God’s Touch on 5 Areas of Our Lives (Part 1)

(Excerpts from Crosswalk Women online devotional I read years ago and my personal reflection on God’s words – another ‘refresher’ for me as I had written this journal entry years ago though I made some changes as they apply to my current faith-journey. I’m thankful that I keep a record of a few very relevant, timeless and practical devotionals.)

Been reading up on and re-reading some devotionals. I have to admit that every article is worth reading and most definitely worth sharing. Not only that, the topics are, believe it or not, uncannily so timely most of the time. That is, based on my own personal experience.

I know that it’s one of the many ways by which God ‘speaks’ to me and shows me His way, reminder, will and yup, even His admonition. I don’t and have never claimed to be  ‘mature’ and awesome in my faith-walk. I’m a work in progress and like everyone else in this journey of life, I ‘press on towards the goal…’ No matter how tough and painful the road ahead is, I know that I’m NOT alone and for every weakness, struggle, pain, sighs, frustrations, doubts and fears – my Father’s presence is WITH me…surrounds and envelopes me….and His promise, ‘I shall never leave you nor forsake you’ rings true every single day.

Even if the day turns out to be such a total failure or even if I go through one of those ‘bad hair days,’ in the midst of it all, I STILL KNOW He is there. And each time I feel like giving up myself, I hear Him telling me, whispering to me….

‘It’s never too late. You’re not without hope. Surrender it all to Me. Let Me carry all that for you. Hey, I’m just a prayer away. I’m NOT giving up on you. My strength is made perfect in weakness. I will carry you through. I LOVE YOU with an everlasting love.’

Now who wouldn’t be moved, comforted, encouraged, strengthened, enlightened, assured? Such is the marvelous love and transforming power that God freely gives us – each and every time we acknowledge what we are, admit what we have done and aspire and strive to  try again, in His grace, by His wisdom and strength.

‘And you will seek Me and find Me IF you SEARCH for me with ALL your heart.’

‘Come to me, hear and your soul shall live.’

His words never fail to do and give so many awesome and wonderful things for His children. Incredible comfort. Perfect peace. Limitless joy.

“And you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You.’

Thank you once again, Lord!

I share this article not just to my women friends but also to the guys. They’re really very basic and yet, as I was reading it, it really made me stop and think. It’s like ‘the heart of the matter’ rests in all these 5 main points and areas. And each one is so closely linked to each other that lack of one directly affects all other areas. And this is verified in God’s words :

‘For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.’ (This verse alone refers to two areas working together.)

‘The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can know it?’

So, friends, read on. I hope that this will leave us thinking, reflecting, praying, thanking and praising God for His infinite wisdom through His words and yes, His constant and unchanging perfect love. 🙂

Five Areas of a Woman’s Life That Need God’s Touch (Cindi McMenamin)

My heart was convicted as I read in Scripture of a woman who was so desperate for God’s healing in her life, she was willing to do anything to just touch Him (Mark 5:24-34).

I had to ask myself, how desperate am I for God’s touch on my life? There are times I might be desperate to feel and look younger, to be thinner, to have more in the way of peace and happiness. But how desperate am I to be whole and complete in every way?

After surveying nearly 100 women, I found several common areas in which women, myself included, need the touch of God to be whole and complete. I also found that Scripture addresses these areas of a woman’s life so that we can receive His healing touch. See if you can relate to needing God’s touch in these areas of your life, as well:

  1. Our Hearts – So They Can Be “Set On Things Above”

Women often stress over the temporal – bills that must be paid, whether or not a man will come into our lives, if we’ll be able to have a child, what someone is saying about us, how our body looks, and so on. At times we are more concerned about what the scales say than what God says. Our heart is closely attuned to our bank balance, rather than our life’s balance.

Yet God instructs us in Colossians 3:1-2:  “set your hearts on things above.”

If our priorities were in heaven, not on this earth, we would not only be happier and healthier, but less financially drained and emotionally spent. Matthew 6:19-21 tells us not to “store up treasures here on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven ….For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

It takes God’s touch to clear our hearts of what this world says is important and focus it on the things above.

*** My thoughts: **

“For where your treasure is (What I love, prioritize, give emphasis on, repeatedly/habitually do, giving importance more than anything else….), there your heart will be also.”

