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Lonely Nights

I have experienced a lot of lonely nights in my life. Every lonely night hurts but to a different extent. It is not new to me anymore. I have always thought that I am wired for it.

It was Good Friday. The day Jesus Christ died for our salvation. I went to church for the stations and veneration of the cross. The experience was overwhelming. It is good to be reminded of Christ’s passion just to save us and to show His love for us.

I was seated with a woman who had her hair covered with a scarf, with pale skin, and dark circles around her eyes. It seemed to me that she is a cancer patient. The veneration of the cross was a series of standing up and kneeling down. In the middle of it, she got tired and her deep sighs told me she was in pain. I heard the lady beside her told her to just sit down or just stand up so she will not get tired of moving. That’s what she did. After the communion, as we were silently praying. I can hear her cry silently. She might probably be praying for healing. My heart grew heavy. I can feel her pain and helplessness. “Lord, I am offering prayers for the woman beside me. Please grant her healing, Oh Lord.” I mentioned in my prayer. Oh, the joy of praying for others.

We all have a different cross to carry this season of Lent. It’s just up to us whether we look at it as a burden or to carry them joyfully.

I had another lonely night last night. I was scrubbing the bathroom floor while crying. There was a deafening silence in the room. This might sound too dramatic but I felt like I was abandoned by everyone. I can feel the physical pain in my heart. It was too painful; I had to rub it gently so it would calm down. I tried to divert that pain into tiredness. After doing all the cleaning, I went to the bathroom to freshen up. I stared at myself in the mirror. I looked like a mess. I cried for a few minutes. Washed my face and went back to my room to rest. I was home alone. It was too lonely, I was deafened by the complete silence. It was too quiet I can hear my thoughts.

I consoled myself. I fried an egg for dinner. I usually fall on self pity in times like that but that night I couldn’t be more thankful that I have that sunny side up on my plate. “I feel lonely.” I told my egg. The egg made no response. I just decided to eat it. I may be lonely but atleast I am not hungry.

I switched the lights off my room. I originally planned to reflect for the night but my thoughts are too loud. So I just held on my wooden cross instead. Like I always do whenever I feel down. Hugged it so tight until I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night with a heavy heart. The kind wherein you can’t pinpoint which part is hurting. All you know is that a part of it is broken. Shedded a few tears. I wish I can say that it’s just because of the bed bugs’ bite but it wasn’t. It was something else. Something deeper.

I stared into darkness. Evaluated my life. I started to miss home. I just want a hug from my mother. But, no one’s left to hug. I hugged my pillow instead and tried to fall back to sleep. Unsuccessful. But, I am thankful. It gave me the chance to finally reflect. The silence is not deafening anymore; it’s actually comforting. The night is too quiet. I feel like the only person awake and I feel like I have God all to myself. I cried out to God. And though Jesus Christ is dead during that time, I was still able to feel His love. Because hey, He died for my sins.

They say the most beautiful of loves requires the heaviest of sacrifices.

Some has to carry a cross of sickness, just like the woman I sat beside with in church, some has financial difficulties, some has broken relationships, some has problems at work, some has inner struggles they never talk about. The lonely nights are the cross that I have to carry during this season of lent. I have had a lot of it. I was tempted to put my cross down but God’s love sustained me.

We all have to go through our own passion. We all have to die to ourselves just to let others live. We all have to stay in the wilderness (for me, the lonely nights is my own kind of wilderness) so we can experience the joy that comes in the morning. God’s love will pull us through.

I can’t wait for my own Easter.

