Inner Healing, reflections

A Heart Check and Cleanse

Just as the physical heart requires maintenance and regular check-up, so do our mind and heart, where our soul takes up residence. When we become calloused, critical and thoughts of starting to view ourselves as better begin to enter our mind, it is time for a heart-check. Only our Divine Doctor who can do a supernatural xray can truly assess the well-being of our hearts and minds. And so to Him, we pray:

God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in! – Psalm 139:1‭-‬6 MSG

Our hearts are known to Him; they cannot escapt His eyes. He knows the root of why we act, speak and think the way we do. Before Him, putting on false selves is a futile exercise. 

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God , search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” – Jeremiah 17:9‭-‬10 MSG

Thankfully our God does not only perform diagnostics, but He also supplies the medicine.

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life. – Psalm 139:23‭-‬24 MSG

He also gives guidelines for preventive maintenance: to seek Him and inquire of Him as our first and vital necessity.

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father [have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with, and understand Him; appreciate, heed, and cherish Him] and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind. For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands all the wanderings of the thoughts. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] you will find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever! – 1 Chronicles 28:9 AMPC

Thankfully, He does not leave us alone to fend for ourselves after having searched our hearts. His Holy Spirit within us reminds us that we can always draw near to the Father’s throne of grace in repentance. We can plead for the blood of Jesus and be washed by His living Word. 

And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. [Ps. 139:1, 2.] – Romans 8:27 AMPC

He assures us of pardon and empowers us by His grace to walk anew in the Spirit. 

And such blessed assurance there is, after a heart check and cleanse. There is a different lightness and peace of heart, making it easier to breathe even. Such lightness and peace enables us to flow in rest, with a quiet heart wholly leaning on our Lord once more. 

Indeed, we cannot be righteous by ourselves. We cannot even know the state of our hearts by ourselves and neither can we find a way out by ourselves as well. But Jesus has made a way, thank God! Only by and through Jesus are we righteous…only by His grace, so that no one can boast. This salvation is indeed blessed, wonderful…truly awesome, as our God is awesome. Praise Him whose lovingkindness and mercy endure forever!

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Inner Healing

Unmasking Jezebel Part 3 

This was actually so helpful. The testimonies felt like they were mine. I didn’t even know that there was a name for what I was going through. Thank God for humbling me and restoring not just my marriage but also my ability to love and cleave to my husband. Thank God for His grace…for allowing me to repent before and all over again now.

It also explains my struggles with my parents and some of my bosses…sometimes acted out, sometimes hidden. Oh, Lord, I repent and don’t want to have anything to do with that anymore. I repent for the pride, Lord.

The prayer of repentance in the video also helped wrap up the things I repented of in the past season. Thankful for the assurance that God has restored and continues to be faithful in the process of restoring my soul. In Jesus, I am excellent of soul, I am the healed of the Lord.

Oh, Lord, help me walk out the healing and restoration. I want to truly walk out the excellence of soul that you have given me in the spirit. 

Watch “Jennifer Eivaz – Healing the Jezebel Afflicted Soul – The LIFT Women’s Conference 2015” on YouTube

Inner Healing, testimony

Suicide

Prologue
I used to consider myself blessed. I thought myself to have a strong faith in and relationship with God. I enjoyed quiet, sweet and restful fellowship with the Lord; but deep within my heart, there was a dissonance of discontent, caused by asking what-if’s in my unguarded moments.

Married to a man who spoke the love language of service and treated me like a queen that did not have to lift a finger at home, I became overconfident that we had overcome the so-called 7-year itch. On the surface, we looked happy; yet deep within, we were scarred from two miscarriages, and battled years of mutual silent frustration over little things that snuffed out the flicker of love in our marriage…at least for me. As my eyes focused more on his imperfections, I began to ask, “what if I hadn’t married him?”

In my career, despite recognition and promotions for most of my professional life, I was not at rest. I found myself searching for something unknown, causing me to hop from one job to another. In 7 years, I had 7 employers, the longest of which was 2.5 years in an international law firm – one that perhaps, I shouldn’t have given up on. I also began to ask, “what if I weren’t an in-house tax lawyer?”

Covert yet failed attempts to change my husband as well as the perennial chase after some lofty ideal in some calling, built years of pent-up frustration. Hope was a concept that I struggled with, after surviving two miscarriages. I thought I was fine, and that I was good at brushing off my struggle; but God, who searches the hearts of men, saw what competed with Him in my heart. By His grace, He sought to cure the dissonance. It required a major upheaval though, one necessary to replace a shaky foundation with a stable one. 

On Valentines Day of 2016, following several failed attempts to rekindle romance, my heart was stirred to ask God to bring back into my heart, love for my husband. After praying by myself for a week, I sought support in prayer at a midweek service that I regularly attended. Through that unforgettable prayer, before the Lord set the shaking into motion, He warned me of impending strong wind and rains. The warning was coupled with a promise of healing, love and forgiveness, and of unshackled marriage rings, which remain fastened tightly to one another shining brighter as God causes my career to soar. Apparently, it was a promise that I was to hold on to in the months ahead. 

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I. Suicide Attempted

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Behind the heels of my second miscarriage, the perfect storm broke out when I discovered text messages that shouldn’t have been exchanged. As trust broke down, my marriage began to disintegrate. Hurtful words were exchanged, causing walls so thick and seemingly impenetrable to rise up in an instant. 

My career also took an unexpected downturn. I was then undergoing regularization in a multinational company. Recovering from my second miscarriage, by itself, caused me to go on autopilot in my job.  While on auto-pilot, the proverbial plane crashed when most of my time and attention were consumed with stalking my husband’s and a few other persons’ social media accounts. Noting a decline in my performance, I opened up to my bosses about my predicament in the hope that I would be given due consideration, but doing so backfired and painted me as unprofessional. 

