A Mother’s Heart

The night before the kids’ trip to Island Cove, sleep eluded me, as is often the case when my unused, atrophied legs ache and my mind is so active, flitting from one thought to another. No, I wasn’t thinking about problems and worries. My brain just wants to think often even during sleeping time :D. Then added to that was the sadness that hovered over my heart and soul, knowing that I wouldn’t still be traveling with them after heaps of faith and prayers. I spent the sleepless hours praying for their safe travels, not wanting to be disturbed anymore once sleep came. And it did at past 4 AM. When the kids each took turns in kissing me goodbye at 6:30, I didn’t even bother to open my eyes.

A Mother's Heart

I wanted to sleep until noon, that way, I wouldn’t spend too long a time thinking about them going out of town without me and wallowing in loneliness. But at 9:35, I was wide awake. I sat up, hauling my heavy heart. And finally, I gave in to tears.

But I didn’t want to linger in that place too long. Futile. Although, admittedly, my mind wanted to speculate on how it would have been pure delight to hold my children’s hands on either side of me as we walk around the resort, or luxuriate in the cheerful chatter around the table as we investigate the menu, or hear the peals of Tim’s laughter as he enjoys my company in an outing for the very first time. Those are all delicious thoughts but could tear my heart and peace apart. So, I shunned them and went another way. I proceeded with my day and shoved sadness aside.

I was finishing up my watercolor painting of blue Himalayan poppies when I received a text message from my boy using his Dad’s cellphone, “Hi, Mom! I like what you chose for vacation!” He attached an elephant emoji which got me thinking, “Did he really see an elephant there?” But that didn’t really matter for my mother’s heart had soared, shedding off all heaviness!

Tim had another message for me: “I purely had fun out here!”

That was all I needed and my heart was full. The faithful Lord had filled me up once again even in the midst of the desert.

I’ve been ill for 13 years now, some years sicker and weaker, other years, partially recovered and stronger. It’s been a long, arduous journey, but I can’t think of a single time that I had totally relinquished hope and chosen to quit. Even when my soul cried out to be released from all the suffering, my mother’s heart and mind held on and resisted the wave of hopelessness and defeat.

I am a warrior (the tears are coming now). These arms and hands had been engaged in battles long and hard. If Jacob wrestled with God and fought for His blessing overnight that he got a broken thigh in the process, I have been wrestling with God, fighting tooth and nail for my own blessing these past 13 years (crying). Bloodied, many times broken, bruised, beaten, left for dead at times, but still, I stay in the ring with Him.

The mercy that I fight so hard for is the same mercy that would lift me up to my feet every now and then even before the referee has counted to 10.

What holds me down on earth when I could wish to be with the Lord where “God shall wipe away all tears from [my] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…” (Rev. 21:4)? It’s my children. I don’t want them to be motherless. I fight for them. I fight for my life. I fight for length of life. I claim God’s promises (He wants us to!). I believe I’m the best person for the job: mothering my own children. Otherwise, why would God give them to me?

So, I hold onto His mercies, to His compassionate heart. He knows the mother’s heart. He understands how it beats. So everyday, I ask boldly, and everyday, I thank Him that I’m still here with my family.

What drove Jacob to wrestle with God all night? He was to meet his brother Esau after so many years. Years before, he fled Esau’s wrath because he stole their father’s blessings intended for his brother. Now, he was scared for his life and those of his wives and children. He needed God to bless him and preserve him and all of his.

It’s the same thing with a mother fighting for her life and all of hers.

I maybe weak and unable to walk and travel, but by God’s grace, I do my best to be a strong presence in our family. I hold down my role as a mother and manage my dominion (our home) with God’s love, wisdom, and guidance. I plan. I direct. I act. All from my throne room that is our bedroom :). No one assists the kids with schoolwork but me. I discipline them through heart-to-heart talks, conversations, and letters. I have appointed myself as their life coach, guiding and teaching them the lessons I’ve learned in all of my 48 years of life. I tell them stories of my childhood, simple yet rich, my growing up years, the hard, gruelling years of high school and college – all of them contributing to the development of my character, who and what I am now.

