Friday, April 3, 2015

Letting Go... Moving On ... Is possible

Time sure flies. It’s my birthday again today!! Never in my life have I looked forward to a birthday as I have this year. Being born in April has its share of good and bad. I remember my birthday always being in the middle of my exams when I was a kid. The likelihood of my birthday falling on Good Friday or Easter was very high. Birthdays were never lavish or extravagant but I guess they were significant. As a young kid in my sixth grade I still remember getting a bicycle as a birthday gift, my husband surprising me with a birthday party, a family drive to my birthday dinner with my husband and 2 sons, where we shared what we meant to each other. I have also had the joy of donating the money I got for my birthday celebrations as a teenager for a cause close to my heart and of course how can I forget how I was pick pocketed and lost my birthday allowance that was kept to treat my friends. 

With so many memories I remember 2 years back it was just 2 weeks after burying my son I had a birthday. Now do I celebrate or grieve? What can a birthday mean after you bury your 7 year old son? 
Well thankful for my family that supported me. Yes, there was no big party but 2 years later when I look back God did make it significant. I remember the weekend before my birthday Nathaniel, our elder son, wanted to go out to one of our families favorite restaurant.  Well I didn't want to go as I would miss Neville but I also learnt that I could not deny Nathaniel the joy of going out with family. Nathaniel in his own way must have gone through a tough 3 months, during the time his younger brother was sick. I remember my parents finally decided to take us, I remember my mom telling me "Sherene I know we are in no mood of celebrating your birthday yes we don’t have to even remember it or think of it but it can be your birthday lunch".  We went out the weekend before my birthday which happened to be Easter, which was not the best day to go to that restaurant because of the chaos and crowd of Easter but it sure helped us move forward.
Incidentally, on my birthday, my parents had planned to go to Vellore (the place I grew up) for some work.  My husband and me decided to tag along and try and finish up some pending work with my drivers license as I guess we did not have anything particular to do as my husband had left his Job in Semerang, Indonesia and it was to soon to decide "what's next"? 
Well my parent's work took them near my school ‘Ida Scudder school’, Vellore. It was the ideal time to visit the school, as despite the kids being on Summer vacation, the teachers were still working but was I in an emotional state to go actually ? No.  Not wanting to let go of this opportunity my husband and me went and met a few of my teachers as many had retired. The teachers who encouraged and guided us when we were in school did encourage me that day too and it sure brought healing. Of couse that night my mother –in- law had prepared a tasty meal which we all had together. It was nice to have both parents and my parents-in law with us ofcourse the birthday was downplayed as parents we were grieving the loss of our son, while our parents were grieving the loss of their grandson but they also had the task of supporting their son and daughter and another grandson coping with the loss and I’m sure Nathaniel had his own set of worries. 
Need to mention, having finished my formalities with my driving license that day I was able to apply for my international driving license by chance a few months later, which allows me to drive in Indonesia. 2 years later the birthday I did not want to celebrate has become significant in helping me moving forward and also yes I can look back and it brings me more joy than the actual grief I faced at that time.

Fast forward one year, that’s one year back I wanted to really get back into the mood of celebrating. Well I really did not plan anything but it was planned by God but I remember the weekend before my birthday we went to a Safari nearby and it was our first day out sightseeing once we moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. I was invited by the mothers of Nathaniel’s classmates, for a lunch which I was not sure what I was getting into but has helped me develop new friends and what started that day has significantly changed my life. Ofcourse since I met them for the first day I never told them it was my birthday.  
Well I decided to cook Indian food for the church fellowhip we were attending that day.  Neville and birthday cakes go hand in hand. Yes for our kids' birthdays we ordered cakes but for my husband and our parents I would bake a cake and the boys would help me decorate it. Always wondered if I would ever get over that. Took it as a challenge and baked my birthday cake last year and Nathaniel helped me decorate it. My husband on his part wanted to surprise me with a cake. Ended up with 2 cakes - it sure has helped us move forward.

When I look back at these memories I wonder how was I able to move forward, where did this strength come from? I can confidently say it is from the God who created me and still cares for me. He taught me how to handle my grief. He challenged me to do things I was not sure I wanted to do. When I obeyed I was filled with a joy and peace unexplainable.  He brought into my life people who went through similar situations and also took similar decisions and it sure encourages me. 
2 years later I can say when the God who created me and cares for me fills the vacuum created by the loss of my loved one( easier said than done), life becomes worth living and there is  in life a purpose which is beyond what meets the eye. We need to willingly let go and move on. Letting go is not to assume it did not exist or brush it away as a bad incidence but  it is when the negative emotions associated with a person or circumstance is replaced by positive emotions, Only God can bring out this change in us if we allow him.

