Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Second Chance

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:18)
It's been almost 4 months since the seperation, and although the disappointment over a failed relationship is still there, I'm doing much better these days. I'll admit that sometimes you can find me sitting in starbucks staring out into space wishing things had turned out differently, but I can't help but think that God indeed has better plans for me.
You see. Although I still throw an angry word or two at my ex, I can't help but thank God that he came into my life. When we were together, he was so loving and caring. He treated me right. I'll admit that it was my immaturity that caused our relationship to go rocky. I regret not having been more mature during our time together, and although I think that the seperation did both of us a favor, I wish we could've ended on better terms. We have a fairly good relationship now a days. We meet up once a week to go out as a family, because at the end of the day, I want my sons to grow up knowing that even if things didn't work out between their parents, they are still loved and that we will always support and be there for them no matter what.
I look at *David no longer as my ex, but as a friend and a wonderful father to my kids. I think that God allowed us to get together to bring two wonderful boys into the world, but that after fulfilling such a purpose, he broke us up because we had served His purpose as a couple and now it was time to serve Him as individuals. It's like God was telling us that in order for us to grow in Him, we had to go it alone. By not having to worry about each other, all our attentoin goes to restoring our relationship with God.
Also, I feel that God wants us to have our own family's but in a manner that is pleasing to Him. It's like He's given us a chance at love again, to make right what we did wrong the first time around. To not rush things and to understand that everything works out in God's perfect timing. So until then, I will continue to pray that my actions and words will glorify the Lord and that I will fulfill his purpose for me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Purpose Driven Life Day One: It All Starts With God

For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,... everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him. (Colossians 1:16)

Do you notice that when things are going good for you, you sometimes or usually tend to forget God? During your times of happiness, you forget to be thankul and think that good things happen to you because of your own will and that because you deserve it. We become self- centered and forget to focus on God. It's then that trouble begins. We start to think that we can do things on our own, we think for ourselves instead of praying for guidance, we think that we don't need anyones help, we think that we're invincible. Once we lose sight of God, thats when everything seems to spiral out of control. Because of our self- centeredness, we throw ourselves into unnecessary situations that often cause us pain. It is then that we remember to call out to God. We beg Him to stop the pain, to help us because we've lost our way and etc.

I couldn't help but reflect on the situation that I somewhat brought upon myself. My relationship with my ex was never God centered, I was a very selfish person, I only thought of me. Like I said, I lived to make me happy. I did things my way. I made my own choices, which were often the wrong ones. I didnt stop to think of what God wanted of me. Sure, I was happy for a while and there were times when God would remind me to return my focus on Him. But I continued on with my selfish lifestyle, and here I am. A single mom of two. I understand now that things don't work out the way you want them because thats not how God intended you to be. He allows you to mess up, yes. But at the end of the day, He will make a way for you to go back to Him so you live your life according to Him. So that you live a purposeful and meaningful life as He intended for you to do

Friday, August 7, 2009

Return of the Prodigal Child

This entry is dedicated to Cheri and Wayne of Glass House Ministries. I'm hoping that with my testimony, you will be given renewed hope and faith that God will be able to touch your son's heart.
I come from a good Christian family. My parents would bring my brother and I to church every Sunday and would encourage me to join the youth ministry and choir. For a time, I was happy. I would attend my church activities faithfully and was a very active Christian. I enjoyed singing in the choir because I would constantly learn new songs with lyrics that would touch my heart. I joined medical missions, would write for the youth newsletter, was part of a growth group and would teach DVBS. You could say that my life revolved around church and serving God.
But as I entered university, my interests started to change. I started to think that anything that had to do with church was "uncool". I began to drink, smoke and sneak out of the house at night to go to parties. I had gotten involved with a boy, and was very serious with him. When I had my boyfriend, everything else didn't seem to matter. I would cut class just to be with him, I would sneak out of the house to go out on dates and would return in the wee hours of the morning in time to get ready for school. My parents were suspicious of my slipping grades and change in behavior. They tried to talk to me, but I wouldn't listen. My parents and relationship with God was no longer a priority. I was sick and tired of all the rules and just wanted to have fun, I decided that I would live life my way.
Having thought that, I left home and moved into a condo with my boyfriend. For several months we'd travel around the country, we even went to Spain. We dropped out from school and would spend our days in the malls or at the beach. We had cut off communication with our parents, we didn't want to be found. We had each other and at that time, that was all that mattered. But like the saying goes, all good things come to an end. I realized that I had missed my period. I was pregnant.
To say that I was panicked would be an understatement. I was terrified. I wasn't prepared. It was then that I realized that I needed to contact my parents. And with a single text message, all the hopes and dreams my parents had for me were gone. The pregnancy devastated them. My dad was thrown into depression and my mom was furious. My parents are very careful with what they say, but at that time, my mom's vocabulary greatly expanded so to speak. I prayed and prayed, I asked God to give me strength to endure my parents' harsh words. After all, I knew I deserved it. But also, I prayed that God would give me the strength to apologize to my parents and to do whatever I could to restore my relationship with them.
Once again, I sent my parents a text message sincerely apologizing to them and telling them that I needed them. Through God's grace, my parents forgave me and invited me to visit them at home. That visit was probably one of the happiest days of my life. It was very much like the prodigal son's return home. I was welcomed with open arms and although we spent more time hugging and crying then we did talking, I wouldn't want to have it any other way. My mom told me that she had been praying for that day and that she was glad that day had finally come.
Almost 3 years has passed since that day and although we don't always see eye to eye on certain issues, I am glad to have my parents back in my life. Especially now. They are a perfect example of God's unconditional love. Despite all the headaches and heartaches I've given them, they've always stood by my side and always welcome me with open arms. Their love and faith in me is unwavering, and because of that, I realize how awesome God is to have blessed me with such wonderful people. As Christians, they too have their ordeals every now and then, but their prayer life and unwavering faith in God is what drives me to restore my relationship with Him. I pray that I will continue to grow in Him and be a good example to my kids, as my parents have been to me. To God be the glory :)

