The Heart Bypass Surgery

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

I recognized her face right away as I peeked through the glass partition window. Sitting comfortably but seemed bored upon the wait, she was being monitored for her morning sugar level was low. The LVN who checked her blood sugar needed to leave as her shift was done. Worried that she might have forgotten something, she asked me to do a favor to take over the care of this particular female inmate.

“I already gave her a tube of that glucose, Rcubes,” she advised.

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of her. Just go and have a great day.”

“Ms. W.!” I summoned her after a few minutes had passed to re-check her blood sugar. She was slow in getting up but that didn’t bother me. I remembered what she had gone through the last time I had to deal with her. To think that she was begging me not to send her to the hospital at that time as her chest pain was going away and all because of the reason that she was getting impatient waiting for the arrival of the ambulance in the prison, I was glad I didn’t let her refuse the treatment we initiated.

“How’s your leg?” I asked.

With a puzzled look, she didn’t know how to answer, confused that I might have mistaken her for someone else.

“Ma’am…”she shyly replied, “I didn’t have anything done in my leg. I had a problem with my heart,” her tone of voice was firm and sure.

“Yes, you did!” my long-term memory in the works uttered.

Feeling embarrassed when I brought up that point, she admitted her mistake.

“You’re right, Ma’am…”

“I’m sorry. I forgot about my leg. I’m doing okay. It healed well (incision),” she smiled big, as a much-better appreciation for an extension of her life glowed on those haggard face.

“No one even bothers to ask me about my leg or my heart. Only you,” she added.

“Well, it was because we spent a whole good amount of time, waiting for the ambulance that day and I’m glad I didn’t listen to your request to cancel it.”

“Thank you. I remember that.”

“Oh, wow!” I interrupted our conversation about her coronary bypass surgery. “Your sugar even went lower.”

“Ma’am, my breakfast in my unit is probably cold now. Can you just send me back and I’ll just eat there?”she requested, the boredom manifested on the brows when they got lifted.

“No, Ms. W. Remember what we just talked about? I won’t send you back not until your blood sugar is more stable. I’ll get some breakfast for you now and re-check your blood sugar again.”

“Okay…You know what you’re doing. Thank you,” she replied as she went back to sit again on one of the plastic chairs in the small waiting area. Propping her head up, she glanced at the TV monitor hoisted up in one corner of the room and tried to amuse herself with what was showing.

Photobucket.com
No one recognized her but me. But it wasn’t me who cared. I was in her shoes before. Impatient with what was going on in my life’s journey, wanting to bypass the valleys so I could be on top of the mountain always. But that was not possible. Driving from a local store back to our home yesterday, I saw the different mountains in front of my windshield. Down below were numerous valleys that had a darker shadow as they were lower and light was hitting fully just on the top of the mountains.I thought..."What if...God is using us to shine our little light  in the darkness that covers the valleys?" Walking through any valley is painful, scary, and an exhausting process at times. But God knows that. He never leaves us alone as we walk during the lowest times in our lives. ("You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence." - Acts 2:28 (NIV)

“How beautiful!” I exclaimed to myself, only to quickly realize and ponder how incomplete that magnificent view was if it was just only the mountains or only the valleys. They were arranged in a row, like in waves. First came the valley, then a mountain and so forth.  A reminder of the Hands that created them and other great things, yet, He always cared for even the littlest detail.

We grow impatient. Sometimes, we don’t see the disastrous outcome in the long run whatever road we’re walking on. But one thing never changes…Jesus is always there Who sees our life’s struggles and victories. He is concerned. He truly cares. The question is… “Are we able to recognize and remember His love and all of the good things He blesses us with?” Just like that bypass surgery that inmate had to aid her heart, Jesus provides a way out when the roads we’re walking on seem clogged up. Then, we are able to move on again and live life again except with a better appreciation after letting Him do that much-needed surgery in our sinful hearts.


“21Then I remember something that fills me with hope.  22The LORD's kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  23The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.” – Lamentations 3:21-23 (CEV)

Something Beautiful

“Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.” ~Author Unknown

“That’s the only thing,” I vented to one of my co-workers I used to work with when I used to work nights before my superiors had transferred me to a Per Diem position, “My process would take a very long time. Only God knows when it even starts…But I’m not going to quit!” I whispered.

