jueves, 13 de noviembre de 2014

Rewarding the unworthy...


So there are many things happening lately. Life in Chennai is slow, but busy at the same time. Where to begin? To start with, I am walking with my neighbor in the mornings at 6:20 am. I was training for the Wipro Chennai Half Marathon, but I began feeling very tired. Things that I cannot logically explain happened. Most people will think I am crazy, or that I was just lazy. 

But I really wasn't. Okay, some days I couldn't get up from bed because I felt exhausted, drained, so out of my zone with life, children, and everything all around. I just felt awful waking up. The times I did get up to run in the mornings I just didn't have it in me to run. Physically I was always ready to go, but not emotionally. Something happened every time I was trying to run faster. I stopped. I always ended up stopping and giving up.

I was thinking constantly about God, and His plan for me. Why exactly did I come to India? I mean, other than Emerson's work, of course. Am I happy here? Am I missing something that I hadn't seen? I'm like into God, you know? But it really bothered me when these thoughts came to my mind exactly when I was trying to run...

- "Why now, exactly when I  am running?", I asked God constantly. 
Because it's when I can get your full attention.

I know- it's crazy talk. But I felt that God was asking me to give it up. For Him. For now. Again, it's kinda crazy to believe. Most people will say I was just lazy. Why would God ask me to do such thing? Isn't He into health and stuff? I'm sure He is, but I don't expect anybody to believe me. I think I finally came to terms with the fact that I needed to readjust my priorities. He hadn't been first in my life for a while.

It's funny... I've been having these really intense conversations with my friend, my 6:20 am-neighbor. Her name is Sugirda. We have been talking about our beliefs. A LOT. I say intense, because the two times we have had coffee, we have talked four hours. F-O-U-R hours. You know how they say you should never talk about politics, soccer or religion with anybody because there's always a fight, right? But faith issues have been the main dish of our conversations. We do chit chat here and there, but mainly we talk about Jesus and Krishna. And there is so much to learn about her culture and about her faith. It even surprises me that I know so much about my own faith to talk about it for hours; but the more I think about it, the more I realize I don't really know squat.

I have a point to make.


I heard the other day at BSF that once you follow Jesus, accept Him in your heart, or whatever you wanna call it, God begins to reveal to you the areas in which you need to change. He never forces you to change, but eventually you might realize you need to, if you really want to live your life to the full like He promises. Of course He does it out of love since He wants the best for you. The teacher also said that He does it little by little. If He did it otherwise, you could be so overwhelmed by your nasty things that you could feel so guilty, so helpless, so powerless... that you would give up.

He never puts you down, He actually wants to lift you up. At the same time, Yahweh doesn't want perfection from you. He wants you to follow Him out of love, not out of obligation, duty or fear. And out of His love and compassion for you, He will help you change. He will help you in this life. He will protect you. He will cover you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. He will enable you to transform your life through His Spirit that lives in you. The Spirit you received when He adopted you as His son or daughter when you accepted Jesus. And He does it because now you are His son, you are His daughter. HE HAS TO TAKE CARE OF YOU. And you can hold Him accountable for that. He is faithful to you. He is your Father.

Of course we like doing BSF homework :)

This might be very heavy stuff, and weird to listen to if you are a non-believer. But I do believe in every single thing that the teacher said.

So Sugirda and I talk about a lot of these things when we talk... I guess it could be really boring for some people, but somehow I like it a lot. There has to be something powerful about it all that can make two women -age 30- spend the entire evening conversing about Jesus and Krishna. She is a very hard core Hindu, for what I can see. She is also very sweet. I wish I had a picture of her to show you. And I want to think (or want her to think) I'm a very hard core follower of Lord Jesus, but I don't think she really knows many.

The truth is that as much hard core I would like to be, I'm still not good enough. And I will never be. But there is where the beauty of the gospel comes. I don't have to be. Yahweh knows I can't never be good enough for Him on my own effort. As much as I would like to be reading my Bible all day long, I just can't. And God doesn't expect me to. He gave me a life to live. He gave me a lot of freedom to do what I want. But there is a fine line between what freedom might look like to some people, and what freedom in Christ actually means.

Fell asleep during dinner

I was a slave to my sins. I was a slave to depression, to alcohol, to anger, to lust, to sexual immorality. A slave to my flesh... and Jesus set me free. Why would I want to take advantage of the Lord who freed me from that? Being forgiven in Jesus does not mean I can go ahead and keep on doing shit to my neighbor, just because God forgives. I believe he who does that has not fully understood yet what an awesome gift He has been given. And so this is why I believe that I don't know squat. There is still so much to learn from my Lord.

