When God wants to give you MORE

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It amazes me how God takes His time, beautifully crafting replies and reframing our perspective according to what He really means.

As I’ve been drowning out heaven with prayers for a mate FOR YEARS, I thought that what He meant with “immeasurably more” is with the partner He’ll give me. That if I’m praying for ten things I want in a future husband, then He’ll give me 15 more! Now that’s immeasurably more, right?

But I’ve come to realize that maybe that’s not what He meant. He wants me to have an abundant life (John 10:10). He doesn’t want me to just have a husband. He wants me to have a full life.

Remember the story of the woman at the well? She has had five husbands and yet she was still not satisfied with her life. She said to Jesus: “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:15, NIV) Five husbands and still thirsty!

So perhaps it’s not just one part of the equation that He wants to give us. He wants to give us so much more.

 

How to experience God’s “immeasurably more”

1. Let God define what is “more”. 

“Now to HIM who is able to do..” It starts with God. And He is the one who is able to do this. I could be wrong in what I want. But God knows me better than I know myself. So let go of what “more” looks like to you. For me, “more” is getting a better husband than what’s on my list. But God redefined that for me by giving me much more – a full life.

A husband would only be one of many relationships that I will have (albeit the most important if there is). But life covers a wide spectrum of needs – social, spiritual, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, environmental (Seven Dimensions of Wellness). So what about the rest? And this is where God wanted to meet me first. He wants me to experience wellness – establish healthy relationships with family and friends (social), be at peace with where He has me and experience joy no matter what (emotional), enjoy work and pursue passions (occupational and intellectual), learn how to take care of my skin and body (physical), live an organic and natural lifestyle (environmental), and most importantly, build my relationship with My Creator (spiritual).

Whatever “more” looks like to you, just let it go. Let God be the one to define it for you.

2. Know God as a Loving Father

Verse 20 is preceded with Verses 18 and 19: “(that you) may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

What is a loving father like? Fathers who care deeply about their children will not withhold good things from them. He will provide for all their needs and much more – toys, chocolates, birthday parties. He will not do this reluctantly but it would be his joy to give these things to his child.

We need to know that kind of love – how wide and long and high and deep, and which surpasses knowledge. That is how much He loves us. To see Him as a stingy, reluctant, unloving Father would limit who He is and what He can do in our lives.

Your earthly father may be different. Don’t confuse the two.

3. Start living the full life

“..According to his power that is at work within us.” As children of God, His very Spirit is at work within us. That full life began the moment we received Christ into our lives. So what does a full life look like to you? Don’t just look at it from one angle. Remember the Seven Dimensions of Wellness. Consider your relationships, work, spiritual life. All these factor in how well you live your life. You have a role to play. That immeasurably more is within your grasp as you recognize that power at work within you.

I don’t just sit around waiting for God to drop a husband on my lap. I live my life the best way I know how. I work on my relationships, I meet new people, I try out new things. I continue to seek God, know more of His Love for me and tell other people about it. I enjoy life and this is immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.

Had He given me a husband first then I may not be able to appreciate this gift – a gnawing feeling may seethe deep within me as other aspects of my life are not satisfied. But He wants to answer that prayer, even ones that I have not uttered to Him. And so He is making sure that I am whole and complete first, not lacking in anything – and that is the fullness of life.

I don’t know what you’re praying for. But when we dictate too much what we want, we limit God. He wants to give us more than what we ask for, but first, we have to let Him. Let go of any expectations you may have on how God will answer you. Only then will you be able to recognize how God is already giving you that immeasurably more in this life. Let Him.

 

 

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Crack Me Up: Karada Manila (Japanese Body Therapy)

I miss this place! And no, this is not a paid advertisement. I’ve availed of their services twice and I intend to visit again when I’m in Manila and try their other services.

I first saw Karada in Boracay and got so intrigued, but I didn’t yet visit it and just opted for other massage places there. A few weeks later, my sister recommended this place in Mall of Asia, where they cracked her neck and aligned her body. Wow! I was sold. It was on my to-do list on my next Manila visit.

Photo grabbed from Karada website. Karada SM Mall of Asia branch.