Spot on! Oh the shallowness! Add to this worrying about tomorrow and the future when the day has enough of its own troubles. Or fooling ourselves into believing that we have control over things and just about everything that happens in our lives.

I for one, am not exactly spotless on this area!

God’s word says: ‘God searches the heart.’     “I, the Lord, search the heart.’

The state of my heart as God sees it now? Honestly? Goodness, I’m not going to pretend that everything is in its right places and everything is rosy and sweet! With all humility, I acknowledge that. I NEED my Father’s touch on this area of my life. He knows it. I know it. So why should I go about denying and pretending?

This is why my heart sings praises and I can with all honesty, truly say ‘Thank you’ each time. He knows exactly what I am grateful for. And I won’t tire of saying ‘I’m thankful’ because I truly am. It’s by His grace that I survive each day. And at the end of the day, even in the midst of my heart’s turmoil, I can and will still thank Him and ask Him yet again to hold on to me and to give me another chance. 

And I continue to pray that You remind me daily to SET my heart and mind on things above before anything else that my priorities are according to how You want them, Lord.

‘Set your heart on things above…’ Through it all, Lord – you know I will keep trying.

 

 

Stick to His Course, Live Bold

I’d like to share here an old journal entry but a very significant one where I wrote precious life lessons and many favorite Bible verses related to them. This was one of those major turning points in my life that once again reminded me (as it does now again!) of how tenacious our Father’s love is. Yes, I choose this word – tenacious. Because God’s love really is that. Despite being saved, we still tend to go back to our old selfish, sinful and stubborn ways and yet, He just won’t let go of us and leave us out cold. Well, perhaps He does that sometimes but not out of frustration, anger, desperation and desire to control or bring us to submission, but again, because of His goodness , grace and unceasing love for us.

As I re-read this old journal entry, I came upon this quote by Sharon Jaymes, one of my favorite writers in an online devotional, Girlfriends in God from Proverbs 31. It’s a very timely and perfect quote to remember today and open my post with.

“[God] is calling you to let go of your failure, move forward in all that He has for you to do, and live bold.” Sharon Jaynes

(TBT – The BIG Question then…)

22 December 2009

It’s late. I am leaving for home tomorrow at 12.10 am and will arrive at 4.40 am. A killer flight – that is, I’d have to stay up late. I really should have been sleeping hours ago but as usual, sleep eludes me. Drinking Pepsi or Coke or even coffee isn’t the cause here. The caffeine contents don’t affect my sleeping habit or time at all.

All these crazy thoughts as usual. Not exactly crazy. I do know and realize that these thoughts are serious, legitimate and well worth pondering on. Truth is, I’ve been going through them over and over in my head – pondering, wondering, reflecting, analyzing, rationalizing. Add to that praying!

All this pondering is what drives me nuts! Why am I getting seriously and constantly bothered? Now this is another thing that confounds me. Where and how do I begin?

(About 2 years later, below was my reflection on that BIG question!)

Hmmm….looking back! Why oh why indeed!

First was God’s whisper. Looking back and reading those entries, I realize now that ‘being bothered’ was God’s warning whisper to me. He was in fact ringing the alarm bell, raising the red flag but at that time, I couldn’t quite put a finger to the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’ God knew all along (of course!) that everything just wasn’t right and I, foolish and stubborn me, was only beginning to have an ‘inkling’ and a bird’s eye view of the whole picture! I clearly recall having that feeling of being under and completely surrounded by dark clouds and I was literally (well, as the unfolding events would later show and prove!) overshadowed! That heavy feeling, this sense of dread and constant turmoil in both my heart and mind. Something was clearly amiss and I kind of had that disturbing certainty that things would gradually unfold, my questions answered and my doubts proven.

So I clearly remember praying repeatedly since then (struggling in prayer is more like it!) and even when January 2010 came, for God to show me and give me a clear indication regarding this personal concern. I especially asked God to show me the way and His will regarding this area.

“Wisdom and discernment as to relationship and God’s will and plan in this.” (as written in my prayer requests and 2010 goals – well, all water under the bridge so to speak – goal achieved and prayers answered! Praise and thanks be to God for this indeed!)