Thank you, Lord, for the loneliest of nights. It is such a privilege to be hugged by You. I love you. <3

My Spiritual Dryness Story

I have been too occupied with life the past weeks. I have been busy dealing with stress at work, planning an event, moving to a new house, dealing with life and all its occassional punches, attending activities in the community, dealing with distractions and harrassments, and the list goes on. I do not know if it is necessary, but it took most of my time and energy. These things became my first thoughts in the morning, my last thoughts at night and everything in between. And despite my best and constant effort, I would have to be honest, my prayer life deteriorated a bit. I felt so lost, unmotivated and weary. Yes, I still pray. I always try my best to have a few minutes of quiet time with God. It is a concious effort on my part because I don’t want to go faraway from Him, my source of strength, my Redeemer. But, the quality of my prayer is obviously at its lowest. It makes me sad. But, God is really good. During those weeks that I was busy dealing with the unnecessary things in life, God never failed to remind me to come to Him whenever I feel like I’m losing my track.

Test me, Oh Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I desire to walk continually in Your truth. – Psalm 26:3

The past weeks, though I lost my focus, have been a constant reminder of how important our prayer life is. Everywhere I go, whatever I do, God’s reminder is there. Like a silver lining finding its way for it to be seen to give me a glimpse of hope. I just really have to change my focus in order to see it.

It was our upper household. We had an activty about prayer. Each of us were asked to write our prayers for each day of the week then it will be distributed among us so we could all pray for each other. We are a community of intercessors after all. It is just good to know what others are praying for and it is always a previledge to pray for them. And knowing that they are praying for me too, makes me feel good. That is my most favorite thing about our community. You can be very certain that someone is always praying for you.

Days after, though unprepared and uncertain with the overall posture of my heart, I sent a household invitation to the sisters who are under my household headship. We watched “The War Room”. I have watched that movie a lot of times and I know it is a powerful tool to strengthen a drying spirit. It strengthened mine the first time I watched it and I prayed that it will do the same to my sisters. Very timely; I guess that is exactly what they needed at that time and though I have already seen it several times, that experience is still different. I stayed behind them as they watch the movie. I was silently praying for the movie to serve its purpose and for it to touch their hearts and to remind them of God’s grace, power and goodness. I guess, it did. Praise God.

Lord, teach us how to fight a good fight and help us to recognize the real enemy. – The War Room

But, I can still feel that my spirit is dry.

“Pray hardest when it is the hardest to pray.”, they said.

I have to admitt that it became a struggle. I had to conciously put myself into prayer mode. It makes me sad realizing that I have to put so much effort into praying. But, the important thing is I did not stop. God did not stop. I love our team work.

Then, we were called to attend a general teaching for our formation. It was jumpstarted with a powerful worship; Makahugas-Kaluluwa (Soul Cleansing) as what they described it. I was literally in tears the whole time. I didn’t even know why I was crying. It must be the Holy Spirit who is moving me into tears. To my surprise, the teaching is about Prayer and Intercession. That is not a coincidence. That is God speaking to me. That is God reminding me of what I am forgetting.

I praise God for using people as a bearer of His good news. That night I was reminded that I have to fully surrender myself to the Lord and admitt that I am completely dependent on Him. This battle of spiritual dryness is not for me but for Him. I am relying on God’s grace for me to step out of the deserted island that I am in. That He is my oasis. I am reminded that it is the perfect time for me to humble myself to the Lord.

“Gustung-gusto tayong i-bless ng Panginoon” (The Lord really wants to bless us.), the speaker said.

Who are we to stop God’s blessings?

We just have to ask and we will be heard.

Surrender to His will and we will be blessed.

“The prayer that God wants to answer is the prayer that asks for His will to happen.”

Though empowered, I still feel unworthy to come to Him. But, I know only God can help me.

You need to plead with God to do what only He can do, and you need to get out of the way and let Him do it. – Miss Clara, The War Room

So, I have decided to let God be in charge. Whenever I feel like He is asking me to do something, I would submitt to it even if sometimes I don’t understand why. I would say Yes to every invitation to be in fellowship with Him even if sometimes I find it hard to get dress and step out of the house. I don’t want to miss God’s blessing; it might be what I exactly need. You’ll never know until you open your heart to it. Even if I am struggling inside (and nobody knows), I kept my heart open. I just cooperated with God because I know that He will win this battle for me if I will only let Him.

