Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A new journey begun (my reflections on 29th March 2007)

I am still trying to understand the many precious lessons our Lord is teaching me through these difficult trials in my life. I know that He in His faithfulness has afflicted me (Psalm 119:75). He is sanctifying me through these difficult experiences and drawing me to know more of His saving grace and faithfulness. I may not always understand His dealings with me but I have no doubt at all of His love for me.

I am reminded of some of the encouraging words from some poems quoted in a small booklet written by Rev John J Murray, “Behind a Frowning Providence”:

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern he has planned.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps n the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust in His grace,
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

For me, personally, this turned out to be a very significant event in my life and God in His faithfulness is working it out for my good (Romans 8:28). I can sense myself growing in many different ways and experiencing the joy and peace of the Lord in many wonderful ways. I have now begun on a new journey, by God’s grace.

The counseling, in particular, is being used by our Lord to change my perspective of many things in life and indirectly it is changing me. It is actually a process of self-discovery, and of knowing God, self and others better. I am thankful to God for hearing my prayers and provided someone who is very gentle, caring, sympathetic and encouraging to be my counselor. She always sees something positive and encouraging that God is doing in all my difficult trials. She constantly seeks to help me to see the many mysterious outworking of our faithful God, Who loves us dearly and gave His Son for us, in the various paths I have gone through in the past or are going through now.

I will be 41 this October but I found to my surprise that I have been wondering in the wilderness for the last 40 years! And now, by the mercies of God, I am finally coming out of the wilderness and entering into the land of Canaan! You see, she is helping me to discover some faulty patterns in my thoughts and feelings which have affected my life and various relationships for so many years. They are not just occasional thoughts but deep-seated patterns! No wonder I am often overcome by them as I am not conscious of them. I am surprised to discover these truths and felt as if I am just getting to know myself! She is now slowly helping me to recognise these faulty thought patterns, and change these faulty ways of thinking to more biblical ways, by God’s grace. And these are beginning to have such tremendous effects on my life, my relationship with God and others around me.

I am thankful to God for providing such a help in her and her willingness to walk through this difficult journey with me. By God’s grace, each session yields some positive outcome. Accumulatively, these new discoveries of self and God’s mercies in them, is beginning to change my life in many wonderful ways.

I wish I could share more of the details with you but I think I will have to write a book in order to do so and I am just in Chapter One! I know the process may be a long and tedious one and I need much patience and perseverance to go on slowly. But it will be a journey worth taking… and I am looking forward to each session with her because I get to know myself better each time, can see more clearer God’s love, mercies and faithfulness and am enabled to improve in my relationships with various people, and also learning to improve in managing the various challenges in my life. Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness!

First published on 29 March 2007 on www.believersencouragement.com

(I am still trying to recognize some of the faulty thinking patterns which is explained in greater detail in Dr David P Murray’s lectures in the series “Depression and the Christian”. I have extracted part of his writings from 3 of his articles and shared them under the topic “Correcting my false thoughts” of “My Coping Strategies“. I know that sometimes I do have quite a number of the faulty thinking patterns that is listed in the Dr David’s articles. I am also quite a perfectionist which means my expectation of myself can be rather high, and indirectly I stressed myself up unknowingly. I am also not an assertive person. I have problem saying “no”. So I also put myself through a lot of difficulties or take on more than I can handle. I used to have difficulty relaxing or taking breaks. In some sense, I am a workaholic. I am also fulfilling the role of care-givers in quite a number of context, and having little respite. All of the above or the combinations of some of these, could well have weakened my body and mind, and lead to the relapses of clinical depressions.)

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