God’s Faithfulness in Our Brokenness

In my previous blog post, I mentioned how I have been experiencing struggles with my health and car this month. It has not been easy especially because of the physical pain and the increase in my expenses. But, God has been faithful in reminding me of who He is. By His grace, He even allowed me to write a new song about it a few days ago. My weary heart eventually found strength in Him as I accepted His will and purpose for me to go through those hurdles. However, this morning, I found myself blurting out “Aww maaan! Not again, Lord!” as I stared at one of my car’s wheels which had a flat tire.

Last Friday night, before leaving the office, I noticed that one of my tires needed more air. At first, I didn’t want to pass by a gas station because it was out of the way and I really wanted to go home immediately. But I thank the Lord for giving me wisdom to still have air pumped in the tires, because I found out later on that one of them only had 4 PSI! If I went home straight from the office, I would have gotten into an accident considering the traffic on a Friday night. I decided to observe it over the weekend and have it checked at S&R (where I have free services) today since it was near my office. It seemed okay even until last night, but when I woke up this morning, the tire had already given up.

My parents were on a plane from another country, my brother was doing errands in the morning, and my sister needed to go to work already (but she did help me try pumping air and looking for help in the village). Unfortunately, the electric pump didn’t help and my car was parked at a slope, so it probably wasn’t a good idea to keep working on it at that angle. I felt so exhausted at that time, so I decided to breathe and eat back at our place. Also, it was because I needed to drink my antibiotics in the morning (another hurdle I’m going through).

As soon as I was able to settle down, I told God how hurt I felt again that He continues to allow the hurdles to happen. I battled hearing lies from the enemy and truths from the Holy Spirit. I dramatically said to Him, “Is this a consequence of my sins, Lord? Is my heart still not surrendered to you? Is it because I wasn’t able to dig deep in your word last night and only poured my heart out on my journal?” I was so overwhelmed that I began to cry. While I was crying, I began to sing the song that He recently impressed on my heart:

“You’re the same today and yesterday, and You will be forevermore (Hebrews 13:8). You’re my Lord and Savior. You are Hope and Healer. You’re the sovereign Lord who holds all things. (Colossians 1:16-17)”.

I then said to myself, “Nic, God is good and He always will be good, even when He continues to allow you to go through these struggles.” I wanted to update some of my accountability partners, but I hesitated to share how my heart was struggling and decided that I would just update them later. But God, in His perfect timing, allowed one of them to send me a chat at that same minute. She said “Nicole! Prayed for you! How have you been?” It was as if God was speaking to me and making me realize that He was with me while I was struggling; that He sees my hurt and knows exactly how to comfort me.

It was such a reassuring moment for me, as the Lord reminded me of what I learned at church yesterday. How I am usually just after His solution and not His presence.

His faithfulness is still written all over my brokenness. I just need to look at the situation through His eyes.

By God’s grace, two men in the village helped change my tire and I was able to safely drive to S&R to have the tire checked and fixed. We eventually saw that a large nail was the culprit as it punctured the middle part of the tire. I praise God for this because if it punctured the side of the tire, I would need to buy a new one, which costs a whole lot more!

It has been a running joke for me and some of my friends about how colorful my life has been in the past weeks because of the health and car issues I have been having. Even though today was another tough moment for my heart, I still praise God for His grace and faithfulness that sustains and strengthens me. If you remember me, please pray that I would not lose sight of Jesus, whatever He allows me to go through in the coming days, weeks, and years.

Here’s my latest original song called “You’re Amazing”. May it encourage you today!

Hello, 2019!

I woke up on the first day of 2019 with a heavy heart. This usually does not happen every new year. But, instead of being excited for the future, I felt more anxious because of the many worries and fears that slowly crept in my mind. What would my career look like this year? What huge hurdles will I be facing again? How will I survive this year, financially? Will I finally be intentional in pursuing my passions? Will my insecurities ever go away?

As I spent the first few minutes of my day with discouraging thoughts, I knew that I had to battle them with truths from God’s word. I sang these lyrics to myself: “Jesus, you’re my firm foundation. I know I can stand secure. Jesus, you’re my firm foundation. I put my hope in Your Holy word. I have a living Hope. I have a future. God has a plan for me — of this I’m sure, of this I’m sure!”.

In the quietness of my heart, I opened up my frustrations to the Lord and asked Him to search me and renew my mind. I spent the next 30 minutes immersing myself in His word, remembering His faithfulness throughout 2018, and trusting that He will continue to be faithful this year.

In my journal, I wrote on only one page that night (which can be seen in the photo below). Usually, I would find comfort after writing my concerns. But, I was encouraged to write down the verses that spoke to my heart and reflect on them instead. I praise God for the peace that He gives. I praise Him because He is with us always, both in the clear and in the unknown.

I still don’t know the answers to my questions and I will probably still be tempted to carry my worries with me. But by God’s grace, I will choose to let them go, trust Him, and say hello to the new day and new year that He has graciously placed in front of me.

Hello, 2019!

Through the Fire: 14 Years and Counting

Our family almost lost our lives when our house burned down fourteen years ago. I can still recall how the Lord graciously led all of us out of the house before the roof fell to the ground.

Sometimes, I still wonder what it would be like if we weren’t around anymore, after November 19, 2004. We wouldn’t have been able to: 1) develop the relationships that we have right now, 2) discover skills and desires that God has placed in our hearts, 3) invest in both material and eternal things, and 4) experience God’s faithfulness and goodness the way that we did in the past decade!

