Why should we go through the pain?

Marianne’s Journal Entry #4

SATURDAY, Australia

Today, I learnt the importance of pain even though I have read such topics from other books and heard testimonies on how trials have shaped the lives of different people. My take on this topic isn’t so different from others but I still have the urge to write because this time it’s mine and it’s personal. You can make it personal too if you will relate. I guess we all relate in different ways because we all have different circumstances.

I will start by how I suffer and what made me suffer. I am afraid. I have a fear of failure and rejection that I believe is gone but sometimes it still creeps in me. I could say it’s all gone but I am weak. I acknowledge that and I admit it. I could say I am only human but I really hate saying that because it’s earthly. I do not like to comfort myself by justifying that I am not perfect which will cripple my actions because such comfort can be stimulating that says it is okay even when it is really not, I do not want to be deceived. So am I being hard on myself? not really. My fears and anxiety make me call on God. I always pray. Praying is a gift for me, it is too precious and it is my fuel.

When I am worried, I tend to eat junk food (stress eating). When I am lonely, I binge watch romantic comedy tv shows in Netflix. Years ago, I used to smoke to calm my nerves and control my stress. I also used to drink and party all out to forget real time problems. Yes, I used to love living in fantasy just like in the movies. My life was poisoned by worldly love. Now, as I continue to grow, I can’t help but notice how the habits formed during my former years tend to knock on the door in my new life so I could relapse. It is a spiritual warfare but by his grace I am what I am right now.

Life right now loves to challenge me in many ways. I am weak but for some reason by the wonderful grace of Jesus, I find strength out of nowhere (but it’s really because of his grace). I learnt that devoting my life to reading the Bible and praying everyday brings healing to my mind everyday. I learnt that going through all the pain is important even though the pain is beyond explanation. Although, I will still try to explain it by asking questions to heighten the intensity. Do you guys know how hard and painful it is to stop smoking? do you know how painful it is to invest life and love to someone that just trashed every sacrifice done? do you guys know how hard it is to kneel down and pray even when the flesh just wants to sleep? do you know how painful it is to be reminded of how far I am from my love ones? do you know how painful it is to get back up when life is designed to crush my hopes?. Hmmm, I bet you do.

Overall, as I continue to read and learn, It’s finally sinking in why pain is important because I’ve been waiting for – healing, inner peace, and ambition. I learnt that avoiding pain solves nothing. Avoiding pain by stress eating, binge watching fantasies, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and more only bears rotten fruit such as insecurity, fear, and continuous death. We all need to go through all of that pain so we could be hungry and thirsty for healing and peace. That hunger and thirst drove me to call unto God who is full of grace, that hunger and thirst is the increase of my eagerness to find myself in Jesus Christ. Knowing Him and learning what He wants me to do bears good fruit in my lifestyle (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual). Once I’m fed, I’m strengthened.

5 But to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what he wants you to do. 6 Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you. 7 This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply. 8 The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But anyone who fails to go after these additions to faith is blind indeed, or at least very shortsighted and has forgotten that God delivered him from the old life of sin so that now he can live a strong, good life for the Lord. 2 Peter 1
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1

Do you do well to be angry?

Marianne’s Journal Entry #3

“You are weak Marianne. You are so ignorant Marianne. You are stupid Marianne. You are fake Marianne. Why are you so pretentious Marianne? Why do you not care Marianne? Why do you not voice it out Marianne? Why do you think like that Marianne?”

Sometimes, even though people do not say it to my face I somehow get all this negative words in my thoughts as if people are saying it to me through their eyes or body language. It’s my intuitive nature that sees it. Hence, if their hearts and minds think this of me – true or not, or maybe call me assuming. Does this bother me at all? it does sometimes. I do get tempted to argue and sometimes even lash out because sometimes words can get on my nerves and the provoking ones people say sometimes can just really irk me. I used to hate the feeling but now I understand.

