God’s Purpose Behind the Chaos

Just as things had settled in our household, that is, our new maids had been thoroughly trained, and we were starting to enjoy the peaceful flow of domestic activities, chaos suddenly came up on a morning I least expected. Just as we’ve got our household organization down pat, our momentary quiet was stirred by yet another domestic strife, and that came from our stay-out laundrywoman.

This laundrywoman who has been washing and ironing the family’s clothes for 9 long years had a controversy with one of the maids. One by one she enumerated all this maid’s faults and shortcomings, telling me that she did nothing but text and call with her cellphone. I knew that already and we had strongly reprimanded her about it. I was so provoked by these revelations that I.simply.forgot. I forgot to pause and think. I forgot to remember God’s Word (to draw wisdom from it) and to listen to the Holy Spirit before I opened my mouth to speak. Then, it was too late. Although I talked lengthily to the maid concerned and implored her to clean up her act to avoid conflicts, the laundrywoman had achieved her purpose and the maid decided to leave. No, there was no talking her out of it.

I closed my eyes as I struggled to breathe. All my baking ingredients and gadgets were spread out before me on my mobile kitchen, and no maid was on sight to assist me. Oh, God! When can we do away with maids? Tears of utter frustration fell as I tried hard to suck air from the electric fan.

Just as much as I want to not have any maids, at this time, we need them. I’m not well. I’ve an illness (I don’t have a name for it; the doctors weren’t able to diagnose it) that affects my autonomic nervous system (ANS), that is, my cardio, respiratory and digestive. I need someone to assist me from the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to sleep at night. We’ve two kids. I can’t assist them except in school work. My husband manages our company. We need maids to cook (I only cook or bake when I’m well and I need assistance then), clean, and do our laundry. All these years, the Lord has been teaching us to be long-suffering, but until now, it still has its pain.

The next morning after the maid left, I resorted to the sanctuary. Hurting and with a heavy heart, I began to praise. I sang and prayed that the Lord will shed light to this yet another household problem. (My husband and I agreed that the laundrywoman will have to go, too). I wanted to have peace in my heart and be strengthened and inspired again to start anew. I needed the Lord so much. As I sang, His Spirit spoke in my heart.

You are My children and you walk in holiness. Therefore, be ye separate. They have to go because they don’t walk in the way of the Lord. 

The Lord reminded me that those maids cussed (they cussed when they’re excited and when they talked on the cellphone; it’s their normal expression) and wore indecent clothing and I had turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. Although I always reprimanded them never to cuss, they still did. I also brought up the possibility of them wearing maids’ uniform, but they didn’t want any of t. They wanted to wear their own clothes which were mostly tight-fitting and low-rise jeans that showed a portion of the underwear.

They live sinful lives. 

I learned that day that the maid who just left was living in with a separated but still very much married man back in the province. And sadly, it is the same situation with our other staff. Remember the article I wrote Hope in Marriage? In our country, there are many couples and families that are not bound by marriage because either or both of the partners had been married before and their marriages weren’t annulled. One doesn’t have to look far.

It is our practice to reject applicants from the agencies if they are living in with men outside of marriage. But sometimes they come from the province and there is no prior interview, and sometimes they don’t tell the truth. It is also our practice to share with them the Gospel and our testimony and other testimonies, and urge them to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. But we are not always successful. The past years, we’ve had maids who were converted and became born-again Christians, and now, they are blessed to be working abroad – praise God!

The Lord reminded me that He’s perfecting us in the way of holiness. That if these people who come to live with us reject the Gospel and don’t want to submit to our rules (not to cuss and wear indecent clothing and are dishonest), we must not compromise the way of holiness. He reminded me of Psalm 1.

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful. 
(Psalm 1:1)

He made me understand that all these painful processes and passages are for our cleansing, learning, growing, and perfection. That is, perfection in the way of holiness. 

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God(2 Cor. 7:1)

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My gratitude list ~ the gifts I received from the hand of the gracious Lord:

  • This song of the Finest Choir which beloved Leah sang, Mercy Saw Me, my theme song which brought back wonderful memories of God’s great mercy, tears of gratitude flowing once again.
  • Maid replacements who came from my hometown and are married with families.
  • Group hug with husband and kids in bed, so tight it suffocates! The kids enjoy it so!
  • The kids’ trip to Holy Carabao and Fun Farm on a wonder-filled Saturday afternoon.
  • This Banana Nut Caramel ice cream that I made and the love and laughter it brought once again around our table.

 

I’m linking up with other blogs, please check the list at the side bar.

