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Forgive. Forget.

As the song goes…

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me – I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am…

Yes, we all want to have that happy ever after.  I mean who wouldn’t want to retire, grow old and just lounge around with the love of your life?  We all do, right?

Sadly though, the reality is for the past eleven years the number of marriage annulment/nullity cases filed is increasingly rising with an average of 28 couples seeking legal separation per day.  And to think it’s not just a relationship that has been broken.  Think about the effect it would have on the children who are placed to face the consequences of broken marriages.

Please don’t get me wrong on this. I’m not judging on whatever decision made or whatever prompted a couple to decide on going separate ways.  After all both David and I almost headed to “splitville” some 11 years ago.  Even so, thanks to a handful of concerned individuals who interceded and prayed for us.  All praises and glory to God who did not only give up on us.  Rather, He restored us and has been constantly fixing our marriage.

Our marriage is far from being perfect.  Yet as we allow God to mould us into becoming the husband and wife that He designed us to be,  He also impressed in us the 2 Fs – Forgive and Forget’; to forgive each other and to forget the hurt.  It’s quite impossible to forget the sad and bitter past.  But it is possible to forget the hurt, when we allow God to heal us.  Further, we ask Him to help us move on from the pain.

In marriage there is no “and they live happily ever after”.  Rather in marriage, there is “for better or for worse”.  In marriage there is no “always a bed of roses”.  Rather in marriage there is “in sickness and in health.”  In marriage there is no fairy god mother.

Yet in marriage, there is Jesus Christ who authored and drafted the blueprint of marriage.  And when we have Jesus in our marriage we can affirmatively say, ‘for better or for worse, in sickness and in health as long as Jesus is with us; we can be together ‘till death shall part us.

“Therefore What God Has Joined Together, Let No One Separate.” – Mark 10:9

IreneA

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The Ultimate “Go To” GUY

Last Friday, my daughter and I had an awesome bonding – cleaning and clearing our fridge of some holiday food/left-overs. And apart from the bonding, we also had a noteworthy reflection.

While cleaning we went a little extreme by unscrewing the vent and the fan, thinking of thoroughly cleaning the fridge. Although it was kinda tedious, we both enjoyed doing the task together. However the challenge (and the struggle) came when we tried to put back the vent and the fan. For the longest time, try as we might but to no avail. Initially, we hesitated to call my hubby for help. But then it seemed that there was no other way to solve it other than to ask. So we sent an ‘SOS’ to my hubby. Lo and behold what took us ages, only took a few minutes of my hubby’s time and skill. Voila! We now have a clean and much colder fridge.

Much like our relationship with God. More often, we tend to do things on our own. We tend to fix things on our own. But when things tend to be unmanageable, only then do we call upon the Lord. Only when things get out of control, do we remember to call and ask the Lord for help.

On the contrary, the Lord wants that we make Him our first and last option. Be it major or minor concern, He desires our total dependence on Him. He anticipates our prayer. God assures us in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”

So go ahead, face the challenges of 2017 with confidence that the Ultimate ‘Go To’ Guy who is GOD Himself is ever waiting and ever willing to take on the lead and to help you in anything and in everything; for as long as you make Him the only option.

IreneA

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Fateful Day. Faithful GOD.

It’s been a year and a week since that fateful day happened. 

In a blink of an eye. In a snap of a finger. Yes, anything can happen. A well planned event can turn into a mess. A sweet day into bitter.  A smooth ride into an unforeseen circumstance.

On a fair day at about 4pm, my hubby and I were driving back home.  Since it was one of those easy-breezy Thursday afternoon, Dave took extra time and was driving in a minimal speed (quite unusual, for him who is so used to fast pace).  We  were driving along a clear road for literally there was no other vehicle other than ours.  Then out of nowhere, I felt our vehicle was dragged to the right. Next thing I knew was a huge and thick metal hit the left side of our windshield.  That heavy metal was the tail-end of a 14-wheeler trailer truck. Right before my eyes, I saw the glass gradually cracked. I immediately looked at Dave and his respond was, ‘Baby, I’m sorry, I didn’t see it.’  I whispered a short prayer, ‘thank God, we’re fine.’ And I assured him, ‘Accident can happen anytime.’

