A Soothing Wave of Comfort

2.23.2010

I grew up not being able to develop a healthy relationship with my parents and my siblings. I was close to them, close in terms of just having dinner together, cracking jokes, sharing hearty laughs, and going to the mall and other stuff that a family was “expected” to do. I thought that being able to do those activities were enough. I was close to them, but I was not really open. And as years were added to my age, I became accustomed to that.

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Since we were not financially well-off and income was scarce, my parents strived so hard to work for us. My two other siblings and I were often left in the care of my uncles and grandmother (mom’s side), whom I thought of as a “witch and evil sorcerers”. I must not bawl within the earshot of my grandmother, or else, I am doomed. My uncles however, didn’t seem to care. I am not saying that they were really wicked. But in my very young mind, they were!

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Whenever I scraped a knee while playing with my cousins in the backyard, or had a bad dream as I took a nap in the afternoon, mom and dad weren’t at all times by my side. Though I wanted to have them cradle me in their arms and kiss my wounded knee, I often tucked myself in bed; sobbed frantically while I hugged a shirt of my mom (her scent on the shirt gave me relief). You see, these kinds of things were BIG things for me back then. I couldn’t do anything but to understand that my parents had to work for the welfare of their children. I knew that my philosophies compared to other kids my age was a bit “advanced”. I somehow forced myself to mature prematurely. I was pretty sure that my siblings had their own way of “coping up”, but I was too consumed by my own dealings at that time.

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When I started schooling, things became more different. I saw my parents very early in the morning; mom prepared “baon”, dad still on their bed. In the afternoon as I came back from school, they weren’t still at home. Oftentimes, they came when we are already asleep. I would be slightly awakened when I sensed them giving me a peck on the cheek, a sign that they were already home.

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I would always see my parents as very good providers. If not for them, I wouldn’t become a professional that I am right now. I wouldn’t even know who Jesus is. I remember mom and dad hugging me and telling me that they love me. When I was little, I would gladly respond “I love you” back. But as I grew up, somewhere along the line, I had difficulty of responding back to them. It felt like I am being choked whenever I tried to. I avoided mushy things. I felt embarrassed but when I already am alone again, I really felt sad at that. I knew that they were aware of my uneasiness when they do that, so there came a point that they wouldn’t do it for me anymore just because I wanted them not to.

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Having been able to adapt in an atmosphere that I created for myself, I thought it was normal. I thought it was okay. But little did I know that I was so wrong—appallingly wrong! I was never at ease on telling them my personal issues, even about my crushes or a friend that I had misunderstandings with, the relationships I had with people, the troubles I had in school or in my workplace. I was pretty much comfortable of taking the entire burden by myself. It was a whole lot easier for me to open up to a close friend rather than them.

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I am good at hiding my pain. I am excellent at pretending I am okay when in reality I am not. If I know I could do something all by myself, I wouldn’t dare ask for help. People know me as a jolly and a strong person. But my family, without me even realizing, knows me beyond that. They know all my good traits and the quirks of my personality.

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The Lord God has destined me to be a part of this family for a massive reason. And last night, He showed me just a part of that.

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It was the typical. I was undergoing an intense pain and all the while I thought I could make it by myself. I tried to shake it off, did things that would divert my attention but the pain was really stubborn! It wouldn’t go! I felt I was about to explode. I walked here and there, asking the Lord what to do. I don’t have my trusted friends beside me at that time. I felt alone.

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“I need a friend, Lord, I need a friend… Someone whom I could just open up to, rub my shoulders and tell me things are going to be okay,” that was my desperate cry. I felt tears welling up my eyes. I blinked them away. I knew it was impossible to go to a friend at that time of night. This was EMERGENCY! But I couldn’t find a friend in sight. Of course, I was inside the house, and there’s no way for me to go out. The night was already deep. A text message and a phone call would be insufficient.

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I felt the Holy Spirit’s prompting. “Go to your mom and sister, Ghay. They are women. They would understand. They are your friends and I have crafted them in a way that would be suitable for you. They can help.”

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“No way, Lord! Uh-uh! Friends? No, they are not! They’re just my family but not my friends. They wouldn’t understand me, Lord… Believe me!” I argued furthermore.