Keep reading. You will see.


I get discouraged very often. I get discouraged when I look at my children and see no immediate changes. I feel that nothing is really going on in my life. Just dishes to wash, clothes to fold, dinner to cook. I often feel that I waste my saliva in correcting them, and disciplining them; and my efforts go unnoticed by two little monsters who demand things from me almost ALL my time.

Mommy, I want to eat.  

Mommy, I want oatmeal with honey. 

Mommy, I want chocolate milk. 

Can you make me tea, and a biscuit. Okay... PLEASE???


Mommy, I don't like taking showeeeeeeers!!! [Neither do I like to shower you sometimes]

[You fill your version with your monsters]

He even closes his eyes. I am his first love :))


But today something interesting happening. Interesting, discouraging, but powerful at the end. 

So... Libby didn't go to school because it was cancelled due to heavy rain. She is really funny sometimes. Ever since she got into school she tells Enzo that she goes to her school, but that he doesn't go. I don't really know to what extent she really wants to feel special, but I couldn't let her do that to him. Whatever the reason, this behavior might make Enzo feel bad about himself. So after two or three times that she said that, I told Enzo at the dinner table while we were having dinner, "It's okay, Enzo. You don't have to go to Libby's school, because Sissy is older. Actually, starting tomorrow you are gonna be enrolled into Mommy's school."

Libby, of course, asked me what we were gonna do at Mommy's school. I said I didn't know yet, but that probably we would go buy groceries, and go to the stores, and learning letters, and colors, and shapes with shows. We would also play, and maybe we would eat ice cream sometimes. 

-"Can I go to your school also, Mommy? Please?" 
-"Oh, Sweetheart, I'm sorry. You already graduated from Mommy's school. Everything you know, I've taught you. Now is Enzo's turn to learn, so that one day he can go to a school like yours."

Libby's School :)

I have to admit that I did this on purpose, to defend my boy, but it worked. LOL!! Not only did she stop rubbing on his face that she goes to school, but actually now she asks him what he did at school with me. Whenever we are having lunch and I ask her what she did at school, she says some things here and there, but not much. She is very interested in knowing what we did while she was not here, tough. So somehow Libby has this idea that Mommy's School is the best school around, which is very sweet and heartwarming. I think she idealizes it to the point of thinking, I don't know, that we do awesome things every day. But we really do nothing, ha ha!! I wash clothes, and Enzo helps me upstairs to hang them up. We talk to Nana Angeles and Tía Susy often. We do go buy groceries, or have a coffee with neighbors. So Libby feels sad sometimes, I guess, that she is not in Mommy's school anymore, and doesn't have enough fun. 

Today after her shower she began telling me how excited she is on becoming a Mommy because her children can go to Mommy's School with her. And then I said that maybe she can enroll her children at Nana's School if she has to work. Because I will be the teacher. She said yes. And she also said that if her children hit Enzo, she is gonna give them time outs, and spank them sometimes, because they have to be obedient and respectful to him. "Of course, Sweetie, they have to respect Uncle and Mommy. And specially, they have to be obedient to Mommy and Daddy. Otherwise how would they obey God?"


Ready for swimming class

So sweet... but not really. That Libby and that Enzo can be a handful... Today, I thought, is a special day. Libby didn't go to school, but she can go to Mommy's School and see what Mommy's School is all about. We'll try the pancakes this time. 


Everybody (meaning my two little monsters) were so freaking excited I actually thought I could be a teacher, or some kind of toddler motivational speaker, ha ha ha!! But then Libby began misbehaving, and ignoring what I was saying, and everything went downhill from there... She's been bossing Enzo around, all the time, and that causes trouble. I tell Enzo to do something, but she contradicts me. And so poor Enzo doesn't know what to do. I am not excusing him. He should obey ME. He knows, I have told him he has to be smart and wise, and make the right decision. But I've also told the boy to listen to her sister because she loves him. She is a good leader, and a great sister to him. He is still in that learning process and it sucks sometimes...  

Double the time, double the work, half the patience... but they like it :)


So after her constant disobedience, and defiance, I gave her a time out. However, she was just chilling in the room. When I got in and asked her to apologize, she ignored me. I asked her to explain to me why she was in time out, but she completely ignored me again. She was saying she was sorry, but babbling on purpose, looking towards the roof. She didn't even look at me. You had to be there to look at her face. She told me without words: 


My blood boiled. I was so upset that I had to leave the room, otherwise I would have begun yelling at her, or disciplining her in anger, and not in love. I told her I would be back. I told her she was no repentant whatsoever, and that she really needed to think about the attitude she was giving me. And this time it took me a while to calm down. 