My husband and I talked about separating; but neither of us had the nerve to truly say goodbye. For some reason, an unseen, unspoken force bound us together. Perhaps it was our sporadic joint prayers. After all, we still went to church together amidst the turmoil. Other than that though, I knew nothing about him anymore. He treated me like a stranger, and he became a stranger to me, as well.

The emotional strain took its toll.  Decades of latent emotional wounds soon resurfaced: my childhood, teen-age, collegiate and work-related traumas as well as deeper layers of supposedly healed emotional wounds came to fore.  The storms caused the foundations of my faith and identity to be shaken.

I fought the temptation to blame most of the turmoil on my husband and my multinational employer, and wanted to punish them for how I viewed their rejection of me. In the intensity of the storm, when I felt like I had nothing to live for, came moments of weakness. 

One evening, after a fight with my husband, I succumbed to weakness and uttered, “I wanna die”. As soon as I said those words, it felt like a dark cloud that had been hovering over my head for some time eclipsed my rational thought processes.  I literally felt darkness enter my mind. 

All night long, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even pray, even if I wanted to. I was simply consumed with thoughts of wanting to jump from the veranda of our 5th floor condominium unit or getting a kitchen knife that I can use to slash my wrists. The war in my mind was too strong, and I didn’t know who to reach out to. Contrary to whispers of suicide, there was a prompting that reminded me not to harm myself and that suicide was painful and would mar my decades of Christian testimony. In response, surreptitiously, another idea entered my mind: death by carbon monoxide poisoning…It will not be as painful, and would not make me an ugly corpse. Plus, if I succeeded, people would not readily determine for certain if I did commit suicide. And if I did, my husband and my employer will definitely be put to blame….or so I thought. In my weakness, I was quickly convinced that it was the perfect plan.

The following morning, I was still in some trance – decided do the deed. I was able to go to the office earlier than my usual time, with the intent of sleeping inside my car after parking it in the office’s enclosed parking area, with the car engine and airconditioning running while windows were tightly shut. As I drove to work, I gave my husband a goodbye call, but accidentally dialed the number of a Pastor friend by mistake. As it was too early, he did not pick up, and I proceeded to give my husband a goodbye phonecall. Because my husband was confident that I wouldn’t really push through with the deed, or that if I did, it would not succeed, he merely texted me, “I love you, ha. Please don’t do it.” But I was looking for a sense of alarm from him that would prompt him to exhaust all means (say call, go to my office or call the cops to intervene) to thwart my plans. From my perception of his response (or lack thereof) to my disclosure, my then sick mind gathered more resolve to execute the plan. 

It was all going as planned.  Just as I was about to drift into deeper sleep 30 minutes or so later, I was awakened by my ringing phone. On the other line, I heard the voice of my Pastor friend, who called to return the missed call. He asked how I was and what I was doing. The only reply I could muster was, “Nothing, I’m okay.” But I wasn’t…I was dazed and he was able to discern it, prompting him to pray for me. His prayer was unforgettable, “Lord, I speak hope to Lorybeth and life to the dead areas of her heart.” 

His prayer woke me up from the dark stupor that overcame me. I found myself crying, overcome with grief over what I planned to do, yet extremely thankful that he called at the right moment, that I apparently forgot to put my phone on silent mode and that I didn’t turn it off.  It was a close call though…what if I succeeded? 

But God saw to it that I wouldn’t succeed. His eye was unmistakably on me at that moment, and His mighty hand directed my plan to fail. Quickly, I repented from the desire to snuff out the precious life He had given me. I asked Him for forgiveness, as I realized anew that my life was not mine to take away. With my Pastor friend as witness, I renounced the spirit of death and suicide. After closing the prayer in the name of Jesus, I received fresh assurance of hope, pardon and purpose. 

The failed attempt was without consequences, though. A few minutes after the suicide attempt, I set foot in a meeting with my indirect manager. Still whoozy from the carbon monoxide I ingested, I failed mindlessly and miserably in a presentation. My dismal performance helped solidify my employer’s decision against my regularization for employment. 

No job meant no pay. Not long after, I was constrained to tap into my savings. Financial uncertainty loomed in the horizon, coupled with the impending end of my husband’s employment contract.

 

II. Suicide Consummated 

I spent the next month without a job. The time-off, as well as my husband’s disinterest in household affairs, gave me an opportunity to finally learn how to run my household after 8.5 years of marriage. As I lifted up to the Lord the pain of unappreciated efforts, I got convicted that it could’ve been how my husband also felt before all of this: taken for granted. It led me to repent for not honoring him unconditionally as a Godly wife should. 

Not long after, to sustain dwindling resources, I accepted an offer in a small law and accounting firm as a Junior Partner. It was a gloomy place, but it was my hallway of transition, where I received God’s provisions coupled with the option to work from home and maneuver my schedule. 

In the months that followed, day after day, I withstood the storm. Holding on to God, His word and whoever He sent to bring it to me helped me battle increasing depression and anxiety.  God knew I needed reinforcement and simply surrounded me with it: 3 bible study and fellowship groups, a lady pastor whom I SOS-texted in desperate moments, my mom and my bestfriend who imparted strength and learnings from their own experiences, to a long-time friend and sister in the faith whom He strategically ordained to be my neighbor, and a cousin who messaged me round the clock from another continent. They all bore witness to times when I was fine, as well as moments when I was barely able to hold on. In moments of weakness, I learned to speak stillness to my soul, encouraging it to rest in the Lord. Yet God knew that my heart was becoming weary from standing in the battle.  Soon, He threw me another lifebouy. 

In my law firm of transition, I handled a stressful engagement with a high-maintenance client. Thanks to that engagement though, I grew close to a sorority sister who served as the counsel for my client’s counter-party to transaction. Upon learning of my situation, my sorority sister introduced me to a Psychologist and Marriage Counselor. 

A former nun, the Psychologist was open to psycho-spiritual approaches of treatment individually, for my husband and me, and jointly, for our marriage. She came into our lives at the right time, just when my husband and I were at the brink of giving up on each other.  She also made me undergo a battery of tests that diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), as well as depression and anxiety which seemed to date as far back as childhood. If left untreated, I was told that such would lead to neurosis. 

