Currently on My Mind
I haven’t written in a while, since before my trip to England to my Nana’s funeral so here I am. I have had stuff I wanted to write about but was too tired from double jet lag to write about it and now I can’t remember what it was I wanted to write about so I am just going to write what is on my mind now and hope you (my readers) find it helpful.
Let’s start off with an update. At the last moment, after I found out my sister was going to England to attend the funeral, I got very distressed and upset and called my father in tears and he booked me a flight to England that left December 15th, arrived December 16th and had be return December 18th, the day after my Nana’s (grandmother) funeral. Then I had to make tons of preparations to go to England, which were stressful but worth it. When my journey ended and I arrived safely from Heathrow Airport in London to Highcliffe at the hotel I (and most of the rest of my family in England and my sister, her husband, their nanny, and my two nephews) stayed at, I went to my aunt’s hotel room and knocked on the door and my other two aunts were there too and we hugged and chatted for a bit. I looked at the menu for the place we would be eating dinner and we waited for my sister, her husband, my nephews and their nanny to arrive and then we all walked next door to a Pub to eat. I had a spinach and ricotta lasagna which was yummy and then after we all finished eating, my uncles, my nephews, and their nanny went back to the hotel while the rest of us ventured a walk in the pouring rain to Tesco’s. I bought some After Eight mints since I have been unable to find them anywhere in the USA and because they are so good! I also found Hula Hoops (potato chips in the shape of hoops) and bought a pack with 7 individual packets of the chips in them. The next day, I had breakfast with my aunts and uncles and then went back to my hotel to make sure I had all my stuff packed since after the funeral I’d be driven to a hotel in Heathrow not too far from the airport. Then we went to the place that had been taking care of my Nana and Grandy and had some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate (I admit I was the only one to ask for hot chocolate) and those of us who wanted to see were shown possible burial for my Nana and my Grandy with a view of the sea. Shortly after returning back to where everyone else was (at a place called The Dome, where my Nana and Grandy were cared for), we all got into special cars that were ordered to take us to the funeral at the Crematorium in Bournemouth. Through my tears, as I kept listening to the eulogy for my grandmother, I kept thinking, “My Nana and Grandy’s love story would be a great story to tell.” I mean here you have two people who met, fell deeply in love, and even in old age every time you were around them you could feel the love they shared for each other and just knew you were in the presence of true love. And their love story was romantic to the end: They were so in love that my Nana could not bare to be separated from her love (my grandfather) for more than 12 days and we have a theory that he called her home after making sure where they were going would be safe and peaceful and she answered his call and died peacefully (on earth anyway) and went home to rejoin my grandfather, and also my mom. I ran the idea by my cousin who lives in Australia and was unable to attend the funeral shortly after I returned from England and she thought it was a lovely idea and that I should go for it when the time is right. After the funeral, we went to a pub near to Christchurch and Highcliffe in New Milton and has a Carvery type meal while we mingled and caught up with one another. On the plate of stuff I had was Yorkshire Pudding (along with turkey, 3 different kinds of potatoes, some cauliflower in a cheese sauce, and some zucchini and gravy covering it all)! My cousin’s (the one in Australia) life partner had gotten me liking Yorkshire pudding back in 2005 when they still lived in England and I was there to visit my mom (where she was being cared for in her semi-conscious condition at the time) and for those who are unfamiliar with it, the best way I can describe it is like a chicken pot pie but without the chicken and other stuff in the middle, but just the outer crust. For those who do know what Yorkshire pudding is, I apologize for the terrible description of it! Moving on…I received a few Christmas cards from relatives and at some point it was time to leave and my cousin Byron and his wife drove me to my hotel in Heathrow since they live close-by to the airport there and so it was on their way home. The next morning I went to the airport, saw a “Santa” in the duty free section as soon as I got through security and got caught staring so I took a photo with him, and then ate breakfast and waited to board my flight. Then I flew back to San Francisco Airport (same airport I flew to England from) and got a ride back from SFO to my sister’s house in San Jose. Been trying to shake off jet lag ever since.
