Suffering Well

“How are you?”

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot lately. Sometimes it’s just a greeting, which may usually get my automatic usual response of “I’m doing good, how are you?”. However, when this question is being asked out of genuine care and concern for my well-being (which is quite often), I know that my automatic response can’t fool the ones asking me, so I’ll pause to answer because it really depends moment by moment. There are certainly happy days – days when life feels a bit normal and I am able to laugh and feel grateful for how far I’ve come and where God has placed me. But then there are many lonely nights when I’m just lying down, curled into a fetal position, crying out to God to take away my pain, my hurt, my longings. To restore what has been broken. To help me to surrender and to trust in the unknown. To give me new desires.

Honestly, it’s super embarrassing and humbling to admit that some days are just so hard. I don’t like working through my emotions or revealing my weaknesses. Waking up and facing each new day is a battle for me. I’m still sad and confused; processing and grieving; waiting and trying to be still.

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Knowing God

I’m still processing over the events that have happened to me recently, trying to figure out what forgiveness might look like and what will it take for me to move on from this traumatic heartbreak and to have closure. It has become more and more clear that what I chose was the wisest decision, that obedience to Christ is better than whatever temporary sorrow and despair that I feel now. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t felt resentment or bitterness. Oh, on the contrary, I think I’ve gone through every possible emotion in the last three months!

And yet, despite all of this, I can’t believe that my heart has grown to love Jesus more. I’m learning that I can run to Him and bring all my emotions to Him (yes, even the ugly ones!). There have been many moments of desperation and in those times, even when I can’t stop the stream of endless tears from flowing down my face, I have a gentle assurance and conviction that God is worthy of my trust. He is speaking to me through Scripture. He is speaking to me through family and friends who are praying for me, caring for me, and spurring me on to finish this race well. He is faithful to me.

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Praise God in the Waiting

I have not written on this blog in years. In fact, it’s been a long time since I have even been on this blogging platform. Interestingly enough, I have spent the last several days re-reading and pondering my old posts because the truths that I wrote about four to five years ago still apply. It is amazing that God is still teaching me the same lessons over and over again, and reading my words from the old me was somehow such an encouragement to my present self.

Well, where do I even begin?

The past year has been difficult, to say the least. A tragic, abrupt death of a close friend. My family split into two time zones. A loved one being diagnosed with cancer. An unexpected global pandemic. Shattered dreams of a future that I thought was so secure.

There have been plenty of sleepless nights for me lately (and as I’m typing this, tonight is one of them). Yet despite the waves of my emotions of grief, anxiety, and helplessness, I cannot help but be in awe of God. He is clearly at work in my life. He is calling me to surrender and relinquish control. This sorrow is not wasted; this pain is clearly for a purpose. These trials are for my good and somehow God is redeeming all of my suffering for His glory.

My friend, musicgoon, recently gifted me a book titled “Mercy For Today: A Daily Prayer from Psalm 51” by Jonathan Parnell, which may be very well be on its way to becoming one of my favorite new books for the year. In one of the chapters, Parnell says,

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Oceanside Pier, San Diego Photoshoot

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My dear friends and the couple behind Chus’ Life will soon be celebrating their wedding anniversary. It seems not long ago when Tiffany called me up to tell me she just started dating and in excitement, we planned for a date so that I could meet Michael in person. I was in my senior year of college and I remember being pretty gung-ho about grilling this guy and determining whether or not he’d be a good fit for my best friend. I was ready to grill him and to nitpick at his answers because I couldn’t have just anyone date my best friend.

I think what surprised me most was that Michael wasn’t the kind of guy I was expecting him to be when he showed up. He was rather quiet and reserved in demeanor; the questions that I had prepared to ask him resulted with simple answers and to be frank, I found his answers to be a bit disappointing due to the lack of detail (or what I judged to be rather general and unspecific).

All I really remember about that night was that I ended up doing most of the talking and while I couldn’t really find anything wrong about Michael by the time it was over, in the back of my mind, I questioned whether he would be able to lead Tiffany spiritually and to take care of her. He didn’t seem to be the “leader type” in my opinion. (Random side note: Ironically, years later, Michael blogged about this topic here.)

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