Oh and He did! Not in whispers as what He had previously given me. This time around, the answers came in SHOUTOUTS! They literally flooded and caught me unaware. Though I admit I had somehow ‘known’ and ‘felt’ that something of this magnitude would come, that it was all a matter of time. That my Father, with His holy and unconditional love, would have to jolt me with His lightning bolt as Zeus would in Greek mythology, to bring me to my senses and yes, to my knees! I’m not saying that God fancies electrifying His children. Certainly not in the literal sense!

I know God always honors the intents of our hearts and rushes quickly to those who cry out to Him for anything – help, guidance, comfort and assurance, encouragement, strength, wisdom, enlightenment and more! As a very good and close friend put it, God knows that my heart’s intent and motive was honest, good and sincere and tough love had to be given. And sometimes, we all have to learn His lessons the hard way because He’s left with no other option. He loves us so much and He alone knows the best way to deal with us – our pride, foolishness, weaknesses, willfulness and all. And oh! How stubborn we can be at times!

I’m truly grateful for God’s words, prayers (mine, my family and chosen friends!), encouragement, affirmations and comfort extended to me by God (through my close friends and sisters in Christ), and most of all – His own unique way of intervening and stepping in, taking action, putting His foot down, whatever you may call it. It’s His very tangible way of proving to us and showing us without unquestionable certainty that HE IS a LIVING GOD! That He’s not some distant, strange, hands-off deity or person. He showed me, throughout all those circumstances, that He answers prayers and that He is INVOLVED in our lives. That He cares enough to intervene even if it means bringing us pain. In this case, it’s a pain caused by an unwise choice and decision in the first place, for NOT heeding that ‘still small voice’ – which happens to be our conscience, the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Guide.

‘Do not quench the Spirit,’ as one Bible verse says (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and oh, this is one consequence when we do exactly that! ‘Quenching God’s Spirit’whose main task is to wave the red flag and to sound the alarm! Not only was I deaf and blind, my downfall was that of ‘assuming and deciding for myself’ that it was a ‘step of faith’!

Going back to 1 Thes. 5:19, ‘Quench’ in this context means ‘ignoring’, ‘not heeding,’ ‘turning a deaf ear’, ‘disregarding’, ‘putting out’ and more.

How could I have fooled myself into believing that something good, lasting, honorable and beautiful can come out of questionable motives, shady intentions, lies, secrecies and deceptions on one side and disobedience (on my side!)?

‘Wait on the Lord…’  ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’

I certainly didn’t do much on the waiting. I should have waited even more! And it brings to mind a significant comment that a sister in Christ told me even in the beginning.

A lot of truths and realizations here really and looking back now, I am more than glad and thankful (gee..how many times must I say this? As often as I can remember, Lord so I don’t easily forget) that He brought me out of that ‘miry pit’ and made me realize my own foolishness, willfulness and pride at attempting to control this area in my life when clearly, it’s out of my league!

I am smiling now as I write this down and I can almost (almost!) distinctly hear God say, ‘I told you so.’ LOL!! Now I am laughing hard! And of course, I am grateful for this sense of humor! It keeps me sane, grounded and sober!

The fact that the 8-sesisons in Life Group deal with ‘Life’s Healing Choices’ is again God-designed and God-willed. It isn’t by accident that I’ve been given this opportunity. I know it’s God’s way (again!) of reaching out to me (and everyone else who’s brave enough to admit their lives are unmanageable without God!) and making sure I get the exact help I need!

Isn’t our Father an absolute sweetheart? Very thoughtful, wise and all-knowing. ‘Give it to me, let me handle everything!’ God tells me this. And through those circumstances, He did literally pull out the shades from my eyes and made me see oh-so-clearly what I should’ve seen in the beginning! And I pride myself on my 20-20 vision! See???? Pride…

Vision both spiritually and physically, as it turned out, wasn’t exactly 20-20! Far from it!

(NKJV) Isaiah 55:8 is a sobering reminder we all need to PUT to MEMORY (especially BEFORE making a decision!):

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts Your thoughts.” (One of my favorite and well-known verses which I sadly disregarded at that time! Sigh…)

And I add a few more! Still from Isaiah 55 but verses 2-3 (NKJV)

“Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live.”