Upon entering, they first let you fill out a form and questionnaire on your physical condition, concerns and reason for the therapy. I didn’t really have any particular body aches and pains, but I put down “headaches” and “digestion” as my main concerns.

I tried the AP (Atlas-Pelvis) Balance for 45 minutes and it was the best! I was assigned a male therapist but it’s okay. He was very professional and would explain each process that he would do, especially when he needed to get into my personal space, like grab my whole body with my arms crossed over my chest to crack my back.

Next, they lead you to changing rooms with provided black tshirt and pants to change into. I’m happy to say that the changing rooms and washroom next to it are very clean, with liquid soap, tissue and other hygiene products available. Clothes and personal items are then placed in a basket which will be placed under your bed.

Once outside, the therapist will go through your concerns and treat you accordingly. Here are the highlights of my first treatment:

  • Aligning my body. I was told that I was misaligned, that I was leaning towards one side of my body. He showed this to me by raising both of my legs up and putting my ankles side by side. It looked like one of my legs is longer than the other, but it’s not; it’s just misaligned. This could be the result of habitually standing on one leg more than the other (sabay hands on hips, taray pose hehe), or crossing legs while sitting (didn’t we learn the “royal” way to sit in “Princess Diaries”?), or sleeping on one side (yes, I’m a side sleeper). The therapist did a series of massages then ta-da! Hindi na ako tabingi hehe.
  • Use of mechanical bed. Results of my APEs (Annual Physical Exams) throughout schooling revealed that I had a mild lumbar scoliosis (doesn’t everyone have some form of scoliosis nowadays?) Yes, bad posture. The therapist didn’t need to see x-rays. He felt the curve of my spine and knew. The mechanical beds are placed in another room. Makes sense because it’s so noisy when operated. It’s a bed divided into several parts that can be elevated or lowered mechanically. He did a series of up and downs with the bed then ta-da! Hindi na ako kuba hehe.
  • Cracking my neck. On my own I’m able to crack my neck. But this brings it to a whole ‘nother level. It’s done so suddenly that you’d just be surprised with the “crack” sound and immediate relief to your neck. If you get squirmy when other people crack their neck, then you’re in for a surprise. I love it *cracks neck*. I was told that it’s the release of built-up toxins that produces the cracking sound.

Overall, it’s an amazing experience and like I said, I went back for a second treatment. Although on my second time, I didn’t crack as much (huhu! Noticing this, the therapist really put effort to “crack” me but to no avail) but that’s a good thing because it means that I’m well aligned and there’s not much built-up toxins. Yey!

Price list grabbed from Karada website
Price list grabbed from Karada website

Price. Both times I tried AP Balance Therapeutic (45 minutes) priced at Php945. I say this is value for money as it is NOT your ordinary massage. This is a wellness and chiropractic therapy. My brother-in-law, who has a spine injury, has consulted with a chiropractor for a lot more money (professional fees, of course) and they did the same thing!

So if you’re feeling aches and pains and ready to try something different, try this one out. I recommended this to my friend whose back hurts once in awhile and she loved it too! She said, her spine never felt so relaxed. Let me know how it goes for you.

 

xx,

Jen

 

Karada at Mall of Asia is located at the new wellness zone north wing. Contact numbers +639175488872 or +639271377045. Open 11am to 9pm everyday. It’s first come, first served. Or call for reservations. Click here for list of other branches.

 

UPDATE (June 20, 2018): This is a late update. My last visit to Karada was last December and it wasn’t what it used to be. They had rotated the therapists and the ones we were used to in the MOA branch were no longer there. I found them to be quite noisy as well, yes it’s an open area, no cubicles or curtains, but there used to be a hushed tone about. But that time, the therapists were talking among themselves. I don’t really need to hear if they’ve filed their overtime or leaves already. Also, ten minutes into the session, my therapist was already upselling me into this and that package. Couldn’t she at least have given me the hour to enjoy and feel serene? Clearly not. So no, I didn’t enjoy my last visit to Karada. For that price and reputation as a Japanese brand, I had expected more. I haven’t been back since.

