Three Vows and a Life

The original title for this was My Road to Baking: A Bittersweet Testimony, for why would a licensed chemical engineer like me who worked with chemicals and formulations, research and product development, and with everything technical and good and glamorous stuff in the cosmetics industry trade her career with homemaking – cooking, baking, and decorating (not that these are not good stuff themselves)? Well, I didn’t want to and fought hard against it, but who hath resisted His will? 

Between my successful career and my simple home life now – finding joy in writing, tending our  home, and nurturing my family – is a river of tears, three vows, and this one life.

When I received partial healing in 2006 enough to send me off traveling to nearby provinces to attend our church’s crusades with my family, and visiting our office again after three years of sick leave – I dreamed and planned of returning to work, even just for a few hours each week. Two weeks of these visits to our office and I began to feel my illness creeping back. I knew then that it wasn’t the Lord’s will, but I couldn’t let go of my career, of the work that had brought me so much joy and fulfillment. Until one afternoon after I arrived home from the office, I felt my breath being taken out of me. My body became stiff and painful like it was being wrung, at the same time I was struggling for breath. In the face and fear of imminent death, the Holy Spirit spoke in my heart. Right there and then, I vowed never to go back to work in our company again. Just for God to let me live.

Some would ask (I had) if God is cruel and selfish, but the Bible’s answer to them (and to me) is this:

He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also… (John 12:25-26)

“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (Mat. 10:38)

For a season, I tried to resist His will. I really had a hard time letting go of my life, the life I made for myself. I wanted to love it (and Him at the same time and wouldn’t that be possible?). But He gave His life for me so I could live and receive eternal life; I have received His grace and have now access to His good and perfect gifts – what could be better than these? 

No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him. 
(1 Cor. 2:9 NLT)

Though I reluctantly obeyed and surrendered to His will, He rewarded me with a new baby. Twice I had dreamed about him, and my heart ached for him for how could I conceive him seeing I was not yet totally healed? But with God, all things are possible!

I got my baby but I lost most of my fledgling health and strength once again. I was motionless in bed and mostly unconscious after CS, and had not my husband whispered to my ears that our baby was healthy, I wouldn’t remember where I was and why I was there. As I lay in bed, recovery slow in coming, the enemy whispered, “You are never going home.” With all the strength I had left, and with my caregiver as my witness, I prayed and vowed to God to serve Him with all my life. Just for Him to let me live.

My son was 2 years old and my daughter was celebrating her 9th birthday, I was very ill again. I had been that way at the start of that year. My husband had gone to the midweek service. As my daughter celebrated with her little brother, a cousin, and the maids, I struggled in my room, gasping really hard for breath. When everything calmed down and I was utterly weak, the sounds became fainter and fainter, and I thought, “So maybe, Lord, this is the way to die?” And then, no more.

But I woke up and regained some strength. I called for my children, Hannah and Tim, and with arms around each one, I prayed to the Lord and begged Him to heal me and let me live, for the sake of my two young children.

How could one show her deep gratitude to the Lord for His enduring mercy? I wanted to know. How could one turn her life and moments into simple celebrations of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and tender love? I wanted to celebrate Him in my life, in my everyday, in the ordinary, in every simple thing that I can do with the health and strength He gave.

That’s how I started baking and cooking for the family. And each time I lay down a homemade bread or a sweet snack, an intricately prepared dish, or a bowl of ice cream on the table, it is with a solemn heart of thanksgiving. Gathering around the table is not only to eat, but for us, it has become a Christ-celebration, a thanksgiving moment.

Beef and Eggplant “Lasagna” Bake. Recipe here.

Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream. Recipe here.

Peach Muffins. Recipe here.

Herb Bread (improvised recipe :)).

My gratitude list {the Lord’s gifts}:

  • 6-day fasting
  • homemade hot chocolate on a rainy day
  • new books
  • joy of photo editing
  • baking, cooking, and gathering around the table never forgetting the goodness of the Lord

Might be linking up with A Holy ExperienceBetter Mom MondaysDomestically DivineRaising HomemakersBrag on God FridayEncourage My HeartSpiritual SundaysState of the HeartTeach Me TuesdayTeaching What is GoodTitus 2sdaysWomen in the Word WednesdayWomen Living Well

4 comments on “Three Vows and a Life

  1. Marissa says:

    Love your posts, you are so motivating. Life is so hard, but the Lord is always there to give us strength, thank you for the reminders.

  2. Blueberry ice cream? I thought that was available only in Maine! Thanks for sharing your story. Obedience may be difficult, but it is important. I, too, have had to be obedient. In my case, it was not about leaving work but about staying in the job where God put me. There are reasons…we just don’t always know them…

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