The last few weeks have been very tiring and very very stressful for me due to various reasons. Thank God that last week was a lot better as I learn to cast my cares upon the Lord and to wait upon Him, and He in His faithfulness gave me peace and strength. Yesterday's worship was refreshing and it encourages my heart as I remember afresh God's love and mercies to me.
So Elijah goes off to hide. God has promised him provision from ravens! To the Israelites ravens are considered unclean (Leviticus 11:13-15). Nevertheless these birds feed Elijah, twice daily. “Elijah was learning experientially that Yahweh was the only source of food, fertility, and blessing” (Constable). God provides when we are obedient to his word. Picture Elijah living by an obscure brook, waiting patiently for food from birds. His experience demonstrated the certainty of God and prepared Elijah for the bigger challenges that were coming in his life.
What a comfort and encouragement!
Another source of stress is my mother's expectations of me. She is a caring and wonderful mother, but sometimes her expectation of me is unrealistic. My mother does not know that I have bipolar disorder and that it is cyclical in nature. She thought I have recovered from my recent depression episode and that I am fully well now and should return to fulltime work. She doesn't know that with my diagnosis of proneness to bipolar it is almost impossible to find a fulltime job in Singapore because of the stigma. She doesn't know that I am physically and mentally not able to take on a fulltime job yet as I am still learning to manage my condition and physically I am easily tired. She doesn't know that her expectations of me is stressing me up and that stress is one of the triggering factors of my depression episodes. I can't share any of these things with her as she will get very worried and she can't sleep when she is worried. Then her blood pressure will go up and she at risk for stroke or heart attack as she has other illnesses as well.
Coping with the stress from my mother's expectations, the stress of not knowing how to find suitable freelance assignments and not knowing how to cope with stress from certain freelance work that are difficult and with tight deadlines, sometimes really drained me.
My friend, Paul, recently counseled me to give myself at least 1 year to progress in this freelance work. My friend, Grace, also advised me how to cope with the expectations of my mother in finding a fulltime job. Thank God for friends like them and some others who are more caring and understanding. Sometimes I feel so alone but when I think of these friends, I know that I am not alone. And the Lord is with me.
Everyday, all kinds of thoughts and emotions threatened to overwhelm me. But I am learning to cast all my cares and anxieties upon our Lord. I try to look at what I still have now and of all the opportunities I have to serve our Lord in small ways daily, to take better care of my mother and reach out to my church friends and other friends, as well as to share His goodness on this blog. I thank God that He is my God and therefore despite whatever fear or difficulties I have, I still have His joy and strength to live for Him. Sometimes my peace are interrupted when I look too much at the storm or the impending storm, but I am learning to remember that He is able to calm any storms in my life. Though the future is so uncertain and can sometimes be very scary, I can face the uncertain tomorrow because He lives! I sing this song to myself again this morning to remind myself that I am serving a risen Saviour and He is with me through all the changing scenes of life. The Lord is my shepherd and I will not not lack any temporal or spiritual needs. Before my last ounce of flour finishes, God will provide! With Him all things are possible as He owns all the cattles on the thousand hills. I must trust and not be afraid. Moreover, nothing is ever going to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. So I need to learn not allow any difficulties or losses or lack to cloud my vision of God. He is good in all His ways.
I am encouraged by God's love and precious promises in His Words. He will give me strength and grace as I look to Him daily. There will be difficulties, there will be stress and fears at times, but God will never leave me nor forsake me. Courage is not the absent of fear, courage is pressing on despite the fears. With God's presence with me, I will go on courageously, by His grace. He has a purpose in these difficult trials and I pray that I may know more of His mercies and faithfulness, and continue to share it with others so that they too may put their hope and trust in God, Who will never leave us nor forsake us. To Him be the glory.
Matthew 10This lovely bird is taken by my friend and brother-in-Christ, CW Fong. Thank God for his kindness to share this photo with us.
The Lord said, "Fear ye not .... ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:31)