Thursday, September 6, 2018

Won't He also Give us Everything Else?



For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
Isaiah 54:10

The story I am about to tell is personal. I shared it to some close friends several times, never publicly. But in the past few months, God has urged me to share the story on the blog, so here I am obeying and believing that somebody needs to hear it.

A few months ago I was caught off guard when my daughter asked me for a personal story of God’s provision as she needed one to share with her Sunday School kids. I was unsure how would my daughter tell the story I am about to share below to a group of young kids? Would it be too much? Would she be able to contain herself? So instead, I advised her to find a story of a well-known Pastor I heard a couple weeks prior.

So, here it is ....



The passing of my husband came unexpected. We were unprepared. I mean who would’ve? It was like a robbery, emotionally, physically, financially, and of every single part of our lives. I was shocked to the core but when the adrenaline kicked in, the fear also kicked in and my brain was racing with only one concern “I have no money”.

I knew exactly how much was the remaining balance of our money in the bank account. It was barely enough for us to survive another month. With whatever left off my sanity, I tried to figure things out and ended up with a dead end. I really did not know how my life is going to roll but I chose to stay still. I had no words but tears only Heaven could comprehend. At that time, both sides of the families were facing tough financial situations so I didn’t even have the gut to ask for help. That night I fell asleep shattered and hopeless.

Waking up the next day, my eyes were swollen from crying all night, my head was pounding from thinking too hard. yet my heart was flooded with peace. As if I was in my own dream, so surreal, so scary, so painful, but I wasn’t in fear. Trying to keep my life as normal as possible, I fed myself a light breakfast, gave the kids morning hugs and served their favorite cereals.

Around 9 am, I received a phone call. It was from my late husband’s good friend who lived three hours away from our hometown. He said that he wouldn’t be able to make it to the funeral service but he would like to stop by just to see the kids and I. Before hanging up, he asked “Do you have enough for this month?”

The next day, he came by to share tears and give us hugs, dropped off an envelope and left. As I opened the envelope, I burst into tears. Inside the envelope was a check written with an amount exactly what we needed to cover the house and our last car payment that month.

That day was the beginning of a journey of God’s always-on-time-never-ending provision for the kids and I, for the fatherless and the widow. Since then and now seven years later, God never fails to show up in his own funny and unthinkable way and provide us with more than we need. Sometimes I even consider the kids and I as spoiled, showered with opportunities, resources, connections, breaks we don’t deserve.


(Just yesterday God showed up in His funny way that left me speechless. I was struggling to locate important paperworks and accidentally saw a folder in the corner of the bookcase. The folder looked old and I was not sure how long it has been there. When I opened it, my eye balls jumped out and I ended up laughing so hard because this incident happened right after I literally complained to God about this month’s expense that has just been through the roof! I felt like He was saying "Come on girl, where have you been? If I can send you $60 from Heaven, how much more I will provide for you! HA!") 

Friends, I am sharing this story to assure you once again that our God is a good God. He fulfills His promises and He can be trusted. When He says “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” (Matthew 6). He really means it.

When we are in a bad situation, most of the time, financial provision can be everything we need and ask for, but we have to remember that God wants to provide so much more than just money.



Friends, whether you just lost a job, screwed your investment, are living with Everest-tall debt, a widow, a widower, a fatherless child, or in a bad situation, I encourage you to place your trust only in God. He is more than able, He wants to, and He will supply everything you ever need. Do not worry, do not fear, but instead stand on a solid ground of His love. I am a living proof that God is faithful. His kindness will never depart from you. Trust Him one more time.

He will for sure give us everything else.


For His Glory,
Felecia


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sejauh Ku Dapat Mengingat



(Note: This post is originally written ini English and you may find it here)

Bulan ini kami seharusnya merayakan ulang tahun pernikahan yang ke sembilan belas. Kami menikah di suatu hari musim panas yang sejuk di tahun 1999. Saya berumur dua puluh dan dia hampir dua puluh enam tahun. Kami merayakan ulang tahun pernikahan yang kedua sambil bersiap menantikan kelahiran putri pertama kami. Berita tentang kehamilan anak kedua datang sesaat sebelum kami merayakan ulang tahun pernikahan yang keempat. Anak terakhir kami lahir tidak lama setelah kami merayakan ulang tahun pernikahan ke sembilan. Dan dia berpulang sebelum ulang tahun pernikahan kami yang kedua belas.