She was one of our medical secretaries who saw my struggles when my battle began. Despite the grapevine, she knew the truth of what was going on with my situation. She knew because she cared and encouraged me the moment she found out.

“Just keep fighting,” she would always tell me. I felt her encouragement arose from our brief moments of “coffee breaks” after a hard night’s work. We would both pass by the nearest Starbucks and would each grab a favorite blended caffeinated drink because we both would drive a long distance from work. I started admiring her when I found out she was trying to help out her parents with their financial needs that she put aside her own dreams of marrying her long-time beau.

Smelling the aroma from the cups we were holding during one of those breaks, she uttered, “Don’t quit Rcubes. Your situation is like my dad’s. They (supervisors) did that to him too when he got hurt at work and wanted him to resign. Except my dad didn’t want the hassle and did not fight back.”

“Where is he now, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Oh, he’s working some place else. But it’s too far from us. It’s in another state. But at least he’s happier.”

“Oh…You must miss him a lot!”

“Yes, we do,” she replied with a bead of tear formed in one corner of her eyes.

When I saw her again on Thanksgiving, night shift when I went to work, she approached me right away upon seeing my shadow. Her eyes gleaming with happiness.

“How are you, Rcubes?”

“Hi, N…So good to see you. I’m doing well,” to her delight upon hearing my answer despite the what seemed to be a bleak situation I had been going through. Other ears, to our awareness, were listening. But we had the slightest care. It was good to look back and remember the heartfelt conversations we had about families and about our own struggles.

We parted that cold morning as we separated to go to our parked cars. There was no intention to get our favorite coffee but our hearts remained full of encouragement for each other’s struggles. They had never stopped caring for each other though I worked lesser hours now, knowing that we both needed to persevere in our life’s struggles. Hers. And mine.

I saw her back turned away from me as she opened her driver’s door in her car. And I thought to myself, I was looking at one of the greatest persons here on earth who knew how to persevere as she cared for her family and not even think about her own needs. She used to thank me for a cup of coffee I insisted on buying for her and that how much I encouraged her to be strong. Little did she know, she was the one who also inspired me as I looked at the accomplishments she was achieving, one by one, despite what was going on in her life.

And how true it is….that God is making something beautiful in a person’s life through one’s own struggles as one learns how to persevere. It is those who suffered the most that seem to be the greatest.


“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 12:9 (NLT)

"Look At Me"

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1 (NIV)

My husband and I joined our hands in prayer before him leaving for work. As we started our whispers of petitions, his one-liner praise drowned my own as I started lifting up our needs:

“Thank You, Lord for Your grace, love and mercy…” was what I heard as my heart was asking Him to heal my son’s lingering coughs since he got sick, about my work that had been discriminating me, my achy neck and other physical symptoms and the uncertain future of my career once my charge against those people in higher positions would start.

My prayers became silent feeling a little embarrassed with everything that I was asking for. Instead, I found myself asking God in which He alone would hear, “How can I thank You despite what’s going on in our lives?”

“How can I thank You if physical healing seems to be not happening?”

“How can I thank You knowing I didn’t deserve the unfair treatment at work?”

“How can I thank You knowing how those people abusing their power seem to be getting away with everything they do that makes everyone at work not happy and treat us without any regard to our needs and capabilities?”

“How can I thank You knowing a lot of family and friends are going through tough times?”

I slightly peeked at my husband who was nearing to end his prayers of thanks, thinking that he said something else to me.

“Look at Me…”was what I heard audibly, except it didn’t come from my husband’s lips. It was whispered into my heart.

And in that split second, I was taken back to that time when the Egyptians were pursuing the Israelites after leaving Egypt with Moses. Moses’ faith-filled reassurance to people about God’s help prevailed more than the fearful cries of pleas from the Israelites. With God’s help, the people were able to cross the parted Red Sea while the Pharaoh’s entire army was swept away when the waters returned. God’s providence did have a bright and pleasant side toward His people.