You see, I do have my stand in politics. Every time I speak it out, people do not get me because I will always include bible verses and they will just find me weird and find me religious. I do have my stand in relationship, but people will judge me right away that I’ll end up being single for the rest of my life because of my principles. I was even called a prude once without even knowing my testimony. I do have my stand in such ideas, but it’s never to the extreme that people will think I am safe and pretentious but I am never grey, i just always put in my biblical principles to everything I do. I do have a stand in everything but sometimes people just do not get me even when I explain it. It’s quite depressing sometimes thinking no one will ever get me, it is lonely.

I used to be an angry woman because I love being right, I love being correct, and I love when people support what I support. However, that habit of arguing and being right never really helped me in life. I wasted time and even years of arguing just because I believe I am right. But now, I am aware… I am aware of what anger and grudge can produce – as I look at Jonah’s life and remembering when God asked him “Do you do well to be angry?”. I realise how anger that turns to grudge just produce a rotten fruit that sucks up life to death.

I realise when I am mad or when I am tempted to lash out, I open a door to my sinful nature – which I loathe. I always do my best to be calm but when it’s too hard I just shut down now and just walk away. I do not care about my feelings anymore, but what I care for is what my tongue will say because I used to hurt people with words. I just cannot do that anymore. I hate it. It’s really a struggle but whenever I reminded of my hope, I get by. The hope that there is more to life than what the world offers and what it speaks about. The human nature have the inclinations to be so self-serving hence the complexities of human thoughts, that’s why arguing is tempting. But when I dig deeper whether I look to left or right, worldly topics have flaws and blind sided research. All will fade away anyway.

As God continues to renew my mind, I realise that I’d rather cry when people wrong me in their hearts, thoughts, words, and deeds. When I see injustice, I’ll cry it out to God. When a government rises up in tyranny, I’ll cry it out to God. I’d rather be God-inclined rather than earthly-inclined even though it is so easy to be worldly because I am still on earth and in flesh. Not everyone understands that narrow is the gate that leads to life and the wide gate leads to destruction. I get so distressed with my surroundings and environment that sometimes I am thankful I am not God because seeing how much sin there is in this world is just too much bear. — (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard) 2 Peter 2:8

Every time that anger comes knocking into my heart, I can’t help but notice the issues in my heart, it bothers me so much. Hence, I cry it out because it makes me so mad. But I cry out even more. I tell everything to God like a child as he is my father. I’d rather cry it out than say words I do not really mean to someone.  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:6-8

Also, when I tend to be angry – I search my heart why did it affect me so much? Why am I giving it power over me? Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Psalm 4:4 . I realise as I follow Jesus’ teaching I slowly take no notice of everything the world offers, as my faith helps my spirit outgrow everything that is happening around me.

To anyone who feels the same way, I’ll leave this with you as an encouragement: and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, 2 Peter 2:7-9a

Making social distance count

Marianne’s Journal Entry #2

Hey yo, How are you and you and you?

AUSTRALIA — In the midst of the current covid-19, pandemic paranoia, rants, terror, and fear mongering. I’d like to share the positive side of social distance. It’s having communion with Jesus.

I can’t help but see this as an opportunity to have that time to unwind, connect, to the source of love, godliness, righteousness, peace, and hope. It’s time to read His word, to pray for everyone and for oneself, to listen to Him.

I start mine by having that coffee and beautiful breakfast. then I will prepare my study table bring out my notebook and pen and then my bible. I will read 2 chapters from the old testament and then 2 chapters in the new testament. Afterwards, I will reflect and treasure His words in my heart.

I can sing praises and worship to him. I can read self-development blogs or books. I can blog right now. Dedicate all my energy for Jesus.

You see, I love distance and even with or without any virus. I would still have times of my own space and social distancing because I like that alone time in Jesus, it’s intimate. It helps me physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.