This Year looking forward to celebrating my birthday with my twin I should say - I'm happy I finally found somebody born on the same day and the same year in another part of the world. For all these years I would celebrate my birthday with my cousin who was 1 year 1 day older than me. Today its with a twin  with different earthly parents but we have the same Heavenly father. Looking forward to this day...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Because He lives I can face tomorrow

Because He lives I can face tomorrow
                                                          -Bill Gaither
Came across this song when I was a teenager and it was close to my heart. Now it’s closer.

          God sent His son, they called Him Jesus;
          He came to love, heal and forgive;
          He lived and died to buy my pardon,
          An empty grave is there to prove my saviour lives.

When I was small I questioned life and wondered which of the many Gods is true and convinced myself that the verse of this song is true and Jesus my Saviour is "The way, The Truth and The Life."
         How sweet to hold a new born baby,
         And feel the pride and joy he gives,
         But greater still the calm assurance;
         This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

I loved singing this verse and would dream of the day I would hold my own new born babe. God gave me that joy when both Nathaniel and Neville were born. He gave me the calm assurance even as we embarked on the journey with Neville’s sickness and his death and eventually life without Neville. It is with this same calm assurance we started the journey that God would be with Nathaniel who was to carry on in life without his brother and buddy and Nathaniel can face uncertain days because He lives. 

          And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
          I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
          And then, as death gives way to victory,
          I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives

From the day I knew I was conceived both with Nathaniel and Neville I always prayed saying Lord these are your children and help me to point them towards you.  For Neville the journey of life is over and in the last 3 months he was alive, he gave us enough evidence, that he had a personal relationship with Christ. As a 7 year old he had to get right with God. Happy today that Neville is with the Lord.  This is the hope I live with every day. The world and all its troubles are temporary. There is a fixed period to life on earth which ends with the death. Just as death was temporary for Christ and it could not hold Him, I am given the same gift, as I believe in Christ and am willing, to live a life He is pleased with, however difficult the path is. This relationship is between God and me. The beauty about Christ is that anybody can have this relationship. It is beyond religion, caste, creed and colour. The only criterion is that we accept Him wholeheartedly and journey with Him through life’s difficulties and Joys.  This is the same hope which makes me believe that I will see my son in eternity and just as Christ was raised on the third day, those who died believing Him will rise up, and those living trusting Him would be transformed on the last day and we would live together in eternity.

When I heard this song at Neville’s funeral I was encouraged and assured of God’s sovereignty and presence in my journey forward and an eternal peace filled my heart.

So as I buried Neville and was going home I was wondering what life would be without Neville and dreaded to even imagine it, there was also a sense of fulfilment that Neville was safe in the arms of Jesus. I also realised that I did not lose my motherhood because I lost Neville and that God had still given me a lovely 9 year old Nathaniel and he was alive and I wanted to make life memorable and happy for him.

Life without Neville has been tough. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions shock, fear, uncertainties, joy and happiness too. 

For me grief is letting go of an irreplaceable loss and finding a reason to live after that. Thankful, that I found my reason in Christ. Now I can say “Because He lives I can face tomorrow”

Was encouraged to hear the story of this song
Story behind "Because He lives".

Friday, November 15, 2013

Our God Prepares, is Present with us, Preserves our faith

Today kick starts the anniversary of our final journey with Neville. What started as an self containing disease chickenpox became life threatening leukemia. 

What is anniversary?
1. The annually recurring date of a past event, especially one of historical, national, or personal importance.
2. A celebration commemorating such a date.

Anniversaries are joyous occasions when we thank God for what He has done in our life. What can we be thankful for when we have lost our son? Does it really make sense ?

I have a choice today to either relive the painful memories God allowed in our lives or  be thankful to God for the promises and presence of God which kept us going the past one year. I choose to thank God as, yes during this difficult time we only saw God in control.

  For so long I have been trying to document those promises but have failed as emotions took over. Last year when I started blogging little did I realise it was a covenant between God and me. It was like a revision before a test. It was like God asking me to document my faith and beliefs. A year later when I read them I, m amazed to see how specific God was. If there was one thing God didn't tell me it was He was taking away my son. The last week of Neville's life when his  fever spiked and seemed to keep coming back, when  prayers seem unanswered, it felt God was standing right there beside but He seemed silent.
 For some reason the silence kept echoing Do you trust me and believe I am sovereign and will you allow me to fulfill my plan in your lives? 

Not knowing what lay ahead we submitted and surrendered to God's sovereignty believing in our hearts that He would heal Neville miraculously but Neville died.
As soon as Neville passed away could feel God"s love embracing and gently whispering I could never tell you that I was going to take your son away. My plans are not your plans. My ways are not your ways. They are higher and greater but pleading that He who lead us thus far will lead us till the end will you still trust and follow me. That God has kept His promise and led us the past 8 months.