I shop for our clothes online. Oh, thank God for the Internet and online shops! My Hannah has the habit of resisting my choices, but I have also appointed myself as her stylist (whether she likes it or not) and my husband’s :) . Hannah has no fashion sense (yet). We are not worldly fashionable people (no more of that since we are Christ followers), but she doesn’t have a clue as to what goes well together. I don’t want her going out looking like young Cosette in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I want that the Lord Jesus is glorified in and through her: A blessed child of God.

I train them to read good books. And now that Hannah is more mature, I advise her to read the Bible everyday and other Christian devotionals. Video games are out. I encourage them in the arts and hone their talents. They both play the piano. I teach them many things, but most of all, together with my husband, we do our best to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

We teach them gratitude. In this selfish, pampered world of instant gratification, I can see that it’s hard for them to grasp the deep meaning of gratefulness. That kind that emanates from the heart and soul. But we fight for their hearts and souls, too, in prayer. Unceasing prayers, like water that flows interminably on stones, polishing them until smooth and shiny, will do its powerful work on our children overtime.

I cannot count the times that my heart has been wounded by my own people. I had cried in anger, frustration, regret, weariness, disappointment, discouragement, and sheer sadness. But motherhood is a job that you don’t want to quit. And by God’s immense grace, I’m not quitting.

If you have been blessed by your visit here, I’d love for you to like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. To not miss any posts, I also invite you to subscribe below. Thank you!

Linking up with Sharing His BeautyTrue StoriesTell His StoryWise WomenCoffee for Your HeartFaith Filled FridayWeekend Whispers.

Journey with Jesus,

What Makes for a Beautiful Marriage

I’ve read quite a few stories of Christian weddings where the bride and groom kissed for the first time or were together as man and wife for the first time on their first night. My tears flowed at one time after reading one of those stories shared on Christian blogs. For isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Coming together for the very first time on your wedding night? That was also my fervent dream growing up. But somewhere between my young girl dream and marriage at 33, that idealism was lost completely. For the ways of the world never collide with the ways of holiness.

And so, looking back, even if the bride that I was was garbed in a designer wedding gown, rode on a stretched limousine, and me and my groom received guests at the grand ballroom of a 5-star hotel — I regretted the path we took to reach the altar. Crying one night, I told my husband how I wished we could remake that one single day and night in our lives and experience how it was to be a pure, blushing bride.

Then came the 2-year chasm in the marriage where the sin of adultery reigned. How can one redeem the beauty of a ruined marriage?

My answer is this: It starts with the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other who can turn the ashes into beauty. He it is who makes a marriage sacred. In the flurry of our glitzy Catholic wedding, we had completely forgotten to invite Him into our lives. Thus, there was no blessing in the real sense of the word. But one solemn afternoon in our living room, me, dressed in a simple white suit and my husband in his barong tagalog, a preacher from our Church blessed us as husband and wife. It was our Christian wedding. And it was beautiful. Why? Because of the grace of the Lord which washed us from our sins and made us white as snow. Grace is beautiful. Forgiveness is its crown.

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Is. 61:3)

I have not seen a perfect marriage in my world from my childhood to adulthood. Everywhere I look (that is, the ones that I can look into),  I see flaws, some kind of ugliness, and some measure of pain. Our marriage is one of those. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry its own beauty. With the love and grace of the Lord, beauty can never be absent.

I see beauty whenever my husband assists to wash me. From the top of my head to the tip of my toes, he lovingly and efficiently bathes me while we talk. Sometimes we break down laughing and I will spray him with the shower head. Those are the times I’m strong. Sometimes, we’re quiet as I endure the whole process, sitting still in my wheelchair. Those are the times I’m weak and not feeling well.

I love to read and tell stories. My husband reads only the Holy Bible and the news. We’re completely opposing poles, like a cation and an anion (excuse the terminology, I’m a ChE anyway :) ). But he loves to listen to the stories I tell about the books I read. When I can’t sleep at night (and that’s often because of my discomforts), he either massages my legs or listens to my stories. There are nights I burst out laughing because of something I remembered while he stifles his huge yawns. Later on, he’ll be chuckling with me.

What makes for a beautiful marriage? It’s the Lord Jesus Christ who holds it together and showers it with His daily grace. It’s the love you share, at times sacrificial, at other times covering. However it looks like, it all emanates from His love.

At night when my husband is already snoring at my side, I marvel at the beauty of a man and a woman sleeping side by side in their marriage bed. Don’t you? (That’s for my married readers).

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 and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,