Lastly, God’s love is somehow distant. He is in heaven and we are here on earth but His love is the greatest, He died and rose again just to be able to save us from sin and He wants us to be there with Him by having to give His kingdom in and for us. It is a living hope. A hope that doesn’t disappoint.

P. S The picture is my view as I was having my quiet time with Jesus. I was just appreciating it and remembering this beautiful moment.

Battling against homesickness…

Marianne’s Journal Entry #1

Hey yo! How are you and you and you?,

WEDNESDAY, AUSTRALIA – One night, I dreamt of a beautiful dinner date but was suddenly interrupted when I woke up. I saw a beautiful banqueting hall with a specific table and chair just for me and my date. I felt at peace, calm, only thinking of pure and noble love for my date (I somehow felt like I was in my spirit), then my date told me “My beloved, here’s the banquet hall leading to our table for my banner over you is love” (Song of Solomon 2:3-4) and I realise that it wasn’t just a date, it was a wedding and my groom was Jesus. As I was walking the halls leading to our table and chairs. I just woke up. It was interrupted. I did not have the chance to sit, or the chance to see Jesus, or the chance to have a conversation with Jesus. As I woke up, I instantly started thinking about Facebook, Instagram, things to do for the day; To be honest, waking up like that sucks, it was frustrating. I realise how it made me so aware how different the spirit is to my flesh (Galatians 5:17). But, I was also grateful because that was a beautiful vision and radical encounter I had with Jesus.

After a few days, I have felt a huge homesickness and had an urge to go back to the motherland but when I have searched my feelings I didn’t exactly want to go back. It kept me up all night wondering why do I feel so lonely despite my good relationship with my spiritual family here in Australia. I examined deeper, I did some comparisons by weighing the pros and cons, and I have come to the discovery I want to truly go home because I do not belong in this world anymore, I felt like an exile. I couldn’t figure why so I had a conversation with my Mom, who is my mentor, my coach, and of course my role model.

Before talking to my mom, I was stuck for a while feeling lonely. I asked friends what could this be, they told me to pray but in reality I was waiting for answers because I do pray for the struggle I was having; every time I am at my worst I cling to Jesus even more. I do my devotions everyday, I continually go to church every Sunday, I continually pray, I continually never give up on hearing and hearing the word, and interact godly activities . But finally, I opened up to my mom with the experience I was having she finally gave the answer I was looking for. She told me the reason why I was feeling homesick and lonely – It is because, I have finally deprived and emptied my flesh of ungodly activities which my flesh misses and the feelings I am feeling is the perfect reaction for my willingness for obedience for the flesh follows its own while the spirit honours and follows the will of God. She told me how I do not belong to this world anymore (John 15:19) and how I belong to another world which is the kingdom of God that can’t be found in the current world I am in but only through Jesus. I realise it’s the cares of this world that weighs me down and choke me to confusion (Matthew 13:22). So I am grateful for my mom who exposed me this.

Because of that Revelation, I reflected back on the vision God has given me, I realise how much I miss that dream but I also long for the day of His coming back. The wedding He had for me is also for every follower of Jesus. So I would want to share this verse:

Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7)

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10)

I have learnt that no matter where I go in this world there will always be an emphatic homesickness in me since I had the essence of what its like to be with Jesus. But at the same time, I am grateful for this because without this weakness I wouldn’t be able to understand. I have the similarity with Paul’s experience.

even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Finally, while I am still alive I will continue to live in accordance to following the will of the Lord. For I long for the day of His coming as he promised. For even though I am weak He watches over me and takes care of me. My true home is not of this world. Also, I do not fear for the days to come because God is faithful.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:4-7)

10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

Therefore, I do not belong to this world and I don’t have to fight homesickness because it’s normal. In fact, I am embracing it as it reminds me of whom I truly belong to. Now, I would no longer be burdened for it is carried by Jesus and the weight of cynicism has been laid aside. I am now free of this world.

So the world has lost it’s grip on me ~ Tenth Avenue North