The results exposed my brokenness, but God supplied the cure for the clinical prognosis.  My flexible schedule allowed time for individual and joint therapy sessions with my husband. In the sessions, God’s guidance was evident as He caused the Psychologist to be quick in discerning my knee-jerk responses in the flesh. In moments when my husband or I were close to giving up on our lives and our marriage, she would ask us to pray and discern what the Holy Spirit was saying. The take-aways from each session were affirmed by the Lord in my daily quiet moments with Him, podcast upon podcast, hours of prayer and worship and prophetic articles. God also sustained me through friends who caught up with me, and by spending time with my mother in a foreign trip, which healed the root of many of my wounds: rejection from the womb. God was simply my anchor in the difficult process. 

Yet, as the sessions progressed, the dark sides of my and my husband’s personalities, manipulation, control, anger, anxieties and insecurities, were exposed. Even strengths, which I prided myself on, such as tact, a strategic mind and a gift of gab, all backfired. All that used to work for me just stopped working. Though at a seeming loss, I knew that I had promises to hold on to. Holding on was difficult, though, when there was a raging storm in the domestic front and even within me. 

One night, when I felt I couldn’t take it anymore, in tears, I cried out to God, “Lord, why does holding on to Your word and Your promises concerning my marriage and my entire life make me feel like I’m dying? Like I need to die? Like I couldn’t be myself anymore? Like I’m losing myself…my mind. Lord, I could no longer hold on…Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Not knowing what to pray for anymore, I just kept on calling out His name. A barely audible still small voice stopped my wailing, “My child, it is because you do need to die…to self.” 

A sterling moment of clarity followed: I needed to die, alright…at least my flesh did…through a new level of surrender to God. And so, I yielded to Him my self-esteem or what was left of it; hopes and fears; plans, back-up plans and uncertainties; heartbreaks, traumas and wounds; lack, needs, and desires; my pedigree, crowns, accolades and failures; as well as my strengths and weaknesses; thought processes and learned emotional responses to curved balls that life threw. I gave Him the pen to continue writing my story.  In contrast to decades of past piecemeal surrender, this time I gave Him all of me.  I released full control unto Him. God was right…I needed to die…and so that night, I killed myself anew, not via carbon monoxide poisoning, but by putting my flesh to death, even visualizing myself as crucified with Jesus on the Cross.  It was suicide, alright, but the right kind. Paul in Galatians describes such suicide experience so perfectly:

Another Paul, a preacher named Paul Washer, explained precisely why I needed to die and let go of self, all selfishness, for the power of God to take over. 

And so I put my unrenewed self to death.  I laid down at the foot of the Cross my ego, and made the choice to increasingly adhere to and rely on Jesus, in complete trust that He was holding me, even when I felt that I could no longer hold on. I let go and released all control to Him. 

The morning after, I woke up to the sound of birds chirping at sunrise. I felt something shift. It gave me a knowing in my heart that a new season had come. God did not only hold on to me in that dark night of my soul, but He renewed and sharpened my focus on Him. 

In the weeks that followed, I was able to learn the art of living one day at a time, acknowledging Jesus as my ultimate source of love – the Lover of my soul and my Bridegroom. I was still clueless as what to I had to do to fix my situations, but my eyes were on Him. The battles were His. 

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III. Resurrection 

Having died to self, I became more pliable in the hands of the Lord. Uprooting and burning the draws in my heart, His resurrection power began to manifest in my life.

In a 2-day weekend retreat, I was substantially healed of the PTSD, depression and anxiety, that would have taken years of Psychotherapy to heal. Over that weekend, women from a group called Women of Wonder ministered to me, imparting God’s spirit of joy and trust. I emerged from the retreat as a brand new woman. Eventually, I was asked to join them in ministering to other women in need of healing. As I joined them in praying, preaching and prophesying, the Lord also polished my heart causing blemishes of intellectual prideinsecuritypeople pleasingreluctance, as well as rejection from my childhoodteen-age, collegiate and professional years to fade. 

With a healed heart, I was able to see the changes that God brought to my husband and our marriage. His resurrection power was made manifest most evidently in the healing of my marriage at a supernatural speed. He sent circumstances our way that bound my husband and I as one anew. As we cared for a sick pet that we both loved, our communication lines were restored. God allowed us to rediscover our love for one another in a three-week exploration of a foreign land that He seems to be leading us to, a trip which we managed to pull off despite limited funds.  Even when my husband underwent a shockwave procedure then suffered an injury, we learned to care for and rely on one another anew. As he was in between jobs and I was able to work from home most of the time, we were also able to spend more time getting to know each other all over again  

As each of our hearts and our relationship received more healing, we both experienced God’s supernatural ability to infuse love, trust and grace back into a marriage. Not that we were able to hold on to God’s promise perfectly; but God held on to us and held us together when our capacity to do so was drained. His love bound us together, when our human hearts failed. Indeed, God alone can resurrect a marriage from a dying state and make it thrive.  God also gave me new lens to see my husband. With absolute certainty, I can now declare that he is the one God ordained for me, by no mistake. Every morning waking up in my husband’s embrace is a blessing and a reminder of God’s faithful grace. And while he may be a work in progress (as I am too), he is God’s work in progress, not mine. It is a joy to witness him brought from glory to glory by God’s mighty hand. 

Soon, a new season with pioneering assignments in career and ministry beckoned as my identity was restored. I rediscovered who I am in Christ as well as my role in His Kingdom.  Now, I treat that perfect storm as a gift from the Lord, where my biggest ministry will spring forth.  God transformed my valley of death into a valley of blessing. Indeed, He has worked things out for my good! 

Even the rejection from my last multinational employer, turned out to be a redirection from being an in-house corporate counsel to external legal advisor. The Lord used my failed regularization to cause me to reconnect with a former senior colleague in the international firm that I used to work for. A year later, he eventually put up his own firm with regional affiliation, and I was to join him as the pioneer associate. From my dark hallway of transition, I was ushered into a Board Room. Now, I work on commercial engagements that impact millions, in a relaxed firm culture of our own and with my own time in my hands. I couldn’t have maneuvered it thusly; only the Lord’s hand can. 