My neck pain? How would it compare to Jesus’ wounds and what He had to endure on the cross?


My son’s lingering coughs? They were not bad after all. The doctor must know he would need his inhalers temporarily and God had been awesomely providing for our needs. Despite my work limiting my hours and giving me a hard time, God had provided us enough to pay for our bills, food, and other things.

The unfair treatment at work? Nothing any one of us does would ever slip His justice because in the end of our journeys, we would all face God.

The suffering loved ones and friends? Relationships are His gift in the first place. Through sharing grief and other pain, the burden becomes lighter for one carrying that heavy load.

How can I give thanks when facing all these storms of life? I can…Knowing that behind those dark clouds, the Son is always shining. God’s love is never far from us. It’s always close, waiting to be accepted in a person’s heart…For what God had done to show how much He loves us, that alone is suffice to always be “thankful”…

How can I be thankful? I should be…because of Jesus…Like those Israelites saved by God out of slavery (Egypt), Jesus truly sets us free!

Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God's throne.” – Hebrews 12:2 (NCV) - (emphasis is mine)

I'm Thankful Knowing I Will Survive

As I battled since December 2010 against some people in higher positions at my workplace, God had been faithful with me as He promised that He would never leave me nor forsake me. From having a regular position, they had taken that away and made me become a “Per Diem Nurse” which meant I was only an “Extra Help” if there was a need or shortage with our staffing. I wanted to be angry. But He constantly reminded me not to. He wanted me to learn patience and just continue trusting on His plans. Working much lesser hours, this had turned out to be a blessing as I looked back now. My husband had been busier in his work, requiring for them to leave at the very wee hours of the morning. With me being home, I was able to help out in preparing his breakfast and lunches as he got up and made “green tea” to warm him up on cold mornings. Lacking sleep, I remained okay as I didn’t have to worry about working that day. Same thing with my son. I loved that I was able to help him out in some ways during times that he was so busy and had little time because of too much homework. I had all these time to care for him when he got sick and my husband did not need to take some time off from work when someone needed to bring our child to his doctor. I was also able to plan for a healthier meals, week after week. Earning less helped us as a family to even be more contented with what we have and don't have. One thing we never doubted at this crucial test: "God does provide!!!"

I know that a lot of people are suffering whether it concerns their health, financial status and other things. Some are just hanging on the very end of that rope called “faith”. It’s never easy when you want to believe and it feels like God is not hearing our pleas. It’s easier to doubt.

If we realize that it is not our hold on that rope that saves us but His, hope remains alive.Even if He feels so far away, He never lets go...


"Don't be afraid. I am with you.
   Don't tremble with fear.
   I am your God.
   I will make you strong,
   as I protect you with my arm
   and give you victories." - Isaiah 41:10 (CEV)

Not only on this coming Thanksgiving but in each day that comes in my life, God reminds me that there are other things in my life that have far more worth than worrying about trials I’m facing. Even in those unwanted trials, He makes it known that He surely turns them around for our advantage. That is…If we believe in what He can do.

We can look at our trials not to weigh us down but instead, as a test of our obedience to God. They help our true, inner feelings surface from the deepest crevices in our hearts: our worthiness, obedience, and faith in Christ. When we truly understand God’s ways, we can be sure that our hearts will always be thankful no matter what circumstances we are in.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12 (ESV)

It’s almost a year now and I still can’t speak up as it’s not the perfect time. I started the initial action of bringing this matter into His light. But despite their continued intimidation and discrimination, I know I can survive…Not because of my own strength. Because of His.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6,7 (ESV)

Just a little fun to wish you all friends a “Happy Thanksgiving!” May God bless you all and I pray that He will increase our faith more and help us all see things through His eyes, in order for us to know more things about Him. He deserves our praises and thanks. Thank You Lord!

(Please silence my playlist):

The Dash

"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble." - Charles Spurgeon

We visit to remember not what we lost but what remains...(And now these three remain:faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love...-1 Corinthians 13:13)

“Hey! You wanna’ come?” asked my friend on the other line. She knew I worked the night before but I had told her in advance that if they would go to the cemetery to pay a visit, if I felt okay, I would rather go with her and her mother if that was okay with them.