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“Now, isn’t that pride overcoming you? That doesn’t come from Me. You are asking Me for friends and I suggested your mom and your sister. Are My opinions not credible enough? Isn’t it your turn to believe Me?” the Lord eagerly responded.

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Well, just some advice… First, never impose a debate with the Lord. You will never win. Second, never belittle the things and ways in which He speaks. Third, if He tells you to do something, do it precisely; that is, if you don’t want to be sorry even more.

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So, I raised my white flag, “Okay, Lord, you win. This better be good,” and went inside the room (my sister and I share the same room). Mom and my sister were there. Ate JP was already lying on her bed, trying to get some sleep. Mom, on the other hand, was also preparing to go to bed. I somehow felt to step back and wanted to change my mind. But the Lord’s green traffic light was on. There was no turning back.

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With my eyes already filled with tears, I approached mom who was about to go out of the room, embraced her and she hugged back. Then after a while, my lips quivering, I whispered, “Mommy, pwede ka bang (sob) makausap?” (Mom.. can we talk?)

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I was a few inches taller than mom but she managed to stroke my hair and replied, “Hinihintay lang kitang magsabi.” (I’m just waiting for you to open up.) What??? She knew! Good grief!

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Mom sat on a chair and wanted me to sit on her lap (just like the old times!), but I insisted to just sit on the floor while I hugged her on her waist, my face buried on her chest. My tears just flowed and sobs reached my sister’s ears, she got up from her almost-slumber-state and rushed to me.

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I told my heartaches and opened up to them while a waterfall of tears flowed from my already puffed eyes. They just sat there, and listened; mom continuously held me in her arms and stroked my untidy hair, Ate JP rubbed my shoulders with her hand. I was surprised to find them crying with me! I did not expect it. It was a tear-filled night but I felt the Holy Spirit comforting me through my mom and my sister. And I knew He was there with us in the room, embracing us altogether. It dawned on me that the Lord has given me a security and a source of protection inside my very home—my family.

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As I was still crying, mom tearfully gave me words of wisdom. My sister also shared her thoughts and I must admit that those helped me ease the pain. I asked for forgiveness if at some point in my life, I have by-passed them and didn’t give them the respect that they were due. They assured me that whatever happens, they are there to support me and to love me. The unconditional love of Christ was mirrored through these beautiful women that I have disregarded countless of times!Mom led us in prayer that I believe bonded us now more than ever. It was liberating. It really is a blessing to have been surrounded with Godly people who shares the wisdom that the Lord has gifted them with. And I am glad that these Godly people are my family!

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Jesus gave me “new-found friends” that had been there all along ever since I was born. He bridged the gap that I created and united me with them once again. He is truly awesome!

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At my last teardrop last night, I am very much aware that my healing already started. And if ever tears may come once more, I know deep in my heart, that I would never have to cry again alone…

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“God sets the lonely in families…”

PSALMS 68:6a

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“A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,

but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.”

PROVERBS 13:1

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“My comfort in my suffering is this:

Your promise preserves my life.”

PSALMS 119:50

 

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It’s Now or Never

12.26.2009

There are times when we get hurt by people who are really dear to us. And yeah, it sucks. However, there are also times when it’s us who cause pain on other people, but frequently, we are unaware or we become too insensitive of others’ feelings.

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When we get hurt by others, we protest in the best way we could. But when we hurt them, we just shrug it off and act innocent. We even put all the blame on them even if it’s us who have done them wrong.

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Time and again, there’s often a word we consciously do not say right after we’ve hurt someone. We just automatically swallow it back right down our throats and don’t even care of when’s the next time we’ll have the chance to say it.

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SORRY.

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It’s a word that’s been repeatedly ignored, taken for granted, trashed. It’s a five-letter-word that can create a major impact in our lives or someone else’s. It can turn matters upside-down. Still, its meaning isn’t at all times taken seriously.

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Many of us tend to think, “I’ll just say it to him/her the next time we bump on each other,” believing that there will probably be a next time. But what if there isn’t? Are we sure that we won’t be living our lives in regret?

