This Marriage is From the Lord

When my husband posted in his FB wall that his marriage with me is from The Lord, it was a confession and affirmation of God’s love for him and for me, for bringing us together and keeping us together in marriage. Our marriage story is one that’s not free from blemishes, but one that speaks of redemption and grace.

When we let God write our love story, He orchestrates everything in the same way that Abraham’s servant, Eliezer has found Rebekah for Isaac. No one can refute what God has in store for us. When it is His purpose, no one can oppose.  When we were on our seats last Sunday, listening to the pastor’s sermon about the story of Isaac and Rebekah (our church is on a preaching series, in time for the Love month, entitled ” I’ts NOT that complicated “), I looked at my husband and remember how our fateful debate encounter in our college years led us to a relationship and marriage. We still find ourselves in “passionate arguments” but then I remember that when God brought Jones to me, and I was given to him as his bride, we have dedicated the union to the Lord. Like how Laban and Bethuel replied,

“This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.” (Genesis 24:50-51)

Out of all the men in the universe,  He has a certain Jones for me. And I have to be reminded of that everyday, especially when the “loving” part doesn’t come easy as the years roll by. God has loved me deeply (Malachi1:2a) and is patient with me. In the same way that I need to be patient with my husband and he, with me. Patient love requires me to wait upon the Lord in the areas where I seemed to jump at any  opportunity to express my own emotions. How do we do that? We pray so we can subject our will to God’s will. We can capture our thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. And clearly, He will direct all our steps. Whatever He wills, He makes it happen.

What if there was opposition from the very start? Or challenges along the way?  Sometimes it is the price we have to pay for making the wrong decisions. The freedom of choice is a precious gift given by God that sets us apart from all of his creation. When we listen more to ourselves and go before God, we face bad consequences of our actions. But then, in His all-merciful nature, he calls us back to him and be restored to Him so he can make right what we made bad and can turn anything that seemed bad into good for His glory. I have seen His hand moved mightily in our marriage. This nature of God always amazes me for if I have chosen to dwell on my selfish self, I will choose to have others’ faults nailed on the cross rather than my own. Why , it’s so easy to look at the speck in my spouse’s eye!!!

You could be one of those who “liked”( in FB  parlance) my husband’s one-liner post but it was a bold statement that I love from him. It was comforting and reassuring to hear it from my husband, after 14 years of being married – not his ” I love you” for sometimes the utterance can be out of an emotional rush – but his declaration that this marriage is from The Lord and it will last a lifetime as He has directed. And so I speak boldly of the same.

Although Isaac and Rebekah’s story is about waiting (patiently!) upon the Lord for that someone whom God has set apart for you in marriage, married couples are also reminded by this story of God’s covenant with us , always speaking of us, His church as His radiant bride.It is a faithful reminder that God sees all the hurts, pains and joys in each moment of our lives. He doesn’t give up on us, nor in our marriage. If yours has been written on your own and you are striving to seek a happy ending to it, then It is time to let go of that pen and recommit your marriage to the Author, the One who writes from cover to cover, the One who is the beginning and the end. With every stroke, God will guide you as He unfolds another chapter in your life and in your marriage. Like what He is doing with mine.

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“God wrote your love story. Let Him read it to you.” (photo via web)

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Deeply Loved

Nursing bad colds is what I dreaded for the week. Of course, nobody wants one but I guess the stress of moving, unpacking, cleaning and arranging , plus the bad weather , make a good recipe for one. I am comforted when I learned that Daniel (as I am reading the book of Daniel) experienced the same. Faced with “overwhelming situations” , like his case as he waited for the interpretation of the vision that he just had, he “lay sick for several days” (Daniel 8:27). When faced with “overwhelming situations” like my case , our physical strength just depletes. This “rest” gives me the time to draw more closer to God, my Yahweh Rapha , the One who heals.

What does He tell me this time? He tells me that :

1. Even if it takes quite long to see the answers to my prayers, He listens. He answers. Try to personalize the following verse as I do –

“Don’t be afraid, (Daniel) ________(change it with your name) . Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” (Daniel 10:12)

Looking back, I know now my prayers were answered based on God’s time table, not mine. And similarly, when we pray, there’s also a war being waged in the heavens as Daniel’s messenger has experienced.

” For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

True enough, this battle is not ours, but God’s . He is our Yahweh Nissi, our Banner. When He came into flesh and died for us, He has won it all for us! If the answer comes in later or sooner, it doesn’t matter. From the time we present it and humbled ourselves before Him, He has listened.

2. I am deeply loved.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are deeply loved by God. Be at peace; take heart and be strong!” ( Daniel 10:19)

I remember overcoming trials in the past and facing disappointments in relationships, I had this verse spoken everyday – “I have always loved you, says the Lord…” (Malachi 1:2a) . God’s love is unconditional and it knows no end, perfected on the cross  – the hope that brings humanity back to Him. How comforting and reassuring! And that same love gives us peace, courage and strength (Daniel 10:19b) to whatever “overwhelming situation” we are facing.

No matter how many times or in whatever manner people say they love me, God saying ” I love you deeply” matters more to me.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5

May God’s perfect love give you peace, courage and strength now and always…

 

“Love Notes”

Rummaging through my files while spring-cleaning, I came across these from my “Love Notes” envelope.

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Dana’s early morning Birthday letter (or sketch?!)  for me 3 yrs ago

..and 2 yrs ago…

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side note: their school’s Student Government is called Genuine Exemplary Model (GEM) students’ organization, hence the Genuine Exemplary Model Woman tag (heart went ka-boom! 🙂 )

Here’s what Boj’s made for me when he was 6Image

a “balloonful” card, indeed!