“Of course…If you don’t mind…I respect your privacy, too.”

“C’mon. Get ready and come down and go with us,” she replied.

The familiar graveyard site they both visited since losing her sister came to view. The brief laughter we shared in the car was replaced with silence as I veered my car to the left and entered the huge, white metal gates that welcomed those who mourned daily for their loved ones that they lost.

We washed and wiped the marker, as her mother placed some roses in the vase secured on the ground. I saw her grief but the eyes seemed to have run out of tears. But I knew deep inside, her heart was forever marred with a hole. The size of the daughter she lost 13 years ago.

“Must I forget remembering the day she died?” my friend vented out.

I didn’t know what to say as if she had caught me off-guard. I remembered looking at those dates on her sister’s marker.

1960 - 1998

Careful not to break her already scarred heart, I replied, “Yes.”

“But don’t forget the memories she had spent with you. I know those loving mem’ries were your connection to her love that remains…”

As I was saying those words, what stood out in my mind was that “tiny dash” from those dates. I never met her. But I knew so much about her life. I knew she was a great teacher who passionately taught her students with the best she could, always encouraging them to reach their full potential. I knew she was a loving wife and mother to her two young kids at that time, not minding all the tasks on her hand daily even if it meant little relaxation. I knew she was a loving daughter to her mother who always coaxed her to enjoy her retirement life by encouraging her to go on trips with her family. I knew she was a loving sister to my friend because she served both as a sister and a father figure on those times that they had to fend for themselves without a father. She was that strength that held her family amidst life’s trials, shown through her faith in God and love that was poured into her heart, which in return, she readily applied in everything she did. People who knew her would understand what I just wrote though I didn’t know her. People who had grown to love everything about her because she loved genuinely.

Yes, I never met her in person but it felt like I had known so much about her because of the way she lived her life. That dash…That mattered. She had left so much loving, warm mem’ries to all the people she came across with. It was because she always put her heart in everything she did. Her passion to help others…The way she looked after her loved ones… She truly left a never-ending impression because her deeds were always done with love.

If only I could see these people's hearts who knew her...I know it would be easy to spot her place in those hearts. She must have left fine prints that were etched and would not be forgotten. Only some would do that. Like her.

Dash...A short symbol…A reminder how short life is. But this is the one that would stand out because what we do here matters. It may not mean anything to some. But to God, He is recording that dash…

 "And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”- Revelation 14:13 (ESV)

"Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless" - James 2:20 (ESV)

My Name Is...

“That nurse over there should have sent me to the hospital! I need a second opinion. I’m still short of breath!” complained a young female, rapidly whining and demanded for her unit to immediately send her back to the Clinic because she should be sent to the hospital.

I was in the middle of another “sick call” with a male inmate and the other two nurses working with me last night were also seeing some other inmates. I quickly observed her breathing and with the way she rapidly was complaining without pausing already gave me a cue that she was not in a respiratory distress. Her trip from the unit where she was housed was far from the Clinic and if she made it without difficulty to whine at the Infirmary, I knew she could wait. I motioned for the other nurse seeing another inmate about her complaint as she was the other nurse this female inmate was complaining about.

As soon as I got done taking care of the male inmate, I motioned for her to go in on the Female side. As she was taking a seat, I briefly approached the on-coming deputy as they were having change of shift. I requested for his presence because I already knew that this inmate had a volatile behavior. It would be a risk for me to see her without the deputy knowing how her behavior could change into violence without moment’s notice. I wasn’t planning on being hit by an unpredictable closed fist.

“I’m not gonna’ hurt you,” she stated as soon as she saw the shadow of the deputy approaching from where we were.

“I never said anything,” I replied.

“You’re the one who said that. Anyway, it’s not only you, but it is our policy here to see and treat inmates with the presence of the deputy.” I explained.

Her high volume softened a little but the whining and the demands continued even as the deputy was nearby.

“Please give me the phone! I need to call 9-1-1!!!” she uttered in a higher volume again.

“We are the 9-1-1 here!” I replied.

