viernes, 20 de julio de 2012

Joy in the midst of trials...

I still remember my first "serious" Bible study, we were studying the book of Luke. I guess it was "serious" not because other Bible studies I'd done until that point weren't interesting or anything, but because the things we read were actually really important for me at that time.

I guess this verse will haunt me eternally until the day I die... "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it", and here's when I shake Elizabeth around, "Fooollow, follow me, follow me..." ~ Matt 16:24 

It's probably that God was and still is trying to tell me something...

At that particular time, I was losing my life over not knowing what in the world was going to happen with our lives, forget about Elizabeth... she wasn't even in the picture. We had no money, or well, we had just enough money to kind of go by. Actually, there was a time of total uncertainty about our future because we didn't kow if we were going to continue to live in this country. Emerson was closer and closer to graduation, but his advisor had decided not to offer him a position to continue with his PhD. 

In addition, Mexico had stopped paying us our monthly check, like, for three months in a row. I can't even imagine now to try to live and feed myself with a budget of less than US$300/month. But back then, we would make it with US$200/month, and we didn't even go on dates, or stuff like that. Even though we didn't receive a paycheck during that time, we were never in debt, people always supported us with prayer - even shared 1/8 cow with us- and we never ran out of food, or a warm place to stay, or clothes in winter.

Playing the piano

I find incredibly interesting the fact that the Israelites were so freaking ungrateful... they turned their backs on God every sinlge day, and this may have nothing to do with this post, but probably it has to do everything with this post... I have so many things to write about. 

To start with, I have discovered a new face of God that I had never imagined, I saw him angry and heart broken at the same time. I've been reading my Bible for a long time now, trying to go through it in chronological order. You know, I knew about Abraham, Issac, Jacob... sure, then what? Probably Joseph, slavery in Egypt, Moses, then The Law. 

Then Jericho, and more disobeying, until I don't know... Saul and David, and then Solomon, but pretty much that was it. Then you have all these books of prophets that I honestly couldn't even understand because I didn't know when the heck they were talking about... So I began reading more purposely, trying to understand all these prophets and what Jesus meant when He said that the propeths in the past had never been heard, and were hated by everybody, even murdered.

So in my small amount of free time during the day, I've been finding out that these prophets were people who were called by God to go and tell the rest of the Israelites how bad they were behaving. They spoke the very words of God, and of course, everybody - almost everybody- hated them because these guys would go on and tell you your very truths in your face. Most of the time, those truths were the kind of truths you didn't want to hear. In Jeremiah, I saw a devastated God, sad, but angry at the same time, like a husband who has been betrayed by His whorish wife. 

I won't write the verses, because there are a lot, but He tells them all He has done for them, how much He has loved them, like asking, "Why? What did I do wrong? I planted you like a choice vine, how come you became a wild vine?" 

So beautiful, Mi Pinga

After all the well-deserved things that God testifies against them, He offers them to come back, but they are so happy in their sin, that they behave as if saying, "What are you talking about? We are not sinning, we are just fine... we don't really need you." 

I guess I finally understand now that even though I think I am not that way, in reality I am just like them. And still God chooses to love me every single second of the day. My heart is broken, there is nothing I can do to fix it on my own. That's the condition of this world in general terms. All of us are born with broken hearts. Nothing will be permanently fixed until the day Jesus comes back, which could be tomorrow... but that's not very likely to happen. 

I promise I do have a point if you keep reading... Oh, by the way, I applied to this program to get paid by writing blogs about my family and stuff, but they haven't answered back. It's not like I couldn't use the money they offered, but if they randomly choose some of my posts to look at them, only to read one like this one... it's no wonder why they won't call... I am happy I applied. I overcame my fear of not being good enough. 

I am good enough at writing, I just honestly think most of the time I don't fit the theme they were looking for: funny posts, full of celebrity mom's talk and baby gossip, upbeat, and lighthearted... definitely not lighthearted. If some of my posts were a meal, most moms reading them would end up like that Christmas at my house... My family decided to have Barbacoa (lamb) for dinner. We all ate around 7 pm, and by 9 pm pretty much everybody was asleep... the meal was awesome, but very, very heavy, difficult to digest.