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and one of our “exchange notes”

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with his reply written at the back side of my note! hahaha, frugality tip there 🙂 ! plus another assignment for me! hahaha!

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Reading them all over again brings joy any moment of the day.  I thank God for my kids, every single day!

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“Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.”

 Psalm 127:3

Boj at 7!

A new discovery – February is also a Birth Month!  Most of  our family friends had new additions to their “growing” family this month.  A baby is always a blessing and we celebrate with them as they welcome the bundle of joy in their homes.

Flashback 7 years ago, I can still remember the mixed emotions we all had when our “then” baby Boj came into our lives.  Boj is a miracle boy- we prayed for him earnestly and our 11 yr old daughter would always ask specifically for the baby to be a boy.  And true enough, God did not disappoint us! But that was just the other half of the story.  In a few days, our little boy was admitted back to the hospital for abnormal bilirubin count.  simply put – my blood doesn’t match pretty well with my husband’s.  Opposites attract?  exactly, literally!  But God is faithful , Boj had a series of clinical tests and that each single moment spent  in the hospital was heart-tormenting, to say the least.  Sometimes we enjoy  the mountain-top experiences (who wouldnt, anyway?) then forget that He will still be with us even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).  I cried out Abraham’s prayer when he offered Isaac and it was answered!  The whole week we spent in the hospital 2nd wk of Feb 2005 was not only a celebration of  a new life – a physical birth that we so joyfully received. It was also a spiritual rebirth – that indeed the faith that we confess to have is real and always, I say always,  hope does not disappoint us…Just look at the miracle boy, now 🙂

 

 

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

My Dozen Valentine’s

The 14th of Feb is not so much a BIG day for me. It is a day of Love widely celebrated worldwide – and with much funfare! Historical facts though would suggest otherwise, as Mr. Valentine was a martyred saint of long, long time ago. Perhaps, we get that notion that we celebrate it because we’re martyrs of love? Oh, the crazy things that one does for love! Songs hum that romantic theme, so are soap operas and films that bare the soul of a hopeless romantic .. and his/her never-ending search of the one true love…

I have never searched for love – maybe because, even at a young age, I know deep in my heart that he would come- my Prince Charming would sweep me off my feet . And indeed, he came – not the Prince Charming (as we were old school rivals – to say the least) and because I was never a damsel in distress! (coming from a line of strong women) . But he was the PERFECT one to match my IMPERFECTION. It was not a stroke of luck, but I believe that out of the countless men in the universe, God saw him – my Prince Charming – and launched him off to captivate me – a damsel not –so-ever in distress.

My dozen years of celebrating Valentine’s Day with my husband are memorable, not really keeping a list of what we did, where we went and what each of us received. But it was a joyful count of the years that we are together – complementing one’s strengths and weaknesses and relying on the Source of an unconditional love – that it is only by His grace, that we are able to celebrate Love Day , not only today but all through the days of our lifetime together.  Perfect love is available to imperfect people like us.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Marriage Booster

Hello February!

Away for so long from blogging, this one needs a booster shot!  And what a weekend shot it was!

Recently attended a Marriage Booster event ( on the 5 Languages of Love by Gary Chapman) organized by Victory CDO

which was well-attended by the rookies ( 2 months old) to “pros” (38 yrs!).  I am delighted to know that we have the same Top Love Language with hubby – “Words Of Affirmation”.  His was followed by “Physical Touch”, while mine with “Receiving Gifts” ( read: may not be material stuff – but even the physical presence of the spouse is a gift!).  By the grace of God, it turned out that we are able to fill-in each other’s needs so our love tank in the marriage doesn’t run empty.   This booster shot in our marriage is a must-have.  Like in our bodies, booster shots are needed so our immune system runs well and we stay healthy.     In the same way, we need healthy, thriving , great marriages!  Yes, there were some bumpy rides in our own love story but now into the 12th yr, I can say that I am joyfully married!

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” (Gen2:24)

The Passion to Make It Happen

Today, I can say I have never tasted coffee at its best than this. Nah, not the beans, they are ordinary but carefully picked as choice ones – the Ad would say – but tastefully as it is paired with an overpowering word from God- that java jolt that gives you a high and makes you wake up to a seemingly brighter day!

To begin with, I’m now reading the book of Kings from the Old Testament. Wild imagery come into play whenever I read the battles of kings, how heads were piled up on top of the other , commanders slain in battles, and all other gory details that are best described vividly in movies like the 300, the Gladiator and Braveheart!

Here are the truths that I learned from 2 Kings 19:

1. FIRST, present you case to God – not to the pastor or priest / to family member / friend / lawyer /doctor, etc . –
“After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord.”(verse14)

Most often, when bad news slam our day, we take refuge to our earthly comforts, not bringing the news to God first, whom we know as the One who sees, hears and answers. We may not like the latter, but we are assured that it is for our own benefit.

2. God is able to crush down walls –
” But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. ” (verse 25)

He planned it, and acted on it! We may think of things impossible, but God takes away the “im” from it and makes it possible. When was the last time you crushed a wall and came out victorious?

3. God knows everything – every single cell that reacts in our bodies!
“But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. ( verse 27)

Even our pride and arrogance, He knows them all. .. And He knows, sooner or later , we will be crying out for help ..

4. God’s Love conquers all –

” The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies[d] will make this happen!” (verse 31)

Wherever we are, whatever we are facing right at this moment, we are reminded that the passion of the Lord will make it happen so that His name will be glorified, not ours.

I am always passionate about coffee.  The subject, the taste, the aroma – they never fail me.   But the passion of the Lord is far too unspeakable! So make your day count , for His passionate love will make it happen!