“You need to send me to the hospital! The other nurse didn’t do anything!” she said in a much louder tone, I believed she intentionally did to make the other nurse who previously treated her hear her complaint.

I felt my energy waning at that moment as we had been busy seeing many unscheduled sick calls. Gathering the remaining strength I had, I caught her glance with my own and stayed that way. Eye to eye, her stare was piercing mine. But I didn’t want to look down. I stared at her without giving her the opportunity to wander and look away.

“Listen! From the moment you got here, you had been non-stop with your complaints! You don’t need to request to be sent to the hospital because nurses could see any obvious symptoms that would make us decide whether we need to do that or not! I would not tell you the symptoms…but, you don’t have them at this moment!”

Her boiling anger appeared it was about to burst, only to let the steam out as she saw the deputy took few steps forward and nearer to both of us.

I continued…

“We are not refusing to see you. Any time you don’t feel good, you can request for us to evaluate you. But you have to allow us to make the decisions, not you making the decision for us! Go ahead, you can go back to your unit now!” I commanded.

“What’s your name?” she demanded. (Usually, I would tell the inmates my last name. But this time, I knew it was senseless to give in to this request knowing she was unstable).

“I’m the nurse!” I replied.

“I’m gonna’ find out about your name,” she threatened. “I’m going to report you.”

“Go ahead!” I yelled back.

“So, they would know the things I told you! You can’t lie! The deputy was here the whole time,” I warned back.

Protection…I’m so grateful for God’s protection in my life. I knew I wasn’t battling with her. I was battling against unseen enemies. But they would never scare me knowing the Highest Power surrounds me.

“Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” – Psalm 27:3 (NLT)

My name?

“But by the grace of God, I am what I am…” (1 Corinthians 15:10; NIV) (emphasis is mine...)

Freedom Isn't Free

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.  ~Elmer Davis

I checked on those hands trying to level the family pictures he decided to put up along the wall by our stairs. My husband was off on a cold day today, Thursday and this was his way of not wasting time. My attention was briefly interrupted by occasional dances of the palm trees in our front yard, as gusty, chilly November winds swirled by.

I looked again at those hands adeptly arranging the pictures. Those hands that used to hold a binocular as he and two other comrades kept a watch during “Operation Desert Shield”. We never really talked about their struggles as years went by. I just found out a few minutes ago about some things as I started asking him.

“So, what did you do then? What kind of weapons were you guys holding?”

“There were three of us looking out for mines in the middle of the night. It was so cold and we were on the Missouri’s forecastle.”  

“You have no shelter as you hunt for those mines?” I clarified.

“No! We were just surrounded by sand bags. Sometimes, we just had water and candy bars.”

“Did you guys find some mines?”

USS Missouri
“We probably discovered around 15…”

Those were the days when binoculars with night vision were not in use yet. These soldiers relied on their own vision, strength, perseverance and stamina as they took turns watching for those mines to keep their carrier and other naval ships out of harm’s way. Not minding the cold blast of the wind in the Persian Gulf area, they were dancing between life and death.

“Thank God!” I softly whispered as I felt both relief and sadness as my husband continued his task by the stairs, seeing about 5 pictures already up.

Relieved that I was actually seeing those pair of hands, enjoying time as he had been home with my child and I. But at the same time, my heart was becoming heavy for those who did not have a chance to see the hands of their loved ones and for those who were actively serving still.

Freedom…. It isn’t free…Lives who choose to selflessly give their all, leaving their families behind, their dreams, and willing to die to fight for what they believe in. Freedom…Like what Jesus chose to do. He gave His all so we can be set free…

Thank you dear husband of mine! Thank you veterans! Thank you soldiers!

Thank You Jesus!


"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." - John 8:36 (NIV)

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32 (NIV)

"For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
- 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT)

Aging

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." - 2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

the mountainous retreat


We reversed time only a couple of hours ago. The extra hour I should have been taking advantage of was in vain. I was up few minutes ago and couldn’t make my lids shut closed.