My Journey to Clear Skin (Part 3)

(Photo courtesy of http://belezaesaude.com/demaquilar-lavar-tonificar/)
(Photo courtesy of http://belezaesaude.com/demaquilar-lavar-tonificar/)

I’ve learned throughout this process of clearing my skin that it’s never just about one thing. Like only taking supplements would be enough. Well, it could be. But for me and my body, it’s not. It has to be a holistic approach.

We’ve looked at diet and food supplements – all internal fixes to help improve acne (see Part 1 and Part 2). Finally, what rounded out my journey to clear skin is the external aspect of this condition – the first and obvious layer we try to address – OUR SKIN. 

What goes on underneath all the products we use?

So here’s the thing – we use products to try to clear our skin. But sometimes, chemicals used in these products are actually HORMONE DISRUPTORS. These are toxic, harmful, skin-irritating ingredients that are absorbed by your skin, into your system and causes imbalances in your hormones. These products that promise to rid you of acne may actually be aggravating your already inflamed skin.

So what products should you use?

I want to say none. Go commando – CAVEMAN METHOD. Use only water. Don’t apply anything on your skin – no cleanser, no toner, no moisturizer, no sunscreen, and not even makeup. Let your skin breathe for a change. The idea is, eliminating these products will allow your skin to regain it’s own healing and regenerative properties.

If only I were that brave too.

So at the very least, avoid products that contain these toxic ingredients. 

  1. Parabens
  2. Synthetic colors
  3. Fragrance
  4. Phtalates
  5. Triclosan
  6. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  7. Formaldehyde
  8. Toluene
  9. Propylene glycol
  10. Sunscreen chemicals

(Source: www.huffingtonpost.com – 10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid)

If you’re anything like me, just avoid any ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Always read the ingredients label. Even products that pose as “Organic” or “Natural” may still contain these ingredients (I was surprised that a certain organic/natural “Z” gugo shampoo contained SLES). Another guiding principle is, if you can’t eat it, would you put it on your skin?

Here’s what my skin care beauty regimen looks like these days:

Morning

  • Spray kombucha on face (one part kombucha, one part filtered water). Leave for few minutes then wash with water. OR. Apply raw honey. Leave for few minutes then wash with water.
  • Apply apple cider vinegar toner (one part ACV, three parts filtered water)
  • Apply Be Organic Emu Skin Perfecting Cream
  • If I’m going out, I apply on ONO Sun Blocker 30.

Evening

  • If I used makeup, I first take it off with wet wipes. Wash face with soap. Currently, I use MKay Organics Clear Off Yellow Soap. OR. Once a week, I use Human Nature Detoxifying Mask Scrub.
  • If I didn’t use makeup, I just use my kombucha spray then wash with water.
  • Apply same toner and cream.
  • Apply Katialis spot treatment on “live” acne and blemishes.

And that’s it! Less is more.

It’s been a real roller coaster ride waiting for my skin to clear up. But by addressing my body’s needs inside and out, I know we’re getting there.

Thank you for following my skin journey! Let me know if yours is anything like mine. Here’s to wishing you a happy, clear skin!

 

Cheers!

Jen

 

My Journey to Clear Skin (Part 2)

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In my previous post – My Journey to Clear Skin (Part 1) – I shared my up and down cycles with acne. Just when I thought that battle was over, it comes creeping right back up under my skin. But this time, I feel like I’ve come to a deeper understanding of what causes acne. To heal my acne, I have to fix my gut. So that’s where I started.

The idea is to be conscious with what we put into our body. It could either heal or damage your gut. So you want to make every food, every bite, every bit of calorie to count. Ask yourself, Will what I eat add nutritional value? Or will this aggravate my already damaged gut?

Now that I’m at the four-month mark and seeing great improvements in my skin, I’m no longer as strict in what I eat. Just a few days ago, attending a social event, I couldn’t say no to the host when dessert was offered (It was the opening of a bakeshop.). I thought of the breakouts this may cause me but I indulged anyhow. A new acne now sits on top of my eyebrow. But hey, no longer cystic and painful, so it’s all good.