On Thursday, I did Christmas shopping and got gifts for almost everyone on my list. On Sunday, I made it to evening church service and Brother Francisco talked about how salvation is for everyone, and you have to believe in God and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in order to receive this free gift of salvation (and be baptized in the name of Jesus). The main focus though was that God loves all of us and wants us all to be saved and 2 Peter 3:9 was referenced. During prayer requests I offered a prayer of thanks for making it safely to England and being able to attend my Nana’s funeral and also say goodbye to my Grandy (his ashes were at the funeral), for time spent with my relatives and for the hugs I received from them, and for safe travels back here to SJ. And I am very thankful for that. I made it a point to make sure God know how thankful I am that I made it to England to say goodbye to my Nana and Grandy and to spend some time with my relatives there. It was a 47 hour trip (that’s how long I was in England for, including transportation from and back to Heathrow), but it was worth it most definitely.
During the service I found myself silently wondering why brother Kerry didn’t mention my idea about all of us buying (or if we have an extra copy already, simply giving) a Bible and giving it to someone in our lives who is not yet a child of God but is ready to learn more and that is when the first portion of disappointment started for me. I did my part: I bought a friend of mine’s teenage daughter a teenage bible she had her eye on from last Christmas (2012) and sent it to her. I don’t understand why it is out of the question that every single active member of my church give one bible to one person who does not have one because they are not a child of God but would like a copy so they could learn more about God and become a child of God. Brother Kerry even told me it was a good idea, yet nothing was done about it. I thought, what better gift to give someone for Christmas than the gift of salvation (the very thing Brother Francisco talked about that evening at church service this past Sunday). I hope that people who read my previous blog post about giving the gift of God for Christmas actually participated in it and please feel free to let me know if you did because I would love to know!
On Monday, I made an emergency run (by bus of course) to Walmart for groceries and also found an awesome CD of nature lullabies for my nephews (and they have this jungle play thing in the nursery they love so I thought it would be the perfect gift for them)! I also bought my sister oven mitts since she kept forgetting to buy them so this completed my list of people to buy gifts for. I had already distributed Christmas Cards at my church before leaving for England and some more to the people I lived with from end of March- (through) right after Thanksgiving on Monday, on my way back from Walmart. Tuesday, I was on baby duty during the time I had wanted to talk to a friend of mine who was born on Christmas Eve and when I was free to chat, she was busy, so more disappointment settled in.
That is not the worst of the disappointment though. Please do not judge me or think ill of me, but I had been hoping for, praying for, believing for someone to come back into my life and he hasn’t come back. I thought for sure he would be in my life again before Christmas and we would spend Christmas together, but it didn’t happen. I have been trying not to let disappointment, sadness, depression, or any other negativity in but it keeps sneaking in making me miserable. It doesn’t help that my Nana and Grandy passing away brought up memories of my mom passing away and I have been missing my mom again more than I had been since meeting this very person who’s been missing from my life for 11 months now and I thought would be back by now. In September 2009, a few months after we met, something he said to me about not giving up on love made me want to seek a relationship with God and that Christmas, I started actively seeking a relationship with God and have been on a journey walk with him (with God) ever since. I woke up yesterday (Christmas) feeling unloved, unwanted, unappreciated, worthless, and useless. I prayed to God Christmas Eve night to feel his love and presence, but I didn’t feel it. Instead I felt disappointment, depression, sadness, miserable, I missed my mom and was missing the special person who is not back in my life yet.
The only bright spots in my Christmas yesterday were the Christmas cards I opened from my relatives in England (proof that some people do care about me), a video chat I finally got to have with my friend the day after her birthday, and the quality of the food I ate for Christmas dinner and dessert, plus the time spent with my nephews before the dinner and during. My friend and my nephews are what made this Christmas bearable (at all) to me and I am thankful to God for them being in my life.
