This morning I started the day feeling defeated. Actually, I've been feeling this way the last couple of days. I've been feeling lazy. I had no passion in doing the household chores. I haven't been exercising. I had no passion in doing productive things, I've fallen way behind my schedule in the tasks that I need to finish for our upcoming retreat. I feel like my flesh has been eating me up recently. And this morning, I slept while I was praying and reading my Bible. I didn't like this kind of feeling, it felt like I am spiraling down and I can't help myself to get back up.

Around noon time I exhaled a short prayer. I asked forgiveness from God and told Him how disappointed I've been feeling about myself. A few minutes later, my husband (who had no idea about the emotional battle that I was going through), played this song on youtube:

 Grace by Laura Story 

This was the first time that both of us heard this song. He said that he just randomly clicked a video on youtube and this was the song that came up. The chorus part of the song made me cry as I really felt that God was speaking back to me through it:

"I ask you: "How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?"
And You answer: "My child, I love you.
And as long as you're seeking My face,
You'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."

I was just so speechless by how personal our God is. We speak to Him, even through a short (and lazy) prayer, and He speaks backs to us. He always speaks to us, we,'ll know it is Him... if we will just open our hearts to listen.

Soaking In The River

Due to irregular sleeping time, I've been struggling with my quiet time with God the last few days. In my prayer yesterday morning, I told Him "Lord, I've missed experiencing Your overwhelming presence and learning new things from You through Your Word."

Last night, I had this dream. In my dream, Ate Evelyn (my cousin) and I were standing at this very huge tree.. this tree has very huge and strong roots that were soaked in a flowing river. As we were talking, I shared to her that this tree reminds me of Psalm 1:1-3. I fell in love and held on to these verses during a difficult season in my marriage.

A woman soaked in the Word of God will always bear fruit even in difficult seasons. Her leaves doesn't wither even when exposed to extreme heat because her roots are soaked in what she knows about God -- His goodness, His faithfulness, and His promises. Jesus, the living water.

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. Amazed by how God answered my prayer by speaking through my dream... reminding me of the joy I've always had meditating on His Word and reminding me of the importance of putting my daily quiet time with Him on top of my priority.

What These Molds Cannot Destroy

My battle with the molds in my house isn't over yet. After crying over my guitar case and amplifier that Mike decided to get rid of (Read my previous post here), these molds once again destroyed one of my beloved things... the cover of my 2013 journal.

Why is this such a big deal for me? The year 2013 has been my sweetest year with the Lord so far. It was the year when God clearly revealed His purpose in my life, the year when I have decided Who I am going to live for, for the rest of my life. It was the year when God blew me away and made me fall on my knees in awe of His amazing love! It was the year when through all of our struggles, Mike and I have witnessed the marvelous miracles of God in front of our very eyes! It was the year when Mike and I have learned to anchor our faith in the goodness of the Lord no matter how our circumstances look like... even up to now, when trials try to shake our faith, it is the year that we always look back to. All of those stories, every single detail of it, along with every desperate prayer and tear, was written in this journal.

I have always dreamed of passing on my journals to my future children, and grand children, and great, great, great grandchildren... especially this one. I want them to know that the God who has been faithful throughout my life, is the same God who will always be faithful in theirs too. I write because I want to tell these stories to my children and to the many generations after them... My life, which includes all my flaws, my messes and my imperfections... isn't my story, it has always been God's story. It is the story of how God can turn an imprudent life, into a life filled with passion and purpose... the story of how God turned my ashes into beauty. I want my descendants to know that story firsthand from my very own handwriting.

The molds may have destroyed the cover of my 2013 Journal, but thankfully, I was able to save the pages. One day these pages (and all my other journals) in unforeseen circumstances may also be lost... but I will never stop writing God's story through my life... I will speak about it... I will sing about it to the generations after me. One day, my short life on earth will end, but God's testimony of faithfulness through my life will live on.

"Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation." - Joel 1:3

"Let each generation tell its children of Your mighty acts; let them proclaim Your power." - Psalm 145:4

Lessons From A Moldy Guitar Case

For security reasons, Mike decided to lock and seal all the windows of our small condo unit. This caused a lack of ventilation and air flow in our storage room. Because of this, I've been having a serious mold problem in this room for the past few months. No matter how many times we clean and how much Lysol we spray, these molds just keep on growing back especially with our leather shoes, bags, and everything else with a similar texture. My frustration grew worse as these molds started attacking some of my most favorite things: my amplifier, and the fabric case of my electric guitar.

A few weeks ago, Mike and I had an argument when he decided to get rid of my amplifier and the case of my guitar since they have always been the most moldy ones. I've felt very upset because for many years, these things have always held a very special place in my heart. His decision to never open those windows for ventilation is non-negotiable for him (I understand his reasons and they are are valid), so he gave me an alternative solution. He promised that he was going to replace my amplifier and guitar case with new ones, those with textures that will not grow molds (molds doesn't seem to like growing in glossy surfaces).