While food plays a central role in the healing process, taking in supplements may also help move things along.

Here are the supplements I took/take:

  1. Probiotics. I only bought one box of this as probiotic supplements are expensive! I just continued on with my kombucha. I tried Protexin. There are other brands out there (I’ve been told of USANA and GNC). What you want to look out for here is the specific strains it carries.
  2. Zinc. Acne has been linked to zinc deficiency. The best form is zinc picolinate. There’s a brand available in Healthy Options. Solgar around 500php. However, I already bought chelated zinc gluconate 50mg and it works just as fine for me.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar. ACV is a prebiotic, which feeds the probiotics. It’s good for the digestion, immune system, blood sugar, and has plenty of other benefits. Choose organic raw unfiltered ACV with “the mother”. Braggs is the go-to brand. I take a teaspoon of this diluted in glass of water every morning, first thing when I wake up. I even use this as toner (1 part acv, 3 parts filtered water).
  4. Coconut Oil. This is another wonder food with lots of benefits. It’s an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, high in natural saturated fats – good for heart health and cholesterol. At first I would take this before meals but it had a strong laxative effect on me. Very strong. So I started taking this after meals instead, occasionally. I also use it for oil pulling.

Another, which I will not include in the above recommended list, is Cod Liver Oil with Vitamin D3. But I would advise against this (and is making me think twice now) because of the bad reviews. Read here and here. It was recommended awhile back because of the good mix of Vitamin A, D and Omega-3 fats. But new studies reveal that vitamin A and D has to be in good ratio, otherwise it could either be toxic or useless. Also, cod liver oils are highly unsaturated by nature. Unsaturated oils may contribute to free radical damage, which means, short-term your skin looks good but long-term your skin is aging faster.

With that said, taking vitamin D3 alone may suffice. Vitamin D3 is known as the “sunshine vitamin”, which means the best way to take this in is from direct sun exposure. I know the scares on skin cancer (I lather on sunscreen like there’s no tomorrow.) But did you know that 10-15 minutes sun exposure is equivalent to 10,000 IU vitamin D3? And that’s the maximum number you’re targeting for. But if you’re really an indoors person, aim for 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D3 supplement. How do you know how much to take? The best way is to get blood work done. But if not, gauge for yourself: If you’re getting some sun and eat foods that contain vitamin D, then 2,000 IU may be enough. Otherwise, increase the dose. But remember, more is not necessarily better. So take precaution.

 

Question: Can I just take supplements and not change my diet? 

Answer: Maybe. I did that in 2014 and it certainly cleared me but my acne came crashing back even while on supplements. So if your acne is mild to moderate then supplements alone may improve it. But if it’s severe like mine, then supplements alone will have nothing to work with in a damaged gut environment.

 

Hope this helps you in your acne-free skin journey! Next, I’ll discuss lifestyle factors that can make or break your skin. Drop me a line if you have questions.

 

xx,

Jen

 

Disclaimer: I am not a Certified/Professional Healthcare Practitioner. All of this is based on my own personal research and trial-error on what worked for me. Do your own research, consult a healthcare professional if you wish and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I can’t stress that enough.

 

My Journey to Clear Skin (Part 1)

Acne has plagued me since high school. Puberty hit and you thought it’d be over in a few years. But it’s been 15 years and I still feel as lost as that little school girl on what to do with my skin.

Here is a brief history of my rocky relationship with acne:

2000-2003 – dermatologist consults, conducted cleaning/pricking, injections. Topical cleansers, ointments. Gave me antibiotics, told me to stay away from shrimps and mangoes

2004 – new dermatologist. Prescribed birth control pills and roaccutane/accutane/acnetrex. Prescribed Duac and Differin as topical ointments. My face totally cleared up at this point! She told me that food has nothing to do with it.

2005-2009 – regular visits to derma, cleaning, on and off cycles of pills and accutane. Derma told me that I will always have acne. Cried inside.

2010 – last box of accutane

2011 – last box of pills. Consulted a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor who prescribed Chinese Herbal Medicines (Huang Lian Shang Qing Pian and Xiao Yao Wan)

2012 – continued Chinese meds

2013 – off any meds. Still clear at this point until latter half of the year. Acne started taking over my whole neck.