The beginning of dinner wasn’t so bad. It all went south when one of the three friends my sister invited over for Christmas dinner thought it was okay to talk about someone else’s male private area at Christmas at the dinner table and I was stuck there because I was still eating, and there were people on either side of me and their chairs were in the way of me leaving the table. The conversation stayed vile and offensive (to me anyway) from that point on until they all finally left around 9:30pm last night and I finally got a slice of the Pumpkin Pie my sister had baked for dessert. I kept praying silently to God to make the offensive conversation stop but it didn’t it just kept getting worse and worse and I was trapped and unable to leave without seeming rude and as a Christian, I did not want to be rude even though they were being offensive.
Before the really offensive topics of conversation started, the question was brought up on what is the true meaning of Christmas so I said “time with family and showing love” and my sister said “presents.” I don’t remember anyone else’s responses but it seems to me so many people have the wrong idea about what Christmas is about. My sister also added that it is not about Jesus because he wasn’t born December 25th and she seems to think he was born in April, which is weird because a Pastor at the church I attended in Miami said he figured that Jesus was probably actually born in October. I don’t understand why it is wrong to celebrate our Lord and Savior’s birth during this time of year, even if we don’t know when he was born since it was not documented. We should all be rejoicing that God gave Mary the gift of giving birth to Jesus in human form and that he was sent to earth to heal many of various diseases and cast out unclean spirits (evil spirits and demons) from us, to teach us how to live and make it to Heaven, to die for our sins, and at the fact that three days later he was raised from the dead so we could have a right relationship with God based on faith. And if we are to rejoice about this, why can’t we turn it into a celebration? I see no valid reason why we can’t or should not do so. We shouldn’t only do it in December, but year-round. Christmas is also about showing love and kindness to others, goodwill (helping others in any way you can), and feeling and spreading peace and joy to others. But again, we should not only do this in December around the 24th and 25th, but we should do this year-round, everyday. Every single day that God blesses us with breath and life we should start our day by thanking him for another day to live and to be able to bless others and you should thank God for all you have and all he has done and for all he is doing for you. Then you (we) should pray to God and ask how we can bless someone else and take the opportunities given to us to bless others and do so and we should find at least one person (or as many people as possible) to show love to, talk to God about (spread God’s word), and help out in any way we can whether it be feeding the homeless or encouraging someone in their faith in God (or bringing a nonbeliever to God so they can be saved). Every day we should spread joy and peace to everyone too. So these are five things we should be spreading daily to people in our lives (whether we know them already and are families, friends, or enemies, or are strangers God places in our path): Love, the word of God/The Good News, peace, joy, and faith (in God). We should also be examples of Christ by how we live and give people who are not in a relationship with God a shining example of how peaceful and amazing it is to be a child of God and to have a right relationship with God because of your faith, and also be shining examples of obedient servants (and children) of God. I admit I have off days where I don’t feel at peace, joy, and my faith is weak but even on those days I try to spread peace, God’s word, and love to others so that those not in a relationship with God may seek one and find God and be saved.
Christmas is not about receiving presents, commercialism, or any other misconceptions people have about the holiday. It is sad that so many people miss the true meaning of Christmas and either get caught up in greed, or in misery (or both) because something is missing from their hearts and what is missing is the Christmas Spirit (that is the Holy Spirit who helps us be loving, spread goodwill, and guides us to be more like Christ). It is also sad when people fairly new in the walk (like me) still get caught up in the enemy’s strategies to miss out on God’s blessings and be cheated out of feeling peace by letting present circumstances and the enemy’s lies that things will never get better and instead of feeling God’s love, peace, and joy, feel miserable, unloved, unwanted, unappreciated, worthless, and useless. I had no one walking with God who was able to snap me out of it and I am not saying anyone is to blame, but I am saying that it would have been helpful if someone who is longer in their walk with God (10 years or more) and firm in their faith (and true believers and followers) had been there to uplift my spirit instead of being stuck with a bunch of antichrists who curse and use other offensive language and speak about truly offensive and disgusting topics and at super inappropriate times. I am not going to give up on God or on the promises he gave to me, including bringing the special person back into my life, but every moment I feel miserable