It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto His name, O Most High.”
This year has been one unexpected roller coaster for me and my family! Little did I know I would spend most of this year recovering miraculously from an almost total body collapse! And little did my family know that they would spend a lot of this year caring for me sacrificially. This unexpected event brought us closer and helped me experience the Lord and His love is amazing ways.
While this was the most difficult battle I ever faced, what can such a trial teach me?
Here are some things that I learned or unlearned or realized with gratefulness:
🍁 While in any battle (emotional, mental, physical or spiritual), hardships should cause me to worship, stay strong and persevere. That is when the Lord will use the trial to show more of Himself and for me to witness His power and deliverance!
🍁 Throughout a trial, I experience the Lord as any one or more of these—my Refuge, my Rest, my Peace, my Strength (and really, for many months I had no strength), my Protector, my Deliverer, My Healer, as my Ever Faithful & True Shepherd, my Lifter-up of my head (when I almost wanted to give up all). . . and He became truly my All-in-All!
🍁 I learned to be even more grateful for simple everyday things that are easily taken for granted, even the air we breathe!
🍁 In trials especially, Jesus is enough and life is not about Jesus + anything else, which can creep in inadvertently, especially when in great need—not even Jesus + health! Not that He does not want to give health, but just to be aware where He stands: alone in the equation or with something else on par with Him! There was a point in time I realized that I needed to seek more importantly for total spiritual health over physical health, to seek the Deliverer, not the deliverance, to seek the Helper and not the help! In short, to seek first the Lord’s Face and not His Hand!
🍁 There are many ways forgiveness is explained. But this is what the Lord showed me: “Forgiveness is a testimony that you love much because you have been forgiven much! And I’m answering your prayer”! (I had prayed that I want to be like the woman who loved much, as Jesus mentioned in Luke 7:47.) God’s ways are truly not our ways—and naturally, forgiveness can’t be offered when someone didn’t do wrong toward you!
🍁 I am grateful that for the first time in almost a year, I was able to teach a class, covering how the Lord brought me through; stress (physical & emotional) and what it does to the body; how to overcome stress before breakdowns or disease manifest*; thought life or mindset change (per Dr. Caroline Leaf), being thankful in everything (I Thess. 5:18). The Lord put essential oils in our path to assist us as they can “turn off the fire alarm” to increase cognitive function**. From the feedback we received, attendees found it useful for their lives as well as to pass on to those they knew were hurting. Isn’t that what life is about? Gladly paying it forward what we received — whether it is hope, a kind deed, or a blessing of some sort! It’s a testimony of gratefulness because it was Divinely brought about!
* Check out Dr. Caroline Leaf’s talks on TED Talks or YouTube
** See book, Mind Your Brain by Elizabeth Erickson
Among the many things that I am thankful for is the how the Lord orchestrated a trip to Haiti. I met a young man from Haiti, Ralf, who lives in Indianapolis. He has planted a church in a remote location in Haiti. He invited me to come to his church and teach his leaders and congregation about how to live the Christian life. The trip was quickly put together in a matter of weeks and it was quite an ordeal to get to the church from the airport (a normally 5-hour journey took over 24 hours because of the major roads being closed by protesters). Through it all I had assurance that the Lord was with us!
The Lord did a great work during my time there and He used me to teach them that His ways are so different from man’s ways. I had opportunities to speak to many young unbelievers and there were 36 young souls added to the Lord’s kingdom. I praise the Lord for His work and covet your prayers for the people of Haiti that the Light of Jesus would dispel the darkness that is so prevalent there.
By [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”