We are humans, we have cried, we have missed our little son but we also have hope that we will see Neville in eternity. We will run the race so that when our time on earth is over we will hear our Lord saying well done good and faithful servant. God brought so many people in our lives who have told us many things to help us go through our grief.

 Advice from a mother who lost her  year old son about 30 years back." There never goes a day when I don't remember my son. Time never heals but God gives us the grace to go on and God is Good and Sovereign". So as we continue on this journey in life we may not know why God planned only 7 years for Neville but we know that our God is Good and He is Sovereign and He will Lead us. In God's timeline 7 years or 70years really doesn't matter they are only dot but our relationship with God and how we live this life during this dot determines where we will spend our eternity. Death will come knocking any time are we ready to face it?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Facing difficult situations in life...Knowing God is present with us

The journey that started on Dec 18th with Neville's leukemia ended on March 18th with Neville moving on from this earthly life of leukemia  to an eternal life of no more pain, suffering  or leukemia. The end of one journey is the beginning of another. God is now taking us through the journey of pain of losing a son. The past 5 months have been the toughest in our life. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Facing difficult situations in life...God Prepares

I don't know where to start my previous blog was prepared at least 2 months back but it took so long to post it why?... I realized that when God wanted me to start the blog he had some plan what it was I didn't know at that time but now they have started falling into place. It was like God asking me to document what I believe and then testing me to see if I live by it.

Let me start with the onset of 2012. We started the new year with God promising us saying "I will do new things for you" and  from Isaiah 55:8 which says

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.(NIV) the same verse in NLT is

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine

For 2 years my husband had got about 8 to 9 offers from Indonesia. We were settled in our own house and the boys comfortable in their school and my husband had a nice job we really did not need this change. When the first offer came I Googled  and  researched about the country and I admit I fell in love with it. We prayed saying Thy will be done and just as the offers came they went. By the way none of these was initiated by us. With every offer I think our hearts moved closer to Indonesia.

Finally Jan 2012 my husband got an offer in Indonesia and march 18th 2012 he went to Indonesia to take up a new job. In may our boys Nathaniel and Neville and myself joined my husband. It was a lovely country and the we loved it. The boys made new friends and they really liked the new school and we could see God's blessings.

November 15 2012 my son Neville came back with temperature and in 2 days it manifested itself as the varicella virus or commonly called chicken pox. We did not worry much as we knew it was a self containing disease and we knew a classmate of his who had it. 2 weeks gone it started leading to secondary infection which was attributed to the scratching of the pox marks. It progressed to inflammation of the tonsils and lymph nodes and an ear infection.

On dec 15th 2012 we took him to the ENT who advised us to admit him in the hospital to monitor him as he had been sick for a month and suspected that he may need to have his tonsils removed. A casual blood test on admission showed his HB was 7 (normal is about 12) and his leucocyte count was an alarming 200,000 (normal is 4000-11000). Neville's paediatrician could not believe it and asked for a repeat blood test.

My husband had gone to work thinking it was just tonsils and as I was alone in the room the doctor mentioned the words that "This can be malignant" enough to take me on a spin. The repeat blood test showed that his HB had dropped to 5.4 and his leucocyte were 200,000. Between the tests we managed to book tickets and had planned our journey back to India. But after the test the doctors gave him only 5 hours to live. We could not move him even to Jakarta.

God helped us find favour in the eyes of the doctor and he swung into action and stabilised Neville. He also helped us by arranging to the necessary tests and on Dec18th the doctors declared that Neville had leukaemia of the type AML and the subtype M2 which was of the more virulent type. When I had started the series little did I think I would be in the same situation in a matter of days. God is gracious and he will lead us. Even when we face difficult situations he prepares us and His presence is with us and His promises sustains us.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Facing difficult situations in life... Believe others

Believe others? How?
For what they are ..with their good and bad..When we like somebody we put with all the difficulties they cause us but if somebody gets into our wrong books whatever good they do never matters they are always bad in our eyes. "Once bitten twice shy" is a famous quote which makes us careful when somebody takes us for a ride or we feel we have got  a raw deal.

How many times do we know that our innocent words have hurt the other person or our genuine concern is misunderstood that we intend harm for them. I have realized it, maybe a little late in life but I feel it's better late than never.  As a child I misunderstood  many of my parents instructions now I see the same with my kids. 
Our spouse may not understand us. What do we do in this situation? 

Again it is our relationship with God that come to help us.
God wants us to love our enemies as ourselves.
If we don't believe God we will never give thought to this word.
If we don't believe in ourselves how can we love our enemies ( those whom we don't like) like ourselves. These words "how can you love a person who hurts you again and again"from the movie Fireproof has stuck with me.
It is only through God's love.
While we were yet sinners he sent His son for us to die so we could live through Jesus.