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Are our hearts and consciences already that calloused that we can bear seeing other people have difficulty on carrying a burden that we caused? Are we that insensitive because we know their hearts ache and yet we are not a bit concerned?

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Selfishness. Pride. Anger. All these are just some factors why we end up keeping our hearts, our minds, and our mouths shut. We thought this would shield us from getting ourselves hurt. Right?

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Wrong!

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The more we keep these in us, the more rotten we become. We will get rotten to the core, little by little, and we will be left ignorant and disoriented of a battle we’ve created in our own lives. Our inmost beings decay and it’s only a matter of time when we will catch its stinky whiff on air.

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We live in a decomposing world– a world covered in the grime of sin. And if we let sin rule in our lives, we putrefy even faster than we think.

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Sorry, if wholeheartedly and unabashedly said, can soften hardened hearts. It opens a door to healing, both ways, and provides a way to reconciliation.

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Sorry can create a bridge on a broken road of friendship or any kind of relationships. It may not give instant results, but it can offer a fresh start.

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Sorry might be too short to utter, but when it’s been said in a truthful way, its impact may last a lifetime.

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Sorry is a weighty word. It isn’t weighty because it’s hard to say. It is so because it has a heavy meaning. And it only gets cumbersome to vocally express when it’s not from the heart and when we are too self-centered. Many are just oblivious of this truth…

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Sorry may not thoroughly bring about immediate forgiveness on the other party, but it will surely give us a beautiful hope that one day, there is a chance of being forgiven. It will then set us free…

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“Live a life filled with love for others…

Be careful how you live…

Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.

Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.”

Ephesians 5:2, 15, 16-17

(New Living Translation)

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Sorry is a serious word. Let us mean it when we say it. It’s as saying that we would do everything not to commit the same mistake over and over—or better yet, not to commit it anymore.

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This is our final call. Say our apologies now to the ones we’ve hurt before everything gets too late?

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Or be sorry forever…

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“If anyone says, ‘I am living in the light,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister,

That person is still living in the darkness…

Anyone who hates a Christian brother or sister is living and walking in darkness.

Such a person is lost, having been blinded by the darkness.”

1 John 2:9, 11

(New Living Translation)

Accuracy in Prayer: Positive

I recall telling a friend and pertaining to another, “Whatever successes he has right now, I’m not a part of it anymore.” That was what I thought then, but when I really started reflecting on what I said, I realized how inaccurate the thought I had was.
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No matter the distance, no matter the hindrances, no matter what circumstances I and another are in, I can still be connected to that person— that is if I want to, I always have a choice. I can still make an impact in his or her life even without them knowing it. I can make a difference.
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How?
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Through prayer
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It clearly doesn’t matter if they have asked me to pray for them. What matters is that out of my care and love for these people, out of the abundance and compassion that the Lord has given me inside my heart, I am able to give some of my time to bow my head, let my knees touch the cold floor, and utter my earnest prayers for them.
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And it’s also not a big issue if they have been praying for me in return even without my request. I hardly give that a thought, but if ever they do, a bunch of thanks.
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It really is a wonderful feeling, though, when somebody has tapped me at the back, or has sent me a simple message, beaming as he or she says, “Ghay, I prayed for you! I know the Lord will provide anything that you will need.” And just as wonderful how my heart overflows as I reply, “Thank you so much! That meant a lot to me.
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Another is when someone would voluntarily ask me, “What would you want me to pray about you, Ghay?” At that, I feel loved, cared for and I see how really important I am to that person. These people love me! It leaves me feeling perked up, encouraged and invigorated.
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If that’s how I react with such, then undoubtedly, they could have the same response if I do that for them as well.
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Do unto others what you would want them do unto you.  And, Give a little love and it all comes back to you. Yes. But the thing is, not everything I do for others will be reciprocally done to me. What I’m stressing on is that even though they do not do for me the same things that I do for them, still in the end, I will have no regrets that I’ve done things that will benefit them. I have been of help, even in the littlest way. Again, I have made a difference.
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  Prayer does wonders, not only to other people but for me as well. During my private moments with God, His Spirit engraves in my heart the names of the people whom He wants me to pray for. Even in prayer, He strips off selfishness in me and replaces it with concern for others and their needs. As I go on the rest of my day, I know in my heart that these people will be secured in His hands. I can go on without worrying, for the Lord has taken note of everything I told Him. Then, I smile.
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Why worry when you can pray? This is one of my favorite quotations since I was in college. It still lives true even today. Worry does not do anything good for my mind, heart and body. It vacuums all the energy in me. The Lord has taught me a counter-attack for worry and that is prayer itself. Well, it definitely works for me. And if it works for me, it will for you, too.
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In additional to this sharing, there are times when along my day or week, good news will come knocking on my doorsteps. The person/s I have prayed for has achieved this or that. They have gone here and there. However the news reaches me, I rejoice!
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I rejoice because I have prayed for this person. I have offered time to draw him/her to the Lord. I celebrate the victory someone I prayed for has achieved. My way of thinking is transformed… “Whatever successes he/she may have right now, or in the future— casting aside whatever the space is in between us— I am a part of it.”
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Even if they are unaware, even without their requests made known to me, even if it’s just a confidential thing between me and the Lord, I will pray for them because by doing so, when they are blessed, then I am blessed all the more. After all, my prayers are for free!
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Likewise, you will be a part of someone else’s life depending on your choice, and the decision will always fall in your hands… But do keep in mind that to pray continually and to pray for others with joy and gladness is the Lord’s will. Prayers offered in faith make mountains move, make walls crumbling down, and evil dominions are triumphed over.
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1 Thessalonians 5:17    “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
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James 5:16    “Therefore… pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
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Job 42:10    “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
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Proverbs 15:29        “The Lord is far from the wicked but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
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(All italics, mine)
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Pray unceasingly for others. It has benefits. Dare to make a difference.