Enjoying True Peace of Mind

"You cannot choose all the circumstances that come into your life, but you can choose whether those things will make you a bitter person or a better person. It's your responsibility. No one can ruin your life except you! The devil can't because he doesn't have enough power. God won't because He loves you. Only you can ruin your own life... When you assume responsibility for your own attitude, then you can start enjoying true peace of mind."
The above was taken from Rick Warren's book entitled "Answers to Life's Toughest Questions". I believe in it with my whole heart. You'd all be proud to know that as soon as my ex and his "mistress" apologized to me about the affair, I forgave them on the spot. That was two weeks ago. I didn't want any more drama. I didn't want the hurt to continue on, so I committed them and all my problems to the Lord. It's true that when you forgive someone, you're overcomed by a sense of peace. But it doesn't mean that it's been smooth sailing ever since. Like recovering from the abandonment, forgiveness is a process. You don't just wake up one day and expect everything to be okay. I'd still send an angry word or two to my ex. But I'd later retract it and apologize. Me apologizing doesn't mean I condone what he's done, instead it's more of me wanting a clear conscience. At the end of the day, I'd like to be able to look back and proudly say that I did right. That my actions glorified God.
As for my kids, I'm very thankful that they're both too young to understand what's going on (they're both under the age of two). And with regards to the comment left by Erin, don't worry. I have no intentions of putting their father in bad light. Truth be told, he was very good to me when we were together. He was very kind and loving and still is. I guess we just grew apart. I understand the importance of a father figure for my boys, so despite everything, I'm doing my best to stay on good terms with him. The pain is there of course, and there are times when I just want to bonk him on the head with a baseball bat. But at the end of the day, it's not about me or him. It's about what's best for my boys. I want them to know that despite the situation, they are loved. That mommy loves them, and that their daddy loves them.
I am grateful that Andrea blogged about my prayer request or else I wouldn't have come across such wonderful women. You see, I'm only 21. SURPRISE! I still have alot to learn and I'm thankful that I have alot of "moms" who are willing to guide me and pray for me. I appreciate the words of encouragement and the stories that you've left behind. It's empowering to know that I am not alone, and that by your example, God indeed has a plan for my life. That He has bigger and better things in store for me and my kids. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful women praying for me that I would love to return the favor. Please do not hesitate to message me your prayer requests. I believe that prayer is powerful, whether you are prayed for by family and friends or by a complete stranger. No matter who prays for you, God hears us and will answer us as He has answered me. Thank you for all your support. It is overwhelming and inspires me to continue my walk with God. I hope you can all stay with me on my journey, I look forward to getting to know you all :) God bless.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moving On After He Moves Out