It’s all about Him, my Father…certainly not about me! Again, I share these thoughts and reflections simply as a proof that God is ACTIVELY involved in His children’s lives and has COMPLETE knowledgeable of everything about us – whether or not we admit it.  To remind myself of God’s work in my life….that He is constantly refining me, putting me under the heat that I may, by His grace and His Spirit, slowly evolve into someone He wants me to be, to be used for His glory and purpose. It is also a sobering reminder for me that left to my own devices, my own limited and fallible human understanding and imperfect knowledge of the whole picture, I am helpless, hopeless, empty, broken, forever scarred, unfulfilled and constantly dissatisfied.

That’s REALITY #1 and an obvious fact as well! Newspaper and TV reports show countless proof of this reality. 

CHOICE # 1 is admitting that I am NOT God – that’s why I mess up, time and again. And that’s why I gotta ‘fess up and be humble and courageous enough to say that ‘Yup, I messed up big time, I can’t successfully manage my life and that I NEED GOD.’ NOT once a week nor once a month! But I NEED Him and His power to change me moment by moment! Every single day, in each and every circumstance He allows me to go through!

And here’s what God has to say if we ‘fess up’ and admit to ourselves we’re not God and we don’t have complete power and control of our lives!

Isaiah 55: 6-7 (among my other favorites!)

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have MERCY on him; and to our God, for He will ABUNDANTLY PARDON.”

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. (Psalm 107:6)

“But You O Lord are a God full of compassion and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)

** God’s PERFECT KNOWLEDGE of Man ** (one of the many reasons why HE IS GOD and we’re NOT!) ++ Psalm 139:1 – 10, 13 -16 (NIV)

“O Lord, You have searched me, and You know me.You know when I sit and when I rise;You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, oh Lord.  You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there. If I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,If I settle on the far side of the sea, Even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. (We have a song version of this in my home church and I love singing this as a lullaby-cum-prayer to my daughter now because the very words speak out God’s comforting love, assurance and constant presence in my life!)

(As the last few verses say, strictly speaking, there’s NOWHERE we can hide from Him!)

For You created my inmost being;  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

(WOW..’knit together’ aka….Master Genetics Engineer down to the last chromosome and gene!)

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. (So what else really is there to hide from God?)

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. (God-appointed DAYS, EACH SINGLE day we have!)

*** My..my….what else is our God capable of doing? EVERYTHING. What are we capable of doing? A better question would be: What am I an expert at?  (am grinning widely!) Attempting to CONTROL and RUN my life the best way I know how….which isn’t exactly God’s best!

Consequence – Mismanagement and bumpy rides, shoutouts, heartaches and tears, etc.

So here’s the BEST alternative yet!

CHOICE #2 is believing, admitting and accepting that Our ONLY HOPE and SALVATION really is in God alone through His Son Jesus Christ. That God alone IS our HOPE – this we must acknowledge. And what makes God our only source of Hope? His being Omniscient means that He KNOWS ALL about our situations/circumstances. His UNCONDITIONAL LOVE means that He CARES about us and our situations. And He simply does because it’s His very nature, it’s WHO HE IS.  No one on earth is fit to earn God’s love based on what we do (for we can never do, be or give enough to earn His love) or even based on our achievements, status or financial wealth but He is WHO He says He is – ‘God IS  love.’

And yup, I have HOPE because for sure, God CAN CHANGE me and my situation. ONLY HE has that power however. Not by my own strength (as has been proven over the years!) but by His.

Bottomline is – It’s SURRENDERING EVERYTHING to God. To quote the theme of a retreat I attended 3 years ago (oh! I should’ve recalled that siginificant MEMORY!!), ‘Letting go, LETTING GOD.’

Oh and a taste of God’s promises in the following verses below!

(2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV – “My GRACE is SUFFICIENT for you, for My STRENGTH is made PERFECT in weakness.”)

(Hebrews 10:23 – ” He who promised is FAITHFUL.”)

(John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. LET NOT your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.“)

In everything, God has His divine reasons and purposes. And these verses in Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3 – 7, 11 (NKJV) are but a few of those reasons.

‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones; a time to gain and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak..’

“He has made EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL in its time. Also He has PUT eternity in their hearts, EXCEPT that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

And I’d like to include some quotes here from Our Daily Bread issues (January 1 and 2, 2010 and December 30, 2009)

++ We cannot erase a single moment of the year that is past.