2014 – I knew at this point that what was wrong had to do with my system. So solutions should focus on oral meds over topical ones. Started taking Acne-d Skin Clarifying Supplement. Skin cleared up.

2015 – still on acne-d. Acne started coming back around October

Early 2016 – tried taking lactoferrin. Acne on full scale (cystic and pustules): chin, jawline, temples, upper lip, neck and back. Near my monthly period, rashes also surfaced around my underarms, back of knee, crease of elbow. This was Autoimmune Progesterone Dermatitis.

March 2016 – Something had to change..

I weaned off taking pills and accutane because I knew they were bad for me. The Chinese meds cleared me but not as effective as accutane. Also, it had a sort of laxative effect on me. I thought the acne-d supplement would be my savior, but even while on it the acne came back. Through all this, my diet and lifestyle remained the same. I ate whatever I want, used whatever product I fancied.

 

acne2

What Changed?

At first, my research just focused on what new supplement to take. My thinking was that my body cannot process certain foods so I need the help of supplements. It had not occurred to me yet to stop taking those foods that my body can’t process. Because, what would I eat then?

But the more I researched, the more I learned that my diet played a central role in what comes out of my skin. So this is the first part that I need to address.

 

Understanding Acne

Acne is only a symptom. It’s a sign that something deeper is wrong with my body. Just as with the rashes. It’s an autoimmune response of the body. Acne is an autoimmune disease. The fighters of the immune system can no longer distinguish the good guys from the bad guys so they start attacking ALL.

Root Cause of Acne

As often quoted, here is what Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” The gut! How simple and yet wonderfully complex it is.

Leaky Gut Syndrome is often associated with acne. This believes that the gut lining (or intestinal permeability as the scientific term) has been damaged. Years of processed food, refined sugar and antibiotics have compromised the gut flora. There is an imbalance. And so, instead of the gut being able to digest the food and process it for the body’s proper use, it doesn’t. Undigested, the food goes directly to the bloodstream, causing all sorts of havoc on other bodily functions (blood sugar, hormones, immune system etc), resulting in inflammation and comes out as acne.

So to address acne is to address the gut problem.

 

Dietary changes

Remember, “One man’s cure is another man’s poison.” What worked for me may not work for you. Our skin and bodies are all different. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. 

  • GAPS/SCD/Autoimmune Paleo Protocol and Low FODMAPS

I first stumbled upon GAPS then to SCD then to AIP. (Here’s the article that convinced me to go on AIP and low FODMAPS.) Let me state first that I don’t strictly follow these diets. These diets are very restrictive and have its benefits for those with more serious illness concerns. I only follow parts of it because (1) I don’t have the resources to go all out on these diets, (2) I don’t want to be too picky when I go out to dine with people, and (3) this is what felt right for my body.

With that said, there are certain cornerstones to these diets that I will outline here.

1. Avoid gluten, dairy, refined sugar and vegetable oil.

This means no bread, no pasta, no pizza. Anything that uses white flour. Some say white rice is ok, but white rice is mostly just sugar. No sweets or chocolates. No cow’s milk. Vegetable oil is hard to avoid especially if you go out to eat. So I’m not too strict about this.

2. Bone broth

This is very important as it contains nutrients and gelatin that help rebuild gut lining. Best to use probiotic free-range chicken, sea caught fish and grass-fed beef.

3. Probiotics or fermented foods

Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi. Remember, you want to repopulate the good bacteria in your gut. Homemade ones are the best as you can control the fermentation process. Store-bought ones may contain more sugar and ingredients/preservatives than you’d want and who knows how long it’s only been fermented for. For yogurt, it has to be fermented for at least 24 hours as it uses dairy. I make kombucha. There are good and bad reviews on this. As with anything, proceed with caution.

4. Avoid processed foods

Anything that goes through too much process. This goes for junk food, soft drinks, powdered juices, fast food, canned and anything instant. The idea is to eat raw and fresh. The less chemicals, the better. Thus the organic movement. Read the ingredients label. Here’s a link on what ingredients to avoid.