God’s plans of redirection manifested when my heart finally imbibed the Kingdom perspective: that my job and successes do not define me; they are but undercover assignments, that allow me to interact with and pray for people of various races who don’t know Him and their need of Him yet – ground for fertile harvest! 

Unlike my past seasons, now, I am no longer eager to jump ahead to the next. Having been given a frontrow view of how His mighty hand works, I know He will pave the way of transition to the next season, which I need not concern myself with at the moment. I have learned to focus on the present until He (not I) opens the door to the next season. Through it all, my heart has gained contentment, having learned that my greatest calling is to bow and kneel before God’s throne, a posture of humility, submission and bondservanthood. 

My soul used to have this unspoken secret posture of pining for something I didn’t have at the moment, hence my what-if’s before the perfect storm broke out. Now the dissonance of discontent has been replaced with Godly contentment. Though the awaited breakthrough of motherhood has yet to manifest, my heart is sick of waiting no more. In the storm, my heart was taught to trust that God is listening, and that He knows the appointed time for the manifestation to come to pass. My eyes and ears have learned to see my needs and wants from a Heavenly perspective: they are in the hands of the Father, my Provider, from whose hands a steady stream of provision and moments of refreshing flow. And so, my heart is at rest while waiting for motherhood, the next door of employment to open for my husband and even for migration plans to progress. Though it may tarry, the vision will come to pass; but even if it doesn’t, my soul shall continue praising God!

For the first time in my life, I can say that I feel truly alive – fulfilled, content and happy. He has brought me to the other side, safely through the storm. He is with me, I have Him and that is more than enough. He is simply full of wonders!  

Epilogue II

From this story of mine as well as those of a few others, I realized a common theme in people’s journeys with God: However which way one’s story unravels, the plot will always involve dying to self or being crucified with Christ in the journey. The vessel of our souls must first be emptied and broken. From that state of brokenness, and emptiness God will reconstruct the vessel and fill it anew, with more of Him and His new wine. 

As for me, God made me whole again – spirit, soul and body. With His mighty hand, He reordered my life and my steps.  Now, with a new story unraveling. I trust that with a renewed mind and a healed heart, God will give me the grace to steward the new season and its accompanying assignments well. I trust that the good work He has begun, He will be faithful to complete. 

All praise be to God! He remained faithful, despite my times of faithlessness. In His love and goodness, He transformed my faithlessness into deeper faith and trust in Him, His word and His ways. He has given this story a redemptive end. Only by His grace am I able to write it down as well, so that whoever may be contemplating suicide can think twice, and choose the type of suicide that I eventually chose – the one that leads to life abundant, life to the full.

Inner Healing, prayer, Prophetic, pulitika

Healing our Nation

Last Tuesday, 22 May 2017, at 10pm, our President declared Martial Law in Mindanao on account of repeated attacks by a local terror group that may either be affiliated with the ISIS or auditioning for their recognition. 

The declaration caused a lot of noise.  The dissent all around was confusing: here was our nation’s elected leader, who acted decisively through a proclamation, which intended to nip extremism in the bud; yet all around were people arguing about factual basis for his martial law declaration.  I asked, “Are we not all against proliferation of extremism? Aren’t the reports clear as day? Why are there speculations that those are but false news when events in Marawi are real? If the President’s intentions are pure, why is he refusing the observance of Constitutional safeguards?”

People have been grumbling against the nation’s leaders and one another, questioning the President’s decisiveness and engaging in word wars with their fellow Filipinos, more often than not strutting around with their egos. Perhaps more than the situation in Marawi, it grieved me how much dishonor was just being exchanged.

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an immensely apt quote on honor that i read from Pastor Russell Evan’s book on The Honor Key” “You may not be able to respect your president because you disagree with his decisions or his ideology. However, because you’re a citizen, you must honor his position.”

Last week, before all this took place, I felt anxious all over.  The other night, my head ached horribly, as if a dark cloud was swirling, putting immense pressure on it.  Yesterday, my shoulders were so heavy, as I felt the load. This morning, i felt anger rising up within me, when I knew I wasn’t angry.  The feelings lifted when I acknowledged out loud that I was laying all the burdens at the feet of the Cross, in Jesus’ name.

I felt intense stirring to pray for the ongoings in my nation. And so I did. I worshipped God, acknowledging that He still sits on His throne and is sovereign over our nation. I pleaded with Him for a much-needed fresh encounter for myself and the nation, as well. I prayed for more wisdom for our leaders and strategies for our armed forces without any abuse, and for the extremists to also have their own encounter with God, along the lines of Cindy Jacobs’ 2001 prophetic word.

Admittedly, however, I got sucked into the fray, as I began to post articles and my own commentaries on the Constitutional basis of the Martial Law declaration, and how Congress should now fulfill their Constitutional mandate. I commented on how at the end of the day, there is a need to simply balance interests: Martial law in Mindanao, if not executed well, if constitutional safeguards are not observed, has grave consequences. But even graver are consequences of the spread of extremism in the country.

As I engaged on social media, all the more did I feel the heaviness of all of the grumbling and frustration in the atmosphere.  As I asked the Lord how the burden can be lifted,  I realized that all the grumbling was primarily because of fear – not just because of current ongoings but because of trauma from past martial law abuses. There is also a spirit of rebellion borne out of the country’s experiences against oppression, dating way back from the period when our nation was colonized by Spain.

While praying, I could not help but co-relate the headaches and heaviness that I felt to those I experienced in my ordeal last year.  It made me realize that just as a person is in need of inner healing, so is a nation…and God has wanted to heal our broken land for some time now, with each shaking that came, through which people could have humbled themselves and prayed, turning from wicked ways.