We need not remain chained to our old memories because we CAN MOVE ahead FOCUSED on God.

** The roots of STABILITY come from being grounded in God’s WORD and PRAYER.

## Why do we sometimes go at it alone in life when at EVERY MOMENT we have ACCESS to God?

(Behold, I am with you and I will keep you wherever you go. – Genesis 28:15)

(I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Hebrews 13:5)

** Trials teach us what we are: they dig up the soil and let us see what we are made of. ^^ (Charles H. Spurgeon)

And I close this journal and reflection with a quote from St Augustine:

” FAITH is to BELIEVE what we do not see: the reward of this faith is to SEE what we BELIEVE.”

My final words on this reflection? Admit, accept, believe, receive and get plugged in to God. He offers you this indescribable, life-changing and liberating gift and it’s free!

Take it! Grab it with both hands if you wish! It’s all yours for the taking.

I did and have never regretted it to this day. Heart-praises and heart songs to you, Lord!

 

 

 

 

Empathy – Walking in Someone’s Shoes

(This was a reaction I wrote in my FB post. The reaction was about people judging and making unkind remarks, something I have personally experienced, not that the words were spoken to me but to my loved ones. Before I share my reaction, I’d like to include a part of my friend’s post that prompted my response.)

(Friend’s post)

To those who don’t know the whole story.

Until you have walked in our shoes and have felt the pain we feel, keep your cruel comments and opinions to yourself.
Ignorant people can be so cruel!! I’m posting to stop people from mocking and laughing at people for things beyond their control. I have two of these illnesses as do some of my friends. It’s a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside, an invisible illness like IBS, Crohn’s, PTSD, Anxiety, Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease, Bipolar, Depression, Diabetes, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, MS, AS, ME, , Epilepsy, hereditary angioedema , Migraines, Hashimotos, AUTISM, Borderline personality disorder, M.D.,D.D.D., CFS, Histiocytosis, O.D.D, A.D.H.D, RSD, Rheumatoid Arthritis, PBC,RLS ,COPD etc. Never judge.
Below is my reaction this post. (31 March 2016)

As I read this last night, I couldn’t help but vividly recall what I personally went through last February.
Our little one has been through a lot in her 1st 6 months – having been misdiagnosed with epilepsy on both sides of the brain at just over 2 months. Needless to say, she does not have it. What she had though was bronchiolitis and at just over 2 months, what she went through was something I had not experienced with my firstborn. Confined for 11 days, me on full time work with just the nanny as my other adult to depend on (hubby was back in UK at that time), I was truly and sincerely grateful for church and close friends from school who served as my support system. Without them, I would have succumbed to illness myself from lack of sleep and rest, not to mention the tension, anxiety and confusion in what was causing her illness at that time before being diagnosed.
This time around, out of some concerns, I decided to seek another professional help last February and again, was straightaway given a diagnosis.
As a teacher who taught preschool to Grade 6, I’ve had my share of special needs or developmentally challenged students. I’ve seen and in some ways felt the parents’ anguish and at times, helplessness, especially that of a mother’s. What a mother would do for her child who suffers from some form of illness – I truly understand. What and how a special needs child is like in a class is also heartbreaking and a very humbling experience as well.
As a mother, when I was told about my daughter having ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder with Global Developmental Delay,’ and her skills described as that of a 2.5 year-old, it was nothing short of devastating. It took me a few days to recover from that shock and thoroughly re-evaluate and re-read the doctor’s “observation notes” (which took place for just over 2 hours!) and diagnosis.
The only thing I could remember and think of at that very moment was: “I know now how my parent-mums must have felt when a similar diagnosis was given to her child.” This is how it feels like. That was the only thing I could think of then.
Like any mother-teacher-crusader out there, I did my own research and recalling my experiences with my students, parents and their therapists/doctors, one thing was very certain. This is what made me say to myself: “Wait a minute! Something is NOT right. What the doctor wrote on his notes didn’t describe my daughter at all, if he had really done an honest and thorough observation.” Surely, a 2.5-hour one time session could not warrant such a life-impacting diagnosis! It made me wonder and question how someone could very easily pronounce that a child has a lifetime condition that affects not just the child but the entire family. It’s as if the person was dispensing a cough or colds medicine. But that was beside the point.

