10th Dec 2017, was the 8th day of our pilgrimage in the Holy Land and we were slated to follow the path of Jesus to carry the cross on the Via Dolorosa. We broke into smaller groups so that we could all take turns carrying it.
My husband who is much taller than me carried the front of the wooden cross while I and a few others took the remaining part. Despite so many of us carrying it, I felt the weight of the cross on my upper arm which started to ache badly. I couldn’t wait for the next group to take over after the first two stations.
When our turn came again, I assumed a similar position as before. This time the cross was much lighter and I carried it with ease. As we parked the cross at the designated station, I picked it up single handedly and it was surprisingly light! In fact, I hoisted it up 3 times effortlessly to convince myself!
I shared my experience with Daina Suliman, the co-organizer who told me that previous pilgrims had also encountered similar experiences with the heavy cross.
My mind became disturbed as I pondered on the significance of the heavy cross – was it some danger lurking for me personally or was it for someone in my family? I was troubled with anxiety and fear thereafter.
The next day while Father Martin celebrated mass at the Church of Stella Maris in Haifa, he shared his personal encounter as a seminarian. It was in a pool in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that he came across a lone caterpillar floating on a leaf. The gist of the story was the realization that this caterpillar, in spite of its exposure to pitfalls, will one day be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. It was a story of hope and optimism.
Although Father Martin had shared this in his homily in CDM before, it now touched a chord in me. I had focused on the heavy cross and failed to remember the lighter cross as I walked uphill!
As the spiritual enlightening message of hope hit, I cried throughout the rest of mass! My fear and anxiety vanished as I concentrated on cherishing the rest of my pilgrimage.
I was in ICC/CCU(critical condition) about 8 years back. A family friend gave the Divine Mercy image (framed picture) to me in hospital.
That’s the day our faith increased. A miracle happened. I was healed and many situations changed as wished. Fr Bernard was my Parish Priest at the time.
“JESUS I TRUST IN YOU”
This is my living remedy.
Parish: OLOL (Perak)
I pray to God for forgiveness and when I hold the hand of Jesus*, I feel Jesus’ vibration touching my heart and I feel like crying out with joy and love.
Parish: SIC Church (Selangor)
Thank you Jesus when I touch your hands* I feel the love and smile of your face with me.
I feel the great joy which I never experienced before.
Thank you for the gift of your smile and your hands. Thank you Jesus, in your name. Amen
Jesus I trust in You
Parish: Sacred Heart (PeelRoad, Kuala Lumpur)
It is the LORD!
All glory, power, honor, praise and thanksgiving be unto our God!
My wife Karen and myself were blessed with our first child, Ivana on 12 Feb 2016 after 5 years of marriage.
It has been an interesting journey for both of us as initially we thought of going for an IVF treatment. I was reluctant as I knew pretty well the church’s position on this matter and explained to my wife too.
But not wanting to discourage Karen I agreed to just go for the consultation first. It turns out we were both physically fine to have children.
But the doctor said we only have 5% chance of conceiving naturally as our age was in the late 30’s already. In a way he was pushing us to go for this treatment soonest. My wife answered we will think through it first.
During the trip back home I thought “Now, if it is not physical, could it be due to some spiritual reason/s we are yet to have any children?”.
That night I took our problem to the Lord. I said, ‘Lord, I know very well what is the Church’s position on this IVF treatment is. Also, there weren’t much practical advice to go about on how to deal with this issue. But you’ve got to give us a way out if this method is ain’t Yours . BTW, please convince Karen if we do NOT need this IVF. I really need you to show me YOUR way out of this problem”
Early next morning after chores Karen blurted out “Who is that doctor to even think that we only have 5% of conceiving? He is not god to say that. Lets’ give our 5% to God and let Him handle this!”
Now we are in agreement!
That night I asked the Holy Spirit who has been sent as our Helper “What must we do to have our own children?”
Immediately, He answered clearly through an inner voice“When you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Heavenly Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you”(Matt 6:6).
What better way to ask for something we secretly long for but be rewarded in public? I knew what needs to be done and thus my prayer life began. I did exactly what Jesus taught in Matthew’s gospel. It started with just 10 minutes every morning then gradually to 20, 30, 45 minutes and eventually to 1 hour! I pressed on, ready to go to the mat with God for a child.
As if that wasn’t enough, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray even at night. I obeyed and did the same starting with 10 minutes and gradually to 30 minutes every night. I was relentless and thank the Holy Spirit for the fruit of perseverance during that time. I prayed in the Spirit too.
It was during this prayer time that the Holy Spirit revealed many “great and mighty things which I did not know” (Jer. 33.3).
In one of the mornings, the Lord revealed that I had deep seated bitterness and un-forgiveness and He showed me a way out of this. Till that point I really didn’t know about this long, deep anger and resentment existed in me but as the Lord led me I was able to release those things from my life. It was my spiritual blind spot and the process took a few days and I was glad He restored me.
Today, I find it easier to forgive and to apologize if I have committed any offences towards others. This was my first refining process.