On that note, I was made to recall how a few months ago, our President initiated (sadly with stealth) the burial of Marcos. I realize now how it had a prophetic significance, as through it, God actually sought to heal the wounds of the past abuses and oppression. Sadly a lot of people refused the national healing that came through such form…I was one of them.

The realization led me to meditate on Revelations 22:2 about healing for the nations.

Through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations. – Revelations 22:2 (AMP)

As I asked the Lord about what would heal the nation, I was reminded of 2 Chron 7:14 on the Lord healing our land. That if we, the people called by His name, really need to humble ourselves in prayer and turn from any wicked way (may the Holy Spirit search our hearts).

Humility before the Lord was again emphasized to me yesterday as I read Isaiah Chapters 1 to 5. I couldn’t help but find parallelisms as to what seems to be going on in our country right now. Through verses 8 to 22 of Chapter 2, the Lord led me to repent for worshipping the work of my hands (career, hobbies, pursuits) and for pride, even of proud looks (haughty eyes).  I repented for my own pride and bitterness, as I realized how  I was one of those who refused the national healing that God sought to give.

I was also convicted for thinking, even for a split second, that martial law was THE solution for the crisis in Mindanao to be averted. The solution IS still God…always has been. (Although He can use our leaders, even martial law as part of His ways, if He wants).

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Having had my heart softened, I also pray for the Holy Spirit to soften people’s hearts. With pliable hearts, may more receive the healing that God has been giving to heal traumas from our nation’s past. I pray for spirit of trust and discernment to rise up among our people, for us to be united in prayer and to unite behind our leaders and armed forces, as they defend our nation.

I pray for the true facts and the truth about the big picture to rise up: May true facts be revealed as to whether or not extremism has crept in the nation.  If it has, indeed, may such fact no longer be whitewashed, not even by political correctness.  But whatever the facts may be, the TRUTH is: God’s call for this nation, since the day Magellan put up the cross in Cebu, is irrevocable.  Because God has a glorious destiny, plans to prosper this nation and to give it a hope and a future, He is using a leader who purports to be tough to lead the task of nipping extremism in the bud, should it indeed exist.

There may be a lot of voices raised right now; but I pray for people to speak no longer out of wounds from our nation’s past, but from a place of healing. May healing flow from this new chapter that is about to unfold. I pray for more Believers to have a heart to pray for our nation’s healing. With such healing may the dark haze hovering above people be cleared, so they also focus on the needs of the here and now, that by God’s grace, our country can reach His glorious destiny for our nation.

Heavenly Father, Sovereign Lord, King of Kings, God of Angels Armies who sits on the throne, you reign over Marawi, over Mindanao, over the entire Philippines, over the earth.    Thank You for the privilege of coming before Your throne and interceding for this nation and my fellow Filipinos.  Thank You because Your word says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  I have no righteousness of my own, Lord, but thank You because You have made me righteous by the cleansing of Your blood and Your word, Jesus.  It is because of this that I have confidence to approach Your throne of grace.  

In Your name, Jesus, we declare an end to the terror that the enemy tries to spread in our nation, whether through the extremists or even through leaders that would like to resort to tyranny.  Lord dispatch your warrior angels and arrest all these demons of terror.  Confuse their plans of havoc, Lord.  Above all, we pray, let them encounter You. 

We also pray for wisdom upon our leaders and armed forces. Give them downloads of Divine strategies, Lord. And we declare Your peace to reign in the hearts of the people. Lord, I plead for Your healing touch to come anew.  Heal the traumas and even the new wounds of our broken land, Lord…by Your stripes, heal our land with the fruit in Your tree of life.  Soften people’s hearts with Your Holy Spirit, Lord, that they would accept the healing that You are giving.  

In Your name, Jesus, let the voice of that critical, grumbling spirit be silenced.  May the anger and anxiety rising up be replaced with Your peace.  Lord replace the spirit of division with a spirit of unity in Jesus.  

Amidst all of this, we pray that people will turn their eyes upon You, Lord, and for your children most especially to fix their gaze on You, Lord.   May more Filipino Believers be prompted to pray and intercede for our nation, because Your promised revival will soon sweep throughout this land. Let the watchmen and women of this nation arise, Lord!  Give us clarity, as we pray.  Guard our hearts amidst any surrounding turmoil, that we may remember to pray from a position of victory, not merely towards it.  Encourage us, Lord, reminding us always that You have overcome the world. Fill us with Your peace, that we may overflow and be agents of Your peace. 

We thank You, Lord, because Your gifts and Your call for our country will come to pass.  We are a sheep nation, from where Your gospel is being preached to the four corners of the world.  And it shall remain that way.  Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  And with this, we rejoice, Lord, knowing that Your plans for our nation will prevail.  We are excited, Lord, because we know that You are have already begun to do something new in our land.  

All of these burdens and petitions, I lay down at Your feet, at the foot of the Cross. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

#sobriety #vigilance #prayers

career, Inner Healing, Rest

Ruling the Roost No More

When I was younger, I wanted to be the best at something, and be regarded as an expert in some field. The drive was just too intense that it made me miserable. There were days when I’d just be found crying in my room, because I wasn’t the prettiest nor smartest nor the most talented singer or writer nor the best at something in my school. I thought it was the only way to be “seen”. I thought it was an antidote against rejection. 

Then, the Holy Spirit made me realize how personal Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was a week before my 16th birthday. While watching a documentary on the crucifixion, I was just given this knowing that His love for me is real and that He saw me on the cross. It prompted a decision to surrender what I thought was my everything and greatly reduced the gnawing frustration to be at the top. Somehow, I was weaned off comparing myself with others. 

