All the Love and the Joy

Mango.ph sent me an email regarding their end-of-summer sale, all items 50% off except for new arrivals. This online store has become our family’s favorite. (Although their prices are generally exorbitant, when they have a sale, usually 50-70% off, the prices become lower than local brands’. Needless to say, we only shop during a sale :) ). I am grateful for online stores, especially the local ones. Since I can’t remember the last time that I was able to go to the mall and shop, online stores are a great help.

So, I started to shop for the kids’ clothing. But because Hannah, now 14, is not a kid anymore (and her size is definitely adult’s), I buy her clothes from the women’s section. I didn’t have any intentions of buying anything for myself. Although I love fashion (now only the simple and modest kind), how could I get myself to buy something when I’m bedbound and can’t even pluck my stray eyebrows? Even with my illness, when I’m feeling well, I want to dress up. It feels good to be scrubbed clean, look well and  radiant.

But when I saw the yummy blouses that were now priced low, sadness and heaviness crept into my heart. Again.

Enduring an illness that doesn’t want to budge brings an ingrained heaviness to my spirit that, I’m just realizing now, has already become a part of my system. There are glimpses of joy and inspiration – open windows to a beautiful earth, like running through a meadow, chasing butterflies and dragonflies, a child again – but otherwise, the days are peppered with groaning and the exhalations come out as sighings.

Even if you have a treasure trove of memories of a once-carefree life – of climbing blackberry trees and picking sun-hardened carabao dung in summer, of catching mudfish when fields overflowed in rainy months and grilling them over hot coals, of smelling the delicious aroma of ripe guavas simmering in thick coconut milk on quiet, slumbrous afternoons – prolonged illness and suffering can snuff all that wonder and your focus narrows down to your difficult circumstances.

What you suffer, it becomes your world, your life, and you forget how it is like to walk in full strength and happiness – to run, to leap, to twirl, to dance and laugh freely. In the bed of languishing, you forget those, how they feel like. And thinking about them, obsessing over them, makes the hunger deeper and more intense.

So, you don’t only endure suffering, you live it – physically, mentally, emotionally.

The time that I was shopping online, I was also reading a novel on Kindle, alternating the two tasks (what, you do that, too? 😀 ). I read something that instantly inspired me. The words were fresh and had a life all their own. And I saw that open window again, of a bright hope, like a meadow shining under the summer sun, of desiring to heal fully and live fully, of shedding all sickness, suffering, and sorrow, of believing again, of seeing oneself in a different place (far from the old, miserable rut), of being able and courageous to reach that place in the land of the happy, healthy living!

I grasped that ray of light and desired so much to live differently. Even if the illness and suffering are still present, I desire to choose joy rather than sorrow. I desire to embrace wellness in spirit rather than heaviness. I desire to walk a different path. Even though my illness still tries to oppress me, I will refuse to be oppressed! I will refuse to be miserable.

So, with warm cotton candy colors floating in my mind, of thoughts of being healed and fully recovered and walking and traveling again, of testifying and soul-winning, I raised my hand in prayer and told the Lord about them. Then I picked a flowy, long sleeves peach blouse (that reminded me of leisurely walks along sunny harbors, licking on ice cream in a cone) and a hot pink cotton casual top for myself from the Mango online store and added them to my cart. I was happy not because I had new tops. I was happy because I had found a new lighted path on which to walk on, a fresh take on faith just like Hebrews 11:1 describes: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

It’s catching the shower of love and joy that falls like confetti from heaven.

Why do many of us insist on carrying our burdens alone, hauling them as we trudge through life, their weight bearing down on us until we are stooped? The Lord invites us to come to Him, to lay down all our burdens, and He will give us rest. And although we may have been doing just that, coming to Him and begging Him to take them all away, we may still refuse to let go or to feel unburdened. We may still insist on feeling burdened and stooped.

The fear, when you’re sick and suffering, is multifaceted. You don’t only experience it, you think it. It oppresses not only your body but your mind. You worry about tomorrow, about your family, about many things that you are unable to do. This is not unnecessary worrying, nor imagined. It is a product of being ill and being uncertain of the future. But what is the powerful, living Word of God if it can’t silence those nagging fears?

Faith is fastening oneself onto the Word, of fully believing and trusting that it can deliver and will deliver.

We can cease thinking that we are unloved or loved less by God (just because we can’t seem to see or experience it in our lives) by believing His Word. If He said He has loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3), then we must take His Word for it. The dictionary defines everlasting as “lasting forever; never coming to an end; eternal”. God said that’s how He has loved us. We must rest in that truth.

As for the ceaselessly bearing of our burdens, the Savior has already borne them.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

…And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Is. 53: 4, 5, 6)

He took them all upon His body when he offered His life on the cross so we won’t have to bear them anymore. We must learn to abide in this truth. We can rest in God’s Word and promises to do the healing, liberating, and restoring while we catch all the love and the joy He showers on us.

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Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. Cheryl Smith says:

    Bless your dear heart! I am so sorry you are suffering like this. It is wonderful that you are choosing joy over the grief. It was so nice to “meet” you today…I found your post on Hazel’s link-up. I really enjoyed reading this and trust God will bless you abundantly and restore perfect health to your body so you can enjoy your children. I will be praying for you. :)

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you, oh so much for the rush of love from you to me, Cheryl. Bless your sweet heart. So glad we “found” each other :). Thank you and blessings to you, too!

  2. Hazel Moon says:

    Jesus wore a beautiful seamless robe so we know He enjoyed nice clothing. At the cross, rather than rip it apart, the soldiers cast lots for his garment. Jesus also delights when a pretty blouse brings us a ray of sunshine even in a darkened room. Thank you for sharing your delightful post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

  3. Thank you for sharing, Rina, I think you are brave and true and smart to shop online. And wise to invite Jesus into your suffering – He is the Inviting God – as you wrote: “The Lord invites us to come to Him, to lay down all our burdens, and He will give us rest. And although we may have been doing just that, coming to Him and begging Him to take them all away, we may still refuse to let go or to feel unburdened. We may still insist on feeling burdened and stooped.” So true that we forget to include Him in the simplest of our burdens and then when we do, we forget to let Him carry them. Bless you. Next to you at Holley’s this evening.
    PS you may enjoy reading my niece’s journey at: sansoxygen.com

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for your visit, Sue, and for leaving me a message, too :). I did visit your blog and your niece’s. She is a very strong woman. For sure, the grace of the Lord Jesus overflows to and through her.

  4. luna ebrada says:

    so blessed po ako ate Rina sa message mo, it almost made me cry ate…Glory to God po!

    • RinaPeru says:

      I praise and thank he Lord for using my words to touch others’ hearts, like yours, my beloved sis.

  5. Mary Geisen says:

    Beautiful words of giving it all to God in our weakness and our strength. Turning to God in gratitude is an outward pouring of what is going on inside your heart. Blessed you shared this at The Weekend Brew.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for your words, Mary. I’m encouraged. Although it’s not always easy to walk the path of gratitude all the time especially when suffering intensifies…but by grace.

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