Tujuh tahun berlalu dan tidak ada hari yang saya tidak rindu dengannya. Saya rindu menjadi istrinya. Saya rindu memiliki rekan hidup dan sahabat. Saya rindu melihat anak-anak saya bertumbuh dengan seorang papa. Saya rindu memiliki keluarga idaman saya.

Bagi teman-teman yang sudah mengikuti perjalanan hidup saya, anda sudah menyaksikan bagaimana Tuhan membawa anak-anak dan saya melewati lembah kedukaan, membuat hati kami yang hancur menjadi satu kembali dan membuat kaki kami kokoh berdiri diatas kasihNya yang tak tergoyahkan. Saya bersyukur dengan keberadaan saya saat ini, anak-anak bertumbuh dengan baik walau tak sempurna. Namun ada hari-hari dimana saya membayangkan bagaimana kehidupan kami seandainya dia masih ada, bagaimana pernikahan saya seandainya saya masih menikah dengannya.



Banyak hal yang saya syukuri dan ada beberapa hal yang akan saya lakukan dengan berbeda. Jadi jika saya bisa membuat mesin waktu, inilah tiga hal yang akan saya lakukan dengan berbeda:

1. Saya tidak akan memperkarakan hal-hal yang sepele.
Di hari yang penuh kesibukan atau yang lebih santai, membereskan barang-barang yang ditinggalkan oleh seseorang adalah hal yang menjengkelkan. Jadi waktu saya menemukan kaos kaki kotor dan kaos yang basah berkeringat bertebaran di lantai pada hari yang sangat panas dimana anak-anak sedang rewel, rumah dalam keadaan berantakan dan makan malam belum siap, tiba-tiba kaos kaki dan kaos basah tersebut bisa membuat “diskusi” kami menjadi lebih panas dari udara di luar sana. Ah, seandainya saya bereskan saja, masukkan ke keranjang baju kotor dan menghabiskan hari itu tertawa pada guyonan kami.

2. Saya akan menghargai ketidaksempurnaan lebih lagi. 
Saya dulunya adalah seorang yang perfeksionis dan karena saya seorang ibu rumah tangga, saya selalu berusaha keras supaya anak-anak dalam kondisi bagus, karpet selalu tervacum, pakaian kotor tidak menumpuk, tidak ada piring kotor yang menunggu untuk di cuci, dan rumah selalu dalam keaddan rapi sebelum kami menutup hari. Sehingga saya bisa duduk dengan damai dan menikmati sisa hari tersebut. Namun semuanya berubah dalam masa kedukaan saya. Saya mengenal seorang penulis bernama Brene Brown dengan bukunya “The Gifts of Imperfection”. Buku tersebut mengubah kehidupan saya. Sekarang saya dapat tetap menikmati hari saya walaupun ruang keluarga, meja belajar, kamar tidur dalam keadaan berantakan. Saya memilih untuk BERADA (TO BE) bersama dengan anak-anak. Saya dimampukan untuk melihat diluar ketidaksempurnaan dan menghargai hal-hal yang lebih penting, waktu-waktu berkualitas, pembicaraan hangat dan cerita-cerita lucu.

3. Saya akan lebih cepat mengampuni dan selalu bersyukur setiap saat.
Terkadang tantangan dalam pernikahan adalah mengingat bahwa suami dan istri adalah manusia yang tidak sempurna yang penuh dengan kekurangan dan kesalahan, khususnya bagi mereka yang sudah menikah cukup lama. Banyak kali kami mempunyai ekspektasi yang tidak masuk akal kepada satu dengan yang lain (seperti contohnya untuk dia bisa membaca pikiran saya), kami menjadi kecewa dan lupa untuk segera memaafkan diri sendiri dan satu sama lain. Kami banyak mengeluh dan lupa bahwa memiliki satu dengan yang lain adalah berkat dari Tuhan. Kami lupa untuk mengucap syukur akan segala keindahan yang Tuhan sudah lakukan dalam kehidupan pernikahan kami.