I thank God for allowing me to go through a season of dryness.

I thank God for giving me the courage to admitt to myself that I am running dry. After all, being able to feel and acknowledge our dryness is a gift from God.

Let’s see it as God’s way of calling us to be closer to Him. To seek Him more than we ever did before. To desire Him with our whole heart. To pursue Him and to be available to be filled by His spirit. It is much worse if we do not recognize that we are becoming dry. I once read somewhere, I have come to realize that the real tragedy in the church is not spiritual famine: it is famine without hunger, dryness without thirst.” I couldn’t agree more.

I thank God for giving me the chance to actually feel my spiritual dryness without dwelling on it. I thank God  for the wisdom He has given me to fight it. I thank God for sending me angels on earth to enlightern and encourage me. I thank God for every pep talk that I had with people who saved me before I fall into self destruction and I thank myself for truly listening. I thank God for the time He has blessed me with to just feel it without getting exhausted by it. I thank God for reminding me that it is okay to rest but I shouldn’t stop. I thank God for the gift of prayer. But most of all, I thank God for guiding my every step to the Oasis that He is. After all, He is the only one who can refill me. Without Him, I am nothing. He is the only one who can cover our leakage that causes us to feel dry.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

I thank God for disturbing me. It is the only way to lead me back to Him, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

My prayer life has never been better. Even if I feel so burnt out at times, I still find myself being cradled by God in my solemn moments of prayer. He continuously teaches me to fully surrender to Him even if my stubborn heart tells me that this is not the way it should be. Humble obedience. My heart is still at peace that no matter how many times I feel dry, I will never run out of God’s love, grace and mercy.

“Lord, empty me so that I may be filled again. Less of me and more of you.” <3

Trusting You,

Psalm 39:7

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Today, I find it really hard to pray. It is not because I am losing faith after receiving a bad news. It is because I can’t find the right words for what I feel. It is because I know God knows what I want to say even before I say it or even if I don’t say it. Because He is a God who feels; a God who understands. Just like a kid, I cried to God and I know He listened. I know He comforted me on that very moment when I locked myself in the toilet during prayer time to freely let go of the tears that have been struggling to come out since morning. And yes, it somehow brought relief. But, it can’t hide the truth, my hope is crashing again just when I thought things are starting to get better.

I slept with a joyful heart last night. I felt like everything is falling into place; everything is going right. I saw my plans materialize right before my very eyes. But today, I saw them crashing one by one until everything starts to feel so uncertain. Everything is a blur. I don’t know if it is because of my tears but I know I don’t see things as clearly as I saw them yesterday. Isn’t it strange how one moment can change a million moments after it? How happiness can slip away from your grasp overnight. I didn’t see it coming. But, it is here and I have to deal with it.

I prayed to God. I told Him to turn my troubles into triumphs. To equip this child in me with the right armor so that I will become a warrior. To bring back the hope that I lost and to trust the power of God’s promise. To enable me to see things clearly and to help me to not be discouraged. To still stick with my plans and to put all my trust in God. Because God loves me. Because God knows what I want and God is more than willing to give it to me only if I will be still. I don’t want my disappointments to get in the way right now.  I don’t want to be my old self who gets discouraged so easily by unfortunate turn of events. I want to learn how to rejoice while it is still dark until I see the silver lining again. I want to have a thankful heart because God loves me enough to let me go through deep waters because He will be with me. My request has been made known to God and even without words, I know He hears my heart. My only hope is in Him and that is more than enough to get me through this.

Oh how great is our God for giving me sorrow so He can turn it into pleasure, for giving me worries so He can turn them into excitements, for giving me disappointments so He can turn them into joy and for giving me problems so He can carry me through them.

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. It is kinda stormy now but I am trying my best to remain calm because I know God’s love never fails and the more I panic, the more I will drown.

This is when pruning begins and I choose to remain.