Letter 1 — Your Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

Twenty-one years of friendship… WOW! It’s an amazing thing that we remained the best of friends after all these years! I really thank the Lord that He bonded us together and let us experience a lasting friendship. Actually, the term “Best Friend” is just a branding of this world but to me, you have exceeded the “duties” that a best friend could ever make. To me, you are more than that. You are my sister—my soul sister! Ha-ha!

I can vividly recall how we used to write each other letters even though we were just a seat apart in the classroom, let alone the fact that we see each other every single day. It has been a favorite thing of mine to spend all my scented stationery just for you. Yes, you are worth the bother. That was fun! I have kept several hand-written letters of yours in my “memory box” (a box where I keep special trinkets and things given to me by very special people). I am glad that I’ve kept them though others might think that those are just pieces of trash. Those are my little treasures. Something I could still read during my graying years, wherein a letter written with an authentic penmanship might already be considered obsolete.

As I am writing this, I can’t help but smile. It’s truly awesome knowing that no matter what, somebody else besides my family, got my back—and that is you. Our friendship has been tested through fire. Your loyalty and love is proven and genuine. I so know in my heart.  :’)

Best friend, thank you for everything that you have done for me. You’ve been a source of my strength during the bleakest part of my life. When I was all alone and felt that nobody could ever love and accept me, you were there by my side, encouraging me to be strong and to move forward. When I was afraid, you calmed my fears with your kind and loving words, and assured me of a time when everything will turn out all right. You were correct, everything is starting to be okay again. I thank our Lord for using you as an instrument to keep my sanity in the midst of chaos.

I don’t know about other people, but I hope that they could also see the great treasure I see in you. You are a rare kind and I am so grateful for having blessed with a jewel like you in my life.

I am also excited to finally meet my future-male-best-friend-in-law. Ha-ha-ha! You know that clearly, don’t you? That time will come and I hope you would allow me to have a one-on-one conversation with him. Don’t worry, I would not do anything that would bring him harm. I’d just tell him that he’s one blessed guy to have a fabulous girl like you. Hey, I still feel that mysterious feeling when I had a dream about you and him being wed! Who could he really be? 🙂  Oh well, it’s not my business anymore. Ha-ha! Yet I am so sure that when God finally let you meet, it will be magical! ❤

I’m praying for more years of friendship with you… and to tell you honestly, you really are one source of my inspiration. You’re such a wonderful woman of noble character!

Twenty-one years of friendship—and counting!

I love you very much!

Your best friend / sister,

Me

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