Friends, saya tidak hidup dengan penyesalan. Saya tahu tidak ada cara untuk saya mengembalikan waktu, saya sangat bersyukur dan content dengan setiap musim kehidupan yang Tuhan berikan. Ijinkan saya berbagi tiga hal yang saya syukuri selama dua belas tahun perjalanan pernikahan kami:

1. Kami adalah tim yang luar biasa dalam membesarkan ketiga anak kami.
Dia adalah seorang pria yang mengasihi keluarga. Dia sangat mengasihi kami semua sehingga rela untuk menginvestasikan waktu dan energi untuk anak-anak kami. Walaupun saya seorang ibu rumah tangga penuh waktu, tapi saat dia punya waktu luang, dia akan menjemput anak-anak, membelikan barang belanjaan, mengganti popok, dan memandikan anak-anak. Tiga tahun sebelum dia berpulang, kami diberikan kesempatan untuk memindahkan usaha kami ke rumah. Karena dia bekerja dari rumah, dia BANYAK menghabiskan waktu bersama anak-anak. Waktu itu anak ketiga kami baru lahir dan dia diberikan kesempatan tiga tahun penuh untuk bertumbuh bersama papanya. Untuk hal ini, saya sangat bersyukur.

2. Kami berkesempatan untuk melayani Tuhan dan sesama. 
Kami bertemu pertama kali di gereja, bertumbuh mencintai satu dengan yang lain di gereja dan akhirnya berkomitmen untuk mengasihi gereja dan orang-orang didalamnya. Saya masih ingat bagaimana di hari Minggu pagi kami bawa kedua anak kami yang masih batita ke gereja untuk berlatih musik. Hatinya selalu untuk mengasihi orang lain. Belas kasihan dan kepedulian adalah dua hal yang selalu membuatnya bersemangat melayani komunitas dimana Tuhan menempatkan kami. Saya percaya hal ini akan menjadi warisan iman yang akan terus dibawa oleh ketiga anak kami seumur hidup mereka.

3. Kami membuat banyak kenangan bersama. 
Menyetir keluar kota adalah kesukaan kami. Sekarang saya suka berbagi cerita-cerita konyol dari perjalan-perjalanan itu kepada anak-anak. Walaupun saat itu mereka masih kecil, namun mereka ingat dan selalu dapat melengkapi cerita-cerita dari kenangan kami bersama. Terkadang kami akan melihat kembali foto dan video lama dan akan tertawa menonton kekonyolan kami bersama. Saya sangat bersyukur kami BANYAK menghabiskan waktu bersama (dan mengambil banyak foto dan video). 



Friends, dua belas tahun pernikahan kami jauh dari sempurna. Kami banyak melakukan kesalahan. Kami sering mengecewakan satu dengan yang lain. Alasan saya berbagi posting yang tidak mudah ditulis ini karena saya mau anda semua tahu bahwa tidak ada pernikahan yang sempurna, jadi berhentilah mengejarnya atau membuatnya, tetapi berikan diri sepenuhnya untuk terus mengejar (pursue) satu dengan yang lain dan mengejar hal-hal yang akan abadi. Hal-hal yang akan menginspirasi generasi yang akan datang, hal-hal yang akan diwariskan dari satu generasi kepada generasi berikutnya.

Friends, jika anda sedang menghadapi tantangan dalam pernikahan anda, saya sarankan untuk anda terus berdoa, mencari Tuhan, dan mencari nasihat yang berpusatkan pada Kristus. Desain Tuhan bagi pernikahanmu adalah untukmu selalu setia kepada janjimu dan membesarkan generasi yang perkasa bagi kemuliaan nama Tuhan.

Terimakasih sudah memberikan kesempatan bagi saya untuk memberikan sedikit nasehat pernikahan. Posting ini tertulis berdasarkan kenangan sejauh ku dapat mengingat.




Ingatlah selalu bahwa Tuhan mengasihimu dan pasanganmu.




Bagi KemulianNya,
Felecia


As Far as I can Remember



This month we should’ve celebrated our nineteenth anniversary. My late husband and I got married on a cool summer day back in 1999. I was twenty and he was almost twenty six. I was ready to pop our firstborn when we celebrated our second anniversary. We found out we were pregnant with our second one right before our fourth anniversary. Our last baby was born right after our ninth anniversary. And I became a widow before our twelfth anniversary.