And oh foolish me! I was too overwhelmed, shocked and surprised to hear that pronouncement on that day that I didn’t even say anything to refute or even question what the doctor wrote and ‘observed.’ I remember giving him a lot of details about what my daughter could do as opposed to what he expects her to do – drawing stick figures is definitely not within her age yet (she’s not even in Nursery and I don’t understand why she’s expected to have that skill!). Secondly, she can’t be expected to go out of the clinic alone to go to a public toilet for a pee! Goodness me! And yet, that was what the doctor expected of her – at 3 years and 1 month!

Looking back now, what I really loathed about myself then was that I allowed myself to take in all that and did not get the chance to question the basis of that diagnosis. After the initial shock had worn off and after lots of tears and prayers and dialogues with family and a few trusted friends, the ‘haze’ began to clear and I learned precious lessons about myself, God’s goodness, faithfulness and wisdom and yes, about opinions and advice that are first and foremost, GODLY, encouraging, kind and wise. They were like honey to my aching heart and soul back then.

That was a HUGE lesson for me as a parent and a mother.

It was God’s way of telling me straight off because a month before I was supposed to quit my job, I still wasn’t so convinced that quitting was the right decision. Well, that was telling it to my face – that experience!

There was no question about it. My role as a mother and nurturer to my own daughter is more important than my job or earning an income. God will provide. That experience sealed my conviction and my resolve –  that quitting my job and focusing on my daughter was the BEST decision I’ve had to make.

As her mother who carried her in my womb for 9 months and delivered her via natural birth WITHOUT any health issues and complications for both of us, I am convinced that Anya does not have the condition. A hard  and painful lesson learned indeed. It was like a gentle slap  (but a slap nevertheless!) on my face.

What she needed was me, her mother – to give her my full attention, dedication and care at this very significant stage in her life as she prepares for preschool. In the same way that I had my full attention to her kuya (big brother) those many years ago as he first learned his letters, numbers, rhymes & songs, poems and such.

To this day, the only reason I post my daughter’s activities in my FB account is as a validation of what she is NOT according to that ‘diagnosis.’

I pray that all the other mothers out there – whether or not your child/children have special needs/illness, will truly understand that NOTHING (yes, not all the toys and gadgets) comes close and can ever come close to just BEING THERE for our children – I mean physically being there to spend quality time with them and nurturing them especially at their developmental age/stage – pre-literacy and early literacy, and even as they grow older.

If there’s one huge lesson I learned not just from this experience but from my students as well, it is this – one common voice across the ages:

Our kids WANT US – our time, love, attention, care, listening ear, appreciation, affirmation and all those NON-MATERIAL things. (Oh I’ve heard this so many times from a lot of my students!). I’m not saying that having things is not a good thing – the right ones have their uses and advantages BUT they DO NOT come close to BEING THERE with them.

No offense to working mums but as a stay-at-home mom with my daughter now, I NOW TRULY have all the RESPECT and ADMIRATION for Stay-at-home-Mums and also those who home-school their kids, especially those who gave up lucrative and flourishing careers – just so they could nurture their children. I will nor be a stay-at-home mom for long (I wish I could because I am really just learning to embrace and enjoy this wonderful journey with little Anya!) and this is why I am embracing all of this with arms wide open, thankful for each new day we have together and anticipating what each and every adventure and misadventure (oh the neighbor’s Billie goat was one of a kind and a first even for me!) brings us! I remind myself that come July, I will surely surely MISS all this!

Lastly, this reaction to a friend’s post is also my way of saying that yes, though my daughter does not have an illness/developmental delay, I’ve seen, been and am with people who have and yes, until you know the whole story or have WALKED in their shoes, the best thing we can offer is KINDNESS and UNDERSTANDING. So unless we know WHAT IT’S LIKE, it’s best to KEEP our unkind, selfish, inconsiderate thoughts and words to ourselves. Or better yet, get out there and WALK in that person’s shoes first. I agree, NEVER JUDGE. And if I may add, PITYING them is also another thing they DON’T need.

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

 

 

Another Milestone for Anya

6 April 2016

Time flies fast indeed. Today is little one’s 1st day of summer school for a month. Nappy-less since 2.6 yrs old, she is now learning a little bit of independence each day at 3 years and 3 months today. One of her favourite sentences is, “I do it…I do it…or sometimes she’ll say it in Ilonggo (our local dialect), “Ako lang, ako lang!”