Perhaps unknown to me for most of my life thus far though, I may have still given off that vibe, as I ran for posts in student organizations. And though I kept on winning and I did have some noble intentions for my bids, m victories were at best hollow. In college, though President of one of the biggest student organizations in my university, I was bullied. In law school, I was well regarded during my term as student council President, as well (I feel that God used it to redeem my confidence as a leader, somehow); but the highs were temporary and superficial. A year after my term, I realized that everything I had poured my heart in didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

When I became a lawyer, I wanted to find a field where I can be regarded as THE Philippine expert in my generation. My not-so-stellar academic performance (subpar vis-a-vis expectations built up since childhood) in law school further fueled such drive. Since I am both an accountant and a lawyer, I thought that it made sense for me to specialize in Tax law. I thought that would do the trick. Somehow, by God’s grace, stakeholders began to take notice of me. Just as my learning curve was quite steep, my promotions were consistent and workplace transfers fast-paced. After 8 years of being exposed to tax practice in the Philippines, except for my gratitude to God for keeping my testimony as a Christian tax lawyer intact, it felt unexplainably hollow. On auto-pilot, I trudged the daily grind…until last year’s big thud. 

Suddenly laid off (no I did not job-hop again) due to unexpectedly dismal performance attributable to depression, which I was battling against, I found myself descending to a newer low.  Thank God, though, for providing a halfway workplace through which He sustained our daily bread. Mostly, I was thankful, yet there were a lot of times when I just felt the heaviness of the workplace…or perhaps it may have been the heaviness of my heart as I asked: what happened to me?

As I continued to ask God what happened, I finally got it. There I was, straining, striving and exerting immense pressure on myself. What for? For men’s applause? (Did they actually notice? And even if they did, was it worth it and lasting?) For myself? (I didn’t even find fulfillment in what I was doing anymore). So what if I didn’t have stature in the world’s eyes? Did that make God love me or esteem me less?  Asking those questions made me realize how extrinsically motivated I was, when all along my motivation should have been intrinsic: to know how God sees me, ascertain His purpose for making me and from there, by His grace walk it out, taking comfort that He has already prepared the good works in advance for me to do.   

Then and only then did the strain lift. I literally felt myself traveling lighter, as I purposed one thing and one thing alone: to do as I see the Father doing. It means being purposeful in what to engage in, as well as the manner and effort I was to put in, knowing that because Jesus is the King of my heart, His spirit of excellence is likewise in me. It means taking confidence, not in my own brilliance, degrees or ideas, but in knowing that as His daughter, whose mind is being renewed by Him daily, I have the mind of Christ.  The motivation ceased to be focused on temporal rewards (they still are welcome bonuses, although I prefer the more long-lasting eternal rewards). Instead, the desire was tranformed: to be found faithful to what He has called me to do. Nevermind if others don’t see me; what matters is my Abba Father does (He is my El Roi, the God who sees me) and that He is well-pleased with me.

How exactly this heart change took place? I can’t fully explain, and perhaps may not be able to. All I know is only God can transform a heart with a penchant for selfish ambition to one with a bent for Godly vision and decision. With Jesus as my anchor, may I be steady and found faithful to the end. 

All this, only by God’s grace. 

God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for God . Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! – Psalm 131:1‭-‬3 MSG


Abba Father, You are the God who sees me. Thank You steadying my heart. Keep my heart rooted, grounded in Your love, in constant cadence with Yours that it may always be content. Content and always rested in You.  Let me see and hear You always, Lord, that I may only dabble in matters that You want me to take part of…and that I may learn from Your word and Your ways. For now, I pray for the grace to be steady and faithful, where You have placed me for this season. I wait for You daily with hope, and beckon at Your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Dreams, family ties, Inner Healing, Waging War

Torn Flesh

This morning, I awoke to a dream, through which the Lord seems to signal that the awaited time for restoration of an important, yet sadly fractured, relationship in my life is drawing near.

Dream:

I went home from festivities (Tata, one of the WoW ladies and Kuh Ledesma were there). The following day, I was supposed to be with and eat with my mom. I put on my pants. My pants were loose in the waist that I had to tighten them.  I thought I lost weight significantly, and it made me gloat.
After eating at a messy restaurant with good food, we went back home. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I realized that my pants were loose, not because I lost weight, but because flesh in the right side of my waist was eaten and infected. My mom and I went to the hospital. It took a long time before we can be attended by the doctor who only treated it superficially and said we needed to go back for my operation asap. 

I was in pain so I told people at law school and in the office that I needed to rest. The school was white and light all over. My tranny ex boyfriend was again there, but as a guy. I bid him goodbye. He told me he wouldn’t know what to do if he lost me. The law school professors (Ma’m Beth and Sir Labitag) were talking about my wound and how I could have gotten it. 

Meanwhile, I wanted treatment for my torn and wounded flesh because I was in pain, behind my shirt. I was concerned that it would spread, but it seemed contained. I kept on wandering in a small deserted town to go to a gathering, where I saw my Dad’s cousins, among whom Tito Rollie was most memorable.  

I woke up. I still feel a slight tinge of pain on my right side. 

Interpretation: 

Holy Spirit show me what the dream means

  • Festivities = WoW retreat with sisters in Christ.
  • Home with my Mom = setting of where the issue is: original family
  • Tightened jeans = thought it was desirable at first, but in reality, it wasn’t 
  • Mirror = God’s word made me realize there was a wound
  • Torn and wounded flesh with pus = an old wound, offense-related that has been eating at me. It is not apparent at first because it is covered by my shirt
  • Red shirt = Appearances. Or it can also mean, the wound is being covered by the Blood, by love….love overcoming a multitude of wrongs. 
  • White, light and bright law school = learning about God’s laws (His word and ways)
  • Saying goodbye to the Ex = Closure. It was amidst the setting of the school. It wasn’t the issue behind the wound. What he told me though (about how he doesn’t want to lose me), may be the issue behind this: it also relates to rejection 
  • Ma’m Beth and Sir Labitag = my professors for family relations and obligations and contracts. Sir Labitag also teaches about property laws. 
  • Deserted town = Loneliness? 
  • Dad’s cousins = extended family. Tito Rollie has a reputation for being intoxicated. 