It has been a long seven years being apart. I miss him daily. I miss being married to him. I miss having a life-partner and a best friend. I miss watching my children grow up with a dad. I miss having the family of my dream.

For those of you who have been following me, you have witnessed how God has carried the children and I through the valley of grief, put our hearts back together and grounded our feet on His unshakeable love. I am grateful for where we are right now, the kids are growing imperfectly well. Yet sometimes I find myself daydreaming of how our lives would be if he was still around, how my marriage would be if I were still married.



There are so many things that I am grateful for and there are several things that I wish I would do differently. So, if I ever invented a real time machine, these are three things I wish to do differently:

1. I would sweat over small things less. 
Whether it is a hectic or slower day, picking up after someone else is nobody’s favorite. So when I found dirty socks and sweat-drenched-t-shirt laying around on a hot above-100-degree-summer day while the kids were cranky, the house was a mess, and the dinner was far from ready, those stinky socks and t-shirts suddenly had the ability to make the day and our “discussion” even hotter! Boy, I wish I would just pick them up, throw them into the laundry basket and spend the rest of the night laughing at silly jokes.

2. I would embrace imperfection more.
I used to be a perfectionist and being a stay home mom, I strived to make sure the kids were always in good shape, the carpet was vacuumed regularly, the laundry was done, the sink was clean from dirty dishes, the house was organized before we ended the day. By then I would be able to sit down in peace and enjoy the rest of the night. During my grieving season, I came across Brene Brown with her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”. The book changed my life for the better. I have learned to be content when I see messy living room, messy desk, messy bedrooms and choose to BE there with the kids. Somehow I have the ability to look beyond the imperfections and value what really matters, the quality time, the conversation, and the funny stories.

3. I would forgive quicker and stay grateful at all times.
Sometimes It is a challenge to remember that husband and wife are two imperfect human beings with flaws and shortcoming, especially when they’ve been together for a while. So many times my late husband and I had unrealistic expectations toward each other (such as to read each other’s mind), we became disappointed when they are unmet, and forgot to forgive ourselves and each other quicker. We complained and forgot to realize that it was a blessing for us to have each other. We became upset and forgot to stay grateful for beautiful things God has done in our marriage.



Friends, please don’t get me wrong, I am not living with regrets. I know there is no way for me to turn back time, so I am grateful and content for every gift of season God has given me. Now, allow me to share three things I am grateful for:

1. We made a great team up in raising our three children. My late husband was a family man. He loved our family very much that he was willing to invest his time and energy for our children. I was given a privilege to stay home but whenever he had the opportunity to pick up the kids from school, to pick up groceries, to change diapers, to give the kids a bath, he would do it. About three years before he passed, we had the privilege to move our business to our home. Having to work from home, he spent A LOT of time with the kids. My youngest son was just born at that time and he got to spend full three years with his daddy. For this, I am beyond grateful.

2. We had the opportunity to serve God and others together.
We met each other in the church, grew in loving each other in the church and committed to love the church and all the people in it. I still remember how we would strap our two young daughters in their car seats early Sunday morning and take them to church for a worship practice. His heart is always for other people. His compassion and care was the fuel for serving the community. This will be a heritage of faith that my children will carry for the rest of their lives.

3. We made a lot of memories together.
Road trips were our favorites. Now, I love to share some silly stories from our trips to the kids. They were young at that time but somehow the kids remember and complete each other story from our memories of being together. Sometimes we would go through old videos and photos and left with unending laughter. I am glad we spent A LOT of time together (plus took a lot of photos and videos).



Friends, our twelve years of marriage was far from perfect. We made a lot of mistakes. We failed each other countless times. The reason I am sharing this hard-to-write post with all of you is because I want you to know that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage so stop chasing for one or creating one but instead give yourself wholeheartedly pursuing one another and things that will last forever. Things that will inspire generations to come, things that will be passed down from one generation to another.

Friends, if you are currently on a rocky road of marriage, I suggest you to pray, seek God and Godly counsel. God’s design for you is to stay faithful to your covenant and to raise up mighty generations for the glory of God’s name.

Thank you for allowing this widow shares a bit of marriage advices. This post is based on my memory as far as I can remember.




Always remember that God loves you and your spouse.




For His Glory,
Felecia

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