Then, as I was still pursuing God for an answer the Holy Spirit led me to read certain parts of the Bible (read all of Paul’s epistles) and even books that would help me in my journey of prayer (i.e. Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets).
Holy Spirit the Teacher also taught me to remember Bible verses which has something to do with children for e.g. the Shema of Israel – “Hear O Israel. The LORD is GOD, the LORD is ONE. You shall love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach your children diligently and talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you wake up” (Deut. 6:4-8).
As I was meditating on this verse I asked the Lord “How can I teach my children about You if I don’t have a children of my own? You’ve got to answer my prayer for this commandment to be fulfilled.”
Then, I also learnt about the childless women in the Bible; Sarah, Hannah & Elizabeth. All eventually had children but because it was of God’s direct intervention in their lives. I believed God’s direct intervention could also solve this same predicament we were having.
As I was pursuing God in my daily prayer I came across God’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply”. God mentioned this twice in Genesis to Adam and Noah as a command. I struggle and question God as I wanted to obey. I also asked God how can I multiply when I’m not being fruitful in the first place? So, there was constant struggle and persistent dialogue in my prayer before it could be answered.
Half way thru in our prayer journey I told the Lord that I was NOT going to give up or give in till the end until we receive an answer. It does not matter if it took 1 year, 5 years or even 10 years…that I was going to pursue God all the way just like Jesus told us to – that is to be bold as in the parable of the persistent widow (Lk. 18: 1-8) and audacious as in the parable of the “midnight friend” (Lk. 11:5-8) until we have a child in our marriage!
It was relentless and intense and it seems I was in a warfare but the Lord by His grace and in His infinite mercy guided me day in and day out on His battle plan!
One day I found a book in an old box title Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers. It gave me new perspective on our Christian life as it calls us to practice radical gratitude. The easy reading book taught me on how and the why we MUST thank and praise God at all times regardless of circumstances. For once I understood what Paul was writing in this famous verse “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done” (Phil. 4:4-7).
Then came the moment of truth. The Holy Spirit asked me something that might be controversial to some, “Do you believe that you are the head of your wife as Christ is the head of the husband?”
I knew this is in one of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 5:23 I read earlier. I responded, ”Come on, we are no more in those ages where the husband is the boss over the wife. I said we were equals in this marriage.”
“Ok then, now pray over your wife’s womb for it to be open/loosed to conceive” the Holy Spirit instructed me. I knew it was the same binding and loosing application Christ taught to His disciples in the gospel of Matt 18:18.
That very night as my wife was sleeping I prayed a simple prayer over her womb to be open and life to come forth in Jesus name. I waited for 2 weeks nothing happened, then 4 weeks also nothing happen and then 5 and then 6 weeks. I asked the Holy Spirit how come there is nothing?
Then, the Holy Spirit taught me one powerful spiritual principles in life. “I already said but you did not listen. You cannot open your wife’s womb as you don’t believe you are in authority over her. Only those in authority holds the key to open doors and blessings will flow”. I said, “Holy Spirit, I believe now”.
But does that mean I started to boss around my wife? Not at all! I needed this mind-set change as far as my relationship with my wife is concern! In the process the Holy Spirit taught me that “you are not the head of all women but just your wife…remember that!”
I repented of my disobedience and the Holy Spirit instructed me to pray over my wife again. I prayed over my wife’s womb to be open in Jesus name again and this time I knew it was a done deal!
And it’s time to wait upon the Lord. For once, I knew what it means to wait upon our Lord as scriptures says in Isaiah 40:31, “Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary”. I waited with expectancy and continued to praised and thank God for this blessing as though He has given us a child. My faith greatly increased during this waiting period.
And Praise the Lord! The good news came in mid-2015 just before Father’s Day. My wife, Karen conceived and somehow the news did not surprise me as I knew in my heart we had received our miracle already. We broke the news to our parents few days later on Father’s Day with much rejoicing.
Indeed, God has not forgotten us. He is ever faithful as His Word has come to pass in our lives.
God’s timing also couldn’t have been more perfect. 9 months later the Lord gifted us with a healthy and bubbly baby girl right on our 5th wedding anniversary; 12 Feb, 2016. Yup, you’ve heard it right!
His ways are truly perfect and “His grace is readily sufficient for me for my power is made perfect in weaknesses” (2 Cor 12:9) and also “my God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19).
We named our daughter Ivana which means God is Gracious. Truly, He has been gracious to us and our family thru His amazing miracle!
As I reflected on this journey I could see the Lord’s hand guiding me every inch of the way. He willingly took 99 steps just so that I can make that 1 step back to Him to entrust Him with that 5% chance!
What more can I say now? If the Holy Spirit can birthed a Church surely He can also give birth to all our dreams and our heart’s desires including to have children which is also our domestic church!
On our part we just need to Listen, Obey & Trust in HIM.
We proclaim it is thru Him, and in Him and with Him we have seen and experienced the Lord’s wondrous deeds in our lives as we share this testimony to you.
We acknowledge the “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) who has been supporting us with their prayers to our Heavenly Father too.
May our Father in heaven, Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior and our precious Holy Spirit be blessed forever more!!
Amen and Amen!!!