Sometimes we need to see the fault in us also maybe our actions hurt them though that was not the intention.Instead of expecting them to change and accept us I guess we need to change and accept them. Very tough but that would make this world a better place. 

“We have to allow ourselves to be loved by the people who really love us, the people who really matter. Too much of the time, we are blinded by our own pursuits of people to love us, people that don't even matter, while all that time we waste and the people who do love us have to stand on the sidewalk and watch us beg in the streets! It's time to put an end to this. It's time for us to let ourselves be loved.”
- C. JoyBell C.

"If you wish others to believe in you, you must first convince them that you believe in them"
-Harvey MacKay

I would like to conclude saying believe in others with their good and bad and learn to love them how ever they are. 

Don't expect others to understand your love and reciprocate your love.
I live by the standard do to others what you want others to do to you but have to admit that I still struggle at times when people whom you love take you for a ride.

I was touched by this post on FB and want to share it.


“When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed -dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce.— At least, in the eyes of our son—- I’m a loving husband….

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.

So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ♥

Remember love is the richest of all treasures. Without it there is nothing; and with it there is everything. Love never perishes , even if the bones of a lover are ground fine like powder. Just as the perfume of sandalwood does not leave it, even if it is completely ground up, similarly the basis of love is the soul, and it is indestructible and therefore eternal. Beauty can be destroyed , but not love. ♥

Friday, December 7, 2012

Facing difficult situations in life... Believe Myself

Believe Myself?
Should never be a problem....that's what we think. 
some of us lack self confidence or are we  over confident?
sounds familiar....  Yes but both are not good, Why?
When we lack self confidence we don't live to our potential and when we are over confident we live in a make belief world of our own.
I am a dark Indian girl. My dad, mum and brother are all on the fairer side. This always gave me a complex and as a young kid I never had self confidence. 

It was at this time I came across this verse from the Bible 
Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother's womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;Your works are wonderful ,I know that full well.My frame was not hidden from youwhen I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body;

So the God who created me knows every part of me. 

   all the days ordained for me were written in your book    before one of them came to be.

And he has plans for me. 

Initially this made me believe in fate.but when I believe in fate I have no control over what happens to me rather the choices I make decide what my future holds. 
I cannot expect to put my hand in fire and not get burned can I say it is fate , rather it was a wrong choice. A choice I made knowing full well that if I put me hand in fire it will get burnt.
Sometimes I do put my hand in fire unknowingly again it is not fate but the mistake is losing control of oneself.That is why alcohol, drugs or anything which makes us blank out is not good for us.
Is it possible to be in control of myself at all times?
The answer is a big NO. 
I need somebody who is more powerful to help me. 
That is MY GOD. 
"No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself.
Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it"- Matt 19:26(MSG)
For me to Believe in myself  means
I need to accept myself 
and be in control of myself 
and this is possible only with the trust I have in God.

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
Norman Vincent Peale

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent
Eleanor Roosevelt

It's not who you are that holds you back,it's who you think you're not

I would like to end with a personal story.When I was in school being low on self confidence. I fell to the pranks of my classmates and was to go and sing on stage for a fun singing competition.When my name was announced I just wanted the ground to swallow me. I even refused to get up from my seat. With all my teachers and school mates looking the compere kept encouraging me to just come in front. I did not move. Few months latter the compere met my parents, he mentioned the incident saying your daughter was pink tough she is dark.
 Few years later when I went to college I was asked to speak at the evening chapel to my fellow hostel mates. I told God I will speak if you promise to speak through me and lo He did because I could not believe myself. That night I made a vow to God saying anybody asks me to speak I will take it as a sign from you and will accept it but you will have to give me the thoughts and ideas. From then on I spoke quite regularly in our evening chapel, was nominated all 3 years to deliver the message at special year services. From my college circle every time I got an opportunity it was bigger, that is more people and an unlikely place for example I thought God will use me only in religious set up NO I was asked to speak in a Hospital , to corporate women in a garment company, 
teenagers , young professionals. I thought I would have a break when I moved countries but God opened a door to speak about my country India to about 400 kids in a school (not where my kid's study)as part of their UN celebrations. 

That is God in me.

So if you are reading this thinking it worked for you but not for me just Believe  We can believe in ourselves only when we have the right relationship with our maker.I would also like to mention that many a times we have a spiritual me when we are at church and other religious meeting places and a secular me which is what I am at home and at the mall. To give an example a spiritual me is very serene, calm and lovable but the secular me is always irritated and short tempered. It would not work. Imagine you just abused somebody who you thought was a bad driver and found him to be your pastor. 
I would encourage to be the same everywhere. 
It's okay to be short tempered at church at least God can change you and others can pray for you