It wasn’t until we got out of the car that I realized the extend of the damage and the worst part, one or both of us could have lost our lives.  Yet, through it all God has amazingly kept us safe in the palm of His hands.  We came out unscathed.  God even assured and comforted us through our churchmates Clifford and Yolly who responded immediately (help came in 30 minutes or less).  God showed His care for us as friends called instantaneously and asked if we’re fine. God even sent an unnamed angel disguised as a passerby who stood outside our vehicle, assured our safety and did not leave until the rescue unit as well as the traffic enforcer arrived.

In a blink of an eye I could have lost my partner.  Or in a snap of a finger, our daughter could have been an orphan.  Yet, God kept us safe in the palm of His hands and chose to save us. AMEN.

IreneA

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Joyfully Pushing It

Some people have it. And some people just don’t have it. Some would call it a talent or a knack for it. But I would rather call it a gift. And I happen to be one of those who doesn’t have it – a green thumb.

Growing up as a city girl, the close encounters I had with plants were those times when my mom would ask me to water them. Back then, for me it was just a task to be done. It was not something I look forward nor was it something I dreaded doing. In fact, I had my high moments with them during summertime when it’s so humid. As I water the plants, I would also drench my feet and arms, voila instant remedy for hot weather.

I used to have a love-hate relationship with plants. I love staring at plants – the greens are so refreshing and when they flower, they’re a sight to see. What I hated then was planting because I didn’t like getting my hands intimate with soil. The mere thought of it gave me goose bumps. I didn’t like the feel of soil on my hands. And definitely, I don’t like getting my hands dirty.

But those are things in the past. I mean a not so long ago past because just recently (I guess three months ago), I had a 180 degrees turn around where plants are concerned. Thanks heaps to our Church Pastors who made me see the life and true beauty of plants.

Before this new set of pastors came, our church office didn’t have plants and I didn’t mind at all. I didn’t think it would make a difference. However when the pastors took over the office, they made some minor changes but the transformation was astounding. They placed pots of Sansevieria inside the office. I could see and feel that the office began to breathe life. Suddenly the ambience is welcoming. And so that was the start of my conversion from a passive to a passionate plant lover.

I started repotting dwarf Sansevieria on some coffee mugs, just to get the feel of it. As my mugs of Sansevieria thrive, I began to have this craving of becoming a green thumb. I would scout for fotos in Pinterest of cacti and succulents. Before I knew it, I was already buying loads of them.

I am not yet there but I’m joyfully pushing it – becoming a green thumb. And I must say that finding pleasure in plants is truly therapeutic. When you selflessly give time in caring for them, the feeling is priceless when you see them flourish. It is probably nature’s way of saying, ‘thank you for taking care of us.’

And as I’m joyfully pushing to be a green thumb, God is also empowering me to pursue my good intention. On my own, I simply cannot make it. But with God I know I can do all things because He’s the one who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

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I am far from being a green thumb but God surrounded me with people who encourages me to carry on. I am thankful that my hubby is very supportive. I am thankful of friends who would give me a tip or two. I am thankful that God made all things wonderful. And most of all, I am thankful that with God all things are possible.

IreneA

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Hard. Heavy. Cold.

Whenever I clean our fridge, it takes me quite sometime before I could start the task. I don’t know why, but the thought of unloading everything from top to bottom is just overwhelming. Apart from that I also need to segregate items that need to be kept from items that need to be discarded.

However the challenging part is the thick ice that has built up overtime. This gross ice is extremely cold to touch, and way too hard as well as heavy to remove. I have to keep the door ajar for a while and place an electric fan in front of it so as to speed up the melting.

Ironically though, while waiting for the ice to soften I would work on the segregating part and as the momentum of cleaning builds up, I find it rather therapeutic – segregating the items, washing and organizing them. At times I would get too engross that I’d wonder why I didn’t do it soon enough. What was I thinking? In the end, it feels so fulfilling as I accomplished the task. It’s so rewarding to see a clean and organize fridge. (I would jokingly pat my back and say, ‘You did well, Irene. you did well.’)

On a similar note, like the fridge our life may need some cleaning. Our life could be filled with so much hurt or bitterness that could turn us cold. Or it would seem like carrying a heavy load when bitterness consumed us. As a result, we become cynical and hard to deal with.

