Bless the Lord! {With My Testimony}

Meditating on Psalm 134.

Behold, bless the Lord,
All you servants of the Lord,
Who by night stand in the house of the Lord!
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord.

3 The Lord who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion!

The effective antidote for disappointment, discouragement, and even discontent is to remember the goodness of the Lord; to count His blessings and name them one by one. Sometimes this is hard to do, especially to those who do not want to humble down and leave that place of brooding. We can choose to either grouse or give thanks. The former brings a fleeting and false relief, but after it has vented out, we realize it doesn’t really improve our situation. The latter honors God and ushers in a blessing. Although we may not see it yet, but we can feel the prompt effect by our having a peaceful heart and mind.

The best way to conquer the negative feelings that try to trample us is to choose to bless the Lord. Bless Him in the battle as well as in the victory.

How many of you, if there is any at all, thank the Lord everyday for being able to shower, bathe, or shampoo? These tasks are so mundane most people will not give them a second thought. But for me, they are not ordinary, easy tasks, and being able to do them means a lot.

In 2010, another bout of my illness attacked me. It was more severe to the point of death. For months my oesophagus couldn’t receive food and my stomach was too weak it almost didn’t function. I only ate soft rice with beef broth. I became skin-and-bones. I was very weak I couldn’t bathe even with assistance. When my skin became itchy, I sponge-bathed it with hot water and alcohol. Washing my hair was out of the question. I couldn’t sit long, and when I lay down with my head protruding at the edge of the bed so someone could wash my long hair, I couldn’t breathe well. Scrubbing my scalp, even done by someone, would exhaust me and make me feel dizzy. So, for half a year, my hair was not washed. It became so tangled from the dust and sweat that it clumped up at the back of my head like a huge basket. My husband and the kids joked that I should not be seen by the birds, otherwise, they might make their nest on my head.

Those were the times that lightness and laughter attempted to assuage all our sadness and fears. My husband offered 2-meal fasting for over 80 days while continuing to work in the office. He, too, became emaciated. Preachers and prayer warriors from our Church came to pray over me and lay their hands on me. Gradually towards the end of the year, I recovered and regained some strength.

For the fist time in six months, my hair was washed. But it would take many washes before the basket-like clump was totally untangled. Last year, we remodelled our master’s bathroom. We made it easily accessible for my wheelchair and walker. When the renovations were completed, I began to use it to bathe and wash my hair with the assistance of my husband. That is a tremendous blessing to me! I thank Him everyday for it.

One can either question God for the suffering in the first place or bless Him for His enduring mercy and unfailing love. I will always choose the latter.

(Beautiful photo courtesy of my sister in Christ Evamarie Fetter).

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I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,

From Nightmare to Peace and Joy

Is it even possible? Yes, for with God nothing is impossible. But we don’t easily find our way to Him, to have a heart right with Him, and to trust Him with all our being. An older cousin posted this on Facebook: “Living a nightmare ain’t living!” I know exactly where she’s coming from. We have exchanged notes and she is convinced that we have and suffer the same illness. She’s been diagnosed with MSA (multi-system atrophy). I hadn’t undergone the same rigid workup for I gave up early on, but the initial impression of the cardiologist who saw me was that I might have a degenerative disease, my vital organs might be degenerating. I understand that degeneration is another way of saying atrophy.

I always say that my illness affects my ANS (autonomic nervous system: cardio, digestive, respiratory). I see that as multi-system. My cousin and I compared symptoms and, indeed, we have the same. Her neurologist said it’s genetics. But that knowledge didn’t bring any comfort to me. After all, it didn’t lessen the suffering. She lives in the US so we can’t assist each other, but I’m doing my best to comfort and encourage her.

It used to be nightmarish for me, too. I used to be inconsolable, more often than not. If nightmares stop the moment you wake up, this one begins the moment you open your eyes. So, for a long time, I preferred sleep. For my dreams were better than my reality.

But at the onset of my terrifying illness, I had embraced my Savior and Healer, the Lord Jesus Christ. For a long time, it was hard to understand it all, but I clung to His Word which I made my daily companion and the amazing testimonies of His miracles that I heard from the pulpit. There was no instant, one-time relief, but as I held on to Jesus, He held me. As I immersed myself in His Word and promises, He supplied the grace sufficient for me to survive the day.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)

In the nightmarish moments, I thought of my Savior, my Jesus who loved me so much He died for me. I lived in His presence as I walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” again and again. Even in the darkest, hardest times, I believed He was there. I imagined His light like a vertical shaft shining down on me from His throne. I never wanted to disconnect from Him. He was, still is, and always will be my heartbeat, the very breath that I take. (Weeping now).

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. (Psalm 86:15)

I can’t remember the exact day that the Lord filled me with peace and joy and inspiration to live and serve Him. They didn’t come with my complete healing for I have yet to receive it. I received them even in the midst of illness and suffering. This is that which the apostle Paul wrote – “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). We can’t comprehend how it can be present in the midst of a trial. But it’s there like a solid rock we can lean upon.

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Ps. 30:11-12 NIV)

If you have been blessed by your visit here, please like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. Thank you!

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,