 

Reflections on the Family

We sat around the center table of our family room (which we made into a temporary dining table) to eat dinner the night we evacuated to our second floor. Earlier, when it was still day, though the flood water was already knee-deep in the streets, my beloved husband braved the rains and flood waters to buy us a single-burner gas stove. We realized that what we had upstairs was an electric stove and feared that the power might go out any time. I remembered we had given away our single-burner gas stove which we used during the great flood of 2009.

So we sat at dinner and I looked around our small table: our kids were excitedly getting their portions; my husband was silent in his seat, showing that calm he always has even during calamities; the heavy monsoon rains pounded our roof intermittently (it was hard not to feel uneasy), but as peace settled in my heart, I couldn’t help to say this, “I’m so thankful that our family is together. That we have each other, especially in times like this. It’s too hard to imagine going through calamities without the support of one another.”

I wouldn’t have known the vital importance of one’s own family had God not taken away everything that had made me self-sufficient. I grew up nurtured in a close-knit family but this hadn’t guaranteed my future choices in life. When my marriage didn’t work the way I had expected it to, I believed that there were options for me for a better life perhaps? Strength, wealth, and worldly wisdom could make one bold enough to re-dream and re-plan one’s future, that is, outside of the family God has given. Sacrificial love, such as love for the family and keeping it intact, could be easily forgotten.

The family is part of God’s perfect design of things with the presence of both the parents with their children together, dwelling in love and harmony with Christ as the cornerstone.

But we look around and we see that the family is more and more weakened, and there are broken homes everywhere we look. They could be very near us. That’s because more and more homes and families are not being built with Christ as the foundation. If not Christ, what could be these families’ foundations made of?

Self-centeredness

Whether one likes to admit it or not, the very core of one’s decision to let one’s family become undone is his or her desire to think about his or her welfare more than he or she does for the rest of the family. But of course there are special and extreme cases wherein restoration is no longer feasible or profitable for all involved. But still, there is hope in God. Nothing is impossible for Him. I will discuss more on this on next post, by the grace of God.

Career over family. I have heard many stories about families being sacrificed over one’s career. (I’m not talking about those who work abroad and sacrifice and endure the loneliness of being away from their families just to be able to provide for them. No. Actually, I salute these people for their sacrificial love).

But I tell you one story. The older sister of one of our maids went to Singapore to work as a domestic helper. When she left, her children were still small. Since she left eight years ago until now, she hasn’t returned. When their father died, she didn’t come home. When her children graduated from elementary and high school, she didn’t come home. When her husband was sick and needed to undergo surgery, she didn’t come home. But looking at her numerous photos, she is happy and enjoying her life in Singapore. I.Don’t.Understand. As a result of her absence, her daughter got pregnant out of wedlock at 16, barely out of high school.

Hurt feelings and unforgiveness. Would someone leave home and forget about family just because of hurt feelings and finding it hard to forgive? It happens. It happened to my beloved father’s family. My grandmother had a very young US Navy son who worked in the now defunct US Naval Base in Subic. This son helped his younger sister finish college with the clear instruction that after graduation, she also would work and help the younger sibling. But when this sister graduated from college, she got married at once and would not listen to her parents’ and older siblings’ admonitions. The US Navy son was so angry and hurt he left for the USA and never returned. Never. I was little and I watched as the family wrote him letters, putting a handful of earth in the envelop. I wondered then, why would they put dirt in the envelop?

My grandmother endured the pain of losing a son due to deep hurt and unforgiveness. Since the day her son left to the day she died, she never saw him again. When I was in grade school, we received a single letter from him with pictures of his family. He lived to old age but he never came back home.

Options. When one is faced with many options, like divorce or annulment, one could easily forsake one’s hope for reconciliation or restoration of marriage or family. I wrote about that in detail here.

I’m deeply grateful to the Lord for setting up the family. God places the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). And more so for mercifully restoring our family and opening my eyes and heart to its importance, its value, to one’s life. Not only mine, but also these lives whom He has entrusted to my love and care.

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My gratitude list ~ the gifts I received from the hand of the Lord:

  • Watching Hannah and Tim sing in their respective choirs: Hannah in the Children’s Choir, Tim in the Cherubim’s Choir.
  • Reading Biblical Parenting with my beloved husband, digesting and discussing each teaching together.
  • This great opportunity to share the Gospel to friends and loved ones, even to people from around the world that I haven’t even met; the Lord continuously opening doors ~ glory to Him!
  • This well of wisdom that I can draw from any time. There’s really nothing to worry about on what to write because it is His Spirit that leads and guides.
  • The emails I receive and the opportunity to be of service to anyone whom the Lord leads to me ~ praise Him!

I’m linking up with other blogs, please check the list at the side bar.