I am funny, though... you should see my daughter's face when I scream at her and say, "Ahi te voy"

The other day she fell from the couch while trying to escape from me. It all happened so fast, I was a feet away from her, but I couldn't stop the fall. She landed on her head, twisted her neck in a weird way, and ended up lying on her back, really truTV-like. She stood up and kept on running, so I guess she was fine. 

Climbing the couch

Ok, so, after this heavy talk on how we could really hurt God without even realizing it, I understand now that He really wants the best for me, just like I want the best for Elizabeth. I really, really want the best for her, but she has a will of her own, and as much as I don't want to break her spirit, I do want to teach her to obey me, and trust me more than anything - except God, of course...

I think that' what God wants to teach us, to trust him, no matter how impossible the scenario or scary the situation looks. But it is so hard to let go, and say, "I trust you, Daddy".   This has to do anything with the point of this post. Our lives have been so different from how they were when we were still in Mexico, different from how they were when we got to this country. And all those changes I've seen in me and in Emerson could have only been possible with God's help. Not only having a job, but all the spiritual blessings we've had.

At this Bible study there was a lady who was going through a divorce, and she didn't want to get a divorce, but her husband was the one going on that direction. I don't know if he was a Christian or not, but anyway... She said that it was very difficult for her to find joy in that situation, it was impossible. The leader said that the joy comes when you know that God is in control, but again, if He was in control, why was He letting this happen?

God is so good, but He is not our magician. This life by itself sucks, but God's will for us is not to be happy. His will for us is to look like Jesus. And that sucks many times, but that's how it is. He loves us so much to let it be other way, specially if you are in a relationship with Him through Jesus. When you really know Him, it's hard not to accept, well, at least to understand that His will is better than yours. It's difficult to not understand that every trial that comes your way has a reason, that He wants to make you stronger, that He wants to grow you, to mature you, to refine you like a precious metal. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything" ~ James 1:2-4

I got a call yesterday from the nurse  and she told me I had failed my glucose screening test. I have to go through the three hour glucose tolerance one. It sucked. I am a very good fatalistic. When I get what I consider bad news, I always assume the worst. This totally sucks because I am taking captive by my fears, and I imagine the worst case scenarios, it's like a movie playing in my head. I was very sad yesterday. I may not even have gestational diabetes, but the What If is what consumes me.

Showing Daddy she can wear his shoes

Today in our morning walk, we prayed about this, I know God is not present in those thoughts. I cried while I was praying with Merritt, but I felt so much peace after I got home. I am very hopeful. I played with Elizabeth, I want to be healthy, and live many, many years. It's not that you have to have joy or be happy over the fact that something bad is happening to you, but there is joy in knowing that God will bring something good out of it, because in everything God works for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28).

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances..." ~ 1 Thess 5:16-18

It doesn't mean I will thank God for being sick, but for taking care of me. Because I know that He will help me go through this the way He helped me go through many difficult things in the past, like the ones I was talking about at the beginning of this post. There is always hope, there is always that choice of trusting God or being fearful, and while it sucks I always freak out at the beginning - I still don't reach that point where trusting God is the very first thing I do- at the end HE wins.

Whether I may have gestational diabetes or not, and if it continues or not after the baby is born,  I don't know. That's not the point anymore. I'm not worried about it. My goal is to take care of myself from now on. I want to eat healthier, I want to take care of my body, I don't want to abuse it the way I have been doing it. I want to have life, life to the full, I want to be with my family, I want to run, I want to exercise, I want to sing, I want to jump with my children without having to gasp for air...

When you forget about all the things God has help you with, it is very easy to try to take matters into your own hands. I guess it was very good that I remembered about all those things in our past.

And I am very thankful for a husband who supports me, and loves me no matter what :))

The face of joy :))


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