5. Greens, greens, greens and a whole lot of vegetables

Nothing beats getting our daily required vitamins and minerals direct from the source. Whether cooked or raw, you want to balance your meals with the right amount of carbs, proteins and vegetables. The more colorful, the better. And go organic. Pesticides used on plants will find its way into your system. But if due to budget constraints, traditionally farmed vegetables can be washed with vinegar. And if your resources only allow between organic vegetables or organic meat, go with organic vegetables as animals have their own way of processing chemicals/antibiotics.

 

Going on this diet is not permanent (although it will benefit long-term health). At present, acne may also be a result of food triggers or allergies. That is not to say that you will always be allergic to that food, but the idea is to eat/avoid foods that will allow the effective and efficient rehabilitation of your gut so that it can in turn gain back its ability to process and digest that certain food.

If you don’t immediately see any results, just stick with it. It takes 3-4 months before your body can completely release built-up toxins or chemicals. You may even experience a “die-off” effect in between, wherein it gets worse before it gets better. I know I did. It may also reach a point when nothing is improving anymore. JUST STICK WITH IT. Don’t be discouraged.

Next stop, will discuss the supplements that I’m taking.

 

xx,

Jen

Disclaimer: I am not a Certified/Professional Healthcare Practitioner. All of this is based on my own personal research and trial-error on what worked for me. Do your own research, consult a healthcare professional if you wish and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I can’t stress that enough.

 

 

 

When God heals

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I’ve been on the down-low lately as I focused on this area of my life. I’m not terminally ill. But I’ve been plagued with a disease (yes, it’s a disease) that has rocked me several times throughout my life. Through each episode, I thought I had overcome it. Until it comes back with a vengeance.

This is Acne. 

It shames me to talk about it as women my age (I’m already 30) flaunt beautifully clear skin. Sometimes I just sit there and stare at how smooth and flawless my friend’s face is (sorry ladies!). This is me when it hurts to even touch my face.

You’d think that acne is only skin deep (I once thought, too). But as primal beings, instinct tells us that there’s something wrong deep within. It’s the same instinct that attracts men to women with long, luscious locks or to women with wide, child-bearing hips. And so we also veer towards people with clear skin. Acne equates to poor health.

This year, my struggles began anew. New acne has been popping out beginning late last year but I’ve been able to hide it with make-up. But by February, it can no longer be ignored. My whole chin, jawline, neck and temples were covered with big, red, cystic acne. My upper lip would grow big pustules at a time.

It was painful. But the real pain comes from societal judgment that there is something wrong with me.

This was my struggle. Daily I would pray for healing and wisdom on how to deal with this. I’ve been making lifestyle changes and there would be seemingly victorious highs, only to be followed by plateaus.

I felt stuck. 

I searched my heart to know if this was only vanity. Was beauty a god I was running after? I justified that this was health. This is MY health on the line. But a book I came across asked, Would you still worship God in the midst of poor physical health?

My thoughts raced to bed-ridden patients who, in pain, would still maintain a cheerful posture and praise God. And here I was, still able to walk around and meet with people, yet sullen in quiet moments, doubting the goodness of God because of a few spots and nodules on my face.

Yet God has been so gracious to me. My prayers changed and focused on His future grace. Someday, everything will be perfect. No ills, pains or sorrows. We will come back in perfect and glorified bodies. He may have His purposes for not healing now. I can only trust in His greater plan and goodness in my life.

God is my healer and true healing can only come from God, whether it’s physical, emotional or spiritual illness. Anything outside of God is only temporal.

It’s been four months since this season began. And I’m happy to say that I’m already 90% cleared! There are still a few pesky ones that won’t go away and most are just blemishes. Battle scars if you will. And this time I feel like I’ve gained true wisdom and understanding of my skin and body. That this clearness is true and will stay for good – God’s healing hands.

When God heals, it is true. Acne has plagued me for more than a decade. In bouts and cycles, through different medications, it clears and heals, and then it comes back again. But hopefully this time, it won’t. By God’s grace and help. He is my sun and shield.

