Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Faith In the Desert

The end of my first year in Az crept up so fast. Life as an immigrant for me is no Disneyland that's for sure.
I remember it well 2009, i came to U.S with two suitcases, one was filled with a few belongings and bulky winter coats mother brought me from thrift store as farewell gift. The other suitcase was stuffed with wedding gown and my hand carry for laptop and legal documents to get into U.S for a reason, to marry the man I loved for five years.

After our wedding, we moved to France for a year and a half where I suffered home sickness and adjustments. As soon as we came back to U.S, my first year in az was yet another story.

Being a housewife was as fun as playing house. I had fun learning the art of 'nesting'. Sooner or later, the fun has started to fading away. I started feeling bad.

I had no source of income for my freedom. I hated the feeling like a a little girl asking my husband for my wants. I had to justify the logic of why i needed a pretty flower vase. You know how men thinks.

I love being a housewife but when I started socializing with my husband's university colleagues, it created a pressure. It became pressuring when i was asked what do i do? Even their wives had something to say about their current masters degree. I had nothing more to share than i made a Christmas tree of dryer sheets.We don't have children yet or I am not in school, so I didn't have a reason to stay home and do nothing. With a hurt pride I looked and applied for jobs. I was eager but nothing was available.

In desperation, i blurted out 'i would do anything', then our pastor heard me. Our church didn't naturally hire employees but the they were very kind to make exemption and opened a temporary one for me, just until I could get on my feet.

I worked 8 hours a week. I was getting a good amount an hour. I was so excited to get my first paycheck and got myself a good sewing machine, rest are for arts and crafts to keep my blogging going. I even started buying and selling. I was enjoying the fruit of my labor (spending my own money) for the first time in three years.

The work was fine but there were times i wanted to give up specially when work required working under the scorching heat of the summer sun, and dealing with dead snakes and scorpions around. Something a city girl would not want to deal with. There was a hint of confusion and pity whenever i scrub the toilets or cleaning someone else's mess.

This is what I always see at work.
This is the landscape i see at my work. Everytime i look at it i would ask God "your creations are majestic. You are rich and powerful. The whole universe is yours. Why is your child just a cleaner?"
I felt my faith went dry. Dry as desert soil. Uncultivable.

Another silent question aroused deeply, “was I seeking to please God or was I seeking for my own glory? Pride has prevailed. I had a fulfilling job in Philippines, but here i was doing something that my mother would pay someone to do it for me.

I kept my work hidden from my family and hid it from condescending eyes. I was afraid what others are going to say especially my old friends and old co-workers. When asked how I was doing with my job, I would just say, it was going great. Some may call it lying, but I like call it being polite.

I suddenly felt disgusted about my ungratefulness of what has given to me. My ungratefulness was more discusting than scrubbing soiled toilets.

I felt rebuked by heaven through my husband. He left me a question “Do you care what others think or what God would think?”

I asked for forgiveness and asked to create in a a grateful heart. Prayer is more than just a wish list. Like what Oswald Chambers put it, prayer changes our perspective in seeing the situation in a godly way.

I found myself enjoying what I was doing while singing praises with songs as I mop the floors and wiped the glass doors. Suddenly, I have a reason to be joyful again and realized the great benefits this job has.

This is my therapy
Somehow theres something therapeutic in raking. I have created stories while raking the pebbles on the front lawn which by the way became my favorite chore as gazing at the beauty of mountains. Mountains made me forgot that I was tired from doing the physical work. My discouragements went away whenever people complimented how clean the church. Everybody was thanking me for the great job i was doing and how they were blessed with my service. Then I felt so important. I felt needed. My payed job has become my devotion. My work at the church has become my comfort zone.

After a few days, I received a job interview. I went for the interview and was hired at the same day. This is a such a great opportunity to gain some work experience. Although my husband is a great provider, I still have to prepare myself if just in case he would lose the ability to provide.

My heart is oozing with praise that's why i am pouring out my heart in words.

Though I got the job i was hoping for but the real blessing here was God stayed with me during the times of hurt and nothingness.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What I Learned From Fred

Fred was this short old guy from our church. I would greet him "good morning" on Sundays and he replied "wats gudah bow eet". He had an accent. I could easily tell he wasn't born or raised in America. Later I understood, he meant to say "What's good about it?" or what's good about the morning. I knew he was teasing. He would also greet me on Sundays and told me I should say  back "what's good about it?".

Fred was a very sweet guy. He always teased me about my boots, wearing them in the wrong season. "There's no snow!" he would say. He also always asked me "You so short, why marry a very tall man?" as if it was a big mistake. I never actually figured the answer. 

Until one Sunday, he stopped coming to church. I usually intend to ask someone about it but I never did. I was consumed with my own life's worries and busy-ness that I forgot that I wanted to know him more. I know he had a lot of awesome stories to share. Stories of his experiences in Yugoslavia until he fled to America during world war two where he and his wife met again and toiled for that American dream. I let days, weeks, months passed until I heard that Fred just passed away. I was sad. I never had a chance to answer his question. I never even knew his real name. I just refer to him as "That Yugoslavian". I hate the fact I didn't even had him over for dinner and hear stories of how the Lord worked in his life when they fled from the harsh life of his country. It was only until I read in his funeral, his real name was Ferdinand Decker.