Today is special. It is my birthday. I celebrate it with my friend who was born on the same day like mine. We went to a place famous for apples and anything with apples once that it became sort of a tradition for both of us. On Friday, it rained a lot. And the forecast was that the showers would come down again today, possibly with snow. Yesterday was a beautiful day God had granted us. My husband told me to go just to enjoy a day ahead.

So, last minute, my friend wanted to go also as that mountain retreat always gave us some fun we both enjoyed. We arrived in no time as it was closer from their location. Being on a weekend, there was a big crowd and parking was a challenge right away. That was….if I could move my car amidst the throng of people crossing the street corners.

“Wow! Another year for us,” she said.

I wasn’t sure if I would be excited with the topic of aging. But the gnawing pang of hunger as I skipped my usual lunch hour was bothering me more. But some signs of aging would be unavoidable as they surfaced yesterday.

“What do you feel like eating?” my friend asked.

“I don’t know…I can’t think…”

“What do you mean? Do you think your sugar is running low ‘coz you haven’t eaten?”

“No! I just want to eat anything right now and I can’t think maybe because I’m another year older.”

So, we fell in a line in a nearby deli shop. I had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich with a mountain of fries along with it. I felt better after devouring half (I used to eat the whole thing) and got a small box to take home the rest.

the ever growing line of apple pie fanatics
We looked at the bakery across from the deli shop famous for its pies. A very long line of people was already waiting to get their favorite pies.

“Are you sure you wanna’ wait that long?” my turn to ask.

“Yeah! That’s why we came here. And your boys I know would love some apple pie!”

“Yeah…I wanna’ get them some for sure…But the line?” I replied confused.

So, being perhaps the hundredth something in line, we decided to persevere and tough out the cold winds produced by the dropping temperatures as we both saw the hovering clouds heavy with some rain reserved on its bellies.

My friend looked at me and was concerned, “Are you cold? How come you didn’t bring your thicker jacket?”

“I’m not cold! I’m fine!” (Either I was in denial or I was already becoming numb from hypothermia).

rain clouds
“Why do you keep asking?” I politely asked.

“Well…” she hesitated… “Your lips look blue!”

Or listen to this….How people walking by were all wondering if the line was for the pies. When someone answered them “Yes”, they couldn’t believe it that people would really wait that long just to be able to get some of those pies.

“I know,” I whispered to my friend.

they know how to make you suffer as you stand in line
“I couldn’t believe I would be another year older and I’m still waiting in line here to get my pie.”

And during that time as we slowly advanced toward the counter, I suddenly pondered and consulted my friend, “Did I lock my car?”

Aahhhh….The aging process. The truth is we can never move the time forward nor make it reverse. This lifetime is truly short. As far as for birthdays, that, too is fleeting. We are all going to grow old whether we like it or not as each day passes by. We may never be able to control time but we always have that ability to do two things:

       (A) We have that choice to do the right thing no matter what season it is in our lifetime
       (B)  That if we don’t like the way we were born, we can choose to be “born again”

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." - Romans 10:9 (NLT)

"For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." - Romans 10:10 (NLT)

"You want me to take a picture of those beautiful hills?" my friend asked as I held the steering wheel tighter to follow the few curves going down from the slope.

"Nah....Thanks..."

"Some things you can't capture with a camera..."

"You just store them in your hearts..."

 "18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”  22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
 25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.
- Hebrews 12:18-29 (NIV)

Rain

“It is no hard matter to adhere to God while you are in the enjoyment of His comforts and consolations; but if you would prove your fidelity to Him, you must be willing to follow Him through the paths of dryness and desertion. The truth of a friend is not known while he is receiving favours and benefits from us; but if he remains faithful to us when we treat him with coldness and neglect, it will be a proof of the sincerity of his attachment.” 

... Backhouse and Janson, A Guide to True Peace


It was chilly this morning as I tiptoed in the lurking darkness of the impending dawn that was still soaked with yesterday’s much needed rain showers. My husband was still asleep and same thing with my son when I peeked in his room. Quietly, I prepared myself to take advantage to have my private conversation in His presence. Like the severe drought, my spirit was always thirsty, satisfied by nothing but the Living Water.


