Friday, June 13, 2014

Praising God and Blessing Others in Dual Storms

Recently God took Lorriane on a much needed trip to Alaska. As she continues to live with dual storms of family and work swirling about her. She has been gracious enough to share how God is revealing Himself during this season of her life. I pray that you are blessed by Lorriane's continuing story. May you find God present with you in your life's storms. - Tom Ford

My Story Continues 
God’s Grace is Always Sufficient for Us

It’s been over a month since I last shared on My TIE about my battling duel storms. While God is trying to make me fireproof.  Although these storms continue to get more severe, my prayers for ways to find Jesus have been answered. 

Bad things happen to good people even for those who are ready and wanting to be transformed by God.  

- Instead of healing my mom her health condition continues to deteriorate
- Instead of removing me from my work environment the work environment continues to darken 

However, God has placed me in these dual storms to show me that His grace is sufficient for me.  His timing is always perfect for us.  He places the right people around us at the right time.

Mother’s day has been painful for me since 2010 because of my mom’s dementia. This disease advances year by year.  Now it is worse because I know that I could lose her any time.  A few of my colleagues have lost their mothers earlier this year. Now all of a sudden there is an instant support group at the office.  

Tears have been been easy to come by this year.  But at the same time, there has been much encouragement that has helped me to understand my feelings. God is helping me to discern what He wants through praying for grace and wisdom. He will prepare me for the worst to come despite being in a work environment as dark as mine. I know Jesus is here bringing comfort in the midst of pain.

God’s Plan is bigger than Our Plans

You may recall my story began when I mentioned the last time I gave a testimony at church on how God worked in me and through me in 2008 after returning from a trip to Vancouver visiting a dying sister-in-Christ.  On such an emotional mother’s day week, God sent me back to Vancouver.  This year I went on a trip like none other. I am not talking about the magnificent scenery that I experienced in the beautiful Alaska, but how God clearly revealed to me that “His plan is bigger than our plans.”

In the weeks leading up to the trip, there was no short of conflicting advice and guilty feelings about whether I should cancel the trip after our family emergency.  I have always tried to plan my vacation a year in advance. So when this trip was booked in May 2013, I had no idea about the seriousness of my mom’s condition.  After prayers and encouragement, from my pastor, I decided to turn off my mobile phone for a week and boarded a cruise ship in Vancouver to Alaska.  This was where God showed me that this was all part of His plan.

I choose to travel alone because I enjoy meeting different people.  This was my fourth trip where I embarked on a journey not knowing anyone.  Because I was both physically and emotionally drained from battling my dual storms, I was very skeptical about this trip. Who will I meet? And what would I expect from a different itinerary that I was not normal for me.  

I picked Alaska simply because it was a good deal and that I had points to cover both the flights and the hotel. Now that I look back, God already knew a year ago that I would need this trip at this particular time.

Alaskan cruises normally attract an older clientele. I had already met many wonderful caring people within hours of boarding the ship.  On the second day, God sent a retired couple visiting from the other side of the world while I was walking around the ship.  I ended up spending most of my time with them for the remaining of the trip.  From people I dined with, at the mandatory safety muster drill, to those I shared many hours in the cold watching the ship sailed alongside God’s magnificent creation (the glacier, I was feeling so loved).  There were words of encouragement from those who heard my story, as well as tears and hugs from strangers who just wanted to wish me well.  

Some of these people  had recently lost their beloved family members such as parents, spouses and children.  We could relate to each other because they had experienced similar challenges at work. We even prayed for one another and I was like a daughter to them.  At each of our ports of call, I kept on bumping into them so it was a like a family vacation as I was never alone.  

On mother’s day Sunday, I attended a worship service on the ship.  The sermon message focused on how God would restore us from our brokenness to a state where we will be better and stronger than before.  I was moved in tears as I knew Jesus was right there with me.  An older lady who sat next to me comforted me; and for the rest of the week, she checked on me every time she saw me on the ship to ensure I was enjoying myself.  She referred to herself as my “church friend.” I am glad that she repeatedly told me that I was on this ship for a reason.

God is working in us and through us

This is what I have learned about how God works in and through us. He puts us through challenges that surprisingly blesses us.  His blessings strengthen us through our trust in Him. And then works its way through us to reach out to others.  

I returned from this trip to a worse situation at work and at home. However, I could not stop praising the Lord. He picked the most perfect time and perfect itinerary just for me.  He wanted to let me know that trust is having faith in Him that He will do what He has promised.  He will love us and never forsake us.  

God sent me to Alaska (also referred to by many as God’s country) to make me a stronger person. Also, He wanted to prepare me for what is to come.  I appreciate even more the time I can spend with my mom. I know God will take care of her and all of us in the family for when she eventually passes. I also know that my growing online spiritual support group (of people I met on my trips) will continue to be there for one another.

It is part of God’s plan to place us in situations full of brokenness.  The purpose is for us to see Him and to do His will.  Every time we deviate from our focus on Him, we need to return to the cross (Jesus Himself) to recharge and reset our purpose. 

God will does not take us to a place where the grace of God will not protect us.  All we have to do is to continue to praise Him, even in extreme conditions.  This is where we can find true peace that give us strength to persevere. We need to be in position to experience God’s work and to shine His light wherever we are placed.  God will take us to a place where we can be a blessing to others. 

God said to me through His Word, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).  

May the grace of the Lord be with you always.

Lorraine Fung
June 1, 2014

Edited by Tom Ford June (2014)

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