The dream is about my rift with my sister and how it is affecting me. I was too intoxicated with my closeness with my 2nd cousin that I overlooked how the pain was still there. I’m trying to go on through life with the pain and loneliness from the rift, trying to hide it, but it is eating at me. It is the issue that I have to deal with, as there is now closure on another wound from my past concerning BJ.  It is a wound that is also rooted in rejection. 

All of this is shown to me after and as a result of the WoW retreat with sisters in Christ. God is reminding me of the things I learned in His school. There is a specific emphasis on family relations and obligations, as well as a remote impact on properties. 

The torn flesh needs to be addressed. I need to go to the operating table. I don’t want to go through life with this pain. I’m ready to be operated on now. 

All of this point to one thing: The rift with my biological sister.  God is also showing me how to heal it: let His love overcome a multitude of wrongs

Prayer:

Lord, thank You for revealing this to me: that I am still affected and infected, no matter how I try to hide it. Heal my wounds regarding my sister. I am in pain because she has and continues to disrespect me and has rejected all of my efforts to reach out to her. It has been almost a decade, and it has gone on for too long. 

Right now, as I type and pray, thank You for reminding me that You know how I felt, Lord. You did nothing for us to reject and not show you the honor due You. Forgive me, Lord. And yet, You have forgiven me, You loved me then and love me still. Your love covered my wrongs. And now, I feel Your love at work in my heart.

Lord, I apply that love and forgiveness You gave me to my family, especially to the wounds from my sister. Help me reach out to her in love and overcome my fears of rejection. For You have shown me how to be a relentless pursuer. Let Your perfect love cast out all fear within me. Empower me with Your love to reach out to her. 

You are the healer and lover of my soul, Lord. Thank You for revealing about this wound. Heal me, Lord. Continue to heal me. 

Lord, open the door, make a way to resolve this. We have not communicated for years, except when I go home and she offers me a grunt in exchange for my greetings. Oh Lord, make a way. Holy Spirit, do what no one else can. Soften hearts, Lord…hers and mine. 

In Jesus’ name, amen. 

PS Lord, show me and tell me when it’s time to send this:

Dear Sister,

As early as I can remember till we found out that Mommy was pregnant with you, I have always prayed for a baby sister or brother. When you were born, I was such a proud Ate, eager to help take care of and show off her cute baby sister. I had a bit of an adjustment though from being an only child to an Ate, who needed to learn how to share attention with a little one. I know it took me time to adjust to be patient with you, even as I felt you steal my thunder and our family’s attention. You became such a cute toddler while I was trying to find my way in the awkwardness of puberty. Yet I was very protective of you, comforting you even as we cried when Mom and Dad used to fight and separation was threatened. 

When I went to college, as I started missing you, I learned how to finally be an Ate, but had some growing up to do, and some grief to grapple with when we lost Dad. Despite my love-hate relationship with Daddy, who mostly scolded me in my pre-teen years on our behalf, I found myself alone and lonely, and busy fulfilling a promise to him…so I’m sorry if you don’t remember much of my presence in your life then. 

Eventually, when I started working, I know that I spoiled you a bit and even had a budget for you. You began to open up to me and I knew you relied on my for emotional support. There were times though that beyond being a friend, I needed to be an Ate and make some tough choices, if I felt that those were going to be good for you, for your discipline. I may have shown you some tough love, as well, as you were studying for your Math subject. 

I was open to you about my love life, about a lot of things, actually, because I wanted to be transparent and for you to learn from my mistakes. I am not a perfect Ate, but I do try my best. 

[When I told you about Mike and me getting married and offered you to be my maid of honor, I was deeply hurt with how you declined for reasons that I felt were controllable. But I appreciate that you managed to make it to my wedding, albeit in jeans (whether or not it was a protest, I still thank you). It hurt though that since my wedding, you shut me out of your life. It hurts everytime I feel dishonored when I reach out to you in vain. It hurts to see the impact of this bitter root in both our lives]

But I love you, Lee-ann, and just as I am sorry for letting you down and for all of my shortcomings as your Ate, I am very much willing to overlook everything. I have been praying for a long time now for God to touch both our hearts and heal both our wounds and hurts. Though I won’t force anything on you, I hope and pray for that time of healing to come soon, because I don’t want to miss out on you anymore.

Love,

Ate

have you seen my childhood?, Inner Healing

Deep Closure

This is a story of being purged from pain and bitterness from the distant past, and of being a queen…even in awkward situations.

Last weekend, I saw my childhood sweetheart for the first time in 10 years, at his father’s wake. While I have no issues with him (or so I thought), I knew that he had issues with me. After all, he blocked me in all social media sites after he came out, notwithstanding having maintained our friendship 13 years after we broke up. It was my first time to see him in person after he came out, not merely as a gay person, but as a trans male who flaunts his promiscuity online.

As expected, there were a few awkward moments. After thanking me and a friend for coming, he only talked to our friend and acted as if I wasn’t there. Everytime I started to feel awkward, I reminded myself to focus on the objective: to extend my condolences and offer any support I could give to his family.  It was not an effortless task, but by God’s grace, I accomplished my mission.

Twas a bit surreal too. It was my first time to see him in person as a girl. He was wearing a black spaghetti-strapped dress. He had breasts and his voice was more female-sounding. I easily came to terms with it, knowing that he underwent a journey, as I have as well. I wanted him to know and feel that, although he was a different person now, there is no judgment on my part; only friendship and phileo love that I wanted to extend, especially in their family’s time of grief.

The awkward conversation seemed like eternity, but thank God that he gave some excuse to cut it short. I told him that I needed to leave because my husband was waiting for me. He thanked me for coming and I told him that I just wanted to reciprocate his being there for me when my father died.

In contrast with how I felt before I decided to attend the wake, I did not take offense with seeming rejection in the form of his difficulty to involve me in coversation.   I felt myself having more compassion for the person. He clearly had issues. It was another test on dying to self. 

Having conducted myself with dignity despite what came my way, I felt good after leaving the wake. Little did I know, however, that playing the earlier awkward scene in my mind managed to bring back my extremely insecure and timid 12 year-old self. My husband’s words on our way home worsened how I felt, as he made comments on how awkward I looked and that he couldn’t understand why I got myself involved with that ex in the first place. 