Although, I have to admit, there are times when I do long for the day when I finally get to meet God face-to-face and start spending eternity with Him in Heaven. However, only He knows when that would be and as long as He wakes me up each day, by God’s grace, I will choose to seek and serve Him — no matter how difficult the struggles in this life may be. God, being the sovereign God that He is, allows me and my family to continue living here on earth since the fire incident. Indeed, it is a humbling reality!

I’ll be sharing a part of Psalm 71 which reflects what is in my heart as I remember God’s faithfulness today. 

“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long— though I know not how to relate them all.

I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.

Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.

Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God?

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”

Thank You, Lord, for waking me up today… and for the 14 years (and counting) of being able to know You and experience You in deep and new ways here on earth. 

 

How Has God Been Faithful To You?

It has been a week since I last wrote my prayers and thoughts on my journal. Something happened recently which caused my heart to feel a number of emotions that I couldn’t easily process. Usually, when I am faced with concerns, I express myself through writing and I talk to God about them. But, this week, I just did not have the strength and motivation to do so.

Today, I had an extended time to rest because I wasn’t feeling well. My throat is getting sore and I can feel my immune system weaken even after indulging in Vitamin C. Aside from healing physically, I knew that I needed to intentionally take time to rest my heart and its concerns as I spend time with the Lord. It felt awkward and slow at first because a week already passed. But by God’s grace, He encouraged me to draw near to Him again and to remember His faithfulness in my life. With a weak heart and body, I opened my box of journals over the past years and took those from 2008 to the most recent journal this year. I then decided to read through all of my entries on March 5 from 2008 to 2017.

I had a few good laughs as I read through them because of the concerns and feelings that I shared. But, after reading, I appreciated how God was very personal and gracious to me during the different struggles and seasons in my life since 2008. Yesterday, at church, we were encouraged to recall God’s faithfulness through Lamentations 3:21-23.

So, I thought of sharing snippets from my journal since 10 years ago. May the Lord give our hearts the desire to spend time with Him and His Word each day, no matter how we feel; no matter what we’re going through.

How has God been faithful to you recently? :)

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” -2 Timothy‬ ‭2:13‬ 

(Photo c/o Hiroshi)

 

March 5, 2008

Hay. This week, I’ve been struggling with Person A (forgiveness) and Person B (patience). I hate this feeling. Here I go again, Lord. Please comfort me and give me wisdom. I want to hurt Person A badly. UGH. But, I know I can’t. PLEASE HELP ME TO FORGIVE. Later, I’ll be throwing water-filled plastic bags towards the wall, so I could release my stress. Well, that’s if mom will allow me to waste plastic bags. This is sad. I am sad.

March 5, 2009

Thank you for waking me up on time and for this time that I can talk to you. I pray thay I would honor you today and that I will be still and know that You are God. Please guide me as I answer my management science test later. I tried to study but I don’t know if it’s enough…

March 5, 2010

I am not good at this — managing my time and really understanding my lessons well. Lord, I pray that you would show me Your grace once again and give me wisdom so I can maximize every minute that I have today.

March 5, 2011

🎶If I lost it all, will my hands stay lifted to the God who gives and takes away?🎶

I’m still struggling with insecurities, pride, and jealousy in my heart. I’m still tempted to believe in the lies in my head. But, I know there is no reason for me to be insecure because I know that You’ve loved me and will always love me no matter what…

March 5, 2012

Today, I’ll continue job hunting and fixing my attempt to blog. In a few weeks, it’ll be my 5th month of being unemployed. In spite of the impossible events and discouragements I am seeing, I want to still trust in you that you know what you are doing.

March 3, 2013 (closest journal entry)

Lord, I know that there are things I’ve done this week that did not honor you. I confess the trash in my heart and ask that you would help me control myself from engaging in sin. Thank you for new mercies each day. I may be weak but You are strong.

March 5, 2014

*sigh* I don’t know if I’m already giving up on myself because I’m tempted to believe in lies. I guess every time I make a mistake at work, I tend to have a hard time forgiving myself. I also try to be strong whenever that happens. But Lord, you know how weak my heart can get sometimes.

I know my relationship with you is worth it. It’s worth more than anything. So, I choose to honor You by not giving up even when I fall down.

March 4, 2015 (closest journal entry)

Day 2 of sick leave. Haaay. Is there any unconfessed sin in me? Is there something wrong with my heart and mind? Sometimes, I may not understand why You allow me to experience these hassles in life. But I know for sure, nothing goes to waste when they’re placed in Your hands. You will cause this unfortunate situation to work out for the good. I need to have faith in You, my Healer.

March 6, 2016 (closest journal entry)

It’s been two weeks and a day since I last wrote on my journal. I just feel so far from You. I’m sorry, Lord. I don’t feel like blogging, working, communicating, or even taking photographs for the upcoming contest. I feel so discouraged now. Please speak to me through the message at church today.

I hope it’s not too late for me to facilitate in the True Life retreat. It’s an opportunity that I want to take, if it’s Your will.

March 9, 2017 (closest journal entry)

I can’t wait for our date tomorrow. Huhu. I missed you, Jesus! I realized how badly I need to seek You and not the idols in my life. I’m sorry for having idols in my life — including myself.