"We are not going to the freaking pancakes... I am not gonna reward this behavior", I said to myself.

The Gang. We are missing Sammy.

And here it comes when my Lord becomes personal:

And He [The Lord] passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished...

~ Exodus 34: 6-7

I remembered this... I remembered this from my BSF class on Tuesday. The teacher's lesson was about how God was so slow to anger with the Israelites. He had just told them to worship Him alone, and they disobeyed right away. They made an idol in the form of a calf. The Lord called them stiff-necked people. The lesson was about how God, after their disobedience, wanted to remain separated from them. So He wasn't near them in the camp. 

My friends from my class laughed when I told them I could totally relate to this, because when my children disobey, and misbehave, I usually tell them to go away from me. I don't want to see their faces. I usually tell them to go away for a bit, but they never go away, so I have to go... And here I was asking God, "Why? Is this how it is supposed to go? What did just happen? Everything was going so well. I am so upset. Help me to understand... "

And He did. 

Getting ready for school

I went into the room, still upset. I was so ready to punish her, tough. She had broken our prefect relationship. There had to be a consequence, right? She was guilty. She had broken my rules. She was gonna miss the pancakes. She had ruined the whole field trip experience for all of us. She came to me. But this time Libby didn't babble.  

- I am sorry, Mommy.
- Really? Why?
- Because I disobeyed you. 
- Do you realize that I asked you more than five times to do something, and you never listened?  Then when I came in, you totally ignored me...
- I am sorry, Mommy.

I looked at her face, and felt so much love for her. She is my daughter, obviously. But I have also felt anger looking at her. So I know the difference. I want to believe God was helping me understand. I saw her as God sees me, I guess. Obviously in a microscopic way, because I'm not all-knowing, and I don't know what she is thinking for real. She had broken my rules. But I realized she is just like me. She is only three. Fine. I'm thirty one, but have I not also broken God's rules? I do that pretty often. I saw repentance in her eyes. She really meant it. My anger disappeared, and I felt compassion for her. So I hugged her and forgave her. 

- I believe you are really sorry, Sweetheart. And I forgive you. I was gonna tell you that we were not going to go have pancakes, but we are.
- We are?
- Yes. You do not deserve it. Let me be perfectly clear. You have been so naughty all morning long.... But I love you, with all my heart. And so we are going. Not because you deserve to go, but because I love you.

Enzo sings

And then we hugged, and I cried. My God came through. For me. And for her. He helped me understand His love and compassion for me. He didn't leave the Israelites all by themselves to wander in the desert, or to wonder what the heck to do with their lives, although they deserved it. He didn't leave Adam and Eve die like they deserved. He covered them. He protected them. He promised them a Savior. A Rescuer. He didn't have to. He was in the right, they did break the rules, and needed to be punished. He gave consequences, but He also showed compassion. He restored His relationship with them. Fast forward, Lord Jesus came. He is a gift. A gift is free if you want it. 

I am this tiny human being. I do not feel it in me to forgive willingly. But God helps me. It is very hard as a mother to understand this, I guess. It is for me. It has always been. I am serving them all day. I just want some appreciation, you know? I feel all they do is saying, "Give me this, give me that". But that's how they learned to communicate with me since they were babies. They cried for food, for a diaper, for their milk... They learned I was there for them. And like at BSF they told me, that's how they will learn to communicate with their Heavenly Father. They will learn to ask the Lord Yahweh for every need they have, and grow in their dependence on Him. 

Loving the undeserving... just like He does with me :)

And I'm thankful for being there, cleaning bottoms, you know? Because through them, my Lord is helping me grow. In patience and understanding, and relating to my God who is also my Heavenly Father. If I can do this with His help, if I am able to love my children like this, how much more does He love me??? He created everything I see. He has always been, even before He created anything. He will always be. He who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand (Isa 40:12), or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens. He who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales... HE LOVES ME!! 

He died for me. How can I not feel compelled to love like this? Out of His love, I feel compelled to do it. Even if I struggle, it is so worth it. Is it easy? No. But He empowers me. He helps me. And He is there to comfort me when I feel I cannot do it anymore, which with me, happens very often :)

"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."

~ 1 John 4:16-19

Very often I focus on my struggles, and I fail to give praise to my Lord for His blessings. There are so many I could write forever :)

Nursery rhymes 101 - Monkeys on the bed

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