Podcast #121- Finding Peace & Hope in the Storm (5:49)

Life is a great adventure with sunny days and stormy days. How do we connect with God’s Peace and Hope in every situation? That’s my “homework” right now, and here’s what I learned.

My husband has been recovering from a medical condition, and the process will take over a year at least.  While we’re on this path, there are ups and downs.  Some days are rougher than others.  Recently, he just went through some complications that took 2 weeks for him to recover.  I’m grateful that he’s doing quite well now, almost back to 100%.  But when we’re in the middle of this downturn, I was often exhausted, both physically and spiritually.   

Honestly, when you’re dealing with a serious life issue, any amount of self-reliance goes out the window.  We come face to face with our own limitations, and it hits you just how much of life is really out of our control. Faith and hope can feel very elusive during these times.   

So when we face hardships, how do we find our bearings?  How do we connect spiritually? How do we find encouragement?  These are the questions that came up for me, and I’ll share some things I learned this time around.  

Taking things one day at a time 

It’s very easy to feel discouraged in a season like this. Especially if the situation drags into weeks or months with no end in sight.  One night, I was lying on my bed simply exhausted. The Lord reminded me of Matthew chapter 11 where Jesus invited all who are tired and weary to come to him… That He is gentle and humble. As we give our burdens and cares to Him, we will find rest for our souls.  At that time, I was internalizing a lot of worry and concern, but I wasn’t conscious of it. I was kind of in a “survival mode” sort to speak… And when God reminded me of what Jesus said, I started to tell Him about what was troubling me. And one by one, I gave my burdens to Jesus in prayer.   And in return, I accepted and received His burden that is light.  At the end of my prayer, I felt much lighter, and had one of the best night sleep in a while.     

There is so much wisdom in not carrying stress or anything negative into the next day.  I found that taking things one day at a time was what really helped me not get burned out. In the morning, I rested in God’s mercies that are new every morning.  And at night, I gave my cares and negativity that have accumulating all day to Jesus.  As I received His peace, I slept better, felt more hopeful, and was refreshed next morning. 

Giving thanks for every step forward

And another key lesson I learned was to Give thanks for every step forward… no matter big or small. 

Our recovery process really felt like a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs. After a while, I felt kind of disappointed in the process because it took longer than I expected.  That was when God reminded me to give thanks through out my day. 

Thanksgiving has shifted me out of negativity and depression before.  And it was also a gamer changer for me this time. I started to thank God for every small signs of healing and restoration even when I felt down. Right away, I sensed a glimmer of hope and faith rise up in my heart. I started to feel hopeful again.   

Because we’re in the middle of this process, it’s easy to get too focused on the current problem, and forget the many things God has already done.  Thanksgiving not only helped me shift my focus onto the positive things God is doing, it also reminded me of how God took care of us in the past, and that He will continue to help us in this process. 

Looking back, I can see how God was leading me every step of the way.  There was always an encouraging word or promise everywhere I turned.  In my prayers, He was trying to help me change my focus… to shift from a grey and negative outlook to His perspective that is full of hope and joy.  And as I found out, hope and joy are powerful things. I felt more positive and hopeful throughout the day even though the circumstances still looked the same to me. Focusing on one day at a time, giving thanks, and learning to have a positive outlook really helped me not to only survive this season, but to come out feeling more encouraged. 

And that’s my podcast for this week. Working on this episode was really helpful for me to look back and remember what I learned.  I hope it’s also encouraging for all of you out there.  

My Anniversary Reflection

This year will be my fifteenth wedding anniversary.  Yep. That’s right. Fifteen years. It is hard for me to fathom the fact that I’ve been in a relationship or even a friendship with someone for this long. Unlike most couples, I was the one who had an issue with commitment when we got engaged.  It’s not that I didn’t love my husband, but the sheer enormity of a lifetime commitment simply blew my mind. My husband, Mr. J, had no such concerns. Even though we’ve only known each other for a short time, as an intuitive visionary, he can already see us together for the long haul. Our differences were quite obvious even back then.

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Pruning – A Spiritual Perspective

I don’t have a green thumb. When I first met my husband, he gave me a cute potted miniature rose. One morning, I put it on the patio for some sun, and promptly forgot about it… until a week later. Alas, the tiny rose was no match for the fierce California sun. Needless to say, my husband never gave me plants again. My dad, however, grew up on a farm, and plants thrive under his care. Recently, I wanted to plant a rose in the backyard of our new home. With my dad’s help, we planted a healthy and robust rose bush. The first bloom was glorious! The beautiful blossoms were as big as a grapefruit, and bloomed for days. After the flowers wilted, I continued to water and care for the plant. However, when some of the leaves started to shrivel and yellow. I knew something was wrong.

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Podcast #102 – The Power of Remembrance

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Lately, I felt a bit disconnected from God in the midst of a stressful season. Instead of forcing myself to worship or give thanks, I took a break and remembered the last time God showed up…

Trust & Rest

I had a pretty hectic schedule these last few weeks. We patched up an unexpected leaky roof, filed taxes, and celebrated Chinese New Year (which is kind of like Christmas for Chinese families except kids get “lucky money” from relatives instead of gifts from Santa.) Only now can I get back to my normal routine. Feeling drained, I made sure to take things easy the week after the festivities to rest up. Usually, a few free afternoons are all I need to recover and feel rested. However, last night, when our internet had a slight hiccup, I went into full-on panic mode again. The sudden wave of anxiety shocked me. The week of rest I had before didn’t seem to matter much. Emotionally, I felt like I had not rested at all.

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Agreeing with God

Do you struggle with knowing what and how to pray in the midst of differing cultural values and world views? Sometimes, the shortest prayer is the most effective prayer.

I admit, I have a love / hate relationship with social media.  I refresh my FB feeds constantly. I’m drawn to the latest top search items, the latest “trending” topics.  Boy, it is not good for my emotional well being.

This morning, I found myself at that place again – feeling emotionally overwhelmed, and confused with so many conflicting thoughts shouting through my head.  I wanted to… needed to pray and release some of that inner tension.  In the midst of the chaos, all I could say was “Yes, Lord.”

Yes, Lord. We say yes.

Yes, Lord. We agree with You.

Yes, Lord. You alone are good and just.

Yes, Lord. You alone are righteous and kind.

We agree with You.

I agree with You.

Yes, Lord.

Amen.

Lessons From a Love Story

I went to a wedding banquet recently.  The invitation came as a surprise. Our friend, the bride, has been single for over fifteen years.  She was very content with her life. Being a caretaker of an elderly parent and working a fulltime job, dating and marriage was not on the top of her priority list.  Imagine my surprise when she told me she was engaged. They decided to have a private ceremony, and we were introduced to the groom for the first time at the banquet. Knowing my friend, I was very curious to learn more about this man who swept her off her feet in a matter of months. As we all got seated at the banquet, the couple got up to address everyone, and the groom began to tell their story.

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