I went to his funeral yesterday. I saw him in that coffin lifeless. That was the only time I saw him he did not ask me questions. That would be weird if he did though.

Church is not just a once a week meeting place for people who share the same beliefs. Church is a place to gain wisdom from the elders, share those lessons with my peers and able to teach those experiences to the young children and young believers.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Till Death Do They Part

Sometimes i wonder what hurts more? Losing a partner or losing a child? I guess it hurts either way. But that's not the case with my friend who just lost her husband. They never had a child together. For 25 years, they only got each other.

I have been married to my husband for almost three years but I cant even begin to think of the idea of 'till death do us  part'.

Her husband Bob was only days away from death after a broken hip accident. Yes, broken hip sounds a  simple  thing but  it  was more complicated than that.  Bob was at that  age  with  multiple  health  problems. But in spite of everything, she loved him unconditionally. She stayed with him even through her husband's darkest days of  blindness. She endured Bob's frustrations of losing his sight  along with his self esteem,. There was a time that a man's pride (especially  to a  former  soldier) was  crushed  of self  pity and felling of uselessness, but  Susan stood firm as a faithful and caring wife and loved him no matter what. She lifted Bob's self esteem up again even if it means total submission, letting him win most of the time. Then his dementia came which it meant harder work, more sleepless nights and dealing with her husband's delusions of Vietnam war experiences. They never had a child. Susan was not alone. God got her back.

Bob had many health problems in his age. In fact, he was suppose to be gone 4 years ago, but God heard his wife's prayer "LORD 3 more years " along with her much love  care and support, he  lived 4  more years as a very happy man. He would join our conversations and most of the time entertained us with his humorous jokes. He could even go to church. He was there on my birthday and was able to enjoy a buffet.

It was a great thing my friend was a nurse until she became her husband's personal nurse. She knew what was best for Bob.  She fought hard when others opinion said her husband  had to go but her love kept him going. She proved they wrong  

God is good to her who gave her the strength to stand firm for her husband's  welfare and even to his spiritual journey. hardships, fatigue did not bother her as the Lord was on her side. I don't remember Susan without a smile on her face, until last Wednesday, it seemed the heaven told her "rest  now  my child. Let me handle the rest".

Bob is now in the arms of the Lord where there  are no more  pain  or broken flesh. My simple prayer is for God would be there for her for one more time in her grieving. I trust that like He was  with  my friend in her marriage, there He will be also as is a widow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Finding My True Calling

Image from Graphics Fairy

God's children are called to give best in everything they do and in any situations. Passion and joy confirm the True Calling.

Introductions became pressuring when I became a Physicist’s wife. After Jon overwhelmed the people with his profession, they turn to me with anticipation asked me what I do for living that that impresses this man of intellect. If only there is an impressive way to say I am a stay home wife. I simply gave up. So I just shook their hands as say "I have nothing smart to say".

I was proud of what I have accomplished. I taught English class in spite of no background on Education studies. When financial necessity called, I shifted to call center career for higher pay, but eventually pursued a writing position for a broadcasting network. Each job had a special place in my heart. I enjoyed all the work. I put my heart and dedication to each of them. I made so much friends. I was earning on my own. I enjoyed the feeling of independence. I was able explore my individuality. Then after, marriage turned my life in a different direction.

My life now revolves around house chores. There were several times when everything is clean and there's nothing else to do, I would stay on bed until sundown, wait until the day is finished and wait until another comes. I spent many worthless mornings feeling sorry for myself. When Jon sets off to work,I did not like the thought of waking up in an empty apartment with an empty heart. Have I lost my true calling?

Job hunt became tough for me since I moved to foreign country that is just recovering from recession. I have applied to as many job vacancies available but no one ever called back. This reality struck my pride face down that triggered a feeling of self-worthlessness and lie that a person's value is determined by tittle and figure of salary. It led me to question my value as human being. Have I been missing my true calling?

These thoughts led me to meditate on a passage of the book My Utmost the the Highest.

"God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience." - Oswald Chambers

God showed my heart's selfish desire to uplift myself up to heal my broken pride without realizing I was after pleasing others expectations and my pride's delight rather than how God wants to mold me. His silence to my prayers was the answer while words in the bible comforted my heart with hope that my present situation holds a vital part in transforming my character into life of obedience.

Home may not be the best place for career promotions or salary bonuses but I know I am called to do my best here at this present situation. One thing that surprises is, I like being at home. Looking beyond chores, there is a distinct feeling that home is where my heart wants to be. I like the idea that house is happier if someone is taking care of it. It has been my dream to live in a happier home and the people live in it will someday say “There's no place like my home”.

I was raised in a home where love of husband and wife was lost that resulted to a broken, empty home, This memory gives meaning to see beyond house chores. It encourages me to do the best I can in every little thing I do.

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; (1 Peter 1:15 NIV)

I know my calling does not end here for where I am is where I am called. As I search for my true calling, I am called to give my best in whatever I do and whatever situation I am in. I tried to ignore what pleases other and focused what pleases God. He is more concerned with the prosperity of my spiritual obedience than my individuality.

Where God will take me next?... I shall see.