Gratitude and Faith In the Midst of Tough Times
A lot of things already happened in the past 3 months since the second week of March. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools were suspended, Metro Manila and other places were placed under community quarantine forcing most people to stay home and businesses to stop operations.
There was a lot of bad news - from people not able to go home to their families because of the lockdown to not having food on the table for those who are very poor. The number of people getting infected and dying was also saddening.
But there were also a lot of inspiring stories that tell us to keep hoping and praying. Many people have stepped up to the challenge of giving - whether big or small, in cash or in-kind - to help those who have nothing, the frontliners, and healthcare workers. Our endless thanks go to everyone who has been unrelenting in the fight against COVID-19.
Our summer vacation was not as adventurous as in the past years. We missed going to the beach or having family get-togethers. My whole family just stayed home except for my husband and me who had to go out from time to time to buy what we need or attend to important concerns.
Despite being pinned down at home, there are still a lot of things to thank God for. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. God is faithful to provide.
Our income was drastically affected by the situation. I thank God that my online client continued to give me work. I only work part-time, so my income is not a lot, but it is enough for us to have cash coming in for basic necessities.
It's also amazing to see that help comes unexpectedly. We received help, not just from the barangay or the city government, but we also received help from people we do not really expect. God is good!
Time and time again, God confirms what His word says in Matthew 6:33. "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
2. Our city is blessed with a good mayor.
Probably not all but many would agree with that statement. I'm thankful that our city mayor Vico Sotto expressed concern for everyone in the city and took action to the best of his abilities.
I am thankful as well to the city council, our barangay officials, and all frontliners that helped in serving the community.
3. Prayer works.
Since the lockdown, I'm really glad that we get to spend more time to pray together as a family. We have prayed for specific people to be healed from COVID and He answered our prayers.
I know there are prayers that don't get answered the way we hope for. But God knows what is best and He acts accordingly.
Let us continue to pray to God for the frontliners, the doctors and health workers, the leaders of our country. Let's pray for the recovery of businesses and for the provision of livelihood for each family striving to survive.
4. My family is safe.
I thank God for keeping our family safe. We followed the mandate to stay home and did the safety precautions when we needed to go out.
I'm especially thankful that God protected my husband who had to go to the hospital several times to assist relatives and some brethren from the church who had health check-ups or were hospitalized (non-COVID related).
5. My children are helping.
I'm glad that my children are helping around the house. My daughter, Kristel, made a schedule of chores that they are following. They take turns sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning the yard, cooking, and washing dishes during weekdays. During weekends, they help with the laundry and cleaning the bathroom. They also help with other extra chores when needed.
When they go to school, they could not help as much because of the demands of their studies. But now, with plenty of idle time, is the best time for them to help with house chores.
Three of them are really enjoying whenever they are assigned to cook. I ask them what we have that they can cook and they even search online for a new recipe. I guess they want something different from what I usually cook for them. Well, everyone is actually happy about that. Here are some of the dishes that have become our favorites.
6. Faith is tested for our good.
I know that this is a time that our Christian faith is being tested. For the more than 30 years that I've been a Christian, this is the first time that gathering in churches was stopped.
But even if physical gatherings were stopped, meeting together as a church continued through virtual means. Thanks to technology, it is still possible to have interactive studying of the Word and praying with each other.
Some may have experienced wavering of their faith at this time. But I believe that those who are really faithful became more steadfast. As James 1:3 says, the testing of faith produces steadfastness. Our hearts simply had more longing for physical fellowshipping. I can't wait to meet together again.
7. So proud of my students!
Last week, many of my families and friends have posted on Facebook photos about the school accomplishments of their children. I have not posted anything yet about my children's accomplishments last school year. So, the first mention about it is here on my blog.
I thank and praise God that my second son, Yuan, just graduated from Senior High School with Honors. He also qualified to receive a scholarship from the Department of Science and Technology. That will certainly help partially fund his studies at a University.
My third daughter, Kristel, who was in Grade 9, also finished the year with Honors. My youngest daughter, Angel, who was in Grade 5, received the most number of awards. She received the Highest Honors plus other awards for being the "Best" in different subjects.
There were no actual Graduation and Recognition ceremonies, but that is okay. It doesn't make me less proud of all my children.
8. I'm learning new things.
Since I have more free time now because the kids are doing some of the chores, I get to learn a bit more. I signed up for the free 2 months SkillShare membership, and I have learned some new tricks. Click on my affiliate link to sign up for your free Skillshare membership, too, and start learning.
The kids are mostly watching some anime or K-drama or playing games when they're not doing their chores. But two of the girls are also practicing proper keyboarding. They are working on some free typing lessons to develop this very handy skill. From time to time, they also practice playing the piano or the guitar.
Sometimes, I also ask my daughter, Kristel, to do creative work for me. She's been using Canva.com to do some images for my other blog. I'm also challenging her to make some videos. Those are just some ways to develop her creativity, which she can also use for her schooling.
9. Keep things simple.
How can life be really simple? That question made me stop writing this post to reflect.
For me a simple life means, just having what you need - food on the table, clothes to wear and a roof over the head. But in this material world, there are many other things that have become part of our everyday world, for example, utilities, education, and the internet. Oh yes, the internet.
During the lockdown, for a while people focused on just one thing, having food to survive. To those who have enough resources, life is simple. But to those who have nothing, life is a struggle.
I thank God that He gives us enough of what we need. If He gives us more, we share with others. I think that is how life could remain simple.
10. There's always hope.
No matter how terrible things seem to be, just like now that there's a pandemic, we could always find hope in God. I like what the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 4:18 in the New Living Translation says.
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Though the materials things we have now are important, we should not forget that all these things are temporary. Even our earthly life now is temporary. A time will come when we will enter eternity. What is important is that we are ready when we will face our Creator. Do you think you're ready?