Just as I thought that I was making progress, my world comes crashing down again. Two weeks ago, I was made aware that my ex was indeed having an affair. Everything I said in my last post was thrown out the window. I fell back into a deep depression, I refused to eat, I would constantly send angry messages to my ex and was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Recovering from a break up is bad enough, but to find out that theres another woman just makes matters worse. I decided that it was time to make my WHOLE family aware of the situation. So despite my mother being on the other side of the world on vacation, I called her up and told her the news. I held back from telling her because I was afraid of her reaction, but to my relief, she remained very supportive and comforting. I guess it's true that no matter what, at the end of the day, you can always count on your family. Upon her arrival home, my mom handed me a book that my aunt wanted me to have, its called "Moving On After He Moves Out". This book is God sent. It was hard to read because I felt like I was reliving the nightmare, but it opened up my eyes to several things. There are tidbits from this book that I would like to share with you all, I hope that somehow the following will help you find yourself again...
(1) Facing the abandonment
For many months, the abandonment will replay in your mind over and over again. Even when you think that your making progress and finally moving forward, there will always be something that will remind you of the situation. Again, a wave of emotions will hit you. The anger, the sadness, the loneliness and etc. Understand that it is perfectly normal. However, don't allow yourself to dwell on "what should be" or "what could be", instead think of "what is". As harsh as it may be, remind yourself of the fact that your husband left you behind and that it's time to pick up the pieces. Pray, and commit all that your feeling and thinking to God. Everytime you bravely face abandonment, you are empowering yourself.
(2) Being assertive and realistic
Do not allow the situation to drown you in the "victim mentality". Everytime you feel that you are doing so, ask yourself, "How long will I allow this to go on? How long will I allow him to victimize me? Manipulate me with his betrayal? Will I allow this man to destroy me and my family?" Then tell yourself, "Enough is enough! I will no longer allow him to take over my life! I refuse to be a victim!" It is time to be assertive, to finally take control of your life and realize that despite everything, you are a worthwhile person! Being realistic means that you should keep in mind that change is gradual, it happens over time. You don't just wake up one day and expect everything to be ok. You will have setbacks, after all, you're an imperfect being. But don't beat yourself up over it, know that although you may stumble you always move ahead a little farther then yesterday.
(3) Choose your friends wisely
The people you surround yourself during this tough situation can either help build yourself up or drive you deeper into your problems. Avoid people who tell you to toughen up and not be bitter. These people are unreal and wouldn't be saying that if they were in your situation. You should also avoid spiritually superficial people and people who tend to take sides. Be around friends who you know are sincere and don't pretend that abandonment isn't a big deal. Be with people who allow you to cry and release your feelings but who will keep you focused on figuring out why this happened, the possibilities of the marriage being restored and if all else fails, the practical steps to be taken to recover from such a horrible situation.
(4) Physical Recovery
I'm sure that plenty of you can relate to this. During the first week after the break-up, you refuse to eat or eat too much, you put on a brave face when the kids are around only to break down behind closed doors. You lack sleep. You don't care about your appearance so much that you can walk around the house all day in your pajamas that are inside out. Tell me, are you guilty of this or what? No shame in saying yes, because I can assure you that I went through this myself. It was a horrible horrible week, a week that I never want to relive again. The break- up not only hurt us psycholically but it also took a swing at our physical body and immune system, so it is very important that we work on our physical recovery.
It is imperative that we take a good 30 minutes everyday to exercise! Exercise changes the chemical make- up of your brain enabling you to handle stress better while improving your health and self- confidence. Remember that your not only exercising to look good, but because you want to stay healthy and be able to keep up wtih your growing kids. Along with exercise comes a healthy diet. You don't have to go on a crazy fad diet or deprive yourself of the foods you want to eat, in fact, you can eat whatever you want! But be reminded of portion control and balancing out the things you eat. It'd be best if you stock up on fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates ( breads, potatos, rice and etc). And feel free to indulge in an occasional steak or two!
Another important factor to physical recovery is sleep. Your body has gone through alot and needs to recover. Listen to your body and don't hesitate to take a nap or two if you feel like it. It's very important that you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. If it helps, you may drink a glass of warm milk and talk to God for a while beofre going to bed. Committing the day and all your worries and thoughts to Him allows you a peaceful and well- deserved night of sleep.
(5) Developing new skills
Now that hes gone, all the household chores that you husband used to do has now been dumped onto your lap. Don't panic! Your husband wasn't some genius that could do the impossible, he simply learned a thing or two about maintenance. If he can do it, trust me, so can you. Every time you learn a new skill, particularly something that used to be your husband's domain- you'll find yourself feeling more empowered and wondering what else you can do! So go ahead! Take a risk doing the things that you thought you'd never be able to do. You just might surprise yourself.
(6) Let people help you
Although I told you not to take on the "victim mentality", neither should you take on the "superwoman mentality". You can't do everything on your own, being a single mother isn't easy so don't be hesitant to accept when people offer you help. If your friends, family or other other groups of people offer you help, be specific with your needs and be reasonable. Keep in mind that these people are reaching out to you out of the goodness of their heart so you must be careful not to exploit them.
(7) Allow God to take over your life
I won't pretend that I wasn't mad with God for a while. I didn't understand why he was tearing my family apart, nor why me and my ex couldn't work things through. It took me scripture after scripture before I realized that God indeed had a plan for my life. Some thing that I wouldn't understand because His plan was too great for me to fathom. So I did the only thing I could think of doing, I prayed and offered myself and my kids to Him. I committed all my problems to Him and prayed that everything would work out according to His plan and that He would continue to give me strength throughout this whole ordeal. I realized that things would get harder before they got better so I felt blessed when I came upon this passage:
For the Lord says, "Because she loves me, I will rescue her; I will make her great because she trusts in my name. When she calls on me I will answer; I will be with her in trouble, and rescue her and honor her. I will satisfy her with a full life and give her my salvation." (Ps 91:14- 16, adapted).
I've printed out this passage and taped it onto several places all over the house so that I am constantly reminded of God's promise. It'd help that you do the same for yourself too. I suggest that you keep a copy in your car and in your purse. Hopefully, you learn a thing or two from the above. Feel free to message me and ask questions, the book is well written so I'd be glad to type down stuff in accordance to answering your questions. God bless :)