Life is full of challenges, right? Not for me. Not back in 2014. I became a Christian that year and life was smooth sailing. Family was lovely, work was fine, and I even got to pursue my passion for singing (in church). I was really happy.
But life is full of challenges and in 2016, my dear mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. I had a strong relationship and was very close with my mom. My mom was always there for her children. She was the supportive mom who attended every singing event I participated in, making me earrings, necklaces and any other accessories I needed for my gigs. When I had my first heartbreak, she held me close and hugged me until the pain eased away. I never had to learn to cook or do my own laundry until I left home because my mom totally pampered us all with her love and service. So we were devastated when her illness ravaged our lives—financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Although she initially responded well to the treatments, after more than a year, she was gone. I was shattered!
I exhausted myself by getting into a frenzy of busyness—I didn’t want even a moment to think about my mom. Wanting to avoid conversations that seemed to dig up the pain, I became socially isolated. My world crumbled because I had lost one of the most important people in my life. It shook my faith and I questioned God—a lot. Yet, even as I turned to God in my grief, my pain became the door to really understanding God’s heart. I discovered a God who is genuinely close to the brokenhearted. A God who personally cares about the pain we go through. He knew and understood every detail of it and He promised to give me hope and a future. As I poured my heart out to God in anguish, God also poured out His love to me in faithfulness. Rather than continually dwelling on the tragedy of losing my mom’s love, God’s love enabled me to find hope again. I may have become isolated from people, but because I hung on to God’s hand, I came to love, know and experience God’s heart more deeply.
In time, I started improving my singing skills so I could praise Him more. I became more open to (once again) enjoy the fellowship available at my Lifegroup. I became so much closer to my family and very open to them about how God had helped me through my darkest days. My compassion, empathy and love for people grew because I could now connect with people in pain.
It was agonising at the time, but I look back now with the wisdom of knowing that happiness isn’t about the situation we are in. No matter what I face today, God sees me through and is always faithful to get me back on my feet. God has been my anchor of strength and joy in the difficult and challenging times of my life. This is the true meaning of ‘The Joy of the Lord’. It’s the ability to find happiness despite getting hurt, beyond the aftermath of challenges and tragedy — because when we’ve run out of love, God pours it into us and makes us whole again. Then we are able to be happy once more.
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