instead of joyous and at peace, the enemy wins the battle. I am determined that the enemy will not win the war, especially since God already told us he defeated the devil, which means we have already won the war too. I am a child of God and even when it appears God has abandoned me, I will continue to believe that my crummy and miserable circumstances are temporary and that God is in fact working everything out in my favor for me to say goodbye to all sickness, poverty, lack, debt, failure, and failed relationships and will bring me into victory and great abundance in every single area of my life. I am not just sitting back idly thinking good thoughts and praying and being hopeful, but actively doing God’s word daily: I read my Bible daily, talk about God/spread God’s word (including the Good News when the opportunity arises) daily, doing my best to take care of my body so that God can use me to bless others and so poor health won’t hinder this from happening, and any specific thing God tells me to do, I do it. God does not give specific commands to me every day, but when he does, I carry out what he tells me to do when he tells me to do it. I also daily pray for everybody including my enemies and strangers during the day and at night before bed, and daily write in my gratitude journal which I started in September (12th, 2013). When I make mistakes and unintentionally sin against God (I wouldn’t do so purposely), I repent of my sins and ask forgiveness and I constantly forgive those who wrong me. This is why I do not understand why I have not seen the promises God has given to me and been promising me for 2+ years now come to pass. And this is why I get frustrated at times. That is right, I admit it! I am human and I am not a perfect Christian or a perfect person. When I write these blogs about God, I do not do it as a know-it-all, I do it to help others who don’t yet know God or who do know God but are also struggling with their faith like I am and need a boost in faith. The important thing is that though these negative feelings keep me down temporarily, I keep picking myself up and quote bible scriptures to myself to boost my faith and to anchor myself back to Jesus. If you can overcome your negative feelings and negative circumstances with faith and by spending time in God’s presence daily (through Bible study, worship, and meditation), then that too is what is important. You need to keep rising above with faith and love. Sorry for this lengthy blog, but it has been a while since I wrote on here and I wanted to update my readers and also talk about the true meaning of Christmas. I hope those of you who read this find something I said in here useful and are nonjudgmental like me and realize that I am human and have off days. We all have off days, but as long as we pick ourselves up and replant ourselves firmly in faith, then we will win the war against the enemy. For those of you also missing a loved one during this holiday season, I pray in the name of Jesus that God bring you peace, comfort, and joy and that you may feel God’s presence and love. For those struggling in their faith today, I pray in the name of Jesus that you feel God’s love for you and that you are able to refocus your gaze on Jesus and keep your focus on Jesus and on God’s promises and that God help you take action steps (by providing you with what you need to take these steps) that will lead to God turning your terrible situation around in your favor and bring you out in victory. Remember that the enemy attacks the most when you are close to your victories and the more you do to honor God, so instead of letting the enemy defeat you, put on the full body armor of God which can be found in Ephesians 6:14-17. I will even go back a little to Ephesians 6:10-12,14-17, which says, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” That is Ephesians 6:10-12, now to quote 14-17: “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” I make a point of reading this part of Ephesians 6 until the end of Ephesians 6 and also Philippians 4:4-9, 13, and 19 every night before I go to bed and sometimes during the day if I am going out somewhere or need to talk to someone about a particular subject and feel the need to put all of God’s armor on anew. The key is, when you read any verses from the Bible, is to not just read it but to let the words sink in and to write them in your heart so that when the enemy attacks you, you take the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) and use it against the enemy and in doing so, you conquer the devil’s strategies with faith by properly quoting scripture the way Jesus did during the temptation of Jesus in the book of gospels. God is more powerful than the enemy so let faith and God’s power (which is within you when you are a child of God and is given as a gift after you are baptized in the name of Jesus) and God’s words conquer any and all attacks of the devil against you and against your family and loved ones. Also remember the power of earnest (sincere) prayer offered in faith with no doubt in your heart. Prayer is powerful and can yield wonderful results (just like the apostle James promised us in James 5:16. Today, decide that God is bigger than your problems and current circumstances and God is mightier than the enemy and his attacks against you and let faith and love conquer the enemy. I am working to do that too. I hope everyone had a blessed day yesterday and today and have more blessed days in your future.