Even on her 1st ballet class yesterday, I realised how she has become more confident and though we are together every single day and closer with our bond now as mother and daughter than when I used to work, I was very proud of the way she handled herself. Though she is one of the youngest among her group of 3 – 5 years old, when it was time for them to go inside the ballet studio, she only looked out for me once and went into the class without much of a fuss. A few kids older than her had to be prodded and dragged their moms/nannies/caregivers with them to the studio but little Anya happily and excitedly sauntered into the studio all by herself.

Today, she was only too curious and happy to be with kids her age. She was the first one in the line as her teacher rounded them up and followed instructions without any trouble. Just like in her Sunday School class last Sunday, she took the teacher’s hand whom she had just met, glanced at me just once for assurance and off she went with nary a second look.😅

 And oh my, oh my—- singing and being in the worship team while preggy with her must have rubbed off on her. She had a BLAST clapping, jumping, dancing and “singing” as her group joined the adult service (in a huge.auditorium!) praise & worship time. Another proof she doesn’t have ASD.😑 So much for all the misdiagnosis she’s had! (next post)
Truly, a mother’s heart and God’s inerrant wisdom is far more better than any ‘gloomy.fotecasts’!
Likr every child regardless of condiion, she is FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made in her Father’s image.
THANK YOU SO MUCH Lord for this priceless and precious blessing and gift and for the time I get to have with her for these last months before we go back and as she prepares for her preschool. YOU ARE TRULY WONDERFUL & FAITHFUL in EVERYTHING.
Many many THANKS to everyone who prayed for and with us for her and for all the encouragement and godly advice and inspiration.
‪#‎majorthanks ‪#‎GodisGood ‪#‎greatlyencouraged ‪#‎favoured

She Calls Me Sweetheart

Back at writing!!! Finally! I just changed my wordpress name from SofiAnneya to She Calls Me Sweetheart and I’d like to share how I got this.

It has been months since I last posted something here though I’ve done a lot of writing on several topics on not-so-distant past and recent experiences. They are mostly personal journal and reflections on my life events (not necessarily daily), Bible readings, devotions and sermons, conversations with family and friends (church and non-church) and a lot more.

So as I sat down in front of my laptop, I thought it’s time to make a minor change hopefully to encourage and inspire me to post more writings here so what better way to start than changing my wordpress name?

I got thinking…and thinking…I considered lots of options and then my thoughts wandered off to my 3 years and 3 months old daughter sleeping peacefully beside me with only the cooling fan to ease the summer heat here (34 degrees and that’s because we had a bit of a downpour for a short while!).

As I’m writing this, she turned in her bed, raised her head a bit, opened her eyes as she looked at me (and I thought – oh no, please go back to sleep as I had just started writing! hahahaha), gave me the sweetest smile and then yes, thank goodness, closed her eyes again and went back to zzzzz-land. Whew!

To the topic. How did I get the new change in name?

I’ve gotten used to using ‘love,’ and/or ‘sweetheart’ as I talk to her whether or not I’m giving her instructions. “Please put on your shoes, sweetheart.” “Let’s tidy up now, love.” “I’ll help you with that, sweetheart.”

And one time, she was enjoying her play time with clay (we made our own clay, an idea I got from one of the art and craft blogs – many many thanks!) and we were playing ‘cooking time.’ She was rolling and patting and molding clay into her desired shapes and items and I was playing along with her. She placed some of her ‘food’ onto her plates and then as she often does, she gave one plate to me and said, “Let’s eat.” As I took the plate from her and thanked her for sharing her ‘food,’ she continued, “Let’s wash hands first, sweetheart, okay?” “Come, sweetheart, wash hands okay?”

And how I laughed with delight and amusement! A perfect copy! Even the way she said it was an excellent echoing of the way mommy says it! LOL! I also realised that she wasn’t only playing ‘cooking’ with her clay but she was also role-playing! She was pretending to be ‘mommy.’

But really, hearing my little one call me sweetheart in her sweet, innocent, child-like voice totally made my day! This one goes into my long-term, priceless and treasured memory bank for sure!

Oh motherhood! What joy, privilege and honor! 🙂