Monday, January 15, 2007

Women In Grief and God's Faithfulness

My friend Chinchin's faith is amazing. When one spends time with people like her, you really feel and touch the presence of God. Chin had been in a fire that gutted everything she had ever owned. Worse, she herself suffered second-degree burns from the heroic act of saving her bedridden mother by jumping from the second floor of her home down to the ground floor. The other day her mom finally, after a long struggle passed away.
I spent some time with her last night coming straight from the grief support group that H and I facilitate every Saturday afternoon. Though the sadness in her eyes was palpable, her unwavering faith in the Lord was truly admirable. "It could have been worse you know," she told me. "We could have lost her in the fire..." Managing to see the positive in the midst of loss and tragedy is clearly an act of faith. "I'm just really going to miss my baby..." she said wistfully. For the last three years now Chin had been taking care of her mom Cecilia who has been bedridden. Her devotion knows no bounds. Her mom has always been her prime concern. I remember the day that we received our TOWNS award in Malacanang in October 2004, she was elated but her thoughts were on her mom whom she had just rushed to the hospital. Chin is truly, a beautiful person inside and out. Often misunderstood in the past, she is now entering a new phase in her life. I pray that the Lord give her the strength she needs for the journey and that she continue to cling to Him in this, perhaps her darkest hour.
At church today, our pastor posed this question to the congregation - Is anything too trivial for the Lord? Definitely, nothing is too small or trivial for HIM. I was reminded of His faithfulness once more when I had to switch to a new cardiologist this week because my previous one had migrated to the U.S. last November. My mind had been set on seeing Dra. L who had been referred to me. But for reasons only God knows, she had cancelled clinic on the day I was supposed to see her and was terribly late on my second try. Waiting in her office that day, a very pleasant and pretty doctor came in whose aura immediately caught my eye. I asked the secretary if that was Dra. L and she said no, it was Dra. Cheng. After a few more minutes I found out that she too was a cardiologist and that she was also part of healthcare's network. Coincidences? No coincidences in God's divine plan.
I then asked the secretary if I could just see her since I had yet another appointment to catch. After two patients, I went in to see Dra. Cheng, told her my history and exchanged pleasantries, I told her that I was seeing an Dra. Domingo, electrophysiologist for my Wolff-Parkinson's-White and it turns out that she and that doctor were very good friends as well. I then mentioned that I had grown up with Dra. Domingo. "Oh did you go to Philippine Science?" she asked me with a smile. I then replied that no, but my husband did. It turns out that Dra. Cheng had gone to school in Maryknoll grade school (where I too went) and then to Pisay for high school. Even more amazing was the fact that her father and H, sat together on the Pisay foundation board. Too many coincidences is how the secular world would see it but as I left the clinic that afternoon I was filled with great thankfulness in my heart for how faithful God is in leading us to the right people. So many times He has lead me to the right healers. Truly, nothing is ever trivial in God's sight :)
Quote : "It is only through solitude that we can find our true center and discover our real selves. " I took the photo above as I was strolling on a beach in Pacific Grove, CA last year at a particularly low point in my life. The old lady in the shed caught my eye and I could not help but think about her life. Was she a widow? Why was she alone? As I told a friend before, our perception of things will always be colored by our own personal experiences and history. I look at the photograph now and think that the lady is probably relishing her quiet time with God in the midst of a beautiful ocean. Savoring her solitude in her sunset years :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Prayer for Enlightenment

Lord I have so many whys. I could go on and on, but nothing will change no matter how many times I ask. I do not understand this. I do not understand You. But I realize I am not meant to. You, O Lord, are high above all, and I must give my questions to you once and for all. Forgive me when I limit You, doubt You, and expect You to fail me. I am so small compared to You, yet You love me more than I can comprehend. Instead of focusing on the questions, I want to start focusing on the Answers – You. Help me to better understand Your attributes and Your plan for my life.

Faithful God, I must look at You first. Teach me about Your goodness and sovereignty. Teach me to see the big picture and not just the pebbles of my unanswered questions. Lord, I’m willing to try. Help me to understand that I CANNOT do anything without Your enabling. You only expect me to love You and learn about You, and your spirit will do the rest within me and through me.

Lord, I don’t understand. I’m asking You and being very honest with You. Please answer according to Your will, but also, can You show me how I am to deal with this? What would You have me to learn? How would You have me to operate from this point on. Teach me Lord, guide me and fill me with your spirit and grace. In Jesus Name. Amen.