 

Follow me as I share my journey through God’s healing grace to clear skin.

 

xx,

Jen

 

 

Celebrating Your Singleness

seasons

Dear Sister-in-Waiting,

I know.

I know it’s hard. I know the days can drag on. I know about all those lonely nights.

I’ve been there.

And I wish it wouldn’t be this hard. But there are days when your heart literally hurts, especially after meeting a promising young man, only for it to turn sour and find out he’s not the one for you.

I know.

And I know you’re tired of people telling you,

“It’s going to happen soon.”

“He’s coming for you.”

“Just be patient and wait.”

So I’m not going to tell you those. Because honestly, I don’t know.

I don’t know if it is going to happen soon.

I don’t know where he is.

And I don’t know how long you’ll have to wait.

So maybe you pray even harder. Read even more. And they tell you,

“Wait on God.”

“Jesus is your Husband.”

“Prepare for your marriage.”

All good advice. But it’s been a year. Or two. Or five. And hope is not what it used to be. It’s dwindling a little.

But I will tell you this:

This season too shall pass.

That I know.

I have been where you are. I read. I prayed. I met new friends. Potentials even. I was expectant. I had high hopes.

I guarded my heart. Took captive of my thoughts. Tried to think only of what was pure, noble and right. But I couldn’t. I thought of marriage. A lot. I thought of potential husbands. A lot.

But, nothing.

And then it hurt. And hurt some more.

But you wake up one day, and you’re ok. Literally, ok.

No longer panicky, no longer anxious. I had peace.

I trusted Jesus. I trusted God. If it is His will, it will happen. He wants this to happen more than I do.

So yes, it will pass. And you will enjoy your singleness like never before. You will see with new eyes, feel with a new heart. You will crave for God just as when you met Him as your First Love. You will want to know Him more, serve Him as He has called you to.

This season is a gift from God. No husband to care for. No kids to run after. Your time is your own. You can focus on your passion for singing. Take up painting. Watch your favorite episode of Friends. Go on road trips.

This is your life. It doesn’t start after marriage. Marriage does not define you. THIS IS YOUR LIFE.

And it’s great to be alive.

So it’s ok. Just hang on to God. With every bit of your might.

Because, my dear Sister-in-Waiting, this too shall pass. And what’s around the corner is worth waiting for.

On Death. Or Brevity of Life.

You can’t help but think of it when you hear someone you know pass away. Especially if that someone was still young. And full of potential.

I hardly know him. I only met him a few times. But the outpouring of love for him is enormous. His reputation precedes him. He’s really a great guy. “Too beautiful for this earth,” someone said.

I couldn’t help but reflect on my own life. It’s usually asked: If you only had one month or one year to live, would you do anything differently? 

I pondered on that question for a moment. Would I? Honestly, I feel it’s a “no”. Now, before you think I’m leading a perfect life, let me expound on that a bit.

If I were free to dream here, that desire I want is to be married and have kids. But with only a month or a year, that’s not possible. Get married, maybe. But if I were to pass away after that, I wouldn’t want to leave behind a husband and/or a child. If I were to pass away early, I’d want to be single.

For some people, it’s to love more. For some, it’s to travel the world. Those are great. Do that. Pursue those.

As for me, I’ve realized that walking with God actually confronts me with the reality of “death” on a daily basis. You hear it in the Gospel. Christ died for me. It’s in His word – die to yourselves daily and pick up His cross. As a follower of Christ, there must be a readiness to stand up for the truth, even unto death. As a child of God, there is a readiness and eagerness to be called home any time..

I’m not meaning to be morbid. Some people would be quick to say here, “Don’t speak of such things.” But only in the face of darkness can you see the light. Or in loss can you appreciate what you have.

So this is my life. Sometimes I do feel I’m ready to leave any time.. At times, I struggle to be content, that there must be more this world can offer. And yet I know that this life can’t satisfy it: I’m longing for that sweet, tender taste of heaven. To be content yet discontent in this world. To be a stranger in a foreign land.

So let me leave you with Psalm 90:12

NIV: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

NLT: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”

May we all grow in wisdom as we learn to live the life God has graciously given us.