa. As long as there is life, there is hope.

Where is your hope? On what do you place your hope? On people? On circumstances? On your own capabilities? All these things do not last. Only God’s Word is eternal. His promises are true and trustworthy. Read the Bible and know God – He alone is the source of faith, hope and love. These three remain.

Hope is the means to face depression. Hope in God. God is the sure source of our hope. He is faithful to His Word. His promises never fail. His purpose will never be thwarted.

Isaiah 55

1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

To Speak or not to Speak…

There once was a lady who was afraid to read messages her hubby sent her. She was weary of reading criticisms and ‘reprimands’, she would erase these messages without reading them so the argument would end. She would not be ‘hurt’ or ‘angry’ or ‘frustrated.’ She would also not be ‘forced’ or ‘tempted’ to ‘reply’, ‘explain’, ‘criticise’ back.

Gradually, by the power and prompting of the Holy Spirit, she learned to be brave to ‘open’ these messages, ‘read’ these message, ‘accept’ these messages and even ‘digest’ them.

Sometimes it was really hard to just stay silent. She had to write slowly to express her feelings, to open the way of communication – to find ways to say how she felt, what she thought, without pointing the finger back at hubby. She once heard a wise counsel of a friend – to write with the ‘I’ than with the ‘you.’ It’s better to say ‘I’ felt sad that I did this or said that etc…. than ‘You’ made me feel sad. She realised that it is often better to write than to speak. In writing, she could think more slowly, express more clearly, and erase and re-write when words do not sound right. In writing, she could control the ‘volume’ of the words – without the ‘loudness’ and ‘intensity’ of the voice/sound from spoken words.

Then eventually, she is learning to stay quiet and let go. Like Jesus, there is no need to explain. There can be peace and calmness to just receive whatever was heard. It is possible to be silent. Perhaps like Jesus, she knew God knows what she’s feeling. God would explain for her. Perhaps like Jesus, she knew she’s done nothing wrong. She would pray instead… pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort her.. to transform her… to make her more like Jesus.

Finally, she learned to bravely read the messages, to calmly let go of the messages and erase them. Why? Because love does not keep a record of wrong. How? Because Jesus did not keep her record of wrong either.
And so this is the story of the before, the after and everything in between.. her journey of learning from, writing in and letting go of pain.

Prayer: The Tie that Binds

More and more, I’m learning to beware of what I pray for. Often God answers even before I ask. Am I ready to be part of the answer? Ask for patience and I get into situations where it’s so hard to keep cool. Ask for humility and my pride gets to be magnified.

Last Saturday morning, a friend asked how she could pray for me. So I shared my wishes for my 3 children: 1 for each. And “Please pray for me and my husband that we would be humble and listen to each other.”

After we prayed, I was in a good mood, happy that I had a good meet with my friend. Then I went into hubby’s office, put my arms around him.. intending to say something good. Then came God’s answer to my prayer.

It was a 2-in-1 lesson on humility for us. 2-in-1 temptation/trial syllabus depending on our response to each other. I intended to be a good wife. I ended up trying hard to shut my mouth, left the room, had to put extra effort not to slam the door. I was upset. I heard what he said. I did not listen enough. Or perhaps I listened too much? Rather, I spoke more than I listened.

I went to my room. Then I began to cry. Soon the sobs became louder. My kids came to sit beside me. The sobs turned into rants. I was more than upset. I was hurt. I was angry. On and on, words came out of my mouth.. not humble words at all! More failures in the next few hours.. I’m ashamed to list what I did.

In the middle of the afternoon, while I was watching TV, trying to cheer myself, thinking how to pass the test.. hubby came into the room and hugged me… God’s graciously humbling answer to my prayer… amazing show of His redemption story!

It is not ‘the’ ending but it is a never-ending transformation journey for both of us hubby and me..until Jesus returns.

Here paused the transformation story. The story continued early morning on Maundy Thursday. We had another round of argument. Once again, I left the room, upset, frustrated that the cycle never seemed to end… speaking too much, listening too little.. who’s doing which… pointing fingers… blaming the other… excusing self. Then the Spirit worked.

“Dear, I am truly sorry. Please forgive me. Can I suggest something? Each time we start to argue, let us pray together instead? I will be more mindful to listen more and speak less. May the Spirit help me. Amen.”

“I’m sorry too.”

And once again God answered my prayer for humility. His answer came as we obeyed His voice to pray together. Together, we prayed for our friends and families who are sick with Covid. We asked God to uphold them with his all-sufficient grace. We prayed for our children. We praised and thanked God for covering us with new mercies each morning. We confessed we often take things for granted. We’re ungrateful when we’re self-centered, self-sufficient and plain selfish.

God answers prayers according to his purpose for his glory. He has a lesson plan for us. Everyday, our experiences are God’s means to grow our faith to experience him more. Whether each encounter is a temptation or a test depends on how attentive we are to the Spirit’s leading. Lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil.

And so the story continues… Today is our 34th wedding anniversary. Praise God for his grace and mercy through the journey. His faithfulness keeps us together. He will never leave us or forsake us. His promises never fail.

Blessed be His name! A blessed Holy week to you, dear reader. May you know God and truly experience the Risen Saviour, Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit be our teacher and guide to the blessed life.

Dear Lord, show me how to be holy, humble and meek like the suffering Christ… Christ on the way to calvary.. Christ on the cross.. Christ forsaken by God.. Christ who is risen to glory because of his humble submission to God. Hallelujah to the Lamb! Amen.

Musings on Living and Dying

For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

This verse came to mind one morning. How? It came about as I think about dying… and fighting to live. Paul penned this life verse while in jail. He firmly believed this after all the beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonments and persecutions he’d gone through for being a follower of Jesus. Paul lived to preach Christ, to teach others about Christ, to show others the way to Jesus. For him, to die is gain. How? Why did he say that dying is good?

22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith…

To die is gain because he can then be with Christ – see Him face to face forever.. that is so much better…

I remember this verse because I realised why my friend fought to live… it is more necessary for the people she loved that she lived… it is the reason she went through so much sufferings in chemo, radiation.. bearing the fear and the pain of needles, shortness of breath, loss of appetite.. etc etc.. She fought to live because she loved her family. They needed her. Convinced of this, she knew that she would remain, she would continue with all of the people she cared about – for their progress, for their joy in the faith, for their welfare.. In her last days up to her dying moment, her concern was for her husband and her son… For her to live is another day to love.. to live is another day to be a follower of Jesus…

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
Job 23:10-11 NIV

This verse is what Job declared in the middle of his sufferings. Hardships in life test a person. Gold is forged in the fire. Tea is steeped in hot water. Diamond is cut and pounded to shine. Christians shine brightest in the world not when everything is sunshine and roses. Christians shine the brightest when they stand firm amidst the fury of the storm and the heat of the furnace.. when they choose to rejoice in spite of life’s difficulties.

I remember hubby gave me a poster: Pray not for an easy life. Pray to be a strong person. To pray is one thing. To act on the prayer is another. How? My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. That was how Job did it. He followed his Lord. That was how Paul did it. To live is Christ, to die is gain.

written on 3/3/2019 in memory of my friend, Belen who passed away 2/21/2019