And no matter how much effort we put to overcome them, we would only end up exhausted and drained but the hurt and bitterness would still be there. At times we may try to cover up those hurt by ignoring it or finding other diversion. But eventually the same hurt would catch up on us and pull us down deep in the pit.

We may call it human nature when oftentimes we try to face the battle our way. However if we learn to listen to the ‘still small voice’ of God, we would hear Him say, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalms 46:10) It is more than a reminder. It is an assurance that He is with us and He is in control.

In fact even His son, Jesus Christ assured us when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Be that as it may, let us not get the wrong notion that when we lean on and trust God we would never experience hurt nor pain. In this broken world, we are bound to meet trials and difficulties that could lead to hurt and bitterness.

Nonetheless, Jesus has already overcame the world. While we may encounter hardships, difficulties and hurt God’s grace is sufficient that as we lean on Him and trust Him, He is more than willing to see us through hard times.

So go ahead, start ‘cleaning’ those hurt and bitterness that causes hardness, heaviness and coldness in your life; except this time lean on God, allow God to do the ‘cleaning’ and trust God to keep your life from being hard, heavy and cold.
IreneA

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Been a Looooong While

What happened? I can’t believe it’s really been that long since I last posted a blog.  It seems surreal but yes, I have not posted since Aug 3, 2016, partly because I have been caught up with a lot of things, (among other things, David and I traveled twice to facilitate a couples’ retreat).  But mostly because I kept postponing it.
As I checked on my Evernote, indeed there are snippets of thoughts that I took notes of.  Some of the thoughts can easily be recalled while others took me awhile to remember them or what brought about those thoughts that made me took notes.  Bottom line is, I am now struggling as I put the words altogether.
As we navigate life, we could sometimes be caught up.  We can be caught up with our career. We can be caught with a hobby. Or we can be caught up on petty things.  And as we get caught up we can be so consumed that we may set aside matters that are much vital in life.  We might think that we can put them off for a while then get back to them when we feel like it.  We can be caught up from  a promising career or a lucrative business and the relationship with our significant other maybe set aside.  An interest which caught our attention may used up most of our time and energy, thus exhausting us to do much-needed stuff.  In the end, we could jeopardize a lot of things – losing momentum on goals set, time spend with family, or even time spend with God.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us about having time to everything. A time to be born and a time to die.  A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to search and even a time to give up.
I’m thankful that apart from other matters which are essential to me, it is my blog that has been set aside.  I am thankful for the constant nagging of the ‘still small of voice’ of God telling me to start all over again.  Building momentum once again is going to be a challenge.  Yet, I look forward to fresh ideas and wonderful stories to share which filled me with much exhilaration.
IreneA 
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Good as New

Grooming your pooch could sometimes be a struggle, especially when your fave is quite a handful.  While others prefer to bring their pooch to a vet for a regular grooming, David (my hubby)  prefers to do it by himself or at times with a little help from me.

Yesterday as David was grooming Simba (the most handful of the four), he asked me to hold and let Simba stay put.  Boy oh boy, the word struggle was an understatement. And to top it all, I ended up feeling itchy all over from the all tiny hair that unavoidably stuck on my forearms and neck.

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When asked, David would always say instead of paying over the odds he’d rather do the grooming himself.  And so, as I observed him doing all the grooming I can not help being amazed with him (not because his my hubby) by how he took pleasure and how he is so passionate in what he was doing.

While he meticulously trimmed the hair, making sure no stray hair were left out, at the same time he was so careful as not to cut the skin or hurt our restless Simba. We basically struggled the whole night, trimming our little yet handful pooch.

Until finally David declared, ‘Done. Look at you Sim, you’re good as new like a new puppy.’  And I saw happiness and satisfaction reflected on his face.

Much like when God works on us.  He does not hand us to any of His angels rather He personally mould us with the help of the Holy Spirit.  At times or oftentimes when we tend to be handful as we resist His moulding, God would meticulously yet gently mould us until He sees the change in us.  And as we become a better “God-moulded” person, then, just then with happiness and satisfaction God would declare, ‘Done. Look at you child, you’re good as new, like a new creation.’

God does all these because He loves us so much that He does not want us to be eternally put in damnation.  Moreso, God desires for all of us to with Him in His kingdom.

As assured in Hebrews 12:6-11, “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he 

accepts as his son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not
disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not
legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!  They disciplined us
for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his
holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of
righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (NIV)
IreneA