I've felt sulked and sad to the point of anger. First, because I wasn't ready to let go of these stuffs I love. Second, because in my mind, I have judged my husband's intention for doing this. I judged him that just because we do not share the same passion with music, he doesn't care about the things that make me happy. I judged that he was just being unreasonable and was just power tripping. I judged that he was not being good to me. Even when he already told me that he was going to replace my amplifier and guitar case, the truth is, I didn't trust and believe that he will fulfill his promise... and even if I did believe, I wasn't sure when he is going to do it, I didn't want to wait since I already judged that those kinds of things are not his priorities. 

I judged him based on that one instance and forgot everything else that I knew about him. I forgot how much he has loved and accepted me from the beginning of our relationship. I forgot how much he takes care and protects me... how he works hard to provide for my needs and to do everything he can to make me happy. I forgot everything just because he was trying to take away something that was already causing more harm than good.

We've managed to resolve this issue despite my tears, some hurtful words, and many sessions of him explaining and re-explaining his good intentions to my stubborn and judgmental heart. My heart was crushed when he told me how much I hurt him when I made him feel that he doesn't care about my happiness, when I doubted his goodness.

We didn't talk about this anymore, until a few days later, it dawned upon me how everything I've felt about my husband relates to my personal relationship with God. I remembered the many times when I have judged Him. When I doubted his goodness as He lovingly took away things in my life that were no longer good for me. How I judged Him of being unreasonable, and not caring about the things that make me happy. When I rushed and didn't want to wait... When I question Him, "Why God? I know You can give it to me, but why are You choosing not to?" The many times when I didn't believe His promises and instead chose to worry and cry over stuffs that I wasn't willing to let go in His hands... All along, all He ever wanted was to replace them with the best that He has prepared for me, in His time, in His most perfect way.

I have judged my God. The God who accepted and forgiven me despite the shame of my sinful past. The God who has loved me even before I've ever learned to love Him. The God who provides for me every single day... who showers me with the breath of life, and sunrise, and shelter, and family... The God who has always protected me, who turned my life upside down and continues to lead me to His perfect will for my life. I have been quick to judge and quick to forget His goodness and love in those instances when things didn't go my way. My heart breaks as I imagine how much I have been hurting Him, every single time.

"If trust must be earned, hasn't God unequivocally earned our trust with the bark on the raw wounds, the thorns pressed into the brow, your name on the cracked lips."
- Ann Voskamp

Just the other day, out of nowhere, and without us talking about this issue for weeks, Mike took me to some music stores to canvass a new amplifier and a new guitar case. In my quiet smile, I knew in my heart: because he loves me, he did not forget. And God... who loves me even more than Mike does... How could He ever forget His promises to me?

The Never Ending Hope

Dear Lord,

Today, as i finished reading the Book of 2 Kings, my heart was crushed with how Israel fell into the hands of the Babylonians. As I recall how you have set them free from their slavery in Egypt and brought them to Your Promised Land, it broke my heart to find out how they have abandoned you, and how they have brought themselves back into slavery. But through all of this Lord, I see both Your Holiness and Your Mercy. You remained faithful to them, forgiving them whenever a King rises up and lead them to repentance... only to fall back to the same sin over and over again. You have always warned them, and yet, they did not listen... so, true to Your Word, You have brought disaster upon them by giving them over to their enemies. 

Forgive our generation Lord, for I see how we are repeating the same mistakes that the Israelites have done. We have abandoned your commandments and followed our own ways. We have bowed down and sacrificed to the gods of materialism, pride, and self-centeredness. And just like them, no matter how many times we try on our own to make it right before you, we always fall back to the same sin over and over again. We are hopeless people, in need of Your mercy and grace.

Lord, this is the part that really brought me to tears tonight, the last few verses closing the Book of 2 Kings:

Despite your anger, and in the midst of the punishment that Your people so justly deserve, You have caused the King of Babylon to grant favor to King Jehoiachin -- releasing him from prison and providing for all his needs. In the midst of Your wrath, You remained faithful to Your covenant with David. And I can't stop thinking that at that very moment, the moment when You preserved David's Royal Line, the lineage of my Messiah, You were also thinking about me, my place with You in eternity! I couldn't explain how I felt when I read the name "Jehoiachin" in Christ's genealogy (Matthew 1:12) ! Truly, even in Your Holy anger, Your faithful love for us remains!

Thank You! Thank You! For the way that You love us! Thank You that nothing can separate me from Your love! I am in tears right now, because as I am writing this, I hear Your still, small voice, telling me:

"You were in my mind the whole time I've granted that favor to Jehoiachin."

Lord! You are Holy! Just! Meciful! Forgiving! And filled with Unfailing Love! I am so speechless and in awe of Your Sovereign Power throughout the history of humanity! You never left us hopeless in this dark, fallen, world! You secured our place with You in eternity through Your Son Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful! I can't wait to see You face to face one day when I come home to be with You in Heaven.

Your Precious Princess,