It was 1997, I took a few days off from work to spend some time with my parents in our home in the province, a six-hour drive from Manila. My father brought us to the beach resort that he was developing at that time. The owner was an old friend and former client of his lawyer brother, my uncle. My father was commissioned to design and develop the resort, sort of a virgin beach – even the road going to the place was very steep and originally thickly-forested.
He had started work with many of the projects so far: the twin concrete stairs that wrapped around water terraces that ran down the hill on one side and the catch basin or pond at the bottom. “The Garden of Eden” was almost complete. He had sculptured life-sized images of Adam, Eve, and the serpent using concrete and steel, and they were arranged dramatically in a beautiful, but still unfinished garden.
Even without the artworks of my father, the beach was breathtaking. Since it hadn’t been opened to the public, it looked so pristine. I looked closely at the sand slightly burying my bare feet and I noticed it was made up of countless sun-bleached shells! These covered the whole beach milky-white. I thought that if you shoveled the sand, you would get millions of tiny beautiful shells you didn’t have to pick them one by one!
Even as I left for the city, my father worked overtime with his many projects. But about a year later, he got sick of lung cancer and he had to stop working. He was then working on a mermaid sitting on a giant clam. He died some months later, and the unfinished, giant concrete clam sat in our garden at home and adorned it.
By the great mercies of God, I wouldn’t want to leave behind an unfinished work. That is, the work that the Lord has commissioned me to do. I believe He has called me to carry out His purposes and plans: to share the Gospel to the lost and testify of His great mercy and mighty deeds, and bring them to the feet of Jesus, especially my loved ones and friends.
I believe also that motherhood is a noble calling in itself: nurturing my children and guiding them to walk in the way of the Lord. And God knows how much I desire to accomplish that. That’s why I bow myself humbly before Him, begging Him for length of days and long life. Even when my soul is crying out for my body to be released from all the physical suffering, my heart is still holding on and pleading, “No, my dearest Lord Jesus. Not yet. My children are still so very young and they need me!”
But I draw strength and confidence in God’s promises in His living Word, that he which hath begun a good work in [me] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).
And understanding that, as the Lord prayed to the Father for His disciples that He should not take them out of the world, but that He should keep them from evil (John 17:15), having yet to commission them to go into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), He also prayed for me.
So that in the end, I would like to say with confidence what the Apostle Paul had said: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7). And to hear my Lord and King say:
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