With my teenage insecurity and timidity brought to the fore, and my heart still aching the following morning, I immersed myself in prayer, asking God to search my heart. As I paused, memories flashed back.

Having recalled all of those, I realized that there was some bitterness in my heart. I confessed my hurts to God. As I released forgiveness to the memories and to my ex, as well, I felt some of the scars from that emotionally abusive childhood romance disappear. The wounds were deep though, and there was more to heal.

My devo the following day was so in point. I knew God affirmed me after I told him of my hurts. As they were from the distant past, some intense “heart surgery” also followed.

I then prayed to break any and all soul ties and repeatedly declared that “God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind”.  I chose to love on my 12 year-old self, and forgave her for making stupid choices borne out of her horridly poor self esteem. I forgave her for settling for the only guy she thought would like her, and allowing that person to treat her like shit (imagine: being called Pangit (Ugly) as an endearment, being told I was boring because I was a homebody, being stonewalled repeatedly, and emotionally blackmailed repeatedly). 

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Forgiving my younger self and my ex was liberating. I was then given the understanding that he, too, was hurting. He was also a confused teen-ager, who struggled with his identity. 

As I pondered further, I was taken back to an 8hr phone conversation (no kidding! We surely could talk, back then) when we were 14.  Then, he told me that he was going to tell me something in due time…he gave a clue: it was about a three-letter word. I pretended to be unable to guess the word…but deep within, I knew all along. That three-letter word probably spell g-a-y.  Perhaps that was why in his letter on my 14th birthday, he said that he loved me so much…how he wished that we’d end up together, and that I’m already his bestfriend and sister…sister?! (“Sister!” With the tone. Lol)

Could it be that his actions confused me because he, himself, was confused? One minute, we seemed to understand each other fully well; the next minute, he would act like I was a stranger, especially in public. He seemed to want me to pursue him, which made my self-esteem plummet to new lows. When I broke up with him when we were 16, he did tell me this cliche, “I’m sorry…I love you, but it’s not you, it’s me.” 

Whether or not there was deliberate sowing of bad seeds in my garden, I leave that to him and to God. God will take care of him, in the way He knows best.

Could he have held a candle for me, because I told him, at 17 when he attempted to court me again, that I didn’t need a boyfriend at that time, but needed a friend? Come to think of it, we always had that funky vibe in the years of friendship that followed. I was living my life, one that I loved at that, but everytime we caught up, I needed to jolt myself out of the confusion that I’d feel all over again. Maybe it was the same for him, as I was the only girlfriend that he had. Could it have been the reason why he only came out after I got married? 

Could all this be the reason why he couldn’t bear to see a glimpse of me, not even through my online presence, even after I thought I was able to turn him into a friend in the decade that followed after our break-up? Could his blocking me online be his way of manipulating me to be more curious about how he turned out to be?  I have lived my life apart from him for more than 2 decades now…I am married, now happily and I am bouncing back in my career. I have had three romances, experienced highs and lows, challenges and victories, experienced new places –  all apart from him. Why would he want to still keep me in his lair, albeit subconsciously? I guess my struggles with rejection caused me to still be affected, and to dream about him every once in a while. I want none of that anymore. Not even a trace. 

Could it be that this matter is actually more spiritual than I’ve thought it to be? After all, he has seeds of Christ and the Judeo-Christian faith planted in his heart. He used to be part of a Catholic charismatic group and I shared about Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him. His mother is devoutly Catholic and his dad was a mainline denomination Protestant. In that light, could it be that it wasn’t really me that he had a tough time letting go of; but I, to him, represented his rightful identity in God’s eyes? That in his heart of hearts, he knew that God created him male. No biological alteration could change that in its entirety.  Could it be that seeing me reminds him of the seeds of his foundation, one that he wants to deny, given the lifestyle that he’s been leading for almost a decade now?

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Looking even further back, before our childhood romance, we were really good friends even before we confused our friendship with romantic notions. I was perhaps the only person with whom he had a rather deep friendship when we were young, and maybe that’s why we confused it for something else. As for me, I probably read too much of my mom’s Mills & Boons novels and Sweet Dreams at a young age. It did not do me good, obviously. It made me romanticize whatever closeness we had back then. 

Having realized all of that, I forgave him and myself all over again for building on each other’s confusion. I forgave myself for being so gullible and easily influenced by him. I let go of all the what-could-have-been-if-I-wasn’t-so-enamoured-with-him-then’s down at the feet of Jesus. My teenage mistakes and heartaches happened for a reason.  God has a redemptive purpose even for those.

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The fresh round of forgiveness brought deeper closure. I definitely felt lighter afterwards. All this, it appeared, was the final step in the preparations for a deliverance session that I was to undergo two days later with the WoW ladies. This, I believe, is preparation for our upcoming retreat. God is preparing our hearts to minister, just as He is similarly preparing to heal the hearts of the dear ladies who will be attending. 😇

In the coming days, I look forward to no longer dreaming about him, for all soul ties with him to be broken (if any are still left), and to being delivered from any related bondages. 

To freedom! To deeper closure! To deliverance!

Now that I’ve been delivered, I couldn’t help but pray for him to have such healing and closure too. Based on his actuations, he has yet to achieve it. But I pray that somehow my gesture last Saturday helped pave the way for deeper closure for him, as it has for me.

Post script 3 weeks hence:

I saw and added him on LinkedIn earlier today. He apparently viewed my profile (someone from his office, even vicinity has) after the add, then blocked me. Oh well, he’s still at it, good grief, even after my magnanimous gesture…and on a professional site.  Finally, I forgive myself for regressing by adding him on LinkedIn and fussing about it for a bit. (I think I was upset with myself for playing with the scabs). This is really the last of it. So, anyway, moving on to the next topic…SW, SW, SW, SW (some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting…and eager to be my LinkedIn contact. Haha!)