It had been two weeks again that I was not able to work as our prison was well staffed when the Nurse Manager decided to pull some of the nurses from the other facilities. I discerned he did it to make some nurses suffered. Those were the nurses who went against him confirming to have his own spouse to take the position right below his.

Some people or maybe just one nurse went to our Ethics Committee and reported it. The memo that he posted where everyone could see it was taken down few days later.

The wife was not placed in the position right under his.

I never desired for anything bad to happen to them despite what these couple had done with my position also. Terminating my regular position and ignoring my valid request about specific working conditions, they thought it was easier to have Human Resources dealt with my case. They intimidated me and put me on a forced leave until they resorted to demoting my position to becoming a Per Diem Nurse. Meaning....”only as needed…” The plans they kept coming with never caused me to fear if that was what they hoped for. They never knew, in my weakness, that was when I would become stronger. Not by my own strength but because of God’s provision.

I heard my husband woke up a bit and asked me if I was okay. He wrapped his warm arms around me and it felt good to ward off the chilly air enveloped around me. We laughed so hard. Then, we both realized, if not for God, we wouldn’t have moments like these. Peaceful amidst life’s tribulations. Quiet spirits merged despite the chaos and life’s unexpected changes. Contented despite not knowing what life has in store for us because we both knew Who held the future for us. We were once drought-stricken spirits satisfied with His healing rain.

“May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!” – Psalm 72:6 (ESV)

everything looks so fresh a day after some rain as i woke up this morning...

I love the rain. It washes away the dirt, lowers the pollen count and the air just smells so fresh! Thank You Lord for the rain. But most of all, thank You for the Healing Rain!





Step Forward

“For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)


These people in higher positions I had been battling with had some plans in progress again. Though I had discerned long time ago what they truly wanted for me which was to quit or resign my position ever since I had requested to remain working part-time, they never seemed to stop trying to intimidate me.

I visited the county Human Resources webpage and there it was again. They had opened another position for a Per Diem Nurse, when the other Per Diems and myself were not able to work lately because of the Nursing Manager’s action of pooling the other nurses back into our main prison that made it adequately staffed.

I could feel “anger” starting to surface in my heart. It was that kind that always sought for justice and for these evil plans to cease. It was that type that wanted a fair treatment and wanting an honest response from them. I never got those. But no matter how they tried to deceive me, the Lord had already shown into my heart that it would be okay, no matter how much these people would plan, He got it covered! Except….I needed to be patient and I needed to remain trusting on His plans instead!

The poisonous “anger” that made my heart in racing pulses began to slow down as I glanced at the unopened mail that came yesterday.

I saw this white envelope that came from a Christ-centered university offering some degree programs for nurses and other Sciences. What was printed on the back of top flap caught my eyes:

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Revelation 3:7) ~ (emphasis was mine)

His truth immediately coated and overwhelmed the ugly kind of anger stirring up in my heart. This growing anger could have become selfish on my part and seemed to distort His goal in my life. It would have boiled over if not for His restraint. He did tell me that I would not be able to avoid being angry sometimes, except I must learn to deal with it properly.

I love being a Nurse. A Correctional Nurse where He placed me 11 years ago. Because of God’s continued reassurance through His faithful promises, I know that there is nothing that happens in my life that He has no control of. Those people might think they have been harming me to force me to quit. They will never know (maybe they will God-willing) that God always directs someone’s steps (Proverbs 16:9).

It is not them. It is all up to me to choose what God’s call is in my life. If He put me in Correctional before after getting hurt at the hospital I worked for 10 years as an Orthopedic Nurse, I know that He can bring me somewhere else if I choose to follow His leading. If He wants me to stay working in the prison, so be it. Their plans might make me step back three times but God always appear and makes me be able to step forward miles and miles farther ahead. For when we are weak, because of God, we truly are strong!

No matter how hard my enemies try to pursue and scare me, their tactics will not work because of God's faithful promise as I continue to take a step toward the other end of this "Red Sea" I'm walking on.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” - Exodus 14:13,14 (NIV)


I choose to take that step forward Lord, no matter how hard it takes...because of You!


All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.



Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.


Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.


The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.